Cutting Trees and Cutting Corners

by Patrick Shore

Around the world, deforestation is exacerbating climate change and disrupting the lives of people living in forested areas. Since the Paris climate meetings in 2015, multiple schemes and policies have been created to protect more forested areas around the world and to help forest residents displaced by deforestation. While these schemes seem mostly beneficial and functional on paper, they are well short of ideal. For example, in Madagascar have revealed that that the World Bank compensation funds intended for displaced people, are not reaching a large portion of them. The primary receivers of the money are the people easiest to reach physically who also tend to be wealthier and more well-connected; poverty-stricken people living in the deeper regions of forests where much of the logging is done are least likely to receive funds. Continue reading

Quantifying the Implications Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing, and Degazettement (PADDD) for REDD+ Policies

by Maithili Joshi

REDD+ policies address deforestation and degradation of protected forests. It is believed their implementation causes perverse effects leading to illegal activities, downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement (PADDD). This phenomenon challenges the idea of permanence of protected areas. The study was conducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Malaysia, and Peru because of its extraordinary biodiversity. Forrest et al. (2014) aimed to quantify the implications of PADDD for REDD+ polices. First, a database that consisted of information on PADDD events since 1990 until 2011 was created. This included protected area name, location and area affected, type, and year. Protected area legislation in these three countries and administrative journals in DRC were reviewed, and also digitized historic maps of PADDD events from government sources. Second the amounts and rates of deforestation and carbon loss within PADDDed lands in peninsular Malaysia and Peru were assessed and compared to unprotected forests. Continue reading

Deforestation Restrictions: Observations from Acre, Brazil

by Lazaros M. K. Chalkias

In light of climate change and species conservation efforts, “Reductions in Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation” (REDD) is becoming an increasingly important mechanism in conservation policy. Deforestation may affect water quality, forest services and local economies; its impact, as Pfaff et al. (2014) explore, depends on governance and location of protected forest areas. The researchers’ work focuses on the forests of Acre, Brazil, which includes over 1 million hectares of protected areas. They evaluated deforestation in the periods of 2000–2004 and 2004–2008, and separated the protected forest areas in question in three categories (sustainable use, indigenous and integral). They used “remotely sensed pixel data” from the INPE (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais) to examine covered and cleared forestland and understand the potential effects of policy in a region. Continue reading