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Comic Book: Forest is Life-A Story on Climate Change, Forests and Communities

Climate change is a commonly-discussed issue nowadays, and has become an environmental problem affecting people throughout the world. Climate change is resulting in shifting weather patterns and other global effects such as unseasonal rains that affect agriculture, droughts, increased temperatures, floods, plagues and diseases. Global warming is mainly the result of CO2 levels rising in the earth's atmosphere. Scientists say about 18% to 25% of the global CO2 emissions are a result of destruction and degradation of forests. This book provides information on climate change and REDD (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries) one of the mitigation measures currently promoted for helping decrease emissions of carbon into the atmosphere.

As a handbook for communities, the content is simplified and accompanied by illustrations and photos for visualization. It is intended primarily for communities (villagers), minorities and students as a guide in understanding climate change, REDD and how they relate to the full and effective participation of local people/indigenous people.

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Drivers of Deforestation? Facts to be considered regarding the impact of shifting cultivation in Asia

An estimated 260 million indigenous peoples live in Asia. Most of them inhabit forested uplandswhere a large number of them practice shifting cultivation, which is also called as swidden cultivationor rotational farming. For them, shifting cultivation is not merely a technique of farming; it is theirway of life. Government policies and laws have attempted to limit or outright ban shifting cultivationsince it is considered a primitive and destructive form of land use. Recently, several governments of theregion involved in REDD have identified shifting cultivation as a driver of deforestation in their REDDReadiness-Plan Idea Note (R-PIN) and Readiness Preparation Proposals (RPP).

Decades of research on virtually every aspect of shifting cultivation has generated sufficient evidence toprove that its sweeping condemnation by government bureaucrats, politicians or professionals is basedon insufficient and erroneous information, or quite simply myth.

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Thai Version: "Climate Change, Trees and Livelihood: A Case Study on the Carbon Footprint of a Karen Community in Northern Thailand"



 

Conclusion of the Study:

Ways of life and agricultural patterns of highland peoples do not contribute adversely to climate change. On the contrary, traditional livelihood practices of these peoples are helping to balance the ecological system, effectively mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change and maintain a sustainable food security. The research has proven three major points:


  • Farming activities of the Huay Hin Lad community cause little emission: only 476 tons of carbon (1,745.33 tons of CO2) from shifting cultivation fields and 68 tons of carbon (249.33 tons of CO2) from corn production. Rice fields release only 0.8 ton of Methane (16.80 tons CO2 equivalents) and corn fields release 0.1 ton of Nitrous oxide (31 tons CO2 equivalents) from using urea fertilizer. The community's capacity (total) to store carbon is 720,627 tons (equivalent to 2,642,299 tons of CO2). Annual carbon emission therefore is only 0.08% of the carbon stored.
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Customary Law in Forest Resources Use and Management - A Case Study among the Dzao and Thai People in North-West Vietnam

Vietnam is home to 53 ethnic minority groups who mostly live in the forested uplands. Numbering over twelve million people, they highly depend on forests for their livelihood and development. But the pressures on these forests are ever increasing, posing a serious threat to the lives and stability of millions of people.

 
Since the early 1990s, Vietnam has attempted to address deforestation by decentralizing forest management. Under the forest land allocation programme long-term use rights over forest land are provided to individual households and communities. However, while the programme has been successful in improving forest conservation, the benefits of the programme have been unevenly distributed. Especially in mountainous areas, where the majority of ethnic minorities live, its implementation has been slow and many communities remain without secure tenure rights.

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Understanding Community-Based REDD+ A Manual for Indigenous Community Trainers

In December 2010, after years of negotiations, an agreement on REDD was finally reached at the 16th Conference of Parties (COP 16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico. The agreement includes references to indigenous peoples and their rights, and in paragraph 72 of the agreement, country Parties are requested to ensure “the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, inter alia, indigenous peoples and local communities” when developing and implementing their national strategies or action plans on REDD.

But what does “full and effective participation” mean? This question is the main motivation for writing this manual.

To ensure not just “participation”, but community control and empowerment, REDD+ projects should be planned, designed and implemented in such a way that they fully comply with the safeguards referred to in the UNFCCC agreement on REDD, as well as the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We have chosen to call projects with such an approach “Community-based REDD+”.

While the first community guide in our manual series, “What is REDD?”, aims to help indigenous communities to understand what REDD+ is and what its implications may be for them more generally, this manual looks at REDD+ at the project level. The purpose of this manual is to provide guidance to indigenous trainers to prepare and conduct trainings on Community-based REDD+. These trainings should help communities acquire the knowledge and skills needed to take a decision on whether to join a REDD+ project, and if they do, to be able to fully and effectively participate in it.

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