Busy Week For UN REDD Programme Policy Board And Forest Carbon Partnership Facility As Jurisdictional Efforts Ramp Up

The UN REDD Programme Policy Board approved $35.5 million in readiness funding, including allocations to the national programs of Argentina, Cote d’Ivoire and Mongolia. Meanwhile, the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility accepted Chile and Vietnam into its REDD pipeline, and provisionally accepted Peru.

This article was originally published in the Forest Carbon newsletter. Click here to read the original.


16 July 2014 | Ecosystem Marketplace’s third installment of our Palm Oil vs The Peatland Forest series is now live. In it, we meet Todd Lemons, an ‘ecosystem entrepreneur’ who, as a 20-something, found himself in the Bolivian rainforest sourcing hardwoods for major American furniture dealers. After finding beautiful pieces of mahogany in the scrap pile, Lemons implemented a “cut-to-size” program that required less wood for more furniture and developed an obsession with using sensible economics to address environmental challenges.

Years later, in 2007, he found himself in Borneo driving through a patchwork of palm-oil plantations and second-growth native forests on his way to Tanjung Puting National Park, a massive lowland peat swamp that has been amassing carbon for 10,000 years. Lemons didn’t know it at the time, but the trip was the first step in developing the Rimba Raya REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests) project that would hold off the encroaching palm oil developers and prevent the annual release of more than 3.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

“We know now that peatland has about eight times as much carbon per hectare as a typical rainforest of the Amazon,” says Heru Prasetyo, the head of Indonesia’s REDD Task Force. “Back in 2007, no one really knew.”

As Steve Zwick reports, though, REDD didn’t create an “incentive” to save the forests. A typical palm-oil plantation generates $1,000 per hectare in pure profit – more than twenty-fold the income that could be generated from the sale of offsets. So REDD will not sway those responding to purely economic incentives, but it does create a financing mechanism that may make it possible for people who want to save forests to do so. The Rimba Raya project has sold five million tonnes of offsets since 2010 and verified another five million tonnes of emissions reductions, more than four million of which remain unsold.

The full series of stories will be available here.

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Chile, Vietnam forests get the nod

The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund accepted Chile and Vietnam into its pipeline last month, allocating up to $650,000 for each country to develop a full proposal for implementing national REDD+. The Republic of the Congo and Peru also presented Program Idea Notes; the Republic of the Congo’s was provisionally accepted while Peru was asked to make deeper revisions. Cambodia, Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia and Madagascar also presented early ideas for national REDD+ programs, and the FCPF offered feedback, from clarifying land concessions in Cambodia to explaining how current REDD+ projects will fit into a nested national program in Guatemala.


Dazed and confused

Laos would have started selling carbon offsets last year, but its REDD readiness process has been stalled because “officials from state agencies in charge of the work do not understand what they were supposed to do,” said Khamphay Manivong, the country’s deputy director general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Forest Department. Laos has plans to protect 9.5 million hectares of forests and restore forest cover to 65% of the country by 2015. The FCPF has committed up to $3.6 million to Laos’ program.


O little watershed of Bethlehem

The Bethlehem Authority that manages the forested watershed of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains recently struck a deal with Disney, which will purchase forest carbon offsets from a 20,000-acre project. The four-year contract with the entertainment giant will replace a previous agreement with automaker Chevrolet. The authority estimates that the sale of offsets will bring in $140,000 to $170,000 annually, which it will use to improve the aging water system and protect the forest. For Disney – long a lover of forestry projects as this Ecosystem Marketplace story noted – buying offsets from this project helps the company meet its environmental goals such as reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2013 (a goal it achieved).


REDD scores another goal

The 20 members of the United Nations (UN) REDD Programme Policy Board last week approved $35.5 million in readiness funding, including allocations to the national programs of Argentina, Cote d’Ivoire and Mongolia in the amounts of $3.8 million, $3.2 million, and $4.0 million, respectively. Argentina’s program will address soy production as one of the major drivers of deforestation, Cote d’Ivoire’s will consider land competition for the cocoa, timber and rubber industries, and Mongolia’s is the first funded national REDD program for boreal forest. Meanwhile, the UN’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice met and discussed the importance of the non-carbon benefits of REDD, but punted on deciding how (and whether) to incentivize those benefits.


Ebola caused by deforestation?

An ongoing Ebola outbreak, which as of July 1 has claimed 467 lives in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, may be linked to deforestation, scientists say. As habitat is destroyed, chimpanzees, gorillas and bats that may carry the disease have more frequent contact with humans. “The increase in Ebola outbreaks since 1994 is frequently associated with drastic changes in forest ecosystems in tropical Africa,” according to a 2012 study in the Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research. Other researchers, however, reject the neat “outbreak narrative,” claiming there are additional factors at play.

A picture’s worth a thousand trees

Photographer and Brazilian native Rodrigo Baleia spent a dozen years flying 218,000 miles back and forth across the Amazon rainforest, photographing its destruction at the hands of cattle ranchers, loggers and developers. “I live this torment,” he says, “because I’m not sure if my work was good or strong enough to make an effective change in people’s lives.” He also observes that “the deforestation areas are smaller than they used to be.” His photographs can be viewed in The Wall Street Journal.

Colombia: Post-conflict, post-deforestation?

Aureliano Cí³rdoba, a leader of an Afro-Colombian community living along the Tolo River, fled to Panama during the Colombian civil war and returned in 2001 to find that cattle ranching posed a continuing threat to his village’s forests – its only source of fresh water. Three years ago, his community decided not to log its 32,000 acres of rainforest, and began working with Brodie Ferguson, now founder of carbon project developer Anthrotect, to draft a proposal for a REDD project. Last year, the community sold 70,000 carbon offsets at about $9 per tonne (tCO2e) – more than twice the $4.2/tCO2e average price for REDD offsets, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report. Colombian oil services firm Independence bought 20,000 offsets from the project.


The 54-million-tonne loophole

Forest degradation in the Amazon may be releasing 54 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year – up to 40% of the emissions from deforestation, according to a study published in Global Change Biology. The impacts of degradation, including selective timber extraction, burning and fragmentation are difficult to detect using satellite data alone, so the study paired satellite imagery with field study.

Japan breaking the rules of the forests

Japan, the fourth largest consumer of wood products globally, is unfortunately getting much of its supply from illegally sourced timber. San Xia Economic and Trade Company, one of the largest importers of illicitly cut Russian pine and ash, is selling 90% of its finished products to Japan, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). “Importing cheap illegal wood from eastern Russia is a tragic crime of convenience that directly undercuts Japanese business trying to play by the rules,” said Kate Horner, Director of Forest Campaigns at EIA.

REDD could fly high

Emissions from aviation are expected to quadruple by 2050, and technology improvement and efficiency gains won’t compensate for the increasing number of flights. If offsets are used to ‘cap’ net emissions from the aviation industry, demand could reach hundreds of millions of tonnes in 2030, according to a recent analysis by climate and energy consultant Adam Whitmore. REDD offsets are potentially positioned to fill this level of volume. The International Civil Aviation Organization last year agreed to look at using market-based mechanisms to cap net international aviation emissions at 2020 levels.


Sector Leader REDD+ – SNV Netherlands Development Organization

Based in Vientiane, Laos, the Sector Leader REDD+ will be responsible for steering SNV’s REDD+ programs in Laos, working in close collaboration with the management team and other sector leaders. The position requires five years of relevant experience in program or project management, strong knowledge and experience in REDD+ approaches and concepts, and experience in forestry inventory and land use planning in Southeast Asia. Knowledge of Geographical Information Systems and an entrepreneurial attitude are desirable.

Read more about the position here

Communication Consultant – The Forests Dialogue

Based in New Haven, Connecticut, the Communication Consultant will develop and execute communications strategies in alignment with The Forests Dialogue’s strategic plan and goal of reducing conflict among stakeholders over the use and protection of vital forest resources. The position requires building clear and consistent programmatic messaging, drafting press releases and media advisories, and engaging key audiences on social media. The consultant is expected to travel internationally regularly and will work an average of 20 hours per week.

Read more about the position here

UN-REDD MRV Forestry Officer for the Congo Basin Region – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, the Forestry Officer will provide technical and policy expertise to support the implementation of the FAO’s Strategic Objectives in the Congo Basin. The position requires helping countries to access UN-REDD support and providing guidance on monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) frameworks. The ideal candidate will have an advanced degree, seven years of relevant experience in the field of forest resources monitoring and assessment or forest management, and working knowledge of English and French (with some knowledge of Spanish).

Read more about the position here

Research Assistant, Carbon Monitoring, Land Use and Social Forestry – Woods Hole Research Center

Based in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the Research Assistant will work with Project Equateur, a pilot REDD+ project in Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The position requires working on community-level REDD+ carbon monitoring and land use planning research, development, and capacity building activities, and spending lengthy periods in Mbandaka, Equateur Province. The successful candidate with have an advanced degree, at least two years of international work experience in forestry, and excellent command of written and spoken French.

Read more about the position here

Illegal Logging Lawyer – ClientEarth

Based in London, United Kingdom, the Illegal Logging Lawyer will work on strengthening the implementation and enforcement of the European Union (EU) Timber Regulation, which seeks to prevent illegally logged timber from entering the EU market. The position is for a lawyer with outstanding legal, analytical and strategic skills and will require building and maintaining relationships with key partners in the EU and internationally, as well as representing ClientEarth’s work to external audiences.

Read more about the position here

See more jobs on the Forest Carbon Portal jobs page


The Forest Carbon Portal provides relevant daily news, a bi-weekly news brief, feature articles, a calendar of events, a searchable member directory, a jobs board, a library of tools and resources. The Portal also includes the Forest Carbon Project Inventory, an international database of projects including those in the pipeline. Projects are described with consistent ‘nutrition labels’ and allow viewers to contact project developers.


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