This Week In Forest Carbon News…

Ecosystem Marketplace’s carbon team is in the final stages of data collection for the upcoming forest carbon markets report. Meanwhile, a local Colombian community attempts to use the REDD mechanism (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) to preserve its rainforest.

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


7 August 2014 | Five years ago, the Tolo River People of northern Colombia were facing threats from all angles. Externally, wealthy businessmen in a nearby town were expanding their cattle ranches into the community’s forests. Internally, the Tolo themselves were logging the forests commercially to feed their families.

“This wood is worth around three million pesos,” about US$1,500 said Frazier Guisao, a former logger, referencing a giant centennial almendro tree on a walk through the forest with journalist Tanya Dimitrova. Guisao estimates that he could take down the tree in two hours, but today, he’s content to leave it standing.

By teaming up with US-based carbon project developer Anthrotect, Guisao and his community-based organization COCOMASUR were able to create a REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests) project that would save the roughly 13,000 hectares of forests that would otherwise be lost to cattle ranching, agriculture and logging. The project verified its first emissions reductions under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) in 2012, and last year it sold 70,000 offsets at $9 apiece on the voluntary carbon market. These financial returns flow much slower than logging revenues, but they may be enough to pay for forest patrollers’ salaries (that’s Guisao’s new gig) and, eventually, to improve the Tolo’s community health care services and send young people to university.

“Our community will always continue trying to protect our forest with or without the project. But having the project gives us the resources to do that,” says community leader Aureliano Cí³rdoba.

Read the full story here, which is the first in a series adapted from “Modern day forest conservation: A Colombian community protecting its rainforest one carbon credit at a time,” by Dimitrova.

And, speaking of projects like these, we’re now in the final stages of data collection for our State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 report. This annual report is the only market-wide, freely available benchmark on the forest carbon market, providing transparent information on transactions and project developments. If you are a forest carbon project developer (or know one!) please make sure to get in your response.

The survey is available in English HERE and in Spanish AQUí. Questions? Get in touch with Allie Goldstein or Gloria Gonzalez.

The Ecosystem Marketplace Team


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



A sour margarita

REDD remains a divisive issue in the run-up to the United Nations’ Conference of Parties climate negotiations in Peru in December, as seen by dueling proclamations issued last month. A meeting of 130 civil society organizations in Venezuela ended with the Margarita Declaration, which claimed that carbon markets are a “false solution” to the climate change problem and called market-based REDD projects “dangerous and unethical.” But a competing statement issued by NGOs and carbon market industry associations urged governments to help secure the financing needed to support REDD+, namely interim incentives for stimulating REDD+ investment during the 2015-2020 period before any new international climate agreement takes hold.


Thank you, Mr. President

Environmental advocates have gotten their wish with the victory of President-elect Joko Widodo, who will assume the presidency of Indonesia in October, despite the fact that little is known about his views on climate change. Indonesia has recently surpassed Brazil as having the world’s highest rate of deforestation, but the country’s new REDD+ Management Agency is developing measuring and reporting metrics for REDD+ projects. Heru Prasetyo, head of the agency, urged the incoming government to ensure passage of legislation safeguarding the land tenure of indigenous groups, which hold rights to an estimated 45 million hectares of forest being misused as commercial concessions.

California thirsty for forest offsets

Severe drought conditions in California have led officials to impose criminal penalties for water wasters, but could also help make the case that the US state should allow projects aimed at curbing tropical deforestation into its carbon trading program. The potential connection between deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and the drought has caught the attention of staffers at the California Air Resources Board (ARB) who are planning to consider allowing sector-based REDD projects to supply offsets to the program. ARB staffers are also planning to recommend that the board lift its ban on forestry projects based in Alaska.

The Last Frontier going up in flames

Forest fires have taken hold across Canada’s Last Frontier. Of the 186 wildfires instigated by extremely dry conditions in Canada’s Northwest Territories this year, 156 are still burning. The acreage burned to date is six times greater than the 25-year average, according to Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center data. Boreal forests like those in the Northwest Territories are burning at unprecedented rates, a major challenge as the combined boreal forests of Canada, Europe, Russia and Alaska account for 30% of the world’s carbon stored in land. Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon Portal currently tracks 15 forestry projects in Canada.


This is a monkey’s world

Project developer Face the Future and the Uganda Wildlife Authority have just completed the latest carbon monitoring campaign in Kibale National Park, measuring a total area of 70 hectares. The park, located in western Uganda, is known for its diversity of monkeys and great apes, but deforestation in the past 20 years has led to habitat degradation and endangerment of biodiversity.  So far, the project has restored more than 6,200 hectares and planted over 1.4 million trees. Despite complications from rain and equipment failure, the developer completed its planned monitoring work and hopes to issue VCS offsets in the third quarter of 2014.


Failing the forests?

Two new subsidiaries of palm oil company PT Austindo Nusantara Jaya Tbk have cleared forests in areas of New Guinea that would be off-limits under voluntary zero deforestation commitments made by companies such as Wilmar that purchase the parent company’s products, according to an analysis by Greenomics Indonesia. Both of the subsidiaries, acquired in January 2013, had forest land relinquishment permits issued by the Minister of Forestry. But Wilmar, the world’s largest palm oil trader, made a zero deforestation pledge in December 2013 and the company should answer questions about the connection between the clearing of intact forest landscapes for palm oil plantations in New Guinea and its pledge, according to Greenomics Indonesia.

The best a farmer can get

Consumer goods company Procter & Gamble has partnered with the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation for a 6-month study to uncover new options for working with small farmers to separate sustainable sources from non-sustainable sources in the production of palm oil and palm kernel oil. The company is already working with larger suppliers in its supply chain as part of its zero deforestation pledge. But working with small farmers in places such as Malaysia and Indonesia is critical because they account for 35-45% of palm oil production. Japanese consumer goods giant Kao Corporation has become the latest company to join the zero deforestation trend by committing to sustainable procurement of raw materials by 2020.


Will the coffee be green too?

Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy aims to guide the country’s efforts to become a low-carbon, middle-income economy by 2025. The strategy prioritizes the implementation of REDD projects as part of its focus on protecting and re-establishing the economic value of forests and their importance to the ecosystem. The strategy also includes reducing the demand for fuel wood through the distribution and use of fuel-efficient stoves and increasing afforestation and reforestation, among other forest conservation activities. But implementing the strategy will be a pricey proposition, with an estimated $150 billion required over the next 20 years.


Palm oil’s appeal

Fibre plantations are the main cause of deforestation in Indonesia, not the palm oil plantations that usually take the blame for the country’s skyrocketing rate of deforestation, according to new research from the University of Adelaide, Australia. Of the 14.7 million hectares of forest destroyed in the country between 2000 and 2010, 12.8% were removed for fibre plantations compared to 6.8% for palm oil plantations. In 2011, Indonesia stopped issuing permits to firms to clear forests on about 64 million hectares, but the ban did not apply to previously issued permits.

The under-story

Long-term global warming has little effect on the overall storage of carbon in tropical forest soil or the rate at which that carbon is processed into carbon dioxide, according to a new study of Hawaiian forests published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The findings dispel concerns raised by short-term climate studies showing that rising temperatures increased the rate of soil respiration. These earlier studies caused scientists to worry that global warming would decrease the amount of stored carbon in tropical soils. “If these findings hold true in other tropical regions, then warmer temperatures may not necessarily cause tropical soils to release their carbon to the atmosphere at a faster rate,” says Greg Asner of the Carnegie Institution for Science.



Wrestling with orangutans

Renowned conservationist and founder of Orangutan Foundation International Birute Galdikas was at first skeptical of entrepreneur Todd Lemons’ idea to use REDD to save the Seruyan Forest of Borneo. “I loved what he was saying, but I wasn’t convinced it would work,” she says. But with the peat forest slated to convert to palm oil within five years, Galdikas was out of other options. After seeing Lemons, a former college wrestler, wrangling with the orphaned orangutans and after seeing how quickly he caught onto Indonesian social cues  she decided to take a gamble on what would later become the Rimba Raya REDD project. Read Ecosystem Marketplace’s fourth installment of this series here.


Seeking a fair shake

The second Fair Carbon Standard meeting was held in Melbourne, Australia last week, after an inaugural workshop last January. Proposed by the Aboriginal Carbon Fund, the Standard aims to promote a robust voluntary carbon market in Australia by including a minimum price (to cover costs), co-benefits and long-term relationships with buyers. “One of our great challenges will be to shift carbon credits from being a top shelf commodity to a standard commodity that is purchased routinely by ordinary consumers and corporate Australia, according to the non-profit fund, which aims to build a sustainable Aboriginal carbon industry.


The carbon keepers

Indigenous people and local communities currently have legal or official rights to at least 513 million hectares of forests, about an eighth of the world’s total, according to Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change, a new report by the World Resources Institute and the Rights and Resources Initiative. The study finds that two key ingredients legal land tenure and positive government action to support those land rights are key to preventing the 37.7 billion tonnes of carbon stored in community-owned forests from being released into the atmosphere. If done right, “payments under REDD+ could incentivize governments to reform their legal frameworks and strengthen community forests rights,” promoting an often “undervalued” approach to mitigating climate change, the study finds.

Under the table

Ninety-three percent of logging in Mozambique last year was illegal, costing the country $146 million in lost duties and taxes since 2007, according to a new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). The vast majority of this illicitly logged wood was shipped to China. Mozambique has the opportunity to access $3.8 million to establish a REDD strategy to reduce deforestation, but the EIA report calls into question whether such an approach could work given the widespread crime and corruption.

All together now

As part of the United Nations REDD project in Vietnam, development organization SNV recently piloted a Participatory Subnational Planning approach in the coastal province on Binh Thuan. The organization has now released a step-by-step guide that might be adopted for any participatory REDD or land-use planning process. It walks participants through preparatory studies and training as well as safeguards analysis and monitoring workshops. The guidance aims to promote a multi-stakeholder approach that increases ownership of and transparency throughout the REDD planning process.


Post-doctoral Research Fellow Bangor University

Based in North Wales, United Kingdom, the Post-doctoral Research Fellow will work through the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography on a project called “Can Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) deliver environmental and livelihood benefits?” The key case study will be a PES program in the Bolivian highlands, established by the Bolivian NGO Fundacií³n Natura Bolivia. Candidates should have a PhD (or equivalent) in economics, sociology, geography, conservation science or a related subject and experience with field work in Latin America.
Read more about the position here

Program Manager, Greater Mekong Conservation International

Based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Program Manager will work to expand Conservation International’s Greater Mekong program. The position involves developing new business and partnerships in relevant policy and programmatic subject areas, including REDD and freshwater management. The preferred candidate will have a master’s degree, at least five years of experience working with NGOs and experience monitoring and evaluating programs.
Read more about the position here

Team Leader REDD+ Project in Southern Laos “sterreichische Bundesforste Consulting
Based in Pakse, Southern Laos, the Team Leader will lead the implementation of a REDD+ project in Xe Pian National Protected Area and its buffer zone and support the government of Laos in preparing for national implementation of REDD+. The successful candidate will have an advanced degree in forestry or a related discipline and a minimum of five years relevant work experience, at least two years prior experience abroad. Knowledge of English, German and Lao Language is preferred.
Read more about the position here

Operations Manager Proforest
Based in Oxford, United Kingdom, the Operations Manager for Proforest will help manage a period of growth and change while overseeing offices in the UK, Malaysia, Brazil and Ghana. The position requires strong interpersonal skills, the proven ability to multi-task and operate in a multi-cultural environment, and a knack for seeing the big picture and prioritizing tasks. At least three years of experience working as an operations manager is required; experience with information technology systems is useful.
Read more about the position here

Forest Officer, Responsible Forest Programme World Wide Fund for Nature, Malaysia
Based in Selangor, Malaysia, the Forest Officer will promote Responsible Forestry practices to the forest managers in Malaysia through the implementation of Global Forest and Trade Network Participation and forest certification. The successful candidate will have at least two years of experience in forestry and an interest in forest resource management and the timber trade, and the way they seek to improve their management practices. Must be able to speak or write in English, Bahasa Malaysia and/or Mandarin.
Read more about the position here

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