Jim comment: Them damned aggressive, imperialistic Ruskies are interfering in Canada everywhere you look. They played a key role in the Franklin expedition search and discovery thereby undercutting Stephen Harper’s pompous posturing. Now it has come to light that the conservation group WWF-Russia and Transparent World, a Moscow-based non-profit that helps other groups use space imagery for research and education, has provided some of the evidence revealing Canada leads the world in forest degradation. No wonder Stephen Harper and John Baird spew their anti-Russian hate propaganda every chance they get.
Items: However, despite all the media attention on deforestation in the Amazon forest and the forests of Indonesia, it is Canada that has been leading the world in forest loss since 2000, accounting for 21 per cent of global forest loss. By contrast, the much-better known deforestation in Indonesia has accounted for only four per cent. - Stephen Leahy, the senior science and environment correspondent at Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS) based in Rome and Montevideo.
Canada’s degradation of pristine, intact forests leads world
Emily Chung CBC News Canada September 5, 2014
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The world’s precious few remaining large forests are fragmenting at an alarming rate, and the degradation in Canada leads the world, a new analysis shows.
The degradation of such pristine “intact” forests threatens species such as Canada’s woodland caribou and Asia’s tigers that rely on huge unbroken expanses of natural ecosystems in order to survive, said Nigel Sizer, global director of forest programs with the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based research institute focused on resource sustainability.
This week, the group, along with its collaborators, released a new global map of intact forest landscapes, along with an analysis of how those landscapes have changed since the year 2000. The maps are available as part of the institute’s Global Forest Watch online forest monitoring and alert system.
The satellite mapping analysis led by Peter Potapov, an associate professor of geographical sciences at the University of Maryland, showed that over 104 million hectares of the world’s remaining intact forests — an area about the size of Ontario — were degraded between 2000 and 2013. Such forests are considered degraded when they are broken up or fragmented into smaller pieces that are no longer the same kind of ecosystem. Sizer called the amount of degradation a “shocking number.”
“What is lost is the intactness… This is a process which results in biodiversity loss — particularly, far-ranging species will no longer be able to survive,” said Christoph Thies, senior forest campaigner for Greenpeace International, which contributed to the research through its Greenpeace GIS (geographic information systems) Laboratory.
The research partnership also included the conservation group WWF-Russia and Transparent World, a Moscow-based non-profit that helps other groups use space imagery for research and education. In this case, free public satellite images provided by the U.S. Geological Survey Landsat program in partnership with NASA were analyzed.
The area degraded during the study period represents about eight per cent of remaining intact forests.
“These intact forest landscapes are some of the most important landscapes on Earth,” Sizer said at an online news conference.
In addition to playing a critical role in maintaining biodiversity, such forests also regulate air and water cycles and store carbon to slow and prevent climate change, Sizer said. That means their degradation could disrupt those functions, intensifying problems such as climate change.
The researchers also said that it is very difficult to restore intact forests that have been degraded. Potapov estimated it would take 30 years for such forests to be restored in the tropics and more than 100 in boreal regions, such as Canada’s north.
Canada tops the world In forest degradation thanks to climate change, logging and energy development
Katie Valentine Think Progress USA September 5, 2014
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Canada leads the world in forest degradation, according to a new mapping project.
The project, put together by World Resources Institute, Greenpeace and multiple other groups, uses interactive maps to display forest degradation and destruction around the world between 2000 and 2013. According to WRI, more than 104 million hectares (about 401,546 square miles) — a chunk of land the group notes is three times the size of Germany — of the world’s remaining large, undisturbed forests, or Intact Forest Landscapes, were degraded in the last 13 years. The Northern boreal region of Canada, Russia and Alaska had some of the largest area of degraded forests, with the Amazon having the second-largest and the Congo basin the third.
In Canada’s tar sands region, forest fires and industrial development have destroyed or degraded almost two million acres of boreal forest since 2000, according to Peter Lee, Director of Global Forest Watch Canada. Lee told ThinkProgress in an email that Canada’s main driver of forest destruction is an “increased frequency and extent of forest fires” driven by climate change. These fires are likely converting areas that were once heavily forested into shrublands. Logging and road-building are the second-biggest causes of forest destruction and degradation, Lee said, and “massive increases in the pace and scale of energy developments, especially non-conventional oil and gas developments in northern Alberta’s tar sands region and also in north-eastern British Columbia with the shale plays,” is the third.
In order to mine for tar sands in Canada’s boreal region, swaths of boreal forest are cut down, and according to the Sierra Club, none of the land altered to make way for tar sands mining has been “certified as reclaimed” by Alberta, Canada’s government. Canada’s boreal forests serve as key breeding habitat for 292 species of protected birds, according to a June report, and tar sands development has resulted in the death of thousands of these birds.
In the end, though, the main reason Canada is the top country in terms of forest degradation is that it still has so many intact forests, Lee said. According to WRI, nearly 95 percent of the planet’s remaining large, Intact Forest Landscapes are found in boreal and tropical regions. There’s also a “lack of of political interest in conserving virgin forests” among Canada’s federal and provincial governments, Lee said.
Below: Stephen Leahy is the senior science and environment correspondent at Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS) based in Rome and Montevideo. This article was first published on IPS, and edited by Phil Harris.
Canada is now the world’s leading ‘deforestation nation’
Stephen Leahy IPS/rabble.ca International/Canada October 1, 2014
UXBRIDGE, Canada (IPS) – The world’s last remaining forest wilderness is rapidly being lost — and much of this is taking place in Canada, not in Brazil or Indonesia where deforestation has so far made the headlines.
A new satellite study reveals that since 2000 more than 104 million hectares of forests — an area three times the size of Germany — have been destroyed or degraded.
“Every four seconds, an area of the size of a football (soccer) field is lost,” said Christoph Thies of Greenpeace International.
The extent of this forest loss, which is clearly visible in satellite images taken in 2000 and 2013, is “absolutely appalling” and has a global impact, Thies told IPS, because forests play a crucial in regulating the climate.
The current level of deforestation is putting more CO2 into the atmosphere than all the world’s cars, trucks, ships and planes together, he said, adding that “governments must take urgent action” to protect intact forests by creating more protected areas, strengthening the rights of forest communities and other measures, including convincing lumber, furniture manufacturers and others to refuse to use products from virgin forests.
The new study found that half of forest loss from deforestation and degradation occurred in just three countries: Canada, Russia and Brazil. These countries are also home to about 65 per cent of world’s remaining forest wilderness.
However, despite all the media attention on deforestation in the Amazon forest and the forests of Indonesia, it is Canada that has been leading the world in forest loss since 2000, accounting for 21 per cent of global forest loss. By contrast, the much-better known deforestation in Indonesia has accounted for only four per cent.
Massive increases in oil sands and shale gas developments, as well as logging and road building, are the major cause of Canada’s forest loss, said Peter Lee of Global Forest Watch Canada, an independent Canadian NGO.
A big increase in forest fires is another cause of forest loss. Climate change has rapidly warmed northern Canada, drying out the boreal forests and bogs and making them more vulnerable to fires.
In Canada’s northern Alberta’s oil sands region, more than 12.5 million hectares of forest have been crisscrossed by roads, pipelines, power transmission lines and other infrastructure, Lee told IPS.
Canada’s oil sands and shale gas developments are expected to double and possibly triple in the next decade and “there’s little interest at the federal or provincial political level in conserving intact forest landscapes,” Lee added.
Related: Stopping global deforestation will take more than more words
Peter Kanowski The Conversation Australia September 30, 2014
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At the recent UN Climate Summit in New York there was little in the way of new climate policy announcements, but 27 countries did sign a new forest agreement — the New York Declaration on Forests.
Some 27 national governments, 34 major companies, and 61 NGOs vowed to halve deforestation by 2020, and end it by 2030. Signatories included some countries with high rates of deforestation — Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia and Peru— but not Brazil, or some of the African countries now experiencing significant forest loss and degradation.
The declaration is just the latest in international forest agreements that began in 1992. So, could the declaration succeed where past agreements have failed?
Conserving and enhancing forest carbon stocks remain, as the 2006 Stern Review identified, “low-cost early action” for climate change mitigation.
That conclusion, among others, helped catalyse agreement at the 2007 Bali UN Climate Change Conference on the REDD mechanism, for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation.
REDD was soon expanded to REDD+, to include forest management and restoration to enhance carbon stocks, and was one of the few points of agreement at the otherwise anti-climatic 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.
However, in the absence of a more general international agreement to address climate change and provide the framework and funds for REDD+ on more than a pilot scale, REDD+ initiatives have remained embryonic and inconsequential for addressing climate change or delivering economic benefits for forest conservation, management or restoration.
While REDD+ has progressed further than most other elements of the international climate change regime, the languishing state of REDD+ has become something of a metaphor for the overall state of global inaction on climate change.