Forest Carbon News - June 24, 2015


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June 24, 2015    

From the Editors

The Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon

Norway has long been a steadfast supporter of efforts to reduce deforestation, previously pledging $1 billion to finance Indonesia's efforts to protect its forest and, as part of a trio of countries alongside Finland and Germany, committing hundreds of millions to the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. 


Norway recently took these efforts a step further by supporting the Governors' Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) to the tune of $25 million over a 4-year period. The GCF is a collaboration of 26 states and provinces from seven countries with the shared goal of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) using jurisdictional approaches that address the drivers of deforestation at the state, province, or even country level. This scaled-up version of REDD helps account for "leakage" – or the idea that loggers and cattlemen denied access in one project area may simply move down the road.


"That's how it was always supposed to be," said Dan Nepstad, Executive Director at the Earth Innovation Institute. "No one ever wanted all these scattered, isolated projects dotting the forest, and even in the 1990s, it was a given that we needed jurisdictional programs to have a real impact."


The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) released new guidance documents for Jurisdictional Nested REDD (JNR) this month. But the "nesting" process has historically been slow. Ecosystem Marketplace tracked eight REDD projects pursuing formal JNR pilots under VCS last year, with another eight actively engaging with a jurisdictional government.


The GCF seeks to advance REDD "payments for performance" – which have been widely tested at the project level – at the jurisdictional scale, and Norway's $25 million is the most significant amount of finance the GCF fund has received to date. The support is also noteworthy because the funds flow directly to GCF member states and provinces, said Hanne Bjurstrom, Norway's special envoy on climate change.


"This money is specifically for the GCF Fund with no strings attached," she said, adding that she hopes Norway's action will encourage other countries to step up and support the GCF. 


"Last year we saw the importance of subnational leadership in driving the international agenda," Bjurstorm said. She also cited subnational commitments such as the Rio Branco Declaration, an agreement among 13 rainforest nation governors to slash deforestation 80% by 2020 – if financing to do so materialized.


Ecosystem Marketplace's parent organization Forest Trends is a convener for the GCF initiative, bringing together state and provincial GCF members along with companies represented in the Consumers Goods Forum and local and indigenous communities managing large areas of forests.


More stories from the forest carbon markets are summarized below, so keep reading!


Also, thank you to our newest supporting subscribers: Blue SourceClimeCoEOS Climate, and Finite Carbon.

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

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Inside State of

Please join us at 9 a.m. EST this Thursday, June 25th for a discussion of Ahead of the Curve: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2015. This retrospective report builds upon transaction activity collected on the global voluntary carbon markets over the last decade. Report authors Kelley Hamrick and Allie Goldstein will be joined by panelists David Antonioli from VCS, Sarah Leugers from Gold Standard, Gerald Maradan from EcoAct, and (tentatively) Mike Korchinsky from Wildlife Works. The webinar is co-hosted by the International Emissions Trading Association and the Climate Markets & Investors Association. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today. RSVP for the webinar by emailing Kelley with your contact details.


Support our work

Ecosystem Marketplace is seeking support for our forest carbon research. Our plans for the second half of 2015 include a joint report with Forest Trend's REDDX initiative bringing together new research from both programs to offer a comprehensive picture of forest carbon finance in 2015, to be released ahead of the United Nations (UN) climate negotiations in Paris. We're also diving into new research tracking the beyond-carbon impacts of land-use carbon projects – in particular how co-benefits influence demand. Our in-depth journalism will continue to cover major project and policy developments while exploring emerging topics such as indigenous REDD, carbon rights, and the connection between sustainable commodities and avoided deforestation. See our Forest Carbon Sponsorship Prospectus for more information.




Drawing a REDD+ line in the sand 

Thirty NGOs, alongside nine Amazonian-Brazilian governors and deputy governors, drew a line in the sand over 4.2 billion tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) that have largely slipped through the financial cracks of REDD+. Since 2006, no country has reduced its national emissions more than Brazil, largely thanks to Amazonian states' efforts to curb deforestation. Those states, plus a host of NGOs, are now calling for disbursements of more than $20 billion USD for those efforts on a per ton basis that amounts to less than $5 USD/tonne of CO2e. They say that, without this money, Brazil's emissions reductions are at risk of backsliding. The coalition is also calling for a decentralized approach to managing REDD+ strategies.



Turn up the reggae music

Jamaica's forestry department is examining new strategies to preserve forest cover in the country. One of the options on the table is offering carbon offsets to secure buy-in from private landowners who control most of the forest lands. Existing and emerging markets for carbon offsets can "help create incentives for landowners to engage in land management practices that increase forest carbon sequestration and storage capacity," according to a green paper. A local registry would first be created before the carbon offsets are traded. 



Things white people like

The Hadza, a hunter-gatherer group, have lived in the Yaeda Valley of Tanzania for 40,000 years. But it was only recently that they formalized land rights for their 20,000 hectares – part of a REDD project with Carbon Tanzania. "Before this project, nobody had any rights," said Richard Baalow, a Hadza tribesman who was at the forefront of the land rights struggle who works closely with Carbon Tanzania but thinks of carbon offsets as "things of your white people." The project has earned 48,033 Plan Vivo certificates to date. Buyers include National Geographic Travel as well as local tourism companies such as Dorobo, Map's Edge, and Nature Discovery. The Hadza collectively decide how to spend carbon revenue.



Software giant Intuit and skateboarding and surfing apparel company Volcom stood up for offsetting at the Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, California in early June. Both companies purchase offsets from REDD projects in addition to directly slashing internal emissions – but neither talks about their offsetting programs much. "We've built up a good inventory of sustainability stories," said Derek Sabori, VP of Global Sustainability at Volcom. "Now we have to figure out how to tell those." Initiatives such as Code REDD's Stand for Trees, which since its launch in February has facilitated 35,000 tonnes worth of carbon offset sales to individuals, may be early proof that marketing matters – and that, with the right framing, consumers do understand and care about REDD.


The carbon-high Himalayas

The World Bank-funded Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project has sold its first carbon offsets for Rs 1.93 crore (about USD $304,000) to Spain. The revenues generated by planting multi-purpose species and implementing sustainable forest management practices on degraded lands will flow down to farmers in 602 villages. Verification of the first carbon offsets from the Clean Development Mechanism-registered project was completed in November. The beneficiaries will receive an additional income of Rs 3,000 per hectare per year, along with continued employment from the project. 


Be my guest

Hilton Worldwide is tripling its efforts to offset emissions generated by hosting events such as meetings, conferences and weddings in Asia Pacific by expanding its Clean Air Program from 30 properties to 90. The program works by calculating the carbon footprint from each event it hosts, then voluntarily purchasing the equivalent amount of offsets from projects such as the Tasmanian Native Forest Protection Project in Australia and the Borneo Rainforest Rehabilitation Project in Sabah, Malaysia – both developed under VCS and preventing a combined 230,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. Hilton is partnering with Climate Friendly, a sustainability consulting and carbon management firm, to procure the offsets. 



Breach of commitment? 

Agribusiness giants Cargill and Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) plan to investigate palm oil supplier PT Varia Mitra Andalan after Indonesian environmental group Greenomics-Indonesia released a report documenting destruction of forests in South Sorong. The supplier continued to clear high carbon stock forests through March 2015, a potential breach of sustainability commitments established last year by Cargill and GAR, according to the report. Greenomics called on the companies to respect their "deforestation-free" sourcing policies. The group's research is based on legal documents acquired from the Indonesian government as well as satellite data from Landsat and Google Earth.



A gender imbalance

Ibu Lila lugs 18 kilograms of fertilizer in a basket slung from her shoulder to earn enough money from her work on a palm oil plantation to send her daughter to high school. But women like Lila stand to lose the most from the way the plantation system is currently set up, according to a new study from the Center for International Forestry Research investigating the gender dimensions of oil palm expansion in Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. While the companies in the study area previously recruited couples, they now prefer to hire migrant men as harvesters and landless local ethnic Dayak or Malay women for maintenance tasks, said anthropologist and report author Tania Li from the University of Toronto. 


Good for our hearts, bad for our forests

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week that trans fats will be banned in three years – a move that the agency expects will prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks each year. But while the ban might be good for the hearts – and expanding waistlines – of Americans, it could have the unintended impact of accelerating deforestation because palm oil would be the favored alternative for food companies. A 2006 FDA rule that forced manufacturers to incorporate trans fatty acids into nutrition labels led to them eliminating trans fats from their products, which instigated a 60% increase in palm oil imports to the U.S. 



It's better than a needle

Protecting the Brazilian Amazon from deforestation has the added benefit of lowering malaria rates, according to a paper published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research looked specifically at malaria, acute respiratory infections and diarrhea in strictly protected areas, sustainable use reserves, indigenous territories, and areas impacted by roads and mining in 700 municipalities across the Brazilian Amazon. "Our findings suggest that strictly protected areas may serve as a barrier to disease transmission," said co-author Subhrendu Pattanayak of Duke University. "Although these relationships are complex, we believe that by protecting and preserving biodiversity, we could also derive the double win of public health benefits." 



Nine lives

Nine white papers released in conjunction with the Global Landscapes Forum this month explore the investment case for sustainable landscapes. In "Leveraging private sector finance for REDD+ implementation" by the Global Canopy Programme, the UN Environment Program, Environmental Defense Fund, and Permian Global, the authors discuss potential ways to make avoided deforestation more attractive to the private sector, including: minimum (and maximum) price guarantees and loan guarantees focused on specific jurisdictions or sectors. "Private sector commitments to zero-deforestation supply chains can complement the incentives created through pay-for-performance policies," they write. All of the white papers can be accessed here.


Depends on the circumstances

new brief developed by the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Forest Carbon, Markets, and Communities program outlines different models for benefit sharing under REDD+ – each of which is most effective under certain circumstances. These include payments for services, which can be structured to incentivize results; managed funds, which allow integration with public budgets; and collaborative resource management, which enhance participation and integrate community culture. The paper discusses the efficacy of cash versus non-cash benefits and suggests that longer-term delivery schedules – between 10 and 15 years – may allow for longer-term conservation.



Supply Change Research Assistant – Ecosystem Marketplace

Based in Washington, D.C., the Supply Change Research Assistant will work for an initial 3-month period to research public corporate commitments to reduce supply chain impacts on ecosystem degradation and compile data in an Excel spreadsheet. The research assistant will also assist with a report to be published in the second half of 2015. The position requires excellent research and organizational skills, experience with data analysis, and an interest in agricultural commodity-related deforestation. Compensation is hourly at a negotiable rate based on level of experience and education.

-Read more about the position here


National Coordinator in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – Management and Engineering Technologies International (METI)

Based in Kinshasa , DRC, the National Coordinator will work in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service as part of USAID's Central African Regional Program. Responsibilities include coordinating REDD+ as well as the activities of the inter-ministerial national forest zoning steering committee. The successful candidate will have at least a master's degree in conservation biology, forestry, or a related field; the ability to represent the U.S. government at meetings; familiarity of conservation issues in Africa; and excellent language skills in French and English.

-Read more about the position here


Staff Auditor II, Carbon Services – Rainforest Alliance (RA)

Based anywhere in the United States, the Staff Auditor II will conduct carbon certification audits for RA's Certification Carbon Services, including audit scheduling, on-site visits and report writing. The Staff Auditor II will also serve as Lead Auditor for all engagements under their responsibility and provide customer service, report reviews, quality control and other duties as assigned by their supervisor. The successful candidate will have a master's degree in forestry or ecology; a minimum of four years of field work experience in forest management or geospatial analysis; and remote sensing and GIS (geographic information system) expertise.

-Read more about the position here


Summer Intern – Smallholder Acceleration and REDD+ Program (SHARP)

Based in Oxford, United Kingdom, the intern will support the SHARP Secretariat on communications and fundraising, including production of a newsletter, desk research for grant proposals, and preparation of materials for sharing case studies about successful models. The successful candidate will have a background in environmental policy in the context of international development, an excellent command of English, and some experience reviewing and copy editing others' work. Language skills in Spanish or Bahasa would be welcome, as would basic web design skills. The internship runs from July to September and interns will be provided a weekly allowance to cover transport and lunch costs.

-Read more about the position here


Forest Landscape Restoration Coordinator – International Union for Conservation of Nature 

Based in Kigali, Rwanda, the Forest Landscape Restoration Coordinator will be a senior land-use specialist and will provide technical support to regional efforts towards the restoration of 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands by 2020. The successful candidate will have a master's degree in forestry/agroforestry or natural resources management; a minimum of seven years of experience in developing and implementing multi-stakeholder projects in Eastern and Southern Africa; and a working knowledge of the social, economic and environmental implications of land-use dynamics.

-Read more about the position here


Forest Operations Manager – The Conservation Fund

Based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Forest Operations Manager will manage day-to-day forest management operations on a growing base of timberlands and assist with the acquisition as well as dispositions of conservation forest land and working forest conservation easements. The successful candidate will have a bachelor's degree (master's preferred) in forestry or a closely related field; excellent communication skills; basic proficiency in Microsoft Office and Arc software packages; and experience in planning and evaluating forest operations.

-Read more about the position here



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Ecosystem Marketplace is a project of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our voluntary carbon markets program are funded by a series of international development agencies, philanthropic foundations, and private sector organizations. For more information on donating to Ecosystem Marketplace, please contact 


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Alto Huayabamba

The Alto Huayabamba project in San Martin, Peru planted two million trees within organic cocoa plots, benefitting 2,000 families in Huallaga as of July 2014. Developed by PUR Project, the project covers 4,000 hectares and has sequestered an estimated 2.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide since its inception in 2008. Last year, 15 people were trained in forest monitoring and the project enhanced climate resilience by contributing to food security and providing habitat for species affected by climate change. Alto Huayabamba is validated under both the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards.

Read more about the project on the Forest Carbon Portal



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