Astroturf campaign by the Consumer Alliance for Global Prosperity suffers defeat

December 23rd, 2011

Employee from APP's timber plantations

A campaign by the Consumer Alliance for Global Prosperity, a group that campaigns on behalf of Asia Pulp and Paper’s interests in the United States, failed to stop Kroger from banning APP’s paper products from its stores.

Kroger, America’s largest grocery store, on Thursday said it would no longer sell Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) products due to concerns over deforestation. The move came after Greenpeace targeted Kroger, which is believed to be the biggest U.S. seller of Paseo, APP’s toilet paper brand. Greenpeace and other environmental groups including WWF, Greenomics-Indonesia, and the Rainforest Action Network have shown that APP continues to clear rainforests and peatlands in Indonesia for fiber plantations.

The Consumer Alliance for Global Prosperity launched the PulpWars web site after Greenpeace stepped up its APP campaign last year. Its first report was modeled after a Greenpeace report, “How Sinar Mas is Pulping the Planet”, using a nearly identical layout and color scheme. Earlier this year it launched DarkWars, an anti-Greenpeace web site. Meanwhile the Facebook page run by the Consumer Alliance for Global Prosperity at times hosts comments calling for violence — including murder — against Greenpeace members.

While the Consumer Alliance for Global Prosperity has refused to reveal its financial backers, at one point APP said it “supported” the group. Later APP backtracked and said it meant it supported the group philosophically.

This fall the Consumer Alliance for Global Prosperity launched a campaign calling for some of America’s largest companies to ignore Greenpeace and continue buying APP products. The Consumer Alliance for Global Prosperity claimed the petition campaign generated 120,000 emails, but that apparently wasn’t enough to influence Kroger.

The Consumer Alliance for Global Prosperity has, on occasion, attempted to portray itself as an anti-poverty organization, yet it ignores research showing the mixed economic benefits of Indonesia’s pulp and paper industry for the rural poor. More about the economics of the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia can be found Does chopping down rainforests for pulp and paper help alleviate poverty in Indonesia?, Palm oil, paper drive large-scale destruction of Indonesia’s forests, but account for diminishing role in economy, says report, and Paper commitments for the Indonesian industry.

Saving nature in a post-wild world

December 21st, 2011

Interview with Emma Marris, Author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World

Guest post by the American Society of Landscape Architects.


Emma Marris is author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World and has also written for Nature. Read her op-ed on the Anthropocene in The New York Times.

In your new book, Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Nature World, you argue that “we are already running the whole Earth, whether we admit or not.” You say this calls for a new definition of nature beyond “pristine wilderness,” which no longer exists and hasn’t for some time. How must nature be defined now?

I struggled with that definition in the book, since much of my argument is about enlarging nature to include more kinds of things and places beyond pristine wilderness, from backyard birds to city parks to farms. But one risks proposing a definition that is so inclusive that pretty much everything is nature. My own personal take is that impermeable surfaces, like roads and (non-green) roofs are not nature. But obviously, a park with some paved paths is still nature at the scale of the park.

I am not sure we need a rigorous and watertight definition. We know nature when we see it, because we respond to it. At any rate, there’s a lot more of it out there outside of designated nature reserves than inside.

You also argue that the “ecosystems that look the most pristine are perhaps the least likely to be truly wild.” So what are wild landscapes? Where are they now?

We have an expectation that ecosystems that look the most like they did in the past will be the most wild. But with climate change and all the other changes humans are making to planet Earth, keeping systems looking like they did in 1491 or 1770 or 1882 requires more and more management. Thus, if your definition of wild is that humans are not in control, the wildness of places like Yellowstone is declining even as their superficial appearance remains the same. Meanwhile, abandoned, marginal lands chock-a-block with exotic species, weed species and–occasionally–broken cars and appliances are some of the only truly unmanaged landscapes left. Here, species that humans moved around are adapting to the changing Earth and creating new ecosystems. Ecologists like to call these places “novel ecosystems,” but I think that undersells the fundamental dynamism of all ecosystems, which are all novel on one time scale or another. I like to call these places “the new wild” and I find them really exciting.

You say climate change adaptation has been a dirty word in environmentalist circles. How are current approaches to ecological restoration exacerbating or alleviating climate-caused changes in landscapes?

Novel ecosystems are often discussed as good starting points for restoration or design projects that aren’t going to aim for a historical baseline. I think that’s a smart strategy. But I also hope we leave some of them alone to see how they will naturally adapt to the changing climate. We can learn a lot from these places.

More traditional modes of restoration, bringing back native species and reconstructing historical ecosystems, aren’t a bad idea, per se. But the more the climate changes, the less perfectly adapted these historical assemblages will be to current conditions. It isn’t just a matter of planting a few plants from the next USDA hardiness zone down, either. Some places will see thresholds crossed, where fire or water regimes fundamentally change, and then trying to recreate old systems really just won’t work.

Recently, I was talking to some Nature Conservancy scientists about their work trying to protect and restore watersheds in the Southwest in drier and more combustible times. I asked them if there were any pines that were more fire and drought tolerant than the pines that grow in the region. They said that yes, there were some in Mexico that did better in hotter, drier conditions. I suggested they plant a few of those and they just looked at me like I had suggested something offensive and unthinkable. Native plants are great, but live plants from a few hundred miles away are, to me anyway, better than charred native stumps.

Why is assisted species migration still so controversial, given, in some instances, gardeners, farmers, and landscape architects have been doing this for thousands of years?

The difference has to do with this wilderness fixation. If we move a plant and place it in a garden, a farm, a timber plantation or a city park, no one seems to mind. But if we do this in a place that we’ve mentally categorized as “wilderness,” then it is suddenly unthinkable because the only possible correct state for that place is that (usually mythical) day before the first person–or first European, often and even more vexingly–arrived. It is as if our culture has placed all our guilt and all our ideas about a fall from Eden and all this other baggage about nature in these carefully demarcated areas. Outside, anything goes and no natural value is recognized. Inside, the rules are very strict–counter-productively strict–and value is intense and spiritual. Obviously, I am generalizing here. There are certainly shades of gray and varying opinions.

You say there’s a “very well entrenched” culture of fighting invasive species. However, globally, it’s quite rare for introduced species to cause native species’ extinctions. In addition, some ecologists are now moving past this either-or duality and see a new reality beyond native or invasive: novel ecosystems. How are they changing the concept of native and invasive? How extensive are they? What are their benefits?

I sort of defined them a couple of questions ago, but a more formal definition is actually on the way, in a forthcoming volume on the subject edited by University of Western Australia restoration ecologist Richard Hobbs, Carol Hall, a Victoria, British Columbia-based environmental consultant, and University of Victoria philosopher Eric Higgs. The book will answer all these questions more rigorously than I can, but the short answer is that they are brand new ecosystems assembled in the wake of humanity’s actions, but not actively managed by them. They are very extensive, but because of their marginal nature often overlooked. Their benefits include nearly all of the benefits to humanity of more historical ecosystems: carbon sequestration, erosion control, water filtration, habitat for species, you name it. They are even sometimes quite lovely. But, yeah, they are mostly made up of exotics, so they are not given much love.


In that forthcoming book, I co-author a little sidebar that suggests that the concept “novel ecosystem” won’t necessarily be with us that long–just long enough for us to learn to see these spaces and for us to accept the extent of changes to “traditional” ecosystems. Eventually, I think we might divide up systems by whether they are actively managed or not, and neither of them will be pristine, untouched wilderness. So we won’t need the term.


Beyond novel ecosystems, there are also designer ecosystems, man-made systems that may actually perform better than purely natural systems. But is this idea really new? Isn’t Central Park a designer ecosystem, in that it may perform better than some natural systems? Isn’t this what landscape architects often create?

Yep. And I think landscape architecture is in many ways way ahead of ecology and restoration ecology on this. I suppose the difference is that ecologists are now talking about doing Central Park-like things in places that, last year, they hoped to restore to some kind of simulacrum of untouched virgin wilderness. So the new thing here is maybe using the techniques of landscape architecture in places labeled as “nature” or “wilderness.” But it is all semantics, no? The plants and animals don’t know if they are in a park or and arboretum or a federal designated wilderness. They just live.

Lastly, you discuss the work of restoration ecologists but largely leave landscape architects out of the story. Since Olmsted and the early landscape architects who focused on the U.S. national park system, landscape architects have been creating man-made landscapes that sustain natural processes yet also evolve. What are some projects by landscape architects that particularly interest you, that are perhaps indicative of trends you discuss?

The simple reason landscape architecture wasn’t featured more in the book is that my day job for six years was writing about ecology for the journal Nature, so that’s the world I was steeped in. I am just now learning more about the exciting and parallel developments in landscape architecture. I like the idea I heard recently from Diana Balmori about how parks should be long and skinny and thread through the city as a part of it, rather than big blocks of separateness. I like that; it seems potentially more inclusive and more harmonizing of city and nature than the block model.

Another project I love is in my hometown of Seattle, the Pollinator Pathway, which connects two parks with pollinator-friendly gardens in parking strips.


Obviously, these kinds of things aren’t going to single-handedly save the planet. We need major systematic changes in how we use resources, we need better laws and regulations, we need to stop sprawl and mindless development. But I think that bringing nature to the city, in particular, can not only bring beauty and surprise to our lives but can build support for those big, difficult societal changes. Why would you vote for nature if you think that it only exists in large national parks that you can’t afford to go visit? Nature should be a familiar friend from the neighborhood, not a place you watch rich people ski and hike in on TV.

Image credits: (1) Bloomsbury Press, (2) Novel ecosystem in Hawaii / Emma Marris, (3) Novel ecosystem in Hawaii / Emma Marris, (4) The New Farmingham Canal Greenway /Balmori Associates, (5) Seattle Pollinator Pathway /Metropolitan Field Guide

How landscape design can protect New Orleans

December 19th, 2011

Guest post by the American Society of Landscape Architects.



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Elizabeth Mossop. Image credit: Spackman Mossop + Michaels

Since becoming the director of the School of Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University (LSU), you focused on bringing the Delta Region back after Hurricane Katrina. You’re on the board of LSU’s Coastal Sustainability Studio, which features a great mix of scientists, engineers, and designers focused on designing more sustainable systems and increasing resiliency within the region. One project you’re involved in, Bayou Bienvenue, calls for restoring the critical wetland forests that once protected the city. Other ecologists have noted that the Yucatan Region of Mexico recently fared much better when confronted with major storms because they left their mangroves in place. In the case of new Orleans, manmade infrastructure took the place of wetlands and ended up failing, causing the loss of life and destruction of communities. What challenges are you running up against in your efforts to bring back wetlands as coastal protection? What will it take to actually make this happen?

The destruction of the coast is a process that’s been in place for a long time, partly because of the loss of sediment from the Mississippi Delta, but also because of the real lack of regulation and the impact of the oil and gas industry throughout the whole Gulf Coast. At this point, it’s probably not a matter of being able to restore the coast or halt coastal erosion but really a question of thinking in a much more strategic way about how to balance out the demands of settlement against the sort of investment that’s needed to really make intelligent protection in the future. In other words, what will it take to make resilient communities sustainable in this very dynamic landscape? This would include strategies for retreat in some instances, as well as strategies for armoring or defense in others, and strategies so settlements can accept periods of flooding. A whole range of place- and community-specific solutions are required that integrate urban development strategies with real understanding of natural processes and dynamic change.



Working with the Coastal Sustainability Studio has been interesting in this context because of its multidisciplinary approach, bringing together scientists and engineers with designers. At the regional scale, we have looked at new strategies for river diversions in order to increase the deposition of sediment for land-building. This is an enormously productive direction for future work, trying to harness the power of the river for restoration, as well as combining this with broad-scale restoration of the indigenous coastal swamp and marshland communities.

However, the impediments to this type of approach are myriad. On the one hand, at the federal level, there is the Army Corps of Engineers with tremendous resources and power but an entrenched culture of traditional engineering and a very limited focus. From the state’s perspective, there is little appetite for the kind of integrated strategic planning and investment required for long-term conservation and development strategies. The hurdles are significant, but it’s enormously valuable to simply try to put alternatives out there and make information publicly available as a means of trying to influence the discourse.

While New Orleans rebuilds, we must also be prepared for the next, perhaps inevitable, storm. How can natural systems be used in preparation for the next storm event? What can landscape architects do to help the city and others like it bolster their preparations?

Landscape architects are uniquely placed to help cities prepare for natural hazards and mitigate their impacts. Certainly, we need to look at restoration and strengthening those natural systems that historically have provided really significant protection. In the case of New Orleans, the value of marshlands and cypress swamps, particularly to the east and south of the city, are incalculable.

As you know, one of the things that happens in storm events is a massive loss of canopy. We know a lot more now about the effectiveness of different species in terms of resilience to storms. On that smaller scale inside the city, re-planting of canopy can be fine-tuned with this knowledge to be more resilient. It’s really just thinking about a more integrated approach to storm protection and the design of everything in this city, from streets to water infrastructure, and how to make these systems more robust. For example, we can look at the technical design of road pavements that will be more resilient to inundation. A lot could be done to allow the city, which is very sparsely settled now, to absorb and hold a lot of water, mitigate against flooding, and take the pressure off the drainage and pumping systems. This could be achieved through the design of new parks and open space in combination with water and road infrastructure.

One of your award-winning projects, Scout Island, a 62-acre site located within City Park in the heart of New Orleans, was a wilderness preserve and bird-watchers’ paradise before Hurricane Katrina. In your effort to restore the area, you’re tagging and removing exotic species, giving the chance for the native ecosystem to come back. Why is restoring the native ecosystem so important for the park’s long-term survival? Will these native species fare better in another major storm?

I’m not certain indigenous species are necessarily any more resilient to storm damage, but this is really about a much longer-term strategy for the park. This area is one of the few even partly natural areas anywhere in the city and provides an incredibly significant resource both as habitat, particularly to migratory birds, but also a really significant educational resource, especially for schools and programs for inner-city kids and the general public. The potential is there for educational activity and nature-based recreation to become even more significant. Although City Park is enormous, this is a significant area of land within the park, and the only area which performs this nature education and adventure role. The other aspect of this is the restoration of the indigenous forest, restoring its biodiversity and preventing the site from becoming completely dominated by a monoculture of Chinese tallow, which is what our current work aims to prevent.

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Scout Island Strategic Plan, New Orleans, LA. Image credit: Spackman Mossop + Michaels

New Orleans also suffers from toxic, lead-ridden soils. Mel Chin, artist and provocateur, has launched his Operation Paydirt and Fundred Dollar Bill projects to help raise national awareness of the soils issue in New Orleans. He says $300 million will be needed to clean up the lead, but he says it’s worth it given that “30 percent of the population is poisoned before they reach adulthood.” What would be the most cost-effective way to translate this vision into action using the brownfield lots within the city? What role can landscape architects play?

Funny you should ask because my firm worked with Mel Chin on that project for a long time and I would love to see it come to fruition. He basically had three teams: an art team, a science team, and we were the implementation team, working with Dan Etheridge (of Meffert Etheridge environmental consultants). Julie Bargmann of Dirt Studio had also worked on the earliest stages of that project with Mel and helped him think through how the idea could play out in an urban landscape by creating a series of park/depots at different scales. We then took on the task of trying to figure out how to develop an implementation strategy for the city. Our approach was to use it as a tool for urban revitalization, obviously as a means of getting the contaminated soil out of those residential neighborhoods, but also as a way of participating in the process of economic revitalization for these areas. The statistics on the effects of lead contamination in New Orleans are frightening.

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New Orleans Neighborhood Lead Concentrations (2005) / Image credit: Operation Paydirt / Fundred Dollar Bill

Our proposal involved creating a central manufacturing and distribution center for the city to distribute Mississippi sediment and manufacture soil using large-scale green waste composting. The idea was also to maximize local job training and creation. There would also be a series of resource depots strategically located on vacant land throughout the city. These demonstration sites would provide materials and training to homeowners as well as resources for urban greening generally. As the lead mitigation was completed in the surrounding neighborhoods, the sites would transition into other uses as parks, urban farms, and campuses. We had started talking to some of the more entrepreneurial people in New Orleans, who are involved in metropolitan scale distribution systems and were also looking at identifying suitable depot sites. At his point, we just need the $300 million and we’re ready to go.

Another one of your award-winning projects focused on creating an urban farm and community center for the local Vietnamese community in New Orleans, including community gardens and commercial farming plots, market pavilions, play areas, sports fields, recycling center and a major water collection and management system. How is the project going? Do you also see this as a model for how to reuse some areas of New Orleans and the broader region?

That project has hit some real roadblocks in terms of its implementation. There are certain complications with the site and its ownership and also with the permitting of it, so that it seems to have gone into a holding pattern. The Vietnamese community is currently investigating the possibility of using a different site. So, the project is eminently fundable and very highly developed at this point, but not actually moving forward. But it has so much potential for the eastern part of the city. Particularly with the elderly population of the neighborhood, you have a huge workforce of incredibly highly-motivated, highly-skilled farmers and gardeners. A lot of people are talking about community gardening and farming and small-scale agriculture as an opportunity for all this vacant land in New Orleans but in this location, we’ve actually got the workforce ready to go. You just look at the neutral ground or the median strip or whatever in their neighborhood; they’re gardening all of that already. 



I think what makes that project so interesting as a model is the different layers of use. It’s very much about passing those farming and gardening traditions from the original immigrant generation to the young people in that community today. There are also real opportunities for them to get together and boost up the entrepreneurial component of the project. That’s also why it’s really interesting on a regional scale because it’s got so much potential with the market and food processing components to really create jobs and provide structure for a whole lot of small-scale economic activity, which the city needs desperately. It really does provide an interesting model for economic activity, productive landscape, community focus, recreation, and model environmental practices that can go together in different combinations for projects all over that region.

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Viet Village Urban Farm, New Orleans, LA. Image credit: Spackman Mossop + Michaels

Through your firm, you’re working on Dwyer Canal, a project that would turn a drainage easement into a social space while also addressing local flooding issues. Do green infrastructure projects need to be designed first as social spaces or as stormwater management systems? Through the design process, how do you insure you hit all needs: social, environmental, economic?

This was a project funded for the local community organization. Their interest was really water management as the area suffers flooding on a regular basis. The project moved fairly slowly and had an extensive process of community engagement with meetings, workshops, and other activities. The site is an open corridor with a ditch in the middle. The community had an image from an earlier planning study showing the canal covered over and a path down the middle of the easement. We were coming at this from the point of view of thinking how to make this mitigate the flooding, make the water course into an asset, and turn it into the centerpiece of an open space project. Like many of these issues in New Orleans, nobody really understood what was happening with the water and the engineering. We were working with the engineers, Intutition and Logic from St. Louis, who did a real detective piece of work to find out what was happening. In fact, the situation in terms of the flooding was completely different from the way anybody understood it in the neighborhood or at the Sewerage and Water Board.

What has been really interesting over time was that the community group and the steering committee have been very involved in the process. We had spent a lot of time talking with them about the technical issues of the drainage, which they now completely understand and own. Through that process of negotiation, we came up with a hybrid scheme, which keeps the drainage channel open, and uses a whole series of artificial wetlands and detention basins to slow down the water and clean it, but we also have public facilities on either side of major pedestrian links that cover the water course for substantial areas, making them very easy, safe, and visible.

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Dwyer Canal. Image credit: Spackman Mossop + Michaels

In this instance, the community members are now the project’s strongest advocates. They understand better what is happening than the people who are empowered to make those decisions. We really hope to see something very positive move forward out of this process

Lastly, moving downstream from these cities on the Delta, the Gulf of Mexico is one of the world’s most polluted bodies of water on Earth, in large part due to shipping activity and runoff from the communities in the region. A comprehensive green infrastructure approach could help reduce the amount of oil and chemical-laden runoff from moving towards the water. What kind of broad-based green infrastructure solution would you propose to deal with Gulf water pollution?

The real impacts on water quality come from upstream, as well as from the Gulf region, and so what is needed is a federal initiative to address the whole of the catchment. Currently there are both incentives and regulation to try and control polluted runoff into the Mississippi, but the nature and scale of the problem mean that the measures are too fragmented and not effective in preventing the problems. There are so many different organizations involved it is difficult to even share common language on the issues. It is also difficult to target the measures specifically at the most problematic polluting areas.

We think the most effective solution would be for the federal government to purchase land in key locations, where pollution is worst and hydro-geological conditions are most favorable, and create massive wetland buffers to prevent pollution entering the river. These wetland buffers could potentially be designed to perform other functions as well, harnessing excess nutrients for the production of algae, timber, fish and other aquatic species.

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Coastal Wetlands. Image credit:

Elizabeth Mossop, ASLA, is professor of landscape architecture and former director of the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University. Mossop is also a principal at Spackman, Mossop and Michaels, which has won numerous ASLA professional analysis and planning awards.

Online liana research hub launches

December 18th, 2011

Liana

The Liana Ecology Project has launched a web site that serves as a clearinghouse for information on liana and vine ecology, behavior, physiology, and more. The site includes a tool for individuals to contribute their work and has a database of 650 citations of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and graduate theses relating to lianas.

‘Wildlife storytelling’ T-shirts benefit conservation projects

December 16th, 2011

tshirts

The The Tree Shirt House has launched a line of “wildlife storytelling” T-shirts made of 100% organic cotton. A portion of the proceeds from each shirt go toward various wildlife causes.

Mongabay asked a few questions of The Tree Shirt House’s founders, Nicolas and Gabrielle.

1. What is your background and what led you to start your project?

Nicolas and I had the typical expat life until the day we decided we were ready to create our own project in relation to Nature. I guess we “lost” something on the way, being all gobbled up by work and our careers. We decided it was now or never to take a leap of faith by taking a year off from our lives to dedicate ourselves to building a place of our own: The Tree Shirt House. Tee-shirts are a wonderful way of expressing your personality & it’s an effective message diffuser. So we went back to Nature and re-connected with our fondness of animals and developed a 100% a organic wildlife storytelling clothing concept. We did everything ourselves from the creation of the company and its logo, choosing the stories, the design of the prints & their cuts and we have kept footage of our progress to share the ongoing experience with our followers on our blog and our facebook page. Today with the Internet 2.0 generation, it’s all about being viral so we decided to start The Tree Shirt House as an online store, accessible anywhere in the world to build a conscious & curious community of animal lovers and proud to wear them.

2. What are some of the beneficiaries?

Each one of our tees carry a story & a cause. When you buy a tee-shirt, USD5 of your purchase is donated to our partner charities. We operate with a full transparency policy as each end of the month we disclose how many tees have been sold and how much is being given to each charity on our blog. Our first collection, depicts 8 wildlife stories for which each one has a dedicated project. All of our causes are detailed on our website (http://www.thetreeshirthouse.com/the-store) so that we may diffuse our stories & the wonderful work some people are doing to make the world a better place. Our beneficiaries include The Saola Working Group, Free The Bears, Tree Foundation, Harapan Rainforest, Seal Alert, ACRES and the Harrison Institute. We have exchanged with some of the world experts of certain species to help us along our journeys and we will be providing further interviews on our blog to add some flavor to the causes. It’s all about sharing & being interactive. There is in fact one last partnership in need of being established for the rabbit tee-shirt, if you check the rabbits page you will see we are asking people to suggest us projects to whom we should donate in case you have any ideas.

3. Are your shirts made from eco-friendly materials?

We have produced our 100% organic cotton & water based ink tee-shirt line in India in a work place, which reflects the values we believe in. Our manufacturer is compliant with FairTrade & Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Indeed, our choices have always been focused on trying to make the “least damaging” choices for the environment. Our packaging is fun & raw, it was all about wrapping the tee up in something that you could re-use to get people to realize that you don’t have to throw everything away, sometimes we can re-use. All the paper & cardboard were sourced from the recycling industry. We have been very attentive to apply a socially responsible manufacturing process and are hoping to push it further as time goes by.

Final House vote on Brazil’s Forest Code likely delayed

December 14th, 2011

Last week Brazil’s Senate voted in favor of the new Forest Code, which regulates how much forest a property owner is required to maintain. But before the new Forest Code becomes law, it must pass the lower house and then win approval by President Dilma Rousseff.

With Congress going on recess this week, it now appears the vote will be delayed until after lawmakers return in February.

Environmentalists are gearing up for a fight over the new Forest Code, which they say will grant amnesty for illegal deforestation. President Rousseff, who said during her campaign she would not let deforestation rise on her watch, is expected by pressured by green groups to veto the bill.

Malau Biobank launches consumer-facing site to fund rainforest rehabilitation

December 13th, 2011

The Malau Biobank has launched a consumer-facing web site to fund conservation and rehabilitation of small patches of rainforest in a 34,000-hectare reserve in Malaysian Borneo. The site is available at protectmalua.com.

The Malau Biobank originally launched as a vehicle for palm oil companies and other developers to buy biodiversity credits to bolster their conservation credentials. The project aims to restore a former logging concession amid a sea of oil palm plantations to good health.

Malau is backed by New Forests, an alternative finance group with offices in Sydney and San Francisco. Al Gore’s Generation Management owns a stake in New Forests.

One day only: free download of wildlife photography book

December 11th, 2011

Wildlife photo book

For today (Sunday Dec 11, 2011), photographer Uwe Skrzypczak is offering a free download of his book Wildlife Photography. Visit www.serengeti-wildlife.com to download your copy.

If you have trouble downloading from that site, try this link.

Climate and Land Use Alliance makes itself official

December 2nd, 2011

While it has been active for the a couple of years, the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA) officially unveiled itself today at climate talks in Durban.

CLUA is a collaborative initiative of the ClimateWorks Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. It aims to “catalyze the potential of forested and agricultural landscapes to mitigate climate change, benefit people, and protect the environment,” according to its new web site.

CLUA is already one of the most influential funders of forest protection efforts. The alliance currently is focused on projects and initiatives in Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Central America, and the United States.