Burning the rainforest
to clear land for oil
plantations near the
Bukit Tigapuluh Nature
Reserve, Sumatra, Indonesia.
© WWF-Canon / Mark EDWARDS
Barcelona, Spain - The governments of Paraguay and Indonesia today announced far-reaching actions to stop forest loss at a special WWF event held during the IUCN World Conservation Congress.
Colombia also announced new measures to reduce Amazon Basin deforestation.
The Paraguayan and Indonesian announcements follow commitments made at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Conference of Parties in Bonn in May to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.
The new measures will contribute to safeguarding biodiversity in some of the world’s most biologically diverse eco-regions, protect local livelihoods and are significant elements of climate change action by the three countries. Deforestation, particularly in the tropics, is the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, generating between 15-20 per cent of global carbon emissions.
Paraguay announced it will implement a policy to achieve and maintain zero net carbon emissions from land use changes by 2020. As part of this policy, it will extend the country’s Forest Conversion Moratorium, or Zero Deforestation Law, by another five years when it expires in December. Enacted in December 2004 and renewed in 2006 for another two years, the law prohibits the transformation and conversion of forested areas in Paraguay’s eastern region.
Implementation of the law has led to massive cuts in deforestation rates in the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest, one of the world’s richest forests, from between 88,000-170,000 hectares annually before the law came into force, to a current level of approximately 16,700 hectares annually, a reduction of more than 85 per cent.
“We will extend the moratorium on deforestation until each state has created a land-use plan showing how they will contribute to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions at a national scale by 2020,” said Dr José Luis Casaccia, Paraguay’s Minister of Environment.
Other initiatives announced by Dr Casaccia include establishing credible and transparent systems to measure, report and verify how much carbon is stored under different land uses, and promoting mechanisms that complement the country’s Payment for Environmental Services Law, integrating them in the national poverty alleviation strategy.
The Indonesian government announced it will no longer tolerate conversion of forests for establishing crop plantations such as oil palm. The government will also forge ahead with its forest-carbon initiative, aimed at conserving biodiversity, reducing carbon emissions from land-use changes, restoring ecosystem services and generating innovative incentives for sustainable development.
“New crop plantations such as oil palm will have to use idle lands,” said Mrs. Hermin Roosita, Indonesia’s Deputy Minister of Environment. “Also, starting with Sumatra, Indonesia will adopt a sustainable development model that uses ecosystem-based spatial planning.”
At the same event, Colombia’s Director General of National Parks, Mrs. Julia Miranda Lodoño, also announced a regional plan to develop a network of protected areas in the Amazon, which includes establishment of joint mechanisms for effective cross-country conservation actions. This process aims to achieve both representative protected area networks, and build resilience to climate change.
“We were very pleased with the commitments these key countries made in Bonn for achieving zero net deforestation by 2020 and we are delighted that they are following up in Barcelona with ambitious actions to implement those considerable commitments,” said Mr. James Leape, Director-General of WWF International. “It is now vital that the international community gets behind these efforts and lends all the support it can.
“WWF intends to be there to support Indonesia and Paraguay’s efforts, to urge other high deforestation nations to follow suit and to mobilise support from the rest of the international community.”
CURRENT MOOD: annoyed