Deforestation

review by Ion Holban

 

Despite some relatively successful attempts to reduce the rate of deforestation in recent years by countries such as Brazil, the cold reality is that deforestation and biodiversity loss are now much greater challenges than they were in 1992. The organisers have reported that over 30 million hectares of Brazilian forest have been lost in the last 20 years. To put this into perspective, the entire area of England is only 13 million hectares (DEFRA). RSPB points out that roughly the same 13 million hectares is the amount of tropical forests lost to deforestation worldwide each year. More worriedly Brazil has recently had a review of logging rights and has allowed for amendments to their laws can can allow for more deforestation. More details of the amendments here:
http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/safeguarding_the_natural_world/forests/forest_work/amazon/amazon_threatened_by_brazil_s_forest_code_change.cfm

Initiatives such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) have been controversial when considering the main goal of assigning a financial value to the carbon stored in forests. Since then, there have been incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. Furthermore REDD + attempts to include the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. However most countries simply don’t have the man power or the political will to implement nature conservation laws already in place.

According to their own website REED+ : “deforestation and forest degradation, through agricultural expansion, conversion to pastureland, infrastructure development, destructive logging, fires etc., account for nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire global transportation sector and second only to the energy sector”. Environmentalists and indigenous people have therefore raised concerns including the environmental integrity and economic implications of including REDD+ within mechanisms such as carbon markets. There is criticism from several quarters about large money flows leading to misuse, corruption, displacement of poor people and possibly perverse incentives. (odi.org.uk)

The International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) was explicit at the Bali climate negotiations in 2007: “REDD will not benefit Indigenous Peoples, but in fact, it will result in more violations of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights. It will increase the violation of our Human Rights, our rights to our lands, territories and resources, steal our land, cause forced evictions, prevent access and threaten indigenous agriculture practices, destroy biodiversity and culture diversity and cause social conflicts.” (forestpeoples.org)

 

To find out more:

http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=4543&title=redd-deforestation-forest-degredation-climate-change-background-note

http://www.redd-monitor.org/2011/02/05/why-redd-is-dangerous-in-its-current-form/

http://www.forestpeoples.org/topics/un-framework-convention-climate-change-unfccc/news/2011/05/statement-international-forum-indi

http://climateandcapitalism.com/2012/06/22/a-tale-of-two-conferences-the-social-and-ecological-crises-of-capitalism-2/

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