Satellite images show there were 6,803 fires in the Amazon during July, a rise of 28% compared with same month last year. It might get worse in September as predicted by the Science Director of Brazil's Amazon Environmental Research Institute. President Jair Bolsonaro, who previously encouraged agricultural and mining activities in the Amazon, banned starting fires in the region in early July under pressure from internal investors.
Collected news links from external sources related to topics concerning the Book Chain Project.
Over the past few months, our annual Book Chain Project conference has been the focus for the team in London. The event involved a day of panel discussions and delved into topics on all aspects of the Book Chain Project, all under the theme of ‘The Story of Books’.
Set against panoramic views of the WWT London Wetlands Centre, we gathered together 11 speakers covering 5 sessions, and invited participating publishers, mills and suppliers to attend. Altogether, we had a packed room with over 60 people in attendance and speakers from a variety of companies.
The speakers covered various topics including; the economics behind recent pulp price rises; the various pressures on mill groups around the world; deforestation hotpots and NGO efforts to keep corporate commitments on track. We also dedicated a session to the issue of plastic where we had the lead Plastics Campaign manager from Friends of the Earth examining the different recyclable alternatives available and how these options could be implemented into the book making industry. In addition to that, with pressure to tackle human rights abuses in all supply chains from the Modern Slavery statements, we ran a session on human rights and heard some hard-hitting examples of corporate engagement to correct previous abuses with the help of the Forest Peoples Programme.
The day was a great success and ended with a tour of the wetlands and feedback has been incredibly positive with 50% of attendees rating the event as ‘Very Good’.
Brazil’s government has abolished a vast national reserve in the Amazon to open up the area to mining. The size of the area will be open to mining is about 30% of Renca which is larger than Denmark. Although the government confirmed the nine conservation and indigenous land areas within it would continue to be legally protected, activists worried that these areas could be badly compromised.
A recent analysis by Monitoring the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) finds that deforestation is pressing further into a protected area in central Peru. Located in central Peru's Amazon rainforest, El Sira is home to several indigenous groups, as well as endangered species found nowhere else and surrounded by deforestation for cropland, cattle pasture, and gold mining. According to the analysis, these activities have invaded the northern portion of El Sira reserve, with 1,600 hectares of forest cleared since 2013.
Tasmania’s government wants to open up nearly 200,000 hectares of their 1.5m hectare world heritage area for logging. The Tasmanian government has stressed that new tourism infrastructure and ‘selective’ logging in the area, which makes up around 20% of the state’s land mass, will boost the state’s struggling economy. Environmentalists claim that this would undermine the essence of world heritage values and The UN has called for a blanket ban on logging and mining in this world heritage area, demanding the Tasmanian government rethink its new management plan for the site.
A report has claimed that the Peruvian government is ignoring the real drivers of deforestation and failing to safeguard the rights of indigenous people who rely on, and are best-placed to protect, the country’s forests. The report, Revealing the Hidden: Indigenous perspectives on deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon, was issued by Peru’s indigenous peoples’ organisation (AIDESEP), and international human rights NGO Forest Peoples Programme (FPP). Conflicting with previous reports that suggest agriculture is mostly to blame (see above), this report suggests the invisible drivers of deforestation have a much more significant impact. These include infrastructure projects, such as the Transoceanic highway, oil, gas and mining projects, palm oil plantations, illegal logging operations, and mega-dam projects. According to the report, roughly 75% of deforestation in Peru occurs within 20km of a road. The report goes on to suggest practical steps to address this deforestation and violation of indigenous peoples’ rights, including: resolving territorial demands; providing legal, financial and technical support; close legal loopholes; and implement robust and independent planning mechanisms to ensure economic interests do not over-ride all other considerations.
The recent rediscovery of a giant rock bearing the likeness of a face has provided a cultural weapon for Peru's Harakmbut Indians as they struggle to protect their Amazonian homeland from deforestation, illegal mining and oil companies.
A new Global Witness report, ‘Deadly Environment’, shows there has been a surge in the killing of activists protecting land rights and the environment over the past decade with three times as many deaths in 2012 compared to the previous 10 years. Between 2002 and 2013, at least 908 activists were killed in 35 countries with only 10 convictions. The most deadly countries in the scope of the report were Brazil (448 since 2002), Honduras (109), Philippines (67), Peru (58) and Thailand (16). The deaths are linked to activism against a range of activities including illegal logging, cattle ranching, soy bean farming, mining and the building of hydroelectric dams.
Aerial footage of the Peruvian Amazon shows large-scale forest clearance as a result of gold mining operations. The rate of expansion of gold mining operations has tripled in recent years, and reports suggest the majority of mining is illegal.
A new WWF report warns that the Greater Mekong subregion in Southeast Asia risks losing more than a third of its natural forest cover in the next two decades at current rates of deforestation. The region, which is host to vital freshwater systems and forests depended upon by iconic species and a huge human population, is threatened by dam development, poaching and timber theft. The local governments have also given away large concessions to mining companies and plantation owners in designated protected areas.
A synthesis report has been published for REDD+ policymakers at the current UN climate talks in Doha. It is the first report of its kind taking a comprehensive country-by-country look at the drivers of deforestation. Agriculture is judged to be the main driver of an estimated 80 per cent of global deforestation. REDD+ is a climate mitigation scheme that provides financial incentives to developing countries to avoid GHG emissions associated with forest clearance. The report classifies both direct (e.g. urban expansion, infrastructure, mining, logging or agriculture) and indirect (e.g. changes in economic growth, population growth, commodity prices and governance) drivers of deforestation and says the drivers conspire to influence the level of forest clearing. The authors believe that countries which would finance REDD+ want to see the money directed towards addressing the drivers of deforestation before committing large sums.
Feature covering an experiment in Malaysia involving 500 hectares of artificially seeded tropical rainforest. The area had been denuded for tin mining and vegetable cultivation as recently as the 1920s. The Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) is now undertaking a regeneration experiment and using this to understand how best to manage the regrowth of tropical rainforest and restoration of various elements of the corresponding ecosystem.
More than 8,500 Brazilian troops are taking part in an operation along Brazil’s remote northern border to tackle drug trafficking, logging and illegal mining. Part of the operation will involve looking for illegal logging in protected indigenous land.