Category Archives: Deforestation


Brazil’s New Government Works to Reverse Amazon Deforestation

RIO DE JANEIRO —Shaking a traditional rattle, Brazil’s incoming head of Indigenous affairs recently walked through every corner of the agency’s headquarters — even its coffee room — as she invoked help from ancestors during a ritual cleansing.카지노사이트

The ritual carried extra meaning for Joenia Wapichana, Brazil’s first Indigenous woman to command the agency charged with protecting the Amazon rainforest and its people. Once she is sworn in next month under newly inaugurated President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Wapichana promises to clean house at an agency that critics say has allowed the Amazon’s resources to be exploited at the expense of the environment.

As Wapichana performed the ritual, Indigenous people and government officials enthusiastically chanted “Yoohoo! Funai is ours!’’ — a reference to the agency she will lead.

Environmentalists, Indigenous people and voters sympathetic to their causes were important to Lula’s narrow victory over former President Jair Bolsonaro. Now Lula is seeking to fulfill campaign pledges he made to them on a wide range of issues, from expanding Indigenous territories to halting a surge in illegal deforestation.

To carry out these goals, Lula is appointing well-known environmentalists and Indigenous people to key positions at Funai and other agencies that Bolsonaro had filled with allies of agribusiness and military officers.

In Lula’s previous two terms as president, he had a mixed record on environmental and Indigenous issues. And he is certain to face obstacles from pro-Bolsonaro state governors who still control swaths of the Amazon. But experts say Lula is taking the right first steps.

The federal officials Lula has already named to key posts “have the national and international prestige to reverse all the environmental destruction that we have suffered over these four years of the Bolsonaro government,” said George Porto Ferreira, an analyst at Ibama, Brazil’s environmental law-enforcement agency.

Bolsonaro’s supporters, meanwhile, fear that Lula’s promise of stronger environmental protections will hurt the economy by reducing the amount of land open for development and punish people for activities that had previously been allowed. Some supporters with ties to agribusiness have been accused of providing financial and logistical assistance to rioters who earlier this month stormed Brazil’s presidential palace, Congress and Supreme Court.

When Bolsonaro was president, he defanged Funai and other agencies responsible for environmental oversight. This enabled deforestation to soar to its highest level since 2006, as developers and miners who took land from Indigenous people faced few consequences.

Between 2019 and 2022, the number of fines handed out for illegal activities in the Amazon declined by 38% compared with the previous four years, according to an analysis of Brazilian government data by the Climate Observatory, a network of environmental nonprofit groups.

One of the strongest signs yet of Lula’s intentions to reverse these trends was his decision to return Marina Silva to lead the country’s environmental ministry. Silva formerly held the job between 2003 and 2008, a period when deforestation declined by 53%. A former rubber-tapper from Acre state, Silva resigned after clashing with government and agribusiness leaders over environmental policies she deemed to be too lenient.바카라사이트

Silva strikes a strong contrast with Bolsonaro’s first environment minister, Ricardo Salles, who had never set foot in the Amazon when he took office in 2019 and resigned two years later following allegations that he had facilitated the export of illegally felled timber.

Other measures Lula has taken in support of the Amazon and its people include:

— Signing a decree that would rejuvenate the most significant international effort to preserve the rainforest — the Amazon Fund. The fund, which Bolsonaro had gutted, has received more than $1.2 billion, mostly from Norway, to help pay for sustainable development of the Amazon.

— Revoking a Bolsonaro decree that allowed mining in Indigenous and environmental protection areas.

— Creating a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, which will oversee everything from land boundaries to education. This ministry will be led by Sônia Guajajara, the country’s first Indigenous woman in such a high government post.

“It won’t be easy to overcome 504 years in only four years. But we are willing to use this moment to promote a take-back of Brazil’s spiritual force,” Guajajara said during her induction ceremony, which was delayed by the damage pro-Bolsonaro rioters caused to the presidential palace.

The Amazon rainforest, which covers an area twice the size of India, acts as a buffer against climate change by absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide. But Bolsonaro viewed management of the Amazon as an internal affair, causing Brazil’s global reputation to take a hit. Lula is trying to undo that damage.

During the U.N.’s climate summit in Egypt in November, Lula pledged to end all deforestation by 2030 and announced his country’s intention to host the COP30 climate conference in 2025. Brazil had been scheduled to host the event in 2019, but Bolsonaro canceled it in 2018 right after he was elected.

While Lula has ambitious environmental goals, the fight to protect the Amazon faces complex hurdles. For example, getting cooperation from local officials won’t be easy.

Six out of nine Amazonian states are run by Bolsonaro allies. Those include Rondonia, where settlers of European descent control local power and have dismantled environmental legislation through the state assembly; and Acre, where a lack of economic opportunities is driving rubber-tappers who had long fought to preserve the rainforest to take up cattle grazing instead.

The Amazon has also been plagued for decades by illegal gold mining, which employs tens of thousands of people in Brazil and other countries, such as Peru and Venezuela. The illegal mining causes mercury contamination of rivers that Indigenous peoples rely on for fishing and drinking.

One area where Lula has more control is in designating Indigenous territories, which are the best-preserved regions in the Amazon.

Lula is under pressure to create 13 new Indigenous territories — a process that had stalled under Bolsonaro, who kept his promise not to grant “one more inch” of land to Indigenous peoples.온라인카지노


New EU anti-deforestation law falls short, indigenous leaders say

Indigenous leaders from rainforests from Brazil to Indonesia say a new European Union law preventing the import into the bloc of key commodities linked to deforestation is insufficient to protect forests and will do little to bolster indigenous rights.카지노사이트

The legislation, agreed upon last week, will force firms supplying palm oil, cattle, soy, coffee, cocoa, timber and rubber – as well as some derived products such as beef or furniture – to the EU market to prove their supply chains are not fuelling the destruction of forests.

Brazilian indigenous leader Dinamam Tuxa said the law would help stem rising rates of deforestation across most of the Amazon basin – which spans nine nations including Brazil – but stressed that he did not think it was broad enough in scope.

The legislation does not cover deforestation from biodiverse areas outside of rainforests, such as wetlands, semi-arid forests, and savannahs that are also major carbon sinks and help to stave off climate change, according to Tuxa.

“This law should have been more ambitious. It leaves behind other important biomes,” said Tuxa, head of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), an indigenous umbrella organisation.

For example, products from 600,000 square kilometres (231,600 square miles) of land in Brazil’s Cerrado savanna – the fastest growing frontier of agricultural expansion in the country – would not be subject to the law, said the Cerrados Institute, a non-profit.

An EU commission will consider no later than one year after the law comes into force whether to extend the regulations to include other wooded land, and within a period of two years if the law should also be broadened to include other ecosystems.

Deforestation is responsible for about 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to climate scientists, and it is on the agenda at this week’s UN COP15 summit in Canada, where countries are seeking a global pact to protect nature.

Indigenous leaders said they are concerned that national laws protecting indigenous rights and local deforestation monitoring systems are not strong enough on their own to ensure the new EU law will be effectively implemented on the ground.

In Brazil, government agencies that can help monitor, verify and trace company supply chains to ensure compliance with the EU law must be strengthened after years of being undermined and underfunded by outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, Tuxa said.

“There are many [government] monitoring mechanisms already in place in Brazil but nothing is working,” he said.

Brazil’s main environmental federal government enforcement agency, Ibama, and the indigenous affairs agency, Funai, have been particularly affected, he said.

‘Come up short’
The European Parliament’s lead negotiator Christophe Hansen has hailed the new EU measure as “innovative regulation”, and green groups hope it will significantly help protect fast-vanishing forests around the world.

Hansen’s office was unable to respond to a request for comment by deadline to criticisms of the EU law from indigenous leaders.

But in a statement following the announcement of the new law Hansen said “the rights of indigenous people, our first allies in fighting deforestation, are effectively protected.”

The legislation requires companies to produce a due diligence statement showing their supply chains are not contributing to the destruction of forests before they sell certain goods into the EU. Those who do not comply risk fines.바카라사이트

Although firms have to show that the rights of indigenous people were respected in their operations in commodity-producing nations, campaigners have raised concerns that this only applies to countries where those rights are already protected by national law.

Levi Sucre, an indigenous Bribri leader from Costa Rica, said he welcomed the EU law and its potential to tackle Latin America’s “alarming deforestation rates,” driven largely by the expansion of the agricultural frontier and monoculture farming.

But the legislation was “fragile”, he said, noting he feared it would put little extra pressure on governments in commodity-producing countries to ensure they respect the rights of indigenous people.

Across many Latin American countries, the rights of indigenous people are enshrined in state constitutions and local laws but are still too often flouted and ignored, Sucre added.

“Our rights are violated. The (EU) law isn’t going to change much for us in terms of access to justice and guaranteeing our rights,” said Sucre, who heads the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB).

“There are shared economic interests between governments and companies. Who will verify that our rights are respected? That’s the big question,” Sucre said.

Indigenous rainforest leaders in Indonesia – the world’s top producer of palm oil and a leading exporter of coffee, rubber and cocoa – said national laws to protect the environment and indigenous land rights are not being implemented in practice.

The Global Alliance of Territorial Communities (GATC) – an alliance representing tropical forest peoples from more than 14 countries – said its indigenous leaders and members were “disappointed” the EU had not sufficiently strengthened their rights in its new legislation.

“The EU have placed our fate in the hands of the very governments that have violated our rights, criminalised our leaders and allowed an invasion of our territories,” the group said in a statement.

This story was published with permission from Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit온라인카지노


The next Amazon? Congo Basin faces rising deforestation threat

At the COP27 climate talks in Egypt this week, world leaders have sought to accelerate efforts to halt deforestation by 2030 – in line with a pledge 140 countries made last year to preserve forests.카지노사이트

A new group of nations was created to boost momentum on that promise, along with new funding commitments, including 90 million pounds ($106 million) from Britain to support conservation of the Congo Basin – the world’s second-largest rainforest.

A more intact forest than regions like the Amazon, Central Africa’s Congo Basin saw deforestation increase by 5 per cent in 2021, according to a report released on Thursday by environmental group Climate Focus.

Marion Ferrat, a senior consultant at Climate Focus who co-authored the report, said the new pledges to protect the Congo Basin are encouraging, “but there needs to be funding that reaches communities on the ground.”

Many of the promises are “very high-level”, often lacking specific objectives and the mechanisms to track them, she added in a phone interview from the climate summit.

As COP27 delegates discuss how to reduce planet-heating emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, conservationists at the meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh say the role of the Congo Basin as a “carbon sink” is being underestimated.

Carbon sinks are natural areas, such as oceans and forests, that absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, helping curb global warming.

With its dense tropical peatlands, the Basin pulls around 4 per cent of global CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere each year, according to the Central African Forest Initiative.

Threats from logging and mining
Spread over six countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cameroon, the rainforest is home to more than 75 million people and 10,000 tropical plant species, as well as endangered wildlife from forest elephants to mountain gorillas, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

“The Congo Basin is obviously crucial not only for local and national economies… but also its potential to combat global warming,” said Belmond Tchoumba, WWF’s Central Africa forest programme coordinator.

The Climate Focus report said the rainforest has been “passively” protected due to factors like low population density, political instability, a lack of infrastructure and high risks for private investors.

While other tropical forests have been severely degraded by industrial activities like mining and agriculture, the report said most of the Congo Basin’s deforestation has been due to small-scale subsistence farming – but this could be set to change.

The Basin faces major threats from fossil fuel exploration, illegal logging and, due to its abundance of rare metals such as cobalt, even from mining for materials that are crucial for the renewable energy transition.

New analysis released this week by Rainforest Foundation UK and Earth InSight revealed more than one-third of the Congo Basin now overlaps with existing or planned oil and gas exploration and production areas.

“The world isn’t paying remotely enough attention or investing sufficient resources to help the countries of the Congo Basin preserve their intact forests,” said Joe Walston, executive vice president at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

He said intact forests receive less funding as mechanisms like the United Nations’ REDD+ conservation scheme focus on responding to recent deforestation trends – which are lower in places like the Congo Basin.

“Intact forests are highly threatened and it is, perversely, only after they start getting logged for many years that the world steps in,” Walston said in a phone interview.

‘Playing defence’
The fundamental challenge, analysts say, is ensuring that economic development of the Congo Basin happens in a way that is ecologically sustainable.

This is particularly difficult in the DRC – by far the most populated nation in the region – where poverty rates are high and the government is looking to boost its oil output.바카라사이트

“The opportunity cost for forest conservation is so high given the alternative uses (for) forest lands,” said Jack Hurd, executive director of the Tropical Forest Alliance.

He said a significant amount of finance is needed to incentivise good behaviours, as well as time to create structures for sustainable development such as robust regulations and local capacity to manage the rainforest.

“Unless you’re looking at the whole ecosystem… you’re just playing defence – trying to keep things from happening in a protected area,” Hurd said.
A model for this kind of sustainable development may be found in Gabon, a sparsely populated nation in the Congo Basin where deforestation decreased by 28 per cent in 2021, according to the Climate Focus report.

Marie-Claire Paiz, Gabon country director at environmental organisation The Nature Conservancy, said the country has benefitted from strict forest management standards.

For example, she said, forestry operators are required to develop a management plan to harvest trees on a 25-year rotation, based on a detailed inventory of tree species and size.

The country also hopes carbon markets can encourage further investment, with businesses paying for forest conservation to offset their emissions, and her organisation is supporting the government to ensure that carbon credits are robust.

At COP27 this week, a new Africa Carbon Markets Initiative was launched with the aim of developing the continent’s voluntary carbon markets for projects like biodiversity protection.

Even in Gabon, however, Paiz said there could be growing tensions if communities fail to benefit from nature protection, especially as the country is forced to move away from the oil industry – its primary source of revenue.

“We need to figure (out) ways of helping to maintain the forest cover that we have right now, and do it in a way that is totally supportive to the economies of those countries,” she said.

“The world will pay for it, otherwise.”온라인카지노


Palm oil firms not acting fast enough on no-deforestation vows: Report

Only 22% of companies sourcing or producing palm oil in Indonesia have public and comprehensive no-deforestation policies, a new report by London-based nonprofit CDP says.카지노사이트

The report also finds that only 28% of companies have robust public no-deforestation commitments that cover 100% of production and include a cutoff date before 2020.

In light of the report, experts are calling for more companies to adopt robust no-deforestation policies that incorporate social elements including remediation, restoration, compensation of past harms, and/or commitment to protect rights and livelihoods of local communities.

JAKARTA — Less than a quarter of companies producing or sourcing palm oil from Indonesia have forest-related policies in line with best practices, a new report says.

The report, by CDP, a global nonprofit that promotes environmental reporting and risk management by companies and cities, analyzed data provided by 167 firms.

While 86% of companies had set a forest policy, only 22% were in line with best practices, which the organization defines as committing to eliminate deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems; not plant on peatlands; conduct restoration and/or provide compensation for past harms; and protect rights and livelihoods of local communities.

“The low number of companies with robust policies aligned with best practice suggests a concerning absence of intention to eradicate forest loss from corporate value chains,” the report says.

While the figure was up from 14% in 2021, the progress isn’t fast enough to meet Indonesia’s target of turning its forests into a carbon sink by 2030, according to Rini Setiawati, senior manager for forests at CDP.

“If we have a target of having forest positive future by 2030, we need this at scale,” Rini told Mongabay. “We need 90% of companies, not 22%, to have robust policies, and not just policies and commitment, but also ambitious target and robust implementation.”

Over the past several decades, palm oil has been a major driver of deforestation in Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of the ubiquitous commodity. A recent study found the industry was responsible for nearly one-third of the nation’s forest loss from 2001 to 2019, though deforestation related to palm oil last peaked in 2016 and has fallen in recent years.

As a result, many companies that own oil palm plantations or process, trade or use palm oil have pledged to break the link between deforestation and their supply chains.

“Whilst companies are moving in the right direction, more action is needed to maintain this trend,” said Thomas Maddox, the global director of forests and land at CPD.

Despite a checkered record, corporate zero-deforestation policies have shown some success, according to Herry Purnomo, a scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

“Our study in South Sumatra province shows that commitments from the public sector could decrease deforestation significantly, but if they’re coupled with commitments from the private sector, it could [further] lower deforestation significantly,” he told Mongabay. “So commitments do matter and they need to be amplified, widened, monitored and given rewards and incentives.”

Company response

The vast majority of companies were unable to track the origin of their palm oil supplies, an important prerequisite for making good on a no-deforestation commitment.

Only 9% of companies were able to fully trace their supply chains to the mill level, and only 4% were able to do so to the plantation level.바카라사이트

One firm that claims to have achieved full traceability is Golden Agri-Resources, an arm of Indonesia’s Sinarmas conglomerate, one of the first business groups to issue a zero-deforestation pledge after years of being one of Indonesia’s most prolific deforesters.

“From our side, the complication [that comes from implementing a zero-deforestation policy] is not too huge. We don’t have any plan to open [new] plantations in Papua and other places,” Agus Purnomo, one of Sinarmas’s top palm oil executives, told Mongabay on the sidelines of a recent event in Jakarta. “Therefore, if our buyers demand [zero-deforestation], we can fulfill that. But this can’t be applied for [other companies] whose plantations and mills are located in troubled places.”

Further progress in the sector, he said, would rely on government policy and law enforcement.

“If it’s voluntary commitment [to adopt zero-deforestation policies], then what we have now is the maximum,” Agus said. “We can’t ask more companies to volunteer [in adopting zero-deforestation policies] because each has their own problems.”

Even if companies lack capacity to fulfill their commitments, simply adopting the policies would create opportunities for forest protection, according to Mardi Minangsari, head of Indonesian NGO Kaoem Telapak.

Having NDPE commitments is the first step,” she said, using an acronym that stands for “no deforestation, no peat and no exploitation.”

“I really support [the adoption of such policies] because this means we also can help them by providing reports” on deforestation, conflicts, and other issues, Mardi said. “Sometimes, companies themselves don’t have enough capacity, especially with vast plantations, to see what’s happening in their concessions.”

Rini of CDP said the government could issue regulations that require more transparency and accountability from companies so that they’re driven to adopt or strengthen their NDPE commitments.

“If companies are performing better in sustainability, this can contribute to the achievement of national environmental targets,” she said.온라인카지노


Industrial mining’s tropical deforestation footprint spills beyond concessions

  • Indonesia, Brazil, Suriname and Ghana account for 80% of all tropical deforestation linked directly to industrial mining, a new study has found.카지노사이트
  • In two out of three tropical countries, large-scale mineral extraction leads to forest loss when effects over a wider area, beyond formal mining concessions, are considered.
  • “We have to look beyond the mine fence,” Stefan Giljum, the lead author of the paper, said. “What is needed is a forest conservation plan for a whole region integrating all the activities that are going on.”
  • It’s difficult to quantify forest destruction linked to the mining sector as a whole because both the indirect effects on surrounding areas and the impacts of artisanal mining are hard to pin down.
  • Industrial mining wiped out nearly 2,000 square kilometers, or 770 square miles, of forests in Indonesia between 2000 and 2019. The country is one of four worldwide where direct tropical forest loss from large-scale mining — 8 out of every 10 square kilometers — is concentrated.

“Indonesia alone accounts for 60% of forest loss among the 26 countries we investigated,” said Stefan Giljum, lead author of a newly published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers focused on countries that account for most of the deforestation (77%) occurring in the tropics.

Along with Indonesia, Brazil and Suriname in South America, and Ghana in West Africa accounted for 80% of all mining-linked direct deforestation in the tropics. Mining operations replaced around 3,300 km2 (1,270 mi2) of forest cover between 2000 and 2019 in the 26 countries, according to data from Global Forest Watch (GFW).

Brazil lost 330 km2 (127 mi2) resulting directly from the extraction of minerals. Ghana and Suriname reported deforestation of 213 and 203 km2 (82 and 78 mi2), respectively.

A 2019 World Bank report said that 45% of all active mines are in forested areas. However, industrial mines don’t just swallow forests within concessions; they transform entire landscapes. When effects over a wider area are considered, in two out of three tropical countries, large-scale mineral extraction leads to forest loss, the new study found.

Mines often become a hive of economic activity, triggering infrastructure development and spawning new settlements. A 2017 study from the Brazilian Amazon captured the impacts within a 70-km (43-mi) radius of mining concessions, and reported that deforestation rates in adjoining areas could be 12 times higher than inside the concessions.

However, it’s difficult to establish that the mining operation is causing this deforestation. Most corporate responsibility initiatives to curb deforestation focus exclusively on direct impacts. “We have to look beyond the mine fence,” Giljum said. “What is needed is basically a forest conservation plan for a whole region integrating all the activities that are going on.”

Quantifying forest destruction linked to the mining sector as a whole is complicated. One of the major reasons is a lack of information about artisanal mining, which is often informal, unregulated and dispersed. “Some studies show that artisanal mining might even have a larger impact than industrial mining,” Giljum said.

In Ghana, a gold-rich nation, both artisanal and industrial mining of coal is linked to forest loss. Daryl Bosu, an environmental activist with the Ghanaian NGO A Rocha, has been at the forefront of a campaign to stop industrial bauxite mining in Ghana’s Atewa forest. He told Mongabay that while artisanal mining provides much-needed employment in communities, unregulated artisanal mining, especially with newer tools, can cause real harm.

“Nobody is doing traditional mining with pickaxes anymore. They are now using mechanized excavators and bulldozers, so if that’s the scale, it also has a significant impact,” Bosu said. One study found that between 2005 and 2019, new mining areas were mostly being opened up by small-scale operators, and more than 7 km2 (2.7 mi2) of the mined land was inside protected areas.바카라사이트

While industrial mines are constrained by concession boundaries, small-scale mining operations are more mobile, bringing deforestation to new areas, leaving behind degraded landscapes. In some cases, large mines attract artisanal miners to the region by opening up remote areas.

The new study highlights the need to look at what is happening outside mining concessions but also beyond national boundaries. In Indonesia, deforestation in mining areas intensified between 2010 and 2014. The study authors suspect a surge in overseas demand for coal, mined extensively in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province, during this period played a role. In 2011 alone, the province on Borneo Island produced 205 million metric tons of coal — more than 13 times France’s coal demand for that year.

Giljum said the team is now investigating which materials fuel forest loss and interrogating international supply chains for mining-dependent commodities. While direct losses from mining are smaller compared to other activities like agriculture and livestock, some countries are subject to disproportionate losses, so mitigation efforts can target those nations.온라인카지노