Rhett Butler, mongabay.com
December 28, 2011
The Indian government announced in February an initiative that will “expand” and “improve the quality” of its forestsas a part of the nation’s National Action Plan on Climate Change. The reforestation plan, dubbed the National Mission for a Green India (NMGI), will expand forests by five million hectares (over 12 million acres), while improving forests quality on another five million hectares for $10 billion (460 billion rupees). It wasn’t specified whether the new “forests” would be native or exotic plantations.
Conservation officials will pursue “permanent” protection of Jeypore-Dehing lowland rainforestin Assam, following the release of photos revealing the presence of seven wild cat species. The forest is currently threatened by logging, poaching, oil and coal development, and hydroelectric projects.
The high profile push to protect tigers will hurt lion conservation in India. The Asiatic lion subspecies (Panthera leo persica) of Gir Forest National Park in the north-western state of Gujarat is losing their federal conservation funding to tiger programs.
The Republic of Congo announced it would seek international funding fora plan to convert up to one million hectares (2.47 million acres) of “degraded forest” landsinto industrial plantations. While the government said the intent of the program was to to sequester carbon and take pressure off native forests, environmentalists immediately expressed concern that the proposal could drive destruction of native forests, to the detriment of biodiversity and carbon stocks.
Liberia signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement(VPA) to facilitate timber exports to Europe by ensuring no wood has been illegally cut.
A group of African nations re-introduced a decades-old plan to establisha “Great Green Wall”to stem expansion of the Sahara Desert. The massive tree-planting exercise would be backed by donor funds.
A controversial oil palm plantation in Cameroonwas put on hold after concerns were raised about its social and environmental impact.
Uganda resurrected a plan to hand over about a quarter of the Mabira Forest Reserve to a sugar cane company. The project had been shelved in 2007 due to public uproar.