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Charnley S.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Diaz D.,Forest Trends | Gosnell H.,Oregon State University
Small-scale Forestry | Year: 2010

Forest management for carbon sequestration is a low-cost, low-technology, relatively easy way to help mitigate global climate change that can be adopted now while additional long-term solutions are developed. Carbon-oriented management of forests also offers forest owners an opportunity to obtain a new source of income, and commonly has environmental co-benefits. The USA is developing climate change policy that recognizes forestry as a source of offsets in carbon markets, and the emissions trading programs and standards that have developed to date offer opportunities for afforestation, reforestation, reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and improved forest management projects. Private forest owners are key players in carbon markets because they own over half of the forest land in the USA and carbon offsetting from public forest land is rare. However, a number of environmental, economic, and social constraints currently limit carbon market participation by forest owners. Key issues include: the low price of carbon and high cost of market entry; whether small landowners can gain market access; how to meet requirements such as management plans and certification; and whether managing for carbon is consistent with other forest management goals. This paper provides an overview of current and emerging opportunities for family forest owners to contribute to climate change mitigation in the USA, and explores ways of overcoming some of the challenges so that they can take advantage of these opportunities. © 2010 US Government employee. Source

Pilgrim J.D.,Biodiversity Consultancy | Brownlie S.,De Villiers Brownlie Associates | Ekstrom J.M.M.,Biodiversity Consultancy | Gardner T.A.,University of Cambridge | And 8 more authors.
Conservation Letters | Year: 2013

Biodiversity offsetting is increasingly being used to reconcile the objectives of conservation and development. It is generally acknowledged that there are limits to the kinds of impacts on biodiversity that can or should be offset, yet there is a paucity of policy guidance as to what defines these limits and the relative difficulty of achieving a successful offset as such limits are approached. In order to improve the consistency and defensibility of development decisions involving offsets, and to improve offset design, we outline a general process for evaluating the relative offsetability of different impacts on biodiversity. This process culminates in a framework that establishes the burden of proof necessary to confirm the appropriateness and achievability of offsets, given varying levels of: conservation concern for affected biodiversity; residual impact magnitude; opportunity for suitable offsets; and feasibility of offset implementation in practice. Rankings for biodiversity conservation concern are drawn from existing conservation planning tools and approaches, including the IUCN Red List, Key Biodiversity Areas, and international bank environmental safeguard policies. We hope that the proposed process will stimulate much-needed scientific and policy debate to improve the integrity and accountability of both regulated and voluntary biodiversity offsetting. ©2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Gardner T.A.,University of Cambridge | Gardner T.A.,International Institute for Sustainability | Von Hase A.,Forest Trends | Brownlie S.,De Villiers Brownlie Associates | And 8 more authors.
Conservation Biology | Year: 2013

Businesses, governments, and financial institutions are increasingly adopting a policy of no net loss of biodiversity for development activities. The goal of no net loss is intended to help relieve tension between conservation and development by enabling economic gains to be achieved without concomitant biodiversity losses. biodiversity offsets represent a necessary component of a much broader mitigation strategy for achieving no net loss following prior application of avoidance, minimization, and remediation measures. However, doubts have been raised about the appropriate use of biodiversity offsets. We examined what no net loss means as a desirable conservation outcome and reviewed the conditions that determine whether, and under what circumstances, biodiversity offsets can help achieve such a goal. We propose a conceptual framework to substitute the often ad hoc approaches evident in many biodiversity offset initiatives. The relevance of biodiversity offsets to no net loss rests on 2 fundamental premises. First, offsets are rarely adequate for achieving no net loss of biodiversity alone. Second, some development effects may be too difficult or risky, or even impossible, to offset. To help to deliver no net loss through biodiversity offsets, biodiversity gains must be comparable to losses, be in addition to conservation gains that may have occurred in absence of the offset, and be lasting and protected from risk of failure. Adherence to these conditions requires consideration of the wider landscape context of development and offset activities, timing of offset delivery, measurement of biodiversity, accounting procedures and rule sets used to calculate biodiversity losses and gains and guide offset design, and approaches to managing risk. Adoption of this framework will strengthen the potential for offsets to provide an ecologically defensible mechanism that can help reconcile conservation and development. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology. Source

Richards M.,Forest Trends | Panfil S.N.,Climate
International Forestry Review | Year: 2011

This paper describes some of the challenges of meeting standards for multiple benefit forest carbon and other land use based carbon projects. There is considerable current controversy about the social and equity impacts of such projects. The authors argue that a combination of more robust standards, such as the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards, for assessing the social performance of projects, and cost-effective impact assessment methods can do much to ensure positive outcomes for local people or communities, and greatly reduce the risk of negative ones. The paper is structured around the following main themes: what is meant by social impact assessment (SIA); a discussion of the requirements of the CCB Standards as regards SIA; key challenges to measuring the social impacts of land use based carbon projects; presentation of seven proposed SIA stages contained in a Manual for SIA released by four prominent non-governmental organisations; and some 'good practice'- principles for cost-effective SIA. Source

News Article
Site: http://www.reuters.com

Villager Diediou guides his donkeys with a cart of freshly cut timber through the almost treeless Tanghory national forest in Digante, Senegal, November 18, 2015. Ecologist Haidar El Ali examines freshly cut timber along the border with Gambia in Digante, Senegal, November 17, 2015. Picture taken November 17, 2015 Stocks of smuggled timber and the Gambian trucks that transported them are confiscated at a forestry depot in Digante, Senegal, November 18, 2015. What Balde says was on offer typifies the problems many African countries face in enforcing high-minded policies supposed to counter deforestation and its effect on environments already vulnerable to climate change. With a small change of wording, the forestry official said, the official paperwork could be made to show the trees were felled outside the Dabo national reserve in unprotected forest, allowing the mayor's office to take a cut of the proceeds. "This was not my objective. I want those responsible to be arrested and punished, with their permits taken away," the Dabo mayor said, sitting on a pile of logs in a clearing where, until September, rare African mahogany trees had stood. The forest ministry in the southern region of Casamance, whose main city is Zinguinchor, rejected Balde's version of events. Colonel Aly Seck, the ministry's regional representative, denied any corruption attempt and blamed Balde for the destruction in the Dabo forest. Many African governments have introduced reforms such as export bans on timber, which often ends up as furniture or flooring in wealthier countries. However, the dilemmas faced by officials like Balde, many of whom are less inclined to take a stand against corruption, show the limitations of such measures. Senegal has been a leading African voice for improving the management of natural resources. A planned "Great Green Wall" from its capital Dakar across the continent to Djibouti in East Africa aims to create a natural forest barrier against the southward expansion of the Sahara Desert. President Macky Sall boasts that Senegal has already restored 25,000 hectares of degraded land under the project, and such efforts are helping to win billions of dollars in financing for the region at climate talks in Paris this month. But ecologists say a combination of logging and shifting rainfall patterns linked to climate change mean that nearly double that acreage is lost in Senegal each year, leaving bald savannah where forests were once so dense they blotted out the sun. "In many forest-rich countries the problem is entrenched corruption driven by strong demand from consumer countries," said Naomi Basik Treanor, of the U.S.-based non-profit organization Forest Trends. "It is hard for them to pass up these short-term benefits." Chief among those consumer countries is China. Over the past decade, as African governments have tried to curb illicit logging, Chinese customs data show that annual imports of timber products from West and Central African countries have increased more than four-fold to $1.9 billion in 2014. Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, said China strictly regulated timber imports and required its companies abroad to act in accordance with local laws and regulations. In Gabon, Asian demand has caused a jump in the price of wood from the rare Kevazingo tree, which can take 500 years to grow to its full height of 40 meters (130 feet). Gabon has made more than 30 arrests since October, according to Luc Mathot, a co-founder of the EAGLE Network conservation group. Among those arrested were a number of government agents. "(Officials) do not close their eyes to this business for free," said Mathot. "Some of them have gone as far as organizing the exports themselves with the exploiters." Even more worrying, he said, are the countries where there is little evidence that authorities are even trying to crack down on illegal practices. Among them Mathot cites Democratic Republic of Congo, home to much of the Congo Basin, the world's second largest tropical forest after the Amazon. The government imposed a moratorium in 2002 on all new industrial logging licenses but campaign group Global Witness says the national laws are systematically violated. While much smaller, Senegal's forests, concentrated in Casamance, serve as a bulwark against regional desertification and the government has therefore banned timber exports. But local people claim wood from the region is simply sent into Gambia, a sliver of a country wedged inside Senegal which allows wood harvested in neighboring nations to be exported via its port. Most of Gambia's own forests have been chopped down, but it shipped about $50 million worth of wood to China between January and October this year, up from $33 million in all of 2014. Gambia's environment minister was not reachable for comment. On a recent visit to Digante, a village on the Senegalese side of the border, residents said that a makeshift timber depot had been emptied that same day by Gambia-bound trucks. A low-intensity conflict between the Senegalese government and Casamance rebels that has lasted four decades has helped to open the door to trafficking, observers say, by impeding forest surveillance. Buyers, villagers said, typically pay 10,000 CFA francs ($16.50) per log and sometimes offer a motorcycle once a supplier has reached a fixed quota, princely rewards in a region where youth unemployment is estimated at around 60 percent. "There's no work here. That's why we cut the trees," said Diediou who gave only his first name, carrying two trunks on a small donkey-drawn cart through the Tanghory state forest. In a testament to the state's efforts to stop the illicit trade, nine seized trucks with Gambian license plates were parked in the local office of Senegal's forestry department. Nonetheless, villagers and ecologists said much of the smuggling occurs under the noses or even with the complicity of government agents. "Everyone pretends to follow official procedures but it's all a sham," said Haidar El Ali, a former Senegalese environment minister. One government agent involved in a scheme to smuggle timber concealed beneath a layer of legal firewood was arrested last month, said a senior forestry official. Senegal's environment ministry declined a Reuters request for comment. Forestry agents in Casamance complained that the dangerous job of stopping illegal timber shipments was hobbled by a lack of resources, both human and financial. Still, some officials are trying to make positive changes. Dissatisfied with the 1.5 million CFA franc ($2,507.19)fine paid by a man charged with illegal logging in Dabo, mayor Balde says he has filed a legal complaint with the prosecutor's office. "We can't let this go on," said Balde. "Otherwise, it is us who will lose out and lose the rainfall while others get rich."

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