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First Carbon-Scrubbing Forestry Projects Certified

Teak & Reforestation Source: GreenBiz.com PANAMA and CHINA, Mar. 30, 2007 -- Two reforestation projects, intended to improve the immediate ecosystem as well as fight climate change, have received the first certification under comprehensive new standards launched by the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance. The projects, on Panama's Pacific Coast and in Tengchong, China, together cover over 3,000 acres of land, with the Panama project expected to grow to over 10,000 acres in the next decade. The trees planted in these areas will together remove over 850,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next 30 years. Certified under the Carbon Forestry Project Standards, these projects go beyond Kyoto Protocol requirements and meet 15 criteria that ensure they will help mitigate climate change, conserve biodiversity, and improve socioeconomic conditions for local communities. "We are thrilled to have the first two of many anticipated forestry projects to be certified under the CCB Standards," said Toby Janson-Smith the director of Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance. "After all the hard work by some of the world's top NGOs, companies and research institutes ... it is satisfying to see the CCB Standards making a real difference on the ground." (more)

CCBA is a partnership between research institutions, corporations and environmental groups, including BP, Intel, Weyerhauser, Conservation International, the Nature Conservancy and others. Working together, the organizations involved require that environmental and social monitoring programs are in place, no invasive plant or tree species are used, local stakeholders are appropriately involved in the design of the project, and there are no unresolved land tenure issues before projects can be certified.

The CCB standards, released in 2005, have become a prominent tool for designing and evaluating carbon forestry projects around the world. Currently, several dozen land-based projects are using the standards to guide their design, with more joining the list regularly. Additionally, leading global investment groups, including the World Bank and EcoSecurities, are applying the CCB standards to their project portfolios.

The standards can be applied to any kind of land-use change and forestry project anywhere in the world, whether undertaken for Kyoto or other regulatory compliance, or for voluntary carbon offsetting purposes.

About the Projects

The Chinese project, which is a joint operation between Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy, is the first to be certified under the CCB standards. It is a small-scale reforestation project located in Tengchong, China, in the Yunnan province just south of the Gaoligongshan Nature Reserve on the western slope of the famous Gaoligongshan Mountain, regarded as a key area of global biodiversity conservation.

In addition to meeting the CCB standards, the Tengchong project is also the first Small Scale (SSC) forestry project validated under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. The project will reforest almost 1,200 acres of degraded land with native trees species, which over 30 years will remove nearly 160,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. In addition, the project will create sustainable livelihoods for local communities and contribute to poverty alleviation in the region.

In Panama, Futuro Forestal and CO2OL-USA are leading the reforesting project on degraded and abandoned lands along Panama's Pacific Coast in the Chiriqui and Veraguas provinces. Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, this project currently covers about 1,700 acres of reforested lands, with more than 10,600 acres planned to be managed by 2019, when about 700,000 tons of CO2 will have been sequestered.

The project’s use of native forest species, organic fertilizer, hand tools, and the removal of cows have led to improved soil and fresh-water quality, reduced erosion, improved water quality in the mangrove ecosystem, and improved biodiversity habitat and connectivity. The project is also providing new skills training and employment for local communities, helping to reverse the trend of emigration to city slums from rural communities.

“We sought CCB Certification for a number of reasons -- we wanted to see a more stringent carbon standard applied to tropical forestry activities, and the CCB Standards perfectly fit the bill as a robust yet workable framework for evaluating multiple-benefit forestry projects,” said Keegan Eisenstadt, president of CO2OL-USA. “As more carbon projects are designed and evaluated with the CCB Standards, and as awareness grows of these projects and the unique benefits they deliver, we are hopeful that the Standards will play a key role in steering international finance towards high-quality sustainable tropical forestry projects.”

More information about these and other CCBA projects is available from Climate-Standards.org.

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