- Published: 16 January 2017
Scientists from the University of Leeds and University College London have discovered the world’s largest tropical peatland in the remote Congo swamps, estimated to store the equivalent of three year’s worth of the world’s total fossil fuel emissions. Researchers mapped the Cuvette Centrale peatlands in the central Congo basin and found they cover 145,500 sq km – an area larger than England. The swamps could lock in 30bn tonnes of carbon that was previously not known to exist, making the region one of the most carbon-rich ecosystems on Earth.
- Published: 04 January 2017
China will close down its domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017, signalling an end to the world’s primary legal ivory market and a major boost to international efforts to tackle the elephant poaching crisis in Africa. The General Office of the State Council of China announced that China will “cease part of ivory processing and sales by 31 March 2017 and cease all ivory processing and sales by 31 December 2017”.
- Published: 28 December 2016
Its lower cost has made it popular in commercial food and cosmetics production, but after having caused massive deforestation in Southeast Asia, palm oil plantations are now getting a similar rap in Africa. Oil palm plantations are rapidly expanding in Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo Basin. Gabon - where forest covers still 80 percent of the territory - is feeling the brunt.
- Published: 19 December 2016
After decades of massive deforestation, Indonesian pulp & paper industry promised to turn the page. In reality, things are not going in the right direction. A few days ago, Greenpeace and WWF disengaged from Asia Pacific Resources Limited (APRIL) because of misleading, lack of transparency and poor implementation of their commitments, and repeated violations to the regulations on peat protection. In a few words, APRIL failed. APRIL’ competitor, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is not performing much better. As well as APRIL, APP has been also sanctioned for poor and illegal peat management, and this company has a much larger number of unaddressed local conflicts, hundreds of them, and trice and extension of plantations on peat still draining and degrading.
- Published: 14 December 2016
A scathing investigation report released by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) details systematic illegal timber sourcing by one of Europe’s largest timber processors, the Austrian firm Holzindustrie Schweighofer. FSC’s 110-page report, produced by a panel of experts over nearly one year, states that Schweighofer “developed a culture” that incentivized illegal timber sourcing by putting cheap wood above legality in their sourcing of logs in Romania. FSC’s Board of Directors refused to accept the panel’s recommendation that Schweighofer lose its FSC status, instead putting the company on a three-month probation which allows products to continue to be sold under the FSC label.