This week we have 38 news items from: Alaska, Oregon, California, Utah, North Dakota, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, New York, Maine, USA, Canada, China, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, and World wide.


1) Certified Professional Geologist, Doug Swanston, did a land risk assessment of the landslide risk to the urban corridor along Mitkof Highway from planned logging of Mental Health Trust Lands. Gary Slaven, a homeowner on Mitkof Highway, stated, “The last thing we want to do is cause loggers not to have jobs.” Slaven lives at approximately 6.72 mile and noted that his house rests directly below one of the proposed logging areas along Mitkof Highway. “It’s just a bad idea, this is the one area that we have for growth in this town,” said Slaven. “This is what we keep pointing out to the Trust Land Office.
Suzanne West, member of the Mitkof Highway Homeowners Association, said “As a preeminent expert in landslides Dr. Swanston’s report has completely validated the concerns of the homeowner’s association.” According to West, the Trust Land Office has forced the public to defend themselves from the state and is unconscionable and displays an arrogance of power as well as a lack of leadership. “I believe the TLO Board of Directors are good, well intentioned people but I believe in this case they have not been well served,” said West. According to a review of the parcels being considered for logging, the area indicates a major stability hazard to the corridor from Scow Bay to the Twin Creeks valley. In Swanston’s assessment he notes the proposed method for logging will be helicopter and selective logging. These methods do reduce the number and severity of landslides but do not eliminate all landslides or the possibility of landslides if the right conditions are present. According to the assessment large portions of the slopes above Mitkof Highway, beginning at an elevation of between 500 and 600 feet, have gradients at or above the minimum angle of stability. The minimum angle of stability lies between 34 and 36 degrees.


2) MEDFORD, Ore. — Environmentalists asked a federal judge Wednesday to temporarily block logging in a remote, burned-over section of a national forest that was purchased last week in the first such sale since the Bush administration eased logging restrictions. Environmentalists said new studies show the logging would kill young trees and increase the danger of wildfire. Lawyers for the U.S. Forest Service countered that the area is so small that the logging would cause no real harm. U.S. Magistrate Owen M. Panner said he would rule on the environmentalists’ request next Wednesday, and the Forest Service and the buyer of the timber agreed to delay the logging until then. On Friday, a timber company bought the rights to log 261 acres of standing dead timber that was burned in a 2002 fire in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Attorneys for the environmentalists argued that several scientific studies since the Forest Service planned the timber sale concluded that logging after a wildfire kills naturally sprouting seedlings, and leaves more fuel on the ground for future fires. “The entire premise of this project has been rebutted by these scientific studies,” attorney Marianne Dugan said in arguing for blocking the logging. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Odell said the primary purpose of the timber sale was economic, and that replanting the area and reducing the future danger of wildfire were secondary. “This really is a policy issue,” he said. Forest Service lawyers added that the harvest would take place on only a small percentage of the burned-over region. The blaze charred roughly 500,000 acres in the rugged Klamath Mountains of southwestern Oregon. It was the nation’s biggest wildfire in 2002.


3) The timber-holding subsidiary of the Pacific Lumber Co. has sold several properties scattered around the county to an investment firm out of Colorado. Scotia Pacific has filed descriptions of its efforts to get cash through land sales to make a July payment on its timber bonds with the federal government, but documents filed with the Humboldt County Recorder’s Office on Tuesday appear to show the first deals to go through. The properties were sold to Resource Land Holdings of Colorado Springs, Colo., for about $7.95 million — based on a document transfer tax of 1.1 percent. The land is in the Kneeland, Miranda, Rio Dell, Fortuna and Mad River areas. How many acres are involved is not apparent from the deed transfers, but $2,000 per acre is a typical price for properties of their kind, which would equate to about 3,600 acres. Calls to Palco and Resource Land Holdings were not returned Wednesday afternoon. According to its website, Resource Land Holdings was formed in 1998 to invest in agricultural timber and mining properties. The group works with local operators and entrepreneurs to invest in properties. The group says on its website that it recently purchased a timber tract in Northern California with a local entrepreneur, but it does not say where that property is. Palco has been taking several measures to drum up cash to meet a $26 million interest payment on about $740 million in debt secured by timber notes. Among those are the land sales. Some 14,500 acres of scattered ranch and recreational properties and perhaps as much as 45,000 acres in larger blocks of timberland are being considered for sale. Palco owns about 220,000 acres in all.

4) Lyon Apartment Cos. of Newport Beach plans to raze 94 “heritage” trees and about 150 other trees that have long shaded the bucolic grounds at North Park Apartments on Rengstorff Avenue. The tree-clearing will make room for 206 row-house condominiums on about 11 acres, a project that won approval Tuesday night from the city council. That vote came, ironically, just after the council accepted a Gold Leaf award from the International Society of Arboriculturalists for its Arbor Day activities. The council voted 5-1 to allow Lyon to tear down 44-year-old North Park, a complex of cottage-style rental units, and replace it with condos that will sell for an estimated $700,000 apiece. But project supporters noted that the new complex will retain 53 of the old-growth trees, including about 20 redwoods and a graceful California pepper tree near the entrance to the development. City planners and arborists say many of the older trees on the site are in poor condition anyway. Several of the heritage trees — identified mainly by the width of their trunks — are older purple-leaf plum trees that have relatively short life spans. In addition, the developer is required under city ordinance to plant three trees for each heritage tree removed. They will be younger trees fitting in 24-inch planter boxes, which won’t provide much canopy for 20 or 30 years, critics say. Most of the new trees will ring the development or line the new interior roads; some will go into a one-acre park in the middle of the complex. City Councilman Greg Perry, who voted for the project, said the development will help fulfill the city’s goal of providing more housing for people who work in Mountain View’s thriving business parks. “Right now we have people commuting in and spewing pollution in the air, which is just as much a concern for trees,” Perry said. “Old buildings come down and new buildings go up. Old trees come down and new trees go up. I don’t see this as a horrible thing. We hope to enjoy the new trees just as much in 30 or 40 years.” Nearly 35 percent of the parcel will be set aside as open space. But the tree population will look a lot different. North Park now is richly forested with 301 trees interspersed among the cottage-style apartments. City Councilwoman Macias said she was mostly concerned that many of North Park’s tenants are elderly and that most can’t afford the estimated $700,000 cost of the proposed condos. Still, she too lamented the loss of the old growth trees. “It’s just not the same thing when you have small trees in 24-inch pots instead of all these beautiful mature trees,” Macias said.

5) She became a vegan at the age of 11 after she befriended a little calf being hauled by a truck that was parked near a road. The calf kissed her face for about an hour. When the truck driver appeared, she asked him what the calf’s name was. “Veal, tomorrow morning at 7,” he shot back. At 12, she got into a big argument with her father because she didn’t want her taxes ever going to support war. He told her that if she didn’t pay taxes she’d go to jail. The education of Daryl Hannah, activist, was underway. As she perched in a walnut tree this week waiting for sheriff’s deputies to arrest her and other protesters at an urban farm in South Los Angeles, it may have seemed that Hannah, now 45, was just another actress parachuting in to generate publicity for another cause. And in fact, publicity is part of what she’s after, Hannah agreed. But unlike some activists in Hollywood, she pointed out, she really tries to live what she preaches. Hannah said she learned of the plight of the urban farmers about a month ago from a friend, environmentalist Julia Butterfly Hill. The farmers were defying a court order to vacate the 14-acre plot at 41st and Alameda streets, which had reverted to private ownership.
“I was first of all shocked and surprised that I had never heard about this before, having spent so much time in Los Angeles,” Hannah said. The pace of her acting career leaves her time for other projects, such as the “sustainable video-logs” she makes about “inspirational and cutting-edge developments in green culture and lifestyle.” She puts them up on her website, To Hannah, there is no differentiating between being an environmentalist and being an animal-rights activist or humanitarian. “I don’t draw distinctions. If you care about human life, you have to care about the environment. If you care about the environment, do you not care about human life?”,0,5047718.story?track


6) I would characterize the Sheeprock forests as remnant “Island” forests that occur in pockets of the canyons and in the high shady places of the range. The forests transition from the sagebrush scrublands consisting of big sagebrush, black sagebrush, little rabbit brush and schade scale to the pinyon-juniper forests, which are dominant from about 5,800 feet to 7,800 feet. In the canyons beginning around 6,200 feet is a dense forest of dwarf or “Gambel Oak.” An interesting feature of these oak trees is that many of them occur in actual tree form with a single central trunk 12-24 inches in diameter. This is very unusual for Gambel oak. This oak forest is separated by 30-35 miles from any of the nearest oak distributions or communities. This oak forest gives way to aspen near the springs and higher up in the deep recesses of the canyons. The mixed aspen and Douglas fir forest above the oak is mixed with blueberry elderberry, little leaf and curl leaf mountain mahogany, bitter brush and cliffrose. Due to the large amounts of snow received by this rang during the winter, some of these “relic” forests are quite developed with a fine understory of all manner of plants. In the highest, best watered parts of the range a mixed forest of white fir, Douglas fir and aspen predominates but only in certain areas. Much of the higher portions of the range, especially in the area of Dutch Peak, are completely void of any trees at all. Ask an old timer and they will tell you there didn’t used to be so many junipers on the ranges in these parts. Reduction in the amount of range fires since settlement of Rush Valley is the probable cause. Some rangeland managers believe the juniper/pinyon cover in the area is two to three times greater than it was before settlement. Journals of pioneers and explorers who crossed Lookout Pass in the 1860s state there were only a few “dark cedars” to be seen upon the hills. The Sheeprocks are approximately 20 miles long from Sabie Mountain in the east to Erickson Pass in the west, and they vary from 6-10 miles in width along this length. For the most part the range trends east to west and then it bends north toward Lookout Pass with 8,516-foot Red Pine Mountain being the most prominent peak in the northern part of the range.

North Dakota:

7) BISMARCK – In the decades following the 1930s Dust Bowl, North Dakotans planted windbreak trees so furiously that the nation’s least-forested state gained the title of having more “protection plantings” than any other. Now that status could be eroding.
Many old windbreaks are dying off. With no-till modern farming practices and less federal farm program emphasis on planting trees, new and replacement tree rows aren’t keeping pace with losses. Of North Dakota’s 44.1 million acres of land, 1.6 percent are forested. “There are a lot more (windbreak) trees coming out than are going in,” said Valerie Wagner, district manager for the James River Soil Conservation District based in Ellendale. North Dakota State University recently reported that 50 percent to 90 percent of Plains region windbreaks have declined to the point of being ineffective. This includes 40,000 miles of the estimated 55,000 miles of field windbreaks in North Dakota. “I like trees. I like to see some around,” he said. “They aren’t as critical as they were in the ’30s with the reduced tillage and no tillage, but trees are still nice to have around.” Rhodenbaugh has been replacing Russian olives, willows and Chinese elms –species he says were “not planted for longevity” – with a modern variety that includes hackberry, lilacs, green ash, poplar, plum and oak. He replaced large multiple-row shelterbelts with single-tree rows, which he said gives him fewer acres of trees but more miles of total windbreak plantings. New techniques have changed how windbreaks are planted and cultivated, and also what is planted. Erickson said part of the expense of modern plantings is the use of weed barrier fabric between rows. But it can boost the survival rate of the saplings from 50 percent to 90 percent. Wagner said modern shelterbelts are better-planned than they once were. Gone are the short-lived or disease-prone elms and native cottonwoods. “I haven’t planted an elm in maybe one shelterbelt in six years,” she said. She keeps her eye on what tree species are being attacked by the latest pests and tries to stay ahead of the game in planning new windbreaks. “You don’t want to plant something that’s set up to fail,” she said.


8) When it comes to alternatives for petroleum, ethanol from row crops is not the only game in town, said a Texas Cooperative Extension expert. In Texas alone, nearly 3.5 million tons of woody biomass – scrap left over from forest harvests – could be had for essentially the cost of bundling and hauling, said Dr. Eric Taylor, Extension forestry specialist. Technology is available that could be used to convert the woody biomass into automotive fuel, ‘green-diesel’ or a substitute for the other use of petroleum that is rarely talked about: the manufacture of films, adhesives and plastics. And woody biomass has several advantages over ethanol from row crops, Taylor said. First, it’s already available. Of the 3.5 millions tons of wood residue burned or left to rot at harvest sites, about 65 percent could be easily harvested for biomass, he said. And growing the biomass doesn’t require any additional inputs of those used to grow the more valuable forestry products such as wood for timber or pulp for paper. Moreover, disposal or management of the residue – if not used in the biomass industry – is expensive. The idea is to collect and integrate available scientific information on woody biomass and make it assessable to the general public. Meanwhile some commercial concerns are already seriously considering using woody biomass for on-site energy production, Foster said.


9) Federal environmental officials have decided that before a 200-acre timber operation in Livingston Parish can begin, the landowner needs to prove the cypress forest he wants to log can grow back. The decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency leaves the landowner wondering what he should do next — and has environmental groups celebrating. “We’ve been waiting for six years, but we’ve been working real hard on it for about a year,” said Dean Wilson, a member of the Atchafalaya Basinkeepers and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network. “Then Katrina came and reinforced what we were saying.” Environmentalists have fought the logging of coastal cypress, saying that once cut, they are lost forever because new cypress can’t grow in many areas. Now concern over losing land that acts as a natural buffer against hurricanes has added punch to their arguments. The Louisiana timber industry and some landowners question the science behind the EPA’s new stance and say it could make sustainable logging in coastal areas unprofitable enough to stop it.The EPA decision directly affects only one property: land owned by Steve Buratt and some of his family members. In 2004, Buratt applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because part of his property is wetlands, which fall under the agency’s jurisdiction.The corps asked the EPA whether the logging would be exempt from an additional permit required under federal clean water laws. To qualify for the exemption, the logging has to be part of a “sustainable” forestry operation.The environmental groups argue that the type of cypress forest on Buratt’s land won’t grow back, so cutting it is not sustainable forestry. On a broader front, environmental groups have been calling on the state to restrict cypress logging in all areas where high water or other problems make regeneration of cypress forests unlikely. They cite a report from the Science Working Group on Coastal Wetland Forest Conservation and Use, a group established by Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

10) NEW ORLEANS — A proposed diversion of Mississippi River water into the Lake Maurepas swamp could save tens of thousands of acres of wetland forest _ and the breeding area for hundreds of thousands of tiny summer visitors. While the 165,000-acre swamp isn’t home to a particularly diverse bird population, it boasts “an extraordinary number of a particular species,” or a couple of species, said Philip Stouffer, an associate professor at Louisiana State University’s School of Renewable Natural Resources. One is the prothonotary warbler, a tiny yellow, olive green and gray bird that spends most of the year in warmer countries in Central and South America. The prothonotary warbler and a small, grayer cousin, the northern parula warbler, ignore suburban back yards, preferring isolated, wet woods. Studies and surveys show that both have declined in Louisiana by more than 50 percent in less than 40 years, he said. Supporters of the diversion envision it helping to restore a swamp long battered by factors ranging from hungry nutria to subsidence and saltwater intrusion. When flood protection levees were built along the Mississippi River, they cut off natural flooding that brought fresh water and sediment to the swamp, Stouffer said. Saltier water from the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain reaches into Lake Maurepas and farther into the swamp. Loggers also carved long trails through the swamp as they dragged out the precious cypress trees, and nutria eating wetland plants caused a problem, too, he said. With the land sinking, sea level rising and saltwater pushing into the swamp, “you’re going to lose forests,” said Gary Shaffer, an assistant professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, which has studied the swamp. “The real stressors are flooding and saltwater.” Salt in water reaching three parts per thousand will kill tupelo, maple and ash trees. Recently, with the area’s lack of rain, salt levels in Lake Maurepas have reached seven parts per thousand, Shaffer said.Luckily, because of low water levels, not much of that water is currently pushing into the swamp, Shaffer said. The diversion would pour fresh water into the swamp, push back the saltwater and feed the growth of new trees and grasses, as well as deposit land-building sediment as the water spreads.The projected $50 million project would divert up to 1,700 cubic feet of river water per second into a canal and into the adjacent swamp and marsh and into Lake Maurepas.


11) MADISON – Jefferson County’s commissioners have picked an environmental group to log trees from part of a 400-acre tract at the former Jefferson Proving Ground. The 99-year lease will give the Arlington, Va.-based Nature Conservancy rights to conduct conservative logging operations by cutting down one tree per acre a year. The group will pay the county 4 percent of the estimated value of the timber – an estimated $7,000 a year – which officials hope to spend on improvements to Krueger Lake Park at the former military weapons testing site about 50 miles northeast of Louisville, Ky. The nonprofit Nature Conservancy promised to plan its logging in order to help preserve the forest. Michael Heitz, president of the Jefferson County Park Board, said that if the county had chosen to use a for-profit logging company, the forest would have suffered. “I think that is something people don’t understand about this deal,” Heitz said. “This is not industrial logging. There is a difference.” The park board proposed leasing the tract in February, while maintaining another section as a nature preserve for species such as the endangered Indiana bat. There has been one critic of the lease. Local resident Richard Ray, who has attended several commission meetings blasting the Nature Conservancy and the commissioners. Ray said he wanted to leave the forest alone to protect endangered wildlife. Clashman said that would be detrimental to the land. “You can’t do that these days,” Clashman said. “This group will protect the forest. Their motto is to ‘save the last great places on Earth.’”


12) A $1.2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant will help the Laurentian Energy Authority study potential wood resources and the effect of using forest waste products for biomass burning projects at the Virginia and Hibbing public utilities. “This is taking it to the next step,” said Terry Leoni, Virginia Public Utilities manager. “It’s to prove that the hybrid plantations that we will use are viable for burning and that it makes sense to do that.” On Dec. 31, utility plants in Hibbing and Virginia plan to begin producing electricity and steam heat from wood-burning biomass boilers, an $80 million project. The boilers would be fed with hybrid trees grown on plantations, treetops, brush and wood residue from forest floors. About 300,000 tons of wood would be burned each year by the two utilities. Construction of the boilers has been under way since been last fall. The utilities plan to begin testing the boilers in late October or early November, Leoni said.

13) A clearcut is a vibrant forest turned into a desert of stumps. These deserts are not hard to find in the New River Valley — or elsewhere, for that matter. Just look for a swath of green mountain suddenly flattened to brown, its vertical life trucked to the mill. It doesn’t have to be this way; we can still have the cool shade of a birdsong-filled woods and a steady flow of lumber harvested from those same woods. The concept is called sustainable forestry, and a newly formed business is practicing it in our region, a business looking for members, investors and customers.The Blue Ridge Forest Cooperative was established in 2004 to empower our region’s communities. Its business motto is “helping landowners practice profitable, sustainable forestry,” which means practicing a forestry that is both ecologically and economically healthy as well as socially responsible. But what might these lofty goals mean on the ground? Let’s say Joe Woods owns 100 acres of timberland that he knows was last harvested 50 years ago. The stand has some valuable trees, but also many ill-shaped ones that would be worthless to a logger. Mr. Woods wants to walk through his woods daily and still see that they are woods, so he plans to save the vigorous, straight oaks and poplars. Yet he knows that those trees are the only ones loggers will be interested in; they have bills to pay as well. Then Mr. Woods hears about the Blue Ridge Forest Cooperative. This business will take those weak trees, like a forked walnut, or trees too closely spaced, while leaving the straight ash and red oak to grow even larger. Joe won’t make as much money, but he’ll make a little along the way instead, enough to cover his expenses and pay the taxes. Besides, he also wants to give his children a healthy, wildlife-filled, aesthetically beautiful forest.


14) Baltimore ranks No. 1 on the East Coast in imported forest products, according to Maryland Port Administration statistics. In fact, said Rick Schiappacasse, director of Latin America, Caribbean and forest products for the MPA, “The port has seen double-digit increases in forest products for the fifth year in a row.” Nearly 1 million tons of wood pulp-based products, such as tissue for paper towels and napkins, arrived in Baltimore last year from eucalyptus trees in Brazil, according to Schiappacasse. Chile will be the next big player in wood pulp shipments. “Baltimore recently won the bid for an estimated 600,000 tons of cargo next year,” Schiappacasse said. Finland also favors Baltimore. Last year, 500,000 tons of high-end paper used in magazines and other publications arrived at the Locust Point terminals. North and South Locust Point have been dedicated terminals for forest products for the past six years, Schiappacasse says. Both terminals accommodate long- and short-term warehousing and distribution. Most forest products leave the port by rail through a virtually seamless method. Cargo comes off the ship and into the warehouse — then leaves the warehouse through the back door on rail; less handling, less chance of paper cargo damage. Natural demands must also be met. Conservation of the forests is necessary. In Brazil, 50 percent of the country is covered by forest. Environmental stability for a population of 185 million people is essential. “There is tremendous interest in forest conservation in Brazil,” Schiappacasse said. “Replanting is an important activity, including sparing natural patches of forest.” Chile has formed similar plans for forest conservation.


15) Luckett said the Chattahoochee National Forest won’t be bringing in any additional concessionaires this season, but officials are looking at attracting more companies in the next fiscal year. Besides commercial ventures, the Forest Service is seeking other partnerships that would ease the burden of recreation management. Tennessee-based Chattahoochee Outdoor Adventure has been granted a five-year, special-use permit to operate seven recreation areas, including Lake Winfield Scott, DeSoto Falls, Boggs Creek, Morganton Point, Lakewood Landing, Deep Hole and Toccoa River Sandy Bottom. Lakewood is a boat-launch facility; the others are campgrounds, and some of those also have day-use areas.” “The concessionaire will be responsible for fee collection, security patrol, cleaning restrooms, mowing lawns, things like that,” said Alison Koopman, recreation manager for the Brasstown ranger district in Blairsville. In return, starting next year, Chattahoochee Outdoor Adventure will be able to add attractions that could help the outfitter earn a profit.


16) AGAWAM – More than 360,000 board feet of wood and nearly 2,700 trees will be cut in a controversial state project planned at John C. Robinson State Park. The plan, proposed by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, will not begin until November at the earliest, said David A. Richard, a management forester organizing the project. The first leg of the project, which had been planned for an area off Maynard and James streets, was postponed after state officials checked the concerns of some residents and discovered that artifacts with American Indian significance had been found on the site, Richard said. Though state officials said in May that the main reason for the logging was a weakening of red pine in the forest due to shoestring fungus, hundreds of other trees are also slated for cutting. They include 883 black oak, 287 red maple and 287 white pine. Richard said the other trees are scheduled to be cut in order to ensure the long-term health and age diversity of each stand of trees in the forest, which contains trees that are mostly at least 80 years old. Richard said he sent the contracts to 64 potential bidders earlier this month, and will hold a showing for them at the park on June 21 to outline what the state is expecting. Bids are due June 29. Friends of Robinson State Park, a group of residents which has opposed the project, continue to make noise against the proposed logging, with many placing campaign-style signs on their front lawns.Approached yesterday, the group issued a joint statement saying they were pleased officials had taken their concerns about the artifacts seriously.”We hope to make more progress in regard to our other concerns in coming weeks,” the statement said, with the group noting again it believes an excessive amount of timber is planned for harvest.

New York:

17) I don’t want to be critical of the young people who are trying to fight physically to save the last of the forests. They are incredibly courageous. I wish I was half my age and had half their bravery to fight in the same way. But what I do think is that they are fighting the battle in the wrong way and in doing so are inadvertently helping the process they so passionately oppose. The issue is not individual trees. Never was. A forest is far more than the trees which are simply the most obvious components. Every tree carries a community of organisms, the presence of every tree shelters other plants on the ground, the leaf litter falling to the ground nourishes the soil and shelters still other animals. Dead trees, standing or fallen, provide further shelter and food. The whole forest is a massively complex system. Forestry operations (including hazard reduction by fire or thinning) destroy that complexity. There have to be whole areas set aside to protect the biodiversity. Areas without exploitation. We must insist on this. In the view of media, politicians and public that the issue is individual trees and these can be replaced, if necessary, lies the seeds of a looming environmental disaster. The scientists need to come out of the laboratories and start saying this loudly and clearly. They need to show just a fraction of the passion the young people show, and stop suggesting that science can come to the rescue after the event of extinction.


18) The bill turned into one of the most contentious pieces of legislation of the year, with results that could echo through November’s elections and well into the future. Only in retrospect are many people realizing that it marks a turning point of sorts in the
relationship among the people of northern Maine, state government, the outdoors community, environmental organizations, and the future of land conservation efforts in Maine. And the entire issue has led to a new catch phrase that’s being repeated often enough in some quarters to acquire capital letters: the North Country. In the continuing debate about the Two Maines, the North Country paradigm is emerging as a rallying point for Second Maine residents who feel that their heritage, concerns, and future are getting short shrift from an Augusta now almost completely dominated by the more populous, far more powerful south. George Smith, executive director of the powerful Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM); Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association; and the civic leaders of Millinocket and East Millinocket all say the same thing — they liked the plan, except for one major stumbling block. Following Governor Baxter’s longstanding dictum that the park remain “forever wild,” the deal specified that all 6,015 acres would come into the park as a wilderness preserve where hunting, trapping, and motorized access, including snowmobiles, would be banned. “For us it was very simple,” Meyers recalls. “Our directors were presented with the deal after the fact. We said we would support it if traditional uses were protected and oppose it if they were not. They weren’t, so we opposed it.” “They made a terrible mistake in bringing forward a land-conservation project that excluded some users,” Smith points out. Since 1997 some two million acres of land has been protected in Maine, Smith notes, and “in none of those cases has anybody been excluded. In the end, the Katahdin Lake bill passed with a compromise that left two thousand acres in the northern end of the plot open to traditional uses while the lake and four thousand acres surrounding it remain a wilderness preserve. Almost everyone involved admits the compromise is an empty gesture — the northern section is almost inaccessible and lousy hunting territory anyway.

19) Witch-hazels are commonly recognized for their medicinal uses. They are revered by naturalists for their beautiful fall foliage, unusual winter flowers, and horned pods which cast their black seeds up to 30 feet away when the pods “snap” open. Vinnie Coletti, Kerry Hardy, Sam Perkins, a junior at Watershed, and Doug Johnson, a Licensed Maine Forester, returned to the tree in May to collect measurements necessary to confirm the tree’s status on “Maine’s Registry of Big Trees,” an annually updated, professionally reviewed publication maintained by the Maine Department of Conservation. Nomination to the list requires that a tree’s “points” exceed those of previously documented champion trees. A tree’s points are calculated by adding the trunk circumference in inches, the height in feet, and 1/4 of the crown spread. If the tree is confirmed as the largest witch-hazel known in Maine, Vinnie and the Watershed Community School will be listed as the tree’s locators when Maine’s Registry of Big Trees is updated next year.


20) “The worst day in the forest is better than the best day in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
Bosworth laid out a strategy for dealing with the budget challenges at the agency and for finding a new mission. The Forest Service, he said, must do a better job of building partnerships in communities so it communicate with people. He said the challenge for the Forest Service was to continue to implement conservation practices, like fire management, into the forests. He said the 1990s were a decade of transition for the agency and he wants to move it forward into a new era. “We have to reintroduce fire into the ecosystem,” Bosworth said. Bosworth said one of the stumbling blocks was the urbanization of the country. Thousands of people have migrated from rural areas to urban areas in recent years, creating a greater disconnect from the land and the natural resources.“We need to connect with urban people a lot better than we have in the past,” he said. With the increase in urbanization, the country is also losing large tracts of open space. Bosworth said the Forest Service has a role to play in the preservation of open space. He said the greatest threats to the nation’s forests are invasive weed species and bug damage. Bosworth said global climate change is having an impact on the health of the forests. With the rising temperatures, beetles and other predators are threatening trees at higher elevations. He said the Forest Service needs to keep climate change in mind when it selects species for replanting after fire and timber harvests. “We want to plant trees that will be around in 70 years,” Bosworth said.


21) Manitoba’s provincial government took a major step towards protecting Manitoba’s woodland caribou last week by listing it as threatened under the Manitoba Endangered Species Act (MESA). We’re very pleased with the decision, and applaud the NDP for the long overdue listing. Now it’s important that the government follows through by legislating permanent protection of the large swaths of boreal forest that woodland caribou call home. The Manitoba public can only take this listing seriously if the NDP improve Manitoba’s Conservation and Recovery Strategy for Boreal Woodland Caribou by setting clear timelines for the implementation of action plans. Woodland caribou live in the boreal forests across Canada. Approximately 50% of the Manitoba population has been depleted since the 1950’s, largely due to human disturbances in their habitats. The Manitoba government estimates that 1,800 to 3,200 of the animals remain in the province. The listing comes after the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and the Canadian Parks ands Wilderness Society campaigned tirelessly for this desired result. The Wilderness Committee managed to collect over 10,000 postcards from Manitobans in support of the woodland caribou’s listing and protection under MESA. When Manitoba voters speak, the government must respond. If the government doesn’t take the next step, the public will speak again.

22) “I’d be playing in it, climbing the trees and Hide and Seek, maybe,” forward-thinking Grade 1 student Matt Connolly says of the fun forest things he will do some day. “And I’m going to go visit my tree,” he adds, pointing out what in his eyes is the perfect forest fostering specimen, which was one of many tucked into the soil this month under the guidance of staff from the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project, which partnered with West Royalty elementary for this refreshing reforestation venture. Once slated for industrial use, it is now destined to become a full-fledged forest with walking trails and an outdoor classroom, thanks to the forwarding thinking of the West Royalty Home and School Association. “We saw that the property was just being mowed . . . and we didn’t know what was happening to it,” says home and school member Ruth Sturz. The grand planting plan is based on what an original P.E.I. forest would be. That includes native plants being added in the order of which they will best survive and thrive in what is now a wide open space. Undergrowth species such as yellow birch will be added later as the forest matures. “It’s seen as a long-term project,” Schneider says. “It is funny to think of 20, 30 or 40 years, but it’s going to be 40 years before it’s a forest and 200 years before you have trees as big as I’d like to see them.” Grade 1 teacher Joanne Cameron is already incorporating this developing outdoor school ground space into her daily lesson plan for her 11-boy, four-girl class. “It took a lot of people working a lot to get the land transferred, and with the kids out helping to plant it’s all coming together,” Sturz says of the formerly improbable, impossible project. “It’s hard to believe that with 450 kids, it’s not a mission impossible after all.”


23) MINQIN, China — China’s own favorite military strategist, Sun Tzu, surely would have warned against letting two mighty enemies, the Tengger and the Badain Jaran, form a united front. Yet a desert pincer is squeezing this struggling oasis town, and China’s long campaign to cultivate its vast arid northwest is in retreat. An ever-rising tide of sand has claimed grasslands, ponds, lakes and forests, swallowed whole villages and forced tens of thousands of people to flee as it surges south and threatens to leave this ancient Silk Road greenbelt uninhabitable. Han Chinese women here cover their heads and faces like Muslims to protect against violent sandstorms. Farmers dig wells down hundreds of feet. If they find water, it is often brackish, even poisonous. Chinese leaders have vowed to protect Minqin and surrounding towns in Gansu Province. The area divides two deserts, the Badain Jaran and the Tengger, and its precarious state threatens to accelerate the spread of barren wasteland to the heart of China. The national 937 Project, set up to fight the encroaching desert, estimated in April that 1,500 square miles of land, roughly the size of Rhode Island, is buried each year. Nearly all of north central China, including Beijing, is at risk.


24) SHIMLA – DESPITE strong protests by apple growers, the Forest Department today resumed its drive to clear the forest area of apple-orchard encroachments in the Jubbal forest range of Shimla district. Nearly 27 hectares of forest area was cleared of apple plantations that had come up in the last 10 years in Bholar and Balli villages of the Mandal block. Divisional Forest Officer Rajesh Sharma informed, ‘‘After the initial survey by the department 800 apple plantations were identified as enchroachments on un-demarcated forest area in the Mandal block.’’ A team of 40 forest officials executed the drive under the supervision of Assistant Conservator of Forests Rakesh Sharma, Rajesh Sharma said.

25) ‘‘India is a fibre deficient country. Rules here do not permit private players to have forest concessions — a prerequisite for our manufacturing requirements.’’ Internationally, like in the US or South East Asia, paper companies control huge tracts of wooded land for their manufacturing needs.This is not the case in India. Raw material prices in the country, primarily bamboo and wood, have increased by about 25%-30% over the last few years and continue to rise. The per tonne cost of wood or fibre is Rs 2,700-Rs 2,800 in India, while in Malaysia it is almost half that. BILT will take advantage of these low costs to procure pulp from Malaysia. ‘‘The cost of pulp imports to India is lower even with addition of transportation charges,’’ says Rohan Gupta, research analyst at Mumbai’s Emkay Share. The company has announced investments of upto $500 million (or Rs 2,250 crore) to increase the pulping facility at Sabah from 1.2 lakh tonne to 5 lakh tonne. This pulp will feed the new capacity of nearly 3-3.5 lakh tonne coming up at the paper major’s Bhigwan unit in Maharashtra. ‘‘It is a fairly large expansion that the company is undertaking for which it will require pulp,’’ says Pranav Parekh, research analyst at Edelweiss Capital.

26) Did you know : Figs are not fruits, but rather hollow containers that house masses of little flowers. The tamarind tree was introduced to India from East Africa. The Delhi Ridge was afforested only in the early 20th century, with foreign species that replaced several native trees with unfortunate success. Pradip Krishen’s Trees of Delhi , brings to light a host of such trivia. A book that wins the reader over instantaneously, by its visual appeal and by the author’s self admission of an “inclusive view”, Krishen manages to take the reader gently through a scientific subject that could otherwise get intimidating. In an exclusive interview with Indiatimes News Network, the writer shares his experiences.
Q. You started studying trees from 1995 onward. How has the journey been over the past decade — is it scientific, or more as a hobby? I began by looking at forest trees in Pachmarhi in central India, and was ‘taken in hand’ by a forester friend who loves his trees and jungles and birds. It took a while, but slowly the wonderful Satpura jungle began to resolve into individual trees, and from there it was a matter of learning to read a scientific flora, and to decode the arcane language that botanists use to describe plants… It was then just a matter of time, really, before I began to wonder about the trees in the city I live in, and began to piece together and identify the trees here. It began as a hobby, and slowly became something I was doing full time, with all the excitement of embarking on a mission! Q. There is a dearth of information and books on the trees of India. Do you think Trees of Delhi is an indulgence to the residents of the Capital? A. The only way to do a book about the trees of India is to create a parliament of trees, by representing each major eco-system by its most representative trees. Say, 20 trees from the dry north-western Himalaya, 10 from the desert, and so on. I don’t know that it can be done except by a mammoth collaborative effort by many people. It’s something that I’d love to initiate, but it needs lots of money, for the travelling and research and photography. Let’s see, its time will come. Meanwhile, this ‘indulgence’, as you call it, will have to do!


27) What is a forest? A forest has been defined “as an ecosystem or assemblage of ecosystems dominated by trees and other woody vegetation. The living parts of a forest include trees, shrubs, vines, grasses and other herbaceous (non-woody) plants, mosses, algae, fungi, insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and microorganisms living on the plants and animals and in the soil. These interact with one another and with the non-living part of the environment — including the soil, water, and minerals, to make up what we know as a forest.” So, trees planted by the people in their homesteads do not strictly come under the aforesaid definition of forest. Controversies exist regarding forest coverage in the country. Bangladesh has a classified natural forest area of about 10 percent of the total land area, but only 6-8 percent of this has good canopy cover, which is far below the desired level. In Bangladesh, annual rate of deforestation has been estimated at more than 3. 5 per cent (Bangladesh Forestry Master Plan, 1993). Experts, researchers, academics and others have attributed the deforestation, particularly in three main classes of the country’s natural forests namely, hill forests, the sal forests and the Sundarbans mangrove forests, primarily to the following factors: 1) Conversion of forest lands into agricultural land to meet food requirement 2) Conversion of forest lands into shrimp farming. 3) Use of forest lands for new settlements, construction of new roads, bridges, embankments and grazing 4) Illegal and / or deliberate wood cutting, felling and thinning. 5) Indiscriminate use of chemical fertilisers and insecticides 6) Uncontrolled diseases causing havoc mainly on the sundari trees in the Sundarbans. 7) Unregulated testing and exploration activities by the International Oil Companies in the Sundarbans. 8) Low flows in the distributaries of the Ganges due to water 9) Jhum cultivation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts 10) Natural disasters 11) Improper implementation of policies, plans and programs so far recommended / approved for conservation, promotion and development of forests.


28) The priests reported receiving text messages on their mobile phones saying they would be killed if they did not stop leading a protest movement against PICOP Resources Inc. (PRI), a wood- and paper-processing plant in Bislig. Father Falcon said several messages have circulated since last year, when Kalihukan Bantay Kagubatan (guard the forest movement), which he co-leads in Surigao del Sur, began rallying against PRI operations. Parishioners also reported “strangers” riding motorcycles and roaming around the church and parish house, mostly at night, the pastor added. A group also told the priest they heard a PRI officer address a threat to him on a radio program the company produced, saying: “If you want to live, leave Mangagoy.” In March members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Ecology went around Mangagoy and Bislig with environmentalists, some of them from the government, to look into complaints from local groups about water and air pollution allegedly caused by PRI’s wood and paper processing. Complainants claim the pollution is causing disease among people living near the plant. Members of the probe team, led by Congressman Nereus Acosta, chairman of the committee, interviewed residents including Father Falcon. The parish priest has been writing to environmental agencies for several years about health and environmental problems local people believe to be caused by PRI operations.

29) STA. BARBARA, Pangasinan — Gov. Victor Agbayani led the distribution here of some 100,000 fruit and forest tree seedlings to various community organizations as part of the province’s expanded Watershed Development and Reforestation program. The seedlings distribution was held after the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the governor and the newly organized groups that underwent orientation and training under the Integrated Social Forestry (ISF) scheme. The ISF set-up calls for the organization of interested farmers or village residents who will do the planting and caring of the various fruit trees such as mango, coconut, bamboo and mahogany and other forest trees under the supervision of the provincial government and with the assistance of the Department of Agriculture (DA). Together with the Department of Agriculture, the governor has programmed some 400 hectares for reforestation this year and up to 2007, in addition to the 800 hectares already covered under the program, Provincial Agriculturist Jose Almendares said. “In fact we have already exceeded the target of 700 hectares set within a three-year period since the launching of the program in 2003,” he added. (PIA-Pangasinan)

30) Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), which is exploring a copper and gold mine project in Tampakan, South Cotabato, has tied up with the NDMU in putting together the baseline study. Butch Sebua, SMI Senior Environmental Officer, said the partnership with NDMU “is a manifestation of our firm respect for the environment and our commitment to social responsibility.” The study is expected to determine various levels of heavy metals in selected communities in Tampakan, as well as the quality of surface waters in selected areas around South Central Mindanao. The Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, a joint undertaking of SMI and the Philippine government, is currently on its pre-feasibility stage. Its copper ore reserves are estimated to be among the biggest in Asia. If eventually deemed feasible, actual mining operations may begin in 2010. Meanwhile, the company is busy doing the spadework for sound environmental management, said Sebua, who chairs the technical working group that oversees the Maleh ToKayu, an ambitious reforestation program. To date, the Maleh ToKayu program has planted some 10,000 different varieties of forest trees, fruit trees, and bamboos in various locations in Tampakan, specifically in Nature’s Park, Lake Lanaw, barangays Tablu and Danlag and sitio Bong S’bang in Kiblawan.

31) LUCENA CITY — The Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) has vowed to protect the Agta tribe in Sierra Madre from harassment and death threats by illegal loggers. “It’s our duty to secure and protect all Sierra Madre stakeholders from the harassment of environmental terrorists,” said Solcom spokesperson Major Jose Broso. Army troops assigned in Real, Infanta, General Nakar towns in Quezon province and in Tanay, Rizal have been ordered to provide security and protection to Sierra Madre settlers, he said. Solcom chief Lieutenant General Pedro Cabuay Jr. also urged soldiers on patrol to be vigilant in monitoring illegal logging operations, Broso added. Illegal logging in Sierra Madre is being protected by communist New People’s Army rebels. On Thursday, Leony Buendicho, an Agta leader in the mountain settlement of Sitio Baykuran, Barangay Pagsangahan in General Nakar, told newsmen how her community was being harassed and threatened following a series of successful anti-illegal logging operations in the area conducted by Department of Environment and Natural Resources officials, police, military and the environmentalist group Tanggol Kalikasan (TK). Earlier, task force personnel seized about 10,500 board feet of undocumented hardwood lumber from residents of the mountain village of Daraitan in Tanay. Environment Undersecretary Roy Kyamko, Naectaf deputy head, warned that DENR personnel manning the checkpoints along a road connecting the barangay to the main road in Tanay would have a lot of explaining to do for their failure to stop the transit of hot logs from the mountain range. Sierra Madre has been declared a protected area under Proclamation No. 1636. Harvesting of trees and other forest products is highly restricted there and requires special permits from the DENR. “The ongoing anti-illegal logging operations by the DENR in Sierra Madre are really commendable,” Perez said. He said the campaign would serve as a welcome impetus to a planned multisectoral summit of mountain stakeholders in August.

33) NEGROS Oriental’s forest cover is now ten percent of its total land area, five or six percent more than it was a decade ago, if data presented by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) are to be believed. City environment officer Charlie Fabre told a recent Environment Month Kapihan sa PIA at Bethel Guest House that although the figure was still subject to ground verification, land satellite data showed a “marked increase” of “about four to five percent” in the forest cover. Fabre said the deterioration of the province’s forest worsened in 1987 after the government cancelled the logging concessions in the country in 1980. “DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) was not (then) prepared to protect the remaining forests from logging concessions,” he said. Despite this, he said, the DENR plodded ahead with its forest protection and conservation projects in the province. The result is the “slight increase” in the forest cover, Fabre said. The 10 percent cover, he explained, includes man-made and natural forests, but excluded those in alienable or disposable lands, which DENR has not clearly surveyed.


34) “This policy will only continue to destroy forests and livelihoods abroad while harming the timber industry at home.” Malaysia, which is Washington’s 10th-largest trading partner, is in talks to negotiate a free-trade pact with the United States by year-end. It exported around 3.7 million cubic meters of sawn timber last year, up 16 percent from 2004, government data show. The Environmental Investigation Agency, which says its mission is to probe and expose environmental crime, and other green groups have said that more than a third of Malaysian timber exports come from illegal logs, mostly from Indonesia. The report said the United States had so far failed in its trade dealings in the region to insist on proper safeguards against illegally logged timber and called for any new free-trade deals to include tougher bilateral enforcement of the illegal trade. U.S. and Malaysian officials have barely mentioned environmental issues in their public comments on the talks, which began in Malaysia on Monday.

35) Papua New Guinea Defence Force soldiers posted to patrol the PNG-Indonesia border are allegedly being used by a logging company in West Sepik Province to quell landowners’ protests. A group of landowners from the province representing the resource owners of Amanab Blocks five and six forestry management area (FMA), Vanimo Timber Rights Purchase (TRP) one to six and Bewani Local Forest Area (LFA) and Amanab Blocks one to four said in Port Moresby yesterday that PNGDF soldiers had now joined the policemen to attend to any opposition to the logging operation by the Vanimo Forest Products. They said that soldiers in full combat gear had been working for the company with the call-out order from the National Executive Council to attend to an emergency. PNGDF Commander Commod-ore Peter Ilau yesterday denied the involvement of his men in supporting logging operations and said “it was the job of the policemen”.

36) The rhino is believed to be one of a population of as few as 13 individuals whose existence was confirmed during a field survey last year in the interior forests of Sabah, Malaysia in an area known as the “Heart of Borneo”. A handful of rhinos are thought to survive in addition to the 13, scattered across Sabah but isolated from each other. Conservationists hope that this population of 13 is viable and will be able to reproduce if protected from poaching. A full-time rhino monitoring team was established at the end of 2005 in Sabah to monitor the rhinos and their habitat, and to keep poachers away. The camera traps, set up in February 2006, are remotely activated by infrared triggers when animals walk by. “This is an encouraging sign for the future of rhinoceros conservation work in Sabah,” said Mahedi Andau, Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department. “While the total number of Borneo rhinos remaining is uncertain, we do know there are very, very few. To capture a photo of one just a few months after placing camera traps in the area is extraordinary.” The rhinos on Borneo spend their lives in dense jungle where they are rarely seen, which accounts for the lack of any previous photographs of them in the wild. “These are very shy animals that are almost never seen in the wild,” said Raymond Alfred, Project Manager of WWF-Malaysia’s Asian Rhinoceros and Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS). “Based on the photo, we can tell this is a mature and healthy individual thanks to the availability of plentiful, good-quality forage in the forest. We hope to take more photos over the coming months of other rhinos so we can piece together clues about this tiny, precarious population.” The main threats to the last rhinos on Borneo are poaching – its horn and virtually all of its body parts are valuable on the black market – and loss of its forested habitat due to land conversion for other uses such as agriculture. WWF is working with the Sabah Foundation and the Sabah Wildlife Department to establish a Rhinoceros and Orangutan Research Programme Centre in the Heart of Borneo forest area to bolster the rhino monitoring and research work in that area.

37) In recent years, PNG Government ministers, public servants and members of the private sector have been confronted by anti-forestry protesters during important overseas conferences. This has happened in cities such as Wellington, Sydney, Brisbane and even Tokyo with officials generally coming away feeling embarrassed, insulted and often angry. Invariably, the protesters are led by local factions of Greenpeace, who allege that all PNG timber exports are “illegal” and, on that false premise, demand that Australian, New Zealand and Japanese customers boycott PNG exports. PNG is vulnerable to protests by environmental groups partly because the National Forest Board, which has the power to act against illegal operators and exporters, have preferred to ignore the problem, which most times is documented by SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance). For its part, the government would prefer to use its scarce financial resources for important domestic needs, rather than expensive and unnecessary overseas lobbying and public relations campaigns. It could be argued that the task of defending the country should be left to timber companies, but they too have limited resources especially after considering the high-cost environment in which they operate and the debilitating 35% tax on export log revenues. This is the highest such tax anywhere in the world and several studies have suggested PNG’s commercial logging operations are barely viable with the greatest financial beneficiaries being the government and landowners.


38) UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has collected extensive investigations into the rate of the clearing using satellite imagery. According to FAO (2005) about 15.5 million ha of forest is being cleared yearly in developing countries. Most of this (14.2 million ha) is converted to other land uses and the rest is turned into forest plantations. This is not reforesting in the terms of rainforest as these plantations are for timber purposes and do not have the diversity of rainforest ecosystems. Nigeria and Vietnam’s rate of primary forest loss has doubled since the 1990s, while Peru’s rate has tripled. Overall, FAO estimated that 10.4 million hectares of tropical forest were permanently destroyed each year in the period from 2000 to 2005, an increase over the 1990- 2000 period, during which 10.16 million hectares of forest were lost. Among primary forests, annual deforestation rose to 6.26 million hectares from 5.41 million hectares in the same period. On a broader scale, FAO data show that primary forests are being replaced by less bio-diverse plantations and secondary forests. Incidentally; Nigeria has the world’s highest deforestation rate of primary forests and FAO has concluded that if this rate is maintained, the remaining forest areas in Nigeria will disappear by the year 2020, (FAO 2005). The net rate of forest loss in Africa is the second highest in the world (4.0 million hectares annually) while the continent leads the globe in the frequency of forest fires. South America has the highest net loss of forests (around 4.3 million hectares annually).Oceania had a net loss of 356 000 ha/year in 2000-2005, while North and Central America together had a net loss of 333000 ha/yr. Globally, Africa suffered a net loss of forests exceeding 4 million hectares per year between 2000 and 2005, (FAO 2005). This was mainly due to conversion of forest lands to agriculture. Forest cover went form 655.6 million hectares (ha) to 635.4 million ha during this period. The annual loss of Forest area between 2000 and 2005 was 703 million hectares year – an area about the size of Sierra Leone or Panama.

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