Countering the health effects of peat fires

The Business Case for Reduced Deforestation: Palm Oil in Indonesia, Looking Through a Palm Oil Grower’s Eyes – UNEP FI

This presentation aims to prove that a strong financial case exists for the end of deforestation, taking Indonesia as an example of this.  This presentation by UNEP FI was given at a session titled “The Business Case for Reduced Deforestation: Palm Oil in Indonesia, Looking Through a Palm Oil Grower’s Eyes” at the Global Landscapes Forum: The Investment Case on June 10, 2015.

Indonesia’s peatland fires and toxic haze: Media discourses across scales of governance

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Options and constraints for crop diversification: A case study in sustainable agriculture in Uzbekistan

This article describes various opportunities but also constraints to greater crop diversification, and the impact on local sustainability in the Khorezm province of Uzbekistan in the Aral Sea basin. At present, approximately 70% of the area in this study region is sown to irrigated cotton and winter wheat under the so-called state mandate. We present evidence of the benefits of moving away from this approach toward more diversified farming with an increasing area of alternative crops in the selected region. We report on a series of studies that included a) crop suitability screening based on secondary data, b) joint farmer experiments, and c) a mathematical simulation model with the overarching objective to assess potential benefits and constraints for crop diversification. The findings of this long-term, multiyear, and multidisciplinary approach show that greater crop diversity can increase water use efficiency, and secure farm income in dryland areas prone to water scarcity and soil salinity. In addition, the findings of the simulation model confirmed that crop diversification could secure income of downstream farmers during the climate-driven decline in water availability. Overall, the findings indicate that greater crop diversity and improved access to markets can lead to a sustainable development path in the region.

The role of forest-related income in household economies and rural livelihoods in the border-region of Southern China

Quarterly socioeconomic data from 240 households are used to study the links between forest-related income and rural livelihoods in southern China. Results show average forest-related income shares of 31.5%, which was predominantly derived from cultivated non-timber sources. Forest-related income was important to households at all income levels, although lower income households were more dependent due to a lack of other sources. Higher income households monopolized off-farm income and had more land than low income households. Forest-related income could be increased by making forest land more accessible to the poor, improving productivity, and removing constraints to smallholder engagement in timber marketing.

A review of two payment schemes for watershed services from China and Vietnam: the interface of government control and PES theory

China and Vietnam have developed some of the most ambitious payments for ecosystem services (PES) initiatives for watershed conservation and forest management. These include the Sloping Land Conversion Programme in China and pilot projects designed to implement Decision 380 and the subsequent national PES law in Vietnam. This study reviews how these two government-driven initiatives are achieving their environment and development objectives in terms of their institutional arrangements, implementation in practice, and sustainability prospects. Although it remains too soon to determine the effects of these programs on watershed services, early evidence indicates that they are resulting in vulnerable land being retired from cultivation supported, in some cases, by considerable contributions to household income. A review of these initiatives has revealed two emerging questions that are relevant within the wider discussion on PES theory: (1) What is the ideal role for government in an evolving socio-cultural and political context? (2) What are the implications of a lack of voluntary participation in government administered PES schemes? Future prospects for harnessing the substantial political commitment for watershed protection toward more strategic, flexible, and long-term sustainable outcomes hinge on the ongoing responsiveness of these governments to stakeholder needs and objectives.

Building a shared vision: scenarios for collaborative land use planning in Central Moluccas Regency, Indonesia

People’s perceptions about the importance of forests on Borneo

We ascertained villagers’ perceptions about the importance of forests for their livelihoods and health through 1,837 reliably answered interviews of mostly male respondents from 185 villages in Indonesian and Malaysian Borneo. Variation in these perceptions related to several environmental and social variables, as shown in classification and regression analyses. Overall patterns indicated that forest use and cultural values are highest among people on Borneo who live close to remaining forest, and especially among older Christian residents. Support for forest clearing depended strongly on the scale at which deforestation occurs. Deforestation for small-scale agriculture was generally considered to be positive because it directly benefits people’s welfare. Large-scale deforestation (e.g., for industrial oil palm or acacia plantations), on the other hand, appeared to be more context-dependent, with most respondents considering it to have overall negative impacts on them, but with people in some areas considering the benefits to outweigh the costs. The interviews indicated high awareness of negative environmental impacts of deforestation, with high levels of concern over higher temperatures, air pollution and loss of clean water sources. Our study is unique in its geographic and trans-national scale. Our findings enable the development of maps of forest use and perceptions that could inform land use planning at a range of scales. Incorporating perspectives such as these could significantly reduce conflict over forest resources and ultimately result in more equitable development processes.

Whose consent?: hunter-gatherers and extractive industries in the Northeastern Philippines

There is increasing international recognition of indigenous peoples’ right to influence development activities in their territories. Free, Prior and Informed Consent is the strongest available instrument to assert this right, and this article provides a case study on its implementation in the northeastern Philippines. Under the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997, extractive companies must seek consent from indigenous communities if these inhabit the proposed concession areas. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, a government agency, facilitates this process. This article documents how extractive companies have obtained consent from the Agta, a resource-dependent indigenous group. The results, which cover the period 2003–2011, show that the implementation of Free, Prior and Informed Consent fails in terms of the process and its outcome. Consent is manipulated, the role of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples as facilitator is problematic, and the agreements are culturally inappropriate, weakly operationalized, and poorly realized.