The vital document tabled in Bali in response to this issue was a study by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), which warned that the new push to "reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation," known by the acronym REDD, was in danger because of a routine failure to grasp the root causes of deforestation. The study sought to link what was known about the underlying causes of the loss of 13 Mha of forest each year to the promise – and potential pitfalls – of REDD schemes. CIFOR found that there was ample opportunity to reduce carbon emissions if financial incentives were sufficient enough to flip political and economic realities that cause deforestation, according to the research groups website.
Trees are being felled at an alarming rate, even as delegates from the 190 countries attending the conference were nitpicking on the words that went into the draft of the Bali Roadmap. Deforestation, according to the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is contributing some 20% of carbon emissions – or 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 – in the atmosphere. The world, says a Centre for International Forestry Research report released at the same Bali conference, is losing 13 million hectares of forests each year.
But Greg Clough from the Jakarta-based Centre for International Forestry Research said the scientific community was divided on the question of whether deforestation leads to floods that cause landslides. "There is no simple explanation," Mr Clough said. "Blaming upland farmers for massive downstream flooding can cause unnecessary suffering through policies that restrict their livelihoods." At the scene of the landslide in Central Java, local officials insisted that deforestation was not to blame.
Swathes of peatland are being cleared to make way for pulp and paper plantations, and the booming palm oil industry. But Indonesia is slowly waking up to the hidden cost of releasing the huge stores of carbon kept in peatland, said Daniel Mudiyarso, an expert at Indonesia’s Centre for International Forestry Research. "We used to hear the term ‘marginal land’ for this kind of ecosystem, but our awareness (of its importance) is increasing," Mudiyarso said.
For ecologist Elizabeth Linda Yuliani, the rich ecosystem of Lake Sentarum National Park in West Kalimantan is highly enjoyable because the surrounding provides breathtaking views to explore. As visitors to Lake Sentarum, Linda and her fellow researchers stayed on a houseboat, called motor bandong by locals. Living on a houseboat, Linda could observe eagles flying, orangutans and other wildlife. The researchers also observed and interacted with the local people, many of who made a living by fishing. Residents generally started their daily activities at 4 a.m., when they went to the lake for fish.
Deforestation in tropical countries is often driven by the perverse economic reality that forests are worth more dead than alive. But a new study by an international consortium of researchers has found that the emerging market for carbon credits has the potential to radically alter that equation. The study was conducted by the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), four of the15 centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and their national partners.
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Climate alternative Noting that Kyoto failed to include the quarter of emissions from deforestation in its controls, Sven Wunder and Frances Seymour reported that at Bali and beyond, fixing this is high on the UN agenda ("Seeing REDD to save the forests and the planet", December 14, p23). Apparently it’s difficult to come up with effective mechanisms to prevent forest destruction. Those developing nations just don’t seem to value their carbon sinks like we do. But where are the West’s trees? Well, we removed them hundreds of years ago. Now we want developing countries to do what we say, not what we did, because we value their forests more highly than their agriculture. So, we should keep buying their forests and paying them to not destroy them. But as Wunder and Seymour noted, that isn’t going well.
Mais Frances Seymour, directeur du Centre de recherche international sur les forêts, ne cache pas ses craintes de voir ce dispositif «miné par la corruption et que ses bénéfices n’aillent pas aux indigènes mais aux multinationales qui gagneront de l’argent en plantant des forêts.