Future without intact forests?

Future without intact forests?

Despite a decades-long effort to halt deforestation, nearly 10 percent of undisturbed forests have been fragmented, degraded or simply chopped down since 2000, according to the analysis of satellite imagery.

Average daily loss over the first 17 years of this century was more than 200 square kilometers.

“Degradation of intact forest represents a global tragedy, as we are systematically destroying a crucial foundation of climate stability,” said Frances Seymour, a senior distinguished fellow at the World Resources Institute (WRI), and a contributor to the research, presented this week at a conference in Oxford.

“Forests are the only safe, natural, proven and affordable infrastructure we have for capturing and storing carbon.”

The findings come as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and five major conservation organizations launched a five-year plan, Nature4Climate, to better leverage land use in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that drive global warming.

“Thirty-seven percent of what is needed to stay below two degrees Celsius” – the cornerstone goal of the 196-nation Paris Agreement – “can be provided by land”, said Andrew Steer, WRI president, and CEO. “But only three percent of the public funding for mitigation goes to land and forest issues – that needs to change.”

Beyond climate, the last forest frontiers play a critical role in maintaining biodiversity, weather stability, clean air, and water quality. Some 500 million people worldwide depend directly on forests for their livelihoods.

A future without intact forests?

So-called intact forest landscapes – which can include wetlands and natural grass pastures – are defined as areas of at least 500 square kilometers with no visible evidence in satellite images of large-scale human use.

That means no roads, industrial agriculture, mines, railways, canals or transmission lines.

As of January 2017, there were about 11.6 million square kilometers of forests worldwide that still fit these criteria. From 2014 to 2016, that area declined by more than 87,000 square kilometers each year.

“Many countries may lose all their forest wildlands in the next 15 to 20 years,” Peter Potapov, an associate professor at the University of Maryland and lead scientist for the research, said.

On current trends, intact forests will disappear by 2030 in Paraguay, Laos, and Equatorial Guinea, and by 2040 in Cambodia, the Central African Republic, Nicaragua, Myanmar, and Angola.

“There could come a point in the future where no areas in the world qualify as ‘intact’ anymore,” said Tom Evans, director for forest conservation and climate mitigation at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“It is certainly worrying.”

In tropical countries, the main causes of virgin forest loss are conversion to agriculture and logging. In Canada and the United States, fire is the main culprit, while in Russia and Australia, the destruction has been driven by fires, mining, and energy extraction.
Compared to annual declines during the period 2000-2013, Russia lost, on average, 90 percent more each year from 2014 to 2016. For Indonesia, the increase was 62 percent, and for Brazil, it was 16 percent.

Protected areas

The new results are based on a worldwide analysis of satellite imagery, built on a study first done in 2008 and repeated in 2013.

“The high-resolution data, like the one collected by the Landsat program, allows us to detect human-caused alteration and fragmentation of forest wildlands,” Potapov said.

Presented at the Intact Forests in the 21st Century conference at Oxford University, the finding will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication, said Potapov, who delivered a keynote to the three-day gathering.

Addressing colleagues from around the world, Potapov also challenged the effectiveness of a global voluntary certification system.

Set up in 1994 and backed by green groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, the self-stated mission of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is to “promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests”.

Many forest-products carry the FSC label, designed to reassure eco-conscious consumers.

But approximately half of all intact forest landscapes inside FSC-certified concessions were lost from 2000 to 2016 in Gabon and the Republic of Congo, the new data showed. In Cameroon, about 90 percent of FSC-monitored forest wildlands disappeared.
“FSC is an effective mechanism to fragment and degrade remaining intact forest landscapes, not a tool for their protection,” Potapov said.

National and regional parks have helped to slow the rate of decline.

The chances of forest loss were found to be three times higher outside protected areas than inside them, the researchers reported.

Source Link: https://www.phnompenhpost.com/international/future-without-intact-forests

Dried Melaleuca forest poses risk of fire

Dried Melaleuca forest poses risk of fire

Update: April, 17/2018 – 15:00

Viet Nam News CÀ MAU — The 43,000ha U Minh Hạ Melaleuca forest has been completely dry since Monday, according to forest rangers of the Mekong Delta province of Cà Mau.

This puts 4,200ha of the forest area under forest fire danger level 5 (very high) and another 14,600ha under danger level 4 (high). Most of this area falls in the communes of Nguyễn Phích, Khánh An and Khánh Lâm in U Minh District and Khánh Bình and Tây Bắc communes in Trần Văn Thời District.

Many measures have been put in place to protect the forest, prevent fire and regularly track water levels to issue timely forest fire forecasts as well as mobilise adequate contingency forces.

The provincial forest ranger has conducted several awareness campaigns, calling for individuals to take fire prevention measures and teaching local residents to put out a fire.

Authorities have also warned against collecting honey in the dry season and have set up warning signs in the forest.

(more…)

HCM City increases patrols after forest fire threat

HCM City increases patrols after forest fire threat

Update: April, 12/2018 – 10:18

A fire broke out across 40ha of pines in Ia Grai protective forest in Ia Chia Commune, Ia Grai District of Central Highlands province of Gia Lai in March. — VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Điệp

HCM CITY – Authorities, including local ones, need to increase patrolling and promote fire safety to ensure there are no major forest fires during the ongoing dry season, a meeting held to review forest protection and fire prevention heard in HCM City yesterday.

Lê Thanh Liêm, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee, said: “Forest fires have a severe impact on daily life and the economy and environment.”

He instructed related authorities and districts to increase patrols and take severe action against anyone found violating forest protection laws.

“Districts, which have forests in small patches, must improve fire prevention.”

He said local authorities should liaise closely with households who have been allotted forests and take care of them, he added.

He instructed the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to enhance propaganda and education on forest protection and safety and forest fire prevention and fighting, and inform local residents about the level of fire threats for them to be prepared.

“Relevant authorities must regularly monitor individuals and organisations working in forests to ensure they follow fire safety regulations.

“The city Forest Rangers Sub-department should step up patrolling.”

(more…)

Localities urged high vigilance in response to forest fires

Localities urged high vigilance in response to forest fires

VNA 

Hanoi (VNA) – Localities nationwide have been urged by the Vietnam Administration of Forestry to prepare measures to prevent forest fires and mitigate damage caused by fires.

Authorities at grassroots levels must promote communication works on firefighting among their residents while forces should be ready around the clock in case forest fires occur.

Roles must be assigned among members of all-level steering boards of the national target programme on sustainable forestry development to enhance inspections. Meanwhile, military and police forces were ordered to stand ready to offer assistance in case of fire.

Forest ranger teams should work with people’s committees to direct and examine efforts to prevent forest fires while forest owners are responsible for upgrading firefighting facilities.

Localities must monitor forest fire warnings on the forest protection department’s website: kiemlam.org.vn and any forest fires should be reported to the forest protection department under the Vietnam Administration of Forestry via 098 666 8333.

This year’s dry season has seen complicated weather developments, thus, the highest level alert of forest fires has been forecast in many localities. Forest fires have already hit some provinces, including Binh Thuan, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Lao Chau, Dien Bien and Hai Phong.-VNA

Read More: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/localities-urged-high-vigilance-in-response-to-forest-fires/129259.vnp

Bac Lieu bird sanctuary faces high risk of fires

Bac Lieu bird sanctuary faces high risk of fires

Last update 11:24 | 14/03/2018
The Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu is facing a level-4 risk of fires, which is likely to be raised to level 5, the level of extreme danger, said the sanctuary management board on March 13.

The lengthy hot spell brought high temperatures to the Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary that dry canals and make plants more flammable, putting it on high alert for fires

In response to the situation, the management board has worked on shifts round the clock to watch out for the possible fires, cleared bushes and dredged canals over the past month.

It has also mobilized about 40 local residents living nearby to stay ready for any emergency while households living around the park’s buffer zone have been provided training on forest protection and asked to sign commitments that they will not set a fire in the forests.

On March 13, the board teamed up with the local firefighter police to conduct a firefighting exercise with more than 100 people in attendance.

Located in Nha Mat ward, the Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary is only 7km from downtown Bac Lieu city. The 130-hectare park is home to over 60,000 birds, belonging to about 100 species, many of which are in danger.-VNA

Mekong Delta works to prevent forest fires

Mekong Delta works to prevent forest fires

Last update 10:49 | 12/03/2018

Provinces in the Mekong Delta have stepped up efforts to prevent forest fires as the region is entering the highly risky dry season.

In the southernmost province of Ca Mau, many measures have been put in place, especially to protect the 8,500ha U Minh Ha National Park.

Water in the higher parts of the park have been drying out since the beginning of this month and the threat of forest fire is high, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Huynh Minh Nguyen, director of the park, said rangers have taken positions in watch towers to monitor the park around the clock.

They also regularly patrol the park to prevent people from entering to collect honey, hunt or fish, activities that could cause fires.

More than 5,000 families living in the park’s buffer zone and cajeput forests have been mobilized to help fight forest fires.

The department has called on private individuals managing forests to implement preventive measures against fires.

Forest management units should regularly assess the dryness to take proper fire-prevention measures and teach local households how to prevent fires, it said.

This month the hot weather peaks in the south, according to the South Centre for Hydrometeorology Forecasting.

In An Giang province, districts with large forest areas including Tinh Bien and Tri Ton are in a state of preparedness to prevent fires, said Tran Phu Hoa, head of the province Forest Protection Sub-department., adding that Tinh Bien alone has more than 6,270ha of forests that face the risk of fires.

Kien Giang province has seven areas that face fire risks, namely U Minh Thuong National Park, Phu Quoc National Park, Phu Quoc protective forest, Hon Dat – Kien Ha protective forest, An Bien – An Minh coastal protective forest, and a forest managed by the 422 Forestry Plantation Project.

The provincial People’s Committee has issued orders to strengthen fire prevention measures.

Kien Giang has 86,450ha of zoned forests, accounting for 13.6 percent of its total area, according to its Forest Protection Sub-department.

It has spent more than 10 billion VND (440,000 USD) on preparations to prevent forest fires this year.

Truong Thanh Hao, head of the local Forest Protection Sub-department, said the province had instructed local forest rangers, the police, army, and militia to work closely to prevent fires.

The province has built temporary dams and dredged wells in forests to store water, cleared dried branches and bushes in forests and established firebreaks.

Forest management units have stepped up checks and will close the forests at the peak of the dry season.-VNA

Read more: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/environment/196976/mekong-delta-works-to-prevent-forest-fires.html

Fire destroys 40ha of forest in Gia Lai

Fire destroys 40ha of forest in Gia Lai

Update: March, 11/2018 – 13:00

Viet Nam News 
GIA LAI — A fire that broke out in the Ia Grai protection forest in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai was brought under control on Sunday morning.
However, more than 40ha of a forest, comprising pine trees planted in 2015, was destroyed.
Lê Tiến Hiệp, head of the forest’s management board, said that the fire occurred on Friday afternoon.
More than 200 people from the management board, provincial Border Guards and local residents from Ia Chía and Ia O communes were called to extinguish the fire.
The team managed to temporarily halt the fire on Friday night. However, due to dry conditions and strong winds, the flames reappeared. Ia Grai District authorities called for more firemen from Đức Cơ District to stamp out it.
Ia Grai District authorities kept a close watch on the scene to prevent the fire from re-occurring.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. — VNS

Read more: http://vietnamnews.vn/society/424149/fire-destroys-40ha-of-forest-in-gia-lai.html#Ta8Ig5jgRUbozGrX.97

Binh Thuan faces high risk of forest fires

Binh Thuan faces a high risk of forest fires

VNA

Binh Thuan (VNA) – Over 150,000 hectares of forests in the south-central coastal province of Binh Thuan are now on high alert for fires as it is in the peak of the dry season, according to the provincial Forestry Management Department on February 27.

Heat waves put forests in Tuy Phong, Bac Binh, Ham Thuan Nam, Ham Thuan Bac, Ham Tan districts, La Gi township, Phan Thiet City in a high fire alert.

The province, where the lowest rainfall is recorded in the country, has over 370 hectares of forests.

According to the agency, numerous preventive measures have been taken in each locality and by all relevant bodies during the dry season, which begins in November and ends in April every year.

Forest protection teams have been set up at all levels, involving more than 1,000 people, while 150 forest rangers have been trained on forest fire prevention.

Read more: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/binh-thuan-faces-high-risk-of-forest-fires/127116.vnp

Đắk Nông keeps wary eye on forests to prevent dry season fires

Đắk Nông keeps wary eye on forests to prevent dry season fires

Update: February, 23/2018 – 09:00

Viet Nam News Đắk Nông — The Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Đắk Nông is working hard to ensure its more than 250,000ha of forests are not affected by fires during the dry season, which will last until the end of April.

More than 120,000ha face a high risk of fires. Of them, nearly 90,000ha are natural forests, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The department’s Forest Protection Division is increasingly using information technology for forecasting forest fires and providing early warning.

Local authorities and private managers of forests have been instructed to strictly follow forest-protection and fire-prevention regulations.

Periodic fire prevention and firefighting drills are organized at localities to ensure full preparedness in case of forest fires.

Forest managers have assigned staff to monitor vulnerable areas during the dry season.

Information and instructions on fire safety are put up on boards at public places to remind the public to be vigilant.

Authorities are also strengthening other dissemination activities to raise public awareness about forest protection and fire safety. — VNS

Read more at http://vietnamnews.vn/society/423221/dak-nong-keeps-wary-eye-on-forests-to-prevent-dry-season-fires.html#FRsGqTUZFXDdvscm.99

Ministry orders expanded forest-fire protection in dry season

Ministry orders expanded forest-fire protection in dry season

VNA 

HCM City (VNA) – The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has instructed the People’s Committees of all provinces and cities to increase forest-fire protection and to make it a main task during the dry season.

Temperatures in the first half of the year are expected to be higher than the average of previous years, and rainfall will be 10 or 20 percent lower compared to the average of previous years, according to the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting and the ministry’s Department of Forest Protection.

In the next few months, many places in the country are expected to remain dry, increasing the risk of forest fires, especially in the northwest, Central Highlands, and south-central and southern provinces.

Forest fires have occurred in northern provinces this year, causing great damage to forests and threatening residents’ property and lives.

The ministry has asked all People’s Committees to instruct agencies such as forest rangers, police and military forces to cooperate in forest-fire protection.

Agencies should be prepared with specific plans, equipment and forces to ensure timely action when forest fires occur, the ministry said.-VNA

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/ministry-orders-expanded-forestfire-protection-in-dry-season/107992.vnp