This Week In Forest Carbon: North American V-Carbon Report Launch

Findings from the 2012 Voluntary Carbon Markets Report, slated to have its North American launch next week in Washington D.C., show significant changes in volume and pricing on forest carbon projects, in part due to the European financial crisis and uncertainties in REDD finance.

Findings from the 2012 Voluntary Carbon Markets Report, slated to have its North American launch next week in Washington D.C., show significant changes in volume and pricing on forest carbon projects, in part due to the European financial crisis and uncertainties in REDD finance.

This article originally appeared in the Carbon Forest Newsletter. Click here to view the original.

5 June 2012 | The volume of forest-carbon offsets trailed off last year, but prices rose and the long-term prospects remain strong, according to the 2012 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Report, which we unveiled last week at an overflow side event at Carbon Expo in Cologne, Germany.

If you missed the event, you can download the report  here  – or better yet – join us for the  North American launch, which Baker & McKenzie is holding at their Washington, DC offices on June 14. The event will include a panel presentation of findings from 4:30-6:00 PM, followed by a reception. To attend, RSVP by Monday, June 11 via email to [email protected]. Please provide contact information including full name, company, title, address, and telephone number. If you would like to bring a guest, please also include their details.

Our 2012 report builds on a record data collection from an unprecedented number of offset suppliers worldwide to provide insights that will once again become an industry benchmark. We hope you will be able to join Ecosystem Marketplace for an in-depth look at our findings.


—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team


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


International Policy

That uneasy spot between Bonn and Doha

A Global Canopy Programme  article  notes that toward the end of the Bonn climate talks, countries still disagreed over whether private finance (e.g. market-based) could be used to supplement public finance (e.g. non-market based) to support REDD+. While most countries supported a combination, India and Bolivia argued that reliance on markets (largely carbon offsets) would provide unstable and insufficient REDD+ funding. Brazil supported exploring ideas on market-based mechanisms excluding offset generation. Third World Network  covers  each country’s differing views on REDD+ finance.

On monitoring, parties and other attendees discussed building off of existing national monitoring systems, possible interlinkages between MRV for NAMAs and REDD+, and the  step-wise approach  to reference emission levels (RELs). While the Overseas Development Institute discussed  work to be done  on deforestation and degradation drivers in the build-up to Bonn, progress during the talks themselves was slow, particularly when it came to identifying policy instruments to address drivers (especially agricultural). IISD has  daily coverage and summaries  of the full Bonn talks.  Until Doha…

South-South engine on REDD+ governance takes off

The UN-REDD Programme recently supported the first  South-South Exchange on Participatory Governance Assessment (PGA) for REDD+, which established an Asia-Pacific community of practice to strengthen REDD+ governance efforts. Representatives from over 10 countries met in Indonesia to discuss governance assessments for REDD+. Practitioners from pilot countries Ecuador, Indonesia, Nigeria and Vietnam shared their lessons learned from conducting PGAs. Country ownership of the PGA processes, with participation from government and civil society, may bolster the sustainability of the PGA process, as well as policy uptake and reform.

Watch out, corruption! Africa joins hands

UN-REDD Programme’s latest newsletter covers a  workshop  held in late April in Zambia, where participants from seven UN-REDD Programme partner countries (representing Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia), civil society and indigenous peoples’ organizations signed a joint statement on how to deal with REDD+-related anti-corruption efforts. After sharing ideas and experiences to determine what corruption risks were most likely and impactful in their countries, participants drafted initial country-tailored action plans and made commitments of joint work.

Project Development

Entergy resurrects Lower Mississippi Valley forests

Entergy Corporation has  completed the registration  of a reforestation project in Arkansas and Louisiana that will remove an estimated 460,000 tCO2 over the next 40 years. The project, which involved restoring 2,942 acres of marginal agricultural land to native bottomland hardwood forests in the Lower Mississippi Valley, is registered with the American Carbon Registry and one of few US-based reforestation projects registered anywhere. The Conservation Fund and Trust for Public Land helped acquire the lands, Environmental Synergy planted the trees, and TerraCarbon provided technical assistance and project documentation.

Liable Australia taps into Carbon Conscious

Project developer Carbon Conscious is  planting  over 10,000 ha of native mallee eucalypt trees across the Australian wheatbelt as part of one of the country’s largest carbon forestry projects. “As more countries develop carbon pricing mechanisms, such as South Korea’s new cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme, there is increasing appetite for global carbon offset investments,” CEO Peter Balsarini said, noting that the company is seeing growing interest from organizations seeking facing carbon liabilities under the Clean Energy Act 2011 and the New Zealand ETS.

U-Haul and Kent on the move

U-Haul’s existing partnership with The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero Program helps plant trees in the US. Across the border, the DYI mover has just announced an additional  partnership  with Tree Canada, a not-for-profit that plants trees in Canada. U-Haul equipment rental customers will have the option of contributing to Tree Canada’s Grow Clean Air Program to offset their carbon emissions. All U-Haul locations across Canada are in, with 100% of contributions going toward Tree Canada’s tree projects.

Australian moving company Kent is  teaming up  with forestry offset organization Greenfleet to reduce its carbon emissions. Under the Kent Native Forests Regeneration Program, Kent has promised to plant one tree for every completed CSI Online Survey, which clients may fill out after using Kent’s moving services.

In other mentions, Oddar Meanchy

In Responding to Climate Change (RTCC)’s latest series of case studies, Amanda Bradley from Pact uses Cambodia’s first REDD project, the  Oddar Meanchey REDD+ project,  to explain the role played by communities in climate mitigation. Launched in 2008 and using VCS methodology combined with CCB, the pilot brings together 13 community forestry groups – covering 10,000+ households – partnering with the Cambodian Forestry Administration, civil society organizations, and private actors in sustainable forest management. About 8.3 MtCO2 will be sequestered over 30 years, with carbon credit revenues from the voluntary market going toward forest protection and community development.

Océ can you see

Océ, a Canon Group printing company,  announced  last week that the Océ Eco Start Program funded the planting of over 350,000 trees in 2011. The Océ Eco Start Program partners with Trees for the Future, planting trees on behalf of Océ U.S. customers to help offset emissions attributable to the energy usage from production equipment during the first year of operation.

Sumatra’s scratch-paper tiger

A $30 million Australian REDD project in Sumatra  is in doubt, the second Australian-Indonesian carbon project to show its seams (the first being the $47 million Kalimantan peatland project reported on in March). A spokesman for Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said work has not started on the ground yet because Australia and Indonesia’s governments have not yet agreed on a revised project scope. The review of Australia’s Indonesian carbon programs, costing $100 million overall, said the Sumatra project may not be the best use of funding and called to reconsider the project in light of the Kalimantan project setback and emergence of other Indonesian forest schemes, including Norway’s $1 billion investment.

A sip of arabica coffee…

…does more than get you up in the morning. Peruvian coffee growers have a new tool at their disposal. As a pilot group of UK-based Cafédirect’s AdapCC project, Peru-based Cepicafe—a Cafédirect’s supplier—is  leveraging the carbon market  to boost the sustainability of local farming. Farmers are reforesting degraded grasslands at higher elevations to increase nutrients and water available for lower-level coffee plants, and to provide a sustainable source for firewood. Once plantings are certified to the CarbonFix standard, the carbon credits will be sold and 10% of income will go to Cepicafe. Carbon credits from plantings will ideally be sold to buyers within the same supply chain. Cafédirect is pre-paying funds to buy credits in order to help the project get up and running. Additional coverage is provided by  The Guardian and edie.

National Strategy & Capacity

Acres upon Acre of REDD+ credits

With the first REDD+ credits usable within compliance marketes available from Acre, Brazil as early as next year,  Point Carbon’s Emil Dimantchev says the issuance of REDD+ credits “would be a significant turning point in the development of global carbon markets as they move from national emission reduction targets to a smaller-scale, regional and sectoral crediting approach.” Project developer CarbonCo LLC is developing Acre’s first voluntary REDD+ project, whose credits – estimated up to 48 Mt between 2012 and 2020 – could be used for compliance in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). California has signed MOUs with Acre, meaning the WCI could start accepting REDD+ credits – probably in 2015. Given Acre’s MOU with regulators of Rio de Janeiro’s proposed carbon market, Acre’s REDD+ credits could also fit into the Rio scheme, to be launched this month. Korea may also allow the use of offsets for its carbon market, to launch in 2015.

Dilma’s denouement

While many Brazilians had pushed for a complete veto, on May 25, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff used a line-item veto on 12 of 84 articles in the new Forest Code law approved by Congress in April, as covered by SustainableBusiness and CNN. Congress has a month to override her veto with a 50% majority, which most consider unlikely. Rousseff restored specific requirements for how much forest must be maintained, with varying percentages based on forest location. She restored requirements for forests along the banks of larger rivers to prevent soil erosion and chemical runoff into waterways. But she also left flexibility for small, poorer farmers, softening the Code by allowing protection of hillsides and riversides to count toward a landowner’s total forest cover. Large landowners must restore any missing forest cover. Rousseff’s compromise between agriculture and the environment has left some conservation groups  cold, just weeks before she hosts Rio+20.


Indonesia moratorium needs a miracle

Indonesia is halfway through its two-year moratorium on issuing new forest clearance permits on 65 million ha of land, under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation. Norway’s contribution is contingent on policy change and forestry sector emission reductions. Yet the moratorium is having little effect on deforestation rates and emissions, and secures less forest than was thought. Norway’s environment minister has indicated that the moratorium may fall short. Expanded protected area notwithstanding, the Indonesian government has its work cut out in terms of improving forest monitoring and governance of permits.  Nature,  Reuters, and  The Jakarta Post  cover the above, while  Heru Prasetyo from Indonesia’s Presidential REDD+ Task Force discusses what the moratorium will hopefully achieve by the end of the final year in a CIFOR  video interview.

Mozambique stakes out its first REDD+ legal framework

In response to a growing interest by the private sector and NGOs, the Mozambique government organized a workshop with support from the World Bank and WWF in early May to produce the first draft of what could be Mozambique’s first REDD legal instrument. The workshop prioritized establishing rules and procedures to guide private investment in REDD+, determining which agency has the jurisdiction to grant permission on REDD projects, and the legal details behind carbon credits. Brazil, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia attended the meeting and shared their REDD+ experiences.

REDD-PAC package for Brazil and Congo Basin

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research recently held a workshop to launch the PAC-REDD research project. Funded by the German International Climate Initiative, REDD-PAC aims to develop technical know-how and capacity in designing REDD+ strategies. REDD-PAC will focus models on the Central African and Brazilian rainforests, pursuing joint development of integrated land-use models for REDD+ assessment at the Brazilian and Congo Basin regional levels. REDD-PAC will also develop reference methodologies for REDD+ modeling and land-use planning.

Tanzania’s hands deep in soil sampling

FAO is helping scientists and policymakers in Tanzania evaluate how much carbon is stored in forests and forests soils. Implemented by the Tanzanian government and FAO and funded by Tanzania and Finland, the $5.6 million project collected field data over two years from 3,400 sites. Soil sampling results will be used in dynamic computer modeling, which allows scientists to estimate changes in soil carbon stocks over time without having to conduct an expensive and laborious soil survey every 5 to 10 years.


Finance & Economics

Alberta carbon fund hatches incubator approach

Alberta’s Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp typically funds specific projects in its plan to spend $8.4 million over three years on biological sources of greenhouse gas emissions. But CCEMC is  changing course, planning to fund a program that will first incubate projects that will be worthy of financial support. The industry-supported carbon fund will develop both enabling projects and smaller accelerator projects to address knowledge gaps. Government-funded agency Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions will manage the plan. “There are no firm decisions yet, but work could include livestock operations, fertilizer applications and cropping systems as well as the disposal of forestry slash materials,” said the agency’s executive director. Potential greenhouse gas reductions from biological sources are estimated at 23 MtCO2e annually.

Beating around the safeguards bush

Investors and green groups  told Point Carbon  recently that countries risk delaying private sector investment in REDD by tabling indigenous rights issues. Particularly in countries with REDD potential that are considered risky investments, the Rainforest Foundation said investors need guarantees over indigenous land rights and biodiversity included as part of a UN framework before they are comfortable deploying cash. The Climate Markets and Investor Association said safeguards are key for members to operate in the sector. For richer countries that may use REDD credits to meet emission reduction goals more cheaply, effective auditing of forest carbon levels is clutch.



What incentivizes forest-rich developing countries to leave business-as-usual and invest in REDD+ schemes? Reliable, long-term compensation, said CIFOR’s Maria Brockhaus at Bonn. While REDD+ has brought some change already, it must have scaled up financing and go beyond the forestry sector if it is to realize its mitigation potential, says Brockhaus. Yet developed countries face problems raising climate funds amid a financial crisis, while developing countries face increasing risks from climate change, potentially fueling mistrust, said Monica Araya, climate finance advisor to the Costa Rica government. She called for more “factual conversations” on climate funding, while developing countries need to be transparent about how they spend money and whether it contributes to emission reductions.

Methodology & Standards Watch

The Reserve welcomes forest carbon

The Climate Action Reserve has started  accepting submissions  for projects under California’s cap-and-trade protocolsas it undergoes the process of becoming an ARB-accredited offset project registry. Project owners and developers may submit project documents to get a head start in obtaining review of project documents and list projects in the Reserve’s registry. The four offset protocols adopted by ARB include the Reserve’s Forest, Urban Forest, Ozone Depleting Substances, and Livestock Project Protocols. The Reserve’s processing of projects was applauded by The Nature Conservancy, which collaborated with The Conservation Fund and others on one of the first offset projects registered with the Reserve – Mendocino County’s 23,780-acre Garcia River Forest.

Human Dimension

WWF’s REDD hot button

Last month, political ecologists Betsy Beymer-Farris and Thomas Bassett published  “The REDD Menace: Resurgent Protectionism in Tanzania’s Mangrove Forests”  in Global Environmental Change. The article critically examines WWF’s involvement in climate adaptation and REDD in the Rufiji Delta, Tanzania, arguing that the WWF has wrongly portrayed local people, the ‘Warufji,’ as “recent migrants who are destroying the mangrove forests … [and that this] view forms the basis of a resurgent protectionism which aims to expel the Warufiji from lands they have occupied for millennia.” The article received coverage from media sources, complaints over its methodology, and rebuttals from WWF. An  article in REDD+ Earth  provides an overview of the debate, and stresses that the feasibility of REDD schemes is closely tied to the ability of their managers to maintain stable representations of projects to global audiences.

The hazy halo of REDD+ benefit sharing

A new  CIFOR study  says that legal clarity and consensus are imperative in determining which government institutions have the authority to regulate REDD+ benefit sharing. Many pilot project developers have designed their own benefit sharing mechanisms before host-country governments set any formal regulations on how to distribute REDD+ benefits – after which ad-hoc arrangements put by REDD+ developers may be subject to upheaval, according to co-author Lasse Loft. As forest-rich nations draft forest carbon regulations, a major issue is whether benefits should go only to forest actors who cut emissions or those who have the “right” to benefit from REDD+.

A new  report  by The Forests Dialogue calls for donor agencies to help ensure that forest communities receive their share of REDD+ money, and for REDD+ to be linked with broader development funding. It also recommends more research on reducing the costs of REDD+ interventions in countries in order to maximize benefits.

Vietnam’s corner on monitoring and sharing

A new  CIFOR study  says that Vietnam, the only Asian country that has implemented a PES law, needs to improve the way its funds are managed and distributed, as well as develop monitoring practices, if it wants to benefit from REDD+. PES, piloted in two provinces in Vietnam since 2008 and currently being expanded across the country, does not have the policies and structures in place to adequately monitor whether communities are protecting the forests that they have been paid to manage, and whether environmental services have actually improved, said CIFOR’s Pham Thu Thuy. The article features segments from an interview with Thuy in which she discusses lessons that REDD+ actors could learn from current PES schemes in Vietnam.

Science & Technology Review

Sumatra’s true colors

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and a coalition of Indonesian environmental groups called Eyes on the Forest have released a new Google Earth-based tool that maps forests, land use, carbon stocks, and biodiversity across the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Over time, it will make publically available a large and growing database of the land cover, land use, and land users compiled over more than a decade of working on the ground in central Sumatra.

Sleepy hollow

A  new study  in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that while trees help counteract rising temperatures, they are absorbing 3.4% less carbon than assumed in IPCC models. It turns out that trees’ carbon intake drops dramatically in late summer and early fall even when temperatures stay high, according to Bill Bauerle, lead author of the study. “The trees look perfectly healthy, and you’d think they’d be physiologically active, but they’re not.” In other words, they sequester only about 20% of the carbon sequestered during the peak growing period. Bauerle believes that correcting the current formula for trees’ carbon-absorption capacity will help improve the accuracy of future climate models.

Frankenstein goes post-modern

In Central California, a 20-acre stand of hollow-trunked, luxuriously leafed trees called  MegaFlora  are using their manufactured foliage to scrub the air by removing carbon created at a neighboring dairy. The trees didn’t grow from seeds, nor will they produce any. In fact, they were manufactured by botanist Dr. Ray Allen using artificial plant breeding techniques. They grow up to 30 feet in a year and top out at 60 feet, requiring little water after their first year and little maintenance. New trees grow from saplings grown from root culture, a kind of cloning. Allen foresees them as possible elements in cap-and-trade.

Publications & Tools

Indigenous land rights on the rise but still short

A  report  released last week by The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) provides fodder for Rio+20 discussions around land rights. Mongabay discusses the report’s broader findings.  According to RRI, forest lands owned by local communities and indigenous people increased from 10% in 2002 to 15% in 2012.  Despite indigenous rights progress made in 27 of studied tropical forest countries, the study finds that most identified tenure regimes restrict community rights by dismissing one or more of the rights within the extended bundle of rights – for example, allowing outsiders to exploit forests with impunity. Latin America has led the way in setting indigenous rights, while Africa lags behind with 97% of its forests owned by the state.  AP  hones in on the report’s observations regarding Asia.

Brazil shares CF and REDD+ lessons with Africa

A new World Bank  publication  looks at the lessons for REDD+ and community forestry learned through a South-South knowledge exchange between Brazil and Africa, an initiative by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. “African countries can benefit from the Brazilian experience of decentralizing forest management to communities and of using innovative systems of payments for ecosystem services. Brazil, in turn, can learn from the Congo Basin’s experiences with managing forest concessions,” said co-author André Aquino.


Various Positions, Ecuador – Tetra Tech Ard

Four positions involve working with the USAID-funded REDD+ Program based in Quito, Ecuador. Candidates should have experience in Ecuador and be fluent in both English and Spanish. Read more about the positions here:  Chief of Party,  Policy Dialogue and Implementation Expert,  Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, and  Environment Policy Coordinator.


Various Positions, Ecuador – Terra Global Capital

Four positions involve working with the USAID-funded REDD+ Program based in Quito, Ecuador. Candidates should have experience in Ecuador and be fluent in both English and Spanish. Read more about the positions here:  Chief of Party,  Policy Dialogue and Implementation Expert,  Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, and  Policy Coordinator.

Consultant – UN-REDD Programme

The consultant will assess and evaluate the current UN-REDD Programme Policy Board structure. Candidates should have an advanced degree in a relevant social science, a minimum of 10 years of relevant work experience, and detailed knowledge of the UN system. Read more about the position  here.

Forester – Ecotrust Forest Management

Based in Portland, Oregon, the forester will supervise operations and provide strategic planning for current and future timberland under management. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s in forest management or related field, 5 to 7 years of forest management experience, and be familiar with the FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship. Read more about the position  here.

Senior Researcher – International Institute For Environment And Development

Based in the UK, the senior researcher will develop a programme of policy research on tree-based enterprise. Candidates should have a postgraduate qualification, experience designing and implementing forest-related research projects, and fluency in English and other major language. Read more about the position  here.

Community MRV Project Manager – Global Canopy Programme

Based in the UK and Guyana, the project manager will assist GCP local partners in sharing MRV project findings with government agencies. Candidates should have a Master’s or equivalent experience in the environment or development, strong project management skills, experience working in a tropical forest/savannah region and with community-based mapping and monitoring. Read more about the position  here.

Mangrove REDD+ Project Coordinator – Blue Ventures

Based in Madagascar, the project coordinator will implement monitoring and evaluation techniques, supervise a team of 10 – 15 project staff and develop new funding proposals. Candidates should have a Master’s in forestry or natural resource management, sustainable forestry management experience in developing countries, and fluency in English and French. Read more about the position  here.



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