Top five forest stories of 2010 | Grist
In the context of an overall bleak 2010 for the planet, forests offer a bright point for some celebration — showing this sector as the area offering perhaps the best hope for continued progress in fighting climate change. Towards that end, here are the world’s top five forest stories of the year: Global decline in deforestation, showing that REDD+ is working: By far the most important story of the year was the significant decline in deforestation, particularly in the Amazon. According to a report by the Global Carbon Budget in Nature Geoscience, emissions from land use change have declined about 39 percent, a marked contrast to the approximately one quarter increase [PDF] in fossil fuel emissions, driven largely by developing countries like China. Brazil has led the way — cutting deforestation by a whopping two-thirds in five years — by doing things like better enforcing laws against illegal logging, supporting indigenous peoples’ land rights, stopping land conversion to cattle pasture, intensifying existing cattle operations from an average of one head of cattle per hectare to three, and imposing a moratorium on deforestation for soy. They’ve been aided in this work by a generous $1 billion contribution from Norway for Brazil’s Amazon’s Fund — showing the possibility of forest conservation finance (also known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation or REDD+) to achieve dramatic positive results.