This week in Forest Conservation

At the root of the problem: the best books about deforestation

by John Vidal

Entomologist EO Wilson 2002 book The Future of Life, asserts that the loss of forest over the last 50 years has been one of the most profound environmental changes in the history of Earth. Richard Powers, in his 2018 novel The Overstory: “That’s the trouble with people, their root problem. Life runs alongside them, unseen. Right here, right next. Creating the soil. Cycling water. Trading in nutrients. Making weather. Building atmosphere. Feeding and curing and sheltering more kinds of creatures than people know how to count.” Kenyan Nobel peace prize-winner Wangari Maathai, who mobilised Kenyans to plant 30m trees, wrote in her autobiography, Unbowed. Indonesian environmental advocacy group Walhi documented the damage done in a short book, Mistaking Plantations for Indonesia’s Tropical Forest. In a stark warning of climate change, Yanomami shaman Davi Kopenawa explained in 2013 in his epic The Falling Sky how deforestation foretells the end of life.



An advertising watchdog has deemed supermarket’s Christmas ad campaign too “political” for broadcast in the UK

The ad, which highlights the destruction of rainforests for palm oil production, was originally created for Greenpeace. UK supermarket Iceland, which has a partnership with Greenpeace, was given permission to place its logo on the commercial and run it as part of the store’s Christmas campaign. However, a bid to broadcast the ad on commercial television was blocked.



EU states call for tough action on deforestation to meet 2020 UN goal

The UK, France and Germany have called on the European commission to launch tough new action to halt deforestation by the end of the year. A long-delayed EU action plan should be brought forward “as soon as possible”, says a letter to the commission sent by the Amsterdam Declaration group of countries, which also includes Italy, the Netherlands and Norway. To help meet a UN goal of halting deforestation by 2020, the EU should show “a leadership role, mobilising its political and market leverage, and promoting broader international dialogue and cooperation”, the letter says. Actions should be taken to align “economic opportunities” with “responsible management of global supply chains”, says the letter signed by Denmark’s environment minister, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen.



Extreme logging in Haiti is causing an irreversible change it the tropical rainforests and the habitat they provide

by Caroline Christie 

Ninety-nine percent of the country’s original wooded areas have fallen victim to deforestation. 42 of Haiti’s 50 largest mountains have lost all of their primary forest. And researchers predict that in the next two decades Haiti will lose all of its remaining primary forest cover. One of the poorest countries in the developing world, Haiti has a wealth of wildlife. Armadillos, bears, macaws, pumas, sloths, and panthers all live and roam the tropical forests. Likely the world’s most deforested nation, Haiti saw its primary forest cover decline from 4.4 percent of total land area in 1988 to 0.32 percent in 2016.




Tinderbox California: Drought, Dry Soil Cover 100% of State

by Kevin Varley 

Drought and dry soil conditions widened to 100 percent of flame-whipped California from 26 percent a year earlier, providing tinder for this month’s Camp Fire conflagration — one of the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history, according to data for the week ended Nov. 13.



The California Department of Food and Agriculture is soliciting applications for technical assistance grants for Climate Smart Agriculture programs.

The grants are for organizations that can provide assistance to applicants to the CSA programs. Nonprofit organizations, California academic institutions and California Resource Conservation Districts are eligible to apply. Applicants may receive up to $60,000, depending on the number of programs and funding cycles. Applications must be submitted by email to no later than Nov. 30. Grants will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis. To learn more about eligibility and requirements, visit the CDFA website.



Attis Industries Launches Video Series to Demonstrate Bio-Based Technologies and Discuss Targeted End Use Products

“Our [processing] outputs include pulp and a unique form of high purity lignin…. While the pulp can be used in traditional pulp and paper markets or to produce cellulosic ethanol, it’s this high purity form of lignin that allows Attis to substantially increase the value and products made from biomass…. For every 1.0 pound of cellulosic ethanol produced, Attis is able to recover about 1.3 pounds of high purity lignin…. This is an alarming amount of highly concentrated carbon, captured from carbon dioxide and stored by photsyntheisis in plants, that has been overlooked for decades…. Attis plans to convert its lignin into transportation fuels such as gasoline, diesel and/or jet fuel, which could double the fuel output of biomass, or to convert the lignin into various materials such as plastics, adhesives or carbon fiber.



2018 AF&PA Sustainability Report – Advancing US Paper and Wood Products Industry Performance

The Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative includes the most extensive sets of sustainability goals established for a U.S. manufacturing industry. Our members have surpassed two of the goals ahead of schedule.