Poorly Defined Land Rights Increase Deforestation Rates

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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Poorly defined land rights increase deforestation, but private land rights must be combined with strict environmental policies. Tropical deforestation causes widespread degradation of biodiversity and...

Poorly defined land rights increase deforestation, but private land rights must be combined with strict environmental policies. Tropical deforestation causes widespread degradation of biodiversity and...

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Brazil Records Worst October in Deforestation Since 2015

Nearly 1,000 square kilometers of the Brazilian Amazon were lost in October, the worst figure for that month since records began in 2015, according to official data released Friday, less than two months before the end of President Jair Bolsonaro’s term in office. The 904 km2 of area logged last month represents 3% more than […] The post Brazil Records Worst October in Deforestation Since 2015 appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.

Nearly 1,000 square kilometers of the Brazilian Amazon were lost in October, the worst figure for that month since records began in 2015, according to official data released Friday, less than two months before the end of President Jair Bolsonaro’s term in office. The 904 km2 of area logged last month represents 3% more than that of October 2021, a former record for the month, according to data from the DETER satellite monitoring system, from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The NGO WWF-Brazil alerted that along with the increase in deforestation, the number of fires “skyrocketed” after the presidential elections. “The increase in deforestation and fire alerts was expected, but even so the numbers of the first days of November are frightening, showing a rampant race for devastation,” the NGO said in a statement.  During the mandate of Bolsonaro, a climate change denier, the average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon – mainly caused by logging for the expansion of cattle pastures and the agricultural frontier, according to experts – increased 75% compared to the previous decade.  The Brazilian Amazon corresponds to 59% of the Brazilian territory, distributed among nine states. More than half of the area destroyed was concentrated in the state of Pará (north), with 435 km2 cut down.  The deforestation accumulated between January 1 and October 31 of this year represents the highest value in the historical series of the DETER system, WWF-Brazil pointed out, with the destruction of 9,494 km2.  The leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who defeated Bolsonaro on October 2 in the presidential runoff, has promised “a living Amazon”, reactivating policies to protect the rainforest and combat deforestation, differentiating himself from the far-right leader.  “The new government will have a lot of work to do to repair the situation, to put an end to the perception that the Amazon is a lawless land,” said Raul do Valle, a public policy specialist with the NGO WWF-Brazil, in a statement.  Lula will travel next Monday to Egypt, invited by the president of that country, Abdel Fatah al Sisi, to participate in the COP27 climate conference, his international preview before taking office on January 1, 2023.  The leftist administration aims to regain international prestige with an agenda focused on environmental protection.  The post Brazil Records Worst October in Deforestation Since 2015 appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.

B.C. hasn’t taken $50 million federal offer for old-growth forest protections

By Sarah Cox In August, as Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault prepared to visit an old-growth forest park in West Vancouver, his office drafted a news release for the occasion. It was never sent out.  The federal government had committed up to $50 million to permanently protect B.C.’s old-growth forests and was “awaiting the matching...

By Sarah Cox In August, as Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault prepared to visit an old-growth forest park in West Vancouver, his office drafted a news release for the occasion. It was never sent out.  The federal government had committed up to $50 million to permanently protect B.C.’s old-growth forests and was “awaiting the matching commitment from the province,” said the draft release, a copy of which was obtained by The Narwhal.  In the lead up to the United Nations biodiversity conference Canada will host in December, the federal government is eager to see permanent protections announced for B.C.’s old-growth forests as part of Ottawa’s commitment to protect 30 per cent of the country’s land and waters by 2030.  But with less than a month before the COP15 conference gets underway in Montreal, the B.C. government has yet to accept Ottawa’s offer of funding to protect old-growth forests that store carbon and provide habitat for many species at risk of extinction, including spotted owls, marbled murrelets and woodland caribou. Get The Narwhal in your inbox! People always tell us they love our newsletter. Find out yourself with a weekly dose of our ad‑free, independent journalism. Get The Narwhal in your inbox! People always tell us they love our newsletter. Find out yourself with a weekly dose of our ad‑free, independent journalism. That leaves environmental groups and the B.C. Green Party questioning the sincerity of the B.C. government’s promise to protect old-growth forests and embark on a forestry transition many believe is long overdue.  “It’s really critical that there’s money on the table,” Stand.earth forest campaigner Tegan Hansen said. “And B.C. hasn’t seized on that to actually support communities in transitioning away from old-growth logging and protecting forests.”  The draft release noted Guilbeault’s visit intended to show “solidarity and support for the protection of old-growth forest in British Columbia, and highlight ongoing discussions with the province to establish an Old Growth Nature Fund in B.C.”    “Old-growth forests in British Columbia are some of the most biologically diverse and productive ecosystems in Canada,” Guilbeault stated in the draft release. “They are also some of the most important and largest natural carbon sinks in the world. With deep-rooted significance to Indigenous communities and of importance to all British Columbians, old-growth forests require greater protections.” The federal government has committed more than $50 million to protect B.C.’s rare old-growth forests — but only if the B.C. government matches its contribution. So far, the B.C. government hasn’t taken them up on their offer. Photo: Taylor Roades / The Narwhal Guilbeault’s office declined to comment directly on the draft release, which offered the province $50 million. In an emailed response to questions, Guilbeault’s press secretary, Kaitlyn Power, said the 2022 federal budget allows for $55.1 million over three years to protect old-growth forests in B.C. The budget said the funding was conditional on a matching investment from the provincial government. “Our government will continue collaborating with the province to get a good deal to protect B.C.’s beloved nature,” Power wrote. Asked if the provincial government will accept and match the federal old-growth funding, the B.C. Ministry of Forests referred the Narwhal to the B.C. Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship. In an emailed response to questions, the land ministry said the province is working with the federal government to develop a Nature Agreement that will, among other aims, “advance reconciliation by supporting Indigenous leadership on conservation efforts.”“The proposed agreement presents an opportunity both for a more collaborative, long-term relationship between the federal and provincial governments and to build an integrated, landscape-based approach to nature conservation and stewardship,” the land ministry wrote.  Old-growth funding a chance to end the ‘war in the woods’  B.C. is known throughout the world for the giant, old-growth trees that grow in moss-carpeted rainforests in coastal regions and in the rare inland temperate rainforest in the province’s interior. Following decades of industrial logging, most of the province’s unprotected old-growth forests have been logged. Low-elevation old-growth valley bottoms — home to the biggest trees and the greatest biodiversity — are the most at risk of being clear-cut. They have been identified as priorities for protection to avoid irreversible biodiversity loss.  During the 2020 provincial election campaign, the B.C. NDP promised to fully implement the recommendations of an old-growth review panel that called for a paradigm shift in the way B.C.’s forests are managed.  The panel, led by two foresters, said the province’s forests should be managed for ecosystem values, not for timber. Among other recommendations, the foresters said the government should support forest sector workers and communities as they adapt to changes resulting from a new forest management system.  Ken Wu, executive director of the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance, said the federal money, matched by B.C., would be a “game-changer” for old-growth protections.  Ken Wu, pictured here on a cedar stump in the Walbran Valley on Vancouver Island, says the federal government’s multi-million dollar offer could be a “game-changer” for B.C. forests. Photo: TJ Watt / Ancient Forest Alliance Old-growth logging has long been an issue of contention in B.C. More than 800 people were arrested in 1993 during months of logging protests, which became known as the “war in the woods,” in Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island. Since 2021, more than 1,000 people have been arrested trying to stop old-growth logging in and around Fairy Creek on Pacheedaht territory on southwest Vancouver Island.  “The B.C. government has a chance to finally put an end to the war in the woods by embracing the federal money, kicking in their own funding and directing it to the right places — the grandest, most at-risk old-growth forests — and to the right parties,” Wu said in an interview. The right parties are First Nations, who require funding for sustainable economic development initiatives linked to protected areas, he said, and not corporations. “If they do that on a big enough scale, then they will have solved the war in the woods on the conservation side. And on the labor side, simultaneously they can be building a value-added, second-growth, smart forest economy with the right incentives and regulations.” Yet even $100 million – $50 million from each of the federal and provincial governments – is not nearly enough to permanently protect B.C.’s old-growth forests, Wu said. Adding considerably to the pot would be B.C.’s share of $2.3 billion in federal funding to support nature conservation measures across the country, including Indigenous-led conservation. Wu estimated B.C. could receive between $200 million and $400 million from that fund.  “If B.C. were to match that, and then direct it in the right places, to the right parties, it could actually end old-growth logging in British Columbia and protect most endangered ecosystems.” Wu also cautioned the use of federal money could still “go sideways” if the end result is to protect alpine and subalpine areas, “leaving out the valley bottoms and the big trees.”  The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs has also called on the federal and provincial governments to finance old-growth forest protection, Indigenous protected areas and land use plans.  Protests over old-growth logging at Fairy Creek in Pacheedaht First Nation territory became the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. Photo: Taylor Roades / The Narwhal Conservation financing needed for First Nations B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau said it’s ironic the B.C. government keeps asking Ottawa for money for health care, yet it hasn’t accepted federal funding to protect old-growth forests. “It’s really disappointing that the B.C. NDP are not taking the federal government up on this offer, as it is the necessary condition for getting different outcomes when it comes to protecting all growth in this province,” Furstenau said in an interview. Furstenau also underscored that conservation financing for First Nations is essential to creating sustainable economic solutions. “Right now, what the province is doing is offering one avenue — which is log the old-growth — for economic activities for First Nations.” The B.C. government needs to explain to British Columbians why it hasn’t accepted the federal money to permanently protect old-growth forests, Furstenau said. “A government tells you its priorities by how it spends money. And what this government is showing right now is that spending money to protect old-growth is not a priority.” The B.C. NDP has long been divided on conservation issues, with an environmental wing of the party facing off against an historically more powerful labour wing.  During the recent NDP leadership race, United Steelworkers local 1-1937, representing about 6,000 forestry workers on Vancouver Island and B.C.’s mainland coast, urged members to join the NDP to vote for leadership candidate David Eby to defeat the “green” candidate, Anjali Appadurai.  “We believe by electing Eby and reducing the percentage of the vote for the anti-logging candidate, we can push back on the green agenda,” the Steelworkers local said in a letter to members. Supporting Eby “gives us leverage with him after he’s elected,” the local added.  Appadurai, the only other person running for party leader, was eliminated from the race after the NDP concluded she had improperly coordinated with third-party environmental groups.  Wu speculated that the province’s reluctance to accept the federal money is related to internal B.C. NDP divisions.  “The B.C. government knows that a flood of federal money targeting the productive old  growth and going to First Nations would destabilize the status quo of old-growth liquidation,” he said.  “All this federal money to expand protected areas, including the subset that’s targeting the best old-growth, they know would be the game changer.” David Eby will be sworn in as premier on Nov. 18. “More details on steps to be taken in the first 100 days will be coming soon,” the statement from the Ministry of Forests said.

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