Environment, Carbon and Forests
Something finally happened. The US government imposed a 20% duty on Canadian softwood lumber imports to the United States. Everyone seems to have an opinion. For those that think this is something new, it’s not. This dispute has been going on for decades and will continue far into the future. Why, because both nations rely … Continue reading "North American Softwood Lumber: 20% Duty"
In contrast to years past, the 2017 Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) Convention in early April revealed a markedly new tone – one that was more forestry informed, and, as it appeared more supportive. The Convention opened with a formal welcome and presentation commemorating the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Coast Forest Products Association (CFPA) and AVICC (see news …
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April 28, 2017 — COLLEGE STATION, Texas — In Texas, the official state Arbor Day celebration is held in a different host city each year on the first Friday in November. Today, on National Arbor Day, Texas A&M Forest Service revealed that this year’s state celebration will be hosted in Grand Prairie, Texas. Acro
The Embera Chamí indigenous people of the Resguardo Cañamomo Lomaprieta, an indigenous reserve located in the municipalities of Riosucio and Supia in Colombia, know all too well that when it comes to protecting their territory and upholding their rights, they need to move forward autonomously.
Their small land base of only 4,826 hectares for a population of 20,790 living in 32 communities, has been carved up into mining concessions issued unilaterally by the state to companies and individuals interested in the rich gold deposits located in the Resguardo. Their water sources are also threatened from growing population pressure and encroachment by nearby urban centres. Yet the Resguardo is moving forward to protect their territory, their minerals resources and their waters.
“We might have a small land base,” said the Chief Governor of the Resguardo, Arnobia Moreno, “but we are doing everything to protect it not only from the invasion of outsiders interested in plundering our gold, but also to make sure that the little land we have, and our bountiful water sources, are protected for our future generations, and for our very survival.”
That’s why in honour of Earth Day 2017, community women, children and men gathered on one of their sacred mountains, the Cerro Sinifana, to honour the guardian spirits of the mountain, and to plant over 1,300 trees. Indeed, the Resguardo has engaged in an ambitious reforestation campaign to protect its 415 water sources (in 2016 the communities planted 20,451 trees), and encourage biodiversity while increasing food security.
There are other examples of autonomous actions of territorial defence. For example, the Resguardo has established its own rules and regulations protecting the ancestral mining its people have engaged in since before the formation of the Colombian state. Traditional authorities have banned harmful substances such as cyanide and mercury, while requiring environmental management plans. And they have declared the territory a ‘no-go’ zone for large-scale mining.
“We need to move forward autonomously to protect our territory, because this is our homeland, and the state has done nothing to protect our rights,” said the Resguardo’s Natural Resources Programme Coordinator and former Chief Governor Héctor Jaime Vinasco. “In fact, quite the contrary: the state has run roughshod over our territorial rights, ignoring our very title as one of the oldest indigenous reserves established by the Spanish Crown.”
Indeed, the Resguardo recently won a precedent-setting Constitutional Court Case, made public late January 2017, ordering the state to delimit the Resguardo’s ancestral lands, and to recognise the legitimacy of the Traditional Authorities to regulate their own mining, among other orders. Yet to date, there has been no action to implement these.
“Even though we sent our highest authorities to meet with representatives from the National Lands Agency in Bogotá to spur action on the Court’s orders to delimit our traditional territory, our delegation was stood up,” said Vinasco. “And nothing has been done.”
And he added: “We won’t give up. We will keep on pushing for the delimitation and protection of our territories. Even if we have to do it ourselves.”
Knowledge is increasing about tropical peatlands, yet less is known about how best to restore them. But, some scientists are working to change that.
If you want to understand how deforestation works, just think about cancer.
That’s because the two behave in a remarkably similar fashion.
Large-scale studies reveal that deforestation is highly spatially contagious. That means it grows in a tumor-like fashion, spreading out from an initial “seed” or point of origin.
For example, if a new road cuts into a wilderness area, deforestation tends to grow along the road, like a series of tumors.
And then the cancer spreads. The initial road spawns secondary and tertiary roads, either legally or illegally, with deforestation then ‘jumping’ to these new areas.
It’s exactly how cancer spreads when it jumps from, say, a lymph node to the liver, lungs, and bone marrow.
The cancer-like behavior of deforestation has big implications for nature conservation.Cancer and Conservation
For starters, there’s no such thing as having a “little bit” of cancer. If you’ve got cancer, you’ve got cancer.
So, if you punch a new road into a wild forested area, you’re typically going to start a cancer-like process of deforestation that continues to spread and spread.
How can we combat the cancer of deforestation?
Obviously, the best approach is to avoid getting cancer in the first place.
That means, wherever possible, keeping roads out of any place that we really need to protect from deforestation and other destructive human activities, such as poaching and illegal mining.
“Avoid the first cut” is the cardinal principle when it comes to building new roads in wild places. Don’t let the cancer in at all.
Fires increase dramatically near roads in the Amazon, both outside (red) and inside (blue) protected areas (data from Adeney et al. 2009. PLoS One).Treatment Options
But if we do get cancer, then what? Well, there are two options.
The easiest is surgery—cut the cancer out, if it’s caught early enough. This would be analogous to closing a forest road completely.
For instance, after a logging operation, one could destroy a key bridge at the entrance to the forest, or set up a permanently-manned guard post to ensure illegal encroachers and poachers are kept away.
The second option is more expensive and painful. If we can’t cut the cancer out, then the options are long-term treatment—radiation and chemotherapy.
It's painful and expensive, but it's better than nothing.
The analogy in this case would be for the government to maintain the road through the forest but to attempt to control human activities along the road. For instance, there could be land-use and forestry regulations, land-use planning, and legal enforcement.
The problem is that this requires a long-term, recurring investment—it’s expensive and difficult.
It assumes the government has the resources for monitoring activities along the road, has adequate law-enforcement capabilities, and has an effective judiciary to enforce the law.
Unfortunately, this kind of treatment often doesn’t work, especially in many frontier areas where the rule of law is limited. Bribery and corruption occur, along with waves of illegal mining, logging, poaching, and land speculation.
As we ponder current projections that suggest we’re going to have some 25 million kilometers of new paved roads worldwide by 2050—enough to encircle the planet more than 600 times—it’s important to remember the cancer analogy for deforestation.
It teaches us a vital lesson: It’s crucial to stop roads from penetrating into any landscape or ecosystem that we seriously want to conserve—unless we have a very effective means in place of controlling the cancer of deforestation.
It really is that simple. And our options really are that limited.
Roads have already fragmented the Earth’s ecosystems into some 600,000 pieces.
Avoid cancer. And if you can’t avoid cancer, cut it out as quickly as possible.
After that, things get a lot more complicated.
The fRI Research Healthy Landscapes Program is hosting a series of dialogue sessions to facilitate discussions around ecosystem-based management, healthy forests, and forest management in Alberta.
The attached poster explains the purpose, the process, and introduces the team who will lead the sessions.
Published April 25th, 2017 by Andrew Duffy and Lindsay Kines for the Times Colonist – Source The U.S.’s levying of “anti-subsidy” duties on Canadian lumber imports sent a shiver through the coastal forest industry and a tremor through the provincial election campaign Tuesday. Tariffs of between 3.02 and 24.12 per cent are to be imposed beginning May 1 on five large Canadian producers, and 19.88 per …
Minister of State for Forestry Andrew Doyle TD addressed the Council of the European Forest Institute in its meeting at Dublin Castle today. Ireland holds the Chairmanship of the Council for the period 2017–2020, with Professor Ted Farrell as Chair.
Minister Doyle said he was pleased to see EFI grow and develop. Ireland has been actively involved in the institute’s work from the early days on. The Minister went on to say:
-- One of the focuses of the EFI’s work has been its close engagement and interaction with European policy decision-makers, stakeholders, policy institutions and EFI's member organisations. In this regard the EFI is moving forward the positive agenda around Europe’s forests and the contribution they make to society and the economy. It brings valuable science-based knowledge and information to the attention of stakeholders in a format which is readily usable in areas such as forests and climate change, forest biomass and carbon neutrality and other topical areas into the policy arena.
EFI Board and the Council are meeting in Dublin this week. The Board of the EFI is responsible for establishing and keeping under review the overall research framework and the strategy of the Institute. It also supervises the Secretariat. The Council is the the highest decision making body of the Institute and it consists of representatives of the Member countries. It meets in ordinary session every three years. Ireland holds the Chairmanship of the Council for the period 2017–2020.
Read the full press release by the Government of Ireland, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine here.
Bogotá 25 April: We, the traditional authorities and elected leaders of the Uitoto, Muinane, Andoque and Nonuya peoples of the Middle Rio Caquetá region of the Colombian Amazon are in Bogotá between the 25th and 28th of April to represent our peoples and our Traditional Association of Indigenous Authorities - the Regional Indigenous Council of Middle Amazonas (CRIMA) in meetings with different State institutions and international agencies. We self-identify ourselves as the "People of the Centre" and heirs of the Green Territory of Life in the Amazon rainforest.
We are here to demand guarantees for our rights and to share concerns regarding forest, climate change and biodiversity projects that affect our territory, including the National Parks Department’s Heart of the Amazon Project supported by the World Bank and Global Environment Facility, and the Vision Amazonia Programme funded by the UK, Germany and Norway. We wish to express concerns that these programmes are undermining our principles of consent and participation and are applying processes that are not appropriate for our way of thinking and decision making.
Asserting our rights: Under our Law of Origin, and in accordance with our uses and customs, we have maintained a respectful relationship with our territory and the natural world. Before colonisation, our ancestors lived well. More than a century ago the cauchería came to exploit, enslave and displace our peoples, and almost exterminated us. We are the survivors of that genocide. We have since been reconstructing our society by building our malocas (ceremonial houses) and practising our ritual dances using the Word of Life and the wisdom of our elders. Since the 1970’s, our Cabildos (Councils) and Traditional Association of Indigenous Authorities have undertaken collective actions to legally securing our territory and to claim our rights.
Messages of the People of the Centre
To the Colombian government: We are not here to ask for projects. We want the national government to fully recognise our autonomy and our rights to govern our territory. We wish to see our applications for the extension of Reserves of Monochoa, Puerto Sábalo-Los Monos and Aduche properly processed and titled in favour of our communities to consolidate the Territory of Life belonging to the People of the Centre. In addition, we seek the formation and legal registration of an Indigenous Territorial Entity under our full jurisdiction in order to manage, administer and preserve our traditional territory and forests and maintain our way of life.
To international institutions: We inform the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, donor governments and cooperation agencies of Germany, the United Kingdom and Norway, that they must reach agreements directly with us, as our ancestors did. They did not talk to outsiders by means of third parties. We don’t want to have the interference of intermediaries such as NGOs and environmental funds: we seek a direct relationship between programmes, international donors and our traditional authorities. We demand that we are recognised and respected as environmental authorities in our own territory, with our own indigenous system of territorial ordering. We demand that the agencies respect our rights to own, manage and control our territory. To this end, we seek formal steps to develop and implement a Safeguard Plan for our peoples.
To the world: These demands are not just our concerns. Many other peoples in the Amazon and the world have similar claims and proposals for protecting peoples’ rights and sustaining the forests. When we say that we manage our territory and have our own government we are not talking about nature as an object or natural resource, but rather as a space with natural beings with whom we relate guided by our Word of Life and mutual respect. We want to let the world know what “territory” means to us. This week we will share the teachings of the Muinane people about our care of territory. The Uitoto, Andoque and Nonuya peoples have been working in the same direction in documenting our ways of managing and preserving the rainforests. We want to invite all the Peoples of the Centre, America and other parts of the world to join us in this effort to defend life and territory.
Hernando Castro, Regional Indigenous Council of Middle Amazonas: email@example.com
Tom Griffiths, FPP: firstname.lastname@example.org
Camilla Capasso, FPP: email@example.com; +44 1608652893
Can communities and legislation stop Indonesian peatfires?