Business was the main event at the U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington, but climate change could have a serious impact on any efforts at modernization and cooperation across the African continent. Four African climate negotiators explain how U.S. leadership is essential to solving this problem.
Andrew Steer, CEO of WRI, and Monique Barbut of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification discuss the urgent need for a global commitment to restoring degraded land and how it may remedy deforestation, desertification and food scarcity.
The expected rise in world population to 9 billion by 2050, and the need for a 70 percent increase in food production from 2006 levels, makes the need for a solution particularly urgent. This challenge will be even more difficult in the face of a changing climate.
This post originally appeared in the Jakarta Post.
Palm oil is on a lot of people’s minds. In Indonesia, the industry is booming, with $19.7 billion of crude palm oil exports in 2011. But expanding oil palm plantations have taken their toll on remaining forests and other natural habitats in tropical regions and led to conflict over land with local people.
The world’s top scientists are also raising concerns. According to a recent study in Nature Climate Change, from 1990 to 2010, 90 percent of lands converted to oil palm plantations in Kalimantan were forested.
There need not, however, be a trade-off between palm oil, forests, and communities. It is possible to grow more crops--including oil palm--while keeping forests and cutting rural poverty.
Can the world have its palm oil and forests, too? This is an issue that my colleague and I discussed a while back. I am pleased to say that we recently moved a step toward ensuring that the answer is “yes.”
At the 10th Annual Meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), WRI launched two new online mapping applications designed to help the palm oil industry grow while avoiding deforestation. These free tools enable palm oil producers, buyers, investors, and government agencies to easily identify and evaluate locations in Indonesia where they can develop plantations on already-degraded land rather than on currently forested areas. By siting oil palm plantations on degraded or “low-carbon” lands, developers can avoid the need to clear remaining natural forests to meet the growing global demand for palm oil.
An Action Agenda to Sustain Ecosystem Services - Restaurando El Capital Natural
Proposes an action agenda for business, governments, and civil society to reverse ecosystem degradation.
Warns that the world's grasslands have declined in their extent and condition, as well as their ability to support human, plant, and animal life....
Provides a "big picture" view of forest extent and change and the role of these ecosystems in industrial roundwood production, woodfuel use and availability, biodiversity, carbon storage and sequestration, and watershed protection....
The G8 and Subsidies That Harm Forests and Economies
Identifies Group of Eight (G8) subsidies to forest products industries that undermine forest protection and accelerate forest loss and highlights actions these countries should take to conserve and manage forests for future generations.
An Assessment in the Year 2000
Explores the scale and magnitude of timber, energy, and mineral resources development within Canada's northern frontier, home to over a third of the world's boreal forest and a tenth of total global forest cover....
Provides an overview of logging activities within Gabon's forests and summarizes Gabon's forestry law and tax system....