Deforestation News from TreeZero

A wetland forest left standing is worth 15 times more than a forest cut for timber

By Dr. Sam Davis

According to the US Fish & Wildlife Service, between 2004-2009, over 240,000 acres of forested wetland were lost to forestry activities. Recent research, released on World Wetlands Day, shows that a wetland forest left standing is worth 15 times more than one cut for timber. By shifting the focus of management from timber production to native ecosystem health, wetland forests increase over fifteen times in value from about $1,200 per acre to $18,600 per acre.

The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation

A major reduction in global deforestation is needed to mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss. Recent private sector commitments aim to eliminate deforestation from a company’s operations or supply chain, but they fall short on several fronts. Company pledges vary in the degree to which they include time-bound interventions with clear definitions and criteria to achieve verifiable outcomes. Zero-deforestation policies by companies may be insufficient to achieve broader impact on their own due to leakage, lack of transparency and traceability, selective adoption and smallholder marginalization. Public–private policy mixes are needed to increase the effectiveness of supply-chain initiatives that aim to reduce deforestation. We review current supply-chain initiatives, their effectiveness, and the challenges they face, and go on to identify knowledge gaps for complementary public–private policies.


Maps tease apart complex relationship between agriculture and deforestation in DRC

In the past few years, Molinario and his colleagues at the Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) laboratory at the University of Maryland have been developing a new map starting from analyses of fragmentation patterns in DRC that allows them to differentiate types of tree cover loss within the mix of roads, villages, fields, fallows and forests that supports human life in the country. Within this mosaic, which scientists call the “rural complex,” Molinario’s team is trying to figure out which instances of expansion are leading to new deforestation.


Fish sticks: declining Amazon fish

by Laura Cole

When it comes to deforestation, wood and water issues are often looked at in isolation. However, a pioneering study by researchers at Virginia Tech University has shown for the first time that there is a significant link between deforestation and reduced fish catches. The connection comes down to food. Leandro Castello, assistant professor of fisheries at Virginia Tech, says: ‘Floodplain forests are the principal sources of food [for fish] via provision of detritus, tree leaves, fruits and insects.’


Young Colombians File Landmark Climate Lawsuit

A group of young Colombians, one as young as seven, filed a lawsuit against the Colombian government on Monday demanding it protect their right to a healthy environment in what campaigners said was the first such action in Latin America. The lawsuit, filed at a Bogota court, alleges the government’s failure to stem rising deforestation in Colombia puts their future in jeopardy and violates their constitutional rights to a healthy environment, life, food and water. “Deforestation is threatening the fundamental rights of those of us who are young today and will face the impacts of climate change the rest of our lives,” the 25 plaintiffs, whose ages range from seven to 26, said in a joint statement. The Colombia lawsuit calls on the government to halt deforestation in Colombia’s Amazon and keep to its promises. Despite the government’s pledges, deforestation in Colombia’s Amazon region rose 23 percent and across the country increased by 44 percent from 2015 to 2016. Stemming forest loss is even more urgent following Colombia’s 2016 peace deal that ended a decades-long civil war. Experts say Colombia’s rainforests are under increasing threat with once no-go conflict areas opening up for development and criminal gangs cutting down trees for illegal gold mining.

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