A Case Study of Slender and Slow Lorises (Loris and Nycticebus) in South and Southeast Asia

By K.A.I. NEKARIS, C.R. SHEPHERD, C.R. STARR, AND V. NIJMAN. (2010). Exploring Cultural Drivers for Wildlife Trade via an Ethnoprimatological Approach: A Case Study of Slender and Slow Lorises (Loris and Nycticebus) in South and Southeast Asia. American Journal of Primatology 71:1–10.

Illegal and unsustainable trade in wildlife is a major conservation challenge. For Asian primates, economic and cultural traditions, and increased forest access mean that trade may have become detrimental for certain species. Slow and slender lorises (Nycticebus and Loris) are primates particularly prevalent in trade, determined until now by focused counts of lorises in regional markets. Here, we use international trade statistics and a participant–observer approach to assess culturally specific drivers for trade in lorises in South and Southeast Asia, to provide a broader context to help mitigate this practice. Analysis of international records for the last 30 years revealed that live animal trade was more prevalent than trade in body parts (slow lorises, 86.4%; slender lorises, 91.4%), with Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand the largest exporters. We then examine drivers of international and domestic trade based on long-term data from 1994–2009 in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Indonesia. We show that slender lorises are important in Sri Lankan folklore, but their use as pets and for traditional medicine is rare. Trade in Bengal slow and pygmy lorises in Cambodia for use in traditional medicines, a practice with deeply historical roots, is widespread. Despite its own set of myths about the magical and curative properties of lorises, trade in Javan, Bornean, and greater slow lorises in Indonesia is largely for pets. Conservation practices in Asia are often generalized and linked with the region’s major religions and economies. We show here that, in the case of wildlife trade, culturally specific patterns are evident among different ethnic groups, even within a country. Revealing such patterns is the foundation for developing conservation management plans for each species. We suggest some participatory methods for each country that may aid in this process.

(Photo Source: BBC News)

Reassessing REDD: governance, markets and the hype cycle

By Margaret M. Skutsch · Michael K. McCall. (2010). Climatic Change (2010) 100:395–402|DOI 10.1007/s10584-009-9768-y

With the increasing perception that catastrophic climate change is not just a wild figment of the imagination but a very real possibility, governments and policy makers are searching desperately for effective solutions that are palatable enough to be sold to their electorates. It is not surprising then that a new policy in discussion under the UNFCCC, REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries), by which reductions in emissions related to deforestation in tropical countries would be rewarded through valuation of the carbon saved, has been embraced with enthusiasm by a wide range of Parties, official observers and the general public (Economist 2009). REDD has already expanded somewhat, now also including forest enhancement, sustainable forest management and forest conservation, under the rubric REDD+. This seems to be an all round winner: cheap carbon reductions (as evidenced by the well-received report of the Stern Commission (2007)), with multiple additional environmental benefits, requiring forest policies and management measures selected by each participating country in line with its own long run objectives for forest management and conservation, and with the potential for participation and benefit sharing by a large number of developing countries and local stakeholders.

Click here to download the article.

One man's mission to save Cambodia's elephants

Since winning the prestigious 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize in Asia, Tuy Sereivathana has visited the US and Britain, even shaking hands with US President Barack Obama, yet in his home country of Cambodia he remains simply 'Uncle Elephant'. A lifelong advocate for elephants in the Southeast Asian country, Sereivathana's work has allowed villagers and elephants to live side-by-side. Working with Fauna and Flora International (FFI) he has successfully brought elephant-killing in Cambodia to an end. As if this were not enough, Sereivathana has helped curb the destruction of forests in his native country and built four schools for children who didn't previously have formal education opportunities.
Read the full story from mongabay.com click here.

2010 Goldman Prize for Asia: Tuy Sereivathana

Tuy Sereivathana's speech

Getting REDD to work locally: lessons learned from integrated conservation and development projects

By Benjamin Blom, Terry Sunderland and Daniel Murdiyarso. (2010). Environmental Science and Policy. Volume 13, Issue 2

Integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs) have been a pervasive, although widely criticized, approach to tropical conservation for more than 20 years. More recently, international conservation discourse has shifted away from project-based approaches and towards reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). While REDD is based upon experience with payment for environmental services (PES) initiatives and forest-related discussions in the United Nations (UN), REDD implementation will still require sub-national projects. Issues of equity will likely pit these sub-national projects against some of the same challenges that have dogged ICDPs. This suggests that REDD project developers stand to learn a great deal from the lessons generated by experience with ICDPs. This paper provides a list of best practices for ICDPs and applies their lessons as principles to guide the development and implementation of sub-national REDD projects. The intent of this approach is to encourage the design and implementation of sub-national REDD projects in a way that avoids the past pitfalls and mistakes, while building upon some successes, of the ICDP conservation approach. By doing so, REDD will be more likely to be implemented in a way that is effective, efficient and equitable.

Benefits of tropical forest management under the new climate change agreement—a case study in Cambodia

By Sasaki, N. & Yoshimoto, A. (2010). Environmental Science and Policy (in press), DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2010.04.007

Promoting sustainable forest management as part of the reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD)-plus mechanism in the Copenhagen Accord of December 2009 implies that tropical forests will no longer be ignored in the new climate change agreement. As new financial incentives are pledged, costs and revenues on a 1-ha tract of tropical forestland being managed or cleared for other land-use options need to be assessed so that appropriate compensation measures can be proposed. Cambodia’s highly stocked evergreen forest, which has experienced rapid degradation and deforestation, will be the first priority forest to be managed if financial incentives through a carbon payment scheme are available. By analyzing forest inventory data, we assessed the revenues and costs for managing a hypothetical 1 ha of forestland against six land-use options: business-as-usual timber harvesting (BAU-timber), forest management under the REDD-plus mechanism, forest-to-teak plantation, forest-to-acacia plantation, forest-to-rubber plantation, and forest-to-oil palm plantation. We determined annual equivalent values for each option, and the BAU-timber and REDD-plus management options were the highest, with both options influenced by logging costs and timber price. Financial incentives should be provided at a level that would allow continuation of sustainable logging and be attractive to REDD-plus project developers.

REDD-plus, forest people’s rights and nested climate governance

By Sikor, T., Global Environ. Change.(2010), doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.04.007 ( Download Full Article Click Here)

At Copenhagen, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) was ready to endorse REDD-plus and to make explicit reference to the ‘‘rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities’’ (UNFCCC, 2009). The reference is important because it acknowledges the historical background from which REDD-plus is developing: the historical dispossession, political exclusion and cultural marginalization of indigenous peoples and members of local communities (hereafter referred to as ‘‘forest people’’). Recent experience with the recognition of forest people’s rights suggests three broad principles for operationalizing rights under REDD-plus: participation in political decision-making, equitable distribution of forest benefits, and recognition of forest people’s particular identities. In addition, the emphasis on rights requires the development of decisionmaking processes at multiple scales and related across scales. Global-scale institutions will be important but not sufficient in themselves. Effective and equitable REDD-plus requires nested forest and climate governance.

SME targets sales of green energy generators

SME Renewable Energy Ltd is planning to sell up to 10 renewable energy generators – which make electricity by burning rice husks, corn cobs and peanut shells – to Cambodia’s rice mill owners this year, according to the company’s managing director.

SME Renewable Energy MD Rin Seyha said Monday that his company hopes to sell between eight and 10 of the small-scale biomass-powered generators worth a total of US$1 million, after importing them from India.

“We hope to sell all the machines because there are many potential rice mills in Cambodia that are not receiving enough power supply from the state yet,” Rin Seyha said.

The company has already sold three generators this year, two to rice mills in Siem Reap and the one to a mill in Battambang province.

The machines are priced between $65,000 and $150,000 each, last for up to eight years, and are capable of generating between 200 and 600 kilowatts of electricity, according to the company.

Rin Seyha estimated buyers would recoup the amount they spent on a machine within two and a half years if they used the machine for 10 hours a day.

Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy Victor deputy general director of renewable energy Victor Jona said that sales of these biomass-operated generators could help make Cambodia less dependent on oil to generate electricity.

“I think importing this kind of machine is a good project because it helps us reduce the expense on importing oil from other countries,” he said.

He said Cambodia currently spends at least $500 million importing oil each year, with most of it going towards electricity generation.

According to a technical study done by the company, burning 6 kilograms of rice husk generates as much electricity as a litre of diesel in an oil-powered generator.

SME Renewable Energy has sold 33 biomass generators since 2006, but unloaded only three last year during the global financial crisis.

Rin Seyha said that, with 400 rice mills currently operating in Cambodia, sales growth appeared promising, and that his company had plans to enter the garment sector.

“We hope to sell our generators to garment factories as well,” he said.

Source: Phnom Penh Post

Land dispute over REDD pilot project area ends in Cambodia

Official in Oddar Meanchey province on Monday began relocating a group of 200 families living in a protected forest area near Samraong town, ending a standoff that led to a violent altercation between villagers and Forestry Department workers in March, officials said.

Thon Nol, the governor of Samraong town, said 100 families would be moved to Bansay Reak commune, that 50 families would be moved to Konkriel commune, and that all would receive 30-by-40-metre plots of land.

The other 50 families will be moved to an as-yet-unbuilt military base in Oddar Meanchey, Thon Nol added. He said officials hoped to move quickly in light of the fact that the rainy season is approaching.

“We could not relocate them all in one day, so we are cooperating with the two commune chiefs to do it step by step,” he said. “They could not live in the protected forest land.”

Forestry officials have said that the land was granted protected status (or REDD pilot project) last June, but that 10 families moved there in late 2009. The other families moved there towards the beginning of this year.

Sa Thlai, the provincial chief of community forests, said five Forestry Department staff members were injured in the March 11 altercation with villagers. A complaint was filed with the Interior Ministry and Siem Reap provincial court later that month.

A hearing in the court case was postponed on March 30 when a judge failed to appear.

On Monday, Sa Thlai he had been told by a court official that a new round of summonses had been issued in the case, but prosecutor Ty Soveinthal denied this.

Ty Soveinthal also said there were no plans to investigate Kim Saruon, the chief of Puor Thivong village, where some of the families used to live, or Hean Sok, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in Samraong, both of whom were initially accused of convincing the soldiers to move to the protected area in the first place.

Source: Phnom Penh Post

A Community Forestry Approach to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in Cambodia

Deforestation accounts to over 17% of the world’s global CO2 emission placing it on the front line of the climate change debate. With more than 240 million of the world’s poor in developing countries relying on forestry resources for their livelihoods, deforestation threatens our planet and increases poverty rates. The U.S. Government and the international community have embraced REDD as a priority for mitigating climate change.

Kurt MacLeod, Associate Vice President for Asia and Eurasia, spoke at the US Forest Services International Programs on 30 April, 2010 on A Community Forestry Approach to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in Cambodia. This innovative project is one of the first in the world to utilize a community-based approach to address the effects of deforestation on the environment and local livelihoods. Deforestation accounts for over 17% of the worlds' global carbon emissions, placing it on the front lines of climate change debates. This project entitles local communities to a significant portion of carbon revenues, leading to long-term protection of forest resources.