This Week In Forest Carbon: Communities Building Communities

Demonstrations of community collaborations sweep across the globe – from Colombia to Laos. South America became the site of the first VCS-approved REDD+ project to address unplanned deforestation, while pioneer community forest management plans were designed and approved in Cambodia. Meanwhile, innovative approaches to participatory land use planning were tested in parts of Southeast Asia.

Demonstrations of community collaborations sweep across the globe – from Colombia to Laos. South America became the site of the first VCS-approved REDD+ project to address unplanned deforestation, while pioneer community forest management plans were designed and approved in Cambodia. Meanwhile, innovative approaches to participatory land use planning were tested in parts of Southeast Asia.

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

3 December 2012 | Before diving into this week’s news, Ecosystem Marketplace is pleased to bring you tools to track and unpack this week’s UN Conference of Parties in Doha, Qatar.  Here, see our listing of “must see” events, including the 3rd International Voluntary and Compliance Carbon Markets Assembly co-hosted by Ecosystem Marketplace and two other major industry associations – as well as several domestic carbon market representatives from around the world!

If you are or know a representative of an agency developing/supporting a domestic carbon program – and would like to contribute to our survey or potentially serve as a panelist – contact  Selene Castillo  by COB Tuesday, November 27th. Our 2011 report drew attention from international media and was launched before members of the UK Parliament. Government program administrators or their implementing agencies that provide a survey response this year may be eligible to take part in 2013 events and receive additional recognition for participation.  

Also, following several State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2012 report launch events in the US, London and Italy, Ecosystem Marketplace is now  seeking supporters and sponsors  for the 2013 edition of the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report. We publicly recognize all levels of contributions, and provide additional visibility and recognition for supporters contributing $3K +. In order to produce this and the Forest report in 2013, we must secure $75K in pledges by December 31st – to discuss, contact EM Carbon Program Manager,  Molly Peters-Stanley.  


In this issue of Forest Carbon News, we see a growing trend towards communities working together for everything from forest certification to policy reform. In Colombia, the  Choco-Darien Conservation Corridor REDD+ Project  reportedly became the first VCS-approved REDD+ project to address unplanned deforestation in South America. Cambodia also saw a first as an unprecedented community forest management plan was  approved  since the community forestry guidelines were issued in 2006. Forest communities in 300 villages across Laos also engaged in  participatory land use planning  through the use of an innovative role-playing tool developed by the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute, CIFOR and other organizations.


On the flip side of the coin, community groups also banded together to oppose activities that they considered would harm instead of help their forests. The  Brazilian indigenous group  Paiter-Surui is asking for assistance from local authorities to halt the illegal logging the group has discovered taking place on their land. Indonesian civil society organizations and indigenous peoples groups alike are similarly asking authorities for assistance. In this case, communities were trying to prevent the Forest Investment Program sub-committee from endorsing the  Investment Plan for Indonesia. However, the Plan was endorsed, leaving communities to search for another plan of attack.


One potentially successful attack has been that of the Rainforest Foundation Norway and Friends of the Earth Norway, who have jointly and openly criticized Norway’s Pension Fund for allegedly investing more funds into forest-harming industries than forest conservation. The Fund recently announced the addition of deforestation in its  ethical investment policy  to prevent additional investments into forest-deteriorating activities. Congo and Kenya similarly face forest-harming activities but in-house. A recent publication by the Kenya Forest Service and UNEP reports that Kenya has  lost $14 million  in 2009 and 2010 combined due to deforestation. With a Global Witness report highlighting that foreign companies are going around the DRC’s  commercial logging moratorium, DRC hopes not to follow in Kenya’s footsteps.  


—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at [email protected].


International Policy  


Voting for the World  

The outcome of the recent US presidential election will prove to have not only domestic consequences, but also international ones, as negotiators prepare for discussions in the upcoming UNFCCC  COP18. Given the minimal attention climate change received during the presidential campaigns,  Tony La Vií±a, lead negotiator for the Philippines and REDD+ facilitator at COP18,  warns that without the support of the next US administration, the international negotiations could lose the participation of major developing and developed country players. “An overarching or comprehensive agreement without the US just does not make sense… It will be very hard for some countries to move forward, as we have already seen with the Kyoto Protocol,” continues La Vií±a.



This year’s Ecosystem Marketplace pre-UNFCCC negotiation prep  guide  focuses on one of the most discussed forest carbon initiatives in recent times: REDD. Our guide provides background on how and when then scheme developed, and how it is expected to develop in the upcoming two weeks. We also suggest reading and media material for negotiation first-timers. Read more on Ecosystem Marketplace’s REDD in Doha guide at the Forest Carbon Portal  here.


Doing it Right in Doha

Along with a negotiations guide, Ecosystem Marketplace is also supplying you with a side events guide to COP 18. This list include our “must attend” events spread throughout the two weeks of the negotiations. Key events include the 3rd International Voluntary and Compliance Carbon Markets Assembly hosted by Ecosystem Marketplace, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and the Climate Markets and Investors Association (CMIA) and Forest Day 6, which will bring together a variety of stakeholders, including Forest Trends team members, to discuss the latest forest-related developments in and around Doha. Read the Ecosystem Marketplace guide at the Forest Carbon Portal  here.



Project Development

Colombia’s Collective Certification

Led by Anthrotect and its project partner, the COCOMASUR landholder association, the Choco-Darien Conservation Corridor REDD+ Project in Colombia reportedly is the first VCS-approved REDD+ project to address unplanned deforestation in  South America. The 13,465-ha project is slated to avoid the emission of more than 2.8 MtCO2 throughout its 30 years. The project has also received CCB Gold validation, engaging Afro-Colombian communities to enhance natural resource management in the Choco region. Community actors are also expected to receive at minimum 50% of revenues from the sale of carbon credits.



Cambodia’s Plan of Attack  

Cambodia sees the approval of its first community forest management plan since the community forestry guidelines were issued by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 2006. The plan marks a significant step forward for  community participation, management and benefits. RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, the Forestry Administration and other NGOs have been working with community forestry sites since their establishment in 2008. Media representatives and an ambassador from the EU, which supported the preparation of the plan, toured the 978 ha community forest upon approval.



Para won’t Para  

LN Guerra’s 46,000-ha forest concession in Para became the  first Brazilian forest concession  to obtain certification by the Forest Stewardship Council. NGO TFT assisted LN Guerra in establishing a monitoring system for forest management, training staff on this new scheme, and drafting and implementing a social management plan to connect with nearby communities, some of which are indigenous groups. As part of the certification process, the organizations also engaged with other NGOS and the local government, who control the concessions. The Amazon Alternative provided financial support to fund a certification work program, which included social and environmental assessments, audits and trainings.



National Strategy & Capacity

Indonesia’s To-Do List  

A report recently launched by CIFOR and the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law speaks on the main challenges that Indonesia must overcome to successfully implement REDD+. In an interview with authors Daju Resosudarmo and Prayekti Murharjanti, both writers stress the importance of clarifying  land rights  in Indonesia, to help spell out both who can participate and who can benefit from the initiative. For this to occur, Marharjanti says land use plans and community rights in the Forestry Law need to be modified, and the land licensing process needs to be tightened. These changes along with REDD information then need to be communicated to communities, according to the authors. In the upcoming year, Indonesian President Yudho-yono is expected to act on an agreement with the Norwegian government, which pledged $1 billion for a three-phase REDD support process, by establishing a  REDD agency  as part of the first phase of the process. The agency is slated to handle conflict and compensation disputes.



Seeing the glass half full (of palm oil)

The pledge of the UK government and 14 major industry associations to purchase only certified sustainable palm oil by 2015 at the 10th annual Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil shows the growing support for  complementary efforts  to engage in both palm oil production and forest conservation. During the Roundtable, the World Resources Institute launched a method and suite of online tools that could help investors, planners and communities identify tracts of land that can be used for oil palm without adding to forest clearing and burning. According to WRI’s new tool, 14 million ha of Kalimantan’s land may be fitting for sustainable palm oil production.



Kenya’s Silent Swindler

The Kenya Forest Service and UNEP published a report – “The Role and Contribution of Montane Forests and Related Ecosystem Services to the Kenyan Economy” – showing that  deforestation has robbed Kenya  of around $14 million in 2009 and 2010 combined. Meanwhile, forests provide between 1.1 to 3.6% of Kenya’s GDP. Researchers considered the loss of productive soils caused by erosion, the incidence of malaria resulting from deforestation, the effect of reduced river flow on irrigation, the above-ground carbon storage value lost, and the effect of reduced water quality on inland fishing. With 75% of the population dependent on wood fuel and charcoal as energy sources, private consumption significantly drives deforestation.  Agroforestry  is presented as an option to provide a living that includes tree planting.



PULP Fiction: Laos Version  

The National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute, in partnership with CIFOR and other organizations, has created a new method to engage forest communities in land use planning. In the  role-playing tool  “PLUP fiction” (participatory land use planning), a 3D map, assembled with the help of residents, is presented to residents, and they are asked what actions they would take as the developer, conservationist or village leader, allowing local views to enter land use planning. The method has been implemented across 300 villages in Laos, which now see more participation in land use planning meetings and an increasing knowledge of how to negotiate and discuss land use and resource management plans.



Congo’s Ongoing Logging

A recent report by Global Witness claims that foreign logging companies are going around the DRC’s 2002 commercial logging moratorium with the assistance of corrupt government officials from the Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism who grant them  artisanal permits  meant for local community logging and local chieftains who grant them access tropical forests in exchange for bribes. DRC citizens are allowed two artisanal permits annually; the report finds that foreign companies sometimes received six times this number of permits annually.



No Limit, No Forest?

With New Zealand not planning on setting a limit to inexpensive, foreign offset credits, citizens are expecting the forestry sector to take a significant hit. “With an ineffective market, forestry is now backing off involvement so forests are being harvested and  not replanted  and very few forests are being established. This will increase the cost to taxpayers when NZ has to balance its carbon emissions books in 2015 under the international agreements,” says writer Geoff Thompson. The author continues to say that this will not only affect NZ domestically, but also in the international frame, possibly being viewed as not doing their part, domestically, to reduce emissions by their international partners.



Finance & Economics

Not REDD-y to take a risk

In an Ecosystem Marketplace exclusive, author Steve Zwick accounts the thus-far futile process of attempting to obtain REDD+ funding from international donors and private investors by a group of  Ghanaian leaders. After responding to a request for proposals from the country’s Forestry Commission and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for projects that would test REDD, Ghanaian businessman John Addaquay realized his intended project was not of proper scale. After obtaining more scale, funding restrictions rose in terms of the type of activities certain multilateral initiatives, such as the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, can support, bringing to light the scenario many projects are in, according to Forest Trends’ REDD+ Finance Tracking Project. Read more about this story at Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon Portal  here.



Norway’s Balancing Act

After years of  criticism  for investing more funds into rainforest destroying than rainforest conserving projects, Norway’s Pension Fund announces the addition of deforestation in its ethical investment policy to prevent further investments in  forest-harming  activities. As part of the initiative, companies must provide information on the impact their work will have on forests over time and how they are complying with international forest protection standards. The Fund has previously been called out by the Rainforest Foundation Norway and Friends of the Earth Norway for supporting forest-threatening industries, such as palm oil, cattle ranching, logging, pulp and paper, oil and gas, and hydropower dams. Read more about this story at Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon Portal  here.



Environmental Econ 101

A new book reviewed by Gabriel Thoumi and Brian Loux, “The Global Economics of Forestry,” offers glimpses of instances where human experiences match or contradict our modeled understanding of  forest-related markets. Author William F. Hyde focuses on forest management and its development process in communities, providing case studies and supplemental information to understand where the theoretical meets the practical. He also establishes phases of forest management development; however, Thoumi and Loux see this as more qualitative than quantitative.



Methods & Standards Watch  

CAR rethinks its forests

The Climate Action Reserve recently launched its Forest Project Protocol  Version 3.3, making changes to its Version 3.2 based on suggestions from soil carbon, lying dead wood, and sustainable forestry certification whitepapers as well as stakeholder feedback during the open comment period. Revisions include an updated scope of assessment and new option for sustainable harvesting; an updated methodology for calculating baselines in IFM projects; and the addition of soil as a carbon pool in avoid conversion projects among other changes.



Human Dimension  

The Surui’s and their unwanted guests

Indigenous forest rangers working with the Paiter-Surui, the Brazilian indigenous group that established the first indigenous-led REDD project, have discovered  illegal logging, fishing and cattle grazing on protected territory. The 248,000-ha project received dual validation from the VCS and CCB Standard Gold. However, carbon credits can only be issued after deforestation reductions are verified, which is how the forest rangers are helping. After tracking illegal loggers hauling wood to a nearby mill, the group is asking local authorities to help secure the integrity of the forest. Read more about this Ecosystem Marketplace exclusive at the Forest Carbon Portal  here.



Help Us Help You

After attending the  Rights and Resources Initiative’s  12th Dialogue on Forest, Governance and Climate Change,  the Ecosystem Marketplace team reports on key discussions surrounding land tenure. One of RRI’s developing projects is the International Forest Tenure Facility, which will serve as a public-private partnership to incentivize private sector actors to provide financial and political support for governance reform. With support from other organizations and multilateral donors, RRI aims to finish the design of the Facility in 2013. Read more on Ecosystem Marketplace coverage’s of the event at the Forest Carbon Portal  here.



An Unheard Call

Despite requests from civil society organizations and indigenous peoples groups to halt the Forest Investment Program (FIP) sub-committee from endorsing the Investment Plan for Indonesia, the  sub-committee  last week endorsed the Plan, which is expected to provide $70 million in grants and concessional loans for community forestry and forest carbon management programs. Days before the Plan was endorsed, Indonesian NGOs wrote to the sub-committee, explaining their main concerns regarding the program’s participation process and legal basis, which is Indonesia’s Forestry Law. The Law  fails  to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples to the forest. NGOs wrote that legal reforms that provided indigenous peoples with land rights were necessary before the Plan was approved to prevent adding to the land tenure problem.



Science & Technology Review  

Team NASA’s Global Forest Disturbance Alert System (GloF-DAS), which filters data quarterly from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), shows that NASA  satellites  detected potential deforestation through several parts of Latin America, West and Central Africa and Southeast Asia between July and September. NASA’s MODIS flags changes in forest cover when more than 40% of a given square unit has changed. Records are kept on a quarterly basis with information registered at the same time each year for comparison. Developed in collaboration with Cal State Monterey Bay and NASA Ames Research Center, GloF-DAS data can be downloaded for public use.



Bringing atlases back

Developed in partnership with the World Resources Institute, Cameroon’s government recently launched the  third edition  of their Interactive Forest Atlas, a thorough arrangement of computerized and paper documentation to help government officials – as well as the private sector, civil society and research institutions – oversee forest activities. Data provided in the atlas includes logging permits, community forests, agro-industrial plantations, and large-scale mining. The atlas is expected to facilitate collaboration among government agencies and ministries involved in land use planning and natural resource management. WRI is also in the process of developing similar atlases for other Congo Basin nations, including Congo Brazaville, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.



A multi-tasking forest

In response to the release of the 2nd World Atlas of Mangroves, a partnership of organizations drafted a policy brief to highlight the importance of the ecosystem services provided by  mangroves, despite accounting for less than 0.5% of forests globally. Co-author Dr. Mark Spalding from The Nature Conservancy notes that mangrove forests are being lost a rate 3 to 5 times greater than the rate of global forests. However, mangrove forests can serve as carbon stores and sinks, and provide carbon-rich soils and quality timber. The Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve in Malaysia is showcased as possibly the best example of a sustainably-managed mangrove ecosystem, with forest products valued annually at approximately $12.3 million.



Publications & Tools

Forest Carbon Newbies

Through  Community guidelines for accessing forestry voluntary carbon markets, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations aims to provide some assistance to small-scale landowners who may not be familiar with the voluntary carbon market while deciding whether they should enter the forestry voluntary carbon market. In addition, it presents help designing and implementing a forest carbon project, if land owners chose to carry on with a project.  


Safeguarding Lessons Learned  

In the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s publication,  Designing Effective REDD+ Safeguard Information Systems, the authors explore lessons learned on safeguards based on eight existing systems and early action in five countries, namely Ethiopia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Tanzania and Vietnam. The report focuses on key features in a safeguards system, including transparency, consistency, accessibility and flexibility, and notes that quality systems can be designed by building on existing mechanisms.



A 5-point message  

The Nature Conservancy’s  Sharing the Benefits of REDD+  reports 5 key components that are critical to consider when designing a successful natural resource management program and brings in lessons from REDD+. It presents case studies from ten projects in Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Botswana, Cambodia, Colombia and China.




3 Positions – Rainforest Alliance

Based in Bali, the  Forest Management Certification and Verification Coordinator  for the Asia-Pacific Division will be responsible for providing FM certification and verification services, including but not limited to FSC, FM, Controlled Wood, and Legality Verification, as well as supporting the sale and development of services to clients in the Asia-Pacific region. Candidates should have a degree in forestry, natural resource management or a related field with 2+ years’ experience in forestry or related field. Based in Guatemala City, the  Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist II  will be responsible for the reporting and quantifying of direct and indirect program results. Candidates should have a master’s degree in environmental studies, natural resource management, forestry, economics, social sciences or a related field with a 5+ years’ experience in monitoring and evaluation, including forest carbon assessments. Based in Guatemala City, the  REDD+ Specialist II  will provide leadership and support to lay out participatory approaches to promote momentum of REDD+ readiness. Candidates should have a master’s degree in forestry, ecology, environmental science, policy environmental economics or a related field with 5+ years’ of experience working in forests and climate change.



Project Coordinator – Livelihoods Venture

Based in Paris, the Project Coordinator will work with the Livelihoods team to identify, screen and design projects to be eligible to the fund. Candidates should have a PhD or equivalent with 10+ years’ experience in project development and management, preferably in rural areas and developing countries. Read more about the position  here.



Global Climate Change Adaptation Specialist – WWF  

Based in Guatemala City, the Adaptation Specialist will serve as Strategic Objective Manager, provide technical leadership and support for Adaptation-related activities and oversee staff and consultants as pertinent. Candidates should have a master’s degree in an environmentally related subject area with 10+ years’ experience of progressively more responsible international work experience. Read more about the position  here.



Policy Associate – The Pacific Forest Trust

Based in San Francisco, the Associate will research and report on state and federal legislation and regulations regarding forests, land use and other relevant policy issues and facilitate state and federal legislative and agency support for PFT conservation projects. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in forest ecology, conservation biology, policy or economics with relevant work experience a plus. Read more about the position  here.



2 Positions – Conservation International

Based in Arlington, VA, the  Senior Analyst for MRV and Climate Mitigation  will work across technical areas in REDD+ to assess and build capacity on best practices for sustainable land-use monitoring, carbon inventories and GHG inventories. Candidates should have a PhD degree in geography, forestry, environmental science, natural resource management or a related field with 8+ years’ experience in related technical work. Based in Georgetown, Guyana, the  Intern for Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change  will be responsible for assessing the potential for integrating EbA into national and local strategies, policies and action plans. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s of Science in conservation, natural resource management, environmental science or policy with 3+ years’ experience in the environmental sector.  



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.



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 [email protected].  

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