Forest and Climate Policy

Most people are not surprised to learn that China and the United States are the two largest greenhouse gas emitting countries in the world – but the third and fourth largest emitters are not industrialized, Global North nations: they are Indonesia and Brazil, respectively. But whereas China and U.S. emissions stem from burning fossil fuels, about three quarters of the national emissions in Indonesia and Brazil are from destruction of their rainforests each year. In fact, tropical forest destruction is now responsible for approximately one-fifth of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Protecting these forests, while also reducing fossil fuel emissions, is critical in order to stabilize the climate, preserve global biodiversity, sustain the global economy and protect the livelihoods of billions of people.

If done well, actions for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation, also known as REDD, will ensure strengthened protection for forests, defense of the rights of indigenous peoples that are their customary inhabitants, and will address underlying causes that drive deforestation. If done wrong, REDD has the potential to be a monumental problem for communities across the tropical world. REDD could mean another opportunity for rich companies and countries to profit off the forest, while the people who live in the forests are pushed off the land — not receiving any of the profit being made off of forest conservation.

REDD is currently only a small part of the global market for carbon and REDD carbon credits are predominantly sold to companies and people who are interested in reducing their emissions voluntarily. This scenario may change, and will likely change, as international agreements on climate change (lead by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) are renegotiated. This scenario will also provide a much larger market for REDD credits, and will dramatically increase REDD’s impact in the forests of Borneo. Before these agreements are set it stone however, it is vital that the rights of communities to their land, and Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) are enshrined in any agreement that is reached. [Much of the language in this section is from RAN’s REDD Factsheet, see below].



2.6.11: Malaysia Deforestation is three times faster than rest of Asia combined 

11.23.11: Top 10 Worst REDD Type Projects Affecting Indigenous Peoples 

11.28.11: First Person Updates from the Climate Talks at Durban 

1.12.12: Video Release From the Global Justice Ecology Project, A Darker Shade of Green REDD Alert and the Future of Forests 

1.20.12: New map shows rainforests store 229 billion tons of carbon

1.28.12 Palm Oil does not meet U.S. Renewable Fuel Standards, Rules EPA 

2.22.12 Two Recent Studies Report on the Destruction of the Malaysian Rainforest 

3.27.12: Interviews on REDD with Tejo Pramono, La Via Campesina, and Elisha Kartini, SPI

4.16.12: Bernadinus Steni Talks About HuMa and the Purpose of REDD

4.19.12: Interview with Frank Momberg, from Fauna and Flora International addresses REDD+

5.1.12: The Story of REDD: A Real Solution to Deforestation 

5.17.12: Obama’s Biggest Climate Decision of the Year May Be Palm Oil

5.18.12: Oil Palm is the Tip of the Bornean Bog

5.22.12: Indonesia Revises Moratorium Map

12.4.12:  China Declared World’s Top Buyer of Illegal Timber

12.6.12: Indonesian forestry giant Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has hired a top U.S. official to help it work through trade and environmental issues

12.12.12: Brunei Aims to Combat Climate Change

12.17.12: “To save the orangutan, we must break the links between illegal timber trade, corruption and transnational organized crime

12.19.12: Disappointing Outcome for Forests in Doha, but REDD+ Can Still move Forward

1.14.13:  Borneo’s Forests Face Dire Future from Global Warming 

1.18.13: GRASP Council Sets Bold Agenda to Save Great Apes

1.25.13: Gov’t Concerned About Environmental Degradation 

1.30.13: Indonesian NGOs Demand Action: “Saving Indonesia’s Remaining Forests Can No Longer Be Delayed” 

1.31.13: Large Blocks of Sumatra’s Rainforest May Be Put Up For Mining / Logging 

2.5.13: Australian Conservationists Accused of Greenwashing Malaysian Timber Operations 

2.11.13: Palm Oil Fueling Landgrabs and Climate Change, Not Development

2.13.13: The Beginning of the End of Deforestation in Indonesia?

2.14.13: Unique Song Reveals New Owl Species in Indonesia 

2.15.13: World Bank Management Rejects Criticisms of Industrial Logging

2.18.13: Paper Giant Pledges to Leave the Poor Rainforest Alone

2.19.13: Statement of Solidarity with African NGOs Concerned about Palm Oil Expansion 

2.22.13: Bats in Borneo Roost in Carnivorous Pitcher Plants

2.25.13: Indonesia’s East Kalimantan Loses Forest Area to New Province in Borneo

2.26.13: If Companies are Stealing the Timber, Why Should I be a Bystander?

2.27.13: ADB Pledges $4.5 Million to Help Conserve Borneo Forest

2.28.13: Do Scientists Deter Poaching and Deforestation in Protected Areas

3.5.13: Indonesian Pulp Giant April Bulldozes Indigenous Community Forests

3.6.13: Malaysian NGOs Boldly Demand Forest Conservation Action in Borneo

3.7.13: Can Saving Forests Help Feed the World?

3.12.13: Dozens Arrested After Community Fights Deforestation by Paper Company in Indonesia

3.13.13: Only 38% of Palm Oil Production by RSPO Members Certified Sustainable

3.14.13: Improving Community Healthcare Helps Protect Rainforests in Borneo 

3.20.13: Tropical Croplands Expand by 48m Hectares in 10 Years Raising Environmental Concerns

3.21.13: “No Environmental Issue” in Sarawak Leads to an Open Invitation to Pollute

3.25.13: Ant communities more segregated in palm oil plantations than rainforest

3.27.13: Monthly Updates to Track APP’s Progress on “No Deforestation” Policy

3.28.13: Conflict Zones Have Higher Deforestation Rates in the Amazon 

4.4.13: Sumatran Rhino Found in Kalimantan After Unseen for Over 20 Years 

4.4.13: An Insidious Threat to Tropical Forests: Over-hunting Endangers Tree Species in Asia and Africa 

4.11.13: Sarawak to Protect Population of rarest Orangutan Sub-species 

4.16.13: Global Business Forum Urges Indonesian Paper Firm to End Deforestation

4.17.13: Palm Oil: Up Close and Personal 

4.19.13: Palm Oil for the West, Exploitation for Young Workers in Malaysia 

4.19.13: Spotlight on Palm Oil Meeting

4.23.13: Community Participation Scheme for Sarawak’s Native Landowners

4.24.13: Experiment Aims to Steep Rainforest in Carbon Dioxide

4.25.13: Burned Rainforest Vulnerable to Grass Invasion 

 4.30.13: Indonesian Palm Oil Giant Clearing Peat Forest Despite RSPO Membership, Alleges Greenpeace

5.6.13: Malaysian Palm Oil Association to Exit RSPO?

5.8.13: Sumatran Orangutans’ Rainforest Home Faces New Threat

5.9.13: New UN Report Gives Indonesia Low Marks in Forest Governance

5.10.13: Court Rules for Palm Oil Company in Controversial Deforestation Case 

5.13.13: What If Companies Actually Had to Compensate Society For Environmental Destruction

5.14.13: Memo to WWF: Destroying Rainforests and Peatland for Palm Oil is Not Sustainable

5.15.13: Palm Oil Company Violated RSPO Standards, Evicted from Sustainability Body

5.16.13: Indonesia Officially Extends Forestry Moratorium 

5.17.13: Indonesia’s Constitutional Court Returns Sutomary Forests to Indigenous Peoples 

5.23.13: Biosphere Conservation: Monumental Action is Critical to Avert Global Environmental Crisis 

5.24.13: Plague of Deforestation Sweeps Across South-east Asia

5.28.13: Addressing Sustainability and Justice in Rural Indonesia

5.29.13: 191,851 Hectares of NCR Land Raised for Palm Oil Plantations 

5.31.13: Indonesia: Govt to Revoke Concessions in Customary Land

6.3.13: Indonesian Official Arrested for Running $150m Illegal Logging Ring

6.10.13: Borneo Stalagmites Provide New View of Abrupt Climate Events Over 100,000 Years

6.12.13: Industry, Fires and Poachers Shrink Wildlife’s Last Stronghold

6.25.13: Palm Oil and Timber Industries Blamed for Record Breaking Pollution in Singapore

6.26.13: Logging Giant APRIL Removes Itself From FSC Certification

7.1.13: Why Indonesia’s Fires Are A Global Concern

7.10.13: Government Ends AusAID Reforestation Program In Indonesia

7.15.13: Asia Pulp & Paper Reports Accidental Breach Of Deforestation Moratorium

7.19.13: Study Finds 80% Of Rainforest In Malaysian Borneo Logged

7.30.13: Could The Mapped Oil Palm Genome Reduce Pressure On Rainforests?

7.31.13: Palm Oil Drives Malaysian Rainforest Tree To Extinction

8.6.13: Summer Of Smoke

8.13.13: Climate Change Linked To A Rise In Human Conflict

8.14.13: Certification Scheme PEFC Urged To Follow Forest Stewardship Council Lead On APRIL Deforestation

8.15.13: Deforestation Ban Working In Costa Rica

8.20.13: Forest Fragmentation Leading to Higher Extinction Rates

8.28.13: With Deforestation Rising, Brazil Sends More Police to the Amazon

8.30.13: New Program to Assist Animals on the Brink Across Southeast Asia

9.3.13: Pesticide Problems in the Amazon

9.4.13: Agribusiness Project Leaves Indigenous Communities in Indonesia New Guinea Hungry and in Poverty

9.5.13: Forest Figures: Solid Evidence Versus Taib’s Lies

9.10.13: Actor Harrison Ford Touches a Nerve Investigating Deforestation in Indonesia

9.11.13: Indonesian Villagers Take Legal Action Against President Over Climate Change

9.12.13: Survey of Borneo Villagers Reveals Strong Opposition to Deforestation

9.17.13: Major Snack Makers Criticized for Using ‘Conflict’ Palm Oil

9.18.13: Indonesia Ignores Indigenous Protest, Encourages Plantation Project Expansion

9.21.13: Indonesian Villagers Occupy Government Office Over Palm Oil Land Grab

9.22.13: Malaysian Palm Oil Council Funds Borneo Elephant Sanctuary

9.25.13: Sabah Revisits Controversial Coal Plant Project

10.2.13: Latest IPCC Report Confirms Climate Change is Manmade

10.7.13: Indonesia and EU Sign Agreement to Curb Illegal Logging 

10.9.13: Weapons Stockpile Seized From Palm Oil Plantation

10.17.13: Norway Cuts Ties With Two Malaysian Forestry Companies

10.26.13: Greenpeace Accuses Palm Oil Giant of Tiger Habitat Destruction

11.1.13: Coal Transport Road Would Hamper Indonesian Forest Restoration Project

11.14.13: Rent-a-mob Disrupts Court Proceedings Against Indonesian Palm Oil Company

11.15.13: Scientists Identify 137 Protected Areas Most Important for Preserving Biodiversity


Here are some of the position pieces from our friends and allies:

REDD Monitor: Introduction to REDD

Rainforest Action Network: REDD factsheet

Carbon Trade Watch: No REDD Reader (with an article by project director Jettie Word)

Global Justice Ecology Project: Why REDD is Wrong (co-authored by Jettie Word)

Indigenous Environmental Network: Reaping Profits from Evictions, Land Grabs, Deforestation, and the Destruction of Biodiversity