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Ecosystem Marketplace, Marketplace Mitigation Mail

January 20, 2011    

From the Editors

The Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon

Forest carbon developments seem to be emerging slowly in the new year, but we’ve been busy as ever preparing for the next State of the Forest Carbon Markets report.  This year we’re combining survey efforts with the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2011 report, and plan to launch both surveys next week.

We rely on the responses of people like you to be able to offer clear and comprehensive reporting on the state and major trends of these rapidly-evolving markets.  Both the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report and State of the Forest Carbon Markets report have quickly become benchmarks in the market, and we encourage you to share your market experiences up through 2010. For those interested in sponsoring the report, check out the prospectus here.

Coming back to the recent news, while it may be the year of the rabbit, according to the UN it’s also the year of the forest. Around the world, countries have been outlining their contributions in the International Year of Forests, which hopes to raise awareness about forest conservation issues.  We expect a lot of discussion around REDD and other forest carbon issues following on the official launch of the International Year of Forests on February 2 in New York City.

Indonesia, in its ongoing game of two steps forward, one step back, faced another delay in enacting its elusive two-year moratorium on forest clearing concessions. We’ll see whether the lack of movement will also lead to further delays in the handing out of funds from the $1 billion pledged by Norway last year.

For standards organizations, we saw a couple more blips in the news.  CarbonFix joined the long-sought ranking among the CDM, VCS, Gold Standard, and CAR after receiving official endorsement from the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance. VCS meanwhile continued clearing the queue of methodologies in its pipeline, minting another new REDD methodology.

Look out for our survey next week and stay tuned for more news coverage from the Forest Carbon Portal and Ecosystem Marketplace.  As always, read on below for all the latest news in this, the latest edition of the Forest Carbon Newsletter.

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at general@forestcarbonportal.com.


National Strategies

The Moratorium Decree Doppelgänger

The two-year moratorium on forest clearing agreed to as part of Indonesia’s $1billion REDD+ deal with Norway was originally set for 1 Jan 2011, but is still not in force.  Requiring a presidential decree, President Yudhoyono is still apparently deciding between two competing drafts submitted by the Minister of Forestry and the head of the presidential REDD+ Task Force.  The choice is fairly stark.  While the Minister’s version applies to new conversion permits on primary forest and peatland only, the REDD+ Task Force leader’s version applies a review to existing and new permits in primary and secondary forests and peatlands.  With accusations flying about influence-peddling by private interests and the credibility of the moratorium promise being drawn into question by environmental advocates, the uncertainty surrounding the moratorium is surely an unwanted question mark for potential investors in the country.  Read more about the draft versions of the decree from the Jakarta Globe here.  Read criticism directed at Yudhoyono’s delayed decision in the Jakarta Globe here and allegations of business influence in the Jakarta Post here.  Finally, see how businesses are thinking about the legal uncertainty in the Jakarta Post here.

Public Hearing on Carbon Farming Down Under

The Australian government is inviting two-weeks-worth of public feedback on its proposed Carbon Farming Initiative from farmers, landholders and forest growers by January 21. Including legislation to establish a carbon crediting mechanism, and guidelines for the development of offset project methodologies, the proposal was part of the Labor party’s pitch going into elections last year, and this is the first real description of the potential rules of the road.  As with every biological carbon policy, questions remain for critics over permanence and additionality.  Read more about the proposed legislation and initial response by Country News here.  Access the proposed policy and methodology rules here.

Al Gore Helps Usher in Year of Forests

Speaking at the Business for the Environment Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, former US Vice President Al Gore made a case for the role of business in forest conservation, and applauded Indonesia’s progress on REDD. He was helping to kick off the UN’s International Year of Forests, which hopes to raise awareness about forest conservation with an official launch party slated for February 2 at UN Headquarters in New York City. The Philippines and India were also recognizing the Year of Forests, with government agencies and NGOs in both countries getting involved. Read about Gore’s speech and Indonesia’s REDD program from Eco-Business.com here, about plans for the year in the Philippines from Manila Bulletin here and in India from the Times of India here.  Visit the UN’s official International Year of the Forests website here.

US Policy

The EPA Went Down to Georgia…

Although a federal climate bill with provisions for carbon offsets looks to be at least a few years away, the EPA is now moving forward with its regulation of greenhouse gases. And at least one business in Georgia is betting that a credit trading scheme will be a part of those regulations in its state, and has already started investing in forestry projects to be ready for the potential windfall. Mark Loewen, with Atlanta-based Carbon International, has reserved 3.9 million acres of forest world-wide. He currently works with voluntary offsets, but hopes new regulation will send business his way. Read about the forest carbon business in Georgia from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution here.

Project Development

Cambodia’s Forests on EU Exchanges?

London-based carbon firm Tricor has hitched its fate to a decision on a Cambodian forest carbon deal.  Assuming the government of Cambodia goes along and gives approval to Green Glory Ltd.’s request for management rights over 450,000 hectares of Cambodian forest land, Tricor will be acquired and then assume control through a reverse takeover of Green Glory Ltd.  The carbon credits are expected to emerge on the London Alternative Investment Market exchange.  Read a brief snippet about the deal in the Pnomh Penh Post here.

BioCarbon Fund Previews CDM Lessons Learned

The World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund is sharing its experiences supporting Afforestation/Reforestation projects under the Clean Development Mechanism.  An early glimpse at a larger review of lessons learned set for publication in early 2011, the 4-page brief shines a light on A/R methodology and project hurdles including an offering of recommendations for project developers and policymakers.  Learn how long the BioCarbon Fund took to develop its 25 projects and what gummed up the works.  Access the brief from the World Bank website here (PDF).

Habeas Carbonis

Despite decades of transactions worth millions of dollars, the nuts and bolts of contracting for forest carbon remains have been the purview of a small sector of legal professionals, until now.   If you’re working on a forest project and looking to beef up on your contract know-how, a new guide out from the Katoomba Group and the Duke Environmental Law & Policy Clinic lays down the basics you should know before getting into a Forest Carbon Purchase Agreement.  From the typical contract terms and clauses used to buy and sell credits this guide aims to lower transaction costs in the marketplace by establishing basic familiarity with contractual language and formatting. Download the 34-page "Contracting for Forest Carbon: Elements of a Forest Carbon Purchase Agreement" from the Forest Trends website here.

Human Dimension

Safeguards from the Bottom Up

 Building on the experiences of forging a bottom up safeguards policy for REDD+ in Brazil, a new publication from Imaflora and the Amazon Working Group distills the major lessons from the consultation process and how to build safeguards policy from the bottom up.  The process describes broad participation from representatives across the private sector, environmental organizations indigenous groups and local communities, smallholders, and research institutions.  Access the guide, available in Portuguese, French, Spanish, and English on the Forest Trends website here.

Locally-driven alternatives to REDD+

Arguing the design of current REDD+ frameworks by the World Bank and national governments have been too focused in capitals without input from the pueblos and ejidos, a network of indigenous and community organizations from across Central America has announced the drive for an alternative model to REDD+ based on the rights and livelihoods of forest peoples.  In Cancun, the newly-established Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests debuted  MesoCarbon, short for the Mesoamerican Community Carbon Reservoir, which brings together indigenous and forest peoples organizations from across Central America. The initiative covers 50 million hectares of forests across Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Belize, and Mexico and aims to provide alternative models for REDD+ implementation which take into account the territorial, cultural, and political rights of the communities in forests.  Learn more about Mesocarbon through the press release issues by Rights and Resources Initiative here, and in the pamphlet produced by the organization here (PDF).

The face of REDD+

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has published four new briefing papers through its Growing Forest Partnerships Project that aim to put people at the center of carbon financing. The publications provide insight into sustainable forest management that reduces deforestation to mitigate climate change while also improving local livelihoods. Based on a dialogue between three key groups of forest rights-holders - family forest farmers, forest communities and indigenous peoples- these reports address resource user rights, property and governance regimes, empowerment dynamics, and equitable distribution of benefits.  Learn more about IIED’s Growing Forest Partnerships here. See a quick review and access the publications here.

Science & Tech Review

The Impact of Going into the RED(D)

Three researchers have published an article in Conservation Letters warning that a myopic focus on carbon via REDD could pose a risk to larger biodiversity conservation efforts. They argue that the relatively short-term commitments found in REDD proposals and the uncertainty of financing they deliver could lead to conservation initiatives struggling to provide results over the long term. Read about the article in Mongabay here.  Access the abstract here.

Finance & Economics

Think Locally, Act Locally

Tanzania has been an early pioneer in forest carbon development, hosting the first VCS project to have credits issued late last year, among other REDD readiness preparations around the country.  And local groups don’t want the momentum to be lost with sluggish international negotiations.  Now, conservation groups in Tanzania are calling for the government to use its own resources to help conserve forests in advance of any international agreement next year in South Africa. Read what two local NGOs are saying about Tanzania’s move towards REDD readiness in IPP Media here.

Forest Carbon Project Building Blocks

Alongside the torrent of publications emerging in the run-up to Mexico’s climate talks, two prominent new guidebooks for forest project developers emerged that are worth a second glance.  ONF International produced “REDD+ at Project Scale,” which lays down many key starting points for pursuing a new REDD+ project.  From technical guidance to social and financial tips, this guidebook is one of the most up-to-date reviews of project development issues.  While our French comrades were compiling this book, Forest Trend’s Katoomba Incubator program was also simultaneously picking the brains of a network of forest experts, culminating in the release of “Building Forest Carbon Projects: A Step-by-Step Guide.”  With an expanded version due out summer 2011, this step-by-step guidebook walks you through the major project development considerations, with novel contributions on subjects such as biodiversity and social impact assessment, community engagement, and pursuing validation and verification under standards such as VCS, CCB, and CDM.  Access the new guidebooks by Forest Trends here and from ONFI here.

The World Bank’s 11 REDD Lessons

The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), which has been at the forefront of providing seed funding for national REDD+ readiness has now compiled a list of 11 lessons learned, tracking the growth of knowledge and understanding of the readiness process. Based largely on experiences from the fifteen countries that have submitted Readiness Preparation Proposals, the FCPF hopes these lessons will guide future REDD policies and activities around the world. Read more from the World Bank website here.

Methodology & Standards Watch

VCS Squeezes Another Methodology Through

You’re not seeing double (or quadruple, really).  Another new methodology has passed VCS’s double-approval process. The Methodology for Avoided Mosaic Deforestation of Tropical Forests was developed by Wildlife Works Carbon and finally approved on January 13.  Designed around the Kasigau Corridor REDD Project in Kenya, the methodology is intended for the quantification of emissions reductions for project activities that avoid mosaic deforestation in semi-arid tropical forests. Access the methodology and assessment reports on the VCS website here.  See a press release from VCS and Wildlife Works here(PDF).

CarbonFix in Good Company

Moving up with the ranks of the Gold Standard, Climate Action Reserve, and Voluntary Carbon Standard, and Clean Development Mechanism, CarbonFix has earned a coveted spot on the approved list of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance(ICROA).  The trade group ICROA will now encourage members who abide by its code of practice to source credits from CarbonFix-approved projects.  Focusing exclusively on forest planting projects, this announcement comes on the heels of a new update to the CarbonFix standard that was announced late last year.  Read more about ICROA’s endorsement of CarbonFix from CarbonPositive here, and read-up about the standard and projects from the CarbonFix website here.

Talking about AFOLU

A new Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU) methodology from VCS has entered its public comment period, which will be open until February 10. The methodology, “Methodology for Improved Forest Management - Logged to Protected Forest (IFM-LtPF) on Lands Subject to Unextinguished Indigenous Rights and Title”, will allow projects to estimate and monitor greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Improved Forest Management project activities that result in Logged to Protected Forests (LtPF). Read about the methodology and submit your comments here.

Public Comments for Panda

The Panda Standard, China’s pilot carbon standard, has extended its public comment period until January 28. You can access the Public Comment Version of the Panda Standard AFOLU Specifications here and read more about the standard’s impact from Ecosystem Marketplace’s view in Cancún here.

Publications & Tools

REDD++ [plus agriculture]

Agriculture is seldom mentioned in REDD+ discussions yet the two are inextricably linked as conservation of forests commonly confronts issues of food production. A new report published by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is hoping to expand the REDD+ conversation to include agricultural mitigation. A REDD++ mechanism that includes agriculture represents one option for an integrated policy approach to land-based mitigation and this study peers into the future to a coordinated set of independent mechanisms for forests, peatlands, agriculture and other land uses. Access the report from the CGIAR website here.

Case Studies on Bundling Forest Benefits

“Bundling” and “stacking” are often discussed in theoretical policy debates.  In A Sustainable Chesapeake: Better Models for Conservation, we find a compilation of 31 case studies from across the Chesapeake Bay watershed that provides a detailed look at conservation-finance experiences on the ground, offering how-to guidance on ways in which nitrogen nutrient reduction, riparian ecosystem restoration, carbon sequestration, and no-till farmland, can be overlaid to with legal context and novel funding streams for farmland preservation. One case study in particular, Earning Multiple Credits for a Forested Riparian Buffer, provides a successful example for stacking and bundling multiple forest ecosystem services. Access full report or download individual chapters from the Conservation Fund’s website here.


Are you looking for a job as a technical advisor to REDD projects?  Or as a consultant for forest carbon capacity-building in Southeast Asia? Learn about these and other job opportunities at Forest Carbon Portal's Jobs page, where you can also post your own job listings



The Forest Carbon Portal provides relevant daily news, a newsletter, articles, a calendar of events, the "Carbon Connections" discussion forum, a profile directory, a jobs board, a toolbox of resources ranging from methodologies to policy briefs, and market analysis on land-based carbon sequestration projects from forest to farm. All Forest Carbon Portal community members can comment on articles and upload their own projects, resources, events and job opportunities, although user permissions and rights vary according to involvement. The Portal also includes the Forest Carbon Project Inventory, a searchable database and map of projects selling land-based carbon credits across the globe and those in the pipeline. Users can search for projects by country, as well as by a variety of criteria such as project type, standard, registry and size. Projects are described in consistent 'nutrition labels' which supply as much information as can be maintained in a consistent structure. Operational projects must either be third-party verified or have sold credits to be eligible for listing.



Ecosystem Marketplace is a project of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our voluntary carbon markets program are funded by a series of international development agencies, philanthropic foundations, and private sector organizations. For more information on donating to Ecosystem Marketplace, please contact info@ecosystemmarketplace.com. 


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