Forest News, November 23-29


Emily Kaldjian

Visit us every Monday for recent news on deforestation, forest legality, and developments in forest technology! 



"Illegal wood trade: 750 cubic meters of wood confiscated at the port of Brazzaville,” 23 November, Agence d’Information d’Afrique Centrale (in French)

The illegal wood stock in question, which came from neighboring Cameroon, was put on a 1000 m3 boat in the port of Ouesso Sangha. The Minister of Forest Economy Henri Djombo ordered the seizure and destruction of the fraudulent stock.

How a Forest Responds to the Threatening Heat of 2100,” 23 November, Scientific American

A first-of-its-kind experiment is taking place in Puerto Rico, where scientists are cranking up the heat by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) to see what happens to the saplings of palm and tabonuco and small plants growing here. This is as hot as our planet may be in 2100 if nations emit carbon dioxide at present-day rates. The scientists want to see whether tropical forests will thrive in that changed world.

Fossilized forests unearthed in arctic Norway,” 23 November, Scientific Recorder

Researchers have unearthed fossilized forests in arctic Norway that may have played a role in one of Earth’s largest climate shifts, a study in the journal Geology reports. The ‘forests’ are 400-million-year-old fossilized stumps from the Devonian Period (420-360 million years ago). They were identified as a now-extinct lycopod tree known as Protolepidodendropsis pulchra. Lycopods typically are known for growing in the coal swamps that would eventually turn into coal deposits.

New timber exchange seeks to tackle illegal logging,” 24 November, Financial Times

A pioneering Brazilian carbon trader is launching a timber exchange that aims to tackle another intractable environmental problem — how to source legally harvested timber from tropical forests. Pedro Moura Costa’s Rio de Janeiro-based company, BVRio, plans to use big data to assess whether potential sellers are in compliance with US and European restrictions on illegal wood imports. The issue of illegal logging is one of the thorniest facing the $250bn global wood-based products industry.

It’s Not Just Coal and Oil: Forests Are Key to Climate,” 24 November, National Geographic

Brazil is attacking climate change with cops and guns. This spring, armed federal agents arrested businessman Ezequiel Castanha, the so-called "king of deforestation." They accused him of paying gangs to remove a stretch of Amazon rainforest larger than Manhattan so he could sell the land to cattle ranchers. Brazil’s push to end illegal deforestation is a centerpiece of its strategy to tackle global warming. That's because 10 percent to 20 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions come from logging and land-clearing.

In Guatemala, People Living Off Forests Are Tasked With Protecting Them,” 25 November, New York Times

Deep in the jungle, where the forest canopy bends sunlight into a lattice of overlapping greens, where jaguars glide and the throaty cries of howler monkeys resound over the bird song, sits a sawmill that slices giant mahogany logs. Ominous as the scene may look, the mill is part of a conservation strategy to preserve the forest. The forest’s survival, indeed the endurance of forests across the tropics, whether in Brazil, the Congo Basin or Indonesia, offers benefits far beyond national borders. By absorbing carbon dioxide and trapping carbon, forests play a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Sputtering Corporate Effort to Save Forests Highlights a Big Issue for Paris Talks,” 26 November, Inside Climate Talks

As global leaders begin hashing out a global warming accord in Paris beginning next week, their efforts to tackle the enormous issue of deforestation was supposed to be boosted by a heralded, business-led effort to protect the world's tropical forests and combat climate change. But that program has so far failed to deliver progress and its sluggishness serves to highlight how complex the issue is, and how many barriers stand in the way.

These Amazing Immersive Models Help Scientists Understand the Structure of Forests,” 27 November, Gizmodo

Tropical forests are large, complex and easy to get lost in—which isn’t helpful if you’re trying to study them. Now, scientists are using these amazing immersive mathematical models to understand the intricacies of tree canopies around the world.

Amazon deforestation report is major setback for Brazil ahead of climate talks,” 27 November, The Guardian

Trees covering an area more than seven times the territory of New York City have been cleared in the Brazilian Amazon over the past year, in a major setback for government efforts to combat deforestation. The grim statistics from Brazil’s environment ministry, which were released on Thursday, underscore the growing climate threat posed by deforestation ahead of a United Nations conference in Paris that aims to reduce global carbon emissions.

Rich in energy and with vast forests, Russia pays little attention to climate change,” 28 November, Fox News

When forest fires roared through Siberia this summer, so vast that the smoke blocked vast Lake Baikal from satellite view, Russian officials blamed the blazes on arsonists and disorganized fire crews. Environmentalists say there was another culprit: global warming. As temperatures rise worldwide, areas such as Siberia are suffering increasingly long dry spells. Russia's national weather agency says the country is the fastest-warming part of the world.