Tree love and lonely elephants, AI in restoration, and palm oil myths debunked

Forests News delves into last week's headlines from around the globe
Lone elephant
CIFOR Photo/Daniel Tiveau

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In Forests News last week:

chainsaw, smallholders, palm oil, oil palm, indonesia, peatlands, deforestation, local government , Borneo

Palm oil; Smallholder expansion on the rise

The assumption that major industry are solely responsible for the conversion of peatlands into oil palm plantations has been turned on its head by new research. The study, led by CIFOR scientist George Schoneveld, reveals that smallholders – many  of whom are local elites and inexperienced farmers – are increasingly expanding into peatlands in Indonesian Borneo.

Talk shows and text messages

women, kenya women, wash clothes in river, river and water management, river, water towers, forest management, community participation research,

Scientists have been using novel community participation methods to jointly develop sustainable forest and water governance in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

brazil nut tree, amazon, tree hugger, valentine's day, love of trees


Tree love on Valentine’s Day

It’s official, Forests News readers are a bunch of nemophilists! Whether a tamanu tree for its brilliant ecosystem services or a gooseberry tree for its fond memories, here is a selection of our readers’ one tree love.

Forests News’ pick of headlines from around the globe:

Lonely elephant in Kysna Forest, South Africa, elephant alone

Lonely elephant roams Knysna Forest

From tree love to lonely hearts, scientists have concluded that a 45 year-old female elephant named Oupoot, is the only elephant left in South Africa’s Knysna Forest. Scientists set up a number of camera traps but after 15 months only ever captured footage of Oupoot, 140 times, walking by herself- News 24 reports. This has caused concern as elephants are herd animals and solitary ones would not be considered happy or healthy.

BBC, environment in multiple crises, politicians failing, climate change, mass extinction, biodiversity loss, pollution, ocean acidification

Politicians have failed to act on a deadly  concoction  of environmental events- think-tank says

Think-tank IPPR have released a report criticising politicians for failing to grasp the extent of the environmental crisis facing the earth, the BBC reports. Though climate change is now included in policy discussions, the report warns of a deadly concoction of mass extinctions, topsoil erosion, acidifying oceans and deforestation, that barely make the agenda. It claims that since 1950 the total number of floods have increased by 15 times, extreme temperature events by 20, and wildfires by sevenfold.


New study using AI says room to plant 1.2 trillion trees on degraded lands, The Independent

AI technology says there’s room for 1.2 trillion more trees

An ambitious new study claims that a decade’s worth of harmful emissions can be backtracked by planting trees in parks, woods and on degraded and abandoned land across the planet. The scientists used AI technology, satellite maps and ground-based surveys to estimate the potential planting of 1.2 trillion trees. If its full potential was realised, this would go a long way in both tackling climate change and biodiversity loss, The Independent reports.

Jokowi, forests, mining, Indonesia, Jakarta Post

Environmental watchdog calls for more action by Indonesian government on mining practices

According to the Jakarta Post, Indonesian environmental watchdog, Wahli, has praised the Jokowi administration for its work in tackling wildfires, but said that enough is still not being done in preventing harmful mining across the archipelago.


CBC, Canada forests, carbon source, carbon sink

Are Canada’s forests carbon sink or carbon source?

Despite popular belief of Canadian pundits, politicians and social media feeds, Canada’s forests have been a net carbon source since 2001, CBC reports. As trees don’t just capture carbon when they  grow, but emit it when they  die, decompose  or burn – fires and insect infestations have boosted the country’s overall emissions. The case to exclude the latter from overall emissions calculations have been presented to the United Nations. CBC refutes the argument that Canada’s emissions aren’t a problem thanks to the size of their forests.

CNN reports of UK school children striking against Conservative government inaction against climate change

School student climate change protests show no signs of abating in Europe

UK youth have followed their European neighbours in ditching school and joining mass protests against climate change inaction by their Conservative government on Friday. Protests took place in 60 cities across the UK, from ‘Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands,’ CNN reports.  The protests have been inspired by student Greta Thunberg’s weekly sit-ins outside the Swedish parliament, who later turned heads at UN climate talks when she told leaders they ‘were not mature enough’ to deal with climate change. School protests have  since sprung up across Europe, Australia and the United States, and show  no signs of abating.

Forests’ News video of the week:

Visit Mongabay to see a video of community forests in action in Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Topic(s) :   Deforestation Climate change Oil palm Restoration