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Environment, Carbon and Forests

Assessing quality in impact-oriented research

GFIS - 4 hours 31 min ago

What are appropriate principles and criteria for defining and assessing transdisciplinary research quality?

Logging irradiated wood in Chornobyl

GFIS - 7 hours 47 min ago

Urban explorers from Ukraine say they have discovered logging operations inside the Chornobyl exclusion zone and warn that irradiated wood is being sold to unsuspecting consumers. Source: CBC Canada “I wouldn’t want to live in such a house,” Artur Kalmykov said. The computer programmer from Kiev visits the exclusion zone frequently because he says it relaxes him. On a recent trip to the zone, Kalmykov and his explorers, who call themselves “stalkers,” found that an area they had visited a month or so earlier had been completely clearcut by loggers. “The first time we saw forests and the second time it wasn’t there,” said Kalmykov. Thirty years ago this week, an accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine dumped lethal amounts of radiation in the area surrounding the reactor, killing dozens within hours and thousands more since — an exact number is still a hotly debated topic. A 30-kilometre exclusion zone was established around the reactor to minimize people’s exposure to radiation, this zone is now 2600 square kilometers. Now, it appears that parts of the forest are being logged for consumers to unwittingly buy. Kalmykov took his discovery to Stop Corruption, a political watchdog group. The group accuses the agency in charge of the exclusion zone of corruption and says irradiated wood from the zone could wind up in people’s homes. In an interview with The New York Times, the director of the exclusion zone, Vitalii V Petruk claimed illegal logging had not taken place since he assumed the job in the fall. Kalmykov also recently met some loggers working in the zone. They told him they didn’t know who their bosses were either. Petruk has proposed increased logging in the area to feed a steam power plant that would reduce the need for Russian natural gas. In the aftermath of the disaster, an area of forest in the path of the fallout absorbed so much radiation that within days all the trees had turned red, earning it the nickname of “the Red Forest.” These trees were eventually cut down and buried. ++ As Ukraine marks 30 years since the worst nuclear disaster in history, you may be confused to see the name of the explosion site spelled two different ways. Some may be accustomed used to seeing the Russian spelling, Chernobyl, however, many media outlets have transitioned to using the Ukrainian spelling, Chornobyl. When Ukraine became independent from the former Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Government requested that international agencies re-establish the original spellings of Ukrainian cities, regions and names.

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Myanmar Timber Enterprise to end logging

GFIS - 7 hours 48 min ago

While there is no official announcement as yet a senior official of the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) has been quoted as saying that his organisation intends to end its logging operations from the end of this fiscal year. Source: Forestry Expo The plan submitted by the Forestry Department proposes the ban in 68 Districts. Prior to 2014 the annual log harvest was over one million tons but in 2014 this was reduced to around 60,000 tons of teak and 670,000 tons of other hardwood. The proposal from Forestry has been welcomed by the chairman of the NGO Forest Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association (FREDA) who was quoted in the local press as urging a halt to both teak and hardwood harvesting. The private sector in Myanmar was apparently shocked by this proposal. Domestic log stocks have been estimated at around 200,000 tons of teak logs and 500,000 tons of other hardwoods. These stocks are in the hands of just a few millers and analysts estimate this volume could meet domestic demand for about two years. Analysts say most of the private sector is not opposed to the halt to logging to allow for conservation measures to be implemented but would prefer a phased approach allowing time to adjust production and the workforce. A harvesting ban will have a severe impact on employment in the sector. It is becoming apparent that the Forestry Department is taking control of decisions on harvests once the prerogative of the MTE. A harvest moratorium would severely affect the income of the MTE and could result in a restructuring of the organisation.

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Global forest, paper and packing industry update

GFIS - 7 hours 49 min ago

Mixed prices and demand for commodities, as well as currency volatility continues to affect the performance of the global forest, paper and packaging industry. Source: Lesprom However, the building product sector fundamentals remain optimistic, with steadily improving US housing starts up 6% in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared with the annualized starts in December 2014. “What we saw in 2015 is the markets starting to stabilize. If we look ahead, the US housing market continues to improve, which has resulted in stronger lumber prices in the first quarter of 2016,” said Kevin Bromley, Partner and PwC Canadian Forest, Paper and Packaging Leader. “Pulp and paper have remained stable in the first quarter of 2016, although significant new global production is coming online later in the year. “We are keeping a close eye on the softwood lumber negotiations between US and Canada. This could have a significant impact on the Canadian forest industry.” With significant deals being made in 2015, M&A activity finished on a strong note, with the fourth quarter bringing in 39 deals with a value of US$14.8 billion. Overall, M&A deal activity was up in 2015 compared to 2014, with 143 announced deals compared to 125 in 2014; the overall value of M&A activity was also significantly higher, with a value of US$31.9 billion in 2015 up from US$9.4 billion in 2014. Despite economic uncertainty, this indicates that the market is stabilizing and key players are forging deals to gain a competitive advantage. “The increase in deal making shows that companies are now in a position to maximize profitability given that economic conditions in the industry have become more stable,” said Jason Boyer, a Partner in PwC’s Deals practice. “We saw two significantly large deals go forward in 2015, which is an indication that the major industry players are choosing to consolidate their value chain in the sector.” The PwC Q1 2016 FPP Deals Insights saw a decrease in deal volume and total deal value relative to the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2015. A total of 22 M&A deals were announced during Q1 2016 with a total value of US$2.5 billion. Boyer added: “Despite the first quarter being down, over the last year deal making in Asian markets seems to have picked up, particularly in the first quarter of 2016. We see this trend of players in Asia being more active not just in North America, but globally.” Senior forest and paper company executives, customers, suppliers, industry analysts and government policy makers are currently meeting at the 29th Annual PwC Global Forest, Paper & Packaging Industry Conference being held in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Tree changes in Queensland

GFIS - 7 hours 50 min ago

The Queensland Parliamentary Committee assessing the Palaszczuk Government’s proposed changes to tree clearing laws are about to start sifting through hundreds of submissions. Source: ABC Rural With submissions now closed for the inquiry into Labor’s proposed changes to vegetation management legislation, stakeholders are waiting for the final ruling. The Parliamentary Agriculture and Environment Committee will begin sifting through the papers over coming weeks. Labor MP Glenn Butcher is the chairman of the Parliamentary Agriculture and Environment Committee. He said extra staff was needed to review the submissions, which came from a wide spectrum of stakeholders. “We do not know exact numbers yet, the committee secretary is going through all of those currently, [but] what we do know is that there are hundreds and hundreds of them,” Mr Butcher said. “Obviously there are two sides to this story … landowners and people concerned with the changes to the laws that we are trying to introduce and then the supporters of it. “The big groups involved with the agricultural side of it are AgForce and companies like that and then on the other side of it are World Wildlife Fund, and those type of groups that are concerned about the environment.” The committee must table its final report to parliament by the end of June. Mr Butcher and committee members will embark on a regional tour of Queensland over the next few weeks to talk to stakeholders. “Myself and the committee will be jumping on a plane and heading to Townsville and then working our way inland from there,” he said. “We are not out debating the bill, we are just out having a listen to what people’s concerns are and then as a collective we will make a decision as part of the committee to hand down our report.” Queensland Canegrowers was one of the peak farm lobby groups to make a submission. Chairman Paul Schembri said there were three areas which could have significant impacts on cane farmers across the state. These included the development of greenfield sites and clearing regrowth both on the farm and from infrastructure such as drains. “I always worry when somebody is making changes to vegetation management laws there can be unintended consequences,” Mr Schembri said. Among the proposed changes, Labor is seeking to remove provisions introduced by the previous Newman government, allowing the clearing of land for high value agriculture. The Palaszczuk Government has previously said the legislative changes were an election commitment to reverse “loopholes” created by the LNP that have resulted in “skyrocketing” tree clearing rates in the state.

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Thor’s timber brickworks

GFIS - 7 hours 51 min ago

Surrounded by crumbling brickworks timber recycler Thor Diesendorf has set a fire of innovation under decades of uncertainty, to create a flourishing business. Source: The Canberra Times At the old Yarralumla brickworks, which once turned out Canberra’s classic red brick, he is manufacturing another red-hot product with waste sawdust. He has imported a four-tonne German machine to compress waste sawdust into briquettes, which hold less moisture and generate more heat than firewood. Under intense pressure, natural glue in timber called lignins hold the briquette together. Mr Diesendorf has diversified a demolition business into furniture making and timber recycling, turning over thousands of tonnes of salvaged timber annually and creating a mountain of sawdust. He imported the $100,000 compressing machine, fitted it into a modified shipping container and reconfigured dust extraction to re-direct clean sawdust into the briquette maker. Mr Diesendorf established Thor’s Hammer in 1994, defying uncertainty over the brickworks future by growing his business into one of Australia’s biggest timber recyclers. He employs 24 people, including cabinetmakers and apprentices. He had often thought about recycling sawdust, and began to investigate briquettes after one of his staff bought some firewood, which was hard to burn. Using a moisture metre he discovered the wood’s high moisture content was the culprit. “Our timber is so dry because it is recycled. We get a dry briquette with a low moisture content, it might have half to a third of the moisture content than a normal block of firewood,” Mr Diesendorf said. “That means you are not paying for water, which doesn’t help heat your house. The lower the moisture content, the hotter and more cleanly the timber burns.” At $350 a tonne, briquettes are more expensive than firewood, but each brick generates more heat and eliminates the need for an axe to split wood. Mr Diesendorf plans to supply a niche market. The ACT Government wants development proposals to reactivate the brickworks site, which may change Thor’s Hammer’s business, but in more than two decades of uncertainty, nothing has stopped the timber craftsman from overcoming obstacles. “If we were going to be part of something in the future of the brickworks it would have to reduce the size of our operation there and move the bulk timber storage off site,” Mr Diesendorf said. He has previously raised idea of artisan and designer hub at the brickworks, which may have suited previous, larger proposals. “A team of us put work into that proposal, it is potentially useful if a developer is interested in it, or we have to move to another site, we would do something similar,” he said. The brickworks has provided ample space for huge salvage jobs such as old wharves, big industrial buildings and an empty paper mill. In its day the brickworks provided the distinctive Canberra red brick. These days polished blackbutt, a favourite of Mr Diesendorf’s, and other Australian hardwood, is prolific in bars, restaurants, barber shops and galleries and numerous Canberra homes. “The kind of work we are doing is pretty rare,” Mr Diesendorf said. “There would not be anywhere else in Canberra you could learn the kind of skills that our apprentices are learning.”

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Tas wilderness to drop off government agenda

GFIS - 7 hours 54 min ago

It’s been a tough few months for parts of Tasmania’s protected wilderness and the future also looks bleak according to the federal budget, which has copped criticism from some sectors of the island state. Sources: AAP, Nine News Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area has staved off a push by state and federal governments for selective timber harvesting, but it was savaged by summer bushfires and is now due to drop off the national funding agenda. The budget shows a flatlining allocation for management of the 1.6 million-hectare area, which represents a fifth of the island state and is protected by a division of the United Nations. “(The federal government) have an obligation to fund the protection of Tasmania’s wilderness not just for Tasmania, not just for Australia, but for the global community,” Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said. After receiving more than $5 million in 2015-16, management funding for the area will be wound back to zero by 2018-19 and beyond. More than 20,000ha of the protected area was burnt over summer and decreased funding will mean an inability to carry out adequate fire mitigation or respond to the outbreak of future bushfires, Ms O’Connor said. “This is a time at which the Commonwealth and state governments should be increasing funding to the World Heritage Area, not cutting it.” Tasmanian parks and environment minister Matthew Groom rejected claims the area had been forgotten. “There is a strong ongoing commitment to the World Heritage Area, including funding by the Commonwealth government,” he said, citing budget allocations of $8.7 million for 2015-16 and two subsequent years. But Ms O’Connor said the lost funding was just one example in a budget, which lacked vision. In state parliament Premier Will Hodgman faced criticism for failing to secure more dollars from Canberra, but the Liberal leader defended his federal colleagues. “Fundamentally this is a good budget for Tasmania, it’s a plan for economic growth, it supports small business and when you consider that Tasmania’s economy is fuelled by the small business sector then this is going to have a significant benefit,” he said. There is money for roadworks as part of a $200 million infrastructure package and Tasmania will share in a $2.9 billion national fund for public hospitals over the next three years.

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Intergrain awards open with new category

GFIS - 7 hours 56 min ago

Design professionals are invited to showcase their creativity with timber with the launch of the 2016 Intergrain Timber Vision Awards. Source: Design Entries are now open for the 7th edition of the Intergrain Timber Vision Awards, a timber design competition that celebrates the innovative use of the material in architecture and design, with awards going to high calibre projects that have used timber in inspiring and creative ways. Design professionals across the building and landscaping industries are invited to enter innovative projects, which showcase their unique and visionary use of timber and push the boundaries of normal timber application. This year’s competition is also open for design professionals in New Zealand. With the successful timber design awards program having received an overwhelming response of quality entries last year, Intergrain has announced a new category to the Awards program – the Travel Bursary Award. Intergrain Trade Brand Manager, Amanda Chalmers said the addition of the Travel Bursary Award enables Intergrain to build stronger relationships with leading architects in Australia as well as New Zealand. She explained that it was a great opportunity for them to see the breadth of outstanding work by a firm over the past decade, while also allowing the firm to showcase their talent to the world. A judging panel consisting of high quality industry professionals will evaluate the entries and awards will be given in six categories – Residential Interior, Residential Exterior, Commercial Interior, Commercial Exterior, Landscape and Young Architect – with an overall ‘Grand Prix’ winner chosen from the winners of all the six categories. Each category winner will receive $2000 plus up to 100L of Intergrain products (to the value of $2500), while the Grand Prix winner will receive an additional $2000. All winners, commendations and special mentions will receive a certificate. Entries open on 19 April and close on Sunday 26 June. The winners will be announced in August at the Intergrain Timber Vision Awards Breakfast to be held in Melbourne.

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Logs to move down coast via KiwiRail

GFIS - 7 hours 58 min ago

New proposals may mean that logs will again be moved down the East Coast of New Zealand. What the proposals don’t currently allow for is a reopening of the slip-damaged line to Gisborne and access to the vast hinterland of mature pine trees in the Raukumaras. Source: Forestry Expo Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is entering into contractual negotiations with KiwiRail to re-establish a Napier-Wairoa rail link. It has completed a feasibility study on a proposed log freight rail service. Following a public excluded meeting on 20 April, the regional council decided to enter negotiations with KiwiRail for the rail company to operate a log freight service between Wairoa and Napier on behalf of HBRC. HBRC says it will also be negotiating with customers who could benefit from a rail service through to Napier and the port. The funding of track maintenance would be the responsibility of the regional council. “The Council has taken into consideration the large quantities of timber coming from forest harvesting in the Wairoa District over the next two decades,” said chairperson Fenton Wilson. “We will be expecting a return on our investment over the life of the resumed service.” The rail connection was mothballed in December 2012 following major washouts on the line, and the subsequent cost of repairs. Following this, in 2014, HBRC allocated $5.46 million to potentially underwrite a freight service. HBRC’s interim chief executive Liz Lambert confirmed to media that the proposal, for which commercial details are not being released, related only to establishing a log transport service from Wairoa to the Port of Napier, with no early prospect of the discussion turning to reopening the badly slip-damaged line between Wairoa and Gisborne. KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said in another interview this week that he was expecting a proposal from HBRC, but that to be acceptable the council and any commercial partners would need to bear the whole commercial risk of the line being restored to operability and maintained. “We want a take or pay arrangement, we won’t take the commercial risk,” he said. “If HBRC is the only customer, then we would expect full cost allocation.” While the proposal requires KiwiRail backing, it will also need confirmation from forest owners in the Wairoa/Nuhaka region, where large-scale plantation forests are fast coming to maturity, that they will use the service. Wairoa export log harvests are forecast to treble to a million tonnes by 2020 and increase after that time. A key reason for the regional council’s decision to underwrite a rail route reopening is its concern to prevent a massive surge in truck volumes on the main highway between Wairoa and Napier. Forest managers estimate half of the coming volume of logs can move by rail from a log hub at Wairoa. Lambert held out little hope for the aspiration of Gisborne log-owners and fresh produce sellers to reopen the Wairoa to Gisborne part of the line. “We are focusing on Wairoa to Napier, no further north, certainly in the medium term.”

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FIAT fraudster jailed

GFIS - 7 hours 58 min ago

A woman who stole more than $110,000 from the Forest Industry Association of Tasmania has been jailed for two years. Source: The Mercury Gail Lynne Delpero, 44, worked as a part-time executive assistant with responsibilities for managing finances and had full access to FIAT bank accounts during her employment from September 2011 to November 2014. She pleaded guilty to three counts of computer-related fraud. Supreme Court Justice Shan Tennent said Delpero’s crimes were detected after an accountant noticed a number of discrepancies during an audit. These included Delpero paying herself six extra wage payments as well as other transfers to her bank account. A final audit revealed she had taken $110,315.61 of FIAT funds and she was sacked. Justice Tennent said Delpero had suffered a number of personal setbacks including a marriage breakdown and the death of her mother in the years before the offending, but the crime was serious one. “Your offending was clearly not about need,” the judge said. “You wanted to maintain a lifestyle your circumstances would not permit and you abused the trust of your employer to gain funds to do that. “Your offending was persistent and over a period of almost three years. “You did not stop offending voluntarily. Your offending ceased only when you were caught. You have not repaid any of the funds stolen.” The judge convicted Delpero of the offences and jailed her for two years, with a non-parole period of half that term. She also ordered Delpero repay the money she stole.

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Residue options for growth

GFIS - 7 hours 59 min ago

The Tasmanian government is waxing lyrical on its commitment to rebuilding the forestry industry in Tasmania; claiming that Labor and the Greens all but destroyed it. Source: Forestry Expo The government says it has been working with the industry to grow the forestry sector including finding new uses and new markets for forestry residues from the southern forests. Peter Gutwein, Minister for Forestry said: “ We chose the EOI process to provide the widest opportunity for commercial residue options to be brought forward and tested against each other, rather than simply picking winners. “Today, the Government is announcing that negotiations have begun with four proponents who have brought forward proposals for handling southern residues that can be up and running within a matter of months. “Importantly the proposals offer solutions for more pulpwood than is available, thereby providing healthy competition as we finalise this process.” The proposals being negotiated offer options to: Diversify the customer base for residues from the southern forests; Allow for a relatively quick start-up period for initial volumes with increased volumes into the future; Consider innovative private sector involvement to be incorporated into the supply chain; and importantly, Assist FT to strengthen its financial position. Mr Gutwein said: “To be clear: there will be no wood chip pile on Macquarie Wharf. Export options from Hobart are included in the commercial negotiations and cover the export of whole logs or containerised logs or residues. “My expectation is that these negotiations will be concluded in the coming month. While the focus now is on providing immediate solutions, over the next five years wood volumes from plantation and private forests is forecast to grow to around 1.5 million tonnes per annum. “The Government will continue to work with proponents that brought forward longer term proposals including biomass and port options outside of Hobart to ensure that we can keep pace with growing volumes. “The Government is getting on with the job of rebuilding forestry and growing the industry.”

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GFW User Profile: Alberto Yanofsky

GFIS - Wed, 04/05/2016 - 17:30
For this installment of GFW User Profiles, we spoke with Alberto Yanofsky, Executive Director of Asociación Guyra Paraguay, a GFW Small Grants Fund recipient. Alberto Yanofsky. How did you become interested in forests? I have always had an interest in forests. My father was a hunter and so I grew up around the forest. He too grew up […]

Work begins for PEFC Standards Revision Working Groups

GFIS - Wed, 04/05/2016 - 15:35
Following a fantastic response to our call for nominations, four Standards Revision Working Groups (WGs) are now established and already at work. The four WGs are: WG 1: Sustainable Forest Management Standard (33 members) WG 2: Forest Management Certification Procedures and Group...

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Bridging gender theory and practice in environmental policy

GFIS - Wed, 04/05/2016 - 12:56

Reflections on how far gender scholarship has evolved, and how to further broaden its application

Indigenous, community and civil society leaders call for action on human rights violations and land grabbing linked to global palm oil supply chains.

GFIS - Wed, 04/05/2016 - 10:33
4 May, 2016

At event in London, Indigenous and civil society leaders call for an end to human rights violations and land grabbing linked to millions of tons of palm oil imported into Europe every year, calls for enforceable standards to stop abuses.

LONDON, 4th May 2016. Indigenous, community and civil society leaders visiting Europe from across the world today issued a call for urgent action in the EU to respond to the human rights abuses directly or indirectly linked to palm oil supply chains.

Visiting delegate Agus Sutomo, director of the Pontianak-based NGO LinkAR-Borneo, in West Kalimantan, Indonesia said, “We need the global community to understand that when they are consuming palm oil and biofuels they are consuming the blood of our peoples in Indonesia, Liberia, Colombia and Peru. Human rights violations are being committed by an industry that is expanding due to the EU demand for palm oil and bioenergy.” Despite efforts to regulate the palm oil industry with initiatives such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and controversial climate standards like the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC), testimonies from the delegates reveal the industry is failing to be accountable to affected communities.

What do we mean by the term sustainability? The palm oil industry has not dealt with many of the past and present violations of community rights by agribusiness developments. It is not enough to create voluntary certification schemes, while we continue to suffer land grabs and the on-going violation of human rights” said Franky Samperante from Sulawesi and the founder-director of the indigenous peoples’ organisation Pusaka. He adds, “The uncontrolled expansion of palm oil plantations is creating land rights conflicts, leading to social and cultural upheaval and unprecedented environmental damage.”

From April 25th to May 4th the delegates from Indonesia, Peru, Colombia and Liberia gave personal testimonies of the impacts of the palm oil industry to members of the European Parliament and Director-Generals of the Environment, Trade, Energy, Climate and Development Aid at the European Commission as well as Commissioners’ cabinet members, to press for stronger EU regulation of palm oil supply chains. They also shared with high-level decision makers their grave concerns about the rapid expansion and projected increase in the area of land slated for palm oil plantations and production of biofuels, which is set to double in the coming years in countries such as Indonesia.

Delegation activities also included visits to a palm oil refinery installation in the Port of Rotterdam and to Canary Wharf, the heart of the international finance industry in the City of London. These actions were taken to inform decision makers and to allow delegates to witness first-hand the extent of the palm oil supply chain in Europe. “Since much of the global demand for palm oil based commodities is being driven by EU consumption, we need strong binding regulations of supply chains bringing palm oil and other agricultural commodities to Europe, not voluntary schemes” said Ali Kaba, program coordinator and senior researcher at the Sustainable Development Institute, a Liberian civil society organisation, “When you have palm plantations in the absence of secure rights to customary land or indigenous lands in reality it can often lead to land rights violations and human rights abuses, environmental damages and poverty for the communities affected by that industry”.

Progressive certification schemes like the RSPO can sometimes be useful to communities as they are often the only immediate means to challenge corporate abuses and destructive plantation development. In order to be more effective, certification complaints systems like that of the RSPO must be strengthened and better equipped to respond and investigate community complaints. However, testimonies from communities on the ground highlight that green labelling and voluntary approaches are not adequate to properly provide redress for community grievances, and are insufficient to ensure protection for land rights and full compliance with national and international human rights laws.

We have travelled to Europe with an urgent message from our communities. When listening to people from across South East Asia, Latin America and Africa, we are hearing the same problems: land rights are not being respected by the palm oil industry and other agribusinesses. We have been left with no choice as the representatives of our communities but to come to the EU to elevate our call for the recognition of our territories in Peru.” said Sedequías Ancón Chávez, representative of the Shipibo people and leader affiliated to the Inter-ethnic Development Association of the Peruvian Amazon. He added: “those working to protect the environment and mitigate climate change need to understand that the most effective way to protect the remaining standing forests is to support our demands for collective legal titles over 20 million hectares of our land belonging to 1240 of our communities that still lack secure tenure rights.”

Delegates unanimously call for the EU and its member states to strengthen regulation of financial institutions and private sector involved in the agribusiness sector to ensure legality, including compliance with national and international human rights and environmental protection laws.

Our Mother Earth is weeping for the violation of our peoples’ rights and the destruction of our environment. We visited an oil palm refinery on our mission to the EU. The smoke from this refinery represents the blood of our families first split at the hands of the paramilitaries and also the suffering that is now being inflicted by the palm oil industry.” stated Willian Aljure, land and human rights defender and representative of Communities Constructing Peace in Territories (CONPAZ) from the Mapiripan area in the plains region of Colombia “Together we are calling for international solidarity in demanding that harmful investments and plantation operations in the palm oil sector affecting indigenous and local communities are investigated and properly sanctioned, including for historical injustices. You cannot separate human rights from environmental damage.”

In addition to a general call to action addressed to the EU, governments, the private sector, certification bodies and investors, the delegates together with a wide coalition of indigenous and civil society organizations from Peru, Europe and North America have issued a specific public demand that financial regulatory bodies remove AIM-listed United Cacao Ltd SEZC from trading on the London Stock Exchange due to the reported illegal deforestation of at least 11,100 hectares and related rights violations in the Peruvian Amazon. United Cacao’s project is being supported by financing raised on the London Stock Exchange’s junior market, the Alternative Investments Market (AIM).

We are demanding that the London Stock Exchange immediately halt trading services and cancel registration of companies that act outside of the law.” said Robert Guimaraes Vasquez, member of the Shipibo-Conibo indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon, “Peru has the fourth highest rate of murders of human rights and land defenders in the world. We are alerting the international community to protect the community leaders who are speaking out against the deadly palm oil industry and who now face grave dangers to their security.”

The delegates’ call to action did not fall on deaf ears with EU decision-makers, who have invited them to submit further testimonies. Reflecting a growing movement among the citizens of EU member states concerned about the potentially shattered communities and devastated forests that the palm oil in their groceries may have caused, there is an increasingly loud call for EU and member state regulators to take decisive regulatory action that does justice to this demonstration of solidarity between European citizens and the communities calling for the cleanup of global agribusiness supply chains linking Indonesia, Liberia, Colombia, Peru and other producer countries to European markets.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Press Contacts (London):
Suzanne Dhaliwal
suzanne dhaliwal@googlemail.com
+44.777.269.4327

Wanda Batista
bautista@burness.com
+1.302.233.5438

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 9:30 AM UK Time on WEDNESDAY, 4 MAY

RELATED CONTENT Indigenous leaders from threatened tropical forests to launch tour in Europe; will challenge region's deadly trade in ubiquitous palm oil

Dongxing Customs enhance their skills in detecting illegal wildlife trade

GFIS - Wed, 04/05/2016 - 09:22
Dongxing, Guangxi province, China, April 2016—more than 100 Dongxing Customs officials received enforcement training from the Guangxi Branch of China’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Management Authority (CITES MA) in co-operation with TRAFFIC last month.

Life for the Baka Pygmies of Central African Republic

GFIS - Wed, 04/05/2016 - 08:00

Susan Schulman’s photo essay reveals life in the Dzanga-Sangha forest, where Baka Pygmies are struggling to maintain their traditional way of life in the face of logging, poaching and a lack of healthcare

As the Baka Pygmies of the Dzanga-Sangha region of Central African Republic struggle to live in their traditional ways, they find themselves caught between worlds.

Baka split their time between village and forest. Here, in their forest home, life continues in the face of many challenges, ranging from poachers to ill health. Destructive developments within the forest, such as illegal logging, also pose a threat.

Continue reading...

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REDD monitor news - Wed, 04/05/2016 - 06:45
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Coast Forest Elects New Board of Directors

GFIS - Wed, 04/05/2016 - 01:14
Don Demens, Chair of Coast Forest Products Association Board of Directors and President and CEO of Western Forest Products, is pleased to announce the election of the Association’s 2016-2017 Board of Directors. As of the AGM on April 21, 2016, the Board for Coast Forest includes: • Don Demens (Chair), Western Forest Products • Bob Brash, Taan Forest Products • Ted Dergousoff, Terminal Forest Products …

A young logger with deep roots in the California Timberlands

GFIS - Wed, 04/05/2016 - 00:43

A newly graduated forestry technician enjoys the sense of continuity that comes from playing his part in the business his family started 70 years ago.

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