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Jun 9, 2009

Global Consensus Emerging Regarding Need to End Industrial Primary Forest Logging as Keystone Climate Change Response

- After being a lone voice in the wilderness for decades, Dr. Glen Barry and Ecological Internet's biocentric forest protection position has been adopted by most major forest protection organizations. It remains to be determined how those committing to keeping such logging out of UN carbon finance can reconcile with their support for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of first time old forest logging. Regardless, time to unite the forest and climate movements going into Copenhagen with strong message of protecting and restoring standing old forests for local development and biodiversity benefits, and regional and global climate and ecosystem sustainability.

June 9, 2009
By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry,,  +1 206 214 7914 

A grouping of key global forest protection organizations has issued a remarkably strong statement regarding the need to end deforestation AND forest diminishment in the lead up to the Copenhagen climate conference (see their statement and news coverage below).  In a first of its kind proclamation, that may mark a crucial turning point in the global movement to achieve ecological sustainability, groups from around the world call not only for an immediate halt to deforestation, but also for an end to first time industrial logging of the world's remaining primary forests (and many other ecologically sufficient forest policies). Many supporters of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of primary forest logging as environmentally beneficial, including Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network, acknowledge that even 'Reduced Impact Logging' in primary forests releases massive amounts of carbon [1]. Whether these groups will renounce FSC or not remains problematic.

This comes after the launch last week of a vitally important report from Global Witness entitled "Vested Interests – industrial logging and carbon in tropical forests" [2] which finds industrial logging under the guise of “Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)” is a major source of carbon emissions, a primary driver of deforestation, and threatens to derail the UN process to address climate change. Given the significance of forest degradation associated with primary forest logging in both greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, the "degradation" component of the proposed part of the global climate treaty dealing with forests (called REDD for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation)  must explicitly address forest decline. Failure to do so will reduce the effectiveness of the proposed carbon finance mechanism to both mitigate climate change and forest loss and diminishment.

More of the Earth's terrestrial ecosystems have already been lost and diminished than required to maintain an operable climate, all species and a fully operable biosphere. Simply, Earth needs more old forests and other natural habitats -- both strictly protected primary forests and restored old growth forests. Insofar as the carbon market can pay for this protection and restoration, while supporting community based ecoforestry uses of standing forests, they are worthy of support. If carbon monies pay for non-existent "sustainable forest management" and other industrial development of primary forests, replacing them with plantations and much diminished secondary forests (both in terms of biodiversity and carbon), it will facilitate the biosphere's continued decline and eventual collapse. Old forest destruction must end, and methods developed to benefit locally from standing forests, to sustain both the Earth's climate, biosphere, species and all peoples.

Ecological Internet (EI) fully supports the proclamation, and asks that our network member organizations endorse it as well [3]. Over the past three years Ecological Internet and tens of thousands of global protestors have publicly clashed with both Greenpeace and RAN (and WWF which did not sign the statement), asking for their commitment to work to end first time industrial logging of primary forests to address the threats of climate, biodiversity and ecosystem collapse; including ensuring the Forest Stewardship Council ceases certification of such practices as being environmentally beneficial.  These efforts, often ridiculed and ignored, have now become the de facto unified position going into REDD carbon market negotiations at Copenhagen.  The campaign has left EI beaten and bruised, as our reputation was tarnished, and our primary funder successfully lobbied to cease their support. We stand by our difficult decision to target allies on a matter of such fundamental ecological importance.

This is the first time many organizations such as Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace have gone on record so unequivocally supporting ending primary forest logging. "After years of protest action, and several dozen alerts and articles on the matter over the last decade, I am extremely gratified to see both RAN and Greenpeace, as well as all these leading groups, commit fully to ending primary forest logging. Ecological Internet's Earth Action Network is prepared to call off our campaign against Greenpeace and RAN as soon as they publicly reconcile their positions against first time primary forest logging and their ongoing support of the faltering Forest Stewardship Council  'eco' certification of such activities," states Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet President.

Best estimates remain that tens of millions of hectares of primary rainforests have been heavily industrially logged and diminished, and sold with FSC certification as 'green' timber for lawn furniture and other consumer items, with perhaps as much as 100 million hectares of primary forests threatened in the future. What does this statement by RAN, Greenpeace and other FSC supporters mean in this regard? Ecological Internet would find an effort by these groups to work within FSC to declare all primary and old growth forests as being 'High Value Conservation Forests' under their criteria, and thus ineligible for industrial first time logging, as an acceptable outcome. Or if this fails, to follow through on their pledge to work to ending primary forest logging, they will need to resign immediately from FSC.

"Let us unite going into Copenhagen behind a vision of protecting and restoring old forests. The timber industry, certified or not, must not be allowed to access REDD funds to subsidize their climate and ecosystem destruction," concludes Dr. Barry. "It is time to acknowledge FSC, to date, has been heavily dependent upon primary forest logging for its existence. This must change if primary forest logging is to end. Ecological Internet looks forward to working with these groups to end ancient forest logging, and next bringing ecologically sufficient policies against biomass energy and geo-engineering to the  mainstream environmental communities."

### ENDS ###

[1] Between 10 and 80 tonnes of carbon per hectare.

[2] Vested Interests – industrial logging and carbon in tropical forests

[3] Contact Gemma Tillack of Australia's Wilderness Society at to have your organization endorse the statement below,

Ecological Internet would very much appreciate your financial support during our critical mid-year fund-raiser at:

Discuss this release at:


For Immediate Release                                                       8 June 2009

Countdown for Survival: Global groups make an urgent call to end deforestation
and conserve the world's forests during UN Climate Talks

Bonn, Germany - A coalition of youth, environmental groups, NGOs, Indigenous Peoples organizations and women's groups delivered a plea to negotiators asking them to ensure a strong climate deal and warning them that they will put our survival at risk if they do not act immediately to halt deforestation and the industrial logging of the world's primary forests (forest degradation). [Signatories and statement below in NOTE 1]

"Survival is not negotiable. The climate deal signed in Copenhagen needs to ensure the survival of all countries and people. The immediate protection of the world's forests is no longer just an option, it is essential to ensure a safe climate for us and our kids," stated youth spokesperson Gemma Tillack.

The coalitions' plea asks delegates to ensure that any climate deal:

--Immediately ends deforestation, industrial scale logging in primary forests and the conversion of forests to monoculture tree crops, plantations;
--Protects the world's biodiverse forests including primary forests in developed countries (e.g. Australia, Canada and Russia) and tropical forests in developing countries;
--Respects the rights of women, Indigenous peoples and local communities and allow them to lead healthy and sustainable lives whilst stopping deforestation and industrial logging of primary forests in their country; and
--Does not allow developed countries to use forest protection and the avoiding deforestation and industrial scale logging of primary forests in other countries as an offset mechanism for their own emissions.

"The forest is our life, without the forests we would not exist. Avoiding deforestation and stopping industrial logging will allow Indigenous peoples to live and will secure our future," said Adolphine Muley, of the Union pour l'Emancipation de la Femme Autochtone in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We need to ensure that climate change mitigation plans do not drive the establishment of monoculture tree plantations. The rapid ongoing direct and indirect replacement of forests by plantations is a significant cause of social and environmental harm and contributes significantly to climate change," said Diego Cardona from Friends of the Earth -Colombia and the Global Forest Coalition.

"The definition of forests in the climate change negotiations includes monoculture tree plantations thus allowing their promotion disguised as forests in market-based mechanisms that could be used in REDD. All countries need to accept and adopt a forest definition in the climate deal that clearly distinguishes forests from monoculture tree plantations," said Raquel Nunez from the World Rainforest Movement.

"A commitment to protect biodiversity and halt deforestation in primary forests would send a positive signal to the global community that we are on the right path towards avoiding a climate disaster," said Joao Talocchi from Greenpeace Brazil.

"Developed countries like Australia, Canada and Russia need to stop undermining the climate negotiations. They should stop industrial logging and woodchipping of their biodiverse forests, permanently protect their own carbon reservoirs and start accounting for their emissions from forestry activities. Only then can they ask developing countries to protect their forests," said Claire Spoors from Global Witness.

Ms. Tillack concluded saying, "We need to act now to secure a safe climate and peak our emissions by 2015. Every day of delay results in the release of huge amounts of dangerous carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We can not wait to take these first steps to ensuring our survival."

Gemma Tillack: The Wilderness Society and youth caucus  +61 427 057 643 
Claire Spoors: Global Witness +49 1763 546 3586
Joao Talocchi: Greenpeace Brazil   +55 11 8351 0169 

[1] The coalition of youth, environmental groups, NGOs, Indigenous peoples' Organizations, women's groups who have signed this survival plea include:
International Youth caucus in Bonn
Ecosystems Climate Alliance
Global Forest Coalition
The Wilderness Society
World Rainforest Movement
Global Witness
Rainforest Action Network
Wetlands International
Rainforest Foundation Norway
Rainforest Foundation UK
Friends of the Earth
Indigenous Environmental Network
Global Justice Ecology Project
CORE India
Life gender, Environment and Diversity Germany
Sustainable Population Australia
Tanzania Forest Conservation Group
the Tanzania Community Forest Conservation Network MJUMITA
Stop GE Tree Campaign
RAVA Institute Indonesia
SWBC Nepal
Timberwatch Coalition South Africa
Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition
Friends of the Siberian Forests Russia
Focus on the Global South
Women´s Environment Network Australia
Women Environmental Programme Nigeria
Just Environment
COECO-CEIBA-Friends of the Earth Costa Rica
WALHI-Friends of the Earth-Indonesia
Down to Earth
Carbon Trade Watch
Women's Environment and Development Organization
Watch Indonesia
Asociacion ANDES Peru
Ecologistas en Accion Spain
Sustainable Energy and Economy Network
North East Peoples Alliance on Trade, Finance and Development India
WISE Inc. Philippines
FASE Solidarity and Education Brazil
Global Exchange
Kingdom Narintarakul Thai Working group for Climate Justice
Union pour l'Emancipation de la Femme Autochtone

Plea:  Halt Climate Change ---- Halt Forest destruction ---- Halt Plantations

The undersigned broad coalition of NGOs, Indigenous Peoples' Organizations and women's groups call upon the Parties to the FCCC to take into account the critical role of forest conservation in climate change mitigation. The protection of forest biodiversity is vital for life on earth. Native forest ecosystems  provide us with clean air, clean water, a safe climate, food, fodder and shelter and they are an important part of our global and cultural identity. Forests provide aesthetic and intrinsic values. Indigenous Peoples and traditional local communities of the forests are the guardians and original conservationists  of the forest. They maintain a food sustenance and socio-cultural relationship to the forests based on their cosmovision.
For that reason, we call upon Parties to:

- Immediately put in place rights-based and equitable policies and institutions to halt deforestation and forest degradation and the destruction of other natural ecosystems like peatlands and grasslands in all continents

- Identify and address the direct and underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation;
- Ensure that these policies and measures uphold international human rights and environmental standards and are  fully consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This includes the effective adoption and implementation by all Parties and all UN agencies and multilateral banks of the Right to Free Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples and local forest dependent communities;

- Ensure that these policies take into account the specific role, rights and interests of women and are fully consistent with Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women;

- Ensure that these policies are fully consistent with the Convention on Biodiversity and its Expanded Program of Work on Forest Biodiversity and contribute meaningfully to conserving and enhancing biodiversity and related cultural diversity, traditional knowledge and spirituality;

- Explicitly exclude the establishment and management of monoculture tree plantations, including genetically modified tree plantations, and the practice of industrial logging from these policies. This also implies adopting a forest definition that clearly distinguishes forests from monoculture tree plantations;

- Ensure any policies intended to reduce deforestation and forest degradation include measures to reduce consumption of forest products, especially in the Industrialized North;

- Ensure these policies secure the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits of forests and other ecosystems, both between countries and within countries, taking into account the critical role of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women in conserving and restoring forests and other ecosystems. This also implies recognizing the customary and collective land tenure and forest rights of Indigenous Peoples and ensuring the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women in all decision-making processes related to forests;

We call upon developed countries to recognize the historical debt to developing countries caused by their excessive greenhouse gas emissions. This implies immediate and drastic cuts in their domestic greenhouse gas emissions (45% by 2020/ 95% by 2050 as an absolute minimum) AS WELL AS providing sufficient financial and technological support to enable developing countries to halt the destruction of forests and other ecosystems. It is too late for either/or policies. Any form of carbon offsetting, including CDM afforestation/reforestation and REDD offset projects will only increase the ecological footprint and carbon debt of developed countries and must thus be avoided. (Due to a broad range of ethical, social and methodological risks, forest-based carbon offsets will undermine an effective, equitable and socially just climate regime.) Climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management must be based on different mindsets with full respect for Nature, and not on carbon offset mechanisms. Public funding mechanisms that ensure environmental integrity and equitable distribution of funds must be made established.

Embargoed: 00.01 GMT, Friday 5th June 2009

World’s Forests Threatened by Vested Interests at UN Climate Change Talks, warns Global Witness

Industrial logging under the guise of “Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)” is a major source of carbon emissions, a primary driver of deforestation and threatens to derail the UN process to reduce deforestation, according to a new report released by leading environmental NGO, Global Witness, at the UN Climate Change talks in Bonn today. Vested interests pushing the “SFM agenda” have co-opted 13 influential inter-governmental organisations – the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF)1 - which are driving the agenda in Bonn.

‘Vested Interests – industrial logging and carbon in tropical forests’ documents how even the most benign form of commercial logging – known as Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) – kills 5-10 non-target trees for every target tree cut, and releases between 10 and 80 tonnes of carbon per hectare. The roads driven through forests by logging companies, essential for RIL, render them 4 and 8 times more likely to suffer complete deforestation than intact forests. Moreover, all forms of logging make forests far more vulnerable to fire. During the El Niño events in the late 1990s, 60% of logged forests in Indonesian Borneo went up in smoke compared with 6% of primary forest. In fact, the increase in forest fires caused by logging can be more devastating and release more carbon than the logging operations themselves.

Deforestation is responsible for 18% of global annual CO2 emissions, the reduction of which is one of the key goals of the UN climate change talks. Despite this, at the meeting currently taking place in Bonn, “Sustainable Forest Management”, which would promote RIL, is being championed as a key weapon in the battle against climate change. Both the timber industry and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests are pushing for SFM, and therefore RIL, to play a central role in the climate change agreement due to be finalised in Copenhagen in December 2009. The CPF includes all UN organisations involved in the negotiations on forests and climate, most notably the Climate Change Convention Secretariat, the UN Forum on Forests and the FAO, together with the World Bank, another influential voice pushing a “ro-SFM” – and therefore pro-industrial logging – agenda.

Negotiators at the UN are aiming to reach an agreement on Reduced Emissions for Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) by the end of the year. Once a REDD agreement is implemented post 2012, it could see upwards of $35 billion per year channelled into forest preservation.

“This is simultaneously a fantastic opportunity and a grave threat. A good REDD agreement could be a path to dramatically slowing deforestation and provide developing countries with the support and resources to keep their forests standing. This is in everyone’s interests as forests are central to the fight against climate change,” said Patrick Alley, Director of Global Witness.

“However, there is a powerful lobby at the UN negotiations driven by the CPF, which wants to include logging as part of the mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation. This wrongheaded and potentially devastating proposal is a combination of vested interests, poor science, misplaced idealism and failure to learn the lessons of history.”

“The timber industry wants to access REDD funds to subsidise their emissive activities. Any agreement allowing this will fail in its primary objective because carbon emissions will increase rather than fall, and we will see yet more deforestation. Negotiators must realise that “Sustainable’ Forest Management” is a stalking horse for industrial logging and part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

The report’s key recommendation is that REDD funds must not be used to benefit or subsidise industrial logging operations. Instead, in addition to keeping forests standing, REDD should be regarded as an economic opportunity to pursue rural development opportunities that do not result in the industrial degradation of forests.

/ Ends
In Bonn: Roz Reeve + 49 1768 600 5618;
Patrick Alley  + 44 7921 788897 ;
In The UK: Amy Barry on  +44 (0)7980 664397 ;
For more information:

Key Facts and Figures From the Report
• Intact tropical forests pull an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere each year, equivalent to one-fifth of the global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels.
• Between 2000 and 2005, at least 20% of the forest biome in the world's tropical regions underwent some level of industrial logging.
• Carbon stocks in commercially logged forests are 40-60% lower than in intact natural forests depending on the intensity of logging.
• Even in the "best case" scenarios of “reduced impact” logging, 6 -10 trees are killed or severely damaged for every tree that is harvested. Where logging is more intense, RIL can reduce the carbon content of a natural forest by nearly 40% during a single logging rotation - most of the lost carbon ends up in the atmosphere as CO2.
• Between 1999 and 2001, degradation from selective logging in the Brazilian Amazon released up to 80 million tonnes of carbon annually – which is more carbon than is released each year by the fourteen highest emitting coal-fired power plants in the United States.
• During the El Niño fires of 1997-98, 60% of logged forests in Indonesian Borneo burned compared with 6% of primary forests. Across Indonesia, these fires emitted carbon equal to as much as 40% of global fossil fuel emissions over the same period
• FAO found that, due in large part to the access provided by roads, the deforestation rate due to conversion to agricultural land was eight times higher, overall, in forests that have been logged than in undisturbed forests.
• The Congo Basin has over 51,916 km of logging roads. Gabon alone has a network of 13,400 km of logging roads – more than the length of the German autobahn network.
• Selective logging is a precursor to deforestation. In the Brazilian Amazon, 32% of” selectively” logged forests were cleared within four years
• In Papua New Guinea, 24% of logged forests were cleared between 1972 and 2002.1 In Indonesia, 29% of the forest area designated for permanent timber production was deforested by 2005. Less than 1% of the original standing tree may remain in use as a solid wood product after 100 years.

1 Members of Collaborative Partnership on Forests: CIFOR – The Center for International Forestry Research; FAO –The UN Food & Agriculture Organisation; ITTO – The International Tropical Timber ; IUFRO - International Union of Forest Research Organizations; CBD – Convention on Biological Diversity; GEF – Global Environment Facility; UNCCD - UN Convention to Combat Desertification; UNFF –UN Forum on Forests; UNFCCC – UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; UNDP – UN Development Programme; UNEP – UN Environment Programme; ICRAF - World Agro-Forestry Centre; The World Bank; IUCN – World Conservation Union

Item #4
Forest degradation is huge source of CO2 emissions Edit | Rescrape
Source: Mongabay
Date: 6/5/2009
Byline: Rhett Butler

Selective logging, understory fires, fuelwood harvesting, and other forms of forest degradation are a substantial source of greenhouse has emissions, reports a policy brief issued by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) at U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

The brief, titled "Don’t Forget the Second 'D': The Importance of Including Degradation in a REDD Mechanism", says that forest degradation is often overlooked by policy makers, but accounts for a large share of emissions, including at least 500 million tons of C02 per year from selective logging alone. TNC highlights research showing that logging in the Brazilian Amazon generates 20 percent of the region's emissions while in some years fire can cause 10-45 percent of total forest carbon emissions. The brief also notes that degradation--which can include reduction of any amount up to 90 percent of forest canopy cover--is often a precursor to deforestation.

Given the significance of degradation in both emissions and deforestation, TNC says that the "degradation" component of REDD must explicitly dealt with. Failure to do so will reduce the effectiveness of the mechanism in mitigating climate change. It would also undermine efforts to preserve biodiversity, since many species cannot survive in heavily degraded forest landscapes.

TNC says a framework that effectively addresses degradation will also pay dividends for rural populations, some of whom are among the poorest and most natural resource-dependent in the world.

"Incorporating degradation into a REDD framework is also critical for channeling incentives to the diverse range of stakeholders involved in the spectrum of activities that determine the fate of forests and their carbon emissions," stated the brief.


But addressing degradation won't be easy. Monitoring degradation has long been a technical challenge but new technologies, including The Carnegie Landsat Analysis System (CLA, a method for evaluating forest cover using satellite imagery, and high resolution remote sensing technologies like Lidar, are greatly improving measurement and tracking.

Further challenges will result from poor governance over forest resources. To help address this, TNC says funds from the early stages of a REDD mechanism should go support institutional reform and capacity building in developing countries to increase transparency, simplify administration, improve land tenure systems, and foster cross-sector collaboration between governmental agencies.

TNC identifies practices in forest areas that can reduce degradation including fire management approaches to minimize the impact of catastrophic forest fires and sustainable forest management as a means to reduce emissions from forest exploitation. Reduced impact logging (RIL) techniques can reduce emissions by 30-50 percent relative to conventional selective logging methods by cutting peripheral damage during harvesting. TNC says RIL can be encouraged by certification schemes (like the Forest Stewardship Council that offer a premium for producers.

But some environmentalists are concerned by any form of logging of old-growth forests, which are store more carbon and house higher levels of biodiversity than logged forests.

"If carbon monies pay for non-existent 'sustainable management' and other industrial development of primary forests, replacing them with plantations and much diminished secondary forests (both in terms of biodiversity and carbon), it will facilitate the biosphere's continued decline," said Glen Barry, an activist who runs Ecological Internet and

A new report from Global Witness, titled "Vested Interests - Industrial logging and carbon in tropical forests", expresses a similar worry.

"Industrial logging is a major source of carbon emissions, a primary driver of deforestation and threatens to derail the UN process to reduce deforestation," Global Witness warned in the report.

The Ecosystems Climate Alliance (ECA), a coalition of activist and environmental organizations that includes Global Witness -- agrees that the impact of logging depends largely on forestry rules and governance structures.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a member of the ECA that works on international trade and demand issues, believes a framework on REDD should incorporate rules for demand in consuming countries, since deforestation is as much driven by market demand in industrialized nations as it is by poverty in developing nations.

"My major concern is that until we talk about these demand issues in a meaningful way, we aren't talking about a real solution," EIA Forest Campaigns Director Andrea Johnson said.

Johnson believes funds for supplemental activities under the Waxman-Markey bill could be directed towards joint implementation of demand-side laws like the U.S. Lacey Act, which is used to fight illegal logging by requiring companies to respect environmental laws in the countries from which they obtain plant and wildlife products.


Ecological Internet provides the world's largest and most used climate and environment portals at and . Dr. Glen Barry is a leading global spokesperson on behalf of environmental sustainability policy. He frequently conducts interviews on the latest climate, forest and water policy developments and can be reached at:

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Posted: Jun 9, 2009 3:18am


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