106OEC’s This Week in Trees

This Week we have 40 news items from: British Columbia, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Indiana, New York, Southeast, Florida, USA, Canada, Chechnya, Africa, Tanzania, Liberia, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Congo, Venezuela, Brazil, Madagascar, and Indonesia.

British Columbia:

1) It’s our most valuable timber and it’s going to Washington State. It’s going to Eureka, California,” McRae said as he gestured to the line of logging trucks pulled off to the side of the road. Local workers waving banners stood in front of them, preventing them from leaving the valley. “We can beat the Americans any time. We just need a chance to do something with all that fir here.” McRae said he was on the line to make sure tempers didn’t flare, but he is squarely in support of the workers’ cause. Port Alberni’s prime sawmill is idle while the logs are leaving town. It’s a situation he finds intolerable. For over half a century the Alberni Valley’s wealth supported a thriving community. Now that wealth is being trucked out on Highway 4 over the mountains that separate the town from Vancouver Island’s east coast, dumped into the water and towed to mills in the United States.”You’ve got people here with 30, 40 years seniority and they are sitting at home while they have people from outside working. We want community brought back into the process.” The logs are mostly second-growth timber harvested from the best growing sites on the coast. They are the future of the coastal industry, but need specialized mills no one is currently prepared to invest in, according to forest economist Peter Pearse, who was commissioned five years ago by the government to draw up a blueprint for revitalizing the forest industry. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=b44a35fb-449e-40a4-9efe-3fc0e

2) “It’s sad,” said Lasure. “All this equipment up for auction means somebody else has gone. And they are not getting a very good dollar for their stuff.” The logging equipment auction was the largest ever held at Ritchie Bros.’ Surrey site, generating $12 million in sales. “If it were a different time, I could upgrade my whole fleet at these prices,” Lasure mused. “But it’s not a different time. That’s why they are so cheap.” The logging equipment belonged to Bear Creek Logging, Neechanz Logging and MARS Industries, all well-established coastal logging contractors. Bear Creek and Neechanz were leaving the industry completely, laying off employees and selling all their assets. MARS was down-sizing. All three logging companies had lost contracts with major licensees as a result of Victoria’s policy of taking back 20 per cent of the timber held by the licensees. He motioned towards the almost-new grapple yarder, a Madill 124. “A new 124 goes for $1.2 million. Somebody is going to buy it and then they will be out there competing with you, getting prices down to rock-bottom. It’s not sustainable.” The grapple yarder sold for $500,000 to a Revelstoke buyer. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=106b7d65-3a05-42a6-ac73-72f9

3) Gordon Campbell claimed that his government’s Forestry Revitalization Strategy would “rebuild stability” and “create the certainty needed by investors, forest communities and workers.” He also claimed that the new results based code that would form the heart of the strategy would “provide sound science and common sense in forest management.” Mike De Jong, who was Forest Minister at the time, echoed Campbell’s sentiments when he claimed that the Liberal’s strategy would “open up the forest sector to new opportunities, new participants and new ideas,” and that it would “reinvigorate the economic foundation of the province and thereby ultimately improve the quality of life for every British Columbian.” From the perspective of forestry workers and forest-dependent communities, however, the Liberal’s attempt to revitalize the forest industry has served to further undermine this sector’s role as a mainstay of the British Columbia economy. Thanks to the Campbell Liberals, the industry is now significantly less diverse, employs dramatically fewer workers, provides far fewer benefits to the provincial and local governments, and is much less capable of responding to the growing forest health and market-based threats it is confronted with. Rather than creating certainty and stability, or bringing in new capital and new participants, the Liberal’s wide-ranging amendments to the Forest Act, significant new legislation, and millions of dollars paid out to forest companies has instead resulted in a high degree of corporate concentration and has created so much uncertainty and insecurity in forest-dependent communities that many of these communities are now taking to the streets in protest.

4) It’s time for a moratorium on raw log exports, B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair said today after releasing a report showing a 1,000 percent increase in exports between 1996 and 2005. “These aren’t just logs leaving our province, these are jobs leaving our province,” Sinclair said. “Our report shows that 3,300 jobs in the forest sector were lost to log exports in 2005 alone.” The report estimates 27 mills closed at a cost of 13,000 jobs between 1997 and 2004. Sinclair said the demand for a moratorium is now going province-wide, with forest unions appealing to City Councils to take the issue to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) this October. Squamish Council endorsed such a motion last week. Sinclair dismissed any argument that increases in raw log exports can be attributed to the pine beetle crisis. “This report makes it clear. In 2005, the majority of logs exported were high value species (douglas fir – 55 percent, hemlock – 25 percent, and cedar – 7 percent), not beetle-infected pine.” Steve Hunt, Director of the United Steelworkers echoed the report’s recommendation for an increase in the export tax on logs leaving our province. “In the 21st Century we should have a vibrant, fully developed forest industry, not simply be hewers of wood. An increased export tax would support more manufacturing and value added jobs here in British Columbia,” Hunt said. http://www.bcfed.com/BFNews/News+Releases/Archives/Raw_Log_Exports.htm


5) A Portland legal group known for making polluters clean up their acts is taking aim at logging roads in the Coast Range that it says funnel chocolate-brown water into prime salmon rivers with every heavy rain. The Northwest Environmental Defense Center this week notified State Forester Marvin Brown, the state Board of Forestry and four timber companies that it’s prepared to sue them for violating the federal Clean Water Act by letting polluted runoff drain from the roads without permits. The violations carry possible penalties of up to $32,500 per day, the group said in its notice. The legal salvo focuses on the Trask and Kilchis rivers, which run into Tillamook Bay. The NEDC and its attorneys — Cascade Resources Advocacy Group and the Washington Forest Law Center — contend runoff from ditches or pipes draining forest roads must have permits. Federal court decisions hint that judges may agree. A federal judge in California ruled in 2004 that a timber company there must obtain permits for discharges from specific points on its road system. A similar result in the Oregon case could require culverts and other discharge points to have permits limiting how much silt and other debris can be released. That might in turn require renovation of forest road systems. But Riskedahl said the move is not meant to thwart logging and that the resolution need not be cost-prohibitive. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/115094671088270.xml&coll=7&thi

6) U.S. District Judge Owen Panner denied a motion by Cascadia Wildlands Project and other conservation groups to stop logging the Mike’s Gulch timber sale within the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest while he considers their lawsuit. Panner wrote that the conservation groups were unlikely to win their lawsuit, which argued that the Forest Service should reconsider the logging on the basis of new scientific information about forest regeneration and future fire danger. “The timing of it is pretty ironic,” he said, “with the administration telling these three eastern governors that they will protect their roadless areas, when in Oregon the Forest Service is proceeding with the first roadless area logging against the strong request from Gov. (Ted) Kulongoski not to log the areas.” Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey said the Mike’s Gulch sale did not fall under the administration’s assurances that there would be no logging in roadless areas pending the state petition process, because it was intended to speed recovery of the forest after the 2002 Biscuit Fire. He added that the logs would be removed with helicopters, and no new roads would be built, maintaining its character as roadless. http://www.registerguard.com/news/2006/06/22/d3.wst.roadless.0622.p1.php?section=nation_world

7) Wilderness is an 18th century Eurothought ideal that has no basis in fact. There never was a “wilderness” in Oregon, as defined by Congress or described by the press. The Native Americans used every bit of the landscape to produce a livelihood for more than 10,000 years and used management tools such as setting fires for vegetation control, pruning, planting, irrigation, selective hunting, creek damming and weirs to catch fish. What white explorers found was a managed landscape. The denial of this landscape management, by the Statesman Journal among many, is to continue a national policy of cultural genocide towards Native Americans that has been ongoing for four centuries. This new concept of management by intentional neglect is changing millions of acres of forest from paradise to tinder for landscape-altering fires. I have witnessed 60 years of editorial opposition to logging, and it is pictures of logging by the likes of Weyerhaeuser, G-P, et al, that are shown as proof of excess and negligence. In the end, all the small sawmills and logging outfits were locked out of public timber, and now only Weyerhaeuser and other megapulps survive, all doing well selling certified environment-friendly lumber and paper from friendly new clear-cuts on the land in those pictures showing how bad logging was. Big Timber and Big Environmentalism, together, erased the public timber-dependent mom-and-pop mills from the market while growing their profits and donations, abetted by ill-informed editorials. In exchange, the public pays more for housing and receives less for local government and education. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060621/OPINION/606210304/1049


8) “I had talked to people who had been in the fire service their entire career, and not only this fire, but fires in preceding years, because of the drought, because of the fuel conditions, they produced fire behavior, flame links, intensities that we had never really
experienced before,” Fratus said. “And everything we had to throw at it, we did. And it just seemed to burn right through us,” Fratus said. The damage the fires have caused in San Bernardino has been difficult for Fratus, whose family has lived in the area for five generations. “I was born and raised in this area, and to see this entire area burn in my — in my lifetime — I’ve never seen a fire come through here of anything of that magnitude,” he said. Today’s wildfires are part of a worsening pattern most everywhere. Since 1970, the number of major wildfires has soared not only in North America but around the world. Scientists report that global warming means mountains lose winter snowpack weeks ahead of time, from the Himalayas to California Sierras. “The snow is melting earlier in the year at very regular intervals now, and we’re getting much longer fire seasons. It dries out much more than before,” said Anthony Westerling, a researcher at the
Scripps Institution of Oceanography. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/GlobalWarming/story?id=2101402&page=1

9) “We advocate outdoor recreation, but increased access should not degrade water quality or negatively affect recreation experience,” said Ben Pignatelli of the League to Save Lake Tahoe. As the League’s lead researcher on the Heavenly proposal, Pignatelli reviewed the 1,500-page EIS and is preparing extensive comments. Of primary concern to the League is a proposal to replace two old chairlifts with a new high-speed quad lift in an environmentally sensitive area. The proposed project would remove several hundred old-growth trees from a relatively intact stand known locally as the “North Bowl woods,” and cause further harm to Edgewood Creek, a seasonal creek which already suffers from decades of neglect. The Gondola fire, which torched over 600 acres just above the Stateline area in 2002, stretched into this area, further exacerbating water quality problems in the watershed. Currently, the area is not heavily utilized by beginner and intermediate skiers because the terrain is densely gladed, and it is served by two slow chairlifts. The North Bowl and Olympic chairlifts form an “L” shape around the edge of the grove, bypassing the heart of the old-growth stand before summiting near East Peak. To reach the top of the mountain, skiers must ride one chair halfway up, unload, then reload the second chair to get to the top. The proposed high-speed quad would require a clear-cut through the heart of the grove, allowing more skiers to ascend more rapidly. Heavenly is also proposing to clear-cut new ski runs in the North Bowl trees to accommodate the expected increase in visitors to the area. Approximately 230 old-growth trees would be removed from the area to make way for the new chairlift and new ski runs. According to Pignatelli, there are alternatives that could dramatically reduce the loss of old-growth trees and better protect water quality. The League is advocating for an alternative plan that would replace the two outdated lifts with two chairs that follow the existing alignments. http://www.yubanet.com/artman/publish/article_37933.shtml


10) Of the 35 citizens who made public comment, 34 criticized the forest plan for a lack of focus on multiple-use recreation, specifically motorized use and access. Displeasure of the Forest Services’ management of timber was another common concern. Comments repeatedly focused on a belief that the Forest Service has not appropriately set the limits of timber harvest and has not harvested enough timber over the last few decades, resulting in a loss of jobs and tax money for schools, while consequently increasing the threat of wildfires and weakening Montana’s timber industry infrastructure. Citizens, consisting in part of members of Montanans for Multiple Use, representatives from the Montana Logging Association, retired foresters and multi-generation Montanans echoed that the proposed forest plan should not “lock up” public forest lands by recommending closure or reclamation of any forest road. Comments also suggested the plan should not recommend any new wilderness areas; should abolish Amendment 19, which requires core areas of undisturbed grizzly bear habitat; and should improve existing and allow for additional off-road-vehicle roads and access. Many citizens said the plan does not sufficiently address forest fires and wildfire potential through “scientific” forestland management. Flathead National Forest Supervisor Cathy Barbouletos said she feels the comments throughout the forest planning process have been balanced. “I think civic dialogue has become more accepted in the community,” she said. http://bigforkeagle.com/articles/2006/06/21/news/news02.txt


11) It’s not just Hutto and the appreciative public along for the Montana Natural History Center’s morning tour who deem the regeneration of the Black Mountain fire area—named for the lightning-struck peak adjacent to Blue Mountain on which the blaze began—a success: Maggie Pittman, Missoula district ranger for the Lolo National Forest, visited the area June 16 and says she was impressed by what she saw. She and Lolo Supervisor Debbie Austin explain that the decision not to log the area following the fire was based on their comparison of forest priorities, given limited staff and resources. “In light of everything else, it just didn’t stack up,” Pittman says. By all accounts, the decision sounds painless, and the on-the-ground results are proving to be an educational goldmine for researchers and the public. But the example close to home belies the national debate raging over the proper place of salvage logging. In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to accelerate logging and replanting in the wake of severe forest impacts like wildfire, insect infestation and hurricanes. Hutto views the forest’s recovery process differently. Everywhere he looks, Hutto sees evidence that Blue Mountain is healing swimmingly on its own. He can tell, mainly, by the constant chatter in the trees above. As he talks about the different species his attuned ear catches on the wind, Hutto interrupts himself to mimic a wood peewee or a Hammond’s flycatcher or a yellow-rumped warbler. After a while, he pulls out a palm-sized PDA that holds the songs of nearly 200 birds he’s recorded in the wild over the years. He hooks it up to a small amplifier and shoots the sound up into the trees, drawing curious birds nearer while he explains why they thrive in this specialized environment. The variety and volume of birds in the area lend insight, he says, into the health of the plants, insects and overall state of the Black Mountain area. Hutto and others have been surveying birds in the Black Mountain fire area and nearly 20 other 2003 fire sites from Glacier National Park down to the Bitterroot, some of which have been salvage-logged. Nearly all woodpeckers have proven absent from salvaged areas, Hutto says, and all other bird species are less abundant in those spots than in areas left unlogged following fires. http://www.missoulanews.com/News/News.asp?no=5791


12) He said earlier this month: “Indiana is proving that we can compete and win in the global competition for investment and jobs. I’ll go anywhere there might be the possibility to produce more Hoosier paychecks.” The governor and more than 50 state, civic, business and agricultural leaders left from Indianapolis for Japan on June 17 and plan to return on June 28. According to the governor’s office, the group will visit numerous companies that have invested in Indiana to promote Indiana hardwoods, to meet with various government officials and to see Hoosier soldiers stationed in South Korea. One giant they won’t meet with is Honda Corporation as the Japanese firm is strongly considering a major advanced manufacturing facility in southeast Indiana off I-74. According to a statement from Gov. Daniels, Honda prefers not to meet with any governors (including the governor of Ohio, which is a state also under consideration) and other state officials during the latter stages of its decision process in an effort to be fair to everyone. Gov Daniels says that Indiana officials understand and respect that position and have withdrawn a previous request to meet. Paralleling the release on June 22 of a GAO report on wood technology and industry development, Gov. Daniels unveiled a new logo touting “premium Indiana forest products” to Japanese officials to underscore Hoosierland’s strong position in the industry. “Indiana’s hardwoods and forest products are of the best quality you will find anywhere in the world,” Gov. Daniels said from Japan. “Today, we are letting the Asian market know how they can identify our high-quality Indiana hardwood products and lead to more export opportunities for Hoosier businesses.” Andy Miller, director of the newly created Indiana Department of Agriculture, says his department has identified hardwoods as a key agricultural economic development strategy for the Hoosier state along with Hoosier biofuels and other categories. His goal is to increase Indiana’s competitiveness in the hardwood sector through technology advancements and consumer awareness of Indiana’s superior wood products. All of these bode well for Hoosierland, which has high-quality productive tree stands of more than 4.3 million acres of premium hardwood forests. According to Miller, the state ranks first in the U.S. for the manufacture of global-quality office furniture and forest-based businesses are the fourth-largest Hoosier manufacturing sector by jobs with more than 47,000 employed. http://www.eprairie.com/wireless/default.asp?article=14834

New York:

12) Environmentalists, who had pushed the state to severely limit logging in the valley, were happy with the plan proposed Thursday by the state Department of Environmental Conservation for nearly 3,000 acres along Cattaraugus Creek. “When this process started three years ago, the DEC wanted to leave the entire property [open to logging],” said Julie Broyles of the Zoar Valley Nature Society, which has aggressively pushed the state to preserve the park’s scenic beauty. The plan would allow some timber harvesting in tree plantations on the fringes of the area, but that would be over a 10-year period, with a review after five years. For the first time in such a plan, the DEC defines old-growth forest and said it hopes to use that definition across the state. Among the criteria, such a forest would have trees 180 to 200 years old, a conspicuous absence of multiple stemmed trees and show limited signs of human disturbance since European settlement. “All of the woodlands of concern in Zoar Valley will meet those criteria quite easily because they haven’t been subject to stand-clearing disturbances,” said Tom Diggins, an Orchard Park native and Youngstown State University ecology professor who has studied Zoar Valley extensively for the past five years. Diggins said a hemlock at Zoar Valley is 385 years old, and there are sycamore and tulip trees exceeding 150 feet tall. “Most of the areas of the canopy reach 120 feet or more.” The draft plan would also put 300-foot-wide buffers along both sides of the valley gorge, and 200-foot-wide buffers on trails leading to the gorge, into the state Nature and Historic Preserve Trust, which is the highest level of land protection in the state. The Dr. Victor Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Cheektowaga is in that trust, said DEC spokeswoman Meaghan Boice-Green. “It provides an extra layer of protection,” she said. “In order for New York State to get rid of that piece of property, three successive state legislatures would have to vote to sell it.” The State Legislature will have to vote to place the designated lands into the preserve trust. http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20060623/1049120.asp


13) The Bush administration approved requests Wednesday from three eastern governors to keep logging out of national forest roadless areas in their states, a decision one official said should reassure western governors that the administration will work with them. The petitions from Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, covering a total of 555,000 acres of national forest, were the first to come to the administration under its new rules to ease logging restrictions on the remote areas. Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C., that he hoped the decision would show governors around the country, including four in the West who have sued to overturn the rules, that the administration is willing to work with them on whether to open roadless areas to logging. The petitions still must go through a formal public review. The three governors asked to return roadless areas in their states to the protections under 2001 rules initiated by the Clinton administration, citing the value of the areas as sources of clean water, and fish and wildlife habitat when the rest of their states are being developed. The areas would remain open to logging for ecological reasons, such as controlling insect outbreaks. http://www.registerguard.com/news/2006/06/22/d3.wst.roadless.0622.p1.php?section=nation_world


14) “Why is it that every kid wants a tree house?” he said. It’s because we feel at home up in the trees. Rinker should know. He is a canopy ecologist who wrote Canopy Ecology with Meg Lowman, an environmental studies professor at Sarasota’s New College. The two are among those featured in the National Geographic documentary Heroes of the High Frontier, filmed in 1996 in the treetops of French Guyana. Plans for the Brooker Creek Preserve’s environmental education center, which opened in 2004, included an observation tower, but funds ran out before it could be built. If Rinker succeeds in getting a canopy walkway built, it would be only the second in Florida, he said. The other is at Sarasota’s Myakka River State Park. “It’s something people ‘Ooh’ and ‘Aah’ over when they get up there,” said Diane Dutcher, assistant park manager. “They are looking out over a 38,000-acre park.” Before residents look out over the 8,300 acres of the Brooker Creek Preserve, the project will have to go through a lot of hoops, Assistant County Administrator Liz Warren said. The walkway has been submitted as a proposed project for 2010 to 2020 Penny for Pinellas funding and will be considered at a County Commission meeting July 25. Rinker estimated the cost at $250,000, but that could go up as the cost of lumber rises. A good location might be somewhere near the environmental education center in a hardwood swamp, Rinker said. Pine flatwoods wouldn’t be good because they sometimes burn. http://www.sptimes.com/2006/06/20/Northpinellas/Not_quite_living_in_t.shtml

15) PARRISH – Parrish residents have tried to hold on to the rural feel of their community in the face of growth, so when yet another housing development was approved, many didn’t know what to expect. Neal Communities’ newest project, the 143-acre Forest Creek, was approved more than two years ago and now is under way with the approval of many Parrish residents. The company originally planned to build 368 residences but reduced that number to 344 in order to preserve more land and mature trees. More than 30 acres of the community are preserves or open space, including an 18-acre lake that is the central amenity within the community. One of the open park areas is known as Aristotle Park and is named after Manatee County principal planner Aristotle Shinas. “They named a park after me? That’s definitely a first,” Shinas said. For Hodges, another mark of Neal Communities’ dedication to being a good neighbor is the monetary support the company has provided for Parrish’s summer camp for children. “I hate all this rapid development and I think it’s a crime that we didn’t have roads in place and schools in place but if it has to happen, those were are the two developers I would choose to develop everything,” Hodges said of Neal Communities and Williams and Herold Communities. Forest Creek is located on the southern side of U.S. 301 North just west of Red Rooster Road. http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/business/14880931.htm


16) The US Department of Agriculture is accepting public comments between now and July 17, 2006 on a petition that would allow commercial growing and marketing of the first genetically engineered (GE) plum trees. If approved, this would remove all regulatory oversight of this GE variety, a virus-resistant plum tree known as the Honey Sweet Pox Potyvirus Resistant plum. This would open the door to GE varieties of many other related stone fruits, such as peaches, apricots, cherries and almonds, that are susceptible to the same virus. Ironically, this virus is not even found in the US today according to the USDA, and is certainly not a significant agricultural problem here. The USDA admits that this GE plum will contaminate both organic and conventional non-genetically engineered plum orchards if it is approved. Since all commercial plum trees are cultivars that are relatively cross compatible within the same species, Prunus domestica, contamination via GE plum pollen carried by bees and other insects will infiltrate the plum orchards of organic and conventional growers. The proposed buffer zones between GE plums and other plums will not prevent genetic contamination from being spread by pollinating insects. Because this GE plum tree is also the first genetically engineered temperate tree proposed for commercial planting, it also opens the door to the commercialization of GE varieties of other temperate trees such as poplars, pines, and walnuts. http://www.globaljusticeecology.org


17) CALGARY – The Alberta Wilderness Association is speaking out against a plan by the Spray Lakes Saw Mill to log in Kananaskis Country. The AWA says the area at least 16 deficiencies in the company’s management plan. It says the company’s doing the bare minimum, and is using the issue of pine beetles and fire risk as an excuse to cut down forest. AWA spokesman Nigel Douglas says there needs to be a cultural shift in this province when it comes to the environment. “There is a perception that our forests are there for cutting down, the wildlife are there for hunting. There’s little perception that of the natural values which these things have.” Douglas says there’s now a growing awareness from the public, and it’s a matter of the government catching up to that sentiment. http://www.770chqr.com/news/news_local.cfm?cat=7428218912&rem=41304&red=80121823aPBIny&wids=4

18) People concerned about what they call devastating logging plans for eastern Kananaskis Country are calling on the province to issue a moratorium on clear-cutting and designate the area a protected park. The Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition fears clear-cutting plans by Spray Lake Sawmills will put the Elbow River watershed which supplies drinking water to about 450,000 Calgarians in jeopardy and turn the wildness recreation destination into an industrial wasteland. “This area of Alberta is an ecological jewel that needs protecting,” said committee member Ralph Cartar. Spray Lake must submit its action plan detailing harvesting plans in K-Country and the Ghost Waiparous area over the next 20 years to the provincial government by September. Gord Lehn, the Cochrane-based company’s woodlands manager, said part of that requires them to include public input which they have gathered since a forest management agreement was struck in 2001 with the province regarding the mills plans for about 3,374 sq. km of land, stretching from Sundre to Kananaskis. http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/Alberta/2006/06/21/1645851.html

19) Fire Chief Colin Catton says the plan is to widen the natural fire break of the river by reducing dangerous dry fuels and enhancing the larger mature trees of the forest. Crews would be hired to clean up dead and fallen trees and remove ladder fuels on crown land. However, the application has been stalled, after concerns were expressed by some area residents to the Regional District of Nanaimo. Some area residents want assurances that the area in question won’t be logged unnecessarily and that crews won’t damage habitat. Catton says the RDN has received a few phone calls, so now the fire department surveyed residents at the Errington Farmers Market. http://www.pqbnews.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=50&cat=23&id=672886&more=

20) Deputy Chief Steve Fobister of Grassy Narrows First Nations took the community’s complaints to Queen’s Park Tuesday as part of an on-going struggle to end clearcutting in their traditional lands. “We have watched Abitibi Consolidated and Weyerhaeuser clearcut our land, destroy our traditional ways of life and had our trap lines disappear,” said Fobister. “The Ontario government just looks the other way and refuses to address our concerns.” Grassy Narrows has been blocking a logging road north of the reserve for more than three years, and band members are getting support from international environmental groups. ForestEthics supporters joined Fobister Tuesday in Toronto, and they have already sent interns to the community for the summer, in an effort to help the First Nation with its fight against logging companies. “There is a crisis in Ontario’s Boreal Forest. This government is mismanaging the last of our great northern forests and ignoring First Nations rights and title. To add insult to injury, they are sitting back and watching the last caribou habitat disappear,” said Tzeporah Berman, program director of ForestEthics. “We have reached a crucial moment in Ontario where political leadership is grossly overdue.” The California-based Rainforest Action Network has also provided its help, and activists from across North America have been invited to converge on the Slant Lake blockade site next month, as a show of support. While Abitibi-Consolidated manages the forest, and acts as a supplier of wood for Weyerhaeuser mills, they argue they are following the rules laid down by the province. The Earth Justice Gathering is scheduled for July 10 to 16 near Grassy Narrows http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/story.php?id=237698


21) Rivers are badly affected, with widespread oil spills and pollution from sewers damaged by war. There are also concerns over the impact of illegal logging in Chechen forests. The World Wildlife Fund said illegal logging is destroying the republic’s dense mountain forests. Forest guards have died in areas around the capital, Grozny, because of large numbers of land mines, officials said. “Environmental monitoring in Chechnya, especially in the rivers and other bodies of water, shows their terrible state, particularly due to leaking oil pipelines and a sewerage system that has not worked for years,” a state environment official told the AFP news agency. There is also concern over chemical and radioactive pollution, as a result of the bombardment of chemical laboratories during the conflict. Figures compiled by Chechen doctors show a growing number of genetic abnormalities in babies and unexplained illnesses among schoolchildren. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5108416.stm


22) Africa’s deforestation rate may be underestimated by satellite imagery according to a researcher at the University of Wisconsin. Holly Gibbs, a Ph.D. candidate at the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment at the University of Wisconsin, presented her findings at a conservation conference held in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. “The consensus is that Africa is losing about 0.4 to 0.7 percent of its forests each year but this is likely an underestimate,” said Gibbs. “If you have rain over an open woodland forest, common to parts of Africa, it will ‘green up’ or sprout flowers. If the satellite takes its image at that time it can have the impression that there is more forest as a result.” Gibbs also said that the use of net estimates for deforestation can also mislead policymakers on the true rate of forest loss by masking the disappearance of ecologically important primary forests with the growth of secondary forests and commercial plantations. Gibbs said that current remote sensing may only give a partial picture of the true extent of forest degradation and that more on-the-ground data was needed to get a better understanding of deforestation on the continent. “We have to move beyond net estimates and look at gross rates of clearing to be able to fully assess the impact of human land use changes on Africa’s forests,” she added. The impact of deforestation is one of the central topics being discussed at the Conservation International-sponsored meeting in Madagascar. More than 450 scientists, government representatives, and development experts have convened to discuss ways that sustainable management of ecosystems can help reduce poverty and hunger in Africa.


23) Field surveys of Tanzania`s Rubeho Mountains have discovered more than 160 animal species — including a new species of frog and 11 endemic species. The Switzerland-based World Wildlife Fund says the findings elevate the importance of protecting the biologically rich wilderness area and the broader Eastern Arc Mountain from activities such as clear-cutting for agriculture, logging and poaching. ‘The wealth of life that`s supported by the Rubehos is typical of Tanzania`s Eastern Arc Mountain range,’ said Neil Burgess, WWF African conservation scientist. ‘We`ve documented some destruction already underway, so protecting this mountain range (is) an urgent priority, not just for its unique wildlife, but also for the people and economy of Tanzania. ‘The Eastern Arc catches and gathers water for Tanzanians — generating about 50 percent of the nation`s total electricity through its hydropower,’ said Burgess. The surveys were conducted during a two-year period by an international team of scientists from the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, Britain`s Oxford Brookes University and the Zoological Museum of Copenhagen. The study appears in the African Journal of Ecology. http://science.monstersandcritics.com/news/article_1174873.php/Tanzanian_survey_reveals_new_s


24) Global Witness urges the Government of Liberia to pass a moratorium on the resumption of industrial logging and export of timber until the government has regained full control of the forests and the sector has been satisfactorily reformed. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently announced plans to institute such a moratorium. These reforms should include participatory forest/land use planning, a comprehensive national forest inventory, a new forest use system, definition of chain of custody and related control systems and structures including an independent forest monitor. “The Government of Liberia is going to need the continued support of its international partners to successfully reform the timber industry,” said Natalie Ashworth. “In particular, the UN peacekeeping force UNMIL should continue to provide support to the FDA in its efforts to gain full control of Liberia’s forests.” http://allafrica.com/stories/200606220098.html


25) Three major logging companies have joined WWF’s Central Africa Forest & Trade Network (CAFTN), agreeing to sustainably manage up to 700,000ha of natural forest in the Congo Basin. Under an agreement signed with WWF, the three new CAFTN members — Groupe Decolvenaere, Pallisco and Transformation Reef Cameroun — have committed their companies to responsible forest management and to obtaining Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for their operations and supplies. “We are well engaged and aim at attaining the highest possible level of good forest management,” said Michel Rougeron, Director of Pallisco. “The prospect of a credible certification of our forest management and our products helps us to move ahead with this engagement.” These key timber producers are the first in the region to join the newly launched CAFTN, a branch of WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN). By becoming members, the companies receive technical assistance from WWF and partners to help them achieve certification for their forestry practices. The network monitors their progress and provides market links to purchasers of legally-produced and certified products. “In The Netherlands as well as in other European countries, the timber market demands more and more FSC certified products,” said Paul Reef, Director General of Transformaton Reef Cameroun. “With WWF support within the framework of CAFTN, we are hoping to be able to supply FSC certified wood not long from now.” http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/index.cfm?uNewsID=73120

Sierra Leone:

26) Gola rainforest, one of Africa’s top biodiversity sites, is to be managed to benefit local communities, rather than being logged, thanks to a ground-breaking project implemented by the Government of Sierra Leone in co-operation with two BirdLife Partners: the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) and the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK). The 75,000 ha Important Bird Area (IBA) forest will be protected from legal and illegal logging. Local people from seven chiefdoms have been recruited by the project to patrol the reserve, and will have a key role in managing the project. The RSPB and CSSL are working with the Government to secure the logging rights to Gola, and are financing development projects such as the construction and repair of schools and other community buildings that will directly benefit up to 100,000 local people. A fund will be established to meet the cost of managing the forest for biodiversity for the long term, and to support continuing community development programmes. His Excellency Alhaji Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, President of Sierra Leone, commented: “This is a new approach in forest protection that will address not only the protection of the forest and its biodiversity, but will also provide sustainable benefit to the local community in perpetuity.” More than 270 bird species, including 14 globally threatened are found at Gola. Gola is also important for threatened mammals including pygmy hippopotamus, forest elephant and zebra duiker. The Gola rainforest project was established in response to the government of Sierra Leone’s commitment both to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development, and to the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). On 23 March 2006 the government of Sierra Leone announced its backing for the scheme, at the meeting of the international Convention on Biological Diversity in Brazil. http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2006/06/gola.html


27) The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) could be contracted to undertake large-scale forestation programmes in remote and difficult parts of the country to ensure that desertification is effectively checked. This has become necessary considering the fact that deforestation is one of the main environmental threats facing thecountry and also in view of the fact that the efforts of the Forestry Commission, organizations and individuals have so far proved inadequate to stem the tide. The Defence Minister, Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, made the suggestion when he delivered an address at the Students Representative Council (SRC) Week celebration of the Bolgatanga Polytechnic in Sumburungu near Bolgatanga at the weekend. He spoke on the topic “The Security and Peace of the Nation and Sub- Region: The Role of the Defence Ministry”. He explained that the GAF had the capacity to undertake both road and bridge construction in the rural and urban centres, citing a 6.6 billion-cedi contract his Ministry had signed recently with the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) for the surfacing of roads at the Refinery. http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=106153


28) “The question was, how do I feel at the end of the conference? Tremendous hope in the fact that these conferences are happening, in the fact that the Congo Basin forest partnership exists, and it is moving ahead,” she said. But some environmentalists argue too much of the Congo Basin forest will be open to logging, and that the initiative places too little emphasis on conservation efforts. The critics include Illanga Itoua, African forest campaigner for Greenpeace International. “The basic vision of the Congo Basin they are putting forward does not, and will not, allow them to protect biodiversity and fight poverty,” she noted. “Because the activities they have chosen to take place within that landscape are almost exclusively destructive and degrading activities, such as logging, and then with a small place to conservation and very little place for the people of the Congo Basin.” http://voanews.com/english/2006-06-23-voa33.cfm


29) About half of Venezuela is forested, equaling just under 50 million hectares. But over 80% of the forests are located south of the Orinoco River, which cuts an almost perfect diagonal through Venezuela from the southwest to the northeast. Interestingly, compared with Brazil, which is experiencing exponential amounts of forest destruction and land encroachment in to its massive Amazon region, Venezuela’s Amazon, although much smaller, is still fairly well intact. But according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, over the past five years Venezuela has ranked among the top 10 countries with the highest deforestation rates on the planet.[1] However just two weeks ago, Venezuela began to fight back. On Sunday June 4th, President Hugo Chavez launched “Mision Arbol” (Tree Mission) from Guaraira Repano or Mount Avila looming over Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. While planting dozens of trees with members of Venezuela’s newly formed Conservation Committees, Chavez explained, “If you are going to utilize a tree, you have to do it with consciousness and respect for the environment. If you cut down a tree you need to plant 10 more.” Mision Arbol is an attempt to combat the deforestation of Venezuela, with a vision of “generating in the Venezuelan population an environmental consciousness about the importance of the forests, ecological equilibrium, and the recuperation of the degraded spaces as a result of the predominant model of development.” The goals are simple: in five years, collect 30 tons of seeds, plant 100 million plants, reforesting 150,000 hectares of land. Luckily they are not starting from scratch. Last September, Venezuela launched their National Productive Reforestation Plan, which has now essentially grown into Mision Arbol. Well along phase one, they have already collected 15,000 bags of seeds and, according to Chavez, already have 15 million seedlings growing in nurseries, under the second phase of the program.[2] These are huge steps towards reforestation, but Venezuela has its work cut out for it. Between 1982 and 1995, Venezuela suffered an average annual deforestation of over 260,000 hectares, or about 1% of its forests per year. Certain areas were especially devastated with several states losing a third or more of their wooded regions. Zulia, a volatile western state bordering Colombia, and the heart of the Venezuelan oil industry, lost over half of its forests in a little over a decade.[3] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1758

30) “South of the lake [Maracaibo, in Zulia state] is totally deforested,” said Americo Catalan recently, Director of Forest Investigation and Projects, of the Venezuelan Ministry of Environment. “In the Turén Forest Reserve, it’s ridiculous. There is almost no forest left. It’s a forest reserve without a forest… In Ticoporo and Caparo, it’s nearly the same situation.” Catalan is the director of the most extensive Venezuelan forest studies over the last 25 years, and affirms that the number one cause of deforestation in Venezuelan is by far agricultural expansion, or the destruction of the forests to be used as agricultural or farm land. The World Resources Institute verified in their 1998 report on Venezuela’s forests, All The Glitters Is Not Gold, that “by 1994, 1,262 illegal occupants affected 39 percent of the Ticoporo Forest Reserve; 44 percent of the Caparo Forest Reserve had been occupied by illegal squatters.”[4] Interestingly, before the 1950s, forest cover in the Venezuelan llanos (plains) actually grew as a result of the huge migration to the cities, which turned Venezuela in to the most urbanized country in Latin America. But from 1950 to 1975, Venezuela’s forests were “drastically reduced” due to development, roads and increased population.[7] Under this model, President Chavez’ current “revolutionary” policies of attempting to move people back to the “interior” while building thousands of homes for those in need, may also be further encroaching on the nation’s forests, although it is still too soon to tell. http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1758

31) “Stewardship of nature is also an effective means to fight poverty,” explains the report, “When poor households improve their management of local ecosystems—whether pastures, forests, or fishing grounds—the productivity of these systems rises. When this is combined with greater control over these natural assets, through stronger ownership rights, and greater inclusion in local institutions, the poor can capture the rise in productivity as increased income.”[14] According to WRI, Mision Arbol could be on the right track, but important questions remain. Is there a conservation or reforestation plan outside of the promotion of the conservation committees? How do they plan to protect the vital watersheds and forests that may not be directly supported by the Conservation Committees? How to reconcile the competing interests of development, resource extraction, and conservation? Former Forest Ethics Campaigner, Evan Thomas Paul, helped with the research for this article, http://del.icio.us/evanthomaspaul/venezuela


32) Brasília – On Wednesday (21) president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed decrees creating three more conservation units (UCs) in the Amazon. The UCs are the Amazon Grasslands National Park, with approximately 880 thousand hectares in southwest Amazonas and the northeast tip of Rondônia, and the Rio Unini and Arapixi extractive reserves (Resex), with 830 thousand and 133 thousand hectares, respectively, both in the state of Amazonas. At the ceremony the minister of Environment, Marina Silva, said that the new conservation units will serve as a protective barrier against the deforestation of the Amazon rain forest. According to the Ministry of Environment, the decrees add 1.84 million hectares to the protected area in the Amazon. The conservation units created by the current Administration incorporate a total of 19.3 million hectares. http://internacional.radiobras.gov.br/ingles/materia_i_2004.php?materia=268051&q=1&editoria=


33) MANTADIA NATIONAL PARK, Madagascar, June 23 (Reuters) – “The chameleon is there, can you see it?” asks an excited Raymond Rabarison, jabbing his finger at the dark green foliage of young trees on the side of the road. The group of foreign visitors peer at the branches but see nothing out of the ordinary – until Rabarison steps among the trees and puts his hand right next to the 30-cm (12-inch) chameleon gripping a branch. Its presence becomes so obvious that you are astonished you missed it in the first place. With its bulging eyes, horn-like facial “spikes” and rotund shape it hardly resembles a branch, but set against the dark green of the leaves it is almost impossible to spot. Spotting concealed wildlife in Madagascar’s rainforest is a rare skill that 50-year-old Rabarison has honed through a childhood spent playing in the bush and an adulthood spent as an eco-guide. He works in the Analamazaotra Reserve and the nearby Mantadia National Park, home to several species of Madagascar’s famed lemurs – cuddly primates which are distant relations to humanity – as well as colourful frogs and chameleons and perhaps 120 species of birds. The world’s fourth largest island, Madagascar broke away from the rest of Africa around 160 million years ago, leaving its flora and fauna to evolve in splendid isolation. More than 90 percent of the mammals which inhabit it are found nowhere else while all but one of its 217 species of amphibians are endemic. The reserves where Rabarison works attracted 28,000 visitors last year, up from around 7,000 in 1990. The government has committed itself to tripling the amount of protected space to six million hectares as it attempts to establish itself as a destination for eco-tourists. Unlike many aid projects which collapse after western donors depart, the guide association was started by the local community and no foreign expert could match Rabarison’s expertise. It is also a success because of the badly needed cash it brings in, giving local communities an incentive to protect the forest and its rare wildlife, which include the indri, the largest of the lemurs famed for its haunting call. Guides can make between $20 and $50 a day during the peak season, good money in a country where many rural dwellers eke out a grim existence on less than a dollar a day. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L21303433.htm

34) Evolving into different species as they moved from island to island, the flying foxes colonised ecosystems right up to Pemba Island off Tanzania’s coast. But they gave the mainland a miss. “They seem to prefer small fragments of habitat. Why they don’t have a foothold in mainland Africa is a mystery,” said Jenkins, who heads a local green NGO called Madagasikara Voakajy, which means Madagascar Conserved. Some wonder if small areas kept the bats safe from predators likely to focus on larger territories. Others think the topography might have made it easier to find their way home. No one really knows why the bats prefer narrow strips of habitat separated from larger siblings by the ocean or a forest of exotic pines. ORTHODOXY UPSIDE DOWN Like a bat when it sleeps, this turns ecological orthodoxy upside down. Accepted science holds that fragmentation of natural habitats is bad — many species have disappeared when their habitat has been diced up by human activities like farming. Most recorded extinctions over the past few centuries have also occurred on islands, an indication of the fragility of small populations living in isolation. We are not challenging the notion that fragmentation is bad, but the notion that fragments have no ecological value,” said Jenkins. Large protected areas, like the 16,000 hectare (39,500 acre) Mantadia park roughly a 25-km (15.5 mile) bat flight from the pine plantation, have no flying foxes. The bats can fly such distances, and may even disperse seeds to larger areas of habitat far from their roosts. Fidinirina Andriamanalina is studying the bats’ range and is in charge of a programme that has seen eight of the animals radio-collared — a delicate task involving capture with nets. “This group moves about mostly between here and another location where they roost,” he said, as he held up a large antenna. But much more work needs to be done to determine their nocturnal foraging movements. Poor communities in the area have “adopted” the bats. “We used to hunt them for meat. But we have had awareness programmes explaining the importance of the bats and now we don’t kill them,” said villager Namisoa Ravelonirina as she cradled a baby on her hip. Jenkins hopes the wider green community will also adopt his orphans and include them in bigger conservation plans, including Madagascar’s own drive to triple its protected areas. http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2006-06-22T011209Z_01


35) International pressure on Port Moresby over the logging issue is mounting, nonetheless. New Zealand’s High Court has ruled in favour of the expulsion by the NZ Timber Importers Association of Rimbunan company the LumberBank. In London, the Wolseley Group has banned the import of plywood from China, the main market for PNG timber. Activists in Australia plan a campaign against the ANZ bank because Rimbunan is a client and the bank provides guarantees for logging companies to secure approval for new projects in PNG. An ANZ spokesman says the bank has raised concerns with Rimbunan. Anti-logging activists claim the Somare Government is stepping up a campaign of intimidation against them. Eco-Forestry Forum co-ordinator Ken Mondaia says he moves house in Port Moresby every two or three months because of threats. “You don’t feel safe when you keep getting visited by police. You are always looking over your shoulder.” An impediment to new logging projects has been removed with recent legislative changes. Instead of having to go through the usual assessment processes, new projects can be classified as extensions to existing logging concessions. That gets around the difficulty Rimbunan had when PNG’s Ombudsman Commission concluded that the 800,000ha Kamula Dosa extension to its Wawoi Guavi concession was illegal because it bypassed approval processes. “A 37-step approval process has been reduced to nothing,” says Port Moresby lawyer Anne Kajir, whose stand against illegal logging this year earned her a coveted international conservation award, the Goldman Environmental Prize. “We’ve gone from a situation that was very bad to one that is much worse,” Kajir says. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19565361-30417,00.html

36) A new report released by the Environmental Investigation Agency says US Free Trade agreements are accelerating the destruction of tropical forests in places like Indonesia’s Papua province. The EIA is urging the US administration and congress to enact a law prohibiting illegal timber imports into the US before signing pending free trade agreements with other timber trading nations. Last year, the EIA exposed an illegal timber smuggling operation from Papua to China by Malaysian nationals worth a billion US dollars per year. The EIA’s Alexander von Bismarck says subsequently there was an initial crackdown on illegal logging of Papua merbau by authorities in Indonesia’s central government. “Since then the price has doubled and we have kept a close eye on whether the right people are being prosecuted. And that’s the tough part of it – that you have the timber barons, whether they’re from China, Malaysia or Singapore, that are really above the law in the true sense of the word. And that’s what’s going to keep this problem alive unless we really close the markets in our own countries, which is really driving the problem.” http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0606/S00343.htm

37) Our Indonesian NGO partner, BirdLife Indonesia, is only four yearS old and is a spin-off from the Indonesia BirdLife Program which has been in place since 1992. It is led by Sukianto Lusli and has for its board members very respected individuals such as Pa Effendy Sumardja, former deputy to the minister of State for Environment; Dr. Ani Mardiastuti of the Bogor Agricultural University and journalist, Rudy Badil. One of the most innovative and pioneering projects of BirdLife Indonesia is its Sumatra Initiative. Sumatra’s dry lowland rainforests are among the most biologically diverse on earth. Almost two-thirds of its 626 bird species rely on this forest and in addition, there are more mammal species than any other region in Indonesia such as the Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhino, elephant, Sun bear and tapir. Sumatra also has a unique collection of flora including the Rafflesia arnoldi, the biggest flower, and the Amorphophallus titanium, the tallest flower in the world. Most of Sumatra’s forests have been cleared for logging, the development of oil palm, pulp and paper industries and only 650,000 hectares remain out of the 16 million hectares in 1900. Illegal logging also occurs within logging concessions and nature reserves. In 2003 BirdLife Indonesia came up with a novel idea of getting a logging concession from the government with the objective of protecting it. Together with the RSBP and BirdLife International, it identified the Sungai Meranti Sungai Kapas forest block in the provinces of Jambi and South Sumatra as the priority site. This forest is classified as production forest and has been managed as a logging concession for decades. It covers more than 100,000 hectares with 30,000 hectares of tall closed canopy forest. Surrounded by oil palm and industrial forest plantations and forest and mining concessions, the forest became an isolated island harboring 235 bird species, 37 reptile species and 36 mammal species, many of which are endangered. A semi-nomadic indigenous tribe, the Suku Anak Dalam, live in the forest while outside of the forest are villages of farmers and rubber tappers and as important stakeholders, their participation in forest management is seen as essential. http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2006/june/24/yehey/opinion/20060624opi5.html

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