100OEC’s This week in Trees

This week we have 37 items from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine, USA, Canada, European Union, England, Germany, Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Uruguay, Peru, Pakistan, India, China, South Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, and Australia.

British Columbia:

1) So here are the facts: De Jong overruled senior ministry staff and approved the decision to remove the land from the tree farm licence. The province lost the ability to manage the land in the public interest. The community lost jobs. The corporations got a benefit worth $200 million. Taxpayers got no money. Weyerhaeuser moved quickly to cash in. It started negotiations within months to sell its properties and licences to Brascan. Brascan executives have said they wouldn’t have bought if the government hadn’t severed the private land from the tree farm licence. Brascan ultimately paid Weyerhaeuser $1.4 billion for land and harvesting rights, including the 70,000 hectares. The government decision to remove the land from the tree farm licence meant an extra $15 million to $24 million in profits, Brascan testified in B.C. Supreme Court. A ministry briefing note prepared for Mike de Jong, then the forest minister, assumed Weyerhaeuser would compensate the government. After all, the government paid to have the private land included. It should get that money back if the company wants to break the deal. But even given compensation, senior ministry staff recommended against the change. Communities and workers expected the “social contract” created by the tree farm licence to remain in place, de Jong was told. A change that allowed unlimited raw log exports would cost jobs and leave communities feeling betrayed. It would be difficult to get the company to pay fair value for the benefit. And the change would create political problems, staff warned. http://www.vancouversun.com


2) Whether it’s a strenuous hike to the top of Oyster Dome or launching off a mountainside in a hang glider, Blanchard Mountain is a Pacific Northwest playground. But it’s also home to 4,827 acres of “working forest,” managed by the state Department of Natural Resources and logged to raise money for the state, Skagit County government and Burlington-Edison schools. Now, as DNR is working out its plans for the mountain, recreation groups and environmentalists are trying to stop the logging without taking money away from the beneficiaries of timber sales. “It’s the classic conflict,” said Lisa McShane, community relations director for Conservation Northwest, a Bellingham-based nonprofit environmental group. DNR has put together a 10-member Blanchard Forest Strategies Group, charged with writing a draft plan for the site before the end of summer. Timber sales on the mountain have been suspended until the plan is finished, said Bill Wallace, DNR’s northwest region manager. Blanchard Mountain is just south of the Whatcom-Skagit county line. Its extensive trail system is popular with hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and bird watchers. Hang gliders and paragliders can drive up a logging road to a launch site. It offers views of Samish Bay, the San Juan Islands and the Skagit Valley. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife, from salamanders to cougars.
Located west of Interstate 5 near Bellingham, the land is easily accessible and is touted as being one of the only places where the Cascades meet the ocean.”We would like everything above the existing logging roads preserved in a no-logging model for use … as open space, for environmental benefits and recreation,” said Eron Berg, a lawyer and member of The Friends of Blanchard Mountain. Berg is on the DNR strategic planning group. That area turns out to be about 3,000 of the 4,827 acres, Berg said. His group is lobbying for a trust land transfer. It’s a complicated process that likely would entail an act of the Legislature and would require finding a different location to generate revenue for the trust beneficiaries. Berg said his group is open to other options. “Our objective is preservation of that core (forested) area,” he said. http://www.bellinghamherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060603/NEWS01/606030357\

3) It is a tremendous pain in the butt just to get to. Flying is no longer much fun, and 3 1/2 hours on an airliner is no way to recuperate from the flu that hit just two days before vacation began. And that’s just getting to Seattle. Lake Quinault sits in the interior of the peninsula, which means you have to drive for three hours from Seattle through terrain that shifts from stunning occasional glimpses of Mt. Olympus to depressing drives through forests that have been clear cut. You end up within crushing distance of a logging truck at about 300 points during this journey. By the time you finally drive up to the lodge, you are more than ready to do some lodging, and that is when everything starts to change. Lake Quinault Lodge has been meticulously maintained at the same level of post and beam beauty that left a huge impression on Franklin D. Roosevelt back in the 1930s. These are forests of Western red cedar, Sitka spruce, Douglas fir and Western hemlock, with some very mossy big leaf maples mixed in. I know that they have not been “harvested,” because I took advantage of some cuts on trees that had fallen across paths to count annual growth rings. You lose interest at about 260 rings, with lots more to go. The biggest tree we visited was the largest Sitka spruce in the world, 54 feet around and roughly 1,000 years old. We also climbed up to see two of the oldest cedars, massive, hollow trees with halos of green topping intricately twisted trunks and dancing, criss-crossing roots. http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/14744915.htm

4) Federal wildlife officials gave their blessing Monday to a 50-year forestry plan aimed at saving Washington state’s salmon runs while shielding timber companies from costly Endangered Species Act lawsuits. The sweeping deal, which covers about 9.3 million acres of public and private state forestland and more than 60,000 miles of streams, is believed the biggest of its kind in the country. It requires wider buffers of trees along streams and rivers, reduces the amount of logging on unstable slopes, and establishes new rules for logging roads to reduce the amount of sediment runoff. In return, foresters who follow its provisions are assured by federal fish and wildlife managers that they are not violating endangered species protections for fish and other species. The blueprint, known formally as a Habitat Conservation Plan, and its organizers were praised by officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Leading environmentalists are wary of the plan’s effectiveness, said Miguel Perez-Gibson, a policy adviser for a collection of conservation groups known as the Forest and Fish Conservation Caucus. Environmentalists have walked away from the plan in the past, and its promise to adjust forestry practices to protect water and habitat are key to the environmental groups’ continued participation. “We want to make sure that the long-term effects, the cumulative effects are being addressed,” Perez-Gibson said. “While this plan is a step in the right direction, we want it to be able to adjust to new biology and new science.” http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420AP_WA_Forests_and_Fish.html


5) JOSEPH — Shaggy with pines and firs and jutting 8,200 feet into the alpine sky, Mount Howard makes a picturesque northeastern Oregon backdrop for Wallowa Lake. But now the U.S. Forest Service is proposing to cut 1.4 million board feet of timber, roughly 311 log truck loads, from the steep mountain, familiar to many around the Northwest for its cable tramway and the deep, blue lake at its base. As part of the same project, the agency also wants to do controlled burning to reduce forest fuels on 1,295 acres overlapping the area to be cut, said Bill Diskin, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service. A 2005 Wallowa County Wildlife Protection Plan branded Wallowa Lake State Park and the hundreds of cabins, homes and businesses at the mountain’s base a “community at risk.” Mount Howard — named for Gen. Oliver Otis Howard, the one-armed commander of the U.S. Cavalry during its 1877 pursuit of Nez Perce Chief Joseph from Idaho to Montana — has had past brushes with potentially devastating wildfires. The Forest Service proposes cutting, hand piling and burning trees less than 10 inches in diameter on 68 acres at about midpoint on the mountain, and then using helicopters to remove trees between 10 inches and 21 inches in diameter so they can be hauled to a sawmill, Wing said. Trees larger than 21 inches number about nine an acre and will be left standing, she said. Removing some of the timber to a sawmill might retrieve as much as 45 percent of the costs, said Wallowa County Commissioner Mike Hayward, an advocate for the project. Critic Larry McLaud said that sounds like “more of a logging project than a fuel-reduction project.” The proposal calls for cutting too many old-growth trees, said McLaud, a spokesman for the Hells Canyon Preservation Council, an environmental group based in La Grande. Still, a decision by his group on whether to challenge the project won’t come until members see the final proposal, he said. Wing said logging and burning are proposed on only a fraction of the mountain. And Diskin said the burning could take as long as 10 years because fires would be ignited only when a storm that could douse runaway flames is moving in. James Monteith, a conservationist who lives in Joseph, said he’s heard the concerns about logging the larger trees. But the overall planning by the Forest Service has been state of the art, he said. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1149222082253240.xml&coll=7


6) CDF issued possibly the first violation ever against one of their own state land foresters. A Notice of Violation was issued against SDSF Manager, Thom Sutfin and SDSF Assistant Manager Edgar Orre for violations of the Forest Practice Act and the Forest Practice Rules. Trees were felled in at least three locations without an approved timber harvest plan and within the plan area for the proposed THP currently under review by CDF. In addition, trees were felled across a Class III watercourse and slash and debris was not immediately removed as required by CCR 916.4 . It is unclear how many trees were felled (figures have ranged from 10 to less than 40) including conifers 20” – 30” dbh.) Most were cut during an Incident Command System S212 training course for CDF fire personnel, who were learning how to use a chain saw for felling trees. The remainder of the illegally cut trees were adjacent to the leaning old growth (OG) tree that the SDSF THP has proposed to be felled for public safety purposes. In May 2004 CRFM submitted its first letter stating that we did not believe the enabling legislation or the management plan allowed for felling the OG tree. During the November 2005 Review Team meeting, SDSF staff were advised by CDF Review Team members that since the SDSF General Forest Management Plan required protection of “all” old growth redwoods and doug firs, they would need to find an alternative method of protecting the loggers and road builders from the perceived threat posed by the tree, other than cutting the tree down. SDSF RPFs decided that a cable system would be adequate and had taken a contract engineer onsite to determine how and where to rig the cable system between the leaning OG and and adjacent old growth redwood. Trees were felled adjacent to the leaning old growth tree, including two stems from the OG root system, one of which is 125-140 years old and sporting a significant fire scare. According to the fire history, the last fire to spread through that area occurred about 70 years ago. Additional redwoods and hardwoods were felled adjacent to and downslope from the OG tree so the consultant could see the top of the tree to guage where on the stem to place the cable system. http://www.crfm.org/update.archive.html


7) WOLVERINE — Mike Brown of Gaylord is incensed about 19 proposed Antrim Shale gas wells within the Pigeon River Country State Forest, where he’s hunted and fished most of his life. The forest is a special unit for the state Department of Natural Resources, nestled in the area where Otsego, Montmorency, Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties meet. It has dense, 100-year-old white pines, northern hardwoods, old-growth beech and maple trees. The area is the heart of Michigan’s elk territory and also provides habitat for deer and black bears, bobcats and martens. He contends state officials don’t see the forest for all its ecological qualities, but rather as a place to raise cash for the state’s Natural Resources Trust Fund. All royalties the state earns from mineral leases go directly to the trust fund, which is used for recreation and state park projects. “They’ve sacrificed the best of the best. The Pigeon is the best of what’s left in the Lower Peninsula,” Brown said. The region also has a long history of controversial oil and gas projects, which ultimately resulted in the creation of a citizen’s advisory council. Two years ago, oil company officials signed a consent agreement after Shell Western sold all holdings to Merit Energy Company. That contract prevented any new wells from being drilled within the special DNR unit. A new proposal by Aurora Energy of Traverse City is planned on roughly 2,500 acres of Cheboygan County land annexed into the Pigeon River Country State Forest since that agreement, said DNR manager Thomas Wellman. Mineral leases have already existed there, he said. “There has been drilling here before, primarily for oil,” he said. “There are existing well sites and flow lines that may be used.” http://www.record-eagle.com/2006/jun/04drilling.htm


8) Pennsylvania has more than 60 State Forest Natural Areas, which have been set aside for special protection against development and human intrusion. Some of these areas are in pristine natural condition and have never been developed, but most were exploited in the past and are being allowed to return to a natural state. These Natural Areas are usually fairly small, averaging a few hundred acres, and are almost always surrounded by general State Forest lands. According to state regulations, a Natural Area must have no human habitation except for primitive camping and backpacking (and even then only in designated areas), no access for motorized vehicles, no buildings (except those required for visitor health and safety), no timber harvesting and no surface resource extraction. The protected Natural Areas feature everything from humble hilltop forests to high-quality streams to breathtaking vistas. This type of Natural Area protection is now being discussed as a possibility for Spring Creek Canyon between State College and Bellefonte. http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/14736301.htm

9) “Pennsylvania’s forests are rich in potential bio-energy from small-diameter trees that are overcrowded, under-utilized, and inhibit the opportunity for professional management. The Pennsylvania Hardwoods Small Diameter Task Force analyzed the U.S. Forest Service’s most recent Forest Inventory Analysis data for Pennsylvania and estimated that as much as 500 million tons of wood are held in these small-diameter stems.” Ray further noted that half of this mass of potential fuel is available for harvest: “That is, it is not restricted by environmental, regulatory or ownership restrictions from harvest. Based on this available volume of wood, an annual sustainable harvest of 6 million dry tons of wood per year could be converted into various bio-energy sources.” That’s the equivalent of 18 wood-ethanol plants producing 540 million gallons of ethanol per year, he noted. “The potential is awesome,” Ray said. Energy is a growth industry. It is almost certain to always be a growth industry. It must, however, be given a new vision, one not constrained only to the old ways, to fossil fuels, to nonrenewable resources. Penn State is looking ahead for Pennsylvania. The need is already here. The opportunity, if it has not yet arrived is already on the horizon. Getting in early will be beneficial for Pennsylvanians not just in terms of available alternative energy, but also in terms of economic potential, business opportunity and plain good common sense. http://ldnews.com/editorials/ci_3897285

10) Sprawling across the Allegheny high plateau at the four-cornered conjunction of Elk, Forest, McKean and Warren counties, the half-million-acre Allegheny Forest is Pennsylvania’s only national forest. It is a land of world-class hardwoods, rushing streams, deep woods wildlife, uncommon scenic beauty, and the centerpiece of a rural economy boosted by outdoor recreation, nature tourism, forest products and energy extraction. The alternatives, labeled A, B, C, and D attempt to balance diverse and sometimes competing interests to various degrees. The Forest Service prefers alternative C, which would increase maximum allowable timber sales from 53.2 to 56.3 million board feet, and would identify two tracts — Chestnut Ridge and Tracy Ridge — totaling 14,000 acres for possible inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. In recent years, actual timber sales have averaged about 21 million board feet, far below the current allowable ceiling. Wilderness designation prohibits motorized travel and logging but permits hunting, fishing, hiking and other low impact forms of recreation. The Friends of Allegheny Wilderness proposal includes the Chestnut Ridge and Tracy Ridge tracts, plus additional areas known as: Allegheny Front, Clarion River, Cornplanter, Hickory Creek (addition to current Hickory Creek Wilderness), Morrison Run and Tionesta.Two sites, Hickory Creek and Allegheny River Islands, are currently designated wilderness, amounting to two percent of the total Allegheny National Forest acreage. Johnson noted recently that even if all of FAW’s proposed areas were to win wilderness status, wilderness would occupy only 12 percent of the forest. Nationwide, 18 percent of national forest land is protected by official wilderness designation. Even the two areas proposed as wilderness by the Forest Service are too much for some municipal officials in northwestern Pennsylvania. Municipalities and school districts in the region receive a portion of timber revenues generated on the Allegheny National Forest. Mead Township Supervisor Terry Hawk said at a meeting in Warren that wilderness designation “takes too much land out of production.” http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06155/695550-140.stm


11) “We know that the Portland Observatory was built from pine logs that were floated down the Presumpscot River and were probably grown in the same area, so it’s interesting to see some of the fragments of the old-growth forest,” said Jeff Tarling, Portland’s city arborist. “When you walk off the road and you step in about 50 feet, you’re standing in this big grove of trees.” This is just one of the spots Tarling covers on a popular field trip he conducts through Maine Audubon called “Ancient Trees and Historic Parks of Portland.” On these trips, Tarling takes people to many of the city’s largest and oldest trees, many of which are listed on Maine’s Register of Big Trees, and talks about the ecology of Portland’s historic parks. The trips have become so popular that two already are sold out for June, and Maine Audubon is taking names for a waiting list. The oldest trees in Portland generally are found in Deering Oaks and in Baxter Woods, Tarling said on a recent tour of some of the big tree sites. In Baxter Woods, a 30-acre woodland park that was once an estate, there are still huge white oaks and hemlocks. Percival Baxter, who gave the property to the city in memory of his father, used to come out to the woods from his home on the Western Prom in his limousine to supervise pruning of the trees, Tarling said. Tarling estimates that the oaks are 150 to 200 years old. Next stop on the tour was the giant red oak at the Barron Center on Brighton Avenue. This is probably the biggest tree in Portland, Tarling said, with a trunk circumference of 18.5 feet and a 90-foot canopy spread. “There’s a photograph that they have that shows when they first bought this farm on this hill with this one oak tree and nothing else around it,” he said, “and the oak tree’s still here.” http://outdoors.mainetoday.com/news/060604trees.shtml


12) What all three men had in common was their violation of the Lacey Act, a federal law first passed in 1900 that makes it illegal to traffic in any wildlife, fish, or plant products that have been obtained in violation of any state, federal, or foreign law. Over the years, the government has used the Lacey Act to prosecute importers who obtained products in violation of other countries’ laws on trading in ivory, fur, shellfish, butterflies, big game, rare herbs, caviar, medicinal roots, and hundreds of other products. But one forest product for which the Lacey Act provides a loophole is the forest itself. The law specifically does not apply to wood products deriving from trees cut in violation of other countries’ laws. “The United States is the world’s largest importer and consumer of timber and wood products, and imports hundreds of millions of dollars of wood products from illegal sources each year.” So says Allan Thornton, president of the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency, which has worked to persuade Congress to close the Lacey Act loophole. (A process to do just that was defeated in congressional conference committee in 2004.) While it’s wrong to circumvent another country’s forest laws to profit from illegally importing any product, illegal logging of wood products carries some of the gravest consequences for human health and the health of the planet, and deserves at least equal status under the law. Forests clean and preserve our environment. They filter our water and clean our air, prevent erosion of our land, protect against flooding, and reduce the threat of global warming. Globally, we lose a net 18 million acres of forest every year. This reduces forests’ capacity to absorb carbon dioxide by an amount roughly equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide pollution produced by all the U.S. cars on the road today. http://cjonline.com/stories/060506/opi_korfhage.shtml

13) Biomass policies are not yet clear on what is now or what should be considered woody biomass. Many people talk about limiting government incentives and programs to priority materials, such as small diameter, pre-commercial, non-merchantable, or restoration by-products) and/or priority areas, such as areas within the wildland-urban interface. Different agencies and organizations may have different views. This is a topic that should continue to be discussed. There are many potential uses for biomass. The group we hear most about is burning the biomass for power, heat, or fuel. But, government programs are also geared to promoting new forest products from small diameter materials, such as posts, poles, paneling, flooring, furniture, etc. Biomass production obstacles: “The obstacles to using woody biomass cited most often by agency officials were the difficulty of using woody biomass cost-effectively and the lack of a reliable supply of the material….” From 2005 GAO report: “Federal Agencies Are Engaged in Various Efforts to Promote the Utilization of Woody Biomass, but Significant Obstacles to Its Use Remain.” http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05373.pdf Article From NFPA’s Forest Forum conference call. Forest Forums are designed to provide national discussions and resources to activists about important issues facing the national forest and public lands community. http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/NFPA/content.jsp?content_KEY=1709

14) North American newsprint production dropped 5.1% year-over-year in April, not keeping pace with the 8.9% plunge in consumption by U.S. dailies for the same period. However, total mill and consumer inventories remained lower than historical averages, according to data released today by the Pulp and Paper Products Council of Canada (PPPC). “Total inventories are at their lowest April level since April 1979,” said Dillon. “Since the end of December, North American total inventories have risen by a mere 16,000 tonnes (up 1.3%), only one-eighth of the 126,000-tonne, 10-year average January-April increase.” In terms of days of supply, all U.S. users’ inventories (38 days) were unchanged from a month earlier but two days lower than a year ago, while U.S. dailies (43 days) rose by two days from a month earlier and were one day below a year ago. http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002613014


15) The environmental impact of 160,000 trees is significant. Over their lifetime, these trees will absorb 93,418 tonnes of carbon dioxide and will filter other pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and ozone. Each mature tree will lift nearly 400 litres of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air daily, cooling the air while producing life-giving oxygen. Trees reduce water run-off and erosion, keep streams cleaner, recharge ground water, and provide habitat for wildlife. “Our wilderness is a big part of what defines us as Canadians. It’s something we all have in common no matter where we live. And since so many TD Waterhouse clients are investing for the future, we thought we’d thank them with a gift that everyone could appreciate and that also represents an investment for the future,” added Bill Hatanaka, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, TD Waterhouse. http://www.cnw.ca/fr/releases/archive/June2006/02/c2721.html

European Union:

16) Many countries in Eastern Europe restructuring their economic and social system from central planning to the market system have made huge progress in developing a private forestry sector and adapting their institutions. The State has returned forests to former owners or their heirs; changes have been made in policy and legislation for greater private-sector involvement in the forestry sector; and forest institutions, notably State forest services are adapting to the market economy. As a result, the forest sector in Eastern Europe is benefiting from a general recovery. Production of forest products in Eastern Europe is growing and trade of forest products with Western Europe is increasing significantly. Many new forest owners are seeking new skills and resources to manage their forest in a sustainable way. However, their holdings are so small that many owners cannot afford professional advice. There is no long established tradition of forest management, nor institutional advice and support. As a result, forest owners are often tempted to sell all the timber to the first buyer, and then abandon active and responsible management. Greater demand for social and environmental benefits from forests, such as water management, soil erosion control and leisure, is expected. Improved policy coordination across sectors will be indispensable, according to FAO. “Overall, private owners will need further support to manage and market forest products better, so that the private forests may become more economically viable. Safeguarding the environmental and social services of forests, is yet another challenge,” Killmann said. Discussions at the European Forestry Commission meeting are expected to help policymakers identify and solve the problems. The commission meets every two years and is part of a global network of regional forestry commissions which together feed ideas and suggestions to the FAO Committee on Forests scheduled to meet in March 2007. http://www.unece.org/press/pr2006/06tim_p02e.htm


17) AS DAWN broke this morning, the tree camp protesters notched up their first whole week in Titnore Woods. Well done to everyone involved. This is just the start! It has emerged that yesterday landowner Clem Somerset sent his farmhands to spray muck on the fields next to the camp – to irritate the protesters or to deter visitors? It didn’t work, in any case. Meanwhile, there was an amusing incident involving a police car getting stuck in the mud… POLICE appear to have backtracked on their claim that the Titnore tree protesters were acting illegally and would be evicted without civil court proceedings. The eco-activists occupied the woods on Sunday morning to try and halt the destructive West Durrington development, including a 875-home estate, new Tesco superstore and road widening. A report in The Argus today, quoting the local police chief, states: “Worthing District Commander Jason Taylor said officers served notice for their removal on Sunday evening as a precautionary measure. He said there were no plans to remove the protesters unless any offences were committed. He said: “As far as the police are concerned we have a situation which is, at the moment, legitimate. People are protesting lawfully and are not causing particular problems.” The camp has already attracted widespread corporate media interest, including two articles in The Argus, the lead slot on Monday night’s BBC South Today TV news, items on Southern FM and BBC Southern Counties radio, a piece on The Sun’s website and even an article on the website of the Orlando Sentinel in Florida. Reaction from the media, as from the Worthing public, has been positive. The same issue of The Argus declared in an editorial comment that it was “refreshing” to see “Titnore Wood dissenters standing up to the Establishment”. It added: “It appears this treetop demonstration is being conducted lawfully and this can only be a good thing for democracy.” Tonight the protesters were appealing for “loads and loads” more 10-12mm polypropylene rope, urgent financial donations and supplies of vegan food. http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/05/341557.html


18) Most Americans have heard of the Black Forest (Schwarzenwald) or the Vienna Woods (Weinerwald) or the Hartz Mountain Forest (Harzbergerwald) or the Teutoberg Forest (Teutoberg Wald, from whence the word teutonic, as a description of something German, as in Teutonic Knights, emanates). This identification of large areas of woodland is not common to most other countries. This is particularly significant in that Germany is a country which has a high population density, but is not one of the larger nations of the world in terms of area. This awareness can even be seen in the German capital, Berlin, where one of their most world renowned streets is named Unter den Linden (Under the Linden Trees). Since the latter half of the nineteenth century, forestry has been a serious academic discipline at German universities.4 It is evident from the foregoing that there is in the culture and society of Germany a special connection with their forests and that this bond has engendered an environmental awareness and an attitude which encourages conservation and preservation of the existing forested areas. The environmental movement has been broadening its base and is no longer seen in left/right political terms as in the fifties, sixties and seventies. Moreover, it has shifted to post-materialistic values and post-modern politics. Their concern is now with natural living conditions, with “Staatsverdroßenkeit” (general social mores and values) and considerations applicable to the younger, post-W.W.II generation. They contend there is a basic human right to satisfaction of needs within ecological tolerances of land, sea, air and forest and this applies to future generations as well. Their focus is anti-capitalist, anti-Communist, anti-nuclear and environmental protection. The problems that they see as important include water depletion and deforestation. http://www.frontiernet.net/~mmulford/FOREST.HTM


19) Migrant Birds From Africa in Serious Decline – Study “Climate change, drought and desertification in Africa, and massive pesticide use on African farmland may all be to blame for the declines of once common UK birds such as the spotted flycatcher, wheatear, wood warbler and turtle dove,” it said. Researchers were looking at factors such as drought and heavy pesticide use in the Sahel region of Africa, which borders the Sahara desert and is a major stopover point for birds that have made the exhausting journey across the unforgiving sands. The RSPB said the research, to be published in the journal “Biological Conservation”, showed that 54 percent of the 121 long-distance migrants studied have declined or become extinct in many parts of Europe since 1970. “These migrants are highly evolved and some range over a quarter of the planet’s land surface. For species like this to be affected so severely suggests that something pretty serious is going wrong somewhere,” said the RSPB’s Dr Paul Donald, a co-author of the study. http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/36544/story.htm


20) Less than 10 per cent of Ghana rainforest – part of one of the world’s richest and most diverse ecosystems – survives. And what is left is under grave threat, jeopardising the country’s economic future and the wellbeing of its people. The demand chain affecting forests in Ghana begins with Travis Perkins, a publicly-traded company that is a main supplier to the building and construction market and one of the largest companies in the UK. In recent years, the company has been criticized for the sources of wood used in some major government building projects, including renovations to cabinet offices in Westminster, the British parliament. The ride from Accra, Ghana’s capital, to Samreboi, a sawmill town in the southwestern part of the country, reveals the impact of 50 years of indiscriminate logging and clear-cutting at the expense of the once-extensive forests of this West African nation. Hundreds of species of flora and fauna inhabit the Guinean moist forests like the ones where Samartex extracts timber, including chimpanzees, forest elephants, and rare red colobus monkeys. Several forest blocks in the Samartex concession contain forest that has never been logged, and some have been withdrawn from production and set aside by the government as “globally significant biodiversity areas”. The company’s commercially-valuable timber species, however, include iroko, African mahogany, utile, and sapele. In an effort to increase its supply of sustainably-produced wood, Timbmet encouraged Samartex to join the newly established Ghana FTN. The Global Network, set up by WWF, aims to eliminate illegal logging and improve the management of valuable and threatened forests. By facilitating trade links between companies committed to achieving and supporting responsible forestry, the GFTN creates market conditions that help conserve the world’s forests while providing economic and social benefits for the businesses and people that depend on them. The aim is to form forest and trade networks (FTNs) in markets and production areas where they can have the greatest beneficial impact on valuable and threatened forests. Since 2003, WWF and Friends of the Earth-Ghana (FOE) have been working with logging companies in Ghana to help improve their forestry practices, and by extension, to conserve more forests and their wildlife. http://www.peopleandplanet.net/doc.php?id=2772


21) Three top Rift Valley forest officers have been suspended in connection with illegal logging in three districts exposed by our investigative team two weeks ago. The three include a senior provincial forest officer and two senior forest officers in Uasin Gishu and Kericho. One of the officers confirmed that he had received his suspension letter, but declined to divulge more details. Last week, the Permanent Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources said that an investigative team from the ministry’s headquarters had been sent to the affected districts, and also Koibatek. During our the stake-out of three days and nights, a chief was caught on camera supervising illegal logging in Timboroa forest while others fled on seeing the approaching journalists in various forests, that included Sorget. Rampant charcoal burning was also evident in the forests visited by the team. Illegal loggers, it was revealed, used forged permits to transport timber through police roadblocks. It was established that senior government officials are deeply involved in the wanton destruction of forests and turn a blind eye to illegal logging in Rift Valley Province and elsewhere. Investigations revealed that chiefs, district officers, forest officers and other senior government officials had formed a network to rape the forests even as an outcry continues over Kenya’s deteriorating forest cover. The survey, in 10 forests in three Rift Valley districts, uncovered massive destruction of forests through the felling of trees for timber and charcoal. The systematic harvesting of the forest materials was done both in broad daylight and at night. In all cases, the people who were charged with protecting the forests either abetted the theft by looking the other way, or supervised the operation. http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=1&newsid=74480

22) People living around the Nairobi Showground for sometime now must have watched in dismay the logging that is taking place inside the forest bordering the surrounding areas, part of which is Kianda Village that forms part of the eleven villages making up the sprawling Kibera slums. The logging has been going on for years under the nose of the provincial administration and possibly forest or police officers who are said to be colluding with these loggers during their night errands. Every morning of each day it has been a disturbing state to what upto about ten loggers carry chunks of trees from the forest which they sell as building poles or firewood to hordes of women and busaa brewers within the slums area. The business is quite thriving and to some youths it has provided more or a permanent way of earning a living, but the damage it is causing is rather irreparable. The chief, councillor, Kibera DO or the man at the Jamhuri Police Post cannot say to be unaware of this when occasionally they would release the force on these characters, but given the inconsistency and how far apart these actions are, it is only safe to conclude that ‘action’ is only taken when a deal goes sour. http://www.timesnews.co.ke/05jun06/vigil.html


23) A new report finds that FSC-certified plantations are in breach of their own standards
One of the longest established and best respected initiatives on business and sustainable development is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The controversy in Uruguay comes from the impact of large-scale monoculture plantations of eucalyptus and pine trees. The approach taken with these plantations have for years been criticised as having a heavy social and environmental impact. Now the World Rainforest Movement have produced a report analysing the certification of some of the companies taking this approach in Uruguay. The report reviews the public documents related to the companies’ FSC certification and considers the environmental, social and economic issues, and also pulls together some observations and stakeholder feedback on the ground. It focuses on four specific companies and their activities in Uruguay, EUFORES, COFOSA, FYMNSA and COFUSA.. The EUFORES certification report (to take one of the companies as an example), produced independently according to the FSC process, was carried out by SGS. In terms of environmental issues, the SGS report, whilst acknowledging that the main environmental effect of Eucalyptus is heavy use of groundwater, does not deal with the potential impact of the plantation in this regard. The report does not cover the impacts of the plantation on soil structure, nutrient loss and recycling, changes in pH and other potential impacts arising from use of chemicals. Impact on wildlife is not covered, in spite of evidence that it leads to both a drop in the populations of certain species and an explosion in populations of others which may have a significant impact on neighboring people (such as poisonous snakes). On chemicals use, the certifiers found that EUFORES was still using a product that is banned by the FSC, GOAL. During an assessment visit, the certifiers found evidence of poor quality protective equipment being used by sub-contractors, and that there were workers with no social benefits, medical cover, health and safety measures or sanitation provided. Workers had been charged the equivalent of five days pay for safety equipment, in contravention of the law. Farmers in the surrounding area say that within a few years after the plantations were established, their wells and the surrounding wetlands had dried up. http://www.ethicalcorp.com/content.asp?ContentID=4297


24) The feature, named the Gocta Falls after an ancient local settlement, has been designated the world’s largest waterfall and is about 100 feet taller than the falls in Yosemite national park in the USA, which until now had been believed to be the third largest after Angel’s Fall in Venezuela and the Tugela Falls in South Africa. The Gocta Falls were “discovered” in 2002 by a German explorer and engineer working for a Peruvian water company, Stefan Ziemendorff. He located the cascade deep in Peru’s northern jungle near the city of Chachapoyas in the Amazonas region, about 430 miles (650 km) from the capital, Lima. It’s been measured as 2,529 feet in height, and is said to be stunning in its majestic natural beauty. The Peruvian authorities are to build a road and provide easier access to the site for visitors. The project to exploit the waterfall and open up the area is aimed also at improving the lives of local people by developing the local economy. Local people are said to have kept the waterfall secret and it is surrounded by local legend. It is not shown on any map of the area, and according to local folk-lore it is haunted, guarded by a blonde-haired mermaid who lives in the water flowing down the cascade. Local people feared that they would be cursed if they revealed its existence. The Gocta waterfall’s remote location also played a role in its relatively obscure existence. The only way to reach the site is a five hour trek on a dirt trail from the village of Cocachimba in the district of San Pablo. The area surrounding the waterfall is to be protected as a nature reserve. Tourists can look forward to having their first glimpse of the Gocta waterfall in 2007 when the Regional Department of Tourism hopes the area will be ready to cater to visitors. The project to share the Gocta waterfall with the world includes making improvements to roads and developing accommodation and restaurants in nearby villages. The aim is to offer tourists all the necessary elements to make their experience at the Gocta waterfall as pleasant as possible and to aid the growth of sustainable tourism in the area. In addition to the infrastructure improvements in the area, the project will also create programs to raise awareness and educate local villagers about the importance of conserving the natural environment. http://travelvideo.tv/news/more.php?id=8877_0_1_0_M


25) ISLAMABAD — The woody bio mass of Pakistan is now severely threatened
by the growing consumption of fuel wood and timber. It is feared that this natural resource would be totally consumed within the next 15 years, says a government report on deforestation. The principal cause of deforestation in Pakistan is the consumption of fuel wood and timber (primarily for house hold firewood) and it exceeds production in all the four provinces except in the relatively sparsely populated Northern Areas. This consumption is expected to increase in line with the growth of population projected at about 3 per cent a year. Pakistan is having the world’s second highest rate of deforestation, leading to the wholesale disappearance of trees, shrubs and ground flora together with the vertebrate and invertebrate fauna they normally support. The loss of forest habitat has had a severe impact on Pakistan’s biodiversity and has serious implications for the nation’s other natural and agro-ecosystems, according to the biodiversity action plan for Pakistan. The biodiversity action plan for Pakistan, made up of 13 components which correspond to specific articles of the UN Convention on Biodiversity, further states the principal direct cause of degradation of Pakistan’s rangelands and forests is the rapidly increasing domestic livestock population. Between 1945 and 1986, the number of cattle almost doubled, while the number of buffaloes, sheep and goats more than tripled. The overall livestock numbers continue to increase at a rate of two per cent per year. While much of this increase has been fed by the production of fodder within irrigated areas, persistent over grazing has reduced forage production in Pakistan’s rangelands to one-third the potential (a loss of almost 50 million tonnes per year), and in some areas to as low as 15 per cent of potential forage production. The problem is particularly acute in Balochistan. http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=world_news&month=june2006&file=wo


26) Jamshedpur, June 3: The Chakradharpur division of South Eastern Railway (SER) today sought permission from the forest department to axe about 6,000 trees between Chakradharpur and Kiriburu railway stations. At the meeting today between the railways and the forest officials, the SER has made the request because the overgrown trees along the 100-km stretch under the Chakradharpur division on the Howrah-Mumbai main line are posing a threat to the movement of trains. “During the monsoon, the trees might fall on railway tracks, which might endanger the lives of train passengers,” the railway officials said. The engineering wing of the SER has identified about 6,000 such trees under Chakradharpur division that may obstruct the train traffic. Incidentally, the SER has increased the speed of major passenger and express trains from June 1 to accommodate more trains and add to its income in the current fiscal. Senior divisional engineer (East) R. Saraswat told The Telegraph: “The railway is committed to provide a safe journey to its passengers. And this is the reason for seeking permission from the forest department to axe these trees which might fall on the tracks and cause accidents.” http://www.telegraphindia.com/1060604/asp/jamshedpur/story_6307848.asp

27) The Capital’s green cover has expanded significantly in the last eight years and now spreads across an estimated 330 square kilometres, reducing pollution levels drastically, Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit said today. The city, known for its pollution blues, has over the years seen a significant fall in the density of pollutants sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide, she said on the occasion of World Environment Day. “The green cover of Delhi has expanded over 13 times in the last eight years. We now have 330 sq km of green cover as against 26 sq km in 1997,” Ms Dikshit said after inaugurating an environment protection drive here. http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060606/delhi.htm

28) SFI—which is part of Lion Forest Industries— holds a concession for 289,000 hectares of forest land and assets like a jetty, power plant facility and a steam generation facility. Bilt announced that it may set up a pulp mill at the site with an investment of around $500 million and a capacity of 450-550 million ton per annum. ‘‘We will assess and start planting trees and in the next 5-6 years decide on whether a pulp mill could be commissioned by 2012. It will be a brown field facility at the same site,’’ said Bilt Joint Managing Director J J Vederah. ‘‘The acquisition is a strategic fit into our growth plans towards retaining leadership in India and growing our presence in the region. It will also contribute towards achieving our target capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum by June 2008,’’ Bilt Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Gautam Thapar told reporters in Delhi. http://www.indianexpress.com/story/5837.html

29) NEW DELHI, June 4: The state governments and NGOs are undertaking massive tree plantation drives, all with an aim to restore the dwindling forest cover. With deserts and desertification as the focus of the World Envrionment Day, the National Forest Policy lays down that one third of the area in the country shall be covered by trees. But according to the forest survey, 2003, only 23.68 per cent of the area is under forest cover. We are still short of the 33 per cent target, said deputy inspector general, ministry of environment and forests, Mr Sanjay Kumar. As tree plantation is one of the major interventions which can be undertaken to check environmental degradation, the target is to plant nearly 2.61 million trees, and in that drive, we also plan to involve the locals, said Mr Kumar. Nearly 50,000 hectares of land in Karnataka is being subjected to afforestation, while Kashmir has put a complete ban on felling of green trees. Haryana has fixed a target of planting 46.75 lakh saplings in Ambala district and Tamil Nadu is planting 83,000 saplings in this one month, agency reports show. In Kerala, all efforts are being made to restore the mangrove forests. According to the states economic review, 2005, the actual area of the mangrove in the state is estimated to have shrunk to 50 sq km from 700 sq km over the last several decades. In Punjab, where desertification was a major problem, member secretary of the State Pollution Control Board, Mr Malwinder Singh says all big mills and distilleries have been directed to plant maximum trees within their limits. In Karnataka, 40-50,000 hectares of degraded forest lands are being afforested. Extensive tree plantation drives are being undertaken by the farmers on their own lands for which the seedlings are supplied by the forest department. http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=2&theme=&usrsess=1&id=118801


30) As of 2003, China had 175 million hectares of forests, about 16 million hectares more than in 1999, according to the latest survey by the state forestry agency. About 18.2 percent of the mainland was covered with forests at that time, up 1.66 percentage points over 1999. But the forest coverage rate was only 62 percent of the world average. And per-capita forest area is only 0.13 hectares, which is less than one-fourth the world average. Five provincial areas in the country’s northwest account for 32.19 percent of the country’s total territory, but the forest coverage rate in these areas was only 6 percent in 2003. Meanwhile, China loses about 75.5 million cubic meters of timber to illegal logging each year, according to the survey. China’s grassland accounts for 41 percent of its mainland, but 90 percent of those areas have deteriorated, contributing to sandstorms that affect the north, according to yesterday’s report. Most of the country’s wetlands, the largest in Asia and fourth in the world, are also declining. Only 40 percent of the nation’s wetlands receive adequate protection, the report said. http://www.shanghaidaily.com/art/2006/06/05/282125/China__039_s_environment_faces___039_frag

South Korea:

31) Another problem for the pair was that they had very little knowledge about trees. Many farmers refused to sell to them because the men barely even knew the names of the trees. They were often deceived as well by landowners who were not the official owners of the trees on their land. Even worse, last year, they lost pre-purchased trees worth 60 million won to a forest fire. The pair felt as if they were on the edge of a cliff. They began to solve their problems one by one, however. They even fell to their knees, begging farmers to do business with them. They persuaded the farmers to accept formal contracts, thus making the business dealings transparent. They also advised farmers which trees to cultivate and studied an arbor picture book to increase their expertise. Through their efforts, Supro began to get noticed and the number of landscaping companies ordering from Supro has increased ever since. These days, the two men do not need to strive to get information. They have constructed a database that covers such things as the types, numbers, locations and prices of all the trees they deal with. Mr. Im proudly said that even the Korea Forest Service does not have that kind of database. Supro has grown to take exclusive responsibility for several large-scale construction projects. They helped set up an artificial forest in Ttukseom, and supplied trees for the restoration of Cheonggye stream. Recently, they got a contract to send trees to North Korea for the Kaesong Industrial Complex. They now employ 19 others and expect that sales this year will reach around 15 billion won, almost 16 times more than the 0.9 billion won they managed to make in 2000. The men hope to make more progress in the future and further revive the tree business in Korea. First, Mr. Chae said, companies should standardize the size and features of types of trees. To achieve this, they have set up a private research center and tree nursery, where they transport trees to be cultivated under similar conditions from where they originated. “If farmers can learn the standardizing technique, the tree market will improve completely. One other project is to build tree farms under our company name. http://joongangdaily.joins.com/200606/02/200606022027567079900091009101.html


32) It was not always so. The property owned by the MWSS commonly known as the La Mesa Watershed covers an area of about 2,700 hectares and includes a lake about 700 hectares in size and 80 meters in depth. There are also treatment facilities, administration buildings, an old recreational park, a three-classroom schoolhouse, and a number of housing units for the water company’s employees that dates back to the 1950s. Recalls Fernandez: “In 1997, about half of the forest was denuded and there were only three foreign species of forest trees. There were over 1,000 informal settlers living in the area who ravaged the forest by illegal logging and slash and burn farming or kaingin.” Such transgressions threatened the water supply of Metro Manila, prompting Bantay Kalikasan to enter into a 15-year memorandum of agreement with the MWSS in 1999 to rehabilitate and operate the La Mesa watershed. Using funds solicited from private donors, the group set up tree nurseries that cover 1,340 hectares as of end 2005, according to Fernandez. Their target is 1,500 hectares within this year, he adds. “Much of the success can be credited to our expert team of foresters and crew of workers, many of them volunteers, who both maintain the trees and act as foot patrols for security and protection. It is unfortunate that in the process of restoring the forest, our bunkhouse was burned, one of our workers was beheaded and his wife gang raped. The child of another worker also died,” recounts Fernandez. To sustain their protection activities and generate steady revenues, Bantay Kalikasan joined forces with the MWSS and the Quezon City government to develop the recreation area now known as the La Mesa Eco-park in East Fairview. The park was opened to the public in April 2004. Says Fernandez: “It was a very challenging situation because unlike other property development companies, we had no money; only a dream that hopefully people will buy into.” He adds: “Developing the park was not easy. The first step was to relocate over 200 informal settlers and then visioning the concept, with architects Francisco Mañosa and Jun Palafox enhancing the existing layout, structures and attractions in the park.” http://news.inq7.net/sunday/index.php?index=1&story_id=78026

33) THE ESCALATING prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) can be the greatest threat to the country’s remaining forest cover, a Mindanao lawmaker has said. Representative Juan Miguel Zubiri of Bukidnon, author of the biofuels bill, warned that “costly LPG had made us a nation of woodcutters,” noting that six million households burned wood three times a day to cook food prior to the rise in LPG prices. “With the country’s primary forest cover down to its last 800,000 hectares — or 2.7 percent of total land area — the government should be worried sick,” Zubiri said. He then urged the government to institutionalize the planting of tuba-tuba (scientific name: Jatropha curcas) to avert the further dwindling of forest cover. “To prevent the mass murder of trees and their conversion into firewood is to encourage people to grow tuba-tuba, the fast-growing shrub whose nut can be processed into cooking or car fuel,” Zubiri said. He urged government to entice people to apply for agro-forestry contracts as mandated by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2005-25. http://news.inq7.net/breaking/index.php?index=2&story_id=78138


34) The ‘close one eye’ saga over illegal sawn timber imports at the Sungai Rambai barter trade port should sound more than one alarm. The alleged power abuse by a Member of Parliament aside, the debacle raised questions over the source of timber that feeds the country’s mills. Jasin MP Mohd Said Yusof justified his interference in the enforcement work of the Customs Department as for the sake of securing supplies for the timber industry. In recent years, Malaysia has gained a rogue reputation for laundering Indonesian timber either by re-exporting them as sawn timber or funnelling the illegal logs to local mills. The government responded to Indonesia’s request to assist in controlling its alarming illegal deforestation by banning the import of round logs in 2002 and then restricting the import of sawn timber to those below 60cm circumference a year later. http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2006/6/6/lifefocus/14364259&sec=lifefocus


35) Environmentalists want the Victorian Government to do more to protect the state’s old-growth forests from logging. The Wilderness Society says while the Government has bought out about one-third of the state’s logging quotas and it should now go further. Marking World Environment Day tomorrow, the society’s Alec Marr says the old-growth forests in the east, water catchments and the homes of endangered wildlife must be saved. “We certainly expected the Government to do more this term than they have and we are running out of time,” he said. “So we want to see the Premier take a leadership role and protect all of these fantastic areas of forest that the community has been fighting for for years.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1654650.htm

36) More than 15,000 environmentalists have taken to Melbourne’s streets in protest against old growth forest logging across Victoria. Organisers said Sunday’s turnout, on the eve of World Environment Day, was one of the largest environmental rallies in the state in recent years. Alec Marr, national director of the Wilderness Society, said the show of support from the public and activists alike was overwhelming. “This is a massive issue and the size of this crowd and the support we have today goes to highlight the issue and shows just how much of an emotional issue this is,” Mr Marr said. “We’ve had people travel in from the far-flung corners of the state, from Mildura right through to Orbost, to show their concern about old growth logging in Victoria. “This is an excellent show of support from the countryside to the city.” Organisers and celebrity supporters, including veteran actor Jack Thompson and Neighbours’ cast members and musicians, helped unfurl a 70-metre-long banner in the shape of a tree, which the crowd was encouraged to hug. Thompson told the crowd Australian taxpayers were bankrolling the woodchip industry and action was urgently needed to save old growth forests. “That’s why we are gathered here because there is the need for the people of Australia to say ‘enough, it’s time for change’,” he said. “We export 850,000 tonnes of logs to the woodchip industry in Japan… it’s time for our governments to grasp what it is we the people need. “The mandate is, care for the country we love and a world in which we can proudly bring up our children.” Mr Marr and Thompson put the crowd at more than 15,000. Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Steve Bracks defended the state’s environment record. “We have already seen a significant reduction of logging overall in Victoria of 30 per cent, and we have seen new parks proclaimed with old growth kept,” Mr Bracks said. “Of course we want to make sure that we preserve our environment in the future whilst balancing the resources to make sure they are utilised effectively.” http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Vic-protest-against-old-growth-logging/2006/06/04/11493596


37) World Environment Day, commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. The World Environment Day theme selected for 2006 is Deserts and Desertification and the slogan is Don’t Desert Drylands! The slogan emphasizes the importance of protecting drylands, which cover more than 40% of the planet’s surface and affects more than 1 billion people. This ecosystem is home to one-third of the world’s people who are more vulnerable members of society. Desertification is defined as land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors including climatic variations and human activities. Causes of desertification due to human activities are mainly agricultural: Deforestation. over cultivation of land resulting in soil exhaustion and poor irrigation practices which raises salinity and sometimes drying the rivers that feed large lakes. World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of UNEP. Every year ,since 1974 various aspects of environment have been selected as theme to protect the world from different kinds of deterioration. http://www.wed2005.org/0.0.php

Comments (1)

moneymakerSeptember 22nd, 2011 at 5:07 am

What and brilliant website it’s not often I read something and feel I have discovered something new. You’ve got a real talent for writing keep up the good work.

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