375 Asia-Pacific-Australia

–Russia: 12) WWF says their the world’s biggest illegal logger / affects trade talks,
–Asia: 13) Systems Regional Aircraft is studying Asia’s rainforests
–India: 14) Save Calcutta’s trees, 15) Wettest place in the world is drying up, 16) 12 hectares to be lost to Himachal Pradesh-Haryana border road widening, 17) Plant mini-forests, 18) eco groups organize to protect Western Ghats, 19) ‘Save Dhanori lake,’
–Vietnam: 20) Forest Inventory and Planning Institute, 21) Yok Don National Park,
–Philippines: 22) Typhoon tests reforestation efforts, 23) Why Mangrove restoration failed, 24) Multi-sectoral participation is the key strategy, 25) Citizens’ body to fight continued illegal logging in the Sierra Madre,
–Borneo: 26) Ambitious initiative to conserve the richness of the forests
–Hawaii: 27) What’s a Lasagna forest and why is it good for water quality?
–Papua: 28) 2/3 of all logging areas poorly managed
–Malaysia: 29) Secret report about China’s 12 dam plan
–Australia: 30) Save Wielangta Forest in south-east Tasmania, 31) Save Cooroy State Forest, 32) Ancient Baobab transplanted? 33) More on Cooroy forest, 34) Arboretum on Curtis Reserve rejected, 35) Tarkine National Coalition opposes road,

Articles:

Russia:

12) Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko has canceled a planned meeting with Finnish officials this weekend intended to ease tensions over Russian timber duties and cross-border transportation problems, the Finnish government said Wednesday. The canceled visit came a day after the World Wildlife Fund, a multinational conservation organization, wrote in a report that Russia constituted the world’s largest source of illegal timber. The country is also in the lead in terms of the quantity of illegal wood being sent to the EU, said Anke Shulmeister, WWF’s forest policy officer. Russia exported more than 10 million cubic meters of illegally logged timber to the European market in 2006, she said. Yelena Kulikova, director of the fund’s forestry program in Russia, said the situation had not changed substantially since then. The Forestry Code “ignores the issues of legality or illegality of Russian wood and fails to address control operations,” Kulikova said. In May, the Federal Forestry Agency submitted to the State Duma a list of proposed amendments to the Forestry Code, she said, adding that only a few “relatively insignificant” amendments had been approved so far. She said she did not expect the Duma to get to all of the amendments until September or October, when most of the deputies will be back from vacation. A spokesperson at the Federal Forestry Agency declined to comment on the WWF report. Calls to the Industry and Trade Ministry went unanswered Wednesday. Because of the impasse, a number of European companies, in cooperation with the WWF, have taken it upon themselves to mitigate the problem. “Members of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation are cooperating with WWF Russia and WWF Finland to improve the wood-tracking system in Russia,” said Anders Portin, Finnish Forest Industries Federation senior vice president. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/600/42/369146.htm

Asia:

13) A BAE Systems Regional Aircraft regional jet is flying over Asia to improve understanding of how equatorial rain forests influence climate change. The BAe 146 atmospheric research aircraft (146ARA) is being used at Kota Kinabalu in a four-week operation supporting academic research into the way emissions from vegetation effect concentrations of ozone and methane. Researchers will check results against current scientific models with an eye toward enhancing climate-change predictions. The 146ARA, which began life as the first 146-100 and was subsequently used in 146-300 development, flies at heights ranging from “tree-top level” up to 26,000 feet. Scientists from UK universities and research agencies use on-board equipment to measure the photochemical composition of reactive trace gases and particles for comparison with data gathered at the Malaysian Meteorological Department’s 330 ft-high global atmospheric watch station in the forest at Bukit Atur, Sabah. BAeRA said the 146ARA flies some 500 hours a year on scientific research work. British operator Directflight flies the aircraft under a contract to the manufacturer. Britain’s natural environment research council and the UK Meteorological Office (UKMO) task the aircraft, mainly in response to university or UKMO bids. Research programs are implemented by the UK Facility for airborne atmospheric measurements, which arranges with BAeRA to install mission-specific equipment. For example, upon return from Malaysia later this month, the 146ARA will be fitted with a Buck hygrometer to measure atmospheric dew and frost points. http://www.ainonline.com/news/single-news-page/article/bae-146-studying-climate-effects-of-kot
a-rain-forests/

India:

14) Scores of trees are being felled in Calcutta every month to make way for billboards, according to the West Bengal forest department. Last week, four full-grown trees — each almost 15 feet tall — were felled on Central Avenue in front of Medical College and Hospital, allegedly by Group-D staffers of the hospital. The trees were cut to make some illegally erected billboards on the premises more visible. In May, residents of Green Valley, a residential complex on Tangra Road, lodged a complaint with the forest department that local goons were felling trees to make way for billboards. “They axed eight trees at night. Within days, billboards came up where the trees used to stand. This is the handiwork of local goons,” said Rajan Hatiramani, a resident of the complex. The forest department — the green guardians of the city — has been flooded with similar complaints from various localities. “The number of complaints are more from areas like central Calcutta, EM Bypass and VIP Road, where billboards fetch a huge revenue,” said an official. On Central Avenue, between Girish Park Road and Esplanade, a billboard fetches anything between Rs 25,000 to 75,000 a month, depending on its size and location. “In the past two months, more than 25 trees have been cut down between Medical College and Hospital and Ganesh Chandra Avenue,” said Jahangir Molla, treasurer of Janaswastha Committee. The NGO has been working for the green cause in Calcutta since 1992. “To protest against the billboards on the Medical College campus, we smeared them with black paint, but they were coated with white again,” Molla added. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080721/jsp/calcutta/story_9568152.jsp

15) The town of Cherrapunjee, in the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya, is reputed to be the wettest place in the world. But there are signs that its weather patterns may be being hit by global climate change. “Not without reason has Cherrapunjee achieved fame as being the place with the heaviest rainfall on earth,” wrote German missionary Christopher Becker more than 100 years ago. “One must experience it to have an idea of the immense quantity of rain which comes down from the skies, at times day and night without a stop. It is enough to go a few steps from the house to be drenched from head to foot. An umbrella serves no purpose.” But according to Cherrapunjee’s most renowned weather-watcher, Denis Rayen, the climate of the town is changing fast. This year the rains did not arrive until June, and the reason for that he says could be man-made. “During the last few years, I have seen the forests vanish in front of my eyes,” said Mr Rayen. “A combination of global warming and intensive deforestation is taking a heavy toll in this, one of the most beautiful areas of India. “Because it now rains heavily over a shorter time period, crops are destroyed and there is intensive soil erosion. The lack of woodland means that the water flows faster from Meghalaya into the Bangladesh delta, only 400km (249 miles) away.” Mr Das says that parts of Meghalaya are “at risk from desertification” because of a combination of increasing urbanisation and industrialisation on the one hand and deforestation and shortages of ground water on the other. “Because the capacity of the soil to hold water is lost, there is a real possibility that the wettest place in the earth may soon be facing water shortages,” he says. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7511356.stm

16) Traffic snarls on the Himachal Pradesh-Haryana border may ease soon, as the Environment Ministry has given its nod to the National Highway Authority (NHAI) to cut down 12 hectares of forests for an 11-km-long bypass. Work on the Parwanoo-Pinjore bypass can now begin this September, Himachal Pradesh officials said. The bypass will be completed within two years, the officials said. The new road link will start from Timber Trail hotel in Himachal Pradesh’s Parwanoo and end near Yadvendra Gardens at Pinjore in Haryana. It will skip Kalka town in Haryana, the main traffic bottleneck on the road. At present, the bumpy and uncomfortable drive through a narrow road from Parwanoo to Pinjore via Kalka is a motorist’s nightmare. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has proposed a six-lane expressway between Shimla and Parwanoo. At a recent meeting, officials of the NHAI had proposed four-laning the entire road but Dhumal insisted that it should be made a six-lane highway. The volume of traffic on the Shimla-Parwanoo highway is estimated to be around 23,000 vehicles per day. http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?page=article&sectid=3&contentid=20080719200807190
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17) The publication Tathaastu: So Be It is collaborating with Swami Ramdev, the renowned yoga guru, in creating a green environment with the “Mini Forests” project. In one of the first steps in this project, Swami Ramdev planted the first tree in South Brunswick, New Jersey on July 5. “Mini Forests” Project aims to create areas of green in India, primarily in industrialized areas or places where forests and greenery is sparse. This is the initial phase of the project which eventually aims to go worldwide. Georgy Bhaala, Chairman of Tathaastu Group said, “We feel we are past the stage of preserving forests. We are close to depleting our natural resources and we desperately need to create new forests. Tathaastu is committed to mobilizing its resources to create mini forests.” http://www.indiajournal.com/pages/event.php?id=3912

18) In a development of significance, a number of eco activist groups in Karnataka have requested the Government of Karnataka to set up a committee empowered to study the measures needed to protect and conserve the ecologically diverse and biologically rich Western Ghats, which, in recent years has been showing up the strains of environmental disruption brought about by widespread deforestation and plunder of the natural resources through illegal mining activities. These environmental organisations have also urged the Government of Karnataka to impose a blanket ban on mining activities in the region. Further, they have urged the Karnataka Government not to go ahead with the construction of the thermal power station at Tadadi in Uttara Kannada district as it could pose a serious threat to both the highland and coastal belt of the State. The need to conserve Western Ghats stems from the fact that it is one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world with more than 4,000 plant varieties thriving in its rich, dense forests. A recent survey of Western Ghats has revealed that 80% of the floral varieties of Western Ghats are economically important species. This five-year-long survey meant to document the floral wealth of the Western Ghats has been funded by the National Biodiversity Resources Development Board. “The area covering Western Ghats in Uttara Kannada and North Kerala is quite rich in rare plant population and needs preservation. The relocation of human settlements from the core areas of the Western Ghats could be a solution but the process is quite tedious,” says a researcher associated with the survey. Meanwhile, efforts are on to get the Western Ghats declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. “Western Ghats is a very unique area as far as biodiversity is concerned and it has everything needed to be accorded the status of a World Heritage site,” says a researcher from the Dehra Dun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WWI). http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Jul152008/environmet2008071478797.asp

19) The nascent ‘Save Dhanori lake’ public movement gathered momentum on Sunday as almost 300 Puneites gathered at the lakeside to sign a joint memorandum addressed to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) demanding that the lake be saved. This was the first public show of strength organised jointly by the Dhanori Citizens Forum (DCF) and the National Society for Clean Cities (NSCC) which received a very enthusiastic response. The Sunday meeting was reminiscent of a similar public movement, which had successfully saved the Model Colony lake from being turned into a concrete jungle in the 1990s. Dhanori lake came in the spotlight after residents of Ambanagari society, bordering the lake, began observing large-scale dumping activity into the lake by city-based builder Synergy Realty. This prompted the Dhanori Citizens Forum (DCF) to successfully procure a ‘stay order’ from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) two months ago, restraining the builders from carrying out activity on the lake. Later, citizens action group, Pune Tree Watch (PTW) carried out an extensive survey of the lake and submitted a detailed report to the Pune municipal commissioner on April 9, stating that the builders were contravening the Environment Protection Act 1986 by dumping rubble and diesel into the lake, as well as pumping water in large quantities. The NSCC wrote to Pravin Pardeshi, the PMC commissioner, on June 30 asking him to take cognizance of PMC’s Development Control rule number 11.1.b which gives full power to the PMC to prevent anybody from damaging or destroying water bodies. The public meeting saw several naturalists and environmentalists emphasising the need to save the lake. Rekha Tingre, the local Congress corporator, promised the people of Dhanori area that she would do her utmost to save the lake. However, when Amit Lunkad, director, Synergy Realty, took the stage the people, who were in a combative mood, indicated that they were unwilling to listen to his long-winded explanations. Lunkad finally said, “We are open for a dialogue with the PMC, the DCF, ourselves and the NSCC to sort out this issue.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pune/Dhanori_lake_stir_hots_up/articleshow/3230121.cms

Vietnam:

20) Some of the zoned land for protective forests has also been encroached by farmers for crop cultivation and aquaculture, the ministry has said. Protective forests are used to prevent soil erosion along embankments and coastal areas, and act as windbreaks in sandy areas. According to the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute, Vietnam has currently 1.4 million ha of land zoned for planting new protective forests. From 2006-07, only 98,700ha of new forested areas were considered protective, although MARD’s target was 50,000ha each year from 2006 to 2010. MARD said it would focus on planting protective forests in coastal and border areas in the future. It has also asked the Government to recommend that wages of forestry workers be raised from VND25,000 to VND50,000-70,000 a day. MARD said it would work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and other agencies to prevent farmers or companies from encroaching the land zoned for protective forests. In the first half of this year, only 12,500ha, or 18 per cent, of 68,900ha of newly planted forests were protective forests, according to MARD. From 1998-2006, a total of 1.3 million ha of forest land were planted, with 50 per cent of it protective. http://english.vietnamnet.vn/tech/2008/07/795097/

21) At 115,545 hectares, Yok Don National Park in Dak Lak Province is Vietnam’s largest national park. But cam lai (barian kingwood) and several other tree species are becoming increasingly rare due to illegal loggers thirst for the precious lumber. Nguyen Con, deputy head of the Yok Don Forest Warden’s Office, said some 300 cases of illegal logging had been exposed by the rangers since the end of 2007. That’s nearly two cases per day, but Con noted that there were surely hundreds more that had gone unreported. Even local farmers have been cutting down trees illegally as they could earn much more selling timber than they could selling their coffee and rubber crops, he said. But catching individual loggers does not solve the problem as those doing the cutting are backed by black market wood dealers who supply the capital and equipment for the endeavor. The dealers make money hand over fist selling the illegal wood for profit, while the loggers themselves may make only VND100,000 for two days work sometimes. After receiving an order, the dealers hire and equip a group of loggers, often referred to as “worker bees,” with electric saws, vehicles and provisions before sending them off into the forest. One or two members in the group will work as lookouts at the edge of the forest and along roads, checking for park rangers. Anytime the loggers are caught and their equipment is seized by the rangers, the dealers hardly blink an eye, often buying new equipment immediately as their earnings far outweigh their investment. A second hand electric saw, for example, costs about VND1 million (US$60) but dealers can sell a single log of wood for at least VND30 million ($1,800). When loggers agree to work for the dealers they also agree to an unwritten law that no logger may ever implicate his boss when caught. http://www.thanhniennews.com/features/?catid=10&newsid=40253

Philippines:

22) Engr. Jardeleza gave an analysis of the flooding situation during the wake of Typhoon Frank where he said that reforestation efforts may have improved the watershed areas but the forest cover was not thick enough to prevent erosion. “The trees in the areas reforested did not have main roots or undergrowth. Reason for this is that they were imported trees, not fitted for reforestation in that area. We may have plenty of trees planted, but we only had a tree plantation, not a forest cover,” Jardeleza said. He said that without undergrowth, the trees did not have protection from the ground, hence, run off was high, as what happened during typhoon Frank where uprooted trees were strewn anywhere the flooded watershed areas. On the other hand, Jardeleza also said that sound land use planning can mitigate impact of big floods like that brought by typhoon Frank. He admitted that errors have been committed as many flood prone areas have been converted into residential subdivisions which have been constricting the natural flow of water. He cited land use data in Iloilo, which indicated that to date, about 57.35 percent is used for residential, 4.37 percent agricultural, 8.21 percent commercial, 3.36 percent industrial and about 26.81 percent for other purposes. Even free zones, where no structures are supposed to be erected, have been set aside for many uses and this has made the situation vulnerable to calamities, like heavy flooding, which will still be recurring every now and then, for no one can prevent flood. Jardeleza further admitted that people like him, and all other development planners, should learn lessons on urban planning through the experience brought about by typhoon Frank, and these will be spring board for closer deliberations. http://www.pia.gov.ph/default.asp?m=12&r=&y=&mo=&fi=p080721.htm&no=10

23) Over the past century, the islands that make up the Philippines have lost nearly three-quarters of their mangrove forests. The trees–which grow in brackish coastal waters on leggy roots–create key habitats for fish and shellfish. But settlers routinely cleared the flooded forests for development and ponds for fish farming. To reverse the trend, conservation groups began fanning out across the archipelago 2 decades ago, planting 44,000 hectares with hundreds of millions of mangrove seedlings. Many of those trees were doomed to die quick deaths, according to biologists Maricar Samson and Rene Rollon of the University of the Philippines in Quezon City. In the current issue of Ambio, the researchers report that surveys of more than 70 restoration sites often found mostly dead, dying, or “dismally stunted” trees. The major problem, they say, is that planters didn’t understand the mangrove’s biological needs and placed seedlings in mudflats, sandflats, or sea-grass meadows that can’t support the trees. Some of these areas have inadequate nutrients; in other places, strong winds and currents batter the seedlings. What’s worse, the failed plantings sometimes pack a double ecological whammy, as restoration activities disturbed or damaged otherwise healthy habitats. To get mangrove restoration back on track, Samson and Rollon say planters need better guidance on where to place the seedlings. Typically, the researchers say, the best locations are on gently sloping hill bottoms that are above mean sea level and flooded by the tides less than one-third of the time. The team says the Philippine government also needs to make it easier to convert abandoned or unproductive fish ponds back to mangrove swamps. But Samson admits this is a thorny legal and political issue, because landowners are reluctant to give up potentially valuable shorefront. As a result, the researchers write that they are “pessimistic about the ‘voluntary surrender’ of these pieces of wetlands back to nature.” The Philippines’s dismal experience with mangrove restoration is not unique, says Roy “Robin” Lewis III, a prominent expert in the field and director of Lewis Environmental Services, a private restoration firm in Salt Springs, Florida. His studies have shown that mangrove restorers around the globe routinely fail to understand the tree’s biology and that conflicts with landowners and political leaders can doom projects. Too often, he says, “ignorance and greed rule.” http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/715/1

24) Multi-sectoral participation is the key strategy in forest management. The participation of all direct and indirect local stakeholders in sustainable forestland conservation, management, and development shall be required. Equitable sharing of the benefits derived from forestlands shall be ensured at all times. A community-based forest management strategy should endeavor to allow “forest resident or forest dependent families, local communities, and indigenous peoples to undertake the management and development of appropriate forestland resources on a sustainable basis…” However, the CBFM Strategy should not or in any way adopt Executive Order No. 263, series of 1995, because of the gross abuse on timber harvesting from natural forest that transpires under this instrument. The group is open to the formulation of new forest tenure instruments for local stakeholders other than the current policy. Since all natural forests are considered protection forests, timber harvesting within areas covered by the proposed instrument shall not be allowed. However, non-timber forest products may be harvested. Further, partnerships between the private sector and forest-based communities shall be promoted to support sustainable community forest management activities like “Adopt-a-Mountain” models. Forestry research, education, and training should be repurposed for the conservation of forests. The DENR, specifically the Environment Research and Development Board (ERDB) should be strengthened and provided funds for research and development of methods for sustainable forest management from the Sustainable Forest Development Fund (SFDF) and other sources. This is in accordance with Article 14, Section 10 of the Philippine Constitution. http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/july/19/yehey/opinion/20080719opi5.html

25) President Macapagal-Arroyo and forest protection advocates have agreed to form a citizens’ body to fight continued illegal logging in the Sierra Madre mountain ranges, the head of a Church-based forest protection watchdog said Tuesday. The move, according to Fr. Pete Montallana, came in the wake of the apparent failure of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other government agencies to stop illegal logging in the area. Montallana heads the Task Force Sierra Madre (TFSM). He said Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona and a delegation from northern Quezon met with Ms Arroyo last month in Malacañang and voiced serious concern on continued illegal logging in Sierra Madre. Montallana said the delegation “related to the President what’s really happening in Sierra Madre.” He said logging continued despite the replacement of community environment and natural resources officers in three towns – Real, Quezon and Dingalan in Aurora province – from where loggers get access to Sierra Madre. During the meeting, he said, Ms Arroyo, Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza and the delegation agreed to form two Citizens Independent Investigating Teams (CIIT) to prevent further logging in the mountains. One team would be assigned to Quezon and the other to Aurora. Montallana said he believed that connivance between officials and employees of the DENR and logging syndicates had been a major factor in the continued destruction of the mountain. Tirona, head of the Prelature of Infanta, also blamed the DENR for the continued destruction of Sierra Madre. Last week, the TFSM wrote Atienza and submitted names of nominees to compose the citizens’ bodies. The group also asked the DENR chief to empower the investigating teams. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view/20080716-148670/Palace-OKs-citizen
s-arm-vs-illegal-logging

Borneo:

26) Uncontrolled illegal logging could harm the Heart of Borneo (HoB) project, an ambitious initiative to conserve the richness of the forests that was undertaken by Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Indonesia. Mr Hugh Blackett, a forestry consultant at the training workshop on “Timber Verification of Legality System” held at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources yesterday, in an interview said, “The Heart of Borneo project can face an uphill task if illegal logging continues in the island of Borneo, especially in Indonesia. “The Heart of Borneo project is an inter-government project supported by WWF. It’s a very good and important idea because there is still a lot of forest cover in the Heart of Borneo and many wildlife habitats need to be conserved. It will require a lot of cooperation between governments particularly Malaysia and Indonesia.” Describing the problem of illegal logging in the region, Mr Blackett said, “Illegal logging happens in remote areas and it’s difficult to exercise control. Therefore making money from harvesting timber is very easy and gives a quick return. A lot of people have taken advantage of weak government controls. Unfortunately, there are some instances of corruption being allow it to happen. “If logging is uncontrolled, and people take out too much of timber (from the forests), it will destroy the forest environment, the animal habitat, erosion control and subsistence for local community, as well as the future access to raw materials in the timber industry,” he said. On countering illegal logging, he said, “NGOs specifically in Europe have been actively campaigning against people using tropical timber and demanding them to take a responsible attitude to ensure that the timber purchased is not from illegal logging. So there is a huge pressure to try to find ways on improving control in a country like Indonesia where there is a high incidence of illegal logging, making sure that the law is applied. http://redapes.org/news-updates/heart-of-borneo-at-risk-over-illegal-logging/

Hawaii:

27) What’s special about Hawaiian native forests as opposed to, for instance, woodlands of non-native species? One way to determine this is to walk through a woodland in Hawai’i. The planted loblolly pine forests of K?ke’e on Kaua’i have very little other growth under them. Eucaluptus stands in Maui’s Upcountry area prevent other species from coming up in their shade. Miconia forests on the Big Island are often nearly entirely miconia, with very little other vegetation able to survive. When a heavy rain pounds these woodlands, muddy water can flow from them, as the rain erodes the unprotected soil below. By contrast, a healthy native Hawaiian forest can be layered like a dish of lasagne. As a raindrop is driven by gravity toward the ground, it first encounters an upper layer of canopy trees, like koa and ‘?hi’a. And then it encounters the shorter trees growing below, the mehame and ‘?la’a. And then the ferns like h?pu’u and shrubs like ‘a’ali’i. And then the ground ferns, mosses and the dense layers of roots, leaves, rotting branches and the rest. The upshot, according to botanists, is that all the gravity-fed power of that raindrop to slam into the ground and break up soil particles is gone. Instead of muddy water seeping into streams, the water drips clear from springs and saturated mosses. Those dense forests also inhibit the ground-level winds that suck moisture out of the landscape, and block the evaporative powers of the sunshine. http://raisingislands.blogspot.com/2008/07/lasagne-forests-of-hawaii.html

Papua:

28) According to a recently unveiled assessment by independent bodies, approximately two-thirds of concessionaires in Papua are poorly managing the region’s forests. This heightens the widespread perception of failure on the part of Indonesia’s forest management services. Even as some forests have been exploited at a far greater rate than they can regenerate, many of the forests that remain face further pressure from logging One therefore has to wonder about the effectiveness of existing forest stewardship programs, of both the regulatory and market-based variety. With respect to the former, Indonesia’s government has promulgated various laws and regulations, supposedly to ensure the wise use of forest resources. The government has also prescribed standards and guidelines for use in managing forests as well as sanctions and penalties for noncompliance. Unfortunately, such a regulatory approach requires both resources and enforcement capacity, both of which are argued to be clearly lacking in this country. Various policies introduced have been under heavy criticism, the strongest claim being that the governmental regulatory approach remains a “paper tiger”. As a result, a market-based approach involving forest certification — often nicknamed “green labeling” — has gained global momentum with its promise of market incentives for price premiums. The idea is that as global awareness around forest loss and degradation grows, contemporary society — principally wood product consumers — will begin to buy products only from (certified) sustainably managed forests. More importantly, green labeling assumes that consumers will eventually accede to paying premium prices for their wood products.Unfortunately, certification has not yet gained a strong foothold, even in regions where green markets are thought to have been developed, such as Europe. As a result, it has yet to contribute significantly to forest stewardship, for the following reasons. http://www.sumatranorangutan.org/site_mawas/UK_GE/ALL/pag/page.php?niv1=3&niv2=2&language=uk&n
ewsid=1573&news=detail

Malaysia:

29) The confidential document, “Chinese Power Plants in Malaysia — Present and Future Development”, was accidentally published on a Chinese web site. It details power projects planned for construction in Sarawak, between now and 2020, including two coal fired power plants and a dozen hydropower dams across Sarawak’s rainforest. According to Bruno-Manser-Fonds, a Malaysian NOG, “the dams could possibly submerge several Penan, Kelabit and Kenyah villages, potentially displacing at least a thousand people. One of the proposed dams, Tutoh dam, raises questions on whether Mulu National Park will be able to maintain the UNESCO World Heritage Site status as the dam may submerge parts of the national park.” Gurmit Singh, the chairman of Malaysia’s Centre for the Environment, Technology & Development (CETDEM), said that the plans reflect inconsistencies in the country’s energy and environment policies. “It illustrates an energy planning strategy that is supply driven and inconsistent with the principles of sustainable development,” he said. “At the same time, it fails to adequately factor in impending environmental threats such climate change, which is projected to cause water scarcity and ecosystem disruptions… We simply cannot mortgage our children and our grandchildren’s future for the sake of short-term gains.” http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0723-sarawak.html – Sarawak plans to build 12 hydroelectric dams to meet its future industrialisation needs.The move has got environmentalists up in arms, questioning the need for the dams and the planned development of the state. They also suggested that Sarawak’s national park may be threatened. However, Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum said the dams were necessary to meet energy demands. They will be located at Ulu Air, Metjawah, Belaga, Baleh, Belepeh, Lawas, Tutoh, Limbang, Baram, Murum and Linau rivers. The plan will also see an extension to the Batang Ai dam. All these are in addition to the 2,400MW Bakun dam and will push the total generating capacity in the state to 7,000MW by 2020, an increase of more than 600% from the current capacity. http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=103590

Australia:

30) The chainsaws are poised to enter Wielangta Forest in south-east Tasmania, despite ongoing community opposition and a long legal battle led by Greens senator Bob Brown. Eighty people attended a public meeting in Hobart on July 11 to hear about the struggle to preserve Wielangta Forest. The gathering was addressed by Bob Brown, legal team head Roland Brown and Margaret Blakers, a campaign co-ordinator and member of the Green Institute. In 2003, Bob Brown decided to turn to the courts to stop Forestry Tasmania from logging the 10,000 hectare Wielangta Forest. In May 2005, he applied to the Federal Court for an injunction to stop logging, which was refused, but Forestry Tasmania agreed to stop most logging until after the court had made its ruling. In December 2006 the Wielangta battle appeared to have been won when logging was stopped by the Federal Court, which found that Forestry Tasmania’s Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) was damaging to the natural habitat of the swift parrot, the Wielangta stag beatle and the Tasmanian wedgetail eagle — all endangered species. Environmentalists celebrated the court decision. However, instead of the logging industry changing their practices to meet the law, they managed to change the law to meet their practises! Two months after the logging ban, then-PM John Howard and Tasmanian premier Paul Lennon (since resigned) simply changed the RFA, undermining the Federal Court finding by agreeing that Forestry Tasmania’s management plan did in fact protect the endangered species. In November 2007, the full bench of the Federal Court overturned the ban on logging. While agreeing that the species were at risk, the judges effectively ruled that the RFA alteration, which had no parliamentary approval, overrode the 2006 judgement and made logging exempt from the provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. Bob Brown owes around $200,000 in court costs from the 2007 Federal Court proceedings. http://www.greenleft.org.au/2008/759/39232

31) Premier Anna Bligh has ordered a stop work on logging in West Cooroy forest. Her decision came after angry residents voiced concern about the impact on sensitive koala and other wildlife habitats. Ms Bligh issued the order yesterday after meeting with independent Member for Nicklin Peter Wellington who raised residents’ concerns. Logging started on Monday and Old Ceylon Road resident Evelyn Schueltze said more than 50 mature trees had already been felled with many more marked for the chop She described the halt order as wonderful news, even though it stops logging activity only until a meeting between the premier, loggers and Mr Wellington at 2pm today. Mr Wellington said the loggers had been relying on the Regional Forestry Agreement to proceed in what was a sensitive wildlife corridor. “The federal government is wanting comment on how to protect and preserve koala habitat and this logging goes on with no community consultation,” Mr Wellington said. “Government departments have been aware that this was going to happen since early May. “I’m happy Ms Bligh has listened to our concerns and not ignored them. “I just hope common sense will prevail.” Mr Wellington said any chainsaws any resident heard this morning would be work being done only on trees that had already been felled. http://www.thedaily.com.au/news/2008/jul/18/premier-orders-loggers-stop/

32) Australian Aboriginals replanted an ancient boab tree on Sunday after it was driven thousands of kilometres with a police escort to save it from destruction. A road widening scheme meant the tree, estimated to be 750 years old, had to be uprooted from its home in Western Australia and moved 3,200 kilometres (1,900 miles) by truck to a park in state capital Perth. “Everyone is hoping that the tree will live for another 750 years,” said horticulturalist and project coordinator Patrick Courtney. “We are giving it the best chance it would ever have got.” The bottle-shaped tree can can live for up to 2,000 years and is a native of the remote northern Kimberley district of Western Australia state. It weighs 36 tonnes, stands 14 metres (46 feet) high and is 2.5 metres (eight feet) in diameter. The tree played a significant role in the traditions of the local Gija people, who have given it to the Nyoongar people, the traditional owners of Perth’s King’s Park area. The Gija held a ceremony to see the tree off on its marathon six-day journey to its new home, and on Sunday, a traditional ceremony to welcome the tree and replant it was held in Perth. The move would have cost around 120,000 Australian dollars (117,000 US), but once the tree’s plight was known, contractors offered their services for free, Courtney told AFP. As the tree was in its dormant stage in the tropical dry season, few special measures needed to be taken to keep it alive during the journey. It will be in the company of another 14 young boab trees, which seem quite happy in the more temperate climate of the Perth region, Courtney said. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Ancient_Australian_tree_takes_life-saving_drive_999.html

33) Nicklin MP Peter Wellington says he has been left stunned and disappointed by the attitude of government officials in charge of controversial logging operations in the West Cooroy forest. During a meeting in Brisbane on Friday, the independent MP and community representatives hoped to resolve the impasse over logging of the 15-hectare site which has upset residents. They say they were not consulted and sensitive wildlife is being put at risk. Instead of being offered a solution on Friday, Mr Wellington and the community members were told that if the 15 hectares could not be logged another 200 hectares of forest would have to be cleared somewhere to replace the volume of timber lost. “It really was a case of subtle blackmail – if we didn’t sit quietly and allow the 15 hectares to be logged we stood to lose 200 hectares in the same area or somewhere else,” Mr Wellington said. “We were hoping alternatives would be put on the table but we were simply briefed about why it was so imperative these 15 hectares be logged.” The loggers have been relying on the Regional Forestry Agreement drawn up 10 years ago to proceed with tree felling in the sensitive wildlife corridor. Although the logging has been stopped until premier Anna Bligh makes a decision, Mr Wellington said he was stunned to find out how little the government stood to make in royalties from the timber. “I was stunned when I was told the royalties would only be $180,000, which is not much when you think of the amount of staff and equipment that is involved. When I asked them why they had not consulted with the community, they said ‘we contacted the immediate neighbours who we thought would hear the chainsaws’.” http://www.thedaily.com.au/news/2008/jul/20/government-cops-blast-over-logging/

34) Plans by several Shoalhaven Heads residents to create an arboretum on Curtis Reserve have been rejected by a Shoalhaven City Council committee. The proposal sought to turn a section of the western side of the reserve into an arboretum, however staff deemed the proposed number of plants as an overdevelopment of the site. “A number of the proposed trees are very large rainforest trees with large canopies,” a report to the committee revealed, which may have a detrimental impact on the reserve and adjoining properties “by extensive root systems seeking water when grown to maturity”. Council staff were also concerned the proposal may become a cost burden “should the volunteers not be able to continue with the ongoing maintenance during the growing period of the trees”. The applicants were encouraged by staff to find a more appropriate site for the project, however the residents said it would not be feasible for them. Recreation planning manager Lila Sawko said the tree management officer assessed the site and found several sections of the reserve had already been planted on, with about 15 trees appearing on the sloping section of the reserve. http://nowra.yourguide.com.au/news/local/news/general/rainforest-reserve-rejected/844987.aspx

35) PRISTINE rainforest would be bulldozed if Forestry Tasmania’s Tarkine Drive tourist loop road plan went ahead, an environmental group believes. The Tarkine National Coalition opposes the road which the State Government will consider funding from a $23 million war chest for Tarkine tourism. “It wouldn’t just be environmental groups that would be unhappy,” Tarkine National Coalition president Phill Pullinger said yesterday. “If all the money got taken away from the tourism industry and given to a pet project for Forestry Tasmania, a lot of people would be unhappy. “It proposes bulldozing four sections through pristine rainforest, more than 10km of new roads including roads in really remote sections … “There’s a whole myriad of environmental issues when you open up untouched areas and push roads through bulldozing untouched rainforest.” He said the money would be better spent improving and providing basic infrastructure at entrance points to the Tarkine. “Bulldozing roads into pristine wilderness areas is not what nature-based tourists want.” The Cradle Coast Authority will soon release a report on Tarkine tourism, informed by input from 15 stakeholder groups including the Tarkine coalition. CCA executive chairman Roger Jaensch said it would not propose or oppose the Tarkine Drive plan. He said it would be framework which could be used as a tool to help guide Tarkine-related development. http://nwtasmania.yourguide.com.au/news/local/news/general/activists-fear-road-would-destroy-r
ainforest/811685.aspx

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