News Selection – Tropical Forests
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on Tropical Forests.
Conflicting data: how fast is the world losing its forests?
9/10/2018: Researchers must reconcile two contradictory sets of statistics on tree loss in order to determine whether promises made by nations to protect and restore forests are on target.
Source: Yale Environment 360
The value of tropical forests in the climate change equation
4/10/2018: If tropical deforestation were a country, it would rank third in carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions, only behind China and the US. More numbers that demonstrate just how important tropical forests are in preventing further climate change.
Source: World Resources Institute
Indonesian president signs 3-year freeze on new oil palm licenses
20/9/2018: President Jokowi first announced his moratorium on oil palm licences more than two years ago, in the wake of the 2015 Southeast Asian haze crisis. At last, he has signed it.
Securing community forest rights is key to achieving climate goals
19/9/2018: Vast forest areas are managed by indigenous and local communities, yet these forest-dependent people may be unable to protect vital carbon reserves unless their rights are formally recognized. Source: Devex
New Study Finds More Than a Quarter of Global Tree Cover Loss is Commodity-Driven Deforestation
13/9/2018: More than a quarter of global tree cover loss between 2001 and 2015 was associated with commodity-driven deforestation, not likely to be forested again.
Source: World Resources Institute
The forested path to climate stability
30/8/2018: Halting deforestation is critical for climate stability — this alone could reduce the world’s net carbon emissions by up to 30%. Furthermore, forests and land offer the most cost-effective way to store more carbon. Source: Mongabay
Tread Softly Comment: In an appeal to the influential Global Climate Action Summit starting this week, forest campaigners set out the basic case for allocating more resources to halt deforestation, especially in tropical regions. The argument that the current allocation of only 1% of global mitigation finance represents a missed opportunity is very strong but it's also very familiar. The writers don't offer explanations, nor why the San Francisco Summit agenda offers so little space to the topic. Relevant Briefing: Tropical Forests and Climate Change
Indonesia's Deforestation Dropped 60 Percent in 2017, but There's More to Do
14/8/2018: Indonesia must build on recent reductions in tree cover loss and protections for peatlands. To get there, they'll need more international support, innovative schemes such as peatland restoration and continued monitoring. Source: World Resources Institute
Tread Softly Comment: At last some positive news about reducing deforestation in vital countries such as Indonesia. Clearly defined quantitative data, involving a reliable source in Global Forest Watch, supports the government's own assertion that 2017 was an impressive year for restoring control of the country's forest inventory. The reduction in primary forest loss in protected peat is vertiginous. Relevant Briefing: Deforestation and Forest Degradation
RSPO should ban deforestation, say investors representing $6.7t in assets
13/8/2018: More than 90 institutional investors managing more than $6.7 trillion in assets have called on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to strengthen its standards, including by banning deforestation. Source: Mongabay
Tread Softly Comment: The letter to the RSPO from major asset management companies (including CalPERS and M&G Prudential) is an extraordinary document. Instead of the usual scenario of corporations fighting tooth and nail against higher environmental standards, here they are begging the certification body for much tougher conditions for palm oil plantations. This is the outcome of years of concern that the RSPO fails to keep pace with the escalating impact of the subject of its certification. Relevant Briefing: Consumer Solutions to Deforestation
Rampant timber smuggling in Myanmar as forest service restructures
30/7/2018: As Myanmar works to restructure to private sector management of the country’s forestry and timber resources, reports of illegal logging are surging. Source: Mongabay
Tread Softly Comment: An example of how difficult it is for a fragile state to get a grip on its natural resources. Broadly good intentions of central government stumble over its lack of authority over corrupt national and local officials, not helped by China's unprincipled scramble for rare commodities. Relevant Briefing: Causes of Deforestation
Indonesia forest assessment casts an optimistic light on a complex issue
30/7/2018: Indonesia has released its inaugural report on the state of its forests, highlighting recent successes in conserving an ecological treasure trove that makes up the third-largest span of tropical rainforest in the world. Source: Mongabay
Tread Softly Comment: It's not easy to grasp what's happening to tropical forest resources in Indonesia. The vast geography embraces all the issues - virgin forest, peatlands, palm oil plantations, forest and peat fires, not forgetting corporate promises of zero deforestation. The crux of analysis often lies in the definition of forest cover and this important government report is no different. What is different is the report's total silence on China, whose role is known to be fundamental in logging activities in other countries in the region. Relevant Briefing: Causes of Deforestation