If you have responded to our survey in the past, a key contact in your organization should have received an email with your organization-specific username and password, and you can sign into the surveyHERE(http://survey.ecosystemmarketplace.com/carbon2014/). If it's your first time, create a new organizational account HERE(http://survey.ecosystemmarketplace.com/carbon2014/users/users/add). You should respond to our survey if: you transact carbon offsets to voluntary buyers; you develop forest carbon offset projects (for voluntary or compliance markets); and/or you develop carbon offsets from the distribution of clean or more efficient cookstoves or components.
As always, feel free to contact us if you have questions about the survey.
For the first time, if your organization responds to the survey by the March 12 deadline, you will receive a personalized, confidential market brief comparing your organization's 2013 activities to aggregate results, including pricing, sales volumes, market leaders and forecast (distributed May-June 2014). If you report pricing and volume data, we'll also include a customized comparison sheet to show how your pricing and transactions types stack up against other respondents', with extra regional and country-level insight, where available.
The survey will be available in Spanish shortly, but in the meantime, check out an exciting event by our sister Spanish-language site, Valorando Naturaleza, being held in Bogotá, Colombia later this week. On February 27-28, regional experts will convene to analyze the outcomes of the 19th UN climate change conference and assess the state of financing for ecosystem services in Latin America. The event will be live-streamed here, so be sure to tune in Thursday and Friday to hear from representatives of indigenous people, project developers and the private sector from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico.
Here in Washington DC, the Forest Carbon Portal last week covered the launch of Global Forest Watch, an exciting new Google-powered tool that combines global high-resolution satellite imagery, high-powered cloud computing, open data and human networks to give a picture of forest loss (or growth) in real time – or at least a lot closer to real time than has ever been achieved before.
"You don't need a PhD in remote sensing science to use Global Forest Watch," said Nigel Sizer, Director of the World Resources Institute's Global Forest Initiative that led the development of the tool. "If you can use Google Maps to find a friend's house, then you can use Global Forest Watch to understand what is happening to the forests in your neighborhood, across your entire country or even on the other side of the world."
The biggest challenge in using Global Forest Watch, in fact, may be what to do with all the newly available information. Brazilian law, for instance, does not allow law enforcement to act based on satellite imagery alone, so on-the-ground verification of illegal deforestation would be necessary before intervening in forest loss. Still, as Rajiv Shah, Administrator for the US Agency for International Development, put it: "You can't solve problems you can't see."
Can't argue with that. And with that, we bring you the rest of the news. Warm wishes, and happy survey-responding!
REDD TRAINING FOR SOUTHEAST ASIA JOURNALISTS The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is offering a fellowship for journalists in Southeast Asia to attend its "Reporting on Forests in Southeast Asia" workshop, which will be held at CIFOR's headquarters in Bogor, Indonesia from 30 April – 4 May, 2014, followed by the two-day Forests Asia Summit on 5 – 6 May. Journalists will be able to conduct one-on-one interviews with leading scientists, policy-makers and science communicators to explore and understand various issues affecting Southeast Asia's forests and people such as food security, illegal logging and climate change.
KATOOMBA SETTING THE STAGE Two global Katoomba meetings will bring together major agriculture players, policy-makers, and financial institutions, as well as scientific experts in deforestation, water, and biodiversity, in 2014 to accelerate a new approach toward sustainable landscapes. The March meeting will take place on the 19th and 20th at Iguazú Falls, on the border of Brazil and Argentina, under the banner "Scaling Up Sustainable Commodity Supply Chains". The April meeting will take place from the 22nd through the 25th in Lima, Peru and its working motto is "Climate, Forests, Water, and People: A Vision for Alignment in Tropical America". This 20th Katoomba Meeting will set the stage for the 20th Conference of the Parties, which will also be held in Lima, in December.
REDD STILL A MAYBE After a state Senate bill last year proposed to ban international offsets from California's cap-and-trade program, many doubted that Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests (REDD) offsets would ever be allowed in the state. But a proposed update to the law's scoping plan clearly states that the California Air Resources Board (ARB) is still considering REDD, though it did not offer a timetable for rulemaking. More than 1.6 million offsets had been issued under California's forestry protocols as of February 12, but the ARB still expects a shortfall in offset supply by 2020 if more protocols are not approved.
NATIONAL STRATEGY AND CAPACITY
FARMING INDIA'S FORESTS India's new agroforestry plan commits between $30 and $40 million to incentivize farmers to plant trees, offering insurance plans and access to markets for forest products. Agroforestry already covers 13.5 million hectares in India, but there is immense potential to expand planted forests in the country. "2014 should be a defining moment for evolving tree-based production systems to fight the debilitating impact of climate change in agriculture," said Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee. However, critics say that the program will face challenges: transportation of trees planted on farmland is an issue, and though the agroforestry mandate falls under various government agencies, there is no serious effort to cut red tape. CARBON PROTECTIONISM A group of more than 60 Maori tribes plan to sue the New Zealand government for NZ$600 million for what they say are estimated losses for their forests caused by a pricing freefall in the country's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). An influx of inexpensive carbon offsets from China and Russia put significant pressure on prices in the New Zealand ETS, which declined from NZ$20/t in 2010 to NZ$3.25/t as of 14 February. The tribes blame the government for failing to follow through with initial plans to restrict the use of foreign offsets in the program.
WINDOWS INTO THE FORESTS Microsoft is at it again. The software giant – in partnership with UK's The CarbonNeutral Company – reaffirmed its affection for forestry projects by agreeing to purchase offsets from the government of Madagascar's REDD+ projectin the Makira Natural Park. The transaction will finance long-term conservation of rainforest ecosystems, with half the proceeds supporting education, human health and other projects in the surrounding areas, according to park manager Wildlife Conservation Society. Last September, 710,588 tCO2e of carbon offsets were certified for sale from the project, which has been verified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and received gold-level validation from the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Alliance.
CUTTING THE FIRST CHECK Althelia Climate Fund has made its first investment: $10 million spread over eight years to finance the Taita Hills Conservation and Sustainable Land Use project in Kenya. The 30-year project aims to protect 200,000 hectares of natural forest and savannah grassland ecosystems and generate one million carbon offsets. The project is being developed and managed by Wildlife Works, which has extensive experience working in the country after developing the Kasigau Corridor and Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary REDD+ projects. The Taita Hills will be validated and verified to both the VCS's Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use methodology and the CCB standard. GRAZING FOR CARBON GreenCollar Group said it will issue the first carbon offsets for a native forest protection project on a Western lands lease under Australia's Carbon Farming Initiative. The company is working with landholders to manage more than 50,000 hectares in Western New South Wales to protect native eucalyptus and cypress forests, generating carbon offsets while maintaining traditional farm activities such as grazing and cropping. Offsets from the Horse Ridges Native Forest project will be sold to companies with compliance obligations under the carbon pricing program, as well as the federal government's new Emission Reduction Fund that likely will replace the scheme.
WILL OFFSETS EVER GO MAINE-STREAM? The Appalachian Mountain Club recently received approval to sell carbon offsets from 10,000 preserved acres in its Katahdin Iron Works tract in Maine. The project follows on the heels of another Maine project by the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, which last month was approved to sell forest carbon offsets on the California market. The two projects have sparked different opinions as to whether managing forests for carbon could be a long-term economic strategy in Maine. Researchers at the University of Maine predict that as many as five million acres in the state could eventually go under carbon management, while state agencies say the cost of monitoring and the 100-year permanence requirement make offset development too cumbersome for landowners.
FINANCE AND ECONOMICS
A COOL $639 MILLION The Climate Investment Funds (CIF), an invention of multilateral development banks five years ago, is now worth $8 billion in pledges, according to a recent report. $639 million of these funds are dedicated to the Forest Investment Program aimed at reducing deforestation and managing forest carbon stocks in Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Indonesia, Laos, Mexico, and Peru. Of this amount, multilateral development banks have approved $106-million worth of disbursement to six projects, which are expected to leverage an additional $719 million in co-financing. A Dedicated Grant Mechanism commits $50 million to ensuring that local communities and indigenous people have a voice in REDD+ decision-making.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
FOREST RESEARCHERS STILL IN THE DARK Despite the area of forested land worldwide being 2% less than it was in 1990, forests are absorbing more carbon than they were half a century ago, according to a recent Nature article. Experiments and models have shown that the increased strength of forests as carbon sinks can be attributed to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and nitrogen from agricultural and industrial activities 'fertilizing' forests. However, factors like faster life cycles of trees and changes in soil fertility are often left out. "Different models disagree on whether the forest carbon balance in 2100 will be positive or negative, let alone its magnitude," the authors write. In the face of uncertainty, 'no-regrets' strategies may buy time.
GUILT-FREE POP-TARTS Facing consumer pressure after reports that its supply partner, Wilmar International, sourced illegal palm oil from Indonesia, the food giant Kellogg announced last week it would purchase palm oil solely from sustainable sources. Though palm oil is only a minor ingredient in brand foods such as Pop-Tarts, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, and Special K, Kellogg purchases about 50,000 tons of palm oil a year, contributing to the demand that has caused 30,000 square miles of tropical forest to be chopped over the past two decades. At the end of 2013, Wilmar promised to ban suppliers that deforest and destroy peatlands. Kellogg's responsible-palm-only policy will be implemented by December 2015, according to the company.
ONLY SO MANY HOURS IN A DAY A new Payment for Ecosystem Services program in the Kamangura village in Kenya encourages villagers to stop harvesting firewood from the forest in exchange for cheaper, more efficient cookstoves. Under the program, villagers have access to heavily subsidized cookstoves, but are only permitted to collect firewood in specific places. The program, an alternative to traditional carbon offset projects, has experienced early success, with more than 130 homes equipped with energy-saving cookstoves. "I use the lengthy hours I spent gathering firewood in the forest before to do chores like feeding domestic animals, fetching water and even doing casual jobs," said participant Purity Irungu.
STANDARDS AND METHODOLOGY
FIGHTING THE CLOCK AGAINST WETLANDS LOSS This month, the VCS approved a methodology for Wetland Creation that is largely geared towards restoring wetlands on Louisiana's Gulf Coast, which has the fastest wetlands loss in the United States. The methodology is the first to use an 'activity method' that standardizes the process for establishing additionality, therefore allowing projects to get off the ground at lower upfront cost. Another standard, the American Carbon Registry (ACR) approved a wetlands methodology in September 2012 and already has a pilot project west of New Orleans. Tierra Resources, a group that helped developed the ACR methodology, estimates that carbon finance could raise between $5 and $15 billion for wetlands restoration in the Gulf.
RESTORING OUR FAITH IN FORESTS A new publication by the WRI and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) called Landscapes of Opportunity provides the first global assessment of where forest landscape restoration may be possible. WRI and IUCN evaluated more than 20 examples of forest landscape restoration over the past 150 years from countries such as Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Niger, Panama, South Korea, Sweden, Tanzania, and the United States in search of key insights into techniques that work and possible inspiration for additional restoration activities.
MANAGER, REDD+ FINANCE PROGRAM - FOREST TRENDS
Based in Washington DC, the Manager for REDDX will lead Forest Trends' initiative to track high-level public and private commitments for REDD+ all the way down to how and when funding is spent on the ground in 14 countries. The role includes managing multi-million, multi-year grants, overseeing annual updates to REDDX data collection, managing partners in all the countries, and developing strategic communications. The successful candidate will have a master's degree and at least seven years of experience; knowledge of French, Spanish or Portuguese is a plus.
COMMUNITIES AND MARKETS INITIATIVE ASSOCIATE - FOREST TRENDS
Based in Washington DC, the Associate will support the Community and Markets Initiative's growing programmatic activity which seeks to link communities to environmental markets so that they can participate in and benefit from payments for ecosystem services. The role requires managing website content, coordinating monthly publication of a program newsletter, providing logistical support for program meetings and staff travel, and more. The successful candidate will have an undergraduate degree in a related field; have excellent writing, research and analytical skills; and be fluent in English and Brazilian Portuguese (Spanish a plus).
Based in the Luangwa Valley of Zambia, the Forest Management Lead will help set up and then manage a landscape-level jurisdictional REDD+ program in one of the more significant globally biodiverse dryland forest areas left in Africa. The position requires a master's degree in forestry or a related field and a minimum of five years of professional experience in community-based natural resource management or forestry, preferably in Zambia or in the region.
SUB-REGIONAL COORDINATOR CENTRAL AMERICA - FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL (FSC)
Based in Managua, Nicaragua, the Sub-Regional Coordinator will lead all activities of FSC's regional office, promoting Forest Management and Chain of Custody certification in the region. The successful candidate will be fluent in English and Spanish, have a degree in Forestry or a related field, and be experienced with FSC policy work or with FSC accredited Certification Bodies.
Based in a country in the Congo basin (to be determined), the Policy and Standards Officer is responsible for securing the quality of the development and revision of the National Forest Stewardship Standards and Controlled Wood National Risk Assessments in Africa. The ideal candidate will be fluent in English and French and have working knowledge in another key African language; have earned a degree in social, environmental or economic studies; have at least two years of work experience in multi-stakeholder standards; and be familiar with the FSC program.
POST DOCTORAL FELLOW, MITIGATION OPTIONS & POVERTY REDUCTION - ICRAF
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, the Post-Doctoral Fellow will lead the development and testing of tools and approaches to assess farming practices that contribute to both GHG reductions and farmers' livelihoods. The successful candidate will have a PhD in agronomy, agro-ecology, environmental sciences or related field; expertise in modeling with programming skills, integrated assessments and GIS/database applications; proven experience working in an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural team; strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals; and proficiency in English. Working knowledge of French and/or Spanish, and field experience in the tropics preferred.
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.
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Boa Vista Afforestation/Reforestation
The Boa Vista Afforestation/Reforestation Project in Roraima, Brazil encompasses an area of 23,507 hectares of formerly degraded pasture land which has been gradually planted with Acacia mangium Willd trees since 1999. The project ensures long-term sustainable management of these plantation forests for various purposes, including timber, energy wood production, and conservation of remaining natural forests and riparian areas. The plantations are sustainably managed under Forest Stewardship Council certification, and the offsets have been verified under the American Carbon Registry. The project is expected to sequester an estimated 4.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over its 40-year lifetime and also provides jobs and social benefits for 165 local staff.
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