Brazil development bank to fund ag emissions reductions
Brazil’s national development bank, BNDES, launched a 1 billion reais fund to finance projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture.
The program will provide low interest loans to farmers and cooperatives for reforestation, integrated forest-agriculture projects, and recovery of degraded agricultural land.
The bank says the program is part of the country’s effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the majority of which result from deforestation.
BNDES manages Brazil’s Amazon Fund, which provides money for conservation and sustainable development projects. Still environmentalists note the bank remains the primary funder of projects that drive deforestation.
Amazon deforestation falls, degradation soars
Despite the worst drought on record in the region, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon during September fell by 20 percent relative to September 2009, reports Imazon, an NGO.
Imazon’s satellite-based tracking system found accumulated deforestation during from August 2010 to September 2010 totaled 380 square km, down 22 percent from the 489 sq km cleared from August 2009 to September 2009.
But not all the news was good. Imazon found a sharp increase in forest degradation, which usually arises from logging and fires. Degradation is often a precursor to outright deforestation.
Imazon said degradation increased 213 percent over the same period last year.
Indonesia launches rival to RSPO
The Indonesian government moved closer to launching its own certification system to ensure less damaging palm oil production.
The scheme would rival the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a multi-stakeholder body that has been developing criteria since 2004 and began shipping certified sustainable palm oil in 2008.
The Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil criteria is designed to make palm oil production compliant with Indonesian laws and regulations.
But environmentalists say mere compliance with Indonesian laws is not enough to ensure sustainability. RSPO standards require producers to take specific actions to reduce the risk that oil palm plantations don’t result in pollution, deforestation of high conservation forest areas, or social conflict.
Guyana deforestation rate triples, but still qualifies for REDD payment
Guyana’s deforestation rate over the past 12 months was roughly three times the average annual rate over the prior 20 year period, but was still well below the baseline under the recent $250 million forest conservation partnership with Norway, according to a new government report.
The report attributed 91 percent of last year’s deforestation to mining.
Illegal rosewood shipment stopped in Madagascar
Authorities in Madagascar successfully blocked an attempt to ship illegally logged rosewood over the weekend.
The incident suggests citizens, the Waters and Forests Administration, local media, and shipping companies are having an impact on slowing the rosewood trade that has devastated Madagascar’s rainforest parks, wildlife, ecotourism industry, and rural communities.
News of the pending shipment broke on November 2. Officers from the Waters and Forests Administration responded by stepping up monitoring efforts. The shipping company also checked manifests to ensure no illegal timber ended up onboard as cargo.