A bio-economy in the Amazon to prevent deforestation

In the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, a nascent but significant movement is underway to protect the rainforest by connecting small-scale producers tapping rubber trees with multinational brands, report Brian Barth and Flávia Milhorance in FERN's latest story, produced with The New Republic.(No paywall)

Biden seeks 50 percent cut in U.S. emissions, sees farming as carbon frontier

By deploying clean technology, the United States can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by the end of this decade, said President Biden at an Earth Day summit intended to spark global action on climate change. "That's where we're headed as a nation, and that's what we can do if we take action to build an economy that's not only more prosperous but healthier, fairer, and cleaner for the planet."

Even in economic downturn, tropical forest losses climb

During the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, as economic activity ground to a virtual standstill, Mother Nature flirted with recovery. With so many factories closed and far fewer vehicles on the road, Greenhouse gas emissions plummeted. Air and water quality temporarily improved. Overall, the global economy shrank by roughly 4 percent in 2020, and yet one disturbing trend continued apace: forest destruction worldwide, largely as a result of agriculture. No paywall

As agriculture expands, tropical forest losses soar

In September 2015, UN member states set a goal of halting deforestation by 2020 as part of its “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” But according to Frances Seymour, distinguished senior fellow at the World Resources Institute, “we seem to be going in the wrong direction.” Satellite data gathered by the University of Maryland and recently released via Global Forest Watch, an online forest monitoring platform directed by the WRI, indicate that 2019 was the third highest year for tropical primary forest loss since the turn of the century.

Peatlands, not rainforests, hardest hit in Indonesia fires

Forest fires burned 1.64 million hectares across seven provinces of Indonesia this year, with peatlands accounting for 41 percent of the area lost to flames, said the Center for International Forestry Research on Monday. The figures, based on satellite data, show that only a portion of the the fires could be attributed to direct land-clearing work for palm oil plantations.

At global summit, farming and land ‘central pillars’ in climate solution

At the two-day Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, food, forestry and agriculture—long viewed as step-children when it came to climate solutions—were recognized as central to whatever progress is going to made in reaching climate goals established in the 2015 Paris accord. Attendees …

U.K. retailer, Citigroup take actions against palm oil

It was a tough week for the multibillion-dollar palm oil industry. A British grocery chain with 900 stores said it would remove all palm oil from its branded products by the end of 2018, and Citigroup announced it would suspend loans to IndoAgri, the agribusiness arm of Indonesia’s largest conglomerate, the Salim Group. No paywall

Report: Biodiesel driving deforestation and host of other problems at home and abroad

An investigation by activist groups Mighty Earth and ActionAid USA challenges the notion of biodiesel as the environmentally responsible fuel of the future. Burned: Deception, Deforestation and America’s Biodiesel Policy claims that growing demand for biodiesel in the U.S. contributes to a host of problems, from deforestation in Argentina and Indonesia to algae blooms in Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone.

Farmers murdered to make way for palm oil

Six indigenous farmers were brutally killed in Peru by land traffickers trying to make way for a palm oil plantation, adding to the more than 120 environmental and land defenders who have been murdered around the world in 2017 alone.