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Blog Posts: forests

  • UN Climate Summit Puts Forests Front and Center – But Will it Matter?

    Leaders at this week's UN Climate Summit unveiled “The New York Declaration” on forests, which many hope will inject life into efforts to reverse forest loss.

    While the Declaration is not an “official” UN agreement—and has been carefully worded to avoid the appearance of commitments being binding—it is a positive development. If governments and business take it seriously going forward—and civil society watchdogs hound them sufficiently to do so—it would yield significant impacts.

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  • Ecuador Shows Why Communities and the Climate Need Strong Forest Rights

    Recent research from WRI and the Rights and Resources Initiative found that the world’s 513 million hectares of legally recognized community forests store 37 billion tonnes of carbon—29 times the annual carbon footprint of the world’s passenger vehicles.

    The impacts of oil extraction in Ecuador illustrate why secure community forest rights are necessary to protect both livelihoods and the environment.

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  • Fires Spread Across Indonesia as Parliament Approves Haze Treaty

    Indonesia's parliament recently approved an agreement to reduce haze pollution from land and forest fires.

    Ratification of the law—originally signed 12 years ago—comes not a moment too soon: Fires are currently flaring across southern Sumatra and West and Central Kalimantan, jeopardizing Indonesia’s forests and the communities and wildlife that call these regions home.

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  • 8 Percent of World's Remaining Pristine Forests Degraded Since 2000

    New analysis reveals that since 2000, more than 8 percent of the world’s Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) have been degraded—an area measuring 104 million hectares, or three times the size of Germany. In other words, human activities disturbed 20,000 hectares of pristine forest every day for the past 13 years.

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  • The Difference One Tree Can Make

    Trees have become an iconic image of environmentalism, but that doesn't necessarily mean we should plant millions of them.

    While scale is important for landscape restoration, we need to reconsider quality and not just quantity. When does the presence of a tree really make a difference, and when is it neither an environmental or economical solution to a host of complex issues? What are the implications for food security, biodiversity and landscape protection?

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  • Forest Loss and Climate: Empowering Communities Can Help

    In an op-ed written for LiveScience, Andrew Steer discusses how strengthening forest rights for indigenous communities can protect forests and combat climate change.

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  • New French Satellite Imagery to Help Forest Management in the Congo Basin

    The rainforests of Africa’s Congo Basin are the world’s second largest, and are increasingly one of the most threatened. Agriculture, mining, logging, and climate change are already chipping away and thinning out the forests’ edge and interior. The Congo Basin forests’ biggest threat, however, is unseen: a lack of good information. With poor infrastructure, government capacity challenges, and hard-to-detect patterns of change, the forests of the Congo Basin are among the most difficult in the world to monitor and manage.

    Starting this month, 1,500 high-resolution satellite images of the Congo Basin from the SPOT satellite constellation provided by Airbus Defence and Space are being shared with WRI, thanks to an agreement with French institutions of the Tropical Forest Spatial Observation program.

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  • Community Forests: An Undervalued Approach to Climate Change Mitigation

    Governments around the world legally recognize at least 513 million hectares of community forests, land held collectively by either rural populations or Indigenous Peoples. This area stores about 37 billion tonnes of carbon—29 times the annual carbon footprint of all the passenger vehicles in the world.

    Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change, a new report from WRI and the Rights and Resources Initiative, shows that by protecting and expanding the amount of officially recognized community forests, national governments can meet their climate goals while also improving citizens’ livelihoods.

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  • High-Resolution Satellites Help Monitor and Respond to Fires in Southeast Asia

    Today, in Jakarta, WRI, DigitalGlobe, the Indonesian government, Google, Esri, and a host of other partners launched Global Forest Watch Fires, an online platform for monitoring and responding to forest and land fires in Southeast Asia.

    It features near real-time satellite images from DigitalGlobe, fire alerts from NASA, a text messaging alert system, mapping of burn scars from Google Earth Engine, wind direction and air quality data, land-use and concession maps, and much more.

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  • Q&A: Why Are Community Forests So Important?

    Governments, civil society, and donors are working to strengthen community forest rights in many countries.

    A new report by WRI and the Rights and Resources Initiative, to be released on July 24th, shows governments can meet their climate change mitigation targets by protecting community forest rights.

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