Deforestation Killing More Than Trees

Forest Conservation, Reforestation Can Mitigate Climate Change

Forest conservation is critical to life as we know it. Forests sequester carbon and release oxygen. They influence rainfall, filter fresh water and prevent flooding and soil erosion. They produce wild foods, fuelwood and medicines. While the pressures on our vanishing forests vary around the world, the biggest cause of deforestation is expanding agriculture – including commercial livestock and major crops such as palm oil and soy.

Small-scale farmers also play a role as they often slash and burn land every year just to survive. Mining, hydroelectricity and new roads add to the pressure on vanishing forests around the globe.

deforestation and climate change

Deforestation has caused about 20 percent of the rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The rise in greenhouse gases, both human caused and natural, is contributing to unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, which contributes to climate change, extreme weather and threats to life as we know it.

Deforestation also cripples our planet’s capacity to capture carbon from the atmosphere, while contributing to the loss of endangered species, including orangutans, tigers, elephants and many others.

Trees and forests can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, return the oxygen to the atmosphere and store the carbon for centuries. Deforestation is disrupting this vital system, while contributing to global warming and climate change.

Forests can absorb some of the carbon dioxide that we all produce in our daily lives. Unfortunately, our remaining forests are under siege. We can reverse the trend now by demanding forest conservation and reforesting as much land as possible.

If we could stop tropical deforestation today, allow damaged forests to grow back, and protect mature forests, the resulting reduction in emissions and removal of carbon from the atmosphere could equal up to one-third of current global emissions from all sources. Reforestation is a critical part of the solution to many of our most pressing sustainability challenges.

Many developing countries have indicated that they would be willing to reduce emissions further in return for international financial support. Rich countries could do more to fight climate change at lower cost by financing tropical forest conservation in addition to their own domestic emission cuts. The few REDD+ agreements already in place have priced avoided CO2 emissions at only $5 per ton, truly a bargain compared to most other options.

In both Brazil and Indonesia, national efforts to reduce deforestation have been associated with greater transparency, increased law enforcement targeted at forest-related crime and corruption and steps to strengthen the land rights of indigenous peoples. A broad coalition of governments, multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations and indigenous groups recognized these potential benefits in the September 2014 New York Declaration on Forests.

Tanzania and Kenya wildlife conservation

Elsewhere around the world, thousands of community stakeholders across East Africa are ready to act now. They can help us all fight global climate change, while defending critical ecosystems in Tanzania, Kenya and beyond.

We have approved plans to plant more than 110 million new trees on millions of hectares in Tanzania and Kenya alone. We’re developing more forestry and agroforestry projects around the world, which will:

  • Absorb carbon dioxide to battle climate change;
  • Defend ecosystems and biodiversity;
  • Preserve watersheds and control flooding;
  • Preserve and create habitat for wildlife;
  • Preserve local lifestyles and cultures, while promoting sustainability; and
  • Create jobs for men and women that can help defend endangered ecosystems.

A new report by the United Nations Environment Programme says that protecting East Africa’s mountain ecosystems would safeguard the region’s $7 billion tourism industry, not to mention the lives of millions of people and iconic endangered species.

“Across the continent, the damage done to these ecosystems is depriving people of the basic building blocks of life,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment agency.

He said Mt. Kilimanjaro was an example of how climate change was severely damaging Africa’s mountains and the people who depend on them. Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest in Africa, contributes to more than a third of Tanzania’s revenue from tourism but is facing several problems, ranging from shrinking glacier to rampant wild fires. As climate change intensifies, it is essential that governments act swiftly to prevent more harm and more downward momentum. The report urges Tanzania to protect the mountain’s water catchment area by reforestation, investing in early warning systems and making climate adaptation a top priority.

Africa wildlife conservation

To learn more, please visit our East Africa projects. Contact Gary Chandler at 602-999-7204 (USA) or write to gary@crossbow1.com.

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.

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com for sponsorship information.

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

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

Norway Paying Brazil For Slowing Deforestation

Deforestation In Amazon Rising Again

The Norwegian government has fulfilled its billion dollar commitment to Brazil for the South American country’s success in reducing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Norway announced it would complete payment to Brazil’s Amazon Fund by the end of the year. Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft commended Brazil’s progress and said it has become a model for efforts to combat climate change.

forest tribes and forest conservation

“Brazil’s achievements in reducing deforestation in the Amazon are truly impressive. The benefits for the global climate, for biodiversity and vital ecosystem services, as well as for the people living in and off the Amazon, are immeasurable,” Sundtoft said in a statement. “Through the Amazon Fund, Brazil has established what has become a model for other national climate change funds. We are proud to be partnering with Brazil in this effort.”

Her sentiments were echoed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“The partnership between Brazil and Norway through the Amazon Fund shows intensified support for one of most impressive climate change mitigation actions of the past decades,” the Secretary General said. “This is an outstanding example of the kind of international collaboration we need to ensure the future sustainability of our planet.”

Norway’s pledge, signed in 2008, was the largest of several similar commitments made by the Nordic country. It was later matched by a billion dollar agreement with Indonesia, which has struggled to keep pace with Brazil in terms of reducing deforestation.

jaguar conservation and deforestation in Amazon

Annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon plunged more than 75 percent over the past decade. Better monitoring and law enforcement, coupled with private sector initiatives under pressure from civil society groups, have been credited for much of the decline.

But while the decrease in the Amazon has been welcomed, there are concerns that some of the progress has come at the expense of other native ecosystems like the woody grassland known as the cerrado and drier forests called the caatinga. Furthermore short-term satellite data from the past 12 months suggest that deforestation may be creeping back up in the Amazon.

deforestation and climate change

Nonetheless, Brazil’s reduction in deforestation represents the single biggest emissions cut in the past decade, amounting to 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to the savings that would have been achieved by taking all cars off American roads for three years.

Rainforest Conservation News via: http://news.mongabay.com/2015/09/norway-pays-brazil-1b-to-fulfill-pledge-for-curbing-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

Forest Conservation Must Meet Local Needs To Succeed

Local Stakeholders Critical To Success

By Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Madagascar has seven million hectares of rainforest under protection, but stopping people who live near those areas from illegally cutting down rosewood trees remains a challenge.

“Most people say we are spending a lot of money to protect the environment instead of spending money to help them find something to eat,” said Ralava Beboarimisa, the southeast African island nation’s environment minister.

Madagascar forest conservation

“One of the challenges in Madagascar is to protect the forests, and to change the habits of the people and to help them to fight against poverty.”

Madagascar has recently signed forest carbon deals with some large non-governmental groups, including Conservation International, and half of the revenues from the credits generated will go to helping local communities find new ways of making a living, Beboarimisa said.

Under such deals, a price is put on every ton of carbon stored in protected trees, and those avoided emissions are sold to companies or other buyers in lieu of them reducing their own emissions.

deforestation and climate change

Experts told a conference on carbon markets in Barcelona that putting the right economic incentives in place to stop people cutting down forests – and releasing the carbon stored in them – was key to keeping them standing.

Neeraj Prasad, manager of the World Bank Institute’s climate change team, said 20 percent of the world’s population – or 1.5 billion people – were largely dependent on forests to make a living.

As well, “we are going to have to face massive issues of food security in the next two to three decades” that threaten to drive more deforestation, he said. A large part of emissions from deforestation come from the clearing of forest land for agriculture.

Despite major challenges to forest protection, such as these, finding ways to address the 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that come from changes in land use will be critical to limiting global warming to an internationally agreed target of 2 degrees Celsius, he said.

Justin Adams, managing director for global lands at The Nature Conservancy, an environmental charity, said efforts to curb emissions from land use should deliver about a third of the solution to climate change worldwide, but forests tend to be forgotten.

Kyung-Ah Park, head of environmental markets at investment bank Goldman Sachs, said a major problem is that there is still more value in felling forests for productive purposes such as pulp and paper than preserving them.

wildlife conservation and deforestation

The financial markets are awash with capital, but the amounts flowing to forest protection are limited compared to what is needed, she added.

It will be hard to attract more private capital without getting forest projects into formal government-backed markets for reducing emissions, and enabling larger scale and demand, as well as boosting the value of forest carbon credits, she said.

These credits are now traded on voluntary markets and bilaterally, as U.N. climate talks have yet to settle on a market mechanism to enable them to be traded internationally to contribute to government emissions cuts.

Joost Oorthuizen, executive director of The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), said there was a need to bring producers of commodities, such as soy, cotton and beef, and their buyers together with governments and financial institutions to come up with an investment case.

Different sources of finance, including carbon finance, should be blended to fill the gaps, he added. But to ensure success, business incentives must be put in place for farmers not to cut down forests, he said.

“How do we create an economy in the landscape that actually raises their livelihoods substantially, so that they don’t have to deforest, so there are other opportunities?” he asked.

For example, in Brazil, there is potential to make cattle farming more intensive so as to free up land to grow the additional soy crops required to meet demand instead of clearing more forest.

“You can mobilize as much capital as you want, but if it doesn’t reach the people who really need it, and only (goes to) the big producers and to the large companies, you won’t get there,” Oorthuizen said.

Forest Conservation News via http://www.trust.org/item/20150527162519-2bn20/?source=fiOtherNews2

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

UN Chief Calls For Global Forest Conservation, Restoration

Deforestation Killing More Than Trees

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday called upon all UN member states to make more efforts to invest in and protect the world’s forests. In his message to mark the International Day of Forests. 

“To build a sustainable, climate-resilient future for all, we must invest in our world’s forests,” the secretary general said. “That will take political commitment at the highest levels, smart policies, effective law enforcement, innovative partnerships and funding. On this International Day of Forests, let us commit to reducing deforestation, sustaining healthy forests and creating a climate-resilient future for all.”

deforestation and climate change

The International Day of Forests, observed on March 21, strives to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and trees outside. The day of celebration and advocacy was established by resolution of the UN General Assembly on November 28, 2012. Each year, various events celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests, for the benefit of current and future generations. Countries are encouraged to undertake efforts to organize local, national, and international activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns, on the International Day.

Forests have been decimated due to land clearing, cattle grazing, intensive burning for firewood, or to construct streets and homes. Some 13 million hectares of forest – an area the size of Greece or Nicaragua – are cleared annually. Approximately 1.6 billion people — including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures — depend on forests for food, fuel, shelter and income, Ban noted.

In the Amazon rainforest alone, forests the size of seven soccer fields vanish every minute. Brazil has lost 10 percent of its forests – an area the size of France – between 1990 and 2000. Indonesia, with 20 percent of forests lost over the past 20 years, is the only country to surpass Brazil, taking the number-one spot when it comes to forest destruction, there, 24 million hectares of forest have been destroyed, according to the UN. Nigeria is in third place, followed by Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Three quarters of freshwater comes from forested catchments. Forests prevent landslides and erosion and — in the case of mangrove forests — reduce loss of life and damage caused by tsunamis,” he said. “For these reasons, and more, forests are integral to our future. Among their most important functions is their role in building climate-resilient societies. That is why, in this year of action for sustainable development, climate change is the theme for the International Day of Forests. Sustaining healthy forests and mitigating and adapting to climate change are two sides of the same coin. Forests are the largest storehouses of carbon after oceans.”

deforestation and global warming

The carbon they store in their biomass, soils and products is equivalent to about 10 percent of carbon emissions projected for the first half of this century, he said. “At the same and land-use changes account for 17 percent of human-generated carbon dioxide emissions.”

“Forests are on the front lines of climate change,” he said. ” These ecosystems, rich with biodiversity, are increasingly vulnerable to changes in weather, temperature and rainfall patterns. It is essential, therefore, that we work to preserve and sustainably manage our forests.”

“Despite the ecological, economic and social value of forests, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate — some 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually,” he said. “This is not sustainable for people or the planet.”

On the one hand, deforestation reduces biodiversity. On the other hand, every tree helps to store carbon, and thus work against climate change. Norway’s Environment Minister Trine Sundtoft stresses that Germany’s Bonn Challenge could make a decisive reduction in climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions. The German plan, launched in 2011, calls for 150 million hectares of forest – an area four times larger than Germany – to be reforested by 2020. More than 60 million hectares are currently being reforested.

“We are now at the point where just reducing emissions will not be enough,” she said. “We must actively remove carbon out of the atmosphere – forest restoration is the most cost-effective carbon capture option we have,” she added.

The IUCN estimates that achieving the 150 million hectare reforestation goal by 2020 could not only reduce the current carbon dioxide emissions gap by 11 to 17 percent, but also generate more than $85 billion annually for local and national economies, and $6 billion in additional crop yields.

Forest Conservation News via http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/150322/un-chief-calls-more-efforts-invest-protect-worlds-forests

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

Portland Defending Trees Like Treasure

Urban Forests Provide Benefits To Citizens, Wildlife, Planet

Property owners in Portland need to think twice before chopping down trees. A new city tree code took effect in January. It brings new protections to trees on both public and private property, along with stricter regulations and tough penalties for violators.

It takes away a lot of the confusion about what you can do with trees, says Portland landscape contractor Greg Schifsky. “It also sends a message that we treasure our trees.”

reforestation and carbon capture

Schifsky was part of a core group of neighborhood activists who started lobbying the city back in 2005 to 2006 to improve its jumbled tree-cutting regulations. For a city that prided itself on its greenery, a lot of important trees kept disappearing, he says, “and a lot of them were being taken down for not very good reasons.”

Developers also were frustrated, because patchwork tree regulations were embedded in many parts of the city code. Regulations were inconsistent and administered by seven different city bureaus, which in Portland can seem like seven different local governments.

“The department of transportation would tell you to take out a trees and the planning department would say ‘No, we don’t want you to do that,’ ” says Justin Wood, associate director of government relations for the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland.

reforestation

After several years of citizen pressure, stakeholder meetings and public hearings, the City Council adopted a new tree code back in 2011. But implementation kept getting delayed — until now. Though some homebuilders still don’t see why a city tree code is necessary, “as tree codes go, I think it’s a pretty fair tree code,” Wood says.

Permits Needed To Cut Urban Trees In Portland

Probably the biggest shock will come from homeowners, he predicts, who aren’t accustomed to being told they can’t cut down trees on their property. One-third of all the trees in the city are on single-family lots, and most of those previously were unregulated.

“The old tree code was not consistent and as fair as it could be,” says Meryl Redisch, who worked closely on the tree code as a member of the city’s Urban Forestry Commission. It had very different treatment for trees in development situations and those that aren’t, Redisch says.

deforestation and global warming

The new code seeks to change that, but it may make some people unhappy. From now on, residents will need to apply for a $25 city permit before taking down any tree on their property with a diameter of 12 inches or greater, measured 4.5 feet off the ground. They will have the right to remove up to four trees per year from their yard if the trees have a diameter of 20 inches or less — though that will require permits. Residents may be required to plant a higher number of replacement trees elsewhere, so the city doesn’t see its overall tree canopy reduced.

Permits also are required before pruning tiny branches off street trees with diameters of a quarter-inch or greater. Generally, the city will only allow full removal of street trees on the public right of way if they’re dead, dying or dangerous. Residents won’t be able to take them down just because they produce a lot of leaves, make too much shade, or obstruct views.

“A big part of it is going to be education,” Redisch says. City arborists will seek to counsel residents who might otherwise be too hasty about removing trees from their property, she says. Neighbors will be notified of some tree-cutting permit applications, giving them a greater voice in protecting iconic trees in a neighborhood.

The message from the new code is that saving big trees has benefits that extend far beyond an individual homeowner, applying to future generations on that property, neighbors and the city as a whole.

The Benefits Of Saving Trees Are Numerous

“What we get are air-quality improvements, shade, storm water benefits, wildlife habitat, beauty, enjoyment — those are the easy ones,” says Redisch, the recently retired executive director of the Audubon Society of Portland.

Trees also have been shown to reduce asthma, make people calmer and absorb pollutants. Perhaps most importantly, they counteract climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.

A greater tree canopy over Portland also can help lower the “urban heat island” effect, which makes the city much hotter than surrounding areas because of the loss of tree canopy here and preponderance of roads, sidewalks, parking lots and rooftops that retain the sun’s rays. That’s expected to become more significant as the climate warms.

The new tree code will preserve more trees on developable land, says Jeff Fish, a homebuilder who was involved in framing the regulations. But the code is more flexible in some cases than before, he says, an acknowledgement that meeting the city’s goals of boosting density means building more homes.

“We have to take some trees down to build a house,” Fish says. If the ordinance makes it much harder to do infill and other development in the city, it will cause more sprawl — and greater tree removal — on land outside the urban growth boundary, he says.

But Fish and others still wonder how well the advice of stakeholders and citizens gets put in practice.

“We’ll find out as we implement this in January how good the code-writers wrote the code to make this work,” he says.

Contrary to stereotypes, homebuilders often recognize the merits of preserving trees.

“A tree can add $2,500 worth of value or more” to a home on the market, Fish says, “so most of us don’t take down any more trees than we have to.”

It also can cost them up to $2,000 to $4,000 to chop down and remove a large Douglas fir.

By design, the new tree code should help meet the city’s goal of having one-third of its land area covered with tree canopy. The city estimates the new code will preserve one to two acres of tree canopy on private property per year and result in the planting of six to 30 acres of new tree canopy each year.

On development lands, the code is projected to preserve 44 acres to 88 acres of tree canopy a year, and result in the planting of 48 acres to 96 acres a year. Some of that is because the old standards only applied to single-family developments, while the new tree-cutting restrictions apply to all developable land. The city also is setting tree-density requirements; developers who don’t meet those can put money into a city tree-planting fund.

City officials delayed implementation of the new code until they could afford seven new city staff members to enforce it. As a result, the city is promising improved customer service. The Bureau of Development Services and Portland Parks & Recreation will administer the ordinance, down from seven bureaus before. Two staff members will be stationed at the city Permit Center downtown to answer questions and issue permits. A new hotline and website will serve as a clearinghouse for information about the new rules.

And, not surprising, stiff new fines will be imposed for those who don’t obey the new rules, including $1,000 for those who fail to get permits. The city has promised to go easy on enforcement in the early days at least, until Portlanders learn about their new responsibilities. City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who oversees both bureaus managing the program, has appointed a citizen oversight committee. That group, which includes Fish, will monitor how well the tree code is working out, and suggest any needed changes. It will make regular reports to the Urban Forestry Commission, now led by Redisch.

Urban Forestry News via http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/245492-112620-stumptown-no-more

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

Tropical Deforestation Gaining Momentum

Satellite Data Refutes U.N. Reports

Tropical forests from Indonesia to the Amazon are being lost an astonishing rate, with a new study suggesting deforestation has intensified 62 percent in just 20 years.

The study also calls into question a more optimistic picture from U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s assessment, which found the rate of deforestation had actually decreased 25 percent during the period stretching from 1990 until 2010.

deforestation and climate change

“It is not good news,” said Do-Hyung Kim, lead author of the new study to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. “Between 1990 and 2010, it shows all these efforts to cut the deforestation rates were not effective.”

While the FAO assessment was based on country reports, Kim and his University of Maryland colleagues Joseph Sexton and John Townshend used satellite data. By analyzing 5,444 Landsat images from 1990, 2000, 2005 and 2010, they were able to gauge how much forest was lost or gained in 34 forested countries which comprise 80 percent of forested tropical lands.

They found that during the 1990-2000 period the annual net forest loss across all the countries was 4 million hectares (15,000 square miles) per year. From 2000 to 2010, the net forest loss rose 62 percent to 6.5 million hectares (25,000 square miles) per year, equivalent to clear-cutting an area the size of West Virginia.

In that same time, the U.N. reported a 25 percent decrease in tropical deforestation.

The University of Maryland study found that tropical Latin America showed the largest increase of annual net loss – 1.4 million hectares (5,400 square miles) per year from the 1990s to the 2000s. Of those countries, Brazil topped the list with an annual 0.6 million-hectare loss (2,300 square miles) per year.

Tropical Asia showed the second largest increase, at 0.8 million hectares (3,100 square miles) per year, led by Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines. Tropical Africa showed the least amount of annual net forest area loss among the three major regions studied.

New maps of the remaining forest cover in Indonesia’s most heavily forested provinces released in December 2014 by Forest Watch Indonesia, paint a bleak picture–a sign of the fast-paced expansion of palm oil and timber plantations and mining concessions across the country.

deforestation and wildlife extinction and deforestation for palm oil

Much of this deforestation has been driven by illegal logging and, more recently, the conversion of land to palm oil, soybean and other plantations.

Given that deforestation contributes to as much 20 percent to global warming, the international community has dumped billions of dollars into solving the problem. Among those efforts are the U.N. program known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) which gets cash for conservation into the hands of poor countries to help reduce deforestation.

But even with all that money, it can be hard to solve a problem that thrives on corruption and lax law enforcement in some of the world’s poorest countries and has becoming increasingly mechanized, with bandits trading axes for chain saws and then earth moving equipment.

Some scientists are turning to new technologies such as satellite imaging to try to hold nations accountable for their deforestation and reforestation promises.

While Kim said international efforts overall have born little fruit, he acknowledged there were some signs of progress toward the end of the study period with Brazil deforestation rates dropping – though more recent data in 2013 showed they had spiked again.

“Brazil is showing some hope,” Kim said, referring to the 2006 decision by major soybean traders not to purchase soy produced in the Amazon’s deforested land.

Douglas Morton, who studies forest cover by satellite sensing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and was not a coauthor on the paper, said the new, satellite-based study “really provides a benchmark of tropical forest clearing not provided by other means.”

deforestation and global warming

Kim said he was hopeful that his study would prompt the FAO to consider using more remote-sensing data in their assessments, thus ensuring its findings, which shape global forestry policies, would be more consistent and reliable.

FAO Senior Forestry Officer Kenneth MacDicken defended their assessment, saying there were multiple reasons why Kim’s study may have come up with different findings. Among them is that that forests are constantly changing – plantations, for example, are planted and then harvested – and that “remote sensing doesn’t capture” dry forests in the tropics which are spaced further apart in Brazil and Africa and don’t have leaves for much of the year.

“Measuring forests using satellite imagery and measuring and reporting them from ground-based measurements both have value, but comparing them directly should be done with great caution,” MacDicken told CBS News. “It’s like comparing apples and oranges.”

The FAO is set to issue a fresh forestry assessment in September at the World Forestry Congress.

Rainforest News via http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tropical-deforestation-on-rise-contrary-to-reports/

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

Commodity Boom Driving Deforestation

Industry Exploiting Resources At All Costs

By Nick Miroff, Washington Post

A commodity boom has pulled millions of people out of poverty across South America over the past decade. It also unleashed a scramble for oil, minerals and cropland that is accelerating deforestation and fueling a new wave of land conflicts from Colombia to Chile.

palm oil plantation deforestation

Now, as prices for oil and other commodities slide, economists and environmental researchers warn that the loss of forest cover may be hastened, leading to new clashes, as governments in the region try to maintain growth rates and spending levels by driving deeper into the jungle.

Satellite imagery of the Amazon basin, the world’s largest tropical forest and a critical bulwark against climate change, shows a stark divergence in the continent’s preservation efforts. In Brazil, the pace of deforestation has been reduced 75 percent since 2004, largely the result of tighter regulation and new environmental protections.

But in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and the other five nations whose territories cover 40 percent of the Amazon basin, the loss of vegetation increased threefold in the same period, wiping out a combined area of forest larger than the state of Maryland. Last year, the pace of deforestation in those nations jumped 120 percent.

“Commodity prices, directly or indirectly, have increased deforestation in the Amazon,” said Kevin Gallagher, a development economist at Boston University who specializes in Latin America’s trade relations with China. “Price increases create the perception of scarcity, which pushes investors into new terrain,” he said.

deforestation and climate change

 

More than 80 million Latin Americans were lifted out of poverty in the past decade, according to the World Bank, which reports that as of 2011, “for the first time in recorded history, the region has a larger number of people in the middle class than in poverty.”

But a decline in commodity prices and a slowdown in the rate of China’s growth will sap Latin America’s expansion, the bank predicts, making it difficult “to expand the social gains amassed over the economic boom over the past decade.”

In several South American nations, the export bonanza has enabled populist leaders to significantly expand the role and the size of the state, by boosting social spending, developing infrastructure and taking greater control of major national industries.

Those measures have made leaders such as Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa extremely popular at the polls, allowing them to preside over long periods of political stability and economic growth. But those presidents have pegged their ambitious development plans to export revenue, which has been squeezed by falling commodity prices. The loss of income is likely to leave some countries progressively indebted to resource-hungry China.

In Ecuador, the smallest member state of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, president Rafael Correa turned to Beijing after his country defaulted on its bonds in 2008, and found a deep-pocketed business partner. Now, Chinese loans account for more than 60 percent of the government’s financing, according to a Reuters analysis, and more than 90 percent of Ecuador’s oil exports are earmarked for China. Much of the oil never reaches Chinese shores, however, but is resold by Chinese traders on world markets, often ending up in refineries on the West Coast of the United States.

But the recent slump in oil prices leaves Ecuador owing more and more crude to China, creating new pressure for the government to expand the drilling frontier in the Amazon. In 2014, the government auctioned off new sectors of its Amazon territory, much of it to Chinese firms.

 

Chinese road-building crews and drilling rigs will cut into ancient forests where indigenous groups and un-contacted tribes living in “voluntary isolation” have violently resisted the oil industry.

“The Correa administration seems intent on trying to drill its way to prosperity, which has turned what was once pristine rain forest into a natural sacrifice zone crisscrossed by oil wells, roads and palm plantations,” said Kevin Koenig of the group Amazon Watch.

“Now Ecuador is financially beholden to China, so it’s seeking to auction off the rest of its Amazon forests for oil concessions,” he said. “That could spell disaster for its remaining forests and the indigenous peoples who call them home.”

The struggling socialist government of oil-rich Venezuela, where the deforestation rate was the worst last year in South America, is similarly indebted to Beijing. But the resource push is hardly exclusive to the region’s left-leaning governments.

In Colombia, illegal mining, petroleum extraction and the expansion of the country’s fast-growing palm oil industry have contributed to deforestation and violence involving Marxist rebels, government troops and paramilitary groups often acting on behalf of landowners, according to rights groups.

Despite the simmering civil conflict, Colombia’s economy is the fastest-growing in South America, and the government has spent the past two years in peace talks with commanders of the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. A peace agreement could bring a flood of investment into extractive industries and exacerbate deforestation.

Peru’s economy expanded more than any other during the decade of high commodity prices, led by its mining industry. A new highway linking the country to Brazil opened a gateway for tens of thousands of impoverished highlanders to fan out into the jungle prospecting for alluvial gold. In a matter of months, their dredgers and mercury kits can convert vast tracts of green forest into lunar-like wastes.

With gold prices falling, struggling President Ollanta Humala has scaled back environmental regulations in a bid to attract new capital, while also pushing to open up more jungle areas to oil and natural gas development.

“Price declines and slower growth make nations more desperate, and they can be more apt to weakening environmental standards in order to grab at any investment,” said Gallagher, the development economist, who is the co-author of “The Dragon in the Room: China & the future of Latin American Industrialization.”

When prices fall, “countries and investors seeking bargain-basement prices swoop into the Amazon,” he said. “We can expect to see a surge in Chinese investment in the Amazon in this manner in years to come.”

Louis Reymondin is the main developer of a satellite imagery program called Terra-i, which is used by governments and environmental groups to monitor deforestation, and he said the technology offers a dose of optimism.

“The ability to monitor where and when deforestation occurs was key to support the decrease in deforestation rates in Brazil by allowing the local authorities to identify illegal events and quickly act,” he said.

“I think in most countries, the authorities are aware of the importance of Amazon forest and recognize the importance of implementing efficient ways to conserve it, or use it in a sustainable way,” Reymondin said.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/south-american-commodity-boom-drives-deforestation-and-land-conflicts/2014/12/31/0c25e522-78cc-4075-8b21-31bcc3e0fddb_story.html?postshare=4601420117074373

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

Latin American Countries Will Restore 20 Million Hectares Of Forest

Eight South American Countries Promise To Restore Damaged Lands

A coalition of eight Latin American countries just announced plans to replant up to 20 million hectares of forests by 2020, an area five times the size of Switzerland. Unfortunately, Brazil was not on the list.

Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Chile and Costa Rica made the pledge on the sidelines of UN climate change talks in Lima, backed by US$365 million from donor organizations.

“We are losing our forests at a fast speed,” said Juan Manuel Benitez, Peru’s Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, at the launch of the initiative. “It is putting at risk our future, our water and our land.”

deforestation and climate change

He explained that Peru has invested US$50 million to investigate the causes of deforestation, which is linked to 60 percent of its annual emissions.

Tackling deforestation is seen as a critical part of efforts to secure a global greenhouse gas emissions reduction agreement in Paris next December.

The transformation of 13 million hectares of forests a year into pastures for animals, croplands or other industrial uses accounts for 20 percent of annual emissions.

“Protection of forests and restoration of degraded lands should be a fundamental part of a strong, universal climate agreement to be finalized at the COP in Paris in 2015,” said Andrew Steer from the World Resources Institute, one of the organizations backing this effort.

“Standing forests and other plant-rich landscapes store climate-warming carbon dioxide, keeping it out of the atmosphere, making forests an important component of both national and international efforts to curb global warming.”

The announcement is the latest sign governments are slowly getting to grips with the destruction of some of the world’s most biodiverse habitats and valuable stores of carbon.

In 2011 governments of South Korea, Costa Rica, the US, China, Rwanda and Brazil agreed to restore 150 million hectares of land by 2030.

And in September 2014 the UN reported 150 governments, companies, civil society and indigenous peoples had backed proposals to cut forest losses 50 percent by 2020, and end it by 2030.

But despite these initiatives forest communities say they are facing an unprecedented number of threats from developers keen to extract valuable raw materials from their lands and open up new farming areas.

Last week widows of four Brazilian tribesmen murdered by suspected illegal loggers travelled to the UN talks in Peru’s capital to highlight the dangers they are now facing.

“We have never been under so much pressure,” said Edwin Vásquez, co-author and president of indigenous people’s network COICA.

forest tribes and forest conservation

Cándido Mezua-Salazar, a tribal chief from Panama, said forests could prosper if governments ensured traditional customs were protected.

“We are part of the forest,” he said, “but out relationship with the earth is suffering and we are all fully responsible.”

Mezua-Salazar said he wanted to see any international climate agreement deliver “clear rules” to protect the rights of tribal peoples.

The UN Challenge

Negotiators in Lima hope to understand better how deforestation will be addressed under any new 2015 agreement. Hopes have been pinned on a marked-based mechanism known as REDD+ that could see forest communities paid to protect forests. But since its inception it has been beset by fears over transparency and accountability, both in terms of flows of money and the accuracy of forest inventories.

Rules over how the variety of projects that fall under its umbrella were agreed at UN talks in Warsaw last year. Its supporters now say it needs strong financial backing from the international community and the private sector. The World Bank, which runs two of the three main bodies charged with distributing funds for REDD+, says it its committed to ensuring costs for anyone applying for help are as low as possible.

“One of the most important things for us is streamlining the finance from donors,” said the Bank’s head of climate change, Rachel Kyte. “What you need to be able to do is be able to engage with one process. “So what we’re doing is changing the way that we will manage all those different windows so we will have one conversation with a country, and we will figure out how the different regulations with different governments and different governance operate, and we’ll waive that charge for the client.”

Source: http://www.rtcc.org/2014/12/07/latin-american-coalition-to-restore-20-million-hectares-of-forest/#sthash.hLFYFVP7.dpuf

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