During March, the month that marked the celebration of the International Day of Forests, a number of significant forest-related research studies, tools and technologies were released.
1 April 2015: During March, the month that marked the celebration of the International Day of Forests, a number of significant forest-related research studies, tools and technologies were released.
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) produced a report examining the scientific evidence base for integrating plantations into forest conservation planning. The report notes that the assumption that plantations reduce pressure on natural forests may not always be valid, as plantations can displace “low value” activities such as fuel wood collection to natural areas and reduce the economic viability of sustainable production in non-plantations thereby increasing degradation. The report notes, however, that strategically placing high value plantations while carefully managing the demand for sustainable forest products can maximize the conservation benefits of plantations while minimizing degradation risks.
Complementing the assessment, CIFOR produced a study on ways to make plantations more appealing to the private sector. The brief specifically targets smallholders noting the potential to increase the quality of smallholder timber while reducing costs to producers through the effective management of plantations. According to the study, this requires increased extension services from governments as well as the establishment of mechanisms for collective timber marketing by smallholders.
With regard to emerging technologies, the Program on Forests (PROFOR), in collaboration with Forest Trends and the Ecosystem Marketplace released a sustainability-tracking tool for the private sector. The tool, ‘supply-change.org’, tracks commitments to reduce deforestation from the production of a number of commodities including palm oil, soy, timber and pulp and cattle.
At the national level, the Government of Indonesia developed new technology for emissions tracking from land-based greenhouse gas (GHG) sources. The National Carbon Accounting System (INCAS), developed in collaboration with CIFOR and the Government of Australia, will become the official measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) system for Indonesia’s national REDD+ programme. Also related to REDD+, the Republic of the Congo enhanced its REDD+ decision-making through the application of technologies for cost-benefit analysis and the mapping of multiple benefits. Supported by the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) a technical capacity building workshop launched the technologies as part of a national study on the potential of REDD+.
CIFOR is part of the CGIAR Consortium. [CIFOR Infobrief No. 110 – Do tree plantations support forest conservation?] [CIFOR Infobrief No. 114 – Making timber plantations an attractive business for smallholders][Supply-Change.org] [PROFOR Press Release] [CIFOR Press Release] [UNEP-WCMC Press Release]