Tag Archives: deforestation

CPI participates in a project that encourages rural producers to reforest Mata Atlântica

May 23, 2017 |

 

Dimitri Szerman explains the initiative, which takes place in the South of Bahia

Interview with one of the 3,000 rural producers selected for the Sul da Bahia project. Photo: Dimitri Szerman

 

Encourage forest restoration in the northeastern Brazilian of Bahia – this is what the South of Bahia project aims to. Supported under INPUT, it is a collaboration between Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), Brown University, Floresta Viva Institute and Santa Cruz State University. The survey project that began in 2015 and includes nearly 3,000 producers will evaluate payment for environmental services to rural producers of the cacao region of Bahia. Dimitri Szerman, CPI analyst, coordinates part of the work related to economic issues. He explains the project in the following interview.

WHAT IS THE SOUTH OF BAHIA PROJECT’S OBJECTIVE?

DIMITRI SZERMAN: This project consists of payments for environmental services, with two main objectives. The first objective is to understand how to motivate rural producers to restore their properties with species from the Mata Atlântica biome. Also, we seek to understand more about the biome’s natural vegetation restoration process. Our focus is how sustainable rural development aligns with compliance with the Forest Code.

WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE PARTNERSHIP? AND WHAT IS CPI’S CONTRIBUTION?

DS: The project is the result of a partnership between CPI, Brown University, Floresta Viva Institute and Santa Cruz State University. The multidisciplinary team of researchers is composed of ecologists, agronomists, sociologists, and economists, such as me. CPI’s contribution is to design financial incentives for restoration and to analyze rural producers’ choices and preferences.

 

“This involves constant care. Generally,

the challenge is greatest in the driest areas or

where pastures have prevailed for many years”

 

HOW IS THE PROJECT RECEIVED BY RURAL PRODUCERS?

DS: Very well. We have already been collecting field data for one year. We selected 3,000 producers at random from the region to participate in the project. Most of them agreed to talk to our team and we have already completed two rounds of interviews with each one of them. Our implementing partner’s team in the field has contributed to such a high participation rate. Sixteen young agronomists from the region, who recently graduated from the State University of Santa Cruz, were selected for the Floresta Viva Institute survey team.

WHAT ARE THE OBLIGATIONS OF RURAL PRODUCERS WHO WILL RECEIVE FINANCIAL INCENTIVES TO RESTORE VEGETATION IN THEIR PROPERTIES COMPLETE?

DS: They must set aside a half of a hectare of their property for the restoration, and look after this area for the restoration to occur. This includes removing species that are not woody, planting seedlings, and, in some cases, enclosing the area so that cattle do not disturb it. This involves constant care. Generally, the challenge is greatest in the driest areas or where pastures have prevailed for many years.

 

“The availability of labor workers 

is an obstacle for restoration”

 

WHERE IN BAHIA IS THE WORKING GROUP BEING CONDUCTED AT THIS MOMENT? HOW FREQUENTLY HAVE YOU TRAVELED TO BAHIA?

DS: The survey was launched in 26 municipalities in the cacao region of Bahia. On average, I travel every three months to supervise the field work. I attend meetings with producers and communicate directly with the team to better understand the reality on the ground. Good communication with the team in Bahia is fundamental to the quality of the work, since I have to understand what is going on in the field and they have to understand the survey’s requirements.

Dimitri Szerman, CPI analyst

 

PLEASE EXPLAIN IN GENERAL TERMS THE METHODOLOGY THAT IS BEING APPLIED FOR THE PROJECT.

DS: The methodology is the same as in a controlled clinical trial, known as Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). The idea is to test different types of incentives for restoration, as well as different restoration methods. To do so, the 3,000 producers are sorted to receive different types of incentives. As such, it is possible to isolate the effects each type of incentive has on the acceptance of the restoration program, as well as on its fulfillment.

 

After the drought that hit the region last year

many farmers started to better understant the forest’s

importance in building resilience for their crops”

 

ARE THERE ANY PRELIMINARY RESULTS?

DS: We are still analyzing the data, but we already have a good description of the producers’ profiles. Some features are surprising. For example, the average age of respondents is 59 years – they are older than we might have expected.

We have also observed the availability of labor workers is an obstacle for restoration. Taking care of these areas and planting seedlings demand a lot of work.  If you are a small producer living in a rural area, it is not always easy to find people to work on your property. We have also learned that after the drought that hit the region last year many farmers started to better understand the forest’s importance in building resilience for their crops. Let’s see how much this influences their attitudes towards restoration.

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Three ways international development partners can help Indonesia solve its land use challenges

February 24, 2016 | and

 

At least 25 major aid organizations have been actively engaged in efforts to reduce Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions from land use over the last five years. Several of these funders, including the UK Climate Change Unit Indonesia, and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, have even refocused a large portion of their programs in Indonesia on the land use challenge.

Land use challenges in Indonesia - Photo credit: Elysha Rom-Povolo

Photo credit: Elysha Rom-Povolo

This sharp focus isn’t surprising when you take into account that 44% of global land use and forestry emissions came from Indonesia in 2012 Last year saw unprecedented emissions from forest and peat fires in Indonesia, with emissions from fires alone expected to reach around 1750 MtCO2-eq., which is almost equal to Indonesia’s entire greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors in 2012.

The involvement of many international development organizations is also good news given that the Government of Indonesia has sent strong signals to the international community that their support is needed. Indonesia has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2020, scaling up to 29% by 2030, and further extending their ambition to 41% with international support. Around 90% of that target is anticipated to come from reducing deforestation and peat emissions.

The question is, have the efforts been working?

We recently took on this question in a study that looked at international public climate finance flows to land use from major development partners, “Taking Stock of International Contributions to Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Land Use in Indonesia.”

We found mixed results.

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Graphic Spotlight: Who benefits from Indonesia’s palm oil revenues?

January 27, 2016 |

 

The fiscal system may inadvertently increase deforestation

Indonesia’s palm oil sector has been making headlines recently because of the sector’s connection with fires from peatland conversion. Late last year, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced a shift in peatland management, with policies designed to halt agricultural expansion into peat forests while facilitating the rehabilitation of already degraded peatlands.

Given the economic importance of palm oil, Indonesian policy makers, industry, and communities are looking for ways to grow the sector’s productivity without contributing to this deforestation and emissions.

Indonesia's palm oil revenuesCPI analysts recently looked at how fiscal incentives for palm oil – and land use more broadly – could be adjusted to contribute to a more efficient and sustainable sector.

This graphic, produced by Tim Varga and Angela Falconer, shows that of the nearly one billion USD the Indonesian government collects annually in tax revenues from palm oil, less than 15% goes to the regions that produce the crop.

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How the Current Haze Disaster has Rekindled Hope for Indonesia’s Peatlands

November 25, 2015 |

 

This year’s forest and peat fires in Indonesia have reached unprecedented scale. The Global Fire Emissions Database[i] estimates that by 16 November, more than 122,000 forest and peat fires will have emitted 1.75 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent. The World Resources Institute (WRI) calculated that as of 16 October, emissions from fires had exceeded those of the total US economy – more than 15 million tons CO2 per day – on 26 separate occasions, noting that the U.S. economy is 60 times larger than Indonesia’s.

Indonesia's peatlands

Photo by Julius Lawalata, World Resources Institute

Put another way, in just three weeks, emissions from fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan exceeded the annual emissions of Europe’s largest economy, Germany.[ii] The fires have caused environmental havoc, a surge in respiratory illnesses and other health impacts, and economic losses around the region. After mounting international pressure, President Widodo announced radical new caps on peat use: an end to licensing for concessions on peat lands, a review of existing licensing, recognition of high carbon value lands, and the creation of a program to restore the carbon-rich forests and peatlands. The government is reportedly exploring the establishment of a new Peat-land Management Agency to spearhead efforts.

This is not the first time moratorium-like measures have been announced in Indonesia. Success will lie in the extent of implementation and especially, in enforcement. But there is very real potential here for Indonesia to transform the way peat is used, particularly in the agricultural sector—with international assistance. Indonesia’s peatlands and tropical peat swamp forests, store more carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem and are important reservoirs of biodiversity and ecosystem services such as water filtration. There is global significance in the efforts to find ways to rehabilitate peat forests degraded due to deforestation and inefficient agricultural practices.

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Land use policy in Brazil: A brief video overview

July 30, 2013 |

 

In this brief video, CPI senior analyst Clarissa Costalonga e Gandour discusses land use policy in Brazil in the context of deforestation, climate change, and economic growth.

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How better monitoring and law enforcement saved 59,500 sq. km of the Amazon – an area the size of a small country

May 8, 2013 |

 

Clarissa Costalonga e Gandour also contributed to this piece.

The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest, but protecting it from illegal deforestation is a challenge nearly as immense as the forest itself. In a previous study, CPI has discussed explanations for a slowdown in the rate of forest clearings observed in the 2000s. In a new study, DETERring Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, we take a step further and answer the question: Which specific policy efforts contributed most to the reduction in Amazon deforestation?

Our analysis reveals that the implementation of the Real Time System for Detection of Deforestation (DETER), a satellite-based system that enables frequent and quick identification of deforestation hot spots, greatly enhanced monitoring and targeting capacity, making it easier for law enforcers to act upon areas with illegal deforestation activity. This improvement in monitoring and law enforcement was the main driver of the 2000s deforestation slowdown.

Prior to the activation of DETER, Amazon monitoring depended on voluntary reports of threatened areas, making it difficult for law enforcement personnel to locate and access deforestation hot spots in a timely manner. With the adoption of the new remote sensing system, however, Brazilian law enforcement personnel were able to better identify, more closely monitor, and more quickly act upon areas with illegal deforestation activity.

Through empirical analysis, we estimate that DETER-based environmental monitoring and law enforcement policies prevented the clearing of over 59,500 km2 of Amazon forest area from 2007 through 2011. Deforestation observed during this period totaled 41,500 km2 – 59% less than in the absence of the policy change.

We also estimate that, in a hypothetical scenario in which monitoring and law enforcement was entirely absent from the Amazon, an additional 122,700 km2 of Amazon forest would have been cleared from 2007 through 2011. To put that figure in context, that’s an area larger than the total land mass of the country of Nicaragua.

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Does credit affect deforestation? Evidence from a rural credit policy in the Brazilian Amazon

March 18, 2013 |

 

Clarissa Costalonga e Gandour also contributed to this piece, which was originally posted on Climate-Eval.

The deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon decreased sharply in the second half of the 2000s, falling from a peak of 27,000 km2 in 2004 to 5,000 km2 in 2011. In a previous CPI/NAPC study [Assunção et al. (2012)], we estimated that conservation policies introduced in the mid to late 2000s prevented the loss of approximately 62,000 km2 of forest in the 2005 through 2009 period. We’ve recently taken a closer look at one of these policies — National Monetary Council Resolution 3,545.

Introduced in mid-2008, Resolution 3,545 placed a condition on rural credit, an important source of financing for rural producers, in the Brazilian Amazon Biome. To get credit, borrowers had to present proof of compliance with environmental regulations, the legitimacy of their land claims, and the regularity of their rural establishments. To prove credit eligibility, Resolution 3,545 required borrowers to present a series of documents. Such documentation, however, varied according to borrower profiles, with small-scale producers subject to less stringent requirements. Resolution 3,545 represented a restriction on official rural credit — and thereby on the fraction of rural credit that is largely subsidized via lower interest rates — while other sources of financing for agricultural activity suffered no such restriction.

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Brazil’s deforestation and conservation policies: A quick video overview

January 31, 2013 |

 

In this short video, Juliano Assunção, Director of Climate Policy Initiative Rio, discusses Brazil’s deforestation and conservation policies.

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Policy Watch: UN climate talks wrap up, Indonesia approves landmark forest protection deal, and Africa’s largest solar plant close to breaking ground

December 11, 2012 |

 

This week, climate policy headlines from around the world include results from the UN climate talks, Indonesia approving a conservation deal that will protect 200,000 acres of forest, and Norway contributing $180 million to help Brazil slow deforestation.

Elinor Benami, Chiara Trabacchi, and Xueying Wang contributed headlines to this edition of Policy Watch.

UN climate talks extend Kyoto Protocol, promise compensation
The summit established for the first time that rich nations should move towards compensating poor nations for losses due to climate change. Developing nations hailed it as a breakthrough, but condemned the gulf between the science of climate change and political attempts to tackle it.

The deal, agreed by nearly 200 nations, extends to 2020 the Kyoto Protocol. It is the only legally-binding plan for combating global warming. The deal covers Europe and Australia, whose share of world greenhouse gas emissions is less than 15%.

But the conference also cleared the way for the Kyoto protocol to be replaced by a new treaty binding all rich and poor nations together by 2015 to tackle climate change. The final text “encourages” rich nations to mobilize at least $10bn (£6bn) a year up to 2020, when the new global climate agreement is due to kick in. Full article.

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Policy Watch: Japan cuts emissions, Brazil responds to deforestation, and Europe faces a looming energy transmission headache

October 17, 2012 |

 

This week, climate policy headlines from around the world included Japan cutting emissions, Brazil responding to a spike in deforestation, and waves that could supply 11% of the UK’s power.

Rodney Boyd, Elinor Benami, and Brendan Pierpont contributed headlines to this edition of Policy Watch.

Japan may meet Kyoto emissions cut target, ministry estimates
Japan is on target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated average of 8 percent for the five years ending in March, meaning it will meet commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, the environment ministry estimated.

Kyoto’s binding obligations limiting the release of emissions among industrial nations stipulate Japan must cut greenhouse gas output by 6 percent from 1990 levels for fiscal 2008-2012. Emissions are projected to be 1.277 billion metric tons for fiscal 2011 and 1.316 billion tons in the twelve months ending March 31, 2013, Kentaro Doi, a ministry official in charge of emissions data, said by phone. Full article.

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