105OEC’s This Week in Trees
This week we have 40 news items from: Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Mississippi, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, USA, Canada, England, Slovenia, Congo, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Brazil, India, Philippines, and Indonesia.

Alaska:

1) In a report to Congress this month, BLM officials suggested lifting prohibitions on mining, oil and gas leasing, and other development on large tracts scattered throughout the state. The restrictions date to the 1970s when the interior secretary withdrew lands under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Back then, the fledging Native firms were selecting 44 million acres to which they were entitled under that 1971 law. State officials were also choosing land Alaska received under the Statehood Act of 1958. Congress froze huge swaths of Alaska pending completion of that process. Three decades of bureaucracy and litigation later, Native corporations are still making selections, as are state officials. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, got Congress to pass a bill two years ago to speed up the process. Part of the bill gave BLM a deadline to submit a report this month on what to do with any “left over” lands. The lands are called “D-1 withdrawals,” a reference to the section of ANCSA that gave the interior secretary the authority to freeze them. While the total amount at stake is a staggering 152 million acres — nearly half of Alaska — only about 21.4 million could be open to development anytime soon, said Dave Mushovic, BLM realty specialist. That’s because much federal land is already designated as national park, forest or refuge where development is banned or restricted. If the government opens D-1 lands to more exploration, it could hurt Bristol Bay’s fish and wildlife populations, which feed and employ many Alaskans, Landau said. “The immediate result of this proposal is up to Congress,” Henri Bisson, BLM’s Alaska director, said Friday. “Until Congress acts, the D-1 restrictions remain in place.” http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/7875639p-7769267c.html

2) “People get freaked out because they see these worms hanging all over their spruce trees,” Claassen said. “They just rain out of the trees. It’s pretty weird looking,” she said. It’s nothing new. The Fairbanks area is in the middle of a spruce budworm outbreak that began in 2002 and is likely to intensify, said Jim Kruse, a forest entomologist with the state Division of Forestry. “It’s going to be pretty bad for a couple years,” he said. In past years, spruce budworms have been reported in areas of higher elevations, such as Nenana Ridge, Cripple Creek and Chena Ridge. This year, they have spread to the Tanana Valley floor. That’s typical, Kruse said. “When it finally starts on the outbreak stage it spreads out to the valleys,” he said. Spruce budworms spin silken tents to overwinter and emerge in early June by rappelling down webs. The brownish-gray caterpillars will pupate into moths in a few weeks, Kruse said. An infestation can kill a tree. Spruce budworms feed primarily on the growing tips on white spruce trees. Older, more mature trees are most susceptible to dying because they grow at a slower rate, which allows the worms to kill the top of the tree, Kruse said. Once the tree top is dead, the tree stops producing cones and begins rotting downward until it’s weakened to the point where bark beetles finish it off, he said. “The younger, fast-growing trees can grow right through it,” said Kruse. Several spruce trees at Cripple Creek 10 miles south of Fairbanks have been killed by prolonged spruce budworm damage, Claassen said. Outbreaks occur in roughly 10-year cycles, Kruse said. During the outbreak of 1990-96, the worst year foresters mapped out was 220,000 acres, he said. There are signs that the spruce budworm population is getting stressed, Claassen said. The worms have moved into black spruce. “They’re already starting to outcompete themselves,” she said. “Hopefully, they’ll die out because of their own numbers.” http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/ap_alaska/story/7875784p-7769435c.html

British Columbia:

3) The province committed $1.2 million to Prince George to help it mop up devastation to its lodgepole pine urban forest. Meanwhile, there are no provincial programs in Kamloops or Kelowna to help homeowners save trees or have them removed so they don’t infest neighbouring properties. Costs to remove dead trees can run in the thousands of dollars. “We should find a way to help people,” Simpson said, noting an innovative solution in Revelstoke for wood waste. The Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation is building a wood-residue-fired energy plant to heat the dry kilns at Downie Street Sawmills Ltd. and to heat municipal and private sector buildings in the city core. There is little commercial value in red and dead ponderosa pine trees visible on city hillsides. Simpson said the provincial and federal governments have failed to come up with innovative solutions to the pine beetle crisis, which is now a dead-tree crisis. “That might be a backhand way for city taxpayers to offset (costs),” Simpson said of turning trees with no commercial value into biomass power. “There are creative ways to deal with it but the creativity isn’t there.” There is also untapped value in salvage logging, which has been marginalized by the Liberal government, he said. The Kamloops forest district closed log salvage applications last year after it ran out of staff resources to process them. http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/

4) While Eagleridge Bluffs is being blown to bits, Madam Justice Brown of BC Supreme Court has rolled three different legal roles in Betty’s life into one; the judge is currently acting as Betty’s judge, jailer, and prosecutor. How did Madam Justice Brown get to act all three of these parts in Betty’s case? By something called Rule 56. Rule 56 says in effect that in absence of a charge or charges by a complainant, then a judge can bring forth a charge (sort of) that will bind the alleged accused (that’s Betty) to all of the same conditions as if there were actual charges laid by complainants (in this case Kiewit and Sons, an American firm who is doing the actual blasting of Eagleridge Bluffs and Sea to Sky Highway or even the Crown). Now isn’t this lovely? None of the above complainants will, as yet, bring charges against Betty. And the West Van City Police won’t send materials to anybody. They won’t even give Betty back her tent. So all of the complainants have shifted the responsibility for chastising Betty for blockading on the Bluffs to the judge without their having to do any of the dirty work of stepping forward with actual charges. Is this a travesty of justice? The corporations and levels of government who want Betty charged and jailed should at least have the guts to step up and do it themselves But they haven’t. Is this the same rule courts can hold suspected terrorists indefinitely by? Has Betty reached the pinnacles of criminality by being treated as a terrorist? This petit, 77 year old great grandmother? Betty says she will not sign a promise not to return to Eagleridge Bluffs when it is presented to her again as she has given up all hope of being charged and tried fairly by the court she is under. She says she had rather be in jail. Stay tuned. From: Forests Saver < savebcforests@bugmedia.com>

Washington:

5) This owl remains a potent symbol in the Pacific Northwest. Environmentalists see the species’ success–or failure–as an indicator of the health of centuries-old forests. Thousands of jobless loggers and their families have long viewed it, by contrast, as symbolic of environmental self-righteousness. Such scrutiny has not helped the spotted owl in the real world, where it is rapidly disappearing from Washington state’s oldest, tallest trees. Scientists had predicted the bird would stabilize and eventually rebound after the Clinton administration in 1994 put 80 percent of federal forests from Washington to northern California off-limits to logging. Instead, the owl population has shrunk by an estimated 50 percent, said Joe Buchanan, a wildlife biologist for Washington state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife who completed a study of the bird last year. There may be fewer than 1,000 spotted owls in the state today, and the numbers are dwindling by up to 10 percent annually in some regions, he said. Herter has seen the same steep decline. Among 60 nesting sites he began tracking in 1992, about 25 still host owls. “There may be nothing we can do about it,” he said. The spotted owl loomed large in environmental politics and the public imagination 15 years ago, when it looked out from the cover of Time magazine and, soon after, made the endangered species list. It used to take two or three men with chain saws 10 minutes to cut a huge old-growth fir. Today, a track-mounted machine with a driver can sever a younger tree, cut its branches and arrange it for transport in 60 seconds, said Gerry Lane, 63, who manages Allen Logging Co. in Forks, Wash., on the Olympic Peninsula. The irony that the northern spotted owl may yet disappear, despite epic efforts to save it, is not lost on one-time loggers who mourn a bygone way of life among the big trees. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0606190202jun19,1,1982138.story?coll=chi-
newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

Oregon:

6) Shrubs and low-lying plants now cover the ground at Abbot Creek. Wildflowers such as purple lupines add nutrients to the soil, while tiger lilies dot the forest floor, attracting wildlife like the swallowtail butterfly and deer. “It’s a great example of how Mother Nature can come back quickly, with a little help,” said Maret Pajutee, district ecologist with the Sisters Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service. Civic groups replanted the land surrounding the creek with ponderosa pine and other trees in the spring following the fire, said Sisters District Ranger Bill Anthony. “This was just cooked, there wasn’t a green thing in here,” he said. The Forest Service is still working on the burned areas in the Deschutes National Forest. They are doing additional replanting, weed control, hazardous tree removal and final salvage logging operations. The combined B&B Fire burned 92,000 acres, caused Camp Sherman to be evacuated twice, cost almost $40 million to extinguish and simmered until November. It was, by far, the biggest known fire in Central Oregon’s history, said Anthony. Bulldozers and hand crews had plowed 170 miles of fire lines to fight the fire, and had to be restored. The area received $1.5 million in restoration funding, and forest managers drew up a recovery plan. One priority was taking care of water flow, Anthony said. In areas where tree stands and vegetation burned, the soil was no longer able to handle the amount of water from rain and snowmelt. “The water runs off in higher volumes than we’ve ever seen before,” he said. The area around Abbot Creek is part of the 8,000 acres the Forest Service has replanted, including more than 1,200 salvage-logged acres. http://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-15/1150589660216980.xml&sto
rylist=orlocal

7) The niche of a one-man logger is making the most of a harvest site. Nash has figured that out, and has carved himself a corner of the timber market since starting his independent logging operation, Western Oregon Forest Management, nearly six years ago. “I’ve never not had a day of work,” said Nash, 38, of Curtin. A day of work for Nash is typically the thinning and harvest of another acre of trees. Cutting through the overcrowded understory of timber to promote old-growth characteristics and decrease fire fuels, Nash targets timber 3 inches in diameter and larger and designates its stock for particular markets. The difficult part of his work is tree selection and prevention of tree damage. If he’s thinning on a timber company’s land, he cuts whatever impedes the growth of desirable timber. Usually that’s his goal on public land as well. But in last week’s case, Nash was removing every other row of Douglas fir on a Bureau of Land Management genetic progeny research site just east of Elkton that had been planted plantation-style about 22 years ago to determine which genetically engineered Douglas fir seedlings grow best. With the site’s data in hand, BLM negotiated a timber sale with Nash to thin it and reduce its risk of fire. Nash is well-known within the BLM. The agency was able to negotiate a sale with him — instead of putting it up for bid — since the site’s volume is less than 250,000 board feet of timber. Nash works plantation-style timber stands and diverse public lands with his small, specially ordered harvester from Finland. The nimble machine cuts and bucks logs in tight spaces without compromising the quality of surrounding timber that’s meant to stay. “It’s all in the equipment,” he says, since the work is too “labor intensive” for chain saws and large machinery that bump and scrape remaining trees. The U.S. Forest Service hopes to get more independent loggers to help with this kind of work. Nash says that could create a lot of room for people like him — independent loggers who get established with public and private landowners. http://www.oregonnews.com/article/20060619/NEWS/60619023

8) Last week it was reported that the Forest Service auctioned off a timber sale in Oregon, the first such sale in a roadless area since the Bush administration announced plans to unravel roadless protection for 6 million acres of public lands. “I think that I shall never see/a poem lovely as a tree,” Kilmer rhapsodized. “A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed/upon the earth’s sweet flowing breast …” Tree killers share no such sentiments. There is always someone willing to run a chain saw for a profit or a whim. Meanwhile, the blood of our forests flows in a river of pain and loss. http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20060619/COLUMN/106190011

California:

9) One day last week, as loggers stacked trees in a dusty clearing on one of the last commercial timber sales slated to occur in this 6-year-old monument, Ara Marderosian stood to the side and watched in dismay. “I hate it,” said Marderosian, director of an environmental group called Sequoia ForestKeeper. “They are turning this place into a desert.” In few places are disagreements over logging sharper than in the Giant Sequoia National Monument east of Fresno. Created by former President Clinton in 2000 and carved out of the Sequoia National Forest, the 327,769-acre preserve is meant to ensure greater protections for the towering, centuries-old sequoia groves that make this region famous. Clinton’s proclamation allowed already approved timber sales to be carried out, a process still under way, and managers also plan to continue some form of thinning in the future to prepare the woods for being safely burned, under controlled circumstances. But environmentalists have sued the U.S. Forest Service over its management of the Sequoia National Forest. They also are calling for the area to be transferred to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, which do not allow commercial logging. “They say they are improving the forest, but it’s just exactly the opposite,” said Martin Litton, a Bay Area environmentalist leading the effort. “They have no business being in there. They ruin the land.” At age 89, Litton, a legendary conservationist who has fought to protect rivers and forests around the West since the 1950s, was scheduled to be in the monument Wednesday to meet a film crew working on a documentary of his life, but had to care for his ailing wife instead. “I’ve talked to environmentalists,” he added with a sigh. “Most of them are reasonable people. In fact, a lot of them like what we’re doing. But some don’t.”Kiper — who has logged in the Sequoia forest for more than 50 years — said work in the woods is getting harder to find. “We used to haul 100 loads a week — and they were big logs,” he said. “Now we’re doing 30 — and they are small.” http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/story/14269137p-15080289c.html

Idaho:

10) BOISE, Idaho — A rare tornado that tore through a 13-mile swath of the Payette National Forest earlier this month increased the fire danger by downing thousands of trees, the U.S. Forest Service said Tuesday. The service released a damage assessment of the twister that touched down June 4 near the remote central Idaho town of Bear (pop. 14) near the Oregon border. In all, the tornado uprooted or destroyed 26.8 million board feet of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and white pine trees. The downed trees increase the fire danger on 2,700 acres of the national forest, spokeswoman Denise Cobb said. Luckily, she said, the areas of highest fire risk are in a checkerboard pattern, spread among less damaged pockets of forest. Most of the downed timber will be cleared through salvage logging. The Forest Service is working on an accelerated schedule to draft an environmental assessment by August. If the plan clears a 30-day public objection period, bidding on a timber sale could start in early fall, Cobb said. Some loggers are urging officials to open bidding sooner to prevent the death of more trees. He estimated that the 26.8 million board feet downed in the tornado is worth at least $9 million. On a recent drive through the blowdown area, Ikola said he saw uprooted trees 30 inches in diameter. Some were thrown 20 feet, he said. “I’ve seen several small microbursts in our area over the years,” he said, “but never anything like this.” The tornado also wrecked some 12 miles of trails and 37 miles of road, both private and federally owned, according to the Forest Service report. About 10 miles of range fences were ripped from the ground, thwarting the ability of ranchers to corral livestock. Many animals in the forest likely died, too, Cobb said. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420AP_ID_Tornado_Timber.html

11) In Ketchum, Idaho, last week a developer girdled three large Englemann spruce that were in the way of his building envelope. Girdling, the act of cutting a ring around the trunk and strangulating a tree, is one of the cruelest, most lingering forms of execution. That deed was done just days before the deadline of a citywide moratorium on cutting large trees in a town that the National Arbor Day Foundation had recently honored. The mayor of Ketchum decried “an out-of-town developer who came into our house and defecated in our living room.” http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20060619/COLUMN/106190011

Montana:

12) BUTTE — A federal judge has granted environmental groups an injunction in the battle over logging of beetle-damaged trees south of here. In a recent brief, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said he was “reluctantly compelled” to find that the U.S. Forest Service ran afoul of federal environmental laws when it approved the Basin Creek Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project. The agency failed to produce adequate analysis of soil productivity and must stop logging near Basin Creek Reservoir until it complies with the law, Molloy said. R-Y Timber Inc. of Townsend started work on the 2,600-acre project, aimed at reducing wildfire risk, last fall. Work stopped pending an appeal by the Ecology Center, the Native Ecosystems Council and the Alliance for the Wild Rockies of an earlier decision by Molloy. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals returned the case to Molloy in February. The environmental groups argued that the work in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest would jeopardize habitat of the black-eyed woodpecker. They wanted the Forest Service to produce a plan to protect that habitat. Butte-Silver Bow County formally intervened in the suit, saying it was obligated to do what it could to protect houses and Butte’s watershed from wildfires. http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/06/18/news/state/60-logging.txt

Colorado:

13) VAIL – A project to reduce fire danger above Vail could be delayed for a year because of the appeal of a Forest Service decision authorizing the plan. The project, part of the “Vail Valley Forest Health Project,” includes cutting aspens to reduce the risk of wildfires spreading in the area. The trees are in the area above Vail stretching to Arrowhead. The town of Vail’s environmental health director, Bill Carlson, said the project would reduce the risk of fire to the town. Minturn resident Michael Heaphy, who appealed the decision, said the project is based on outdated information and would do nothing to reduce fire risk. http://cbs4denver.com/topstories/local_story_169154111.html

14) Cocchiarella led one of 10 guided hikes for “Go Roadless Day,” organized by the Citizens for Roadless Area Defense to preserve areas in the White River National Forest that may be affected by President Bush’s recent repeal of Bill Clinton’s land policy, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Starting in 1999, the Clinton Administration turned to scientists, natural resource experts and the public to decide what to do with wilderness land that the U.S. Forest Service considered “roadless.” With more than 90 percent of the public pushing the government to protect roadless land from the construction and reconstruction of roads, the Clinton Administration passed protective regulations in 2001. Bush’s new policy allows the development of almost 60 million roadless acres unless governors petition for the protection of the lands. They have until November 2006. Cocchiarella took a group of seven people up the old, paved highway, which turned into a dirt road after about two miles of hiking. That road, which is closed to vehicles, divides two major roadless areas, the Corral Creek and the East Vail roadless areas, she said. “It felt kind of funny walking on a road on a roadless area hike,” she said. “But the views were fantastic . . . and the creek was really, really going strong and splashing up and hitting you on the face on the trail. It was great.” http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20060618/NEWS/106180059

Minnesota:

15) Thousands of acres of privately owned land that for a century were managed by timber and mining companies and open to the public have been sold to investment companies that often parcel it off for re-sale. Conservation and natural-resource officials say nearly 1 million acres of large, undeveloped tracts of Minnesota forest are at risk of being: Off limits to the public for hunting and recreation; taken out of timber production for mills, developed to the extent that birds, wildlife and water quality suffer. That’s an area larger than the Chippewa National Forest. And it doesn’t count millions more acres of private forest owned by individuals and families that also is being divided up. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports that since 1989, 400,000 acres of private forest land have been lost permanently to development such as house and cabin sites, driveways, and roads. While public attention has focused on heated debates about logging and ATVs on state and federal land, the social, ecological and economic impacts of this massive private-land selloff could be larger, said Ron Nargang, state director of the Minnesota Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Nearly half the state’s northern forests are in private hands. “Minnesotans had come to see the timber company land as their own, pretty much as public land, and we assumed it would always be out there for us,” Nargang said. “Now, it’s getting sold off and developed. This has kind of caught us by surprise.” So far, Potlatch Corp. and Blandin Paper Co. are hanging on to much of their land in Minnesota. But experts say it may be only a matter of time before rising land prices pressure the companies into selling. Other big landowners in Minnesota – including USX, Minnesota Power and investment firm Wolfwood – are selling land on the recreational real-estate market, much of it in remote areas. Minnesota Power is halfway through selling 26,000 of its 30,000 acres for cabin sites. The number of new homes and new recreational properties in northern Minnesota counties jumped 25 percent between 1990 and 2000, the foundation’s report says. “We need to stop wringing our hands about it like old men and get going. We need some better tax law down in St. Paul to keep timberland in timber,” he said. “We need a state revolving loan fund now so we can get serious about getting a hold of this land when it comes up on the market. If we’re going to have trees for our mills and land for people to recreate on up here, we need to get serious.”
http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/news/local/14815839.htm

Wisconsin:

16) Sometime before November’s deadline, Gov. Jim Doyle will petition the U.S. agriculture secretary to protect or adjust management on 25 tracts of land totaling about 0.05% of Wisconsin’s land area or 1.2% of the state’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The petition is in response to a 2005 Agriculture Department rule giving governors a say in the management of controversial roadless areas in the U.S. national forests. What’s at stake is the future of 118,000 acres of remote and wild places in Wisconsin. The 1.5 million-acre Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has about 11,000 miles of roads with a maintenance backlog of $43 million; 79% of the national forest land in Wisconsin is within a quarter-mile of a road. How many roads are enough? Both the sale and subdivision of huge acreages of Wisconsin forest land continue at staggering prices as sprawl and development continues. We are rapidly losing our wild places with no end in sight. The impact on timber harvest will be slight, and actual timber harvest could increase by focusing on less controversial places. Therefore, I am asking the governor to maintain the status quo and keep our remote wild places as they are, wild and roadless, for future generations to see and enjoy. The state Department of Natural Resources is taking public comments through July 17 http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/forestry/roadless and will hold public meetings beginning Thursday. This is your land. Don’t sit on the sidelines while the special interests and lobbyists push their self-serving arguments. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=438403

Illinois:

17) The back cut slowly opened as the notch slowly closed. Ricky stepped back as the huge tree fell with a whoosh, opening a piece of the sky that had been concealed for a hundred years. A gush of water flowed from the trunk – the lifeblood of the tree – soaking into the ground where the severed roots would never again pull moisture from the earth. The tree was a diseased elm, and Ricky had performed euthanasia. Watching that tree and many others fall, and seeing the water flow from the severed trunk, has stayed with me for the 30 years since I worked on that tree crew in suburban Chicago. There is pain for me when people with saws murder and maim things of great beauty and age, beings with a life force that reaches to the very heavens. In Joyce Kilmer’s words, “… a tree that looks at God all day/and lifts its leafy arms to pray …” http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20060619/COLUMN/106190011

Louisiana:

18) For natural and manufactured reasons, 30 square miles of South Louisiana wetlands vanish every year into the Gulf. People here say they lose a football field every 20 minutes, every half-hour, every hour — the estimates vary, but the panic is constant, partly because wetlands and barrier islands act as hurricane buffers for the vulnerable mainland. “It is terrible for me,” the chief of the Biloxi-Chitimacha said, as another sun set on the encroaching waters. “I thought I could change the world, but the world is changing me.” He pointed out where Lover’s Lane used to be, where a dance hall used to beckon, where groves of trees used to flourish before the salt water withered them dry. Even the chief doesn’t live on Isle de Jean Charles anymore. The only road leading to the island kept flooding, he said, and he could not afford to lose his off-island job in the petroleum industry. He moved 30 years ago from an island house that still stands, an empty hull, vacant since Hurricane Lili. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/19/us/19road.html?_r=1&oref=login

Mississippi:

19) Less than 2 percent of Mississippi’s timber inventory was destroyed last year by Hurricane Katrina – $888 million, down significantly from the $1.3 billion earlier estimate. But some farmers reaped very little from the massive salvage operation that kept more wood from rotting on the ground. Small private land owners salvaged 20 to 25 percent of their timber, and took a huge loss on anything they were fortunate enough to sell, said Wayne Tucker, executive director of the Mississippi Institute for Forest Inventory. “How are you going to tell that farmer who lost everything he owned it was small? To that small land owner it was devastating,” said Tucker, who is involved in preparing the final report on Katrina’s effects on the timber industry. Glenn Hughes, Extension Service forester with Mississippi State University, said some landowners lost up to 90 percent of the pre-Katrina value of their trees.”You can very easily go from $25 a ton for chip and saw product. When it snaps they may be able to sell it for $2 a ton,” Hughes said. “It’s like (selecting) a steak. Instead of settling for T-bone, you’re going for ground meat.” http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060618/BIZ/606180370

Maryland:

20) PRINCESS ANNE — Owners of new homes perched where crops or trees once grew may have mitigation bankers like Harold Scrimgeour to thank for their backyard swimming pool. With a 13.95-acre lot and loblolly pine seedlings, the Stockton resident launched a mitigation bank two years ago off Backbone Road near Princess Anne — Somerset County’s only privately owned perpetual forest approved by state conservationists as a resource for developers. “The intent is to keep a working forest and keeps wildlife active. If a developer builds a house on an acre lot and has to reforest 20 percent of it, he’d never be able to add a driveway and a swimming pool. There wouldn’t be enough room.” At mitigation banks, developers can, in effect, adopt an amount of forest to replace a portion of land cleared for development. Banks were slow to catch on the Lower Shore, where growth during the earlier years after the adoption of the 1991 Forest Conservation Act was at a snail’s crawl. Now, though, thousands of new construction projects are encroaching fields and forests of the rural, lower peninsula. And county planners are promoting the concept to create perpetual forests, provide developers more mitigation options and generate revenue for landowners willing to create preservation areas. Jerry Gray, a Pittsville developer, could become the first developer to adopt forested acres in Somerset. http://www.delmarvanow.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060619/NEWS01/606190304/1002

Virginia:

21) A logging project to clear 1,100 of those acres began in May 2005 and is about half done, refuge officials told reporters Monday. The project in the refuge, located in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Carson Helicopters Inc. of Pennsylvania is removing the logs for free in exchange for the right to sell the timber, said Suzanne C. Baird, the refuge’s manager. International Paper also is playing a role in the restoration. Using seed harvested from the refuge, the company is growing seedlings at a nursery in Georgia that will be planted in the refuge, Poovey said. It will take decades for trees to grow enough to make the swamp look like it did before Isabel, Poovey said, because many of the toppled trees were 60 to 80 years old. “There is, I think, a strong possibility that we’re going to put cedar back where cedar was,” refuge forester Bryan Poovey said. Removing damaged and dead trees exposes the swamp’s soil to sunlight, allowing cedar seeds in the soil to germinate in as quickly as a few weeks. Seedlings that sprouted this spring are now about the size of a fingernail. The project also reduces debris, which can be a fire hazard. An estimated 150,000 tons of fallen and dead trees could fuel wildfires if there are lightning strikes. Atlantic white cedar trees, which grow close together and have trunks that can reach 100 feet, once thrived in a narrow band along the Atlantic coastal plain from Maine to Mississippi. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110AP_Dismal_Swamp_Cedars.html

Georgia:

22) WALDO, Ala. Pollen has been gathered from the largest known living American chestnut tree in Alabama. The hopes are to grow more of the trees, which were thought to have been wiped out in the region by a fungus. The tree, which is 85 feet tall and healthy, was discovered last year in the Talladega National Forest during a survey for a timber sale. The Alabama chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation wants to use the pollen to breed a blight-resistant chestnut, particularly one adapted to the South. While timber is being cut nearby, the Forest Service has set up a protective buffer for the tree. It’s uncertain why the Talladega National Forest tree escaped the fungus. http://www.wtvm.com/Global/story.asp?S=5056933&nav=8fap

USA:

23) In 1926, the first roadless area inventory was conducted on our national forests. Only remote tracts of land larger than 200,300 acres were considered. In the 1970s, the Forest Service began reviewing roadless areas larger than 5,000 acres. Finally, in the late 1990s, roadless protection policies developed during my tenure as Forest Service chief included tracts larger than 5,000 acres plus remote smaller parcels. Interestingly, there was
strong citizen pressure to include tracts as small as 500 acres. In 80 years, we have moved from wrangling about the future of tracts over 200,000 acres to 500 acres. What size will we be fighting over in the next 80 years? The national forest system has more than 400,000 miles of roads mostly built for timber harvest, with a maintenance backlog approaching $10 billion, a significant taxpayer liability. The real problem is not only the one-time cost of constructing a new road but its maintenance cost. Between 1990 and ’98, 9,200 miles of national forest roads became impassable to passenger vehicles due to lack of maintenance. To assume that the money to maintain the roads will come from timber
sale profits is simply unrealistic. With little agreement in Congress, funding to maintain these roads has gone unmet for decades. Both unit cost of putting up timber sales and their failure rate in roadless areas is much higher than in more accessible areas mostly
because of the associated controversy and litigation. This begs the question: Would a corporation continue to build roads while burdened with a multibillion-dollar maintenance liability and make new investments in areas where the probability of success or profitability was lowest? Yet the special interest pressures are immense, which is why we are in another costly round of debate about the future of roadless areas. If we allow these few wild places to be developed, where will future generations find places in the North Woods as it once was to hike, hunt, fish or simply “find themselves in the woods” as I and many others did as a youngster? http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=438403

24) In the past decade, more than 13 million acres of private, industrial timberland has changed hands nationally – an amount equal to six Yellowstone National Parks. Most of it was owned by former paper and mill companies that are getting out of the land business. And nearly all of it is being purchased by Timber Investment Management Organizations, or TIMOs. Ornithologists say jays, crows, raccoons, cats and cowbirds typically don’t thrive in extensive forests. But when a forest is fragmented, those species gain access to more of the land. Populations of several species of migratory forest birds already are crashing. Parceling off large tracts of land also makes it harder to manage for
wildlife, removing options such as intentional fires and clearcutting. Some cabin owners are unwilling to have their nearby large trees cut, and even fewer are willing to allow fire or clearcutting, even if it helps species such as grouse or moose. “Divide a section up from one industrial owner to 16 new owners (of 40-acre tracts) and you have a bunch of driveways and cabins and new roads and lights. It affects wildlife. It affects timber management. You lose the connectivity,” said Tom Duffus, state director of the
Conservation Fund. TIMOs hold their land an average of seven to 12 years, Duffus said.
TIMOs often log what trees they can just before selling the land in chunks, often for development into homes or cabins. And it’s selling fast. According to a recent report compiled by the Blandin Foundation, northern Minnesota forest land prices have jumped 12 to 25 percent each year since 2000 and have risen sixfold since 1989 – from about $200 per acre to more than $1,200. Land with a view or on water fetches double the average. http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/news/local/14815839.htm

Canada:

25) The devastation in the forestry industry has created greater awareness in Northern Ontario to consider creating green fuel projects from the region’s abundant wood waste, says a leading bio-products expert. But building a new bio-economy in Ontario from the forest scrap heap won’t happen overnight. Dr. David Deyoe says that despite the big push to develop bio-renewable fuels, demand is way ahead of supply, in terms of available technology. Much of today’s current conversion technology, such as gasification and pyrolysis processes, remains in the prototype testing stage and is likely three to five years away from commercialization. And it will require a greater commitment from industry to embrace change towards making new value-added chemical products and for government to create a new regulatory framework to better utilize wood waste. Deyoe, a Ministry of Natural Resources senior biotechnology advisor, has been a much sought-after speaker in the last year-and-a-half, delivering about 40 presentations across Northern Ontario on the emerging economic trends in using forest biomass for fuel. http://www.nob.on.ca/industry/forestry/06-06-tech.asp

26) Timber was, as Maggie Campbell-Culver points out, the oil of the 17th century, and the shortage of it created similar anxieties about fuel, manufacturing and transport as threats to oil production do today. Sylva was a response to these fears, encouraging the reader to plant trees as an act of patriotic duty. More than half the book follows Sylva’s structure, with 22 sub-chapters on individual trees that are fascinating, sometimes quirky and often still relevant. Pine, fir and spruce, for instance, had been exported from Norway and the Baltic as early as the 13th century and were used for the scaffolding of Ely cathedral, as well as for shipbuilding because their straightness made them ideal for masts. The English navy so desperately needed these trees that later, in the early 17th century, mature pines were shipped from North America. Mast timber became, Campbell-Culver explains, “a high prized war trophy”. A Passion for Trees is full of such tales. The oak tree has royalist associations because Charles II hid in one, and the introduction of mulberry trees in the 17th century was an attempt to establish a silk industry in England. A Passion for Trees is beautifully illustrated with paintings and sumptuous botanical drawings. http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1799130,00.html

27) Tim Houghton purchased his Bragg Creek acreage overlooking Kananaskis Country because of the area’s stunning natural beauty. Now he’s fighting to save from demolition the forest stretching from his doorstep. Houghton is one of many Bragg Creek residents attempting to halt proposed logging in popular Kananaskis recreation areas west of the community. Cochrane-based Spray Lake Sawmills Ltd. is in the final stages of submitting to the provincial government a detailed plan to harvest timber in Kananaskis Country and the Ghost Waiparous area in the next 20 years. “What they’re proposing is huge amounts of clearcutting in an area of absolutely pristine beauty,” Houghton said of the wilderness 50 km west of Calgary. “They’re going to turn it into an industrial zone. It’s going to impact everybody’s quality of life.” A forest management agreement struck with the province in 2001 provided Spray Lake Sawmills with about 3,374 sq. km of land, stretching from Sundre to Kananaskis. Houghton is rallying behind the Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition’s bid to protect the wilderness in east Kananaskis by designating it as Moose Mountain Wildland Park. http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/National/2006/06/19/1640738-sun.html

England:

28) LONDON — Reclamation of 200-square miles of British coalfields is being credited for saving rare species of animals from extinction. Adders, lapwings and otters are among the species starting to flourish again in parts of Britain`s National Forest — the nation`s largest ongoing environmental project, The London Telegraph reported Monday. Officials hope to increase the woodland cover of the area from six percent to more than 33 percent. So far, nearly seven million trees have been planted, covering about 16 percent of the land, the newspaper said. Viv Astling, former chairman of the National Forest Company, said: ‘It`s a great benefit to see the thriving wildlife and the return of species which were very rare in this country, to the point of them being endangered. One of the most exciting things about the whole project is that we won`t be around to see it in its full glory. ‘It will be handed down from generation to generation and in 100 years or so it will be completely established. How often in life can you say you`ve helped change 200 square miles of the country? http://science.monstersandcritics.com/news/article_1173959.php/British_project_helps_save_rar
e_species

Slovenia:

29) Slovenia’s landscape is marked with well-preserved and biotically diverse forests, which cover 1.16 million hectares or 57.7% of the country, placing Slovenia among one of the most heavily wooded countries in Europe, according to the Slovenian Institute for Forests (ZGS). The institute however believes that around 314,000 owners of private forests (they own almost 75% of all Slovenian forests) should be called on to manage their forests in a professional manner. Slovenian woods have a total of 300.7 million cubic metres of growing stock, increased annually by around 7.5 million cubic metres. Forest owners could thus cut down 4.3 million cubic metres of timber a year, yet only felled 75% of the amount in 2005. “It is thus important for the future of forestry to cooperate with the forests owners, to educate them, encourage them to fell more trees and call for better management,” Tone Lesnik of the ZGS told STA. Meanwhile, the Association of Forest Owners expects more investments in forestry. According to the ZGS, the government earmarked SIT 472m (EUR 1,96m) of subsidies for forest owners, while SIT 862m (EUR 3.58m) of investments came from the 2004-2006 Single Programming Document. The state or the municipalities own 26% of all Slovenian woods, mainly managed by the Slovenian Farmland and Forest Fund, while before 1990, 40% of all woods were in state ownership. The statistics point to the economic importance of forests, as 73 forestry, 991 timber and 100 paper and pulp production companies are registered at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIS). Future guidelines will be defined by a national forestry programme, which is currently being drafted in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Lesnik also told STA http://www.gzs.si/eng/news/sbw/head.asp?idc=21572

Congo:

30) Here in the interior of the humid Congo Basin, news travels slowly. From the air, you glimpse roads that opened up this huge country for colonisers from Belgium, now swallowed by nature and disappearing into an endless forest. The challenges in holding free and fair elections in this vast and anarchic country are tremendous. Yasira market in Isangi Territory is the largest trading venue for a population of 500,000 people. It takes several days to reach Isangi by dugout canoe, or pirogue, from Kisangani, capital of Oriental Province in northeastern DRC, some 1000 km from the nation’s capital, Kinshasa. Propelled by an outboard engine, the canoe trip on the Congo and Lomami Rivers, passes dense secondary forest, abandoned oil palm plantations, a collapsing agricultural institute and the skeleton of a derelict sugarcane factory. http://www.irinnews.org/S_report.asp?ReportID=54013&SelectRegion=Great_Lakes

Zimbabwe:

31) The Zimbabwean government is going to stiffen laws to curb the rampant deforestation in the wake of electricity shortages, Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema said on Monday. The persistent power cuts by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority and unavailability of paraffin have seen a rise in deforestation in areas adjacent to urban centers as people resort to firewood for cooking. “We have laid down by laws that help prevent the wanton cutting down of tress and it is up to local authorities to make sure that they are followed. If the local authorities are failing to stamp their authority, then we are going to decide on the next course of action to take,” said Nhema. The penalties imposed by the local authorities are however not deterrent enough as evidenced by continued cutting down of trees in peri-urban areas. The culprits find ready markets in high-density suburbs. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism recently launched an awareness campaign to educate people about the dangers of deforestation, including its impact on the climate. http://english.people.com.cn/200606/20/eng20060620_275372.html

Nigeria:

32) Mining and oil exploration cause localized deforestation and the access roads and site works associated with this type of industry can cause pollution and more clearance of land. Many of the rainforests in the tropics are on mineral rich areas. The Niger Delta region in Nigeria. The Niger Delta’s main environmental challenges result from oil spills, gas flaring and deforestation have been a regular occurrence, and the resultant degradation of the surrounding environment has caused significant tension between the people living in the region and the multinational, oil companics operating there. There have been over 4,000 oil spills in the Niger Delta since 1960, and gas flaring from oil extraction has resulted in serious air pollution problems in the area. One of the most visible consequences of the numerous oil spills has been the loss of mangrove trees. The mangrove was once a source of both fuelwood for the indigenous people and a habitat for the area’s biodiversity, but is now unable to survive the oil toxicity of its habitat. (EIA, 2003) http://www.thetidenews.com/article.aspx?qrDate=06/15/2006&qrTitle=Deforestation%20and%20affore
station:%20A%20global%20concern&qrColumn=ENVIRONMENT

Nicaragua:

33) On June 6 the National Assembly ratified a timber logging law which will prohibit the logging of cedar, pine, ma-hogany, mangrove, and other hardwoods for ten years. Confusingly the logging of pine is permitted with authoriza-tion from the Forestry Institute (INAFOR) in the regions of Jinotega, Nueva Segovia and the Northern Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN), the only regions where any pine forests remain. The law also prohibits the export of wood as a raw material (as opposed to a finished piece of furniture or craft work, etc.). The law has now been sent to the executive branch of government and is waiting for approval from the president before coming into force. Environmental Ombudsman Lizandro D’Leon applauded the ratification of the law but said there is room for im-provement. He encouraged President Bolaños to make use of his veto so as to insist on almond trees being included in the ban and to overturn the decision to allow pine logging in certain regions. In Nicaragua the president can veto portions of a bill and his veto can be overruled with a simple majority. Bolaños issued an emergency decree on May 3 to stop logging for export, but the decree did not go into effect because the National Assembly never ratified it. Nicaragua has lost vast portions of its tropical rain forest and pine forest since the Chamorro government opened the country to deforestation in 1990. It is a sign of how serious the problem is that the pro-business Bolaños gov-ernment and the PLC dominated National Assembly would agree on a law to preserve what is left. However, due to the high level of corruption endemic in Nicaragua’s political class, whether the ban will save the forest or just make the illegal loggers pay more in bribes will have to be seen. http://www.nicanet.org

Brazil:

34) Now, the fifth largest country in the world is producing enough home-grown sugarcane-based ethanol to equal 300,000 barrels of oil per day. Ethanol currently supplies half of the fuel needs of Brazilian vehicles, and the government is expected to announce energy self-sufficiency within a year. Can a similar approach lead to an energy-independent future in the U.S. and elsewhere? Like a veteran actor who is suddenly “discovered,” ethanol made its first appearance back in the 1920s, when it could be used in the Ford Model T and Model A. Ethanol was eclipsed for many decades by gasoline, which produces more power in an internal combustion engine. http://www.toptechnews.com/story.xhtml?story_id=032003AKH5TS

35) Financed by huge U.S. agribusiness corporations like Cargill, soybean farming is now one of the primary drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, charge activists from the environmental watchdog group Greenpeace, which is leading an international campaign against unregulated, unsustainable soybean cultivation. Greenpeace and other green groups oppose the construction of roads, railways and canals for transporting soybeans to ports like Cargill’s Santarem on the Amazon River. The controversy intensified with the Brazilian government’s announcement on Jun. 5 that it will pave the Amazon highway BR-163, which, 1,700 km long, will link Santarem with the southern state of Mato Grosso and provide a quick export route for the output of soybean farms. “The Amazon is one of the most biodiverse areas on Earth and we need it for stabilising the planet’s climate, but this company (Cargill) is trashing the rainforest to grow soya to feed Europe’s farm animals,” said Thomas Henningsen, Greenpeace Amazon campaign coordinator in a statement. Greenpeace activists shut down Cargill’s main European soybeans export facility in the Amazon and blocked Cargill-owned facilities in Britain and France in a series of protests from May 19 to 22 over the company’s role in the destruction of 1.2 million hectares of rainforest to grow soybeans. Much of the money to finance soybean farming comes from outside of Brazil. Cargill and two other agribusiness giants, ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) and Bunge, are responsible for 60 percent of the financial investments in soybean production in Brazil, according to the Greenpeace investigative report “Eating Up the Amazon”. Those three companies also control nearly 80 percent of the European Union’s soybean processing. http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=33652

Philippines:

36) Momo said the Philippines, according to World Bank studies, holds the distinction of having the worst record in number of violations in the international standards of “road load” limits. Temporary roads are not concrete roads mostly found in rural areas where road access is badly needed to transport agricultural and forest products. Momo, who was guest at the Butuan Press Club’s weekly news forum “Baruganan” held at the La Cafe Prensa, told newsmen over the weekend that most violators are private cargo logging trucks who carry excess loads. Other private cargo trucks carrying excess load of sand and gravel are also to be blamed for craks roads and bridges, Momo said. Momo said Philippine roads and bridges are designed for a lifespan of 20 years, which is according to international road building standards. Every time these heavy logging and overloaded cargo trucks passes by, roads and bridges can’t withstand the pressure and thus cracks may occur eventually and reduce the years of its lifespan. Momo however admitted that the lack of weight bridge or weigh toll facilities due to government’s financial constraints and corruption in law enforcement activities in monitoring “road load” limit hampered efforts of the agency to solve further destruction of costly government roads. http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/cag/2006/06/20/news/soft.load.limit.law.cracks.roads.html

Indonesia:

37) “Our awareness of the biodiversity we are losing in this country is very low. Many undiscovered useful substances are gone due to the rampant illegal logging,” he told a seminar on the issue Saturday. Barnabas said beside red fruits that could be used to treat degenerative diseases and as health supplements, there were thousands of unresearched species in Papua that were now facing extinction. “In other countries, like Mexico and Singapore, their citizens already understand how important forests are to their lives. Forests provide supplies of biodiversity, oxygen and water, which are extremely important,” he said. The Papua governor-elect said millions of hectares of untouched forests that were not yet utilized by indigenous people had been discovered by Greenpeace in his province. In Foja Mount in Papua for example, scientists recently discovered a pristine area, the natural habitat of new species of plants to animals. “There should be a balance between utility and conservation to create sustainability,” Barnabas said. Papua is one of several regions in Indonesia under serious threat from rapid deforestation. About 40 million hectares of pristine forests are the targets of illegal logging, in line with the growing demand for high quality timber products across the world, particularly in Europe and North America. http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailnational.asp?fileid=20060619.H04&irec=6

38) Indonesia is one of countries with the highest deforestation rate in the world and the country is also facing deteriorated quality of the air and water. Prof Dr Arminda Alisyahbana, the dean of the economic faculty of Padjadjaran University of Indonesia, made the remark on Monday at the 16th Congress of the Association of Indonesian Economists (ISEI) in Manado, capital of North Silawesi province. Deforestation in Indonesia had reached an alarming level. “This situation is, among other things, due to forest looting, fires and land conversion,” he was quoted by Antara news agency as saying. Arminda told 1,000 participants of the congress that the damaged forests would later become a threat to the bio-diversity of Indonesian tropical forests which were very useful to present and future generations of Indonesians as well as the world. He said the second big problem to be faced by Indonesia was deteriorating quality of the air and water as a consequence of the impact of the high level of pollution by households, industry and transportation emissions and wastes.Therefore, the government should play the main role in efforts to handle all problems relating with environmental and natural resources management so that development could take place in a sustainable way, he said. http://en.chinabroadcast.cn/2947/2006/06/19/198@104396.htm

39) Palm oil is everywhere. It’s in lipstick and horseradish sauce, Jammie Dodgers and margarine and shoe polish. It’s in shampoo. It’s in TV dinners. Throw a stick of celery in your local supermarket and you’ve got a 10 per cent chance of hitting something with palm oil in it. Tortilla chips? Hazelnut spread? Cornish pasties? That’s three out of three. Often – in a packet of crisps or a tub of ice cream or a dozen jam tarts – it will come disguised as ‘vegetable oil’. Chocolate bars are famous for their ‘vegetable oil’. A few weeks ago, Friends of the Earth campaigners picketed a meeting of Cadbury Schweppes shareholders, demanding that the company come clean about precisely this kind of ambiguous labelling. If it’s palm oil, we want to know where you got it, they said. This is a new thing. What once seemed an innocent cloak of neutrality has assumed an air of deceit. The reason for this is that the magic ingredient has gone bad. It turns out that palm oil – clean, versatile, inexpensive, the processed cakemaker’s way of avoiding unattractive-sounding ‘hydrogenated fats’ in their fondant fancies and soft-bite batch cookies – has been wreaking environmental havoc, scattering indigenous peoples to the fringes of their former settled lives, and raining death and injury on some of the most vulnerable creatures on the planet, most notably the orang-utans of Southeast Asia. In Indonesia and Malaysia – home to 90 per cent of the world’s palm oil and 100 per cent of the orang-utans – forests have been falling and plantations springing up at a furious pace, especially in the past 10 to 15 years. The industry in Sumatra and Borneo has managed to rid the world of 10m hectares of forest. Fires that swept uncontrollably through Borneo in 1997 and 1998 (the disastrous result of land-clearance programmes by oil-palm companies) destroyed 5m hectares alone – along with a third of the orang-utan population. Fifty years ago, the rainforest covered every inch of Borneo. Now it’s down to half and thinning fast. Where once 300,000 orang-utans roamed the earth, 50,000 now struggle for survival – or, if you’re reading this next year, 41,000. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,,1798614,00.html

40) Shaming the Indonesian government into changing its policy won’t be easy, but Brend believes the orang-utans themselves can save the forest. It is hardly fashionable in environmental circles to sing the praises of tourism , but Brend feels that one way to make the rainforest important in the eyes of its official custodians is to get foreigners to vote with their hiking boots. ‘Tourist dollars, through the sale of park permits, will increase government awareness that they are getting some return out of this big chunk of forest that all these white people keep saying they’re protecting. And the fact that lots of people come and see the orangutans is a very visual sign that it’s a world resource we’re looking at.’ We’re heading the 40 miles or so upriver to Camp Leakey, a research facility that has been quietly scrutinising orang-utans since 1971 – the longest continuous mammal survey anywhere. Having said that, we haven’t actually seen one yet. Brend points out how the bankside clumps of saltwater mangroves changed to thickets of nypa palms back there and now to spiky grasses as we have moved gradually into freshwater. Round the next bend, a mother and child sit fishing from a canoe in the long reeds, peering at us from beneath their bamboo hats. They give us a shy wave. I know the rainforest is everybody’s business, but at moments like this I feel like some sort of trainee missionary, coming over here and telling people not to chop their own trees down or machete their own orang-utans to death. At the same time, I have nothing but admiration for people like Stephen Brend who get on with the job of saving the earth while the rest of us sit at home wringing our hands and moaning about hosepipe bans. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,,1798614,00.html

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