Forest Carbon News Feb. 19, 2015


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February 19, 2015    

From the Editors

The Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon

Here at Ecosystem Marketplace, we celebrated Valentine's Day by gorging on deforestation-free chocolate. And, after launching our 2015 carbon surveys last week, we're already feeling the love.


A big thanks to Carbon Clear, Carbotrader, China Alliance for Clean Stoves, China Green Carbon Foundation, CLevel, CookClean Ghana Limited, DelAgua Health, Environment Credit Corp, EOS Climate, Greenoxx, Indufor, Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, Northwest Natural Resource Group, Vert Conservation Pte, Will Solutions, among others, for their early responses.


If you transacted forest carbon offsets to voluntary or compliance buyers in 2014, we need your help to ensure that this year's data collection is as comprehensive and insightful as possible. Check out our survey here, or get in touch with Allie to create a unique username for your organization. Share the survey far and wide, since we're closing out data collection early this year – on March 4th. 


What's in it for you? Other than getting your organization's name listed in this lovely news brief, we'll also include you in our directory of offset suppliers and (if you wish) list your project information on our Forest Carbon Portal. For those projects that report on "beyond carbon" benefits, we're also offering personalized co-benefits briefs this year that can be shared with partners and potential investors – and, for Verified Carbon Standard and Climate, Community and Biodiversity (VCS+CCB) projects, be included on your project page.


You'll also be contributing to several exciting new projects this year: "Forests in the Anthropocene" will explore the impacts of forest carbon projects on people and ecosystems, connecting these co-benefits to demand for the first time. A new collaboration with Forest Trends' REDDX initiative will combine our private and public sector data on investments in avoiding deforestation (REDD) to create a more complete picture of forest finance, ahead of the Paris climate negotiations. And our annual State of the Forest Carbon Markets report will get a sleek makeover, packing the same punch in terms of the depth of data collection, but with findings presented visually and more accessibly.


For a full description of our plans for the year see our 2015 Sponsorship Prospectus. Sponsors benefit from exposure – logo placement on reports that are downloaded tens of thousands of times and shout-outs in this news brief – as well as further insight into our findings through tailored briefings. Our big ideas for the year will not become a reality without support, so if you have the interest and the means, please contact Gloria Gonzalez to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.


More stories from the forest carbon market are summarized below, so keep reading.

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at


International Policy

One paragraph, many editors

If there is one thing to watch in terms of how land-use – in particular REDD – will fit into a United Nations climate deal, it’s Paragraph 23. This “paragraph” actually contains six different options for how land-use might be included in countries’ mitigation contributions. It was under discussion last week when climate negotiators met in Geneva and agreed on a draft negotiating text according to a new study. that will be worked on between now and the Conference of the Parties in Paris this December. Most of Paragraph 23 is “bracketed,” or undecided. Key issues, such as whether a market mechanism may be used to transfer avoided deforestation units, remain to be worked out.



The rights way to go about things

REDD+ has brought increased transparency, recognition of indigenous land rights, a freeze on new logging licenses and a greater awareness of forest conservation to Indonesia, all of which have positively benefited the country, according to a new study. However, difficulties remain because of the higher payments received for palm oil versus tree preservation. "There are very powerful players who will lose out if they move to a REDD+ system and this has slowed programme implementation," said Andrew McGregor, associate professor of Victoria University of Wellington's School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences. Relying on REDD+ can improve forest governance and recognition of legal rights, but should not distract from local efforts to mitigate climate change. 


REDD light, green light, 1, 2, 3

Government research has established Nepal's forests store more than 500 million tonnes of carbon, equivalent to about two thirds of India's total emissions in 2011. Yet while the country's highlands have seen an increase in forest cover (primarily from emigration), forests have decreased in the lowlands from the migration and illegal tree felling there. With forests covering more than 40% of Nepal, potential carbon market sales could be very valuable both economically and for halting deforestation. However, a lack of agreement on verification and reporting of emission reductions has stalled carbon trading deals, causing frustration among communities who have committed to conserving their forests. 




Guten morgen, Vietnam

Vietnam's Prime Minister approved a 4.95 million euro project to support green growth, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of eco-forestry services. The project's goals are to improve the legal framework for sustainable forestry protection and development, as well as capacity development for government agencies, businesses, and social organizations involved in the field. In addition, efforts to incorporate REDD and improving forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) are major goals of the project. Germany is funding the project, which will be implemented between 2015 and 2018. 



I'd rather stand

Code REDD just launched a new initiative, "Stand for Trees," that aims to target a different buyer: individuals. While REDD projects have traditionally focused on corporate buyers such as Disney and Microsoft, the new site will utilize social media and crowd-funding to tell the stories of individual REDD projects and their charismatic co-benefits. Individuals can buy as little as half a tonne, or $10 an offset, and project developers benefit from higher payouts than they might receive on the wholesale market. For now, the site only lists dual-certified VCS+CCB offsets.


The price is not right

Low carbon prices undermine the ability of REDD+ to conserve and sustainably manage forests in Cameroon and the Congo Basin when faced with the economic trade-off from cash crops and timber harvesting, according to a new study. Scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research and research center CIRAD found that income from one hectare of an industrial rubber plantation generated about $8,045 and a hectare of industrial palm oil generated about $2,999 bringing in substantially more money than the $1,408 from a hectare of a sustainably managed timber concession. This means that REDD+ financing cannot come to the rescue unless international climate negotiators in Paris can properly value the carbon stored by forests 



Lack of rights not right

A new report released by the Rights and Resources Initiative "Looking for Leadership: New Inspiration and Momentum Amidst Crises" argues that the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility is undermining the bank's own safeguards to ensure indigenous and community customary and statutory rights to their land. Critics argue that without appropriate internal legal structure to ensure property rights, the proposed carbon trading will allow governments to control the market and make decisions without considering local peoples' rights. Government ownership of forests, regardless of who lives or uses the lands, threatens indigenous rights and the ability of local communities to reap benefits from carbon offset sales. 


At last, my rights have come along

In 2014, major progress was made in recognizing community land rights, with Canada, Paraguay, Chile and Colombia all enshrining the rights of communities, and legislators passing community land laws in El Salvador. Corporations also signed the New York Declaration on Forests and pledged to halve net deforestation in their supply chains. Customary land ownership moved toward statutory rights in Uganda and Liberia, while Tanzania strengthened women's land rights. The World Bank can play a role in ensuring that 2015 is a pivotal year in land and resource rights as it supports country-level avoided conversation programs. Despite progress, some countries still disregard community land rights and corporations will come under increasing scrutiny to ensure they meet their pledges on the ground. 


It's for your own protection

Indonesia has signaled its intent to establish a task force to protect the rights of indigenous people and preserve customary lands. The task force will take over from Indonesia's now defunct BP REDD+ agency. The Alliance of Indigenous People's, a network of 2,253 indigenous groups across Indonesia, is drafting the agreement. In 2013, it was decided that customary forests no longer belonged to the state. However, this has yet to be applied and regional laws have failed to address the problems raised by indigenous peoples.



At least these drones won't embarrass the Secret Service

Cheap drones, coupled with improved technology, could allow communities to monitor tropical forest changes much more efficiently than with on-the-ground monitoring alone, experts said at the international climate talks in Lima, Peru. Drones could cover medium to large-sized territories and allow communities to monitor for tree disease, forest fire, and invasions of their territories much more quickly and securely. Drone monitoring could also contribute to communities' ability to measure carbon sequestration and receive REDD offsets. Ethical and privacy concerns are an issue, as well as establishing protocols on how and where drones can operate, who owns the data, and addressing tensions between communities caused by drone use.



Over 7 billion people guilty of deforestation

A Global Canopy Programme (GCP) study found we are all complicit through product purchases for global tropical deforestation. GCP found only seven companies out of 400 gained maximum points measuring progress toward their pledge of zero deforestation. Companies with revenues exceeding $10 billion showed the most progress. A small minority of progressive companies that have pledged net zero deforestation have made substantial progress toward the goal, demonstrating that significant progress can be made globally if the pledge is taken seriously. Corporate governance was found to be a key differentiator between those companies making significant progress and those lagging on the goal. On the country level, China and India both ranked poorly due to substantial imports of forest risk commodities and palm oil.


In desperate need of carbon guidance

California's Air Resources Board (ARB) released long-awaited guidance on potential scenarios where it could invalidate offsets in its cap-and-trade program. For domestic forestry projects, ARB interprets the invalidation provision as applying to  all requirements that influence the integrity of generated offsets and all environmental, health and safety requirements associated with activities within the project area that affect carbon stocks, including site preparation, planting, harvesting and monitoring. External activities such as transportation of logs to mills, mill operations, and landfilling fall outside of the scope of invalidation assessments. For urban forestry, activities such as tree planting, care and monitoring are covered by the invalidation provision. 



Climate Analyst – Rights and Resources Initiative

Based in Washington, D.C., the Climate Analyst is responsible for conducting and managing original, high-quality research on forest and land tenure, climate and REDD+ dynamics in the world's developing and forested countries and advancing the recognition of rights and tenure issues in climate and REDD+ policies and programs through organization of dialogues and other global engagement activities. The position requires demonstration of effective and proactive decision-making, exceptional research and analytical skills, excellent communications skills and multicultural awareness.


Read more about the position here


Program Associate, American Carbon Registry -Winrock International

Based in Sacramento, California; Arlington, Virginia; or Little Rock, Arkansas; the Program Associate will support senior staff with all aspects of managing the American Carbon Registry, including reviewing, listing and certifying California and voluntary compliance projects, supporting methodology development, and other tasks as needed. Successful candidates will have a bachelor's or advanced degree in environmental science or a related field, and two years of experience with projects in the carbon or other environmental markets. 


Read more about the position here


Blue Carbon Consultant -Blue Ventures Conservation

Based in Ambanja, Madagascar, the Consultant will help design and implement a science fieldwork campaign to measure the loss of soil organic carbon upon deforestation of mangrove forests. The Consultant will assess field methods, assist with establishing technical markers for surface elevation and soil accretion, and review of collected data and procedures. Successful candidates will have extensive field work experience, detailed understanding of carbon stock assessments in mangrove environments, and a detailed understanding of Loss on Ignition and Carbon Hydrogen Nitrogen methods for soil organic carbon content.


Read more here.


Senior Programme Officer, Sustainable Palm Oil – WWF Malaysia

Based in Petaling Jaya, the Senior Programme Officer will develop and execute a work plan for the Sustainable Palm Oil Programme Module and monitor ongoing work and developments related to palm oil development that have existing or potential impacts on biodiversity in the Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak Forest landscapes. Successful candidates will have a master's degree related to natural resources management, experience with stakeholder engagement processes, and written and oral skills in English and Bahasa Malaysia. 


Read more here.


Deputy Director, Responsible Forestry and Trade- World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Based in Washington, D.C., the Deputy Director will lead the WWF-US team to engage North America-based companies to catalyze sustainable supply chains for responsible wood and paper sourcing in support of WWF's forest goals. The Deputy Director will manage outreach and company recruitment and oversee annual work plans, budgets, fundraising, and reporting targets. Successful candidates will have eight years of work experience, thorough knowledge of forest or other commodity supply chain management and trade, product certification, and supply chain best practices. A master's of business administration or master's in a relevant field is a plus. 


Read more here.



The Forest Carbon Portal provides relevant daily news, a bi-weekly news brief, feature articles, a calendar of events, a searchable member directory, a jobs board, a library of tools and resources. The Portal also includes the Forest Carbon Project Inventory, an international database of projects including those in the pipeline. Projects are described with consistent 'nutrition labels' and allow viewers to contact project developers.



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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Taking Root’s CommuniTree Carbon, Nicaragua

CommuniTree Carbon Program works with small-scale farming families in the municipality of San Juan de Limay, in Estela, Nicaragua to reforest underutilized portions of their land. The project’s direct benefits are increased forest cover within the local watershed which provides water and climate change adaptation benefits such as flood risk mitigation. The project also addresses the causes of deforestation, while engaging continuously with the community and providing financial benefits throughout the project. Since 2010, carbon emissions have been reduced by over 2.5 billion tons and land tenure agreements have been verified or created for 242 hectares of land.


Read more about the project on the Forest Carbon Portal



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