UN Recommends Reforestation Of Kilimanjaro

Vital Water Supplies Threatened Across East Africa

The greater Kilimanjaro region is one of the most threatened ecosystems on earth. As the snows, glaciers and rains retreat, millions of lives and the future of nations hang in the balance. 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.

Tanzania wildlife conservation

“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 climate change solutions

Mt. Kilimanjaro forests are a vital source of water for the surrounding towns and the wider region. Water from the mountain feeds one of Tanzania’s largest rivers, the Pangani.

The report titled Sustainable Mountain Development in East Africa in a Changing Climate warned that the glaciers are likely to vanish completely within a few decades as a result of climate change if urgent action is not taken. Meanwhile, higher temperatures have increased the number of wildfires, which have destroyed 13,000 hectares of the mountain’s forest since 1976.

The town of Moshi, which is located in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, is already experiencing severe water shortages as rivers begin to dry up, starving farmland of water in an area already struggling to cope with a dramatic drop in rainfall.

deforestation Tanzania and Kenya

The report was produced by UN Environment, GRID-Arendal, East African Community, the Albertine Rift Conservation Society and Nature-RIDD. It was produced as part of the Mountain Adaptation Outlook Series, which was launched by the UN Environment Programme at the climate talks in Paris in 2015.

Meanwhile, Tanzania has already lost more than half of its elephants to poachers over the past decade. They could be wiped out entirely in just five or six years. Adding to the poaching crisis, there has been loss of wildlife habitat and biodiversity as a result of fragmentation and loss of critical ecosystem linkages and over-exploitation of the natural habitats. This loss of habitat brings humans and wildlife into more and more conflict over food, water and space–which means more bloodshed.

The good news is that local stakeholders share this vision and already have plans ready for action. Sacred Seedlings is a global coalition working to defend ecosystems and the planet for the benefit of future generations. We help local stakeholders with collaborative and inclusive planning and we help them secure the resources necessary to develop these critical plans.

NGOs across Burundi, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have 15 comprehensive projects planned and ready to defend regional ecosystems, including:

  • Forest conservation and reforestation;
  • Sustainable agriculture and aquaculture;
  • Watershed restoration and protection;
  • Solar power can replace wood stoves and improve productivity;
  • Community education about wildlife and forest conservation;
  • Anti-poaching patrols, habitat restoration and other wildlife conservation strategies;
  • Ecotourism; and
  • Jobs for men and women, which can help alleviate many economic, health and environmental issues.

For more information about plans to defend ecosystems across East Africa and beyond, please visit the East Africa Plan. We seek sponsors, donors, grants and volunteers. We are adding more projects to benefit local stakeholders and ecosystems around the world. Please join us. Thank you.

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

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

India Estimates Economic Value Of Remaining Forests

Deforestation Killing More Than Trees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

deforestation and climate change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

climate change and deforestation

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

Tropical Deforestation Impacts Climate, Agriculture, Ecosystems

Impact As Costly As Carbon From Fossil Fuels

In the face of climate change, scientists often focus on the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions, but new research shows that tropical deforestation triggers global changes that are just as costly as carbon pollution.

Clearing trees not only releases carbon into the atmosphere, adding to the greenhouse gas effect, but also alters rain patterns and increases temperatures worldwide. This distorts Earth’s normal wind and water systems and puts future agricultural productivity at risk.

endangered species conservation and forest conservation

Tropical deforestation delivers a double whammy to the climate – and to farmers,” lead study author Deborah Lawrence said in a statement. “Most people know that climate change is a dangerous global problem, and that it’s caused by pumping carbon into the atmosphere. But it turns out that removing forests alters moisture and air flow, leading to changes – from fluctuating rainfall patterns to rises in temperatures – that are just as hazardous, and happen right away.”

Most people might think that this only impacts tropical places like South America, which is home to the expansive Amazon rainforest. However, researchers say that these findings even apply to the United Kingdom and Hawaii, which could see an increase in rainfall, while less rain would fall in the US Midwest and Southern France.

palm oil plantation deforestation

Overall, there would be 10-15 percent reduced rainfall in the region surrounding where the tree clearing took place. Thailand has already seen less rainfall at the start of its dry season, and the Amazon’s annual rainfall schedule has started to shift as well.

In addition, deforestation in South America, Southeast Asia and Africa may alter growing conditions in agricultural areas in the tropics and as far away as the US Midwest, Europe and China, which is bad news for farmers.

Complete tropical deforestation could lead to a rise in global temperature of 0.7 degrees Celsius (33.3 Fahrenheit), which is on top of the projected impact from greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. According to the report, described in the journal Nature Climate Change, temperature increases are guaranteed with deforestation.

“This does not change, no matter what you do – no matter what kind of model you use, temperature increases occur – whether it’s half a degree, a full degree or two degrees,” Lawrence explained.

“That’s a very big deal,” she added. “In the last few centuries, the average global temperature has never varied by more than about one degree. Once we go above one degree – to 1.5 degrees or more – we’re talking about conditions that are very different from anything humanity has ever experienced.”

deforestation and climate change

Tropical forests move more water than any other ecosystem on land and are central to the Earth’s ability to generate moisture, helping to keep the planet cool. But removing large swaths of forests disturbs this natural cycle. What’s more, as more deforestation occurs, the greater its impact worldwide will be.

“While complete deforestation is unlikely to occur, over the course of history, deforestation has continued as countries develop,” Lawrence said. “Further, this study fills gaps in our understanding of deforestation tipping points – and what could happen if we continue down this path.”

According to the research, if 30-50 percent of the Amazon rainforest is cut down, it would put deforestation at the tipping point, meaning any more forest clearing than that would lead to rainfall reductions that could significantly change ecosystems, as well as raise the risk of forest fires.

Lawrence and her colleagues hope that this study can help policy makers and rainforest managers come up with better strategies for combating deforestation.

Source: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/11399/20141222/tropical-deforestation-triggers-changes-just-as-costly-as-carbon-pollution.htm

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

Seeing Forests Through The Trees

New Paradigm On Forest Conservation

“FORESTS are the lungs of our land,” said Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Twenty years ago, the world’s lungs were diseased. Brazil, the country with more tropical trees than any other, was cutting down an area of forest two-thirds the size of Belgium every year. Roughly half of all the planet’s once-luxuriant tropical forests had been felled and the further degradation of the Earth’s green spaces seemed inevitable.

palm oil plantation deforestation

It would be too much to say that forests have made a full recovery. Worldwide, over 5m hectares of jungle—getting on for two Belgiums—are still being felled or burned down each year. In some countries, notably Indonesia, the chainsaws are growing louder. But the crisis is passing and the prognosis is starting to improve. Fears that the great forests of the Congo would be cleared have proved unfounded so far. Brazil and Mexico have reduced their deforestation rates by well over two-thirds. India and Costa Rica have done more than reduce the rate of loss: they are replanting areas that were once clear-cut.

Over time countries trace a “forest transition curve.” They start in poverty with the land covered in trees. As they get richer, they fell the forest and the curve plummets until it reaches a low point when people decide to protect whatever they have left. Then the curve rises as reforestation begins. At almost every point along the line, countries are now doing better: deforesters are chopping down less; foresters are replanting more.

illegal logging Romania

This matters to everyone, including rich countries in temperate zones, because of the extraordinary contribution that tropical forests make to mitigating carbon emissions. Trees are carbon sinks. If you fell and burn them, you release carbon into the atmosphere. If you let them grow, they squirrel carbon away in their trunks for centuries. Despite decades of destruction, tropical forests are still absorbing about a fifth of emissions from fossil fuels each year.

Encouraging countries to plant trees (or discouraging them from logging) is by far the most effective way of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. If Brazil had kept on felling trees as rapidly as it was cutting them down in 2005, it would, by 2013, have put an extra 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That means that over those eight years it managed to save six times as much carbon as ultra-green Germany did in the same period through one of the world’s most expensive renewable-energy regimes. As a way of helping the environment, protecting trees is hard to beat. It is in everyone’s interest to find out which forest policies work—and back them.

reforestation and carbon capture

As well as cleaner air, forests provide all sorts of benefits, such as clean water downstream. Alas, everyone is happy to enjoy the benefits but few are willing to pay for them. So the most effective forest policies are usually top-down bans, such as on farming or logging.

Prohibitions by themselves, though, are not enough. Tropical forests tend to be remote places where the writ of the law does not run. But Brazil shows that bans can be made to stick if there is political support at the top and popular backing from below (the policies started to bite when President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took charge of them), and if there is an institutional network to back them up. In Brazil’s case, that meant everything from satellites to show the public what was happening in the Amazon to moratoriums on purchases of soy beans and beef produced on cleared land.

Only forested countries themselves can provide leadership from the top. But outsiders can help. They could finance, say, new land registries. And they should fund an all-purpose UN programme to improve forest management in tropical countries called REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

Rich countries spend billions on renewable energy at home, which has so far cut carbon emissions only a bit. They should be willing to spend a few millions abroad, protecting tropical forests that reduce emissions a lot.

Source: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21613262-saving-trees-one-best-ways-saving-environment-seeing-wood?zid=313&ah=fe2aac0b11adef572d67aed9273b6e55

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

Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative

Rainforest Conservation Funded By Norway

The world’s tropical forests are home to millions of human beings and more than half of the world’s known plant and animal species. They are also an enormous carbon sink.

Through its international Climate and Forest Initiative, the Norwegian government aims at supporting efforts to slow, halt and eventually reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+).

Destruction of forests threatens millions, many of whom are the planet’s most vulnerable people, those who depend on forests for their subsistence. It is also a key factor behind the current biodiversity crisis.

wildlife conservation and deforestation

Furthermore, deforestation and forest degradation cause huge emissions of greenhouse gases, accounting for approximately 17 % of annual man-made carbon emissions.

In spite of these facts, deforestation continues at an alarming rate. According to estimates made by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 13 million hectares of forests were lost every year in the years 2000-2010.

The drivers of deforestation are many and vary among countries and regions, but there is one common denominator: it is currently more profitable, at least in the short term, to convert a forest to other uses than to leave it as a natural ecosystem. At the same time, we are becoming increasingly aware of the enormous value of natural ecosystems for our economy and welfare. Still, deforestation continues.

Since its inception in April 2008, the Climate and Forest Initiative has established a series of partnerships with key forest countries and contributed to significant advances in the development of a REDD+ mechanism under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

deforestation and climate change

A REDD+ mechanism under the UNFCCC could change the economic logic in favor of the global climate and forests. Such a regime must provide results-based, predictable and adequate funding streams for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.The Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative has the following key objectives:

  1. To contribute to the inclusion of “REDD+” – reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from forests in developing countries
  2. To contribute to early actions for measurable emission reductions from deforestation and forest degradation
  3. To promote the conservation of primary forests, due to their particular importance as carbon stores and for their biological diversity

reforestation and carbon capture

As an overarching goal, all these efforts should promote sustainable development and the reduction of poverty. REDD+ is not simply an issue of improved forest management, it is a fundamental development choice. The climate change mitigation potential of REDD+ will never be realized unless it offers a more attractive and viable development option than the destructive uses of the forests.To achieve its objectives, Norway is pursuing four main tracks:

  1. Playing an active role in the international negotiations under the UNFCCC, seeking both to identify innovative solutions and to help create consensus around those solutions.
  2. Entering into large-scale partnerships with key forest countries to demonstrate that real action on a national level is possible and to encourage large scale emission reductions even before a REDD+ mechanism is agreed upon under the UNFCCC.
  3. Contributing to the design and establishment of an integrated architecture of multilateral REDD initiatives to help ensure broad and early progress on REDD+.
  4. Financing NGOs, research institutes and civil society organizations to provide analyses, pilot projects and demonstrations supporting the REDD+ negotiations and learning through field experiences.

Rainforest Conservation News via http://www.norad.no/en/thematic-areas/climate-change-and-the-environment/norways-international-climate-and-forest-initiativ

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

Putting A Proper Value On Trees, Forests

World Summit On Natural Capital In Edinburgh This Month

Until we fully account for the value and benefits of our forests and ecosystems, society and industry will continue to exploit them in unsustainable practices. The following chart helps remind us of the importance of watersheds, ecosystems, forests and the endangered species within.

deforestation and climate change

Forests can help us fight climate change.

Trees can make our communities and homes more resilient. Deforestation is unsustainable and it is crippling our world and our lives in many ways. Most deforestation is illegal, dependent on corruption and contributing to the extinction of many plants and animals around the world.

Forests are critical to the way Earth functions. They lock up vast amounts of carbon and release oxygen. They influence rainfall, filter fresh water and prevent flooding and soil erosion. They produce wild foods, fuelwood and medicines for the people that live in and around them. They are storehouses of potential future crop varieties and genetic materials with untapped healing qualities. Wood and other fibre grown in forests can be used as a renewable fuel or as raw material for paper, packaging, furniture or housing.

While the pressures on forests vary across regions, 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, often due to poverty and insecure land tenure. Mining, hydroelectricity and other infrastructure projects are also major pressures – new roads can have a large indirect impact through opening up forests to settlers and agriculture.

reforestation and forest conservation

reforestation and climate change solution

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

California Creating Carbon Market

Carbon Market Funding Conservation

California kicked off its cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The California Air Resources Board says that carbon credits were sold at auction for slightly more than the $10 opening. That has enabled the state to raise $233 million in round one — money to be allocated to customers who are expected to pay higher electricity prices, all resulting from a shift away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner fuels. The major point, say the plan’s architects, is that the first auction has drawn lots of participants and that the process will become more vibrant.

deforestation and global warming

“By putting a price on carbon, we know we are beginning the process of breaking our dependence on fossil fuels,” says Mary Nichols, chair of the resources board, in a San Jose Mercury News story. She says that the state also expects to see new economic development.

The latest move by California is part of an earlier law passed there in 2006, called AB 32. That law now requires the state’s utilities to provide a third of their fuel offerings in the form of green energy by 2020.

About 350 companies, and around 600 facilities, are impacted by the cap-and-trade provisions. To keep business costs down, 90 percent of the tradable credits will be free for two years. By 2016, all such allowances will be sold. And by 2020, carbon emissions are supposed to be at 1990 levels.

In a cap-and-trade system, government sets pollution limits and then credits are either auctioned or allocated to industry. Those companies that are able to exceed the expectations can either bank their allowances for future use or sell them to other businesses that are unable to meet their obligations. As the ceilings come down, overall emissions then fall.

air pollution and global warming

Many California businesses have argued that forcing reductions in carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade platform will cause industry to move out-of-state. In fact, just prior to the auction, the California Chamber of Commerce filed suit to prevent subsequent auctions. It is arguing that the trading scheme is nothing more than a tax established on the state’s businesses by unelected officials.

“What was not authorized by AB 32 is the Board’s decision to withhold for itself a percentage of the annual statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions allowances and to auction them off to the highest bidders, thus raising from taxpayers up to $70 billion or more of revenue for the state to use,” according to the complaint.

But the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously in October 2011 to enact such a program that is expected to cover 85 percent of the state’s emission sources, reasoning that it would be healthier for both the economy and the environment. The November 14th auction was able to sell all of the credits it offered. Each credit allows for the release of one ton of carbon.

The theory is that businesses may initially find it cheaper to purchase credits as opposed to invest in new pollution controls. But as the pollution caps become tighter and as the price of carbon rises, they would then buy more efficient equipment. New business lines would then sprout up while the environment would become cleaner.

“The auction itself was designed to be done on a confidential basis,” says Chairwoman Nichols, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News. “These are private decisions that businesses are making — whether they will reduce emissions or purchase allowances.”

The same news story goes on to quote Rob Day of Black Coral Capital in Boston, which is a venture capital firm. He says that the facts speak for themselves — that all of the credits were sold during the auction’s debut. The opening price of the carbon allowances is less important, he adds, although it will “change” over time. The bottom line: The state is pricing carbon and a market is forming around it, meaning that the relevant companies will have to focus on their carbon footprints.

The thinking varies as to what the economic impact would be of a national carbon cap-and-trade system. Gross domestic product would initially take a hit, says the Pew Center on Climate Change. But as the United States would move increasingly toward a carbon-constrained environment, the next-generation economy would take off.

Considering the stakes, California’s early attempts at establishing a cap-and-trade mechanism went off without a hitch and in the eyes of regulators, it was a success. But the state’s quest is a work-in-progress that will need to win-over apprehensive businesses if it is to be replicated around the country.

source: http://www.energybiz.com/article/12/11/california-s-cap-and-trade-program-creating-carbon-market

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.

The Impact Of Tropical Deforestation

Deforestation Kills More Than Trees

Stretching out from the equator on all Earth’s land surfaces is a wide belt of forests of amazing biodiversity and productivity. Tropical forests include dense rainforests, where rainfall is abundant year-round; seasonally moist forests, where rainfall is abundant, but seasonal; and drier, more open woodlands.

endangered species conservation and forest conservation

Tropical forests of all varieties are disappearing rapidly as humans clear the natural landscape to make room for farms and pastures, to harvest timber for construction and fuel, and to build roads and urban areas.

Although deforestation meets some human needs, it also has profound, sometimes devastating, consequences, including social conflict, extinction of plants and animals, and climate change—challenges that aren’t just local, but global. NASA supports and conducts research on tropical forests from space-based and ground-based perspectives, helping provide the information that national and international leaders need to develop strategies for sustaining human populations and preserving tropical forest biodiversity.

Although tropical forests cover only about 7 percent of the Earth’s dry land, they probably harbor about half of all species on Earth. Many species are so specialized to microhabitats within the forest that they can only be found in small areas. Their specialization makes them vulnerable to extinction. In addition to the species lost when an area is totally deforested, the plants and animals in the fragments of forest that remain also become increasingly vulnerable, sometimes even committed, to extinction. The edges of the fragments dry out and are buffeted by hot winds; mature rainforest trees often die standing at the margins. Cascading changes in the types of trees, plants, and insects that can survive in the fragments rapidly reduces biodiversity in the forest that remains. People may disagree about whether the extinction of other species through human action is an ethical issue, but there is little doubt about the practical problems that extinction poses.

palm oil plantation deforestation

First, global markets consume rainforest products that depend on sustainable harvesting: latex, cork, fruit, nuts, timber, fibers, spices, natural oils and resins, and medicines. In addition, the genetic diversity of tropical forests is basically the deepest end of the planetary gene pool. Hidden in the genes of plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria that have not even been discovered yet may be cures for cancer and other diseases or the key to improving the yield and nutritional quality of foods—which the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says will be crucial for feeding the nearly ten billion people the Earth will likely need to support in coming decades. Finally, genetic diversity in the planetary gene pool is crucial for the resilience of all life on Earth to rare but catastrophic environmental events, such as meteor impacts or massive, sustained volcanism.

Soil Impacted By Deforestation

With all the lushness and productivity that exist in tropical forests, it can be surprising to learn that tropical soils are actually very thin and poor in nutrients. The underlying “parent” rock weathers rapidly in the tropics’ high temperatures and heavy rains, and over time, most of the minerals have washed from the soil. Nearly all the nutrient content of a tropical forest is in the living plants and the decomposing litter on the forest floor.

When an area is completely deforested for farming, the farmer typically burns the trees and vegetation to create a fertilizing layer of ash. After this slash-and-burn deforestation, the nutrient reservoir is lost, flooding and erosion rates are high, and soils often become unable to support crops in just a few years. If the area is then turned into cattle pasture, the ground may become compacted as well, slowing down or preventing forest recovery.

Social Impacts Of Deforestation

Tropical forests are home to millions of native (indigenous) people who make their livings through subsistence agriculture, hunting and gathering, or through low-impact harvesting of forest products like rubber or nuts. Deforestation in indigenous territories by loggers, colonizers, and refugees has sometimes triggered violent conflict. Forest preservation can be socially divisive, as well. National and international governments and aid agencies struggle with questions about what level of human presence, if any, is compatible with conservation goals in tropical forests, how to balance the needs of indigenous peoples with expanding rural populations and national economic development, and whether establishing large, pristine, uninhabited protected areas—even if that means removing current residents—should be the highest priority of conservation efforts in tropical forests.

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, 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.

reforestation and climate change solution

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

http://sacredseedlings.com/deforestation-climate-change/

Reforestation Can Curb Global Warming

Reforestation A Critical Defense Against Climate Change

D. Ramsey from New York, NY, asks “I know that deforestation is causing us to lose valuable carbon-dioxide absorbing forestland globally at an alarming rate. But I rarely hear about reforestation as a means to confront climate change. Does it offer too little hope for making a dent in the problem? Or might a large-scale reforestation effort in the United States or elsewhere make a significant difference?” and is answered by Director of Climate Research and Analysis Doug Boucher.

Tanzania wildlife conservation

Reforestation does offer a great deal of promise for confronting climate change, but more so in the long run. Perhaps the biggest difficulty with reforestation as a strategy is simply that it takes so much time to reap the benefits for global warming. If you plant a seedling today, it will take several decades to get the same carbon sequestration benefits we get from mature trees in tropical forests. So, in the short and medium term, reforestation cannot offer nearly as much benefit as limiting deforestation in the first place.

Still, it is important to note that it is a viable strategy. For more background, you should look at a report UCS wrote on the topic called “The Plus Side.”  It is also important to note that, globally speaking, the land is technically available for reforestation on a large scale. For instance, Richard Houghton, a leading expert on the subject at the Woods Hole Research Center, recently estimated that we could make a very significant impact on global warming a few decades from now by planting trees on around 500 million acres. It surely sounds like a lot of land but, by way of comparison, the world has about 10 times that amount in pasture land right now, so it would not be a matter of trying to plant trees in the desert or on lands already used for crop production.

reforest Tanzania

Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind, however, is that the planet continues to lose some 25 million acres to deforestation each year—a very large amount of forest land, the loss of which results in a major contribution to global warming, not to mention the loss of biodiversity and “ecosystem services” that forests provide, such as helping to supply clean water. In the short or medium run we simply can’t replace that through reforestation. So, over the next decade or more, we have to reduce deforestation and this is where we have been focusing most of our efforts.

palm oil plantation deforestation

The good news is that we now think we can reduce net deforestation to zero over the next several years and we have made a lot of progress to reduce the rate of deforestation already. It’s a very ambitious goal but we think it is a feasible one. In particular, we are heartened by the case of Brazil, where they have managed to reduce the rate of deforestation by more than two-thirds over the past six years. The Brazilian case shows us how much is possible, as do similar success stories in several other smaller countries, such as Vietnam and Gambia.

In our efforts to reduce deforestation, most of our recent work has focused on the key drivers of deforestation today, namely: soybeans, beef, palm oil, and timber. In virtually all of these cases, there are alternative ways for producing these things more productively on land that doesn’t require deforestation. Soybean production, for instance, used to be responsible for some 20-25 percent of all deforestation in Brazil as forests were cut down to make room for its cultivation. Since 2006, however, with a moratorium in place prohibiting the sale or export of soybeans from any deforested area, soy’s contribution to Brazilian deforestation is down to less than two percent of the problem. This can be accomplished elsewhere as well.

 

Reducing deforestation to make way for beef production is harder, in part because many ranches don’t have clear, legally recognized boundaries. We don’t have the data yet to know for sure whether it has had the same success as with soy, but we think that the cattle moratorium in Brazil since 2006 has the prospect for similar improvements as with soy, by putting pressures in place not to produce or export meat from deforested areas.

Meanwhile, palm oil offers a somewhat different case because just two countries—Indonesia and Malaysia—are primarily involved in its production and the palm oil industry is very productive and profitable, which makes it hard to counter. Plus, palm oil is used in literally thousands of products, from shampoos and cosmetics, to processed foods and even industrial applications. The key here comes in trying to ensure that palm oil is produced sustainably. It is possible to do, in that if you plant oil palm trees in the right places, such as on already cleared or abandoned land, its cultivation can actually yield a net increase in carbon sequestration. But, unfortunately there is more work to be done to stop the ongoing deforestation to make way for lucrative palm oil production which is very bad for the planet and for global warming.

Finally, our latest research on wood products shows that there really is a viable alternative to deforestation by establishing sustainable plantations for wood products, especially multi-species plantations (pdf). What turns out to be critical is what kind of land you establish the plantations on. Again, this is a kind of reforestation that can offer a modest benefit in carbon sequestration and a more important one in taking pressure off of existing natural, native forests.  But it has to be done on the right lands; when forests are cleared to put in plantations, the net effect is very bad for both the climate and for biodiversity.

So, in all these ways, reforestation does hold real promise for confronting global warming, even though job one remains reducing deforestation now. Most people feel good about planting a tree—and they should—but those efforts can’t replace our overriding need to work to protect the forests that are already there and prevent them from being destroyed.

Source: http://www.ucsusa.org/publications/ask/2012/reforestation.html

climate change and deforestation

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