New York Promotes Forests To Capture Carbon

Trees Important In Race Against Climate Change

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

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

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

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

deforestation and global warming

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

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

Active Forest Management

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

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

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

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

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

deforestation and climate change

Avoided Deforestation

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

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

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

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

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

Forest Preservation

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

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

Afforestation

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

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

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

Forests Can Reduce Atmospheric CO2

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

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

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

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

State Adds New Forest To Mark Earth Day

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

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

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

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

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

climate change and deforestation

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

Green Climate Fund Growing Fast

Climate Battle Moving At Glacial Speed

Countries are meeting in Berlin today to announce how much they will give to the UN’s climate change adaptation fund. The pledges are seen as a vital step towards countries agreeing a new global climate deal in Paris next year. Twenty-one countries have pledged money to the fund, generating a little over $9 billion so far.

The Global Climate Fund (GCF) was established at the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009 with the aim of channeling money to help developing countries implement climate policies. When the fund is fully operational, world leaders have committed to contributing $100 billion a year to fight climate change and extreme weather. That should happen by 2020.

deforestation and climate change

Today’s pledging conference gave countries a platform to announce their contributions to the GCF’s initial resource mobilization period, that runs for three years between 2015 and 2018. The GCF had originally aimed to get countries to pledge $15 billion in seed funding by the end of this year, but it lowered the target to $10 billion in September.

Today’s pledges fell just short of that goal, reaching $9.3 billion, according to the Green Climate Fund. Many of the pledges were made in countries’ national currencies, meaning the overall value alters depending on the exchange rate.

Of the money channeled through the GCF, half will go to funding adaptation measures in developing countries, such as better flood defenses, drought monitoring schemes, and water management systems. And at least half of those funds will go to countries that are most at risk from the impacts of climate change. The other half of the GCF’s money will go towards helping developing countries curb their emissions, by taking as much carbon out of their energy and transport infrastructures as possible.

The GCF is politically important. It is the most high profile mechanism that allows developed countries to transfer climate-linked money to more vulnerable states. Many of the nations who will be beneficiaries of the fund have said they can’t commit to cutting emissions unless developed economies honor their promises to contribute to the fund.

Climate change funding
The countries listed above have made the largest commitments so far to the Green Climate Fund. Hopefully, they will honor their pledges and increase the payments with time.

The UK has pledged to fund 12 per cent of the GCF up to £720 million, or about $1.1 billion, over three years. It has pledged the most of any European nation. Earlier this week, prime minister David Cameron told journalists the pledge was not “new money,” and would come out of the UK’s existing climate aid budget. That means the pledge contributes towards the UK’s commitment to use 0.7 percent of its gross national income for overseas development assistance.

However, the government has been reluctant to discuss the details of the contribution. This reluctance has been linked to the politicization of climate aid in the UK. Earlier this week the Daily Mail ran an article claiming some Tory MPs were “furious” the prime minister was giving funds to “Third World flood defenses.”

The pledge comes the same day as the Rochester by-election, in which the right-wing UK Independence Party (UKIP) is expected to win at the Conservatives’ expense. UKIP is staunchly climate skeptic.

The US has pledged $3 billion over four years. The New York Times says it is “unclear” whether the funds would be drawn from existing or new sources. If the president wants additional funds, he will have to ask Congress. But the Senate’s new Republican leadership has made it a priority to roll back Obama’s climate action plan, and would almost certainly block any requests for extra financial aid to fund climate efforts.

deforestation Tanzania and Kenya

If a Republican wins next year’s presidential election, they would also have the power to override the pledge. So whether the US will deliver the money is far from certain.

Germany has pledged €750 million to the GCF. Germany was one of the first countries to announce its pledge. Germany hoped that by announcing early, it could set a high benchmark for other countries’ contributions.

“In Germany we are accepting our responsibility for pollution, global warming climate change,” Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel said when she announced the contribution last July.

France matched Germany’s pledge of $1 billion. The contribution will be spread over four years, starting in 2015, Reuters reports. Like Germany, France announced its contribution in advance of the Berlin pledging conference. France’s president, Francois Hollande, made the pledge at UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s climate summit in New York in October. Speaking at the summit, Holland said, “We need to define a new economy for the world. You can’t fight climate change without development.”

South Korea has pledged the most to the GCF out of the world’s smaller economies: $100 million. Only half of that is new money. The country had already pledged around $50 million to get the fund up and running. It has an extra incentive to do so: The GCF is based in Songdo in South Korea.

reforestation and climate change

Canada last week made the unexpected announcement that it would be contributing to the GCF. It didn’t pledge today, however, saying it would announce in the near future.

That will come as something of a blow to Australia, which was perhaps the most notable absence from the pledging conference. The country’s climate skeptic prime minister Tony Abbott said the country was already contributing to global efforts to tackle climate change through the country’s green bank and foreign aid. It’s close neighbor New Zealand today pledged $3 million to the GCF.

Japan has offered to contribute the second largest amount to the GCF: $1.5 billion. Japan made the pledge one day after the US at last week’s G20 meeting in Australia.

Rounding off the European countries’ contributions: Denmark pledged $70 million, The Netherlands $125 million, the Czech Republic $5.5 million, Switzerland $100 million, Luxembourg $6.3 million, Spain $16.3 million, Italy $313 million, and Monaco $0.31 million.

In addition to Sweden’s contribution, scandinavian countries Norway andFinland pledged $130 million and $100 million, respectively. Norway’s pledge was more than it previously announced. Poland said it would announce its pledge by the end of the year.

Mexico has pledged $10 million and Indonesia has pledged $0.25 million. Neither country was expected to pledge to the fund, but chose to do so voluntarily. Panama today pledged $1 million, while Mongolia has pledged $0.05 million.

What counts as a ‘fair’ contribution is ultimately subjective. But Oxfam has calculated possible ways to divvy-up contributions to the GCF among nations, taking account of each country’s historical contribution to climate change and their current capacity to finance climate action. Oxfam’s analysis looked at fair shares for the GCF’s earlier $15 million target. We’ve adjusted the figures for the GCF’s current $10 billion goal.

Oxfam’s analysis suggests the US, Germany, and France are all paying a fair amount, given their contributions to other international funds. The UK is paying about $500 million more than its fair share, according to Oxfam’s criteria.

Sweden is the biggest outlier, pledging $500 million or four and half times what it’s fair share might be. Sweden’s international development minister argues that pledges to the fund shouldn’t be seen as an expense, but an investment to secure a safer, more prosperous future for everyone.

Each country will have taken a range of factors into account when working out how much to pledge, Oxfam previously told Carbon Brief: from how much of its existing budget can be channelled towards climate change efforts, to how much political will it has for a new global climate deal in 2015.

No-one is sure how much money will be needed to help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.

That’s partly because it depends on how much countries emit in the coming years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that if countries take more action to curb emissions, the impacts of climate change and associated costs are likely to be lower in the future. That means there’s a wide range of estimates of how much may need to be spent in the future to fight climate change.

Source: http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2014/11/briefing-country-pledges-to-the-green-climate-fund/

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

Indigenous Land Rights Can Save Forests, Fight Climate Change

Majority Of Peru’s Timber Exports Illegal

Peru must grant further land titles to Amazonian tribes as a last resort to halting severe deforestation, the country’s main indigenous group announced. The government should award 49 million acres (20 million hectares), nearly 30 percent of its rainforest, to 1,170 communities, said Alberto Pizango, president of the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest, or AIDESEP.

jaguar conservation and deforestation in Amazon

Awarding “legal protection of territories” was the only way for Peru to curb illegal logging and meet carbon emission targets, Pizango said in a press conference in Lima.

“Indigenous communities need to safeguard 20 million hectares in order to slow the climate crisis.”

Peru lost 246,000 hectares to deforestation in 2012, twice the previous year’s total, as expanded agriculture and logging of hardwoods hacked away at the forests’ ability to contain global carbon emissions. Awarding titles to local communities would result in more sustainable forestry management and deter illegal logging, experts say. Up to 80 percent of all of Peru’s timber exports may be illegal, the World Bank estimates, and costs the Andean country $250 million annually, according to Interpol. 

The scale of the illicit activity was underlined last month when four environmental activists were slain by suspected illegal loggers in Ucayali, near the Brazilian border.

With the world’s fourth largest share of tropical forests and 10 to 15 percent of the planet’s species, Peru is especially vulnerable to climate change. In September, the government signed a $300 million agreement with Norway, providing financing to slow deforestation by 2021.

But with little beyond subsistence farming in remote Amazonian regions, the felling of valuable hardwoods remains attractive, especially considering an absentee state and patchy customs controls, as cedar and mahogany make it to prime export markets in China and the United States.

“The irony is that a poor villager wants to do it, given that the state doesn’t support them, nor help them to be able to buy a pencil or exercise book,” Pizango said.

Illegal logging has seen criminal networks with links to drug trafficking move in to regions, increasing violence and threats those who stand in the way. 

“Illegal logging opens the way for deforestation,” said Julia Urrunaga, Peru director of the Environmental Investigations Agency, adding that after forests are cleared of hardwoods, normal logging ensues in areas which otherwise would have been left alone.

Paths established in previously untouched areas exacerbate the process.

forest tribes and forest conservation

Peru has committed to award just 5 million hectares in titles to native communities, after more than 30 years of petitioning – a quarter of AIDESEP’s request – though the details of such a rollout remain unclear, Urrunaga said.

About 18 million hectares around communities remain untitled, according to the Safe Territories Collective, which spans 26 civil society institutions. The government is in the process of awarding another 5 million hectares in timber concessions but land titles wouldn’t be enough to contain logging on its own.

Providing communities with greater vigilance and building up the state’s presence is the “only way to safeguard the forest,” Pizango added.

deforestation and climate change

As Peru prepares to host the 20th Conference of the Parties summit in December as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the country’s green credentials are under scrutiny. Pizango expressed disappointment that AIDESEP’s proposals have been referred away from the Peru’s cabinet, containing the agriculture and environment ministries, to the national ombudsman’s office dealing in conflict resolution. A reform package passed in July to spur private investment in its extractive industries came under criticism after environmental study assessment times were cut.

Source: http://www.worldbulletin.net/world/146936/land-rights-for-perus-amazon-key-in-climate-fight

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

Need New Paradigm For Forest Conservation

Deforestation Destabilizing Planet

The number of major corporations making commitments to purchase certified “deforestation-free” commodities steadily has increased over the past 18 months. Kellogg’s and McDonald’s are just two recent examples of companies that have made such commitments. But will certification policies alone be enough to reduce deforestation, or should governments and corporations consider other strategies that provide incentives for forest conservation?

deforestation and climate change

Global deforestation is linked to a number of key environmental and social concerns including global climate change, the extinction of species and the rights and well-being of 1.6 billion vulnerable people that depend on the forest for their livelihoods. As market linkages to deforestation have become better understood, companies are examining their supply chains and beginning to shift purchases to certified commodities.

A big unknown for these companies is whether their commitments can stimulate an adequate supply of certified sustainable commodities to meet their needs at a reasonable price. Based on data collected by WWF, certified sustainable commodities make up somewhere between two percent and 15 percent of the total global supply of the four largest forest risk commodities: cattle, palm oil, soy and timber.

A key challenge in increasing the supply of certified commodities will be compensating growers and producers for the costs of sustainable production including certification costs, the costs of changing management practices and maybe most important, the opportunity costs of foregone production on forested land.

endangered species conservation and forest conservation

One way to compensate growers and producers is through higher prices, although in practice, companies and customers have been reluctant to pay price premiums for certified commodities. Data recently released by GreenPalm showed that certified palm oil generated only a minor 1.2 percent price premium over conventional palm oil in 2013. And while there are examples of modest price premiums for certified timber, these premiums have not been sufficient to expand the supply of FSC certified timber beyond 10 percent of total global timber supply.

Another way to compensate growers and producers for better practices is through incentive-based payments linked to forest protection. This is TerraCarbon’s approach. Payments for generating carbon offsets are one such incentive that have been developed to compensate forest landowners for the climate value of keeping their forests standing. Used with commitments to purchase certified commodities, offsets can help provide the funding needed to increase the supply of sustainable commodities and to protect forests.

Two recent initiatives support the notion of combining commodity certification and offsets. The Carbon Canopy program, launched by Dogwood Alliance in partnership with large corporations such as Coca-Cola, Domtar and Staples seeks to increase the supply and demand for certified timber and carbon offsets produced from forests in the southeast U.S. that practice sustainable forestry.

palm oil kills orangutans

The second initiative is the Sustainable Forests Landscapes announced at last year’s UN climate conference by the World Bank BioCarbon Fund. The U.S., U.K., German and Norwegian governments have pledged $280 million for this initiative to provide results-based incentives for activities that reduce deforestation. Unilever and Mondelez have stated their support (PDF) for this initiative, and will be working with the BioCarbon Fund to see how the initiative can support their certified commodity sourcing strategies.

Initiatives such as these can be replicated elsewhere by private companies working together and with governments. Funding for incentives will remain a key question that can be answered in the long-term by regulations that put a price on carbon, and in the short-term by voluntary offset purchases by companies taking action on climate change and deforestation.

Corporate commitments to purchase certified commodities should be applauded as important steps in the fight against deforestation. Greenwashing, however, should not be tolerated.

At the same time, if the aim is to reduce deforestation not only at a supply chain scale, but also at regional and global scales, then governments and corporations need to go further and provide economic incentives, such as payments for carbon offsets, that generate alternative income and keep forests standing.

Source: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/05/13/how-reduce-deforestation-its-not-one-cut-and-dried-solution

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

Chris Noth Speaks Out For Forest Conservation

Climate Change A Real Threat

By Chris Noth

These days, I’ve had to wonder whether our atmosphere will withstand what we’re pumping into it, whether the natural systems that we’ve relied on to sustain life on this planet will keep working into my son’s generation and into his children’s generations beyond that.

Ken Noth forest conservation

What frightens me most is not the science it’s political inaction. The world’s scientists have said that we have a finite amount of time to save our climate, and yet we still don’t have the political will we need for massive action.

So what do we do? That’s my question every time I read another piece of bad news. Should we all plant trees, recycle, what does the regular consumer do? Our individual actions are good but the real change we need is from corporations and governments, and that action is not coming fast enough. How do we fight this feeling of powerlessness, and make any kind of impact on one of the biggest challenges of our time?

This Earth Day, my recommendation may surprise you. I care about what’s happening to our climate because I love it here, and I believe that to save our climate we all need to rekindle that love of place.

It’s easy to forget the simple fact of how beautiful this earth is. I’m as urban as any New Yorker, but I’ve always loved nature. It’s not just because we need clean air, clean water, and a stable climate to live, but also because nature gives us poetry. Nature fuels our art. Nature feeds our spirit.

giant panda conservation

For me, it’s always been trees. They are the perfect symbol of resilience, and committing to protecting them is a commitment to stand for something that should last long after we do. Whenever I lose hope I find myself rereading Robert Frost’s poem, “The Sound of Trees.”

When it comes to climate change, trees are also one of the most important things to protect. That’s why I will always support the people at groups like Rainforest Action Network that dedicate their lives to protecting our forests, and making sure we don’t allow big business to destroy the beauty of this earth for profit.

For you, maybe it’s not the trees, maybe it’s the ocean, maybe it’s a particular animal, or maybe it’s the smile on your kid’s face when they get to play outside. The bad news is, we’re seeing a climate tipping point that will impact all of this. But I believe there is no tipping point for American perseverance, for finding the will to get to work despite the odds. It’s our collective will that has always gotten things done in this country.

deforestation and climate change

If you believe that the landscape of this planet is too beautiful and too important to lose, then join me this Earth Day. It’s time to remember why this planet is worth saving in the first place. It’s time to do more together.

Source: http://understory.ran.org/2014/04/22/why-join-me-to-protect-our-climate-because-its-worth-it/

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

U.N. Turns Up Heat On Climate Change

Climate Change Actions Critical

Delivering the latest stark news about climate change on Sunday, a United Nations panel warned that governments are not doing enough to avert profound risks in coming decades. But the experts found a silver lining: Not only is there still time to head off the worst, but the political will to do so seems to be rising around the world.

In a report unveiled here, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that decades of foot-dragging by political leaders had propelled humanity into a critical situation, with greenhouse emissions rising faster than ever. While it remains technically possible to keep planetary warming to a tolerable level, only an intensive push over the next 15 years to bring those emissions under control can achieve the goal, the committee found.

wildlife conservation and deforestation

“We cannot afford to lose another decade,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report. “If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization.”

The good news is that ambitious action is becoming more affordable, the committee found. It is increasingly clear that measures like tougher building codes and efficiency standards for cars and trucks can save energy and reduce emissions without harming people’s quality of life, the panel found. And the costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are falling so fast that its deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said.

Moreover, since the intergovernmental panel issued its last major report in 2007, far more countries, states and cities have adopted climate plans, a measure of the growing political interest in tackling the problem. They include China and the United States, which are both doing more domestically than they have been willing to commit to in international treaty negotiations.

reforest Tanzania

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the determination to tackle it, with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century as they did in the last decades of the 20th century. That reflects a huge rush to use coal-fired power plants in developing countries that are climbing up the income scale, especially China, while rich countries are making only slow progress in cutting their high emissions, the report said.

The report is likely to increase the pressure to secure an ambitious new global climate treaty that is supposed to be completed in late 2015 and take effect in 2020. But the divisions between wealthy countries and poorer countries that are making such a treaty difficult, and have long bedeviled international climate talks, were on display yet again in Berlin.

Some developing countries insisted on stripping charts from the report’s executive summary that could have been read as requiring greater effort from them, while rich countries — including the United States — struck out language that might have been seen as implying that they needed to write big checks to the developing countries. Both points survived in the full version of the report, but were deleted from a synopsis meant to inform the world’s top political leaders.

The new report does not prescribe the actions that governments need to take. But it does make clear that putting a price on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, either through taxes or the sale of emission permits, is a fundamental approach that could help redirect investment toward climate-friendly technologies.

deforestation and climate change

If climate targets are to be met, the report said, annual investment in electrical power plants that use fossil fuels will need to decline by about 20 percent in the coming two decades, while investment in low-carbon energy will need to double from current levels.

The report warns that if greater efforts to cut emissions do not begin soon, future generations seeking to limit or reverse climate damage will have to depend on technologies that permanently remove greenhouse gases from the air; in effect, they will be trying to undo the damage caused by the people of today.

But these technologies do not exist on any appreciable scale, the report said, and there is no guarantee that they will be available in the future, much less that they will be affordable.

The intergovernmental panel warned that the longer countries delayed aggressive action, the more difficult it would be to limit global warming to the level that the international community has agreed to, namely a rise in the global average temperature of no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above the preindustrial level.

Scientists fear that exceeding that level could produce drastic effects, such as the collapse of ice sheets, a rapid rise in sea levels, difficulty growing enough food, massive die-offs of forests, and mass extinctions of plant and animal species.

deforestation Tanzania and Kenya

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a United Nations body that includes hundreds of scientists, economists and other experts. The group periodically reviews the science and economics of climate change and issues major reports every five or six years. Along with Al Gore, it won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for calling attention to the climate problem.

The new report, dealing with ways to limit the growth of the emissions that are causing climate change, is the third in recent months. A report released in Stockholm in September found a certainty of 95 percent or greater that humans are the main cause of global warming, and a report released in Yokohama, Japan, two weeks ago said profound effects were already being felt around the world, and were likely to get much worse.

The latest report found that if countries keep stalling on tougher climate rules, trillions of dollars will be invested in coming years in power plants, cars and buildings that use too much energy from fossil fuels. The result, the report said, would be an emissions path that would be almost impossible to alter in time to get to the very low carbon pollution levels that scientists think are necessary by 2050.

The authors found that tackling the problem in a serious way would carry large costs, shaving a few hundredths of a percentage point off global economic growth each year. By the end of the century, societies would most likely be far richer than today, but almost 5 percent poorer than they would have been they had not spent the money to protect the climate, according to the study.

“Climate policy is not a free lunch,” Dr. Edenhofer said at a news conference Sunday in Berlin.

Against those costs, the economic benefits of acting are essentially impossible to calculate, the report found. The biggest reason is that scientists do not know how likely it is that unchecked global warming could cause some sort of wildly expensive calamity, such as a rapid melting of ice sheets that would drown the world’s major coastal cities. This and other disasters are distinctly possible, the authors found.

In essence, the committee described money spent fighting climate change as a form of insurance against the most severe potential consequences. “It is up to the public and up to decision makers to decide if it is affordable or not,” Dr. Edenhofer said.

The report was quickly welcomed in Washington, where President Obama is trying to adopt aggressive climate policies despite congressional opposition. His science adviser, John P. Holdren, said the report showed that “the longer society waits to implement strong measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the more costly and difficult it will become to limit climate change to less than catastrophic levels.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/science/earth/un-climate-panel-warns-speedier-action-is-needed-to-avert-disaster.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

Report Says Climate Change Impacting Life Now

Climate Change Affecting All Continents

Climate change has already left a mark “on all continents and across the oceans,” damaging food crops, spreading disease, and melting glaciers, according to the leaked text of a blockbuster UN climate science report due out on Monday. Government officials and scientists are gathered in Yokohama this week to wrangle over every line of a summary of the report before the final wording is released on Monday – the first update in seven years.

Nearly 500 people must sign off on the exact wording of the summary, including the 66 expert authors, 271 officials from 115 countries, and 57 observers.

deforestation and climate change

But governments have already signed off on the critical finding that climate change is already having an effect, and that even a small amount of warming in the future could lead to “abrupt and irreversible changes”, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

“In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans,” the final report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will say.

The Tipping Point Is Now

Some parts of the world could soon be at a tipping point. For others, that tipping point has already arrived. “Both warm water coral reef and Arctic ecosystems are already experiencing irreversible regime shifts,” the approved version of the report will say.

This will be the second of three reports on the causes, consequences of and solutions to climate change, drawing on researchers from around the world. The first report, released last September in Stockholm, found humans were the “dominant cause” of climate change, and warned that much of the world’s fossil fuel reserves would have to stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change. This report will, for the first time, look at the effects of climate change as a series of risks – with those risks multiplying as temperatures warm. The thinking behind the decision was to encourage governments to prepare for the full range of potential consequences under climate change.

deforestation Tanzania and Kenya

“It’s much more about what are the smart things to do then what do we know with absolute certainty,” said Chris Field, one of the co-chairs overseeing the report. “If we want to take a smart approach to the future, we need to consider a full range of possible outcomes and that means not only the more likely outcomes, but also outcomes for truly catastrophic impacts, even if those are lower probability,” he said.

The gravest of those risks was to people in low-lying coastal areas and on small islands, because of storm surges, coastal flooding and sea-level rise. But people living in large urban areas would also be at risk from inland flooding that wipes out homes and businesses, water treatment centres and power plants, as well as from extreme heatwaves.

Food production was also at risk, the report said, from drought, flooding, and changing rainfall patterns. Crop yields could decline by 2% a decade over the rest of the century. Fisheries will also be affected, with ocean chemistry thrown off balance by climate change. Some fish in the tropics could become extinct. Other species, especially in northern latitudes, are on the move.

Drought could put safe drinking water in short supply. Storms could wipe out electricity stations, and damage other infrastructure, the report is expected to say.

baiga tribe little girl

Poor, Young, Elderly Face Greatest Risks

Those risks will not be borne equally, according to draft versions of the report circulated before the meeting. The poor, the young and the elderly in all countries will all be more vulnerable to climate risks.

Climate change will slow down economic growth, and create new “poverty traps.” Some areas of the world will also be more vulnerable – such as south Asia and south-east Asia.

The biggest potential risk, however, was of a number of those scenarios unfolding at the same time, leading to conflicts and wars, or turning regional problem into a global crisis, said Saleemul Haq, a senior fellow of the International Institute for Environment and Development and one of the authors of the report.

“The really scary impacts are when things start getting together globally,” he said. “If you have a crisis in two or three places around the world, suddenly it’s not a local crisis. It is a global crisis, and the repercussions of things going bad in several different places are very severe.”

There was controversy in the run-up to the report’s release when one of the 70 authors of a draft said he had pulled out of the writing team because it was “alarmist” about the threat. Prof Richard Tol, an economist at Sussex University, said he disagreed with some findings of the summary. But British officials branded his assessment of the economic costs of climate change as “deeply misleading”.

The report argues that the likelihood and potential consequences of many of these risks could be lowered if ambitious action is taken to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. It also finds that governments – if they act now – can help protect populations from those risks.

But the report also acknowledges that a certain amount of warming is already locked in, and that in some instances there is no way to escape the effects of climate change.

The 2007 report on the effects of climate change contained an error that damaged the credibility of the UN climate panel, the erroneous claim that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035.

This year’s report will be subject to far more rigorous scrutiny, scientists said. It will also benefit from an explosion of scientific research. The number of scientific publications on the impacts of climate change doubled between 2005 and 2010, the report will say.

Researchers said they also hoped to bring a fresh take on the issue. They said they hoped the reframing of the issue as a series of risks would help governments respond more rapidly to climate change.

“Previously the IPCC was accused of being very conservative,” said Gary Yohe, professor of economics and environmental studies at Wesleyan University, one of the authors of the report. “This allows them to be less conservative without being open to criticism that they are just trying to scare people to death.”

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/28/ipcc-report-climate-change-report-human-natural-systems

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

Massive Sequoia Captured In One Photo

Sequoia Tree Is 3,200 Years Old

Cloaked in the snows of California’s Sierra Nevada, the 3,200-year-old giant sequoia called the President rises 247 feet. Two other sequoias have wider trunks, but none has a larger crown, say the scientists who climbed it. The figure at top seems taller than the other climbers because he’s standing forward on one of the great limbs.

Sequoia tree conservation

The trunk is 27 feet wide and the mighty branches hold 2 billion needles, the most of any tree on the planet. On top of that, it still adds one cubic meter of wood per year – making it one of the fastest growing trees in the world.

Giant sequoias exist in only one place, where The President and smaller trees that make up his “House” and “Senate,” reside. On the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, at 5000-8000 feet above sea level.

The team painstakingly put together a set of pulleys and levers to climb the tree. It took 32 days and the piecing together of 126 separate photos, but they managed it.

Source: http://themindunleashed.org/2014/03/3200-year-old-tree-massive-never-captured-single-image-now.html

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

Scientists Issue Warning On Climate Change

Global Warming A Clear, Present Danger

The world’s largest general scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has issued an uncharacteristically blunt call to action on climate change. The must-read new report by the AAAS’s Climate Science Panel, “What We Know” has several simple messages:

  • We are as certain that humans are responsible for most recent climate change as we are that cigarettes kill;
  • Climate scientists agree: climate change is happening here and now. Based on well-established evidence, about 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening; and
  • The science linking human activities to climate change is analogous to the science linking smoking to lung and cardiovascular diseases. Physicians, cardiovascular scientists, public health experts and others all agree smoking causes cancer. And this consensus among the health community has convinced most Americans that the health risks from smoking are real.

A similar consensus now exists among climate scientists, a consensus that maintains that climate change is happening, and human activity is the cause.

palm oil plantation deforestation

What kind of change is already happening? Average global temperature has increased by about 1.4˚F over the last 100 years. Sea level is rising, and some types of extreme events — such as heat waves and heavy precipitation events -– are happening more frequently. Recent scientific findings indicate that climate change is likely responsible for the increase in the intensity of many of these events in recent years.

What is the danger of continued inaction? We are at risk of pushing our climate system toward abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts. We can think of this as sudden climate brake and steering failure where the problem and its consequences are no longer something we can control. In climate terms, abrupt change means change occurring over periods as short as decades or even years.”

Why must we act now? The sooner we act, the lower the risk and cost. And there is much we can do. Waiting to take action will inevitably increase costs, escalate risk, and foreclose options to address the risk. The CO2 we produce accumulates in Earth’s atmosphere for decades, centuries, and longer. It is not like pollution from smog or wastes in our lakes and rivers, where levels respond quickly to the effects of targeted policies (but they often go hand-in-hand).

deforestation and climate change

When asked on the press call why the AAAS felt the need for providing the public and policymakers yet another climate report, Dr. James McCarthy, Harvard oceanography professor and former AAAS President, said “The public has been misinformed by a colossal disinformation campaign.”

Scientists must speak out strongly and often because the subject is too important to leave to the misinformers.

McCarthy also made a point I thought was key: The risk concept — the risk of inaction — this is something that really hasn’t been emphasized. And if you just think back 20 years or 10 years – what we imagined twenty years ago about loss of Arctic sea ice – it was not thought to be anything that would be of concern in this century.

Ten years later, roughly 2000, we knew that we were on a trajectory that couldn’t be anticipated. Ten years ago, during that same era, it was not thought that Greenland would be losing ice dramatically in the next few decades, but within a few years we realized that was wrong.

Too many climate reports fail to focus on the risk of inaction. Not this one. The press call also included, Dr. Robert Litterman, Senior Partner and Chairman, Risk Committee, Kepos Capital.

“The issue in estimating the appropriate incentive is very much the risk,” he said. “In other words, the expected outcomes have been the dominant determinant of what those estimates have been in the past. And I’m not sure they’ve adequately taken into account the potential for things to be worse than expected. You really do have to think about worst-case scenarios when you are thinking about risk management. When it’s a risk management problem, thinking about worst-case scenarios is not alarmist — it’s just part of the job. And those worst-case scenarios are part of what drives the price.”

This is a key point, which has also been made by Harvard economist Martin Weitzman, who has explained that climate cost-benefit analyses are “unusually misleading,” warning his colleagues that “we may be deluding ourselves and others.”

In the case of climate change, the worst-case scenario is the end of modern civilization as we have come to know it, a post-2050 world that has a carrying capacity considerably below 9 billion people – and one that continues to decline decade after decade. And yet this “worst-case scenario” is all but certain to be achieved if we merely continue on our business as usual path of climate inaction for a few more decades. That is why we must pay any price or bear any burden to avoid the worst-case.

reforestation and carbon capture

The report is a good antidote to those non-scientists who claim global warming does not make weather more extreme and more destructive: Global warming has changed the pattern of precipitation worldwide. Flooding in the northern half of the eastern U.S., Great Plains and over much of the Midwest has been increasing, especially over the last several decades. These regional flooding trends in the northeast and upper Midwest are linked to increases in extreme precipitation and are consistent with the global trends driven by climate change.

At the same time, areas such as the U.S. Southwest are witnessing more droughts, and these too are consistent with global climate change patterns projected by climate models as a consequence of rising CO2 levels.

Since 1950, heat waves worldwide have become longer and more frequent. One study indicates that the global area hit by extremely hot summertime temperatures has increased 50-fold, and the fingerprint of global warming has been firmly identified in these trends. In the U.S., new record high temperatures now regularly outnumber new record lows by a ratio of 2:1.

Climate change has amplified the threat of wildfires in many places. In the western U.S., both the area burned by wildfires as well as the length of the fire season have increased substantially in recent decades. Earlier spring snowmelt and higher spring and summer temperatures contribute to this change. Climate change has increased the threat of “mega-fires” –- large fires that burn proportionately greater areas. Warming has also led to wildfires present in some regions where they have been absent in recent history.

Kudos to the AAAS for this report. They join the US National Academy of Sciences and the U.K. Royal Society in producing a new, highly readable climate report, though the AAAS has done a better job of bluntly laying out the risks.

Bottom line: If a generally staid, consensus-oriented body like the AAAS is alarmed, then we all should be. As climatologist Lonnie Thompson explained back in 2010: Climatologists, like other scientists, tend to be a stolid group. We are not given to theatrical rantings about falling skies. Most of us are far more comfortable in our laboratories or gathering data in the field than we are giving interviews to journalists or speaking before Congressional committees. Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.

Source: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/20/3416741/climate-scientists-alarmed/

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

Saving Rainforests With Greener Chocolate

Rainforest Destruction Not Sustainable

“Much of the cocoa that’s consumed around the world does not originate in highly biodiverse primary rainforests,” says Eric Servat, the Rainforest Alliance’s manager of sustainable value chains for Southern Europe. “Most often, it comes from degraded secondary forests in West Africa—something I saw with my own eyes when I visited Ghana for the first time.”

Many researchers charge that increased cocoa cultivation in Ghana over the past 20 years has resulted in massive deforestation. For nearly 40 years, the overall trend has been to eschew a shade-grown approach and instead cultivate the crop using “full-sun” techniques—as do nearly 35 percent of Ghanaian producers and 50 percent of their peers in Côte d’Ivoire. There are several reasons for this, according to Goetz Schroth, who directs the Rainforest Alliance’s cocoa program:

deforestation and climate change

  • Cocoa farmers increasingly use hybrid strains that were developed to produce greater yields under a full-sun system.
  • With little-to-no access to legal timber markets, farmers lack the incentive to plant timber trees among their cocoa plants.
  • Cocoa farming has been done by migrants who lack traditional knowledge of complex agroforestry systems and believe—not without reason—that if you surround cocoa trees with too many shade trees, you might deny the cocoa plant sufficient aeration, favor the development of diseases such as black rot and encourage rats and monkeys to feed on the cocoa pods.

The Rainforest Alliance and our partners offer training to farmers and workers, teaching them the principles and practices of sustainable agriculture with the aim of protecting biodiversity, improving local living conditions and boosting farm productivity. We advocate agroforestry methods that require the planting of trees on agricultural lands.

In Côte d’Ivoire, for example, Rainforest Alliance Certified™ cocoa farms must have a minimum number of native tree species—notably fruit trees—per every 30-acre (12-hectare) parcel, as well as a minimum of nine shade-tree species. The main objective is for farms to reach a shade density of 30 percent, which can be done with 12 to 18 adult trees per hectare, depending on the species. When farmers alternate between re-planting cocoa trees and planting shade trees, they enrich their soil and allow it to regenerate.

deforestation and climate change

There are, however, disparities in conditions among Rainforest Alliance Certified farms in different regions. For example, it’s rare to find traditional agroforestry systems that feature all three levels of canopy, except in certain areas of Cameroon and in Central America, part of the broad region where the Amazonian cocoa plant is said to have originated. On these original, more densely forested cocoa plantations, yields are lower, and the goal is to help certified producers cultivate a premium crop that can generate greater revenue to compensate for decreased quantity. Shade-grown methods allow for better maturation of fruits and the development of flavors that can be marketed to connoisseurs. We have pilot projects north of Cuzco, Peru, where this approach is being implemented, and we’ve also been working to capitalize on the “Coffee and Biodiversity” initiatives that we launched in El Salvador ten years ago.

The need for change is urgent. “I visited some cocoa plantations in Sierra Leone that were located in a nearly intact jungle,” said Eric Servat. “They were magnificent to look at, but they couldn’t support the basic subsistence needs of farmers. That’s typical among older farmers who lack the means to maintain their farms or modernize them and improve the quality of their crop. Without those kinds of changes, they can’t survive in today’s market.”

reforestation and carbon capture

The Rainforest Alliance promotes agroforestry as an alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture in West Africa, Madagascar and Central America, offering farmers an economically attractive option that can earn them premiums for the quality of their crop. Agroforestry also provides essential ecosystem services, including preserving soil fertility and water resources, preventing erosion and storing carbon. And for local communities, agroforestry also offers residents social and cultural benefits, including medicinal plants and the preservation of water sources and sacred spaces for future generations. Everyone benefits from this “return to the forest.”

Today, 10 percent of the world’s cocoa comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. Support sustainability when you shop by choosing products, like chocolate, that feature the Rainforest Alliance’s green frog seal.

Source: http://thefrogblog.org/2014/03/20/do-you-know-where-your-chocolate-comes-from/

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