In Forests News last week:
New online platform tackles agency duplication in the Congo Basin
Developers aim to harmonize conservation and development efforts. Read
CIFOR DG calls for people-centric approach in landscape restoration
Coverage from the World Bank conference on Poverty and Land. Read
Well-meaning tenure reforms can’t quash land conflicts
A multi-country study calls for government action to defend forest title rights. Read
In the news:
Different interpretations of forest restoration will hamper climate targets, say scientists
The Bonn Challenge seeks to restore 350 million hectares of forest, an area larger than India, by 2030- in a bid to curb climate change and restore degraded lands. Though governments have set ambitious plans to meet targets, scientists reveal that the types of restoration activities are not enough to keep within the 1.5℃ climate goal, as featured in The Conservation. Out of the countries that have declared action, two thirds of the pledged area’s activities have been outlined: 45 percent having been designated for plantations of a single tree species; 21 percent for agroforestry and 34 percent for restoring natural forest. The research, originally published in the journal, Nature, shows natural forest to hold 40 times more carbon than plantations and six times more than agroforestry. With nearly half of the pledged forest restoration efforts set to become commercial tree plantations, scientists say it will seriously reduce carbon uptake potential.
Restoration “overlooked” by governments, say leading campaigners
A group of campaigners from all over the world have signed an open letter, calling on governments to act on landscape restoration to solve the ecological and climate crisis, the Huffington Post reports. “Defending the living world and defending the climate, are in many cases, one and the same. This potential so far has been largely overlooked,” said the signatories, before outlining the need to heal nature through the replanting of degraded forests and better conservation efforts. Amongst the signatories are heavyweights Naomi Klein, George Monbiot, Philip Pullman and teenage activist Greta Thunberg.
“We call on governments to support natural climate solutions with an urgent programme of research, funding and political commitment,” they added.
US landscape restoration trips on Trump stumbling block
In a Guardian exclusive, scientists and officials have reported that the Trump administration has gone against the instruction of Congress and withdrawn funding for a large-scale conservation program. Comprised of 22 research centers, known as Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, the program deals with species extinction, climate change and flooding. According to the article, Congress had approved 12.5 million USD for the cooperatives. However, 16 of the centers have either been dissolved or are on indefinite hiatus. Those interviewed for the story remained anonymous, as federal employees were instructed not to speak to the media title.
Indonesia hits back at the EU palm oil phase out
In an article in Mongabay, a top Indonesian official has warned his country will follow in the footsteps of Trump and Bolsonaro, and leave the Paris Accord. The comments by Luhut Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime affairs, come in retaliation to Europe’s plans to phase out palm oil from its biofuel by 2030. According to Mongabay, Indonesia is the world’s fourth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, which is thought to be largely due to deforestation and forest fires. It is also home to the world’s third largest tropical forest, and the fourth largest expanse of peatlands. In the article, if the carbon stored in Indonesia’s peatlands alone were released into the atmosphere, it would account for a third of all the CO2 the world is projected to emit between now and 2050. In an interview with Reuters, A UN spokesperson said: “We need countries like Indonesia in the Paris Agreement.”
EU imports large amount of deforestation every year
European? A sixth of the emissions of your diet can be linked directly to deforestation in tropical countries, Eurekalert reports. The new study by Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, used satellite imagery, global land use statistics and data of international trade patterns to reach its findings. According to the scientists, more than half of the deforestation is due to production of food and animal feed, such as beef, soy beans and palm oil. Though variations between the countries were sizeable, food exports accounted for about a fourth of deforestation, “In effect, you could say that the EU imports large amounts of deforestation every year,” says Martin Persson, author behind the study.
‘Antarctica’s last forests’ give a window into the future
Mummified twigs from the Pliocene period, some 2.6-5.3 million years ago, provide insight into what life was like on a planet 2–3 degrees warmer than today, the BBC reports. The twigs of ‘Antarctica’s last forests’ were found on exposed rocks on the tundra, showing that plant life even existed in the middle of the white continent, where today only lichens and mosses survive. It is thought that carbon levels were similar then as to what they are today- at around 400 CO2 molecules for every million molecules of air, and sea levels up to 10-20m higher.
What’s in a name? Amazon and Amazon go head to head
The new expansion of personalised URL names, where .com can be replaced with a name of choice, has caused a spat between the warriors of the jungle and the retail world. The governments of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela- are contesting a case for the online megastore, Amazon, to have sole ownership of ‘.amazon.’ According to the BBC, ACTO say that sole ownership would impact on matters of their sovereignty. They have tried to meet the retail giant halfway up the river by offering shared ownership, for e.g. tourism.amazon would fall under ACTO, and books.amazon under the online store. This offer, however, has been rejected by the business, leaving it up to the internet body to make their decision.
Forests News is watching…
A two minute watch: How trees secretly talk to each other on BBC
Though trees appear to live life on their own, underground they are secretly talking to each other, trading with each other, and even waging war with each other. Watch this lovely animation to find out how.
A commitment: Our Planet on Netflix
David Attenborough is the familiar voiceover in this impressive exploration of our natural world. Having partnered with World Wildlife Fund, the makers aim to reach one billion people to raise awareness of not only the wonder of our planet, but the threats that it faces. Be prepared to be awed, dumbfounded; keep tissues and placards at the ready. Watch the trailer.
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