Forests appear to reduce the planets temperatures by half a degree – we cant afford to loose this

In a time when half a degree more or less warming, might be the difference between tens of millions of people becoming climate refugees, and hundreds of millions (or even billions), the idea that without our forests the planet would be at least half a degree warmer, should give us even more incentive to protect the forests that remain.

Rainforests are fantastic places and now it is clear that we need them to keep the planet cool copyright Freebie photography
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The manned wolf is being seen increasingly often in the Amazon rainforest

The manned wolf that looks rather like a fox on stilts. It is found throughout South American Savannahs

Not actually a fox or a wolf, the manned wolf exists in its own genus.

Living on open savannahs the manned wolf is unfortunately facing the loss of most of its habitat. Though we hear about the loss of the Amazon rainforest the most, all other ecosystems in South America are also under threat.

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Could Bialowlieza forest be destroyed by forests on borders?

Around the world we are in a period where there are lots of people struggling where they are. Whether due to weather or war or crime, there are significant numbers of people who are on the move. Perhaps the most famous is the border wall that Donald Trump ran on. Given that almost all of the people who are illegally in the USA arrive legally and then fail to leave, cutting off the stream of people fleeing violent crime in central America will make little difference to what is going on.

As elsewhere, the wilderness either side of the USA border wall is likely to be badly damaged
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Often locals lose their forests against their will, sometimes this balance is corrected

A Papua court ruling, is a win for local governance and against national governments. All over the world, most remaining wildernesses are not devoid of human population to the contrary, most of these areas are inhabited by indigenous people.

What does indigenous people mean? Well in most contexts it means people who arrived and settled before European colonisation. What has become increasingly clear is that the explorers that we learn about are rarely the first humans to arrive in newly discovered countries. Indonesians and Norwegians are both known to have crossed large oceans and settled on newly discovered lands.

Often these native people have lived in harmony in the local ecosystem for thousands of years.

This is why indigenous rights are so important. It is however important that this is done right – indigenous lands becoming places with casinos is not the idea.

In this instance, two palm oil companies sued after their lease was invalidated. The combined area is not small, being bigger than New York city. This clears the way for Indigenous groups who used to live within this area, to reclaim their former lands.

Indonesia has a particularly hard path to walk. Made up of thousands of different islands, with vast areas of rainforests, it is hard for the central government to make good decisions.

We as consumers need to make this easier, by reducing our consumption and therefore requiring less resources

Only 6.5% of the worlds forests are adequately protected!

Recent analysis has shown that designating an area protected, reducing threats it faces but does not eliminate them, and the study showed that deforestation inside a protected reserve is only 41% less likely to occur.

This view is repeated all over the earth

Now this is certainly a good reduction in risk, however, this still leaves substantial risk, and leaves us with the true figure of roughly 6.5%

If the earth is to avoid crippling climate change, we need all the forest we can retain.

We must do better

Ikea the Swedish flat pack giant has a green reputation but this may be less right than it should be

A large portion of Sweden is covered in forest. While native trees are grown, these vast plantations are actually cut down regularly. Given it may take a few decades for trees to grow to maturity, much of the country is left pretty wild.

Although much of Sweden looks wild, the forests are regularly cut down for timber. Still the forests support a healthy population of bears, and a growing population of wolves

While the Swedish people are quite keen hunters, there are significant numbers of bears, and even a small but growing population of wolves.

This is why it is so worrying to find that some of the wood in their products actually came from protected forests in Russia.

It was as much a surprise to Ikea as to us, and they have cut off deals with the company at fault.

This just highlights the incredible difficulty in making sure your products are completely clean. Never-the-less a similar mistake in the near future might have a bigger impact on their reputation, they must increase the level of their due diligence.

JBS a beef giant in Brazil has promised to go deforestation free – in 14 years; response?

Much of the deforestation that is occurring in Brazil is to make more room for cattle grazing. The promise of a beef giant to stop deforesting in 14 years is not worth anything. Apart from anything, it is likely that the have calculated that it will take 14 years to clear the land that they currently have access to.

A promise to reform your bad behaviour in 14 years is worth nothing. Indeed in a new Soy and Cattle deforestation tracker, JBS scored 1 point out of 100. As a point of context, its nearest competitors scored 40 and 46 out of 100.It has congratulated itself as the first company in its industry to make commitments, but no one else is impressed. They have had to many chances, now we must move away from buying their product.

The fact that they felt they needed to make a commitment would suggest that market pressure is working, clearly there has not been enough pressure bought to bare on this group. A boycott would likely be a good move. Morrisons Aldi Sainsbury and Lidl all buy meat from this company. My suggestion is that you buy your meat from companies which actually worry about things like this – If one of these companies are forced to drop this beef supplier, it is likely to force the others to do the same. They managed to get good converge last September, when they remade a commitment that they originally made in 2009 to halt deforestation through its suppliers – the bigger question should have been why havent you lived up to your 2009 pledge. It should be noted, the forests they are clearing are not grown for wood, they are old growth natural woodland, coming with it are the tens of thousands of species that are endangered or eradicated as their forests are lost.

JBS has consistently worked to keep their supply chain as opaque as possible, presumably to avoid being held accountable. They have now had enough time, and so it is time for action. If you shop at any of the food chains above, ask about where the meat comes from, and avoid any beef that does not have its origin clearly labelled.

We may not have rainforests to cut down in the UK, but if you continue to eat JBC meat, you may as well have got out the axe yourself.

Parts of the Amazon rainforest (as with the Congo and others around the world) are no longer carbon sinks

For as long as people have studied the carbon cycle, forests are considered essential carbon sinks. Unfortunately as we damage them, their ability to absorb carbon reduces.

A new study has confirmed, that large parts of the Amazon rainforest have crossed this line.

For many, it is hard to believe that humans could impact such a huge ecosystem, but we have, and without action this ecosystem will cease to exist
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Great apes predicted to loose 90% of their range in the coming decades

It is thought that between global warming and habitat loss, 90% of the remaining great ape range will be lost – potentially as early as 2050!

Wild Bonobo resting in a tree Photo taken by Alexander Georgiev

The loss of these rainforests will make climate change mitigation far harder, and I do not wish for my grandchildren to grow up in a world where there is no such thing as a large rainforest. As elsewhere, the loss of the apex species such as great apes both makes conservation harder, and imperils the ecosystem as a whole, as less visitors come so there is less money for protection.

A forest is replanted after minister is found to have illegally cleared it

This story is extremely encouraging. Around the world, large plantation companies often encourage small holders to clear the land and then buy it from them.

This area of deforested land was within a protected area, and should never have been cleared

The idea that this behaviour of getting other people to clear the land is permissible is insane. I personally would like countries to punish illegal clearance by always requiring full reforestation at the cost of the guilty party – this would likely end the scourge of illegal deforestation (then we must start working on so called legal deforestation)

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