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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.

However, it’s not enough to just legally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ forest rights—governments must also protect these rights from industries and other interests. 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

Earlier this week, Indonesia's parliament 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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Note corrected time: 9:30 a.m. ET//1:30 p.m. GMT

WASHINGTON— Senior representatives from the World Resources Institute (WRI), including President Andrew Steer, will hold a press call to provide insights and context for the upcoming UN Climate Summit. The experts will focus on key areas where major announcements and developments are expected, especially around cities, forests, and finance.

The press call will take place on Friday, September 12 at 9:30 A.M. EDT//1:30 P.M. GMT.

WASHINGTON (September 4, 2014)— Global Forest Watch, a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system developed by the World Resources Institute with over 40 partners, has been selected as one of two winners of the Big Data Climate Challenge, a global competition hosted by United Nations Global Pulse. The UN announced the winners as part of the buildup to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit on 23 September at UN Headquarters in New York.

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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