This week’s deforestation updates

Major merger in Agroforestry announced

World’s leading forestry and agroforestry organizations merge for accelerated impact to address climate change Innovation and investments worth trillions of dollars in landscape restoration, climate adaptation and science-based policy advice will be needed if the global community is to meet the escalating threats posed by climate change. To meet these demands, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), also known as World Agroforestry, the two leading organizations focused on forestry and agroforestry research, policy and development have agreed to merge to strengthen capacity, provide the evidence needed to scale up investment in sustainable development, and accelerate impact. The merger becomes effective on 1 January 2019 through a common Board with subsequent implementation of a single leadership team and uni ed policies, processes and systems. Combined, the two organizations employ over 700 staff in more than 20 countries throughout the global south, with an annual budget of over $100 million. –


Deforestation is Unexpected Result of Peace in Colombia

In a first-of-a-kind study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, scientists provide evidence that the Colombian peace process coincided with a spike of fires and deforestation in protected areas. According to co-author Liliana Dávalos, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution in the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook University, the findings are a wake-up call to ecologists and officials in countries affected by war and guerrilla warfare because it will take more than achieving peace to protect forests. Using satellite imagery and models, Professor Dávalos and co-authors Dolors Armenteras and Laura Schneider found a six-fold increase in fires in protected areas across biodiversity hotspots in Colombia, and an increase of 52 percent in the probability of deforestation from 2017 to 2018 within national parks formerly controlled by guerrillas. The reasons for the increase in fires and deforestation are not clear, although deliberate clearing to establish pastures and similar forms of agriculture is a likely explanation.


Norway to subsidize Brazil reducing deforestation in the Amazon

Norway will pay Brazil $70 million for reducing deforestation in the Amazon in 2017, but is concerned over a more recent surge in destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest, according to a Norwegian government statement. Norway’s statement comes as right-wing President-elect Jair Bolsonaro threatens to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change and end environmental fines, spurring activist fears that deforestation could accelerate. Norway’s money will go to the Amazon Fund, a joint project also backed by Brazil and Germany, which helps pay for management of 1 million square km (247 million acres) of Amazon, a system for registering rural properties that aids in monitoring deforestation, and other services aimed at preserving the rainforest.


Sumatran tigers on the brink of extinction as poaching, deforestation remains rampant

by Anne Barker

Deforestation and rapid development have reduced tigers’ habitat in Sumatra at an astonishing rate. Jungles are being logged — often illegally — and plantations have sprung up in their place. WWF calculates that 49 per cent of Sumatra’s native forests have been lost since 2000 to make way for developments such as palm oil, rubber and paper plantations. The world’s sixth-biggest island has been transformed from a pristine landscape into a global commodities producer with billions of dollars at stake. Between 2000 and 2015 an average of 1.82 hectares — slightly bigger than the Melbourne Cricket Ground — was felled every hour of every day.



Sustainable palm oil doesn’t make the grade

According to a Purdue University study, deforestation is rising in major oil palm-producing countries. And it’s happening even faster in areas certified as “sustainable.” “Oil palms are grown in some of the most sensitive and ecologically important forests in the world. Protecting them is important,” said Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, research associate at the Forest Advanced Computing and Artificial Intelligence Lab of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University. “But we’ve seen that even when operations are certified as sustainable, there is still significant forest loss. It seems that there is no way to sustainably produce palm oil to meet today’s global demand.” Gatti and colleagues from Purdue and Russia’s Tomsk State University published their findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment.


Cocoa companies fail on pledge to stop Africa deforestation: report

by Nellie Peyton 

Major chocolate companies have failed to keep a promise they made a year ago to stop forests in West Africa being destroyed for cocoa production, a campaign group said on Friday. Companies from Mars to Hershey to Barry Callebaut joined the governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana to launch the Cocoa and Forests Initiative last year, pledging to eliminate the production and sourcing of cocoa from protected forests. But satellite images of Ivory Coast’s southwest cocoa-growing region showed about the same amount of forest had been lost in the 12 months since the pledge was made as in the previous year, campaign group Mighty Earth said in a report. If deforestation continues unabated, Ivory Coast – the world’s top cocoa producer – risks losing all its forest cover by 2034, environmental campaigners say.



Norway to Ban Deforestation-Linked Palm Oil Biofuels in Historic Vote

The resolution calls on the government “to formulate a comprehensive proposal for policies and taxes in the biofuels policy in order to exclude biofuels with high deforestation risk.”



Oreo and Ritz Cracker Producer Drops Palm Oil Suppliers Linked to Deforestation

by Susan Bird 

Mondelēz International, maker of these products and many more, announced that it is dropping 12 palm oil suppliers that contribute to deforestation. The company also called for 100 percent sustainability and 100 percent transparency across the palm oil industry. Mondelēz International now demands that its palm oil suppliers: Commit to palm oil concession mapping – Suppliers must map all mills they buy from, to identify and focus on areas of highest risk for deforestation. It also means upstream suppliers must provide“ universal, group-wide concession maps” as a condition of doing business; Act faster to eliminate deforestation in their palm oil supply chain – This requirement mandates “time-bound remediation plans or Mondelēz International will cease contracts with upstream suppliers engaged in deforestation.”


Ecuador has fulfilled the requirements for a first payment of around USD 13 million for verified reductions in deforestation from Germany and Norway

The payment rewards a reduction of around 2.66 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation in 2015 and 2016. – I want to highlight that a major part of these resources will be addressed to the actors at a local level and to the benefit of projects from indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian organizations, Vice Minister Hagen said during her meeting with Equador’s Environment Minister Mr. Marcelo Mata. Germany and Norway signed the cooperation agreement with Ecuador in June 2018. The agreement has a total value of up to USD 50 million USD conditional on progress in reducing deforestation.