February 2019: Environmental NGOs in the Crosshairs in Brazil (Berkeley)


Join us on Feb 6 from 6:30-9 pm for a Bay Area Tropical Forest Network (BATFN) event held at the Goldman School of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley.

The topic is “Threats and risks for socioenvironmental agendas, indigenous peoples, and the conservation of the Brazilian Amazon under the Bolsonaro government.” Doors open at 6:30 with drinks, snacks, and networking, while the talk will begin around 7:15 pm, followed by discussion.

    Environmental and indigenous issues NGOs in Brazil have always been on the front lines of the struggle for the recognition of indigenous territorial rights and the protection of indigenous and other traditional people’s livelihoods, working in close partnership with the country’s indigenous movements. Many have also been instrumental in forest and biodiversity conservation efforts. Their history of struggle and success in achieving indigenous rights and environmental conservation have made these NGOs a target for the populist, extreme-right government recently elected in Brazil. In less than one month in power, a government responsive to the interests of the rural landowning interest group, historic enemies of indigenous peoples and forests, has already led to setbacks in indigenous rights, environmental protection and the defamation of NGOs. Although still unmeasured, consequences such as the invasion of tens of indigenous territories by loggers and miners in the Amazon are already taking place, resulting in human conflict and the elimination of core mechanisms for forest protection—environmental licensing and the demarcation of indigenous lands. The work done by NGOs and the fight carried out by indigenous movements are under attack by the principal decision-makers in the country. I will describe and discuss some of the policy changes wrought by the new government, and the consequences for territorial integrity, environmental protection and human rights, and the options open to NGOs and their indigenous partners to respond to this change in context.

    Andreia Bavaresco, Technical Coordinator, Brazil International Institute for Education (Instituto Internacional de Educação do Brasil). Andreia has an undergraduate degree in Forest Management and a Master’s in Sustainable Development form the University of Brasilia. Prior to and since joining IEB in 2010, she has supported or led environmental and governance projects with more than twenty indigenous peoples in Brazil. She specializes in the design and implementation of interdisciplinary, village-based training programs that enhance indigenous and traditional people’s capacity to manage their lands, resources, and livelihoods in the context of Brazilian public policy.

    ONGs ambientalistas na mira do Governo Bolsonaro: ameaças e riscos as agendas socioambientais, povos indígenas e preservação da Amazonia.

    A atuação das ONGs ambientalistas e indigenistas no Brasil em estreita parceria e dialogo com os movimentos indígenas sempre estiveram na linha de frente das lutas pela conquista pelo reconhecimento dos direitos territoriais e pela manutenção dos modos de vida dos povos indígenas e comunidades tradicionais brasileiras. Esse histórico de conquistas colocaram as ONGs como alvo do governo populista e de extrema direita que recentemente assumiu o poder no Brasil. Retrocessos nos direitos conquistados e difamação do trabalho das ONGs ja se fazem sentir em menos de um mês de atuação de um governo militarizado e que atende aos interesses dos inimigos históricos dos índios e das florestas, os ruralistas. Consequências, ainda não mensuradas, como a invasão de dezenas de terras indígenas por madeireiros e garimpeiros para exploração dos cobiçados recursos naturais da Amazonia ja são uma realidade com tendencias de surgimento de conflitos e a pulverização dos principais mecanismos de proteção da floresta, como o licenciamento ambiental e a demarcação de Terras Indígenas. O trabalho das ONGs e a luta dos movimentos indígenas estão sob ataque dos principais tomadores de decisão no pais.

    Andreia Bavaresco – Coordenadora Tecnica do Instituto Internacional de Educação do Brasil e Mestre em Desenvolvimento Sustentável pela Universidade de Brasilia

Admission is free and open to all, with refreshments (including wine and beer) courtesy of the Bay Area Tropical Forest Network and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

February 6 from 6:30-9 pm

Goldman School of Public Policy: Living room
University of California
2607 Hearst Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94720-7320

Please RSVP so we know how much food and drink to buy

June 2017: Saving Brazil’s cerrado (Berkeley)


Join us on June 6 from 6-8:30 pm for a Bay Area Tropical Forest Network (BATFN) event held at the Goldman School of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley.

The event will focus on Brazil’s cerrado, a tropical woodland ecosystem that is fast being destroyed for industrial ranches and farms. Dr. Arnaldo Carneiro, a researcher at National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), will present his findings on how companies can expand responsibly, while the Union of Concerned Scientists will provide an overview of the current political battle going over the future of the Brazilian Cerrado, which is home to 5 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity.

    Over the past decade, vast areas of Brazil’s Cerrado have been converted from diverse native ecosystems into soy monocultures to feed the world’s growing demand. Today, deforestation rates are still higher in the Cerrado, particularly in Matopiba, where most recent agricultural expansion has occurred at the expense of native vegetation. It doesn’t have to be this way. Researchers and experts have mapped opportunities for agricultural expansion on degraded lands and existing pasture. Advocacy groups press for soy traders to adopt a monitoring system for deforestation and smart infrastructure design to focus new expansion on existing pasture fields avoiding new deforestation.

Admission is free and open to all, with refreshments (including wine and beer) courtesy of the Bay Area Tropical Forest Network and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

June 6 from 6-8:30 pm

Goldman School of Public Policy: Living room
University of California
2607 Hearst Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94720-7320

Please RSVP so we know how much food and drink to buy

Mar 2017: Why Forests? Why Now? (San Francisco) – REDUX

The Center for Global Development, together with The Nature Conservancy California Chapter and the University of California Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), is hosting two upcoming events in the Bay Area to launch the book Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change. The events feature Dr. Jonah Busch, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, who co-authored the book with Frances Seymour.

Monday, March 6th
5:30 – 7:30 pm
The Nature Conservancy California Chapter
201 Mission Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA
Please RSVP to aleumer@tnc.org

Thursday, March 9th
4:30 – 6:30 pm
Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA)
Giannini Hall 248
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

From the authors:

    Tropical forests are an undervalued asset in meeting the greatest global challenges of our time—averting climate change and promoting sustainable development. Despite their importance, tropical forests and their ecosystems are being destroyed at a high and even increasing rate in most forest-rich countries. The good news is that the science, economics, and politics are aligned to support a major international effort to reverse tropical deforestation.
    Why Forests? Why Now? synthesizes the latest research on the importance of tropical forests in a way that is accessible to anyone interested in climate change and development and to readers already familiar with the problem of deforestation. It makes the case to decision-makers in rich countries that rewarding developing countries for protecting their forests is urgent, affordable, and achievable.

“Why Forests? Why Now? should be mandatory reading for people who already care deeply about tropical forests, as well as for those who remain not yet convinced.”
—Alec Baldwin, Actor and international advocate for forests and indigenous peoples

“Seymour and Busch highlight an important achievement of global climate negotiations—agreement on cooperation to reduce tropical deforestation—and suggest an effective path for the realization of this goal.”
—Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Light refreshments will be served

Nov 2016 BATFN: Building an inclusive low-carbon economy in Acre, Brazil (Berkeley)


Join us on October 26 from 7-8:30 pm for an event co-hosted by the Bay Area Tropical Forest Network (BATFN), Earth Innovation Institute, Forest Trends, and the UC Berkeley Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory and featuring Tião Viana, the governor of Brazil’s state of Acre.

Acre, Brazil has one of the most advanced state-wide systems for promoting sustainable development in the tropics. During the last year, when deforestation rates across the Brazilian Amazon increased 24%, Acre’s deforestation declined, falling to 44% of its ten-year average. Acre is leading the way on forest conservation while simultaneously driving economic growth and ensuring inclusion for its people. This event features the premier of The Story of SISA—a short film examining the powerful partnership between the state of Acre and the indigenous and traditional peoples working to keep its forests standing while improving livelihoods.


6:45 Doors open
7:00 Welcome by Rhett Butler, Mongabay and the Bay Area Tropical Forests Network
7:05 Introduction to the Low Carbon Economy by Dan Kammen, UC Berkeley, Founding Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory
7:10 Introduction to Acre’s Grand Experiment by Daniel Nepstad, Executive Director, Earth Innovation Institute
7:15 Address by Tião Viana, Governor of Acre, Brazil
7:30 The Story of SISA
7:45 Panel discussion with representatives of Acre’s indigenous and business communities followed by audience questions
8:30 Closing Remarks by Rhett Butler

Please note, the structure of this event is more formal that the typical BATFN. The program will start promptly at 7 pm, so we recommend you arrive a few minutes early.

Admission is free and open to all.

WHEN: October 26, 2016 from 6:45 PM to 8:45 PM (PDT)

WHERE: Brower Center Goldman Theater. 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94705



Sep 2016 event – Development Without Destruction: Community-Managed Conservation in Malaysian Borneo (Berkeley)

Google Earth image showing deforestation, dams, and logging on lands traditionally managed by indigenous peoples in Sarawak.
Google Earth image showing deforestation, dams, and logging on lands traditionally managed by indigenous peoples in Sarawak.

Join BATFN and The Borneo Project for a panel discussion with indigenous activists from Borneo and the academics from UC Berkeley who support their efforts.

Peter Kallang and Komeok Joe are on the front lines of human rights and environmental justice campaigns in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Komeok, founder of the Penan organization Keruan, has been actively fighting logging since the mid 90s. He has been involved in dozens of blockades and non-violent direct actions against logging companies.

As Chairman of the grassroots network SAVE Rivers, Peter Kallang is a leader in the campaign against a series of mega-dams planned for Sarawak. In March 2016 the campaign had a major success when the state government cancelled the Baram Dam, the next dam in line to be built.

Dr. Rebekah Shirley from the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at UC Berkeley produced three studies on the proposed Sarawak dams that have discredited the initiative, proposing instead a energy development plan based on decentralized renewable systems.

Save Rivers and Keruan are now teaming up to ensure long-term indigenous and environmental rights in Sarawak by creating a community-managed protected area in the Baram River Basin.

Join us to learn how a coalition of NGOs, community organizations, and academics are resisting destructive development practices in Borneo, and how a multi-ethnic coalition envisions their sustainable future.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 7, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (PDT)

WHERE: Goldman School of Public Policy – Living Room – 2607 Hearst Ave, Berkeley, CA 94720

RSVP here

February 2014 BATFN: Conflict and conservation in the Congo (@Berkeley)

Greetings! The Bay Area Tropical Forest Network (BATFN) is back!

BATFN will take place Thursday, Feb 27, 2013 at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley (2607 Hearst Ave, Berkeley, CA).

We’re pleased to announce that Van Butsic will give a brief talk about the impact of conflict on forest loss in the Democratic Republic of Congo:

    Many tropical countries have experienced violent conflict in recent decades, which may pose an additional, yet poorly understood threat for forests. Conflict may decrease or increase deforestation depending on the relationship between conflict and other causes of land use change, such as mining expansion or protected area establishment. Here we examine the impact of conflict on forest loss in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Using a panel instrumental variables approach we find that: i) conflict increases forest cover loss, ii) mining concessions increase forest cover loss, but in times of conflict this impact is lessened, and iii) protected areas reduce forest cover loss, even if conflict is present. Our results thus suggest that policy interventions designed to reduce violent conflict may have the co-benefit of reducing deforestation and that protected areas can be effective even in times of war.

Doors open at 6pm for networking/conversation and Butsic’s talk will likely begin around 7 pm, followed by discussion. We’ll provide some snacks and drinks, but any food, drink, or other contributions would be appreciated.

If you are interested in attending the event, it would be helpful if you RSVP via this form. The event is open to everyone so feel free to forward to your friends.

We hope you can make it.