You got the wrong chief
The Amazon Working Group (GTA), a coalition of 600 associations representing smallholder farms, fishermen, rubber-tappers, and indigenous people in Brazil, accused the powerful Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) of slandering elected indigenous leaders who do not agree with CIMI’s stance on forestry management in the Amazon. “We reject [CIMI’s] declarations because they are lies created for the sole purpose of promoting conflict among indigenous peoples,” read a statement by GTA. Much of the criticism focused on CIMI revolves around allegations that CIMI selects indigenous individuals it chooses to work with and promotes them externally as duly-elected leaders. Recently, CIMI falsely identified Henrique Surui as overall chief of the Paiter-Surui, which he is not – Almir Surui is. CIMI has also sought to undermine projects they do not agree with, according to the GTA statement.
Deserting before their eyes
Zimbabwe’s land reform policies and subsequent economic collapse have negatively affected the local environment. Fuelwood is a major source of energy for cooking and heating homes for people who cannot afford electricity, or for when there are electricity shortages. In urban areas, the use of firewood has a larger environmental impact because live trees are harvested, whereas in rural areas people gather dead wood. Marylin Smith, a conservationist based in Zimbabwe and former staffer in the government of President Robert Mugabe, says, “The rate at which deforestation is occurring here will convert Zimbabwe into an outright desert in just 35 years if pragmatic solutions are not proffered urgently and also if people keep razing down trees for firewood without regulation.”
STANDARDS AND METHODOLOGIES
Under the peat sea
Permian Global, Wetlands International, and Silvestrum revised the Verified Carbon Standard’s REDD+ methodology to include projects that address deforestation of tropical peat forests and projects to restore damaged peat lands. The methodology now includes six modules for determination, quantification, and monitoring of the baseline carbon stock changes and project emissions associated with peat land conservation and restoration. Peat forests in Indonesia store, on average, 2,009 tonnes of carbon per hectare.
Borrowing from the past
The Gold Standard has issued a retroactive guideline for land use and forest projects that qualify as additional. The guideline allows a retroactive crediting period for early movers in land use and forest projects to aid them in accessing carbon finance for their projects. Afforestation and reforestation projects may earn carbon offsets for 10 years prior to using the Gold Standard Land Use and Forests framework, and agricultural projects may date their projects back up to five years.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Blue Devils are the top seed
Two Duke University graduate students are working to develop a new technology to measure forest carbon. The students are working to equip small unmanned aerial drones with GPS-guided light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors capable of surveying 1,000 acres in a day. They hope that when fully developed, the faster, cheaper technology could help develop carbon offset projects on small family owned parcels that are currently too small to justify more expensive carbon accounting. Last month, the students won a statewide $25,000 prize to help make their idea a reality.
The Global Forest Watch platform developed by the World Resources Institute and supported by over 60 partners, including Google, has brought transparency to the problem of deforestation and provides real-time tracking of tree cover loss and gain on a global level. It also allowed Mongabay to report that United Cacao, a company that promises to produce ethical, sustainable chocolate, had “quietly cut down more than 2,000 hectares of primary, closed-canopy rainforest” in the Peruvian Amazon. Since the launch of the platform, governments, companies, nonprofits, and individuals have layered on additional information such as land ownership details.
Out of sight, out of mind
More incentives are needed to reduce deforestation in the Amazon, according to a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Researchers evaluated the optimal policy to balance cost, benefits, and social equity. They determined that the most cost-effective mix of policy is dominated by command-and-control measures, which could conserve 30 hectares of forest for 1,000 Brazilian reals, or about $345 dollars, with an enforcement cost of about R$0.03. However, opportunity cost to land users is large. Between 2004 and 2012 this policy would have caused land users to lose $700 million annually. In addition, remote land users benefit from command-and-control policies because monitoring is difficult, whereas less remote users are subject to closer monitoring.
Food is eating the forest
The expansion of commercial agricultural fields is a leading driver of deforestation in Myanmar, according to a new report on deforestation, conversion timber, and land conflicts in the country by Forest Trends. Land conversion is taking place at an unprecedented rate, losing about 1.2 million acres of forests annually, and the government currently encourages increasing levels of investment for large-scale industrial agricultural expansion. Agricultural expansion has allowed access to high value conversion timber for export markets, the volume of exported timber increased from 2.7 million cubic meters to over 3.3 million cubic meters between 2011 and 2013.
Research Assistant, Carbon Group – Ecosystem Marketplace
Based in Washington, D.C., the Research Assistant will be able to commit to 35-40 hours per week to support a range of activities under the Ecosystem Marketplace Carbon Markets Program, including supporting the development of the State of the Forest Carbon/Voluntary Carbon Markets reports. The ideal candidate will have a graduate degree, an interest in conservation finance/payments for ecosystem services and basic knowledge of the carbon markets or another ecosystem service market; excellent writing, verbal communications, research and organizational skills; and excellent working knowledge of Microsoft Excel.
Senior Program Associate – Winrock International
Based in Arlington, Virginia, the Senior Program Associate will be responsible for assisting the implementation of projects related to ecosystem services including climate change mitigation and adaptation in the agricultural, forestry, and other land uses sector. A master’s degree related to ecology, environmental science, or forestry required, PhD desired.
Director of Policy – Forests and Climate, Climate Advisors
Based in Washington, D.C., the Director will be responsible for accelerating climate action, with a focus on policies that protect tropical forests. Five to fifteen years of practical experience advancing climate and forest-related policy objectives through strategic engagement with policymakers and constituents is necessary. A master’s or another advanced degree is preferred; bachelor’s considered if candidate has exceptionally high-level climate policy experience and political network.
Associate, Forest-Climate Policy and Research – Climate Advisors
Based in Washington, D.C., the Associate will contribute to the development of innovative policy solutions to halt climate change by protecting the world’s tropical forests. The Associate will be responsible for researching and writing high-impact policy briefs, background papers, and arranging and attending meeting with government officials, clients, and climate change stakeholders. One to three years of experience plus graduate degree preferred, bachelor’s considered with three to five years practical experience.
Manager, Landscape – Conservation International
Based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Manager will oversee Conservation International’s support to three remote project sites in Cambodia, supervising planning, day-to-day and long-term management, as well as the financial and administrative aspects of the projects. The Manager will also pursue new possible projects in forest governance and trade, and facilitate multi-stakeholder policy review of Cambodian forestry management. A bachelor’s degree plus five years of practical experience in forest governance is required.
Conservation and GIS Specialist – Rainforest Trust
Based in Warrenton, Virginia, the Specialist will assist with protected area projects from inception to completion, and monitor their effectiveness through remote sensing techniques. A master’s or PhD and/or significant experience in conservation biology, environmental sciences, or a related field is preferable. Experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), ArcGIS, and remote sensing skills is required.
Program Manager – European Institute of Marine Studies
Based in Plouzané, France, the candidate(s) will work with the director, Linwood Pendleton, to build an international program on policy, management, and science regarding human uses of the sea and coast, including exploration of blue carbon. A master’s degree in economics, social science, or interdisciplinary studies with a focus on marine and coastal policy preferred (but not required) plus five years of experience, or a doctoral degree and two years of experience.