- - Friday, August 15, 2014

I read with interest The Washington Times’ August 12 editorial, “It’s a jungle (aka rain forest) out there,” which discusses “Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change,” our recent report with the Rights and Resources Initiative. I commend the Times for drawing attention to the vital role community forests play in combating climate change. However, the editorial’s point about government involvement is at odds with our findings.

Our research showed that government support and protection of forest communities’ legal land rights is essential to curbing deforestation. One specific reference to our report in the editorial is inaccurate. The editorial says that government-managed forests in Brazil have experienced a 7 percent deforestation rate since 2000. This figure refers not only to government-managed forests, but to all forests outside indigenous community lands.

Community forests tend to have less deforestation than others, but government support and protection is critical to making this happen. Without government enforcement of forest communities’ legal rights in places such as Brazil, deforestation would likely be much higher.

We at WRI greatly appreciate The Times’ help in focusing on this important issue.

PETER VEIT

Director, Governance Center of Excellence

World Resources Institute

Washington