In both Indonesia and Brazil, it is clear that deforestation is continuing apace — despite laws designed to slow it.
Within the Indonesian government, there has been a power struggle between the traditional bastion of power, the Ministry of Forestry, and this new entity of reform headed by a national taskforce for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). What happened behind the scenes in drawing up the presidential instruction? What sort of lobbying was done by the palm oil, pulp and paper, and mining sectors? The forestry sector doesn’t seem to be threatened by the moratorium. The biggest loser may be community-managed forests, which are arguably more sustainable than the industrial pulp producers and loggers. That's a big story that's been mostly ignored.
I was surprised to see …
the extent of exemptions under the moratorium. It's also been troubling to see that most of the area that is going to be "protected" under the moratorium was already protected on paper as national parks.
I’ll be watching …
to see how much forest is still going to be destroyed under the moratorium and the extent of exemptions. I believe we'll see more of a debate on whether the moratorium will actually help Indonesia meet its emissions reduction targets. Right now, wranglings over definitions of what constitutes forest are largely a red herring: if you cut down forest, no matter how you classify it, it generates carbon emissions.
FellowCenter for Media & Democracy
Amazonian indigenous peoples are actually part of the ecosystem, but their presence becomes unsustainable when they are used as labor for extractive industries. As various products come into and fall out of favor, indigenous people become trapped in cycles of debt and poverty. For this reason, some people consider indigenous populations to be part of the problem and promote policies that would keep them out of areas targeted for preservation. But that would exclude them from practicing historically sustainable livelihoods.
The long supply chain:
Half of the world's top 10 soy producers are in South America, and a majority of their output is exported to the E.U and China for biofuels and to feed animals on factory farms.
Greasing the palm:
Palm oil is also displacing rainforests in many parts of the world. Read the labels at grocery stores, and you'll find that it’s nearly unavoidable.