242 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 35 new articles about earth’s trees! (242nd edition)
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–British Columbia: 1) Secret Caribou extinction plan, 2) Ancient Cedar dies, 3) How much forest is left? 4) Judge overrules citizen clean water needs, 5) Save the upper Pitt,
–Oregon: 6) Neacoxie Creek subdivision, 7) Opal Creek Wilderness, 8) Five Buttes Timber Sale is irrational, 9) loggers back out of Scattered Apples,
–California: 10) They NAILed ‘em, 11) Probe into FS logging ancient Sugar pines,
–Montana: 12) Lolo NF road removal,
–Illinois: 13) RAN action at Chicago board of trade
–New York: 14) Black Rock Forest
–USA: 15) Save NFMA from Bush
–Canada: 16) 50-year halt on logging for Caribou
–Armenia: 17) Fast Growing Tree Project
–Ghana: 18) Violent Adansi South District youth selling reserve forest
–Cameroon: 19) Root cause of deforestation is poverty
–Ecuador: 20) Keepers of Eden, 21) 700 open-air toxic waste pits,
–Jamaica: 22) Indiscriminate cutting of trees to be made a criminal offence
–Bolivia: 23) Leader of Bolivia is wise to corruption of globalization
–Peru: 24) First bribe made to the one of the last uncontacted tribes
–Brazil: 25) Amazonian in London opposes conservation efforts, 26) First sale of carbon offsets, 27) Trees resilient to first few years of drought, 28) Birds and fragmentation,
–Peru: 29) Communities vote against mine proposal
–Asia: 30) RIP: Dr. C. Chandrasekharan
–India: 31) New Community Reserve in Gaibi Sahib village,
–Myanmar: 32) Horrendous corruption of China ruins Asia’s last forests,
–Papua New Guinea: 33) Stop making Palm oil plantations
–Greenpeace: 34) Greenpeacehas set up a forest defenders camp
–Australia: 35) Blockade at Huon Valley road

British Columbia:

1) If you did not like the negotiations that signed away two- thirds of British Columbia’s (BC) Great Bear Rainforest for first time industrial logging of priceless ancient temperate rainforests, you will want to know that something even worse is happening in BC, Canada’s Inland Temperate Rainforest, home of the world’s only mountain caribou. These special caribou are totally dependent upon large areas of intact old-growth forest for their survival. But they are critically endangered and declining rapidly, with only about 1,800 animals left. The reason is that there has been too much logging and road building in their habitat… The caribou spend most of the year at high elevations, but twice each year they must descend to the valley bottoms to find shelter and food in the lush inland temperate rainforest. It is critical to their survival. This forest type contains ancient cedar trees commonly over 500 years old, and a spectacular array of rare and endangeredlichens and plants. The cedar trees are storing huge amounts of carbon… The agency is now conducting backroom negotiations between the timber industry, winter recreationists and businesses, and environmental groups ForestEthics and Wildsight… If the past is any guide, the likely outcome will be unrepresentative,
foundation based environmental organizations compromising away vast areas of intact ancient temperate rainforest for vague promises that industrial logging will be “ecosystem
based” or some other such nonsense. Prompt global citizen response is needed to continue advocating to end ancient forest logging.

2) A red cedar tree believed to be almost 1,000 years old and reputedly the largest of its kind in the world uprooted and toppled from natural causes in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. On Thursday, a part of the tree’s root was exposed and clearly saturated with water and rotten. The top of the tree lies so deep in the forest it can’t be seen. Eric Meagher, a Stanley Park maintenance supervisor, said a combination of heavy rain and strong winds on Sunday likely knocked the towering giant over. “The first photographs we have of it in our archives are 1890 so people were taking photographs of it way back then, and that tree at that time was already hundreds and hundreds of years old,” he said. Before it fell, the mighty tree near Third Beach was 13 metres around at the base and 40 metres tall. It became famous after it was featured in a 1978 National Geographic article, with scores of tourists coming to see it each day. “It’s hard to get your head around the immensity and the enormity of it,” said Campbell Miller, who was visiting the area from Ottawa.”Sure it’s sad when you lose it, but that’s the cycle of life,” Meagher told CBC News Thursday. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2007/10/11/bc-cedar.html

3) Satellite photos from 2004 show that on Vancouver Island, 73% of the original, productive old-growth forests have already been logged, including 90% of the valley-bottoms, 87% of the South Island (south of Port Alberni), and 99% of the eastern Coastal
Douglas Fir old-growth. In contrast, only 6% of Vancouver Island’s productive forests (old-growth and second-growth) are protected in its parks. See maps and stats at: http://www.viforest.org The situation is similarly dire in the Lower Mainland, where over 70% of the old-growth forests have been logged, which has caused the spotted owl population to plummet from over 1000 individuals at one time, to 16 individuals today. As such, the Wilderness Committee is calling for an immediate end to old-growth logging on eastern and southern Vancouver Island, in all valley bottoms on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland, and in all old-growth and mature forest habitat needed for the recovery of the spotted owl in the Lower Mainland. Across the rest of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, the Wilderness Committee is calling for a phase-out of all old-growth logging by 2015, with a full transition into sustainable second-growth logging. WCWCAction@envirolink.org

4) Western Forest Products Inc. had been logging within a 48-square-hectare section of block cuts in the watershed, which is about eight kilometres northeast of Sechelt, when the Sunshine Coast Regional District grew concerned about possible water contamination. The district then took the unusual step of forming a local health board over the summer in order to invoke a rarely tested section of the provincial Health Act to restrict harvesting trees with the aim of protecting the community’s water supply. Tuesday’s ruling by Mr. Justice Bruce Butler followed a two-day hearing in mid-September. He stated it “seemed somewhat anomalous” that a B.C. regional district did not have the authority to determine what can occur with its watershed, but added that this was not the issue before the court, and called the stop-work order “unreasonable.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071011.BCWATER11/TPStory/National Generations of Sunshine Coast residents will suffer centuries of poor water quality and environmental degradation now that logging of the Chapman Creek Watershed is underway says a renowned international tree biologist, who will speak on the subject in Gibsons Oct. 18. “This is a clear issue of endangering the community and environmental health of the Sunshine Coast,” says Dr. Reese Halter, who leads Global Forest Science. “Logging Chapman Creek not only has immediate local consequences, it has regional and global effects from Global warming to disease and drought. Already, 65 monitored BC glaciers are retreating.” According to Halter, at least 118 vertebrates species live in the old growth of Chapman Creek, of which more than 40 cannot breed, nest or forage other than in old growth. “Logging this key old growth watershed is a death sentence to at least 30% of the species in this area,” says Halter. “An immediate logging moratorium is needed.” http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/October2007/10/c2266.html

5) Accessible only by boat, the Upper Pitt River Valley, at the north end of Pitt Lake, has been protected from all the usual development pressures. Even today, this valley, which falls within the traditional territory of Katzie First Nation, hosts but a handful of full-time residents. The lower valley is cradled in the protective embrace of three provincial parks: Pinecone-Burke, Garibaldi and Golden Ears on the west, north and east, respectively. All species of Pacific salmon thrive in the waters of the Upper Pitt River and its tributaries. It hosts an unusual sockeye population that can live for up to six years and it is the best place in the Lower Mainland to find ocean-migrating cutthroat trout. One of the river’s tributaries, Boise Creek, supports a unique hybrid of Dolly Varden and bull trout. Today, the Upper Pitt provides habitat for the largest remaining population of wild coho left in the lower Fraser River system. Today, the Upper Pitt River Valley faces a threat from a large cluster of proposed run-of-river developments. Such power projects are misleadingly named because, in fact, they divert 80 to 95 percent of a river’s mean annual discharge into a pipe. The proponents of the hydro project, Run of River Power, Inc., plan to divert water from every major tributary of the Upper Pitt River, including Boise Creek where rare hybrid trout reside. Within a short 12-kilometre stretch of the river, eight pipelines delivering water to seven powerhouses will generate a total capacity of 161 MW of electricity. Grizzly bear and other species depend on wild creek corridors. Logging and dynamiting will be required to build roads, construct transmission lines, pipelines and powerhouses. Roads on steep mountain slopes in areas with high rainfall can cause erosion, landslides and harmful siltation in creeks. And that’s not all that’s wrong with this proposal. The proponents want to get the electricity out of the valley by grabbing a portion of Pinecone-Burke Provincial Park to construct a transmission / transportation corridor to the Squamish area. Their proposed corridor along Steve Creek goes right through a sensitive wetland and grizzly bear habitat. To date, there is simply no precedent for removing a remote wilderness section of a provincial park to allow industrial development. If this happens with Pinecone-Burke, we can expect to see similar proposals to cut up provincial parks all across BC. Yet the proposal is already moving forward through the laughable provincial Environmental Assessment process which has never rejected any industrial project – ever. http://commonground.ca/iss/195/CG195-StolenRivers.pdf


6) GEARHART – The clatter and buzz of new home construction cuts through the ocean-side clearing at The Reserve subdivision. But next door, a blue heron cruises along Neacoxie Creek in peace, the sounds of its noisy neighbor blocked by gnarly old crab apple trees and towering Sitka spruce. Here, though new property lines have parceled much of the land into half-acre lots, a seamless buffer of prairie, wetlands and forest stands undeveloped on the eastern edge of the tract, leaving enough natural habitat to keep a much larger ecosystem intact and giving new homeowners at The Reserve a pristine view of wildlife at work. The North Coast Land Conservancy, which was instrumental in The Reserve’s eco-friendly design, is working to fold more of the Neacoxie’s neighbors into a habitat enhancement effort along the creek’s 15-mile stretch from Sunset Lake near Camp Rilea to the Necanicum estuary in Seaside. The swath of land that flanks Neacoxie Creek as it widens into lakes and narrows down into streams connects rare coastal prairie lands with diverse wetlands and forests east of the coastal sand dunes. It also links a growing number of neighboring landowners in Warrenton, Gearhart and Seaside to habitat that nurtures elk and deer, a variety of waterfowl and songbirds and vanishing native species of plants and butterflies. NCLC land steward Katie Voelke envisions a Neacoxie Wildlife Corridor running through North Coast neighborhoods much like a road or a municipal waterline. With small acts of stewardship such as removing the invasive Scotch broom and planting native lilies or twinberry bushes, she said, homeowners along the Neacoxie can improve the “green infrastructure” and watch as birds, elk and deer migrate right through their back yards. NCLC started studying the flat land off the coast called the Clatsop Plains when the Oregon silverspot butterfly was first listed as a threatened species. The butterfly flourishes in vegetation found on sand dunes and coastal prairies, but development had largely wiped out its natural habitat. To determine how much habitat was left, Voelke began walking the land along the Neacoxie and noticed the diversity of species along forest fringes and wetlands next to the creek, as well as in the creek itself. “Through that experience, I realized that what we’re looking at is not just a coastal prairie,” said Voelke. “We’re not looking at patches or parcels. We’re looking at an entire ecosystem that’s truly a wildlife corridor.” http://dailyastorian.info/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=398&ArticleID=45907

7) Streams always run crystal clear in the Opal Creek Wilderness. That clarity is assured because the entire valley watershed — ridgetop to ridgetop — is off limits to human development. Tom Atiyeh: “Right in front of us is exactly an ancient forest.” Tom Atiyeh is leading this hike. He’s the son of former Oregon governor Vic Atiyeh. Tom Atiyeh: “You’ve got western red cedar, there, there. You’ve got Douglas fir, next to western hemlock. This is 35,000 acres of old growth.” These days, Atiyeh directs the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, it was his family that lead the drive to protect this land from logging. Tom Atiyeh: “Now we have the responsibility for stewardship. As a bunch of rabble rousers, we could say, ‘We want it preserved for wilderness!’ Well, thanks to Senator Hatfield we got wilderness. And we go, ‘Okay, now that we’ve got it, what are we going to do with it?'” Now the activists have turned educators. http://news.opb.org/article/opal-creek-wilderness-protected-and-ready-visitors/

8) I have reviewed the Deschutes National Forest Five Buttes Timber Sale, and feel that the agency is using several flawed assumptions to justify these sales. Furthermore, their management approach may in fact enhance fire risk, and at the very least poses potential impacts on other forest values including loss of spotted owl habitat, scenic values, loss in woody debris, watershed values, and potential introduction of weeds. Much of the timber base consists of lodgepole pine forests. Lodgepole pine is a forest type that burns infrequently with long intervals between fires and typically has high severity stand replacement blazes. Stand replacement means that a significant proportion of trees will die in a fire, however it’s important to note that a mosaic pattern of burned, slightly burned, and unburned forests is typical for any large blaze–even in a so called “stand replacement fire” Such blazes are climatic/weather driven by severe drought, high summer temperatures, low humidity and wind. Fuels are relatively unimportant under these conditions. This has relevance to the Five Buttes sale, in part, because the probability of a blaze in any near term time frame (10-20 years) in these forest types is on average very low. Furthermore, the FS seems to take the attitude that stand replacement blazes are somehow undesireable, when in fact, it is the dominant ecological process in lodgepole pine forests. There is a growing body of evidence, both anecdotal as well as some recent research suggesting that fuels reduction projects such as thinning can INCREASE fire risk. The reasons are tied back to the original statement about climatic/weather factors that drive big blazes. In other words, the fire conditions that favor large blazes created by drought, high summer temperatures, low humidity and wind. Thinning trees opens the forest to greater solar radiation, thus drying out the forest, in particular the small fuels that drive fires. Thinning also opens the forest for wind. Wind is a critical factor in all big blazes. Another problem with this timber sale is that it proposes to remove some of the bigger trees. Even if one were to do a thinning project, you should target the small diameter trees, shrubs, and other “flashy” fuels that are the prime factors in fire spread and burning intensity. George Wuerthner, POB 719 Richmond VT 05477

9) A Southern Oregon logging company that was the high bidder on a controversial U.S. Bureau of Land Management timber sale is throwing in the towel on the project. The Glendale-based Swanson Group Inc. has chosen to withdraw from the Scattered Apples sale near Williams that it purchased in a BLM auction in 2002. Federal court-ordered mediation by the agency and plaintiffs resulted in changes that made it no longer economically viable, said Steve Swanson, president of the family-owned firm. “As a result of this, the counties lose valuable timber receipts, the acres that were part of the forest health project remain unhealthy and we don’t have wood to run our mills,” a frustrated Swanson concluded. “And what you end up with is a small group of people running our forests,” he added of the plaintiffs. But Joseph Vaile, campaign coordinator for the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, a conservation group based in Ashland that was among those taking the BLM to court over the sale, rejects that characterization. Following the court order in 2004, the BLM, residents of Williams and KSWC spent months hammering out a solution to the overgrown forest because of wildfire suppression over the decades, he said. “We came up with what we thought was the most acceptable way to thin Scattered Apples,” he said. “It wasn’t something everyone was happy with but it was a good-faith effort to come up with a reasonable solution. We put a lot of effort into it. “We weren’t saying ‘no’ to the project or to logging, just to all the old-growth logging that was included in the original sale,” he added. The mediation chopped 1 million board feet out of the original 3.7 million-board-foot sale, increased the use of helicopters in the harvest and protected much of the old-growth. http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071010/NEWS/710100316


10) On September 25th, 2007, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) ruled that the San Jose Water Company NTMP logging plan application is “INELIGIBLE”. The reason for denial? As NAIL had previously determined and announced at the Public Hearing in January, SJWC owns too many acres of timberland to meet the legal definition of a “Non-industrial tree farmer”. The Details: 1) The Forest Practice Act states that a non-industrial tree farmer must own less than 2,500 timberland acres. 2) SJWC claimed in their NTMP application that they own only 2,002 timberland acres. Matt Dias (RPF of Big Creek Lumber) repeated this number many times to the media. 3) NAIL determined that SJWC owns at least 2,754 timberland acres, and likely more, CALFIRE agreed, concluding that SJWC owns approximately 2,825 timberland acres. What does this mean? Not only that the plan should have been denied, but also that it was never even eligible for consideration in the first place! We the taxpayers have funded a very expensive public review process, for two long years, for an application that did not even meet the basic submission requirements. http://www.mountainresource.org/nail – http://losgatosobserver.com/los-gatos/Article.php?id=517 – http://www.mountainresource.org/node/245

11) Three Congressmen, including Rep. John Olver of Massachusetts, called for a federal probe Wednesday into whether forest managers illegally cut down more than 200 protected trees in the Giant Sequoia National Monument and sold some of the wood for timber. The legislators asked U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspector General Phyllis K. Fong to investigate the alleged illegal logging of 300-year-old sugar pines and other trees in the monument. The 328,000-acre preserve is part of the Sequoia National Forest in central California, and is home to two-thirds of the world’s largest trees. No sequoias or redwoods are believed to have been illegally logged. Conservation groups say the U.S. Forest Service cut the trees between 2004 and 2005, when the protected area was cordoned off from public view. The Forest Service claimed it would only log 138 trees that were at risk of toppling, but conservation groups allege more than 200 trees were chopped down during that time. “The Sequoia National Monument is a sacred resource that the Forest Service has an obligation to protect for future generations,” said Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. who signed the letter along with Reps. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., and Olver, a Democrat from Amherst. “We need to know if the troubling allegations raised by local conservation groups are legitimate.” http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/10/10/lawmakers_call_for_probe_o


12) LOLO HOT SPRINGS – Decades ago, loggers carved hundreds of miles of road into the forest in the upper reaches of Lolo Creek. Back then, they called them jammer roads. Built 60 feet apart, loggers kept them close so they could use draglines to haul timber up steep hillsides. After the logs were cut and the truckloads of timber hauled, bulldozers closed down the roads with piles of dirt or imposing holes. Over the years, many of the roads all but disappeared – covered up by thick patches of alder and pine. Underneath all that new growth, the scars never did heal. Like a festering wound, the roads bled silt into nearby streams with every hard rain, waiting like time bombs for the next wildfire to strike. “There are sections in upper Lolo Creek where there are up to 50 miles of jammer road per square mile,” said Lolo National Forest hydrologist Traci Sylte. “On a map, they look like spaghetti. “In some places the vegetation is so thick, you can hardly find them anymore,” she said. They’re much easier to find after a wildfire. The amount of sediment they’re capable of producing after the vegetation is gone can set back trout populations and efforts to clean up waterways for generations. Starting this week, efforts have begun to wipe some of the roads right off the map as part of a larger Lolo National Forest restoration project to improve water quality in the upper Lolo Creek drainage. On Wednesday, Helena contractor Lance Stalnaker cranked up his excavator and began work on a two-year project to permanently close about 100 miles of old jammer and other overgrown roads. “This restoration work is 99 percent of what we do anymore,” Stalnaker said. “Forest and mine restoration, stream work – it’s our livelihood.” In some cases, Stalnaker will recontour, scarify and cover the first 150 feet of the old roadways. In places considered more sensitive, the experienced contractor will rework the full length of the road. “It’s basically a triage,” Sylte said. “We picked the roads where we could reduce the long-term impacts the most. … We are trying to be as effective as possible in light of the dismal amount of funding allocated by Congress for this kind of restoration work.” http://missoulian.com/articles/2007/10/11/news/top/news01.txt


13) Five protesters were arrested in Chicago today after unfurling a giant banner on the Chicago Board of Trade accusing Cargill Inc. and two other agribusiness companies of destroying South American rainforests. Four protesters, who were apparently from a group called Rainforest Action Network, climbed the downtown Chicago building to hoist a 50-foot banner that declared Cargill, Decatur, Ill.-based Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Bermuda-based Bunge as the “ABC’s of Rainforest destruction,” according to several Chicago-based media outlets. The protesters, and person on the ground coordinating the effort, were eventually arrested. Cargill, an agricultural giant that had $88 billion in sales last year, has operations in 66 countries, including a large operation in South America, where it buys and processes soybeans used for vegetable oil and animal feed. A cargill spokesman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the protest. On its Web site, Cargill said it has been working since 2006 to create a system to monitor soy production and curb deforestation in the Amazon. http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/stories/2007/10/08/daily28.html

New York:

14) Only an hour from Manhattan, you can experience the profound silence of the Upper Reservoir between Whitehouse Mountain and Mount Misery in New York’s Black Rock Forest. Or track the hawks wheeling over pristine hills at the Pine Paddy outlooks in Norvin Green State Forest in New Jersey, or find lonely trails in the Pine Barrens of Long Island. Even seeming wilderness — give or take a fire tower — is available to hikers at, say, the 1,300-foot level at Rattlesnake Hill in Black Rock. Forests cover nearly 60 percent of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and there is no question that they will continue to exist. But a concern is growing: What will they look like? Will the forests of the future resemble today’s, or will they be a green tangle of alien plants devoid of native oaks, maples and beeches? That is the worst-case scenario envisioned by experts like Dr. Emile DeVito, manager of science and stewardship at the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. The pressure of development, the exploding deer population and the proliferation of invasive plants and insects on the region’s native species is threatening the woodlands of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, according to forest managers, scientists and public officials. “It is a quiet crisis,” said Carl P. Schulze Jr., director of the division of plant industry in the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. “The average person sees that the woods are green,” he said, “and doesn’t understand that foreign species — a form of biological pollution — are outcompeting” native vegetation. For now, the big trees are still there. But Dr. DeVito said it is the changes taking place in the “understory,” the layer of vegetation beneath the forest canopy, that are causing the most concern. From state to state and forest to forest, the situation is variable and dynamic. “There is a lot of healthy forest left,” said Dr. Joan Gardner Ehrenfeld, an expert on invasive species who is a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources at Rutgers University. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/07rCOVER.html?_r=1&ref=nyregionspec


15) For years, the Bush administration has been trying to weaken protections for our nation’s public forests by promoting more logging and clear cutting, reducing protections for wildlife and water resources, and limiting citizen involvement in the forest planning process. Most recently, the Administration has proposed new draft National Forest Management Act regulations that are uncannily similar to the regulations they proposed in 2005; the same regulations that were found illegal by a federal district court. The “new” proposed regulation once again ignores the public, the courts, and the law and seriously undermines critical safeguards for our forests that were put in place over two decades ago.House Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) is circulating a congressional sign on letter, asking that the Bush administration withdraw the proposed 2007 Forest Planning Rule. Act Now: Call your Representative today, and ask them to sign the letter supporting strong national forest planning. Click here to contact your Representative. Calls must be made by October 15! http://www.congress.org/congressorg/directory/congdir.tt


16) The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and forestry corporation Tembec have negotiated a minimum 50-year halt on logging in an area used extensively by woodland caribou on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. Habitat protection is key to maintaining populations of this threatened species, as they are extremely sensitive to human developments. “This is good news for caribou. CPAWS looks forward to our ongoing efforts with Tembec to increase protections for caribou,” stated Ron Thiessen, Executive Director of the CPAWS Manitoba chapter. “Healthy boreal forests are critical to caribou survival.” The 26,000 ha area deferred from harvesting is the “winter core zone” of the Owl Lake woodland caribou herd. In other words, the lands the herd uses most during Manitoba’s cold months. A 50-year deferral of forestry operations in the area provides security for some of the herd’s most important habitat while allowing ongoing research to identify more about survival needs of this threatened species. “Winter is an important season for woodland caribou. Their survival depends on finding areas with sufficient food, favourable snowcover, and few predators — conditions that are characteristic of old forests,” according to Dr. Jim Schaefer, Associate Professor, Biology Department, Trent University. The Owl Lake woodland caribou herd is located in Manitoba’s southernmost caribou range. Habitats south of their range, such as in Whiteshell Park, have been so altered by human activities that caribou no longer reside there. The Manitoba government recognizes major threats to the caribou as habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation. http://cpaws.org/news/archive/2007/10/threatened-species-habitat-pro.php


17) Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America (AESA) has been keeping you informed of the situation with the its Fast Growing Tree Project in Armenia during last year. We are please to announce that we were able to get back the nursery in Armavier, which is approximately one hectare of land from 14 hectares of land that is illegally taken by the minister of finance. Survival of this nursery is essential for the future of the fast growing trees in Armenia. Samples from all 53 types of the fast growing poplars that have been imported to Armenia are planted in this nursery. This success was results of numerous letters and e-mails to the late prime minister of Armenia and support of the new governor of the Armavier Marz. However, we still trying to get back the reminder of 13 hectares. Attached are two write-ups in Armenian and English that provide some details about the project. We have submitted a letter to the new prime minister of Armenia that provide history and details of the Fast growing Tree Project and issues related to the illegal confiscation of the land. http://www.hetq.am/eng/ecology/7154/


18) Information reaching The Chronicle indicates that the youth of Atobiase in the Adansi South District have been selling forest reserves to chain saw operators to fell trees in and outside the forest reserves in the district. All efforts by the District Forestry Manager to halt the activities of these irate youths have proved futile. The youth, on a number of occasions, have battled with some security personnel and forestry guard to find their way out from the reserve after cutting down some trees. According to the District Forestry Manager, Francis Bilson Ogoe, last Saturday, he received information that some chain saw operators had gone to cut trees from outside the forest reserve and were about to leave. He said, on receiving the information, he quickly organised his men with two armed policemen and dispatched them to the area to seize the logs that had been cut by those chain saw operators. He said the number of lumber seized were seventy, and on their way back to their office, some irate youths at Atobiase blocked the road with car tyres that had been set ablaze and were armed with cutlasses and sticks, demanding the release of the seized lumber before they would allow the car to pass. Mr. Ogoe explained that in the cause of the incident, one of his men rang him and told him about what had happened and he quickly ordered his men and the policemen to offload the lumber to the angry youths. He further explained that, in the process of offloading the lumber, the Range Supervisor, Lariba Zinkam, was attacked by the irate youth who struggled with her and beat her mercilessly. He continued that Lariba sustained severe injuries all over her body and was quickly rushed to the hospital for treatment. According to him, the case was reported to the District Police when his men and the two police men returned to the office and, immediately, more police personnel were sent to the town to arrest the culprits. http://allafrica.com/stories/200710090899.html


19) “You cannot combat the rate of deforestation without tackling the root causes such as poverty”, he told pressmen at the opening ceremony of the workshop to draw up a five-year action plan for ITTO. The ITTO official said his organisation will intensify the promotion of community forestry, ensure the rational use of forest resources, promote industrialisation and strengthen the capacity of forest industries among others in order to effectively increase the fight against poverty. For five days running, experts from some member countries will examine with diligence actions of the organisation for the next five years. In his speech at the opening ceremony at the Yaounde Hilton, the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, urged participants to prioritise strategic actions, ensure increase participation of the private sector and Non Governmental Organisations, and enhance the role of ITTO as a multilateral institution. The new plan of action under scrutiny is coming at a crucial point for the organisation. First, the new agreement goes into force next year, probably in February. Second, there are many emerging issues of international concern such as climate change. Against this backdrop, ITTO has to come out with a plan that will make it more available on the scene of action. http://allafrica.com/stories/200710100809.html


20) The documentary “Keepers of Eden” director Yoram Porath shows that the Huaorani are learning how power works. Porath was in Quito almost two years ago when scores of Huaorani marched through the streets. Dressed in traditional clothing — which meant most of them didn’t wear very much at all — they occupied the Ecuadorean national legislature. The Huaorani were successful in embarrassing the government into prohibiting the Brazilian oil company Petrobras from building a road into Yasuni for drilling. It was seeing the protest in Quito that convinced Porath that he had to tell the story of the Huaorani’s fight against the oil companies. “In Yasuni, the amount of oil is not that great, not like Saudi Arabia,” Porath said in an interview. “They can drill it and take it out in a few years. Once they destroy the forest, that’s it. No more forest. It’s a cynical abuse of the environment.” Keepers of Eden is receiving its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival because the filmmakers were drawn to the festival’s new $25,000 Kyoto Planet Climate for Change Award. Porath and the producers will be at the film’s next screening, on Sunday at 9:15 p.m. at Granville 2. The film is narrated by Joanne Woodward. Just making Keepers of Eden was a challenge — one that nearly cost Porath his life at least twice. Even though Yasuni is a national park, Porath had to get a permit to enter from whatever oil company controlled a particular oil concession. He said if he’d been honest about what he was planning to do, he would never have been able to document how oil companies are polluting the Amazon. Instead, he got approval by telling them he was making a nature documentary. Once he got in the dense jungle, roads often didn’t exist. He and his crew would have to walk along paths carrying their equipment for days to reach examples of contamination — the spots oil companies never show journalists. Porath was taken to giant fields that were filled with oil and then topped with dirt by Texaco before the company left in 1992. Since then, the waste oil and soil have mixed to create a toxic petroleum quicksand several metres deep. Porath said there are thousands of such environmental hazards in the region. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/arts/story.html?id=df3fbf1b-80bf-46ac-a337-f7f42cef8109

21) Lago Agrio (Sour Lake) in Ecuador defies expectations on many levels. It begins in the Sixties when oil giant Texaco signed a contract with the Ecuadorian government to prospect for oil in the north of the country, close to the border with Colombia. In 1972, full-scale production began. Texaco’s time in the jungle – just over 20 years – appears to have left one of the biggest environmental scars ever seen, including some 700 open-air toxic-waste pits, the legacy – say campaigners – of the systematic ‘dumping’ of crude oil waste. According to the same campaigners, during its Amazonian tenure, Texaco poured around 12bn gallons of highly toxic crude oil waste into the Amazon. Chevron, which bought the company in 2001, argues that Texaco complied with Ecuadorian law and didn’t put profits before the need to protect the environment. Either way, it’s a salutary lesson in what can happen when big oil moves in and the rest of humanity elects to turn a blind eye and ignore a politically and geographically difficult situation. If it wasn’t for two lawyers – Pablo Fajardo in Ecuador and Steven Donziger in the US – who represent the 30,000 indigenous Amazonian people who live in the Lake Agrio area, and who launched a class action against Chevron in 2003, it wouldn’t be on the radar at all. All of which explains why David de Rothschild decided to take a group of celebrated artists – including Gabriel Orozco – to Lago Agrio as eyewitnesses to the oil pits and devastation, and why he is now exhibiting the body of work that they have created. De Rothschild is a scion of the famous banking family (his father is financier Sir Evelyn de Rothschild). He is variously described as an adventurer, expedition leader and ecological educator, which makes him sound like a young man in need of a proper profession. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,,2181338,00.html


22) Jamaica Labour Party Senator and Mayor of Kingston and St Andrew, Desmond McKenzie, on Friday called for the indiscriminate cutting of trees to be made a criminal offence. McKenzie, who was participating in the Forestry Department’s fifth annual National Tree Planting Day activities at the Hope Botanical Gardens in Kingston, suggested that it was time Jamaicans examine how the absence of trees contributes to natural disasters such as flooding. “Flooding is not only caused by a little man throwing a mattress in the gully. It is caused by the bad environmental practice which we develop of cutting down trees,” McKenzie said. “I would like the Ministry of Agriculture to push for legislation to make the cutting down of trees a criminal offence.” Last Friday’s tree planting was organised to highlight the effects of global warming and the importance of trees in slowing climate change. Also participating in the activities was Marilyn Headley, the Forestry Department’s chief executive officer. She expressed concerns about the depletion of the country’s natural forestry and said it was imperative that every Jamaican plant at least one tree in this year’s reforestation project in a bid to minimise the effects of global warming. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/html/20071008T180000-0500_128150_OBS_MCKENZIE_WANTS_ILLEGAL


23) Let me avail myself of this opportunity: I come from a culture based on peace, from a lifestyle based on equality, of living not only in solidarity with all people, but also living in harmony with Mother Earth. For the indigenous movement, land cannot be a commodity; it is a mother that gives us life, so how could we convert it into a commodity as the western model does? This is a profound lesson which we must learn in order to resolve the problems of humanity that are being discussed here, climate change and pollution. Where does this pollution come from? It comes from, and is generated by, the unsustainable development of a system which destroys the planet: in other words, capitalism. I want to use this opportunity to call on sectors, groups and nations to abandon luxury, to abandon over-consumption, to think not only about money but about life, to not only think about accumulating capital but to think in wider terms about humanity. Only then can we begin to solve the root causes of these problems facing humanity. Because if we don’t think that way, if we do not change, it won’t matter if business owners have a lot of money, no matter if they are a multinational or even a country – no one can escape these ecological problems, environment problems, and climate change. No one will be spared, and the wealth that some country, some region or some capitalist may have will be useless. I feel that it is important to organize an international movement to deal with the environment, a movement that will be above institutions, businesses and countries that just talk about commerce, that only think about accumulating capital. We have to organize a movement that will defend life, defend humanity, and save the earth. I think that it is important to think about some regions, some sectors and some countries repaying what has often been called the ecological debt. If we do not think about how this ecological debt will be paid, how are we going to solve the problems of life and humanity? I want to say, dear colleagues and friends, that we must assume the responsibility as leaders or as presidents, as governments – we must save life, we must save humanity, we must save the entire planet. http://boliviarising.blogspot.com/2007/10/capitalism-is-worst-enemy-of-humanity.html


24) “First just one came out, then two, then three, four, five, six, seven, but there were more than that in total. We had a dozen machetes, a dozen knives and some axes and pots with us. We gave these to them. Not by hand, but by leaving them on the beach. We said to them, ‘Come closer’ but they didn’t want to. They said to us, ‘Go further back, further back,’ so we did.” The encounter between José, a Peruvian from the Las Piedras river area near the border with Brazil, and members of the large isolated Mashco-Piro tribe living in the deep Amazonian rain forest, took place this year and was described to the anthropologist Richard Hill, of Survival, the international campaign for tribal peoples. Following a series of similar encounters and incidents, such as one this week when a Peruvian government team photographed a group of 21 Indians from the air, Mr Hill and other anthropologists are reassessing how many tribes there may be left who have chosen to shun the 21st century. “Only 30 or so years ago, it was believed there were just 12,” said Stephen Corry, the director of Survival. “Now we think there are 107 living in isolation. As more and more incursions are made into the forest, more and more groups are being found. The more people look, the more are being found,” he said. Some tribes who shun contact have a fair idea of life outside the forest, according to Mr Corry, and may have machetes which they could have acquired from contact with other groups. “Others may have had contact with outsiders generations ago, before they retreated deeper into forests because of incursions by westerners. Others may have no idea of country, other languages, or money, and no one has got close to them”. This year the Brazilian government increased its estimate of the number of isolated tribes in its part of the Amazon from 40 to 67. But it acknowledged some were reduced to a few individuals. http://cuttingedgers.blogspot.com/2007/10/we-said-to-them-come-closer-but-they.html


25) An Amazonian Indian in full shaman regalia (head-dress, beads, teeth etc) is flying to London with Survival International to doorstep the sportswear tycoon over his rainforest conservation scheme. Eliasch, who is worth £350m, has bought 400,000 acres of Amazonian rainforest to save it from loggers, soya farmers and cattle ranchers. He encourages others to do the same, paying £70 an acre at his foundation, Cool Earth. Supporters include Sir Nicholas Stern, Philip Pullman, Ricky Gervais and Ian Hislop. But the UN prize-winner Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, claims Eliasch has “exaggerated” the benefits of his “useless” scheme. “You napëpë [whites],” says Kopenawa, “want to buy pieces of rainforest. This is useless. The forest cannot be bought; it is our life and we have always protected it. Give us back our lands and our health before it’s too late for us and for you.” Eliasch’s pal Matthew Owen, director of Cool Earth, praises Kopenawa but rejects the “very aggressive attack”. He says: “We give rainforest back to communities and work to support them in sustaining their lifestyles.” Someone could end up being fed to the piranhas here. http://news.independent.co.uk/people/pandora/article3043746.ece

26) The first sale of carbon offsets on a developing world’s regulated stock exchange took place recently when Sao Paulo, Brazil sold USD $18.5 million dollars worth of carbon credits at auction on the Mercantile and Futures Exchange. This got a lot of investors excited, and experts say it’s an important first step for institutionalizing a carbon marking and for showing that developing economies can make money fighting climate change. Benjamin Vitale, Conservation International’s Senior Adviser on Eco-System Markets and Finance, explained further: “I think the importance of this is twofold: The more developing countries’ financial services sectors can be trading this kind of asset and commodity regularly, just like they trade soy in Brazil, it enables them to trade other credit like emissions from deforestation. It also helps get out the word about climate change and why it’s important for Brazil.” The purchaser of the credits was Dutch-Belgian Fortis Bank, which beat 13 other bids to purchase the offsets and buy the rights to emit 891,163 US tons of CO2 for $22.90 per metric ton. Under the Kyoto Protocol, companies that emit CO2 and methane can buy carbon offsets to lower their emissions. The carbon credits are from Brazil’s Bandeirantes Landfill project to produce energy from the methane released from tons of solid waste that arrives each day. http://mariaenergia.blogspot.com/2007/10/first-carbon-sale-in-developing-market.html

27) Forests in the Amazon are much more resilient to drought that previously thought, researchers have found. A study published in Science last week (21 September) suggests that forests showed increased — not decreased — levels of photosynthesis in response to a drought. Researchers concluded that canopy vegetation, composed mainly of leaves of the upper parts of trees, is capable of increasing photosynthesis during drought periods of up to two years. Scientists used satellite data to construct a model to measure and compare the green areas of certain parts of the Amazon during widespread drought in 2005, the most extreme since 1999. They found that the region’s “greenness” — linked to photosynthetic activity — did not decline, as expected in drought conditions, but actually increased significantly. Humberto Ribeiro da Rocha, one of the researchers, from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, said the results showed that the forest’s reaction to limited water is much more favourable to forest survival than expected from most large scale numerical models. Rocha suggested that the extensive reach of the trees’ roots may enable them to reach water reservoirs deep in the ground. “Today there is already reported evidence of humid tropical forest trees in Amazonia that reach soil water up to ten metres deep in drought periods, without losing water through evaporation,” he told SciDev.Net. He added that the forest may not necessarily maintain the same biomass in these situations. But the results do not reduce the threat of global warming that could turn the Amazon into savannah, Rocha warned. He said thatif the climate becomes constantly hotter and drier, even deep water reservoirs could be depleted. http://desertification.wordpress.com/2007/10/06/amazonia-forests-more-resilient-to-drought-scid

28) Conservation Biology: Predicting Birds’ Responses to Forest Fragmentation
The rule-of-thumb is that a 90% loss of habitat area leads to a w25–50% loss of species [14]. The predictive power of this relationship may be weak, because it does not account for either habitat heterogeneity or fragmentation, but it is the only such existing model [15]. Although the identities of disappearing species are as important as their number, how the abundances of species change because of habitat degradation has been conceptually and empirically little developed. This is a critical lacuna as the disappearance of functionally important and irreplaceable groups such as specialists, scavengers or seed dispersers can affect the entire community [16]. Fragmentation frequently results in the ‘cutting’ of the long tail of the rank-abundance curve, as rare species, particularly diverse in tropical forests, often disappear first (see Figure 1 in [7]). Such ‘nested’ distributions where ‘‘species present at species-poor sites are subsets of those present There is a major need for global meta-analyses of fragmentation responses, combining standardized measures [17,18] with existing data. These analyses will help formulate the drivers of fragmentation sensitivity and nestedness, explain regional differences, and contribute to the development of ecological theory [7]. http://www.current-biology.com/ Vol 17 No 19


29) With a substantial majority of eligible voters voting in all three communities, the count was about 95 percent opposed to mining in each of the three communities. This vote may serve to protect the headwaters of vital rivers such as the Chinchipe and Quiroz that serve major reservoirs and agricultural areas, towns and cities. These rivers also supply water to wilderness habitats for endangered species such as the mountain tapir, the spectacled bear, the white-winged guan, Peruvian cock-of-the-rock, condor, rare and endemic hummingbirds, rare orchids, Podocarpus conifers, amphibians, lizards, and insects, that have been descriptively listed in detail by the Andean Tapir Fund. A sizeable portion of the habitat for many endemic plant and animal species associated with the singular Huancabamba Depression occurs in the area affected by the Rio Blanco mining project. If this project were to go through, several other similar projects would be likely to follow, resulting in a devastation of this unique, intrinsically valuable evolutionary area. Ancient temple ruins that are reported in Andean forests would also be affected by the mining project. All who participated in this vote were threatened in many and various ways by the pro-mining factions, including the most extreme – by death, says Zegarra, whose life has been repeatedly threatened. Nevertheless, at the polls, the voters chose life. They chose the preservation of what remains of the natural world in their home region and rejected the massive open-pit, heap leach Rio Blanco mining project. Conservationists call this vote a significant turn of events in favor of nature and ecological sustainability, and a wise change of course for Peru. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/oct2007/2007-10-10-01.asp


30) One of Asia’s outstanding foresters lost his battle with leukemia. Dr. C. Chandrasekharan just completed a 351-page manuscript on Asia’s troubled forestry. A colleague in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, in Bangkok and Rome, “Chandra” made a request: draft a feature, in layman’s language, that would be released on the day the book comes off the press. But death remained the ultimate waiver for embargoes. Below is a summary of that draft. Asia lost, over the last half century, half of its forests. This depletion is historically unprecedented. It also triggered accelerating degradation, whose adverse impacts could scuttle hopes for 21st-century re-greening. Damage inflicted by subtle degradation can be 10 times more severe than deforestation. If unchecked, investments and programs are reduced to “nothing more than chasing the wind.” Asia and the Pacific are unevenly forested. Only 2.1 percent of Afghanistan has trees left, while forests blanket 67 percent of Papua New Guinea. About 450 million people, including indigenous tribes, depend on this resource for survival. But there’s little elbow room left. Mass poverty, economic and technological change, plus expectations of larger populations, ratchet pressure on forests. Region-wide, gross deforestation now reaches an estimated three to four million hectares annually. In the Greater Mekong Subregion, forests roughly the size of nine small island countries are razed yearly. Asia-Pacific countries are down to only 0.16 ha per head, compared to 1.89 ha for Latin America.Wood harvests rose nearly sixfold in the last 50 years. A timber-rich exporter in the mid-1950s, the Philippines today imports wood. There’s a “black hole” on information about trees outside forests. So, treat with skepticism those rosy forecasts on adequate wood and fiber in the near future. Forest statistics are often doctored. Over a decade, actual deforestation in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam reached almost eight times more than what official reports depict. Degradation’s onset–falling crown covers, failure of plants to regenerate, soil collapse, shrinking share of commercial species–is incremental. It’s hard to spot. Over the long run, degradation can inflict more system-wide irreversible damage. The single statistic of shrinking wood volume is “the smoking gun.” In 1990, Asia Pacific had 125 cubic meters per hectare. But in just a decade, this had been whittled down to less than half: 61 cubic meters per hectare. “Shrinkage of biomass, within the same period, was even more drastic: 171,000/ha to only 77,000/ha.” http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view_article.php?article_id=93715


31) About 130 acres of pond (Joharh) was being declared as Community Reserve in Gaibi Sahib village in Jind district as per the wishes of the village people. While speaking on the concluding function of State Level Wildlife week at Morni on Tuesday Choudhry said that Haryana Forest Department had taken concrete steps to create awareness among the masses to conserve wildlife and their habitat in the State. On this occasion, the Forests Minister gave a cash prize of Rs.20,000 each to Range Forests Officer, Gurgaon, Devender Singh Yadav and his driver . Sukhbir Singh for their bravery. Choudhry said that Kalesar National Park of Haryana was one of the best park of the country and to strengthen patrolling,control poaching and for the better management of the park, two elephants were being engaged on experimental basis. The Minister further informed that State Government was committed to provide better facilities to the animals in the zoos in the state. She said that Bhiwani and Rohtak Zoo were in a process of getting renovated. She said that may poster carrying the appeal of protecting the wildlife in the State were displayed at the important places in the State to mark the wildlife week celebrations. Various painting competitions and wildlife quiz were conducted for school children in all districts of the state and nature education camps would be conducted in Kalesar National Park for 120 winners of these competitions in four parts, she added. She said that number of steps had been taken by the State Government to conserve Forests and Wildlife. The process of formation of committees for the management of conservation and the community reserves was also in the process, she said. http://www.punjabnewsline.com/content/view/6008/92/


32) In eight weeks the quiet narrow road that hugs Nongdao’s sugarcane fields on the way to the ancient jungles of Myanmar will be overrun with Chinese trucks loaded down with illegal timber. “Come December and January this road will be so packed with trucks heavy with Myanmar timber that you can’t pass for hours,” said Xiao Zhengong, a 32-year-old resident of the area. Nongdao, a town of just hundreds of people, is one small link in the global supply chain that makes up the multi-billion-dollar wood processing industry centred in China. “Six of ten timber logs chopped in the world’s forest are destined for China,” said Tamara Stark, a forestry expert for Greenpeace in China, a rapacious pace many fear will soon leave much of Southeast Asia treeless. “Only a few years ago loggers could travel a couple of days, now they have to travel a least a week into Myanmar to find the forests,” said Yang Minggao, general manager of Rongmao Wood Trading Company in nearby Ruili. The piles of illegally hewed trees, many also from Papau New Guinea and Indonesia, arrive at one of China’s 200,000 mills, before being destined for the showrooms of major US and EU retailers as floorboards or furniture. According to official Chinese statistics, the total value of China’s forest exports were worth 17.2 billion dollars in 2005, up six times from 1997, making it a hugely profitable business. Global demand has pushed China’s total imports of timber logs up nine-fold over the last decade to be worth 5.6 billion dollars last year, according to Chinese customs data that does not include the illicit trade. The insatiable appetite means many of Asia’s ancient forests face imminent extinction, and, with it, the demise of hundreds of forest-dependent plant and animal species, environmental groups say. The timber trade is mired in a web of official corruption on both sides of the border, locals said. The issue is made even more complex in northern Myanmar’s Kachin state, where the Kachin Independent Organisation and a coalition of guerrillas rule the territory with de facto independence. On the Chinese side, police give out special logging permits to private local companies, a system that fosters kickbacks and a black market, farmer Yang said. Inside Myanmar, Chinese loggers bring piles of cash to bribe the Southeast Asian nation’s unpredictable militias and corrupt government officials. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Chinese_loggers_stripping_Myanmars_ancient_forests_999.html

Papua New Guinea:

33) Greenpeace has warned that Indonesia’s plans to clear Papuan forests for palm oil plantations will hinder efforts to mitigate climate change. Indonesia’s President has asked Papua’s Governor Barnabas Seubu to open up five million hectares of land for conversion into palm oil plantations in a bid to increase biofuel production. Indonesia is on a fresh drive to become the world’s biggest bio-fuel producer, and aims to reduce carbon emissions as well as spending on petrol. Jakarta also claims it’s working to reduce the rampant illegal logging which is destroying its largest remaining tracts of rainforest, in Papua But Greenpeace Asia/Pacific’s Tiy Chung says the government’s plans to cut more Papuan forest will only increase carbon output. “Indonesia is the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, after the United States and China, and this is purely from forest conversion or forest destruction. The massive forest fires that Indoesia has every year are from land, especially peak land’s being cleared for things like palm oil production. So Indonesia could basically cut most of its greenhouse gas emissions by stopping forest destruction.” http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=35643


34) The international environmental organization Greenpeace has opened a “forest defenders camp” on Indonesia’s Sumatra Island to bring global attention to the country’s destruction of its forests. VOA’s Nancy-Amelia Collins in Jakarta has more. The camp was opened in Sumatra’s Riau province by Greenpeace, local communities, and local government officials. It will hold about 40 people. The aim, according to a Greenpeace spokeswoman, is to help prevent seasonal fires and further deforestation, and conduct bio-diversity surveys. Hundreds of fires are set every year by local farmers and large agricultural corporations to clear land for plantations. In recent years, heavy smoke from the fires has blanketed parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore for weeks at a time. The Southeast Asia director of Greenpeace, Emmy Hafidz, draws a link between the loss of Indonesian forest and global climate change. “This is our bearing witness to the destruction of Indonesian forest, especially the peat land, and to expose to the world the link between deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change,” Indonesia has around 60 percent of the world’s tropical peat lands. These swamps release huge amounts of carbon dioxide when they are drained or burned to make way for crops such as palm oil, pulp plantations, and other timber industries. These peat lands are being destroyed at a rapid rate. A recent report by the World Bank says this has made Indonesia the world’s third-largest emitter of carbon gases, which are thought to be a major contributor to global warming. Greenpeace officials say the opening of the defenders’ camp was timed to coincide with a U.N. climate change conference that will be held in December on Indonesia’s Bali Island. http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-10-09-voa16.cfm


35) Forest protesters have blockaded a road leading to a cable logging coupe in Tasmania’s south. The Huon Valley Environment Centre (HVEC) and Still Wild Still Threatened have organised tree-sits to block access to eucalypt forest in the Picton Valley. “These cable logging operations are used to decimate forests on steep slopes that can’t be logged using conventional methods,” HVEC spokesman Will Mooney said. “These operations degrade water catchments, carbon sinks and threatened species habitat.” He said the “degradation” was being allowed to continue while the federal government had failed to ensure a proper assessment of the impact of the Gunns pulp mill on Tasmania’s forests. Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull approved the mill, earmarked for the Tamar Valley, in Tasmania’s north, last week subject to 48 conditions. Mr Mooney said the protesters would stay in the area long term. http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Forest-activists-block-logging-coupe/2007/10/10/119169

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