Natural Climate Solutions
Weekly Briefing

Welcome to Nature4Climate's Weekly Briefing. This weekly newsletter summarises content from international media outlets (and our partner organisations) on stories, developments and events that relate to nature-based solutions to climate. Our editorial policy is to circulate articles and opinion pieces whether we agree or disagree with viewpoints represented. In this new version, we feature the week's top NCS related news stories and analyse themes in coverage.

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New Zealand budget: $1bn for 'nature jobs' but dismay at lack of climate action
The Guardian, Eleanor Ainge Roy, 14 May 
The Guardian reports on New Zealand's plans to create up to 11,000 “nature jobs” to perform environmental that includes pest and weed control operations, biodiversity projects and Department of Conservation nature ambassador roles. Although the job creation was greeted warmly by conservation bodies, many expressed dismay at the lack of spending on climate change projects. “The $1bn on environmental jobs is an excellent investment and a major opportunity to save 4,000 native species heading towards extinction, but we want to see clearer direction on the climate and economy before we celebrate," stated Megan Hubscher, a spokesperson for Forest & Bird. Meanwhile, in the U.K., The Guardian reports that the Labour Party is drawing up ambitious proposals to rescue the post-coronavirus economy with a radical green recovery plan focused on helping young people who lose their jobs by retraining them in green industries. Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, has called for the plans to include creating a “zero-carbon army of young people” doing work such as planting trees, insulating buildings and working on green technologies. Finally, in the U.S., the head of the National Wildlife Federation writes an op-ed for the New York Times calling for the creation of a "tree army," to put young people back to work planting trees. 
Amazon deforestation increases for 13th straight month in Brazil
Mongabay, Rhett A. Butler, 9 May
Mongabay reports that deforestation over the past year has reached its highest level since monitoring under its Amazon deforestation monitoring project began in 2007. NBC reports that deforestation has accelerated under the coronavirus and MEA WorldWide highlights a report showing deforestation has increased 55% since last year using satellite analysis. Brasil de Fato reports that regulation is up for renewal that puts territory seven times the size of Portugal up for grabs for Brazil's farming elite. Mongabay also reports on a study that shows how Brazil's planned Amazon road projects could lead to further deforestation. Mongabay concludes that the upcoming fires season could be the worst than previous years combined with Bolosonaro's behavior of deregulation and coronavirus concerns. 
Forest loss seen slowing globally, but progress patchy
Thomson Reuters Foundation, Thin Lei Win, 7 May 
Reuters covers the release of the FAO's new Global Forest Resource Assessment in-depth and finds that deforestation has been decreasing. The Namibian Sun reports the finding that Africa is the only continent where deforestation is increasing.
‘They never intended to conserve it’: Outcry as loggers gut Cambodian reserve
Mongabay, Andrew Nachemson, 13 May 
Mongabay reports that the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary, which stretches across five provinces in northern Cambodia, has seen a recent surge in deforestation. using satellite imagery. Mongabay also reports a controversial, politically-connected timber firm in illegal logging, Think Biotech, has created a 'monopoly in the timber business'.
Indonesia backs off timber rule change after deforestation fears
Reuters, Harry Jacques, 15 May
Reuters covers Indonesia's Forestry Ministry reinstating environmental checks on the timber industry after pressure from sustainability groups. 
>65 Million Hectares

Brazilian land that could be opened to development if Temporary Measure 910 passes in the Brazilian National Congress.

Amazonian Indigenous Community Wins 24-Year Lawsuit Against Illegal Loggers
Green Matters, Sophie Hirsch, 13 May

Green Matters reports that the Ashaninka indigenous community has won a lawsuit against Brazil’s Cameli family timber companies that illegally deforested their land in the 1980s.
Featured Opinion/Commentary
The coronavirus is not good for nature
Al Jazeera, Marco Lambertini, 14 May
Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, writes that the coronavirus is having an untold negative effect on nature. From the potential of gorillas being infested with COVID-19 to increased poaching, it is clear nature is not making a true comeback.

Tackling tropical deforestation: The need for EU leadership
Euractiv, Alison Hoare and Darragh Conway, 12 May
Alison Hoare and Darragh Conway call upon Europe's leaders to follow through on their commitments to enforce due diligence standards on companies importing products often linked to environmental damage and human rights abuses.
CEO of the National Wildlife Federation writes that our current recession should be met with a new Civilian Conservation Corps to provide jobs and restore our natural world.

Corporate carbon footprint pledges must be backed by transparent timelines
CIFOR Forest News, Satya S. Tripathi and Robert Nasi, 19 May
In this opinion piece, the authors detail the failures of past commitments on climate and deforestation action and call for corporations to change and provide transparent anchors in their timelines on sustainability initiatives.

Leveraging Nature as the Foundation of Resilient Societies
Conservation International 
CI releases its recommendations for post-COVID 19 recovery plans. 

Regenerative Agriculture: Good for Soil Health, but Limited Potential to Mitigate Climate Change

WRI, Janet Ranganathan, Richard Waite, Tim Searchinger and Jessica Zionts, 12 May
WRI summarizes its recent report, World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future, which tempers enthusiasm for the mitigation potential of regenerative agriculture. 

Designing the COVID-19 Recovery for a Safer and More Resilient World

WRI,  Joaquim Levy, Carter Brandon, and Rogerio Studart, 14 May
This commentary from WRI, targeted at Finance Ministers, recommends investment in nature-based solutions to protect against floods, droughts and storms. 

Tree planting is not a simple solution
Science Mag, Karen D. Holl and Pedro H. S. Brancalion, 8 May
Professors at UC Santa Cruz and the University of São Paulo share why we must plant more trees to avert several crises, but pursuing tree planting schemes lacking the required patience and planning will not solve our problems.

Conservation must not be a COVID victim
The Independent, John Scanlon, 13 May
John Scanlon, Special Envoy of African Parks, shares why one Democratic Republic of the Congo conservation park epitomizes the need to continue providing funding for conservation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Irregular Regulation
Tempo, 12 May
This piece critiques Indonesian President Jokowi's new regulations on the palm oil sector which do not address its sustainability issues which remain the biggest threat to the growth of the palm oil market.
An interview with Robert Nasi, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research, shows that deforestation is continuing, but must stop, and that intact forests must be protected.

Media Round-Up

Natural Climate Solutions and Nature4Climate Partners

Land rights essential to protect biodiversity and indigenous cultures
Phys.Org, 13 May

The New Restoration Economy | The One Tree Planted Show
One Tree Planted, 14 May

Painstaking mapping initiative helps indigenous Peruvians defend their land
Mongabay, Yvette Sierra Praeli, 5 May

Rewilding: lessons from the medieval Baltic crusades
The Conversation, Aleks Pluskowski, Alex Brown and Rowena Banerjea, 10 May

As habitat degradation threatens Amazon species, one region offers hope
Mongabay, Taran Volckhausen on 14 May


We Don't Want to Alarm Anyone, But a Large Amount of Siberia Is on Fire Right Now
Science Alert, Jacinta Bowler, 4 May 

Cocoa Deforestation Fight Needs to Be Intensified to Meet Goals
Bloomberg, Isis Almeida, 19 May

Deforestation for Agricultural Commodities a Driver of Fires in Brazil, Indonesia in 2019
Chain Reaction Research, 12 May

Victoria should expect one or two more 'megafires' before end of decade, study finds
The Guardian, Graham Readfern, 18 May

Australia’s logging ‘madness’ fuels more fires, hastens ecosystem collapse
Mongabay, Elizabeth Claire Alberts, 13 May

Naga tribes of Myanmar face loss of land and forest under new law
Mongabay, Robert Bociaga, 14 May

Audio: What can we expect from tropical fire season 2020?
Mongabay, Mike Gaworecki, 13 May

Overcoming threats to the Mekong's forests and people

Gender-based violence shakes communities in the wake of forest loss
Mongabay, John C. Cannon, 14 May

Palm oil plantations are under pressure to prove they're sustainable — but the process can have devastating effects on local communities and the plantations themselves
Business Insider, Mark Abadi and Anneke Ball, 12 May

Lockdown poses threat to Kashmir's timber as illegal felling of trees rises in forest areas
International Business Times, Shashi Sharma, 17 May

Deforestation: Indigenous Wood Species To The Rescue
Leadership Nigeria, Nkechi Isaac, 13 May

Update California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act To Save Rainforest Habitat Of Critically Endangered Species
World Animal News, Lauren Lewis, 12 May

Harvard's land grab in Brazil is a disaster for communities and a warning to speculators
GRAIN & Rede Social De Justiça E Direitos Humanos, 17 May

FSC is misleading Canadians, say its key packaging customers
Paper Advance, John Mullinder, 11 May

Walmart blasts Virginia regulator's report on pricing, biomass in Dominion's proposed 100% renewable energy tariff
Utility Dive, Iulia Gheorghiu, 14 May

Smuggling of illegal timber on a rise in Kokrajhar
The Hills Times, 18 May


These drones will plant 40,000 trees in a month. By 2028, they’ll have planted 1 billion
Fast Company, Adele Peters, 15 May

Planting trees in Pakistan during the lockdown

The Brussels Times, 17 May

Pandemic throws wrench into tree planting season
Business in Vancouver, Nelson Bennett, 12 May

Eighty Four Percent Of Tree Seedlings Grown: PM
Fana Broadcasting Corporate, 18 May

Seed by seed, a women’s collective helps reforest Brazil’s Xingu River Basin
Mongabay, JoAnna Haugen, 12 May

Nearly 2,000 trees planted in Thanh Hoa province
Communist Party of Vietnam, 12 May

Reforestation Zones
BES Reporter, 12 May

Sustainable Forestry

Pandemic relief could become next forest policy battleground
E&E News, Marc Heller, 19 May

This Coffee Company Keeps Girls in School and Protects the Rainforest
Goodnet, Bonnie Riva Ras, 18 May

The movement to conserve more of BC's forests based on their ability to sequester carbon gets a new tool
Focus on Victoria, Briony Penn, 14 May

5 Reasons Why Wood Construction is Gaining Popularity
Construction Review Online, Nora Price, 14 May

Communities in Mozambique Inspired to Curb Deforestation
IDN, Mariane Almeida and Sofia Barbeiro, 15 May

Negative Emissions Technologies

3 oil companies ink deal for CO2 network
E&E News, Carlos Anchondo, 18 May

Agriculture and Soil Health

Farmers are coming around on climate change
Roll Call, Ellyn Ferguson, 13 May


These vast hidden forests under the sea could help save Earth
Wired, 18 May

Mangroves finally have legal protection in Cayman
Loop Cayman, 14 May

New Science, Research, Policy and Tools

Local conditions and policy design determine whether ecological compensation can achieve No Net Loss goals
Nature Communications, April 2020
Many nations use ecological compensation policies to address negative impacts of development projects and achieve No Net Loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Yet, failures are widely reported. We use spatial simulation models to quantify potential net impacts of alternative compensation policies on biodiversity and two ecosystem services across four case studies.

Multiple Stable Dominance States in the Congo Basin Forests

MDPI, May 2020
Understanding the dynamics of dominant tree species in tropical forests is important both for biodiversity and carbon-related issues. This researc focuses on the Congo Basin (East of Kisangani) to investigate the respective roles of topographic/soil gradients and endogenous dynamics in shaping local variations in dominance. 

What is Threatening Forests in Protected Areas? A Global Assessment of Deforestation in Protected Areas, 2001–2018

MDPI, May 2020
The protection of forests is crucial to providing important ecosystem services, such as supplying clean air and water, safeguarding critical habitats for biodiversity, and reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this importance, global forest loss has steadily increased in recent decades. 

Massive peatland carbon banks vulnerable to rising temperatures

Nature Communications, May 2020
Peatlands contain one-third of the world’s soil carbon (C). If destabilized, decomposition of this vast C bank could accelerate climate warming; however, the likelihood of this outcome remains unknown. Here, we examine peatland C stability through five years of whole-ecosystem warming and two years of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

Effects of Residue Returning on Soil Organic Carbon Storage and Sequestration Rate in China’s Croplands: A Meta-Analysis

MDPI, May 2020
Crop residue returning (RR) is a promising option to increase soil organic carbon (SOC) storage, which is linked to crop yield promotion, ecologically sustainable agriculture, and climate change mitigation. Thus, the objectives of this study were to identify the responses of SOC storage and sequestration rates to RR in China’s croplands.

Identifying trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services delivery for land-use decisions

Scientific Reports, May 2020
Sustainable land-use management must account for the potential trade-offs between biodiversity conservation, productive land uses and ecosystem services. Based on six alternative land-use plans, we identified the synergies and trade-offs between the biodiversity benefits achieved in the different plans and the delivery of four locally important water-related ecosystem services modeled with the web-based tool AguAAndes.

Effect of forest management on tree diversity in temperate ecosystem forests in northern Mexico

PLOS ONE, May 2020
An important challenge for silvicultural practices is the conservation of tree diversity while fulfilling the traditional objectives of forest management, most notably timber harvesting. The purpose of this study was to compare the tree diversity before and after the application of silvicultural treatments in a temperate forest in northern Mexico. 

Impacts of a large-scale titling initiative on deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Nature Sustainability, May 2020
Across carbon- and biodiversity-rich tropical forests, titling initiatives are implemented with the goal of regularizing land tenure and decreasing deforestation. This research analyses the responses of 10,647 landholders between 2011 and 2016 to a large-scale land-titling programme called Terra Legal in the Brazilian Amazon, set to regulate an area as big as Germany and France combined.


WEBINAR: Forest Mapping and Monitoring with SAR Data
Dates: 19, 21 May
Host: NASA

WEBINAR: Wetlands and Disaster Resilience: Leveraging Ecosystem Services for Community Preparedness
Date: 19 May
Host: Environmental Law Institute

WEBINAR: Sustainable food, land, water and ocean
Date: 20 May
Host: ETH Zurich

Date: 21 May
Host: Food Ethics Council

WEBINAR: Nature-based solutions for climate change: from ambition to action
Date: 22 May
Host: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

The Future of Food Digital Conference
Dates: 2-3 June
Host: Innovation Forum

Global Landscapes Forum Bonn Digital Summit
Dates: 3-5 June
Host: Global Landscapes Forum

WEBINAR: Which companies are most exposed to deforestation-driven fires in their supply chains?
Date: 5 June
Host: Chain Reaction Research

WEBINAR: REDD+ Learning Session: The NDCs we want – Forests in the Focus
Date: 10 June
Host: REDD+

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Lucy Almond, Director and Chair of Nature4Climate
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