Forest conservation news

Congress just legalized hemp

On Wednesday, Congress voted to pass the US Farm Bill, legalizing hemp, a species of cannabis that CBD can be extracted from but that isn’t psychoactive. Historically, hemp has been illegal to sell or grow in the US, although it’s legal to buy from international sources. Hemp’s legalization will give farmers a major opportunity with a new and friendly crop. According to Leafly, the hemp plant “detoxifies the soil and prevents soil erosion,” and it “requires much less water to grow — and no pesticides — so it is much more environmentally friendly than traditional crops.”



The Cheeky Panda now turns over £2m annually and was recently valued at £20m. Selling through Amazon has seen Cheeky Panda’s sales rocket to £150k monthly, and the business has just raised a new £1m investment from Northern & Shell to further build the business. Bamboo is the world’s fastest growing plant and it is a type of grass so it doesn’t create soil erosion – unlike trees which need to have their root system dug out in order to regrow. It also doesn’t require chemicals or fertilisers, it’s just an incredibly fast-growing, ultra-sustainable, soft and natural product.



Wilmar International, the World’s biggest palm oil trader announces plans to prevent deforestation

by Jonny Bairstow

The world’s biggest palm oil trader has announced plans to prevent deforestation by using satellite monitoring technologies. Wilmar International has said it will work with sustainability consultancy Aidenvironment to prevent further destruction of rainforests and create a database of sustainable suppliers in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. It has pledged to immediately stop working with farmers and businesses involved in deforestation or development on peatland. The organisation will then work with these groups to improve their operations and if they reach a suitable standard, resume trading with them.


Cargill details action plan to end cocoa deforestation

by Eric Schroeder

Cargill on Dec. 13 released “Protect Our Planet,” a strategic action plan that outlines the company’s strategy for eliminating deforestation from its cocoa supply chain and achieving 100% cocoa bean traceability. The plan also expands Cargill’s forest efforts to five origin countries (Brazil, Indonesia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ghana) as well as the indirect cocoa supply chain.



Project LEAF (Law Enforcement Assistance for Forests) is an INTERPOL initiative against illegal logging and related crimes

INTERPOL’s Project Leaf supports member countries to strengthen the response of law enforcement agencies, identify criminals and their modus operandi as well as to disrupt transnational criminal operations related to forestry crimes. Due to the need for a strong and organized law enforcement response to illegal logging and trade, the project enables investigators, criminal intelligence analysts, police, forestry law enforcement institutions, customs and tax authorities to advance and coordinate internationally their intelligence, analytical and investigative objectives. Project Leaf collaborates with international institutions and the national Ministries of the law enforcement agencies globally, with the joint mission of addressing transnational organized crime against forests and the environment. It is estimated that illegal logging accounts for 50-90 per cent of all forestry activities in key producer tropical forests, such as those of the Amazon Basin, Central Africa and Southeast Asia, and 15-30 per cent of all wood traded globally. Illegal logging continues to occur in many formally protected forests, especially in tropical countries. The trade in illegally harvested timber is highly lucrative and estimated to be worth between USD 51 and USD 152 billion annually.



According to new study, organic food worse for the climate

Organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed food, due to the greater areas of land required. This is the finding of a new international study involving Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, published in the journal Nature. The researchers developed a new method for assessing the climate impact from land-use, and used this, along with other methods, to compare organic and conventional food production. The results show that organic food can result in much greater emissions. A new metric: Carbon Opportunity Cost. The researchers used a new metric, which they call “Carbon Opportunity Cost”, to evaluate the effect of greater land-use contributing to higher carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. This metric takes into account the amount of carbon that is stored in forests, and thus released as carbon dioxide as an effect of deforestation. The study is among the first in the world to make use of this metric.