The US-based Union of Concerned Scientists recently published a blog post admitting that anti-forestry and -palm oil campaigns are not justified. The article, entitled Ending Tropical Deforestation: Have We Got Our Priorities Backwards?, pointed out that although the palm oil and forestry industries attract more attention from environmental activists than other agricultural sectors, they are far from the most important drivers of tropical deforestation.
The number one driver of tropical deforestation is cattle ranching, followed by soy farming, pig and poultry farming, and maize cultivation. Despite this, activists devote most of their time to pressuring palm oil and timber producers to make no-deforestation pledges. This demonstrates an ideological, rather than practical, basis for their campaigns.
As was stated in the article: “…the end result was that we concentrated on getting corporate zero-deforestation commitments relating to crops that weren’t the main causes of deforestation.”
As this publication has long argued, forest-rich countries and communities need to be able to set their own land use policies, balancing the need for economic development against the importance of protecting the environment. Environmental activists should seek to help inform these decisions, rather than attempting to pressure important national industries that are not even important drivers of forest conversion.
Papua New Guinea’s Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) recently published updated estimates of forest conversion in PNG that show the issue has been grossly exaggerated by activists. Continue reading
Papua New Guinea’s Department of Treasury has proposed a sharp increase to the log export tax, which – if implemented – would devastate PNG’s forest industries. Continue reading
Australia’s Illegal Logging Legislation remains stalled. Requirements for Australian timber importers and processors to conduct exhaustive due diligence to establish the “legality” of each consignment of timber products came into force in November 2014. Continue reading
A study published in the Journal Nature in August this year shows that although the global population grew by 23% between 1993 and 2009, the human “footprint” increased by just 9%. In the same period, the global economy grew by 153%. Continue reading
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) – a proposed system of locking up forest land in developing countries in order to offset greenhouse gas emissions in industrialised countries – has been repeatedly demonstrated as a failed concept, however the UN Development Programme continues to hire highly-paid consultants to push the idea in PNG. Continue reading
Environmental activists claimed in April that China’s significant success expanding national forest reserves had led to deforestation in other countries. Continue reading
A briefing paper released in March by a consortium of NGOs including Global Witness, Greenpeace and WWF calls on the EU to impose draconian controls on investors and providers of finance for agricultural and forestry projects in developing countries. Continue reading
Activists are ignoring major recent international studies which demonstrate that global deforestation has decreased markedly. Continue reading