245 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 36 new articles about earth’s trees! (245th edition)
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–British Columbia: 1) 70,000 acre giveaway, 2) More on Caribou extinction, 3) Wolves, –Oregon: 4) EPA and US wildlife complain about BLM plan, 5) ORV damage data release via FOIA lawsuit, 6) Sudden Oak Death leads to massacre, 7) Not so eco-builder,
–California: 8) 20 million acre water source threatened by roads, 9) AB32 saves trees, 10) eco-groovy subdivisions by Maxxam, 11) Sierra Pacific Industries invests in biomass,
–Montana: 12) Fire fuels folly, 13) Norway maple eradication,
–Hawaii: 14) Aerial Map maker genius
–Florida: 15) Orange and Grapefruit trees make way for houses
–USA: 16) Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act
–Canada: 17) politics of supporting a dying industry
–UK: 18) Students help fell the last trees to learn about regeneration?
–Uganda: 19) Forests not sugarcane again reaffirmed
–Congo: 20) Kisangani is a poor town that ought to stay that way
–Caribbean: 21) Mangrove Killifish live in trees when water is scarce –Costa Rica: 22) Eco Interactive is in partnership with Kids Saving the Rain forest
–Brazil: 23) Loggers stop Greenpeace from taking unauthorized log, 24) economic sense,
–Guyana: 25) Surprised over president’s radical forest protection plan
–Peru: 26) Indigenous defense organization speaks out
–India: 27) About two tree species important to tradition, 28) protecting lakes, 29) New forest dweller law may be a problem for forests,
–Australia: 30) Agreement on pulp supply for new mill, 31) Plantation stats, 32) Upper 5-day creek, 33) Macadamia rainforest trees almost gone, 34) Another Pulp mill?
–Asia-Pacific: 35) Indigenous rights are key to forest protection, 36) deforestation stats,

British Columbia:

1) The government’s decision to remove 70,000 acres from the Vancouver Island tree farm licence is absolutely bizarre. It will result in massive, windfall profits for Western Forest Products and absolutely no benefit for British Columbians. Not surprisingly, there is now a call to make some areas parkland. So the government will have to buy the land (at full market price) that recently skyrocketed in value because of the government’s decision. A few months ago they could have had the land for a fraction of today’s cost. Or they could have asked WFP to donate parkland as part of the deal. Tree farm licences were originally granted to timber companies so they could generate economic activity in the region. It’s a slap in the face to turn this area into yet another real-estate development so WFP shareholders can make a quick buck. And don’t let the 10-acre lot size fool you, 10 acres is a large urban sprawl lot — nothing less. These properties will have fences, gates and no-trespassing signs, ensuring the waterfront becomes an exclusive playground for a wealthy few. This is the type of corruption and mismanagement one reads about in backward, third-world dictatorships. It’s hard to believe shady back-room deals were not a big part of this fiasco. British Columbians deserve better from a government that went to the polls railing against corporate subsidies and bailouts. — Richard Brunt,Victoria http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/letters/story.html?id=5523c320-e9bd-422e-b4fe

2) The mountain caribou range within an area that’s more or less 14 million hectares. With the 2.2 million hectares that the government says it will bring up to protection, that’s protecting 15% of the area. As opposed to about 34% that was protected on the mid- and north-coasts and the 50% that scientists say must be protected to maintain species. Now, let’s say we get that much protected, and that leaves 85% of the mountain caribou range to continue to be logged. An animal that is now on the brink of extinction because of the degree of logging of its habitat is not going survive having logging go on over 85% of its range. We saw we could no longer afford the luxury of being able, with a sweep of our arm, to point out how much the loggers have left to support their livelihoods. They’ve logged so much of it that a species like the mountain caribou is on the verge of extinction and its critical imperillment means critical imperillment for a whole list of species connected with old growth. Nor is it any accident that Slocan Forest Products pulled out, that Pope & Talbot is fighting bankruptcy, that the cedar logging outfit up in the Robson Valley went bankrupt. This is no longer about leaving a good whole bunch of forest for logging. This is about the fact we’ve almost logged it all and we have to decide whether we are really going to kill off our wildlife to strip what old growth remains. We can’t escape what we know now: The critical links of the mountain caribou’s habitat have to be preserved now or we are going to kill a major species and wipe out a whole constellation of low-elevation old-growth species. 380,000 hectares of new protection is enough only if we don’t mind that. And if we don’t mind it, we are in a lot of trouble on other fronts. As you know, we are losing 10 million hectares of dry pine forests. Our forests are our carbon sinks, and in the humid forests there are huge trees and ancient soils that hold huge quantities of carbon. By what insanity are we continuing to log our humid forests when that’s all we have left to help mitigate global warming? The difficulty that Valhalla experienced, that you experience, at the crossroads where we must try to save or abandon a wide-ranging, old-growth dependent species is the same torpor that could wipe out the human race.

3) In his new book, Ian McAllister describes seeing a black bear swimming to a beach near a wolf den site on British Columbia’s central coast. Sensing the wolves, the bear pauses before lumbering into the woods. Several minutes of intense howling follow, then silence. The next day, McAllister investigates. “I didn’t need to go any farther than the thick understory of the forest edge,” he writes in The Last Wild Wolves: Ghosts of the Great Bear Rainforest. “The place looked like a cross between a butcher shop and a barber shop. Thick clumps of black bear fur, with large chunks of flesh still clinging to some of it, were strewn all over the ground, and bones, hair, and broken branches were scattered everywhere.” A coffee-table book full of McAllister’s photos plus a substantial and engaging text, Last Wild Wolves tells the story of a species most people know little about. “They’re some of the most elusive critters on the planet,” says McAllister, speaking from his home near Bella Bella. For one thing, they are mainly nocturnal, making them difficult to see. For another, they are wary of humans, disappearing into the woods when they dorit want to be seen. “The amount of wildlife up here, still intact in a primordial state, is absolutely inspirational.” The area, known as the Great Bear Rainforest, has been the subject of some public discussion in recent years, as environmental groups including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club reached an agreement with the B.C. government for land use planning. Some 30 percent is to be protected, and industry is to follow “ecosystem-based management” on the rest. McAllister grew up in Victoria and is a founder of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, which he recently left, saying it was time to move on. He says the government and the environmental groups have shared several “feel-good” announcements since 2001, but there’s still a long way to go. “I shake my head as one of the few environmentalists who lives up here and sees what’s happening,” he says. “When you travel around here you wouldn’t believe the activities that are being allowed to occur,” he continues. “I’ve documented the ongoing logging of salmon streams going on right now.” There are proposals coming for run of the river hydro and wind farms that will mean more roads and degradation to the land. Trophy hunting for wolves and bears is still allowed. http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/11064.html


4) Two letters the EPA sent to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service say the proposals could roll back water quality improvements that Oregon watersheds have seen since the implementation of the federal Northwest Forest Plan 13 years ago. That plan set aside large reserves of public forests for the benefit of species at risk of extinction, such as the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and salmon. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is in the process of revising its recovery plan for the northern spotted owl, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A draft version of the recovery plan, which will be finalized in 2008, already has drawn stinging criticism in several scientific peer reviews for failing to use the best science in narrowing protected areas for the birds. And many Democrats have raised questions about political interference that pushed the plan’s authors to emphasize threats to the spotted owl from the barred owl and de-emphasize the importance of old growth forests in the spotted owl’s recovery. The EPA criticism comes from a different angle, arguing that the logging would harm rivers and streams. The EPA is mandated to protect water quality and enforce the federal Clean Water Act. The BLM has announced it is considering tripling logging on 2.2 million acres of Oregon forests under a new management strategy that would take the agency out from under the umbrella of the Northwest Forest Plan. The BLM has used the draft Fish & Wildlife owl recovery plan to help guide its decisions about where and how to increase logging. A recent survey of 250 watersheds in the Northwest Forest Plan area found that 57 percent were in better condition from 1998 through 2003 than they had been before the Northwest Forest Plan was implemented, said David Powers, the EPA’s regional manager for forests and rangelands. Another 40 percent of the surveyed watersheds were in stable condition and in just 3 percent had conditions worsened, he said. http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?mid=6141

5) A conservation group won its two-year battle to get information without charge on the damage caused by off-road vehicles and unmaintained roads on national forests around the West. The U.S. Forest Service had refused to waive fees for providing the information, so Wildlands CPR sued under the Freedom of Information Act. The Forest Service relented in a consent decree filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont. The information to be provided includes timber sale records, policies for off-road vehicles, watershed analyses, geographic information system records and other material from 84 national forests, said David Bahr, attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center in Eugene, Ore. Wildlands CPR expects the information to show that the numbers and damage caused by unauthorized roads are growing, which will help to inform the public as the Forest Service develops new off-road vehicle policies on each national forest, Bahr said. Bahr noted that before leaving office, former Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth called damage caused by off-road vehicles one of the top threats to the national forests. “This information makes up the most comprehensive collection of baseline data regarding road and motor vehicle impacts on Forest Service lands in the West,” Bethanie Walder, executive director of Wildlands CPR, said in a statement. “Release of this information will show what the agency knows, and what it doesn’t know about the extent of damage unmanaged off-road vehicles and decaying roads are inflicting on public land, water and wildlife.” The Forest Service did not immediately return telephone calls for comment.Transcripts of status conferences on the case indicated U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy was frustrated by the Forest Service’s continued refusal to provide the information for free, as called for in the Freedom of Information Act. “I really think that there’s some games being played here,” by the Forest Service, Molloy said. “And frankly, I’m sick of it. And we end up wasting so much money for the taxpayers when this stuff is all about an informed citizenry being able to comment on what the Forest Service is doing.” Bahr said the Forest Service never indicated how much it wanted to charge for the information. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/W/WST_FOREST_SERVICE_FOIA_OROL-?SITE=ORMED&SECTION=HOME&TE

6) Snow-white ash rains down over the Azalea Park baseball fields and settles like confetti on wet grass. Excavators drag recently-cut trees over to a giant bonfire where plumes of brown smoke billow up more than 100 feet high. The burned carcasses of tanoak trees signify the city’s defense against the tree-killing pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, which causes sudden oak death and is responsible for infecting dozens of trees in Azalea Park. According to Forest Pathologist Alan Kanaskie of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), people can expect the burning of almost every tanoak tree in Azalea Park to continue until the disease has been destroyed. “We gave the city the option of removing all the tanoaks in Azalea Park to protect the park and the rhododendron gardens, and they opted for it,” he said Monday. “Tanoaks are the most susceptible to sudden oak death and, once infected, produce spores that then infect other trees. The more we can remove, the better we are in the long run.” Crews started cutting, dragging and burning the trees last week, and will continue to do so this week. According to Kanaskie, tanoaks are part of the evergreen family and do not lose their leaves in the winter. This species of tree only grows in southern Oregon down to San Francisco, Calif. John Cowan, director of public works in Brookings, said six tanoak trees directly surrounding the gazebo would be the only ones spared and treated with a fungicide. “We are burning a 300-foot circle around every infected tanoak tree,” Cowan said. “Eventually those circles start to converge, so it’s better just to get rid of all the tanoaks that could potentially become infected with the pathogen. I don’t have any specific figures, but well over 150 tanoaks will be removed.” http://www.currypilot.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=16087

7) Hoyt Street Properties (Hoyt) is a major developer in the Pearl District. Their website claims that ‘In addition to incorporating eco-friendly components and features throughout its buildings, Hoyt has applied an equally green approach in creating a community where limited car usage is made possible.’ Unfortunately, tropical hardwoods (most likely illegally logged) are being used in the interiors of at least two Hoyt projects. These building materials, more scorched earth than green, include the mahogany lobby in The Metropolitan condominums, and the so-called ‘ebony’ kitchen cabinets and ‘mahogany’ flooring offered to buyers at The Encore condominiums. According to David Thompson at Brookside Veneers in New Jersey, the wood used in the cabinet veneers at The Encore is actually a wood from West African rainforests called obeche (Triplochiton scleroxylon). The World Conservation Monitoring Centre states that “Obeche occurs in abundance in transitional forest formations. Its range is extending because of its successful colonisation of logged and abandoned farm land. Exploitation of the wood is very heavy and, in places, unsustainable, both for local use and the international timber trade. Of all West Africa timbers this species is extracted at the highest volumes.’ (2). http://www.rainforestrelief.org/Campaigns/Developers/Hoyt_Street_Properties.html


8) California gains many benefits from its 20 million acres of national forests, but none is more valuable than clean water. From the Sierra to the Klamath to the San Bernardino, the 18 national forests of California are the headwaters of the Golden State. You can think of them as wooded water factories. That is why all Californians have a stake in making sure those lands are managed well – and a big stake in a bill now making its way through Congress. In California, nearly half of the state’s annual runoff comes from national forests, even though they cover only one-fifth of the land. In Northern California, the percentage is even higher. This past summer, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved a proposal by Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., for $65 million in funding for road decommissioning and maintenance in our nation’s national forests. While the bill is partially about roads, it’s also about providing clean water. The Forest Service is one of the largest road-building and maintenance agencies in the federal government. It has built and maintained a road network that is longer than the federal system of interstate highways. Over 400,000 miles of unpaved roads that wind through America’s national forests provide important access for logging, family vacations, hunting and fishing, resource management and firefighting. But roads have both a good and a bad side. When not properly maintained, forest roads become impassable and badly eroded – muddying streams that provide drinking water for 60 million people in 3,400 communities nationwide. Many of those communities are in California. The funding in the Dicks bill would be used to restore watersheds by removing old, failing roads, and by maintaining and improving needed access roads and bridges, primarily to improve water quality and fish habitat. http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_7211103

9) The California Air Resources Board is set to further California’s position as a climate leader on Oct. 25, when the board will vote on recommendations to endorse the California Climate Action Registry’s forest protocols. The board’s endorsement of these rules would create a foundation for the state to use forest conservation and restoration as one of the tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in keeping with California’s landmark climate law, AB32. Most people realize we must significantly reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to successfully address climate change. Similarly, most people realize reducing emissions from fossil fuels is a first step, as these emissions are the source of more than 50 percent of the excess carbon dioxide in our atmosphere today. Forest loss and depletion accounts for the other 40 to 50 percent of excess atmospheric carbon dioxide. Though forests store carbon dioxide as carbon when they grow, they release it as carbon dioxide when they are disturbed, such as happens when forestlands are converted into sprawling developments. In order for us to restore our climate, carbon-dioxide emissions from forests must be addressed with the same urgency and rigor as is being done with fossil fuels. California is preparing to take just this action. California has some of the most productive forests in the world – forests that yield sustainable wood products, clean water, abundant wildlife and more. California also has the opportunity to restore some of the largest, most stable forest carbon banks in the world. Originally, California was almost half forested. Over time, however, California has lost more than one-third of its forests to development. With the state air board’s leadership, we can start down the path to restoring our state’s grand forests and livable climate. The forest protocols were developed over four years through a public process and expert review. They are a remarkable accomplishment in two ways. First, they’ve established the first comprehensive set of scientifically rigorous standards to reduce forest emissions and increase net storage (sequestration) of carbon dioxide consistent with the global norms established under the Kyoto Protocol. Second, their establishment has created a “first place” positioning for California’s forests in the growing global carbon market, a market that is estimated to exceed $40 billion in revenue this year. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/10/18/EDGVSQHN0.DTL

10) Ever wonder what an eco-groovy subdivision by Maxxam would look like? Us, too. But there’s no such thing. In lieu of the mythic “ecological conservation” development proposed for Pacific Lumber timberlands, take a gander at what Maxxam really has in mind. Perhaps most striking feature is the roads — ecologically conscious roads, of course – that the county will have to maintain. And since we’re heading into pothole season it’ll be easy to imagine how well that will go. While Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz had plenty of luck developing the crap out of Arizona, his unfamiliarity with Humboldt County might keep him from realizing that unstable, seismically active clear-cuts are unsuitable terrain for golf courses. As noted by David Simpson to the Board of Supervisors last week, any Maxxam Country Club would feature the steepest golf course in the world. http://humboldtherald.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/sprawling-maxxam-developments-dont-belong-in-hu

11) The effort to convert local forest waste into energy is getting kickstarted by California timber company Sierra Pacific Industries, which recently donated $1 million toward the effort. A collaboration between private business and government officials is working to boost “biomass” energy, which also would help prevent catastrophic wildfires and improve health quality. “Harvesting this material and using it for energy production rather than having it burn in the open by intentional or unintentional ignition significantly lessens air pollution impacts and yields a number of other overall environmental and public benefits” said Thomas J. Christofk, Placer County Air Pollution Control District Officer. The idea is to transport forest thinnings to nearby biomass energy production facilities. Presently, the Forest Service does not have the resources to transport the material from the forest to a plant so it is either burned, decomposes or would potentially burn in a wildfire. The group has tasked Placer County Biomass Manager Brett Storey to develop a two-pronged approach: Find the right locations to capture the materials, and make the process economical. The group is looking into emission credits, carbon trading, government support and other ideas in anticipation of a potential market for the material and the energy it produces in California. Several detailed working group meetings are scheduled and the group will reach an agreement on potential projects and direction in early December 2007, with projects slated to be accomplished in the field potentially this year and certainly many more for the next several years. http://www.nevadaappeal.com/article/SS/20071017/NEWS/71017019


12) The Forest Service is good at putting out fires when it’s wet, but no one can put out fires when there is extensive drought, high winds, high temperatures, and low humidity. These conditions are the main factor in all large fires – no matter where they occur – whether in wilderness or in managed landscapes. Furthermore, thinning, logging, and other timber-cutting can actually increase fire risk. This may seem counter-intuitive because most people simply believe more fuels automatically equals bigger fires. But fuels are less important than weather conditions. Logging opens the forest floor to more sunlight, which can dry fuels faster, making them “flashier” and easier to burn. Logging can open the stand to greater wind penetration, which, in turn, fans flames. Logging, by reducing competition and opening up the canopy, also promotes growth of shrubs, small trees, and grasses that are the most flammable fuels. Recent research by Jack Cohen at the Forest Service fire lab in Missoula has demonstrated that the most effective way to protect homes from wildfire is not to log the forest but to fireproof your home. Having a metal roof, removing burnable fuels for 100 feet around the home, and a few other measures are the only practical ways to reduce wildlife hazard to humans while, at the same time, we permit wildfire to resume its important role as an ecological process. Our western forests need fire like the tropical rainforest needs rain. Not surprisingly, our ecosystems are adapted to this process. For instance, the nutrients released by the blaze enrich aquatic ecosystems, often leading to greater fish productivity and growth. Wildlife such as elk and deer are attracted to the nutritious regrowth produced after a fire. More than a third of the bird species in the northern Rockies rely on snags for nesting and foraging – and fires obviously create an abundance of snags. And snags that fall into waterways create fish habitat and structure that armor stream channels against erosion. Wilderness designation ensures that these ecological processes can continue to operate, while at the same time ensuring that watersheds, wildlife habitat and wildlands values are protected. http://www.queencitynews.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=7685&mode=flat&o

13) The Norway maples, which started taking over the park about 40 years ago, are disappearing in favor of cottonwoods, ponderosa pines, Rocky Mountain maples and other native trees, bushes and plants that thrive in the sunlight. Those species were dominant in 1902 when the Greenough family set aside 40 acres along lower Rattlesnake Creek as a natural area for the public to enjoy. Pierce, chairman of the advisory committee, has removed most of the young maples himself from more than half of the park.“It’s a lot of work, but it means a healthier ecosystem,” he said. Pierce spends several hours a week using a weed wrench to uproot them or a pruning saw to cut them down. The city’s urban forestry department takes down mature maples. They can reach 70 feet in height and create too much shade for native plants and the creatures that depend on them. Most of the downed trees are left on the ground to decompose. The cleared areas naturally repopulate with native plants. The downed trees create wildlife habitat, draw native birds and insects, stabilize the soil and prevent people from trampling the streambanks. But they also create piles of ugly debris and a wildfire risk where once there was a picturesque canopy – bright yellow in the fall and cool green in the summer – that park-goers were accustomed to. “It’s unsightly in the short term, but it gets things back to their natural state,” Pierce said. “People have different reactions when they see me out here” clearing the maples. “Some understand. Some look like they want to strangle me.” http://missoulian.com/articles/2007/10/18/news/top/news01.txt


14) Greg Asner was just a couple years out of an undergraduate engineering program when he landed a job with an unexpected employer: the Hawaiian Nature Conservancy. He liked the work—which included struggling through dense tropical rainforest to map the path of invasive species—but quickly grew frustrated by how the preservation group was forced to base large-scale land-management decisions on nothing more than the scattered data collected by a handful of guys in the field. Fifteen years later, Asner is using the world’s most advanced methods of aerial data collection to map forest disturbances faster and more systematically than ever before. In 2005 he earned acclaim for an almost decade-long study of logging in the Amazonian rainforest that proved that so-called “selective logging,” in which only the most marketable trees are harvested from the forest, can be just as damaging as clear-cutting. Asner’s breakthrough was devising a new form of signal processing that could extract high-resolution images from decades-old Landsat satellites—”cracking open the pixels,” as he says—to see the forest down to individual felled trees. He found that up to 25 surrounding trees can be killed in the process of harvesting just one. The Landsat work, though, is antiquated compared to Asner’s newest project, conducted from a small twin-engine airplane above his old beat, the Hawaiian rainforest. Using a combination of laser scanning (the beams shoot out 100,000 times a second to create a 3-D map of the forest canopy), hyperspectral imaging (the imager sees up to 144 bands of light, as opposed to six for the Landsat satellites) and a trajectory system derived from missile-guidance technology, Asner is able to map not only the structure of the forests down to the individual plant, but the forest chemistry as well. His instruments can detect the amount of water in an area, which can be used to predict and track drought; the nitrogen levels, which can be used to identify which invasive species are spreading fastest; and the level of carbon, which could be used to regulate tree-planting projects designed to counter global warming. Best of all, Asner’s bundle of technologies can do it faster than ever before—up to 40,000 acres a day. http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/8986e1bddf565110vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd/7.html


15) This county once had more orange and grapefruit trees than almost any other place in Florida, the largest U.S. citrus producer. Now it’s one of the fastest-growing counties in one of America’s fastest-growing states, and that land is fast giving way to housing tracts. The same is happening in varying degrees across Florida’s citrus belt. It has been for years, but the slow slide has suddenly quickened. Farmers are replanting fewer trees than at any point since the 1970s, and crop land is rapidly disappearing. Previously high land prices, diseases like citrus canker and greening and even the rising cost of trees are hurting farmers and driving orange juice prices to record levels, up more than a third since 2002. “It’s a very, very expensive process to get back into the business, even though you have land sitting there fallow,” said Doug Bournique, head of the Indian River Citrus League. “It’s not a dollar a tree like it was 20 years ago, just to pop them into the ground.” It can now cost US$10 a tree. Florida lost 51,470 hectares (17 per cent of its total) in the 2006 crop census – the second worst drop in history behind only a January 1986 freeze. The net loss was higher than the previous eight years combined.The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not tie specific reasons to any hectare lost, but growers and other industry officials say the problems are plain. Canker and greening forced the destruction of tens of thousands of hectares of trees in the past decade, and bad hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005 raked groves. Some farmers sold to developers when land prices skyrocketed the past few years, though recent slowing in the housing market probably stymied that trend. http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5gcDnl2jfuwSkNzmbVli48SPuf1GA


16) As you know, too much of our work over the past few years has been to expose the perils of quid pro quo wilderness–counterfeit “wilderness” legislation that sells off, even gives away, our public land and facilitates all manner of damaging land and water developments. Proponents, including conservationists, say that these highly-compromised proposals are the only possible route to wilderness designation and reflect a “political reality” we must accept. Tomorrow, in a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives, that approach will be repudiated. The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) will receive its first hearing since the Republican lock on Congress began in 1994. NREPA will protect as wilderness nearly 7 million acres of wilderness in Montana, 9.5 million acres of wilderness in Idaho, 5 million acres of wilderness in Wyoming, 750,000 acres in eastern Oregon, and 500,000 acres in eastern Washington on YOUR PUBLIC LAND. No federal land will be put up for sale; no water pipelines will be built; no transmission corridors will be created in wilderness. There is no quid pro quo. Wilderness is not “our issue,” but we believe NREPA is a visionary and critically important bill–and we ask you to consider submitting brief testimony in support. You do not have to be an expert on the details of this bill; it can be as simple as stating that you support large-scale,uncompromised wilderness and real public land protection, which NREPA (HR 1975) embodies! You can also find tons more information on the NREPA homepage. The hearing, scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, will be webcast live. Among the witnesses will be singer-songwriter Carole King, NREPA’s long-time champion. Testimony will be accepted through October 28th, and should be emailed to Domenick.Carroll@mail.house.gov http://westernlands.org


17) Nothing tops the fall political agenda more than saving forest jobs. The parties are all sawing off over who has the best plan to stop the economic infestation that has killed at least 10,000 jobs and dozens of saw, pulp and paper mills. The truth is, none of them – the plans, that is – are really any good. At least not if the aim is to create a globally competitive industry that can survive without the crutches of a devalued currency and/or government subsidies. But of course, that’s not the aim. Leave it to the politicians, and this industry will be reduced to a stump in a few years. That may suit the green purists for whom any commercial exploitation of the trees is environmental sacrilege. But the death of Eastern Canada’s forest industry only means that trees in Brazil, Asia and Russia are going to be chopped down more rapidly. So, you could argue that, with 30 per cent of the world’s boreal forest, Canada has a responsibility to the planet to exploit its vast and sustainably managed tracts of trees. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071018.wryaka18/BNStory/Business/columnists


18) PUPILS at an East Kilbride primary school helped South Lanarkshire Council mark the end of its woodland regeneration project in the town by helping to fell one of the last trees under the scheme. Murray Primary School was joined by the council’s chair of community resources Gerry Convery last week to cut down the tree at woodland at Balfour Terrace. The re-planting on the site of 1200 broadleaved native trees including oak, rowan, wild cherry, ash and birch will take place next month. Said Councillor Convery: “Together with the trees, our very own little ‘acorns’ from Murray Primary will grow tall and strong.” Earlier in the week the children were visited by a council tree specialist and learned how massive trees grow. http://iclanarkshire.icnetwork.co.uk/eknews/news/tm_headline=from-little-acorns-to-regeneration


19) Uganda has agreed to scrap an unpopular plan to give a swath of protected rainforest to a sugar planter, the environment minister said on Wednesday. Maria Mutagamba told Reuters the government had finally rejected a request by the privately owned Mehta Group to destroy a third of Mabira Forest and convert it to sugarcane. “The idea of sugar growing in Mabira is no longer there. We are looking for money for other land,” she said. Uganda’s cabinet suspended the proposal by President Yoweri Museveni to give 7,100 hectares (17,540 acres) or nearly a third of Mabira Forest to Mehta’s sugar estate in May, following a public outcry. Three people died in violent protests against the plan, including an Indian stoned to death by rioters. Mehta is owned by an ethnic Indian family. “A committee of cabinet was set up to examine the plan but did not get back to us. In the meantime, other land was identified,” Mutagamba explained. Critics said razing part of Mabira would have threatened rare species, dried up a watershed for streams that feed Lake Victoria and removed a crucial buffer against pollution of the lake from two industrial towns. Scientists estimate some 20 percent of net global emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that causes climate change, are the result of deforestation, because trees suck carbon from the atmosphere. Experts say Mabira sinks millions of tonnes of carbon. http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnL17170683.html


20) At the heart of central Africa’s great rainforests lies Kisangani, a small city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) some 1,300 miles from the mouth of the Congo River. The town began as a Belgian trading post, Stanleyville, and was Conrad’s model for Kurtz’s inner station in Heart of Darkness. No roads connect Kisangani to the rest of the world; over the past two decades they have all collapsed and been retaken by the jungle. Even river navigation is blocked beyond here, as a massive course of falls stretches for sixty miles upstream. If the vast and isolated forests of the Congo Basin–the second-largest tropical woodlands on the planet–had a capital, it would be this sleepy city of crumbling colonial-era Art Deco buildings and empty boulevards. Down by the river women sell caterpillars to eat, but no one buys them. The sky is low and gray, but it never seems to rain. In the government buildings, yellow-eyed malarial old men sit in empty offices next to moldering stacks of handwritten files. There are no computers, electricity or, in many offices, even glass in the dark wooden window frames. In a strange twist, this general dilapidation–the result of Congo’s traumatic history–has inadvertently preserved Congo’s massive tropical forests. First, Mobutu Sese Seko’s thirty-two-year kleptocracy destroyed what infrastructure the Belgians had built. Then years of civil war and invasion by Uganda and Rwanda took an estimated 4 million lives, through violence and the attendant ravages of disease. All this chaos warded off the great timber interests. As a result the Congo Basin’s massive forests–most of which lie within the DRC–are the world’s healthiest and most intact. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071022/parenti


21) It’s one of the golden rules of the natural world – birds live in trees, fish live in water. The trouble is, no one bothered to tell the mangrove killifish. Scientists have discovered that it spends several months of every year out of the water and living inside trees. Hidden away inside rotten branches and trunks, the remarkable creatures temporarily alter their biological makeup so they can breathe air. Biologists studying the killifish say they astonished it can cope for so long out of its natural habitat. The discovery, along with its ability to breed without a mate, must make the mangrove killifish, Rivulus marmoratus Poey, one of the oddest fish known to man. Around two inches long, they normally live in muddy pools and the flooded burrows of crabs in the mangrove swamps of Florida, Latin American and Caribbean. The latest discovery was made by biologists wading through swamps in Belize and Florida who found hundreds of killifish hiding out of the water in the rotting branches and trunks of trees. The fish had flopped their way to their new homes when their pools of water around the roots of mangroves dried up. Inside the logs, they were lined up end to end along tracks carved out by insects. Dr Scott Taylor of the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Programme in Florida admitted the creatures were a little odd. “They really don’t meet standard behavioural criteria for fish,” he told New Scientist magazine. Although the cracks inside logs make a perfect hiding place, conditions can be cramped. The fish – which are usually fiercely territorial – are forced to curb their aggression. Another study, published earlier this year, revealed how they alter their bodies and metabolism to cope with life out of water. Their gills are altered to retain water and nutrients, while they excrete nitrogen waste through their skin. These changes are reversed as soon as they return to the water. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=488193&in_page_id=17

Costa Rica:

22) Eco Interactive in partnership with Kids Saving the Rain forest offers Carbon Neutral Travel Program for travel to Costa Rica. Costa Rica is an incredible destination for your next family vacation. The philosophy behind Eco Interactive Tours extends beyond creating a minimal ecological footprint. The Eco Interactive Tours base philosophy is to leverage revenues from Eco Tourism into positive outcomes. In other words we strive for maximum impact through our reforestation and awareness programs. In partnership with Kids Saving the Rain forest, The Eco Preservation Society and Rainmaker Conservation Project, the Eco Interactive Family Vacation Experience offers a travel experience that your family will never forget. Eco Interactive is a unique Eco Tour company that gives 85% to philanthropic projects in Costa Rica. Our current project is the Saving Mono Titi documentary about the endangered Mono Titi Squirrel monkeys in Manuel Antonio.
http://www.SavingMonoTiti.com – http://www.EcoInteractiveTours.com – http://www.KidsSavingtheRainforest.org – http://www.EcoPreservationSociety.org


23) Police escorted a group of Greenpeace activists from a remote town in the Brazilian Amazon on Wednesday after hundreds of loggers and townspeople besieged them overnight in protest against an anti-global warming campaign, the environmental organization said. The incident, the second time in two months that Greenpeace activists have been harassed in the Amazon jungle, underscores the conflicts over natural resources between farmers and loggers on one side and peasants and Indians on the other. Hundreds of people, including dozens of loggers in trucks, cars and motorcycles, had blockaded the activists since Tuesday in the offices of the government’s environmental protection agency Ibama in Castelo dos Sonhos, northern Para state, a Greenpeace spokesman said. They forced the activists to abandon a 13-metre (43-foot) tree trunk they were transporting to an exhibit on global warming in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Loggers had used two trucks on Tuesday afternoon to block the Greenpeace convoy, forcing the environmentalists to seek refuge in the Ibama office. The stand-off ended peacefully when police escorted the eight activists out of town, Greenpeace’s Andre Muggiati said by telephone from Manaus, the Amazon’s main city. Ibama said on Wednesday it withdrew its authorization for Greenpeace to transport the tree trunk, saying that the group had created conflicts with the local population. “Rather than standing up to the loggers, the government has given in to the law of the mob,” said Marcelo Maquesini, Greenpeace Amazon coordinator. Greenpeace said in a statement that the tree, which had been burned illegally, symbolized the rapid destruction of the Amazon and was meant to draw attention to the need to stop deforestation and reduce emissions of gases causing global warming. The Brazilian has hailed a 50 percent reduction in the rate of Amazon destruction over the last two years. But satellite images of some regions since July show deforestation is on the rise again as high commodity prices lead farmers to expand into the forest, often bringing them into conflict with peasants and indigenous Indians. http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN17216632

24) Given the possibility that carbon finance through avoided deforestation could become a reality, does it make economic sense for Amazon landowners to start protecting forest for carbon offsets rather than clearing it for cattle pasture, soybean farms, or board-feet of timber? Preliminary analysis suggest that yes, “carbon conservation” could be an attractive alternative to other uses of Amazon forest. Further, because standing forest confers ancillary benefits — including option value, biodiversity preservation, and other ecosystem services — avoided deforestation would do more than help mitigate climate change. Carbon storage in the Amazon depends on forest structure and vegetation types. In a 2007 Global Change Biology paper, carbon cycle scientists led by Dr. Sassan Saatchi reported that above ground biomass for old growth rainforest in the Amazon generally ranged from 150-350 metric tons of carbon per hectare (550-1283 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent [MtCO2e]). Above ground carbon storage in agricultural landscapes and pasture is considerably lower — generally well below 100 metric tons per hectare. Brown and Pearce (1994) suggest that net carbon released from deforestation of secondary and primary tropical forest, allowing for the carbon fixed by subsequent land use, is on the order of 100-200 metric tons per hectare. http://news.mongabay.com/2007/1017-amazon.html


25) Surprise was the common reaction among the parliamentary political parties yesterday to the offer by President Bharrat Jagdeo on Monday night to deploy almost the entire rainforest of the country in the climate change battle. The President made the disclosure at the opening of the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting (CFMM) and even his party, the PPP, was unaware of it though former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had been told about it last year. Yesterday, no one questioned the country’s commitment to fight climate change but the parliamentary opposition expressed surprise at the announcement since there had been no parliamentary or other consultation. Though the party had not been aware of it, PPP General Secretary Donald Ramotar told Stabroek News yesterday that the preservation of the rainforests was always a PPP government policy long before Jagdeo took office. Asked about the offer, PNCR Chairman Winston Murray, AFC Leader Raphael Trotman and GAP-ROAR MP Everall Franklin said they all knew of the offer on Monday evening when Jagdeo announced it at the National Cultural Centre. http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_general_news?id=56531142


26) Survival France, an indigenous-defense organization, has warned that an indigenous group is living in voluntary isolation in the Alto Purús National Park. The group was spotted by accident on Sept. 18 by a group of specialists from the government-run National Institute of Natural Resources and the Frankfurt Zoological Society as they flew over the banks of the Las Piedras River, looking for illegal loggers. According to Survival France, there are 15 different indigenous groups living in voluntary isolation in the Peruvian jungle that are under threat from oil exploitation and deforestation. The organization warned that these populations could easily be killed if they are exposed to outside illnesses from which their bodies lack immunity. “It’s about the most vulnerable citizens in Peru and the government owes them assistance,” said Survival France in a statement. “It’s time that their territorial rights be recognized and respected, that the oil and gas exploration on their lands be prohibited and that all loggers be kicked out.” http://www.latinamericapress.org/article.asp?lanCode=1&artCode=5352


27) Did you know that there are two trees that are traditionally associated with the festival of Dasara? These are the Shami (Prosopis spicigera) and the Apta (Bauhinia racemosa). In many communities in central India, there is a ritual of exchanging the leaves of the Apta as a symbol of gold during Dasara. Other communities worship the Shami on this day. They soak the leaves of the Shami in water and on the day before Deepavali, bathe with this water. Yet, do we know what is so special about these trees! Both the Shami and the Apta are rare medicinal trees. The Apta is used as a cure for digestive diseases such as diarrhoea and dysentery. It also has anti-tumour qualities and is used to treat the first stages of cancer. The Shami on the other hand, is helpful to pregnant women and can prevent miscarriage. It is used to treat a variety of other ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, dysentery, leucoderma, leprosy, muscle tremors and piles. But the value of the two trees goes much beyond their medicinal properties. Both of them can grow in very harsh climatic conditions and in poor soil. The roots of the Shami are known to go down as deep as 35 metres in search of water. Being a legume, it adds nitrogen to the soil and increases its fertility. In Rajasthan, during times of famine, people eat the bark of the tree. Would you be able to identify these trees? The Apta seems easy to find because it has leaves with two lobes. But careful! There are several species of Bauhinia in India and often the more commonly occurring Kanchan which has pink flowers gets mistaken for the Apta which has small white flowers. The Shami has short prickles and very small leaves and leaflets.

28) In a landmark move to protect lakes from encroachments and mismanagement, the Forest Department has proposed that all the 114 lakes within the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike limits be declared “reserve forests” under the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963. This will be for the first time in the State, and perhaps in the country, that lakes and their catchment areas are going to be designated forest areas, say Forest Department officials. Up until now, a few lake catchment areas have been declared reserve forests, but never the water-spread area. Explaining the implications of such a declaration, Forest Department officials told The Hindu that it would give them more powers to prevent encroachments, evict illegal occupants of lake area and even arrest offenders without a warrant. “It accords the Government inviolable rights over the lake area,” said C.S. Vedant, chief executive officer of the Lake Development Authority. Declaring lakes as reserve forests would also mean that the multiple ownership, custodial and maintenance rights over the lakes will be streamlined and brought solely under the Forest Department. The lakes are currently owned variously by the Revenue or Minor Irrigation departments; they are under the custody of the Forest Department and maintained by the Lake Development Authority, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and the Bangalore Development Authority. http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/18/stories/2007101850370100.htm

29) Conservationists fear that the new law – known as the Forest Dwellers Rights Act, and due to come into force in the coming weeks – throws open the gates of India’s national parks to potentially hundreds of thousands of people, reversing more than 30 years of progress in preserving the country’s shrinking forests and the tigers that live in them. India has nearly half the estimated 3500 tigers worldwide, but in a country where the human population has ballooned to more than 1.1 billion – most of whom who live on less than $2 a day – the government seems more concerned with expanding the economy and reducing poverty than protecting tigers, its national animal often fetishised by Hindu mythology. “The economy is the priority now and everything else can go to hell,” said Valmik Thapar, a conservationist and author who for more than a decade has publicised the plight of India’s tigers. Ranthambhore National Park attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year eager to glimpse a tiger, the core of a growing tourism trade here that brings in more than $22 million a year, including at least $300,000 in park entry fees. Luxury hotels and “eco-lodges” have sprouted on the edges of the park. Tourists pile into open-roofed jeeps and 20-seater buses that rumble along dirt roads through nearly 400sqkm of forest, passing spotted deer, monkeys, gazelles and the ruins of a 16th century Mughal fort as trained guides search for the elusive cats. But here, as throughout India, the chances of seeing a tiger are getting slimmer. Poaching has left only about 34 tigers in the park – nobody knows the exact number. In 2005, poachers confessed to killing 22 of the park’s tigers, prompting fresh allegations of incompetence and corruption against forest guards and government officials. As more and more of India’s forests are logged or turned into farms to feed its ever-expanding population, the number of tigers has plummeted from an estimated 40,000 in 1925 to fewer than 1500 today, a figure that some experts say is the tipping point for extinction. At least four of India’s 27 tiger reserves no longer have tigers, and some observers believe that at least nine other reserves in India also are in danger of losing their remaining tigers to poachers or to villagers who set out poisoned carcasses to kill animals that venture beyond the boundaries of the reserves to attack their livestock. http://www.sundayherald.com/international/shinternational/display.var.1758652.0.0.php


30) Forestry products firm Gunns Ltd has reached an in-principle agreement with Forestry Tasmania for the supply of native forest and hardwood plantation pulpwood to Gunn’s proposed $1.7 billion pulp mill at Bell Bay in Tasmania. Forestry Tasmania manages Tasmania’s hardwood forests. The agreement provides for a 20-year supply of 1.5 million tonnes per annum of regrowth and plantation forests to the mill. “Consistent with Gunns’ stated commitment, no supply from old-growth forest coupes will be supplied under this pulp mill agreement,” Gunns said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange. “All supply under this agreement will come from regrowth or plantation forests that will be regenerated as forests into the future, following internationally accredited, sustainable forest management principles.” Gunns said the commercial terms of the agreement with Forestry Tasmania were consistent with the company’s feasibility assessment of the project. Stumpage prices to be paid to Forestry Tasmania would reflect the value of market pulp through a price adjustment mechanism. Pricing and commercial arrangements prior to the proposed pulp mill operations would be consistent with current supply arrangements. A final contract is expected to be completed by the end of November 2007. http://www.smh.com.au/news/Business/Gunns-agrees-to-supply-deal-for-Tas-mill/2007/10/19/119230

31) Australia now has more than 1.8 million hectares of plantations, but most recent investments have been into short-rotation crops for pulpwood production through managed investment schemes (MIS), where investors can use business tax arrangements for their investment in tree crops. After a two-year process of review, the Federal Government has moved to give certainty to these arrangements to encourage city investment in the bush. The establishment of long-rotation plantations (for high-value sawn timber) through the MIS framework received a boost in the last federal budget, as the Government allowed investments in tree plantations to be traded after a holding period of four years. But even if there is an increase in long-rotation plantings, the trees will not be available for harvest for decades. In any case, it is fair to say there will always be a place for native forest products as plantation timber does not have the same durability and appearance. But Ms Ajani’s opposition to timber production within native forests implies Australia increasing its reliance on timber imports from countries without the strict environmental frameworks that exist here. Research has shown that up to 10 per cent, or $400 million, of Australia’s imports could be coming from illegally logged overseas forests in our region. This number is a direct result of more than 11 million hectares of production forests being placed in national parks over the past decade or so (which Ms Ajani has supported). Increased bushfires and imports of timber are two truly perverse environmental outcomes considering the “Green” motives behind the creation of these national parks. Literally millions of hectares of these forests have been devastated by bushfires, due to poor management of the parks. The 2002-03 fires that devastated the ACT, NSW and Victoria burnt more than 3 million hectares of forest, mostly in national parks, and resulted in the equivalent to 25 per cent of Australia’s annual carbon dioxide emissions being released. http://www.theage.com.au/news/business/forest-idealists-blinkered-in-their-thinking-on-wood-ne

32) Known for its pristine water, lush rainforest vegetation and rare fauna and flora, Upper Five Day Creek in NSW is a vital feeder for the rivers and towns downstream. Located due west of Nambucca Heads, the land in this area adjoins the New England National Park and is a mixture of private freehold land and perpetual crown leases. The land is classified as State Protected Land due to its slopes and ecological importance. It is largely uninhabited, except for a Wilderness Health Retreat and a few residents with urgent concerns for the welfare of the mountains and waterways. A recent purchase of approximately 1,500 acres in the area by a timber company has caused no small stir among the locals. After receiving a permit to log from the Dept of Environment and Climate Change, logging operations commenced in September this year. This was despite numerous appeals to the authorities and protests from residents and environmentalists. Local resident Dale Davison became alarmed last week when she went to the Five Day Creek on her property. “I was very concerned when I saw our permanently crystal clear water was dirty and grey,” said Dale. “Another neighbour visited and told me it is worse upstream. I then realised this was due to the logging about 10 km’s upstream in the hills.” Steven White, farmer and mobile sawmill owner, resides on the family farm that adjoins the property being logged. “In the 30 years I have lived here, I have never seen the damage that is happening now.” said Steven. “Rockpools are already silting up after only three weeks, and riparian areas have been leveled. What was a riparian forest three weeks ago is now a mass of tree crowns, bear earth and lonely stripped young eucalypts.” The Five Day Creek area is an example as to why legislation needs to change on the logging of private land. “I have a sawmill myself, but see myself an environmental timber man.” said Steven White, “I have been shy of any new laws to do with logging on private land, but the way that Five Day Creek is being logged now is shocking. A timber company just buys in, and logs the guts out of the country and then moves on. We are left with the bare earth, ruined creeks and the irreplaceable loss of clean water. The hills are now open to fires, cattle intrusions and weed infestation which kills off the remaining hope of recovery.” http://webdiary.com.au/cms/?q=node/2087

33) At least 80 per cent of macadamia rainforest trees had been destroyed for agricultural and resi¬dential development, reported The Courier Mail (9/10/2007, p. 11) Lismore grower Ian McConachie had set up the Macadamia Conservation Trust, aimed at protecting the tree that provided the only Australian native produce to have become a major international food. The trust’s primary aim was to ensure wild macadamia numbers did not decrease any further. McConachie, a com¬mercial macadamia grower for more than 30 years, started the trust after searching rainforests and finding hardly any of the trees that were also known as Queensland or bauple nuts. Queensland nuts were found along a 600km coastal strip between Grafton, New South Wales, and Maryborough, about 300km north of Brisbane. http://waterweek.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/at-least-80-per-cent-of-macadamia-rainforest-trees-de

34) A billion-dollar pulp mill is set to go ahead at Penola in South Australia’s south-east. The mill will be operated by a private company, Protavia, and will create about 100 permanent jobs and 600 during construction. The Legislative Council of State Parliament approved the project late last night. The authorisation bill had Government, Liberal and Family First support. “We in South Australia now have the dubious distinction of approving a pulp mill in less than a year,” she said. “In the rest of the world it takes five years. “Protavia has now got itself a gift like no other pulp mill proponent in the world.” Greens MLC Mark Parnell is also angry that the mill can escape fuller environmental scrutiny. “Unlike in Tasmania where they can launch challenges against a bad process, the Government has stitched this up with a special provision that says no-one can challenge the pulp mill,” he said. But Forests Minister Rory McEwen says the pulp mill’s approval was based on a fair and thorough process. “Everybody that participates in the democratic process should now be satisfied,” he said. “But the Democrats and the Greens cannot have it both ways. “They cannot choose to be elected to Parliament and deal with it as part of the highest court in the land and then criticise it when they do not like the result.” http://abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/17/2061557.htm?section=business


35) The millions of indigenous people living across Asia and the Pacific are finally gaining recognition for the key role the play in forest conservation. This shift has been a feature of a major conference being held here this week to shape forest management policies in this region for the next 20 years. Activists championing the cause of local communities welcome this sea change, given that forests have been sacred to these people and central to their identity. ‘’Indigenous people have a sacred relationship with forest lands. Societies have to work with them in making plans about forests,’’ says Peter Walpole, executive director of the Asia Forest Network, a regional non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Tagbilaran City, Philippines. ‘’Empowering indigenous people is essential to help manage forests. If you want to protect the forests you have to begin by dealing with them,’’ he explained in an interview. ‘’You cannot walk over them as has been always the case. These communities were there much before forests were declared as protected areas.’’ Those advocating this view hope that the emerging trend will help to lift the indigenous communities out of poverty, since they live on the margins of society and are often at the bottom all social and economic indicators. Many governments in the region have refused to give indigenous people citizenship, consequently doubling their burden to lead a secure life, say researchers studying forestry policies. Currently, there are between 210 and 260 million indigenous people living in Asia and the Pacific, according to United Nations figures. Yet, only a few countries — among them India — have legislated to address the plight of this dispossessed group. In December 2006, New Delhi introduced new laws to address the concerns of communities living in the tribal belt in the centre of the South Asian sub-continent. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the hosts of the meeting in the northern Thai city, the new emphasis on indigenous communities reflects the broadening of the global agenda to respond to forest management and the crisis of deforestation.’’ http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39701

36) The Asia-Pacific region is facing increasing demand from the world over for forest products and must look for ways to preserve its remaining woodlands, officials with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said Tuesday. Over the past 15 years, the region has lost about 10 million hectares of forest cover, an area roughly half the size of Laos or equal in size to the US state of Pennsylvania, said Patrick Durst, a FAO senior forestry official. Durst said the FAO hopes to address the most pressing issues concerning forestry in the region during a three-day conference that began Tuesday on how globalisation is altering its forest landscape in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Development of forestry bioenergy resources like palm oil have accelerated global demand at the same time that international borders have become less important. “We are living in a borderless world and what happens in forests and forestry in one country is very much dependent on what happens in other countries,” FAO forestry boss Jan Heino said. Concerns of how deforestation effects other regions of the world is another issue for the conference. http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/breakingnews.php?id=122693

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