Environment, Carbon and Forests
"Without This Place" highlights the importance of long-term research and the research findings of the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest and Long-Term Ecological Research site. The HJ Andrews Experimental Forest and LTER is a partnership between Oregon State University, National Science Foundation,... (more)Additional Information: YouTube videoHJ Andrews Experimental Forest
The Global Landscapes Forum: The Investment Case 2016 will take place on June 6th at the Royal Society in London. The event will connect key experts from the financial services industry with leaders from the corporate sector, senior government officials, project developers and leading thinkers, to take investments in sustainable landscapes to the next level. The 2016 gathering offers a unique platform for exploring the potential of private finance in enhancing livelihood, environment and food security benefits across the landscape.
The Global Landscapes Forum: The Investment Case 2016 will take place on June 6th at the Royal Society in London. The event will connect key experts from the financial services industry with leaders from the corporate sector, senior government officials, project developers and leading thinkers, to take investments in sustainable landscapes to the next level. The 2016 gathering offers a unique platform for exploring the potential of private finance in enhancing livelihood, environment and food security benefits across the landscape.Featured: Featured
The fRI Research Healthy Landscapes (HL) Program has been promoting Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) principles through the research, integration, demonstration, and education of NRV concepts. Over the last few years, we have noted that one of the critical limitations of the translation of HL knowledge into practice has been its acceptance as a potential legitimate management option.
This report offers a unique take on this phenomenon. It suggests that we all have different, and equally legitimate interpretations of what a natural pattern strategy is. The challenge is not which one is “right”, but rather understanding what each of us means when we use the term. This paper offers a first insight into the complexity of this topic.
Indigenous leaders in the Amazon face death threats as community files lawsuit against Peruvian government for violation of their land rights
26th May, Pucallpa, Peru. Leaders of the Shipibo indigenous village of Santa Clara de Uchunya, accompanied by their representative organization FECONAU, filed a constitutional law suit challenging Peru’s regional government authorities for failing to secure legal protection of their traditional lands and enabling its acquisition and clearance by an international agribusiness company.1
Plantaciones de Pucallpa SAC, an agribusiness company affiliated to the Melka commercial group appears to have begun acquiring the lands since 2012. Since that point, satellite images show that more than 5,000 ha of forest have been cleared to pave the way for an oil palm plantation.2
The lawsuit argues that these actions violate indigenous peoples’ collective property rights over their traditional and customary lands. These rights, which exist and are legitimate irrespective of whether or not their lands are titled, are protected by Peru’s constitution and under international human rights law, which is obligatory for the Peruvian government.3
The lawsuit4 describes a process over many years through which the Peruvian government failed to legally secure the lands of Santa Clara de Uchunya, but then also enabled acquisition by individuals claiming occupation rights who it appears then subsequently sold their plots to Plantaciones de Pucallpa. Unfortunately, this sort of irregular accumulation of land is widespread practice throughout the Peruvian Amazon. A 2014 report by national indigenous organisation AIDESEP has identified more than 1,200 communities vulnerable to land grabs whose legal land titles remain outstanding. This lack of legally-secure land rights is facilitating widespread conflict over lands, forests and resources.5
The community has been denouncing and campaigning actively against the operations of Plantaciones de Pucallpa and has engaged energetically with local and national authorities with mixed success. In September 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture ordered the suspension of the operations on the grounds that Plantaciones de Pucallpa had none of the authorisations and environmental certificates and assessments required by the Peruvian government before clearing forest.6 Since then, however, the operations appear to have continued as verified by a recent field visit to the plantation site by Ministry of Agriculture officials, which was captured on video.7
Meanwhile, community members have been promised by local officials that the titling of their traditional lands is being processed. However, at the same time, communities point out that the illegal practice in which their lands are issued by local authorities to third parties without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent continues. In December 2015 the community found out that a further 17 plots of land in their traditional lands extending to more than 200ha had been allocated to individual farmers by regional authorities. In this case they managed to file an immediate appeal and an administrative process remains pending. Prosecutors visiting the area on 5th and 6th May confirmed that there was no evidence that would support the farmers’ claims.8
Leaders of the community and representatives of the organization FECONAU describe a growing sense of fear as their denunciations and campaigning are triggering a growing backlash, apparently stemming from Plantaciones de Pucallpa and their supporters. This has manifested itself in a campaign of defamation in local media relying on unsubstantiated accusations that community members have burnt down houses of local farmers as well as anonymous death threats for individual leaders.9
Joel Nunta Valera, President of the community, said “There are outsiders coming here who are threatening and intimidating members of the community and sowing fear and disquiet. This is in revenge for the various denouncements and other actions taken by the community in defence of its territory”.
Community leaders and representatives report that there have been strangers arriving in the village at night who are armed and masked and asking for the whereabouts of their leaders.10 Meanwhile, these threats have escalated since an official delegation of Peruvian environmental prosecutors conducted a field visit in the area on the 5 and 6 May 2016 and confiscated chainsaws and detained individuals found to be felling trees without permission.
Robert Guimaraes, president of FECONAU, reports that he is in fear of his own life and for the lives of the leaders of Uchunya: “The threat of death is very strong and smouldering. Residents of the community have literally been told by people in the nearby town of Requena ‘Take care because we are going to kill your leaders and if we do not manage to do your leaders in, then we will kill anyone from Uchunya itself, we have a list’.
“We must have protection from the authorities; we plead for the intervention of international human rights agencies.”
Plantaciones de Pucallpa is one of many companies registered in Peru with links to a complex corporate network apparently controlled by US-Czech businessman Dennis Melka and known collectively in Peru as the ‘Melka group’. Mr Melka founded the Malaysian agribusiness company Asian Plantations.
Melka group companies in Peru, including Cacao del Peru Norte SAC and Plantaciones de Ucayali SAC and their parent companies United Cacao Ltd and United Oils Ltd, have attracted similar accusations of illegal deforestation and land conflict. On 4 May 2016 a formal complaint was submitted to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM)11 on the London Stock Exchange highlighting the multiple violations of Peruvian law by United Cacao Ltd and requesting their delisting from the AIM. On 24 May, Peru’s National Forest Authority (SERFOR) issued a statement clarifying unequivocally that Cacao del Peru Norte SAC have engaged in unauthorised deforestation and have urged the AIM to hold them to account. The statement is important because it establishes clearly that the arguments used by United Cacao del Norte and its sister companies, including Plantaciones de Pucallpa, that they have operated within the law are unfounded.12
Conrad Feather, Conrad@forestpeoples.org. 0044 7792979187
Robert Guimaraes Vásquez, FECONAU, 0051 961598323, email@example.com
1. See press release of FECONAU and the community (Spanish only)
3. See key facts (Spanish only)
4. See summary of lawsuit (Spanish only)
- Key facts (Spanish only) (0.2 MB)
- Press release from FECONAU and the community (Spanish only) (0.1 MB)
- Summary of lawsuit (Spanish only) (0.1 MB)
Response from Lee Hales, Prestige Investment Group Limited: “Please remove the information you have posted about on your website”
Sandy, Bedfordshire Ash dieback threatens a tree that is unwittingly generous at both ends of the season
A line of trees on the green, their fresh bright leaves glazed with sunlight, take from the east and give nothing to the west. Oaks, sycamores and chestnuts bathe their crowns in the mid-morning rays and cast dark shadows on the ground, as wide as the trees are broad, as long as they are tall, with dappled haloes all around. The beeches are worst of all, offering the land beneath no chink in their green armour. No wonder so little grows under the canopy of a beech wood, a crowd of overlapping umbrellas giving shelter, blotting out the light.Continue reading...