Michigan: Going on a Safari on Fighting Island, Detroit River

Driving on its few roads is like going on safari, with pheasants scurrying into dense brush and black-crowned night herons flapping their graceful wings and landing on trees. A colony of thousands of ring-necked gulls protects its delicate, tiny eggs on one corner of the island. Marshes have been created out of what used to be rum runners’ canals. Trees, tall grasses, reeds and native berry bushes now cover most of the island, planted on a mix of alkali and soil created from bird droppings and composted leaves. For roughly six decades until 1980, Fighting Island in the Detroit River was a white, desolate moonscape, 80% of it covered with 20 million cubic yards of highly acidic brine waste dumped there from a soda ash plant. Runoff from the island washed into the already polluted river, and pale dust drifted in the wind from the island onto tomato plants and cars in nearby towns.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.freep.com/article/20090607/NEWS05/906070473/Detroit%20River%20island%20goes%20from%20wasteland%20to%20sanctuary

Read about all forest issues in Michigan: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/north-american-tree-news/michigan/

Snakes lurk beneath the bushes, a coyote family roams and two bald eagles are nesting at the island’s edge. Throughout the region, people are re-creating habitats that were destroyed and re-introducing creatures who once lived there: from Karner blue butterflies near Monroe to southern flying squirrels at Point Pelee.

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Last month, U.S. and Canadian officials said they’d gathered four lake sturgeon eggs from a reef in the middle of the river, which scientists built last fall hoping to attract the once-abundant fish to spawn there. The recovery efforts don’t work every time, or perfectly. But when they do, such efforts are proof that what humans destroy, they can rebuild.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.freep.com/article/20090607/NEWS05/906070473/Detroit%20River%20island%20goes%20from%20wasteland%20to%20sanctuary

Read about all forest issues in Michigan: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/north-american-tree-news/michigan/


UK: Ancient woodland doesn’t need any more new bad neighbors

Read about all forest issues in the UK: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/eu-africa-mideast-tree-news/uk/

Ancient woodland is threatened by neighbouring development. Quarries, roads, housing, aviation and waste disposal developments are being built right up to the edge of ancient woods which means they suffer from:

  • Chemical pollution – including air pollution, polluted water run-off;
  • Disturbance including noise and light pollution and soil disturbance;
  • Fragmentation – developments separate sites from each other making it harder for them to survive;
  • Introduction of non-native species which out-compete native plants

These add to the cumulative effects of development in the area which are already making it difficult for ancient woodland to survive and will inevitably make the woods more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/campaigns/woodwatch/neighbour-hell/Pages/neighbours.aspx

Read about all forest issues in the UK: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/eu-africa-mideast-tree-news/uk/

Oregon: First Ancient Forest Defending Tree Village of Cascadia Summer 2009

Activists from all over the country will be coming to Oregon this summer to join us in this Cascadia Summer, our season of resistance. We have numbers, we are organized and we are bringing forest defense to a BLM project near you. Our immediate message to the BLM is stop the WOPR and cancel the Fall Creek Project. We must also make clear that these are symptoms of a greater problem and if mismanagement of public lands remains the status quo, we shall continue to agitate. We invite folks out to visit the sits, or just to come to Eugene and partake in a Cascadian forest defense movement that breathes once again.

Contact ForestDefenseNow@gmail.com with questions or comments.

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As of June 1, 2009 tree-sits have been deployed within the Fall Creek Project planning area in defiance of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) propositions to clearcut 400 acres in the area. This action is taken as an escalation of the Cascadia Summer campaign against the Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR) and corruption within the highest levels of the BLM. Perhaps the BLM will listen to these events, as they did not listen to the more than 30,000 Oregonians who filed formal protest against the WOPR.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2009/06/391771.shtml

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Read about all Direct Action forest defense here: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/tag/direct-action/

These are public lands and we will not sit back and watch the continuing devastation caused by government incompetence and corporate manipulation. As far as the economy is considered, do not be deceived, you will find no jobs on a dead planet. The WOPR, a Bush-era plan, will increase BLM logging by 436% in a time when timber prices have bottomed out. 70% of these new cuts would be clearcuts and 100,000 acres of old growth would be cut. Approximately 40,000 rural Oregonians live within one half-mile of BLM land and the security of their homes, drinking water, and local economies is under assault by this illegal plan. Boom and bust timber economics have failed and it is time for affected communities and environmentalists to move forward together toward a timber industry that can meet our mutual needs indefinitely.

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Do you remember the days of Fall Creek, Warner Creek, the first Cascadia Summers? Do you remember the lands that were saved by the direct efforts of concerned citizens? We remember, and it is within that greater tradition of non-violent forest defense that we now come to you proclaiming that a resurgence has begun. As of June 1, 2009 tree-sits have been deployed within the Fall Creek Project planning area in defiance of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) propositions to clearcut 400 acres in the area.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2009/06/391771.shtml

Read about all Direct Action forest defense here: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/tag/direct-action/


Colorado: Removing Beetle killed trees won’t stop beetles

“The idea of rushing into some sort of removal activity prior to this season’s bug flight doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me,” said Kelly Rogers, who is based in the state agency’s Grand Junction office. “It is just not a place that I would be rushing into to cut a bunch of trees down in a big hurry.” Rogers, who has 30 years of professional forestry experience in Wyoming and Colorado, made his views clear in a May 21 letter to city of Aspen forester Chris Forman.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/134828

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Read about all forest issues in Colorado: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/north-american-tree-news/colorado/

“In my opinion it is very likely that all the mature lodgepole pine in this area will be killed by mountain pine beetle, within the next three years, regardless of the management actions taken,” Rogers wrote. Much of the impetus to take action is coming from For the Forest, a recently formed nonprofit organization whose board members are wealthy part- and full-time Aspenites with close ties to the Aspen Institute. The group, led by former Aspen mayor John Bennett, is urging local elected officials to take action before the beetles take flight early this summer and infest and kill more lodgepole pine trees.

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“We don’t have to be like Steamboat, we don’t have to be like Vail,” said Jerry Murdock, a Red Mountain homeowner who sits on the For the Forest board of directors, in a recent interview with the Aspen Daily News. “Those places didn’t do anything until it was too late, and I don’t think that we have to be that way. We have to try, because the devastation is horrific.” For the Forest hopes that after four or five years of spreading verbenone and cutting brood trees, the beetles might move on from the Smuggler area, leaving more lodgepole pines alive.

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But Rogers thinks trying to stop the beetles by cutting down infested trees is futile. “Sanitation cutting (removing currently infested trees) to reduce the mountain pine beetle population may slow the infestation on the lower slopes of Smuggler Mt., especially if combined with a Verbenone treatment to disrupt mating behavior,” Rogers wrote. “As I have stated, in my opinion it is highly unlikely that the infestation will be stopped by these (or any other) actions.” Verbenone is a pheromone emitted by female beetles who have infested a green tree. It is a signal to other beetles that they should move on to another tree. The non-toxic substance is either sprinkled on the ground near trees or stapled to a tree in a pouch.

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“My experience with Verbenone is limited, but by most accounts it does not work well in epidemic situations,” Rogers wrote in his report. Local open space and forestry staffers agree with Rogers about the long-term futility of trying to stop the beetles, but they have still developed an “experiment” on Smuggler Mountain in response to requests from Aspen City Council and the Pitkin County commissioners.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/134828

Read about all forest issues in Colorado: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/north-american-tree-news/colorado/

Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

Australia: Redgum eco-review says it’s ok to keep ruining

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An environmental impact statement (EIS) on redgum logging in southern New South Wales recommends the practice continue. Green groups are critical of the EIS, which will be assessed by Forests New South Wales – not the state planning department. Activists are in the Millewa Forest near Deniliquin this week seeking to stop harvesting in the Ramsar-listed wetlands. Forests New South Wales western manager Gary Rodda says the EIS was done to remove any uncertainty about forestry operations in the area.

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“Clearly the EIS is out for public display so that people can make comments,” he said. ‘We’ll wait to see what those comments [are when they] come in, but at this point in time yes, the EIS is recommending a continuation of harvesting.”

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/06/02/2586879.htm?section=business

Read about all forest issues in Australia: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/oceania-tree-news/australia/

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Idaho: BLM wants you to comment on their plan to destroy natural ecologic functions

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BLM is notorious for rejecting natural habitat, natural pathogens, natural viable ecosystems. The removal of trees harmed by pathogens creates an ecosystem lacking in pathogens, which in turn attracts more pathogens. Please contact them and let them know that dwarf mistletoe creates valuable habitat for many species… that dwarf mistletoe is an essential characteristic of a healthy ecosystem. Please let them know that removing infected trees is going to make the remaining forest more vulnerable to future storms, floods, pathogens,  disturbances.  etc. –Editor, Forest Policy Research

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The federal Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on a plan to remove diseased trees in a 250-acre area on BLM-managed lands in southern Blaine County. The project, designed to restore an area of unhealthy forest, is specifically in and around Sharp’s Canyon, southeast of Bellevue. Restoration efforts would consist of removing Douglas fir trees infected with dwarf mistletoe, which robs the host tree of water and nutrients. When the disease reaches severe levels, trees begin to decline and become more susceptible to insect attacks and drought.

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The proposed removal of diseased trees includes options for removing salvageable timber products and the use of prescribed fire. Salvageable material would be removed from areas that can be feasibly reached via existing roads and trails. Where removal is not feasible, prescribed fires would be used to reduce fuel loading. After diseased trees are removed, areas with limited chances for successful natural regeneration would be hand-planted with seedlings.

For more details about this project, visit www.blm.gov/id/st/en/info/nepa.html and access the Bell Mountain Public Information Document under the Shoshone Field Office heading, or contact the Shoshone BLM at id_shoshone_fo@blm.gov or (208) 732-7204.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.mtexpress.com/vu_breaking_story.php?bid=7294


Maine: Irving Woodlands shuts down logging to avoid paying loggers a living wage

Irving Woodlands LLC is seeking to “blackmail” the Maine Legislature and avoid collective bargaining with independent logging contractors by halting work Monday on the more than 1 million acres it owns in northern Maine, two state lawmakers charge. The J.D. Irving Ltd. subsidiary argued Friday that it is the only landowner affected by a 2004 state law allowing forest workers to bargain.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/107404.html
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Read about all forest issues in Maine here: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/north-american-tree-news/maine/

“We are hoping for a resolution to this,” Mary Keith, vice president of communications for the New Brunswick-based corporation, said Monday. “The global market is fiercely competitive and we must do everything we can to ensure a cost-effective wood supply — not only for our own operations in the state but also to the 20-plus Maine mills that depend on our wood supply. “In the last year alone, wood prices paid to us by our customers in the state have fallen by up to 25 percent,” Keith added. Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, a logger who co-sponsored the law with state Rep. John L. Martin, D-Eagle Lake, doubted legislators would back down.

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The law has never been enforced, as lawmakers have repeatedly suspended enforcement in response to Irving threats, they said. “I do think that the Irving employees should go file for unemployment this week because nothing is going to happen in the immediate future,” Martin said Monday.

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“I am not going to operate from threats and from blackmail,” he added. “I am not willing to sit down and talk to them unless they are willing to put their employees back to work. They were never part of this, and now they are being used.”

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/107404.html

Read about all forest issues in Maine here: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/north-american-tree-news/maine/

Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

Brazil: New Greenpeace report: Slaughtering the Amazon

Slaughtering the Amazon, charges that major international companies are unwittingly driving the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest through their purchases of leather, beef and other products supplied from the Brazil cattle industry. Greenpeace found that Brazilian beef companies are important suppliers of raw materials used by leading global brands, including Adidas/Reebok, Nike, Carrefour, Eurostar, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Toyota, Honda, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, IKEA, Kraft, Tesco and Wal-Mart, among others.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://lougold.blogspot.com/2009/06/slaughtering-amazon-in-series-of-high.html

Brought to you by: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/slaughtering-the-amazon

Read about all forest issues in Brazil: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/latin-american-tree-news-2/brazil/

Clearly, the intention is to sensitize major global consumers and the corporations that manufacture and deliver beef-related products to bring pressure for real operative conservation practices in Brazil. A few years ago a similar campaign targeting soybean production resulted in an industry-led soy moratorium on planting in illegally logged areas of the Brazilian Amazon. Similarly, consumer consciousness may be able to reduce the linkage between ranching and future illegal deforestation. As with the soy campaign the hope is that eco-sensitive public opinion in the marketplace — as in the EU — might become a leverage toward better practices.

Additionally, emerging global climate policies such as REDD have been offering the possibilities of new market incentives which are already producing something of a rapprochement between antagonists like Minister of Environment Carlos Minc and Soy King and Mato Grosso Governor Blairo Maggi who have agreed to new policies intended to guide landowners into a new era of protecting the environment in exchange for payments for ecosystem services.

While there are high profile campaigns by world leaders — such as Prince Charles and Wangari Maathai — and cautious support for payments for avoided deforestation, there are many uncertainties and Greenpeace and several other environmental groups remain highly skeptical of using carbon offsets for avoided deforestation.

It’s definitely not going to be easy to birth a new era of harmony between conservation and development, either for the global economy or for Amazônia where the Brazilian Ministry of Environment is often sabotaged in Congress by the more powerful Ministries of Agriculture, Energy and Transportation. Indeed, Minister Minc is already facing many of the obstacles that drove his predecessor Marina Silva to her resignation.

As politics and personalities and promises grab the headlines it is important keep in view the pictures of what is happening on the ground where we citizens of Planet Earth — in Brazil and in the world — may be losing the future of the Amazon forest.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://lougold.blogspot.com/2009/06/slaughtering-amazon-in-series-of-high.html

Read about all forest issues in Brazil: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/latin-american-tree-news-2/brazil/


Asia: Dr. Richard Corlett covers Tropical E. Asia Ecology

A new book by Richard Corlett of National University of Singapore is the first to describe the terrestrial ecology of the entire East Asian tropics and subtropics, from southern China to western Indonesia. The Ecology of Tropical East Asia explores the elements that foster the region’s richness of plant and animal species as well as the threats facing biodiversity and conservation, including deforestation, hunting, climate change, logging and resource extraction.

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Corlett concludes that high human population densities, continued population growth, rural poverty, corruption, and globalized markets will present obstacles for conservation but that the chief aim for conservationists should be to safeguard existing protected areas.

Please support the writer of these words:
http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0602-corlett_interview_east_asia.html

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Mongabay:  Why did you decide to write a book about the ecology of tropical East Asia? Aren’t already there field guides covering this part of the world?

Richard Corlett: I have had the idea in the back of my mind for years, but I finally decided to do it after having dinner with a group of Thai graduate students in Bangkok four years ago. They knew a great deal about their research sites and quite a lot about Thailand, but very little about the rest of the region and what other people were doing. The region is united by biology but divided by history and language. There have been several books on the tropical rainforests of Malaysia and Indonesia – including Tim Whitmore’s classic ‘Tropical Rain Forests of the Far East’ – but that is only a fraction of the region and only one of its major natural ecosystems. There are also books on some single countries. But there are no real biological boundaries between southern China in the north and western Indonesia in the south, or between the Andamans in the west and the Ryukyus, Philippines and Sulawesi in the east. The western land boundary of the book is the border between Myanmar and India – purely for convenience – but the other boundaries are biological, if not always very sharp. I called it “Tropical East Asia” rather than Southeast Asia, because modern political Southeast Asia excludes tropical China, which is part of the region, and includes eastern Indonesia, which is biologically very different. Coverage extends to 30 degrees north in China and the Ryukyu Islands so that I can cover the tropical-temperate transition.

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Mongabay:  Generally, what is the state of natural ecosystems in the region? Are some on the brink and others in relatively good shape?

Richard Corlett: Mostly bad and getting worse. I have been in the region for almost 30 years and almost everywhere has lost forest and species over that period. Most remaining forest has been logged and/or lost its large mammals and birds to hunters. The small number of global extinctions is misleading, since so many species hang on in only a tiny fraction of their natural range. Nowhere in the region has all the species that used to be there. My favorite picture in the book is a bronze ritual vessel in the shape of a Sumatran rhino from Shandong Province, central China, around 3000 years ago. There are no rhinos in China anymore and only a few hundred left in the whole region.

Read the rest of the interview here: http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0602-corlett_interview_east_asia.html

Brazil: New Greenpeace report: Slaughtering the Amazon

Slaughtering the Amazon, charges that major international companies are unwittingly driving the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest through their purchases of leather, beef and other products supplied from the Brazil cattle industry. Greenpeace found that Brazilian beef companies are important suppliers of raw materials used by leading global brands, including Adidas/Reebok, Nike, Carrefour, Eurostar, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Toyota, Honda, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, IKEA, Kraft, Tesco and Wal-Mart, among others.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://lougold.blogspot.com/2009/06/slaughtering-amazon-in-series-of-high.html

Brought to you by: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/slaughtering-the-amazon

Read about all forest issues in Brazil: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/latin-american-tree-news-2/brazil/

Clearly, the intention is to sensitize major global consumers and the corporations that manufacture and deliver beef-related products to bring pressure for real operative conservation practices in Brazil. A few years ago a similar campaign targeting soybean production resulted in an industry-led soy moratorium on planting in illegally logged areas of the Brazilian Amazon. Similarly, consumer consciousness may be able to reduce the linkage between ranching and future illegal deforestation. As with the soy campaign the hope is that eco-sensitive public opinion in the marketplace — as in the EU — might become a leverage toward better practices.

Additionally, emerging global climate policies such as REDD have been offering the possibilities of new market incentives which are already producing something of a rapprochement between antagonists like Minister of Environment Carlos Minc and Soy King and Mato Grosso Governor Blairo Maggi who have agreed to new policies intended to guide landowners into a new era of protecting the environment in exchange for payments for ecosystem services.

While there are high profile campaigns by world leaders — such as Prince Charles and Wangari Maathai — and cautious support for payments for avoided deforestation, there are many uncertainties and Greenpeace and several other environmental groups remain highly skeptical of using carbon offsets for avoided deforestation.

It’s definitely not going to be easy to birth a new era of harmony between conservation and development, either for the global economy or for Amazônia where the Brazilian Ministry of Environment is often sabotaged in Congress by the more powerful Ministries of Agriculture, Energy and Transportation. Indeed, Minister Minc is already facing many of the obstacles that drove his predecessor Marina Silva to her resignation.

As politics and personalities and promises grab the headlines it is important keep in view the pictures of what is happening on the ground where we citizens of Planet Earth — in Brazil and in the world — may be losing the future of the Amazon forest.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://lougold.blogspot.com/2009/06/slaughtering-amazon-in-series-of-high.html

Read about all forest issues in Brazil: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/latin-american-tree-news-2/brazil/

Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

RIP: Thomas Berry (1914-2009)

Thomas Berry, a Catholic priest and self-described “Earth scholar,” passed away June 1 in Greensboro, N.C., where he was born in 1914. He was 94 years old.


From: http://www.grist.org/article/on-the-passing-of-father-thomas-berry-noted-ecological-thinker/

A member of the Passionist order that was founded to teach people how to pray, Berry went on to become an influential eco-theologian—though he preferred to call himself a “geologian.” By the age of 8 he had concluded that commercial values were threatening life on Earth, and three years later had an epiphany in a meadow in which he came to understand that the evolution of the universe was for humans the “primary revelation of that ultimate mystery whence all things emerge into being.

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Berry entered a monastery at the age of 20 and later went on to earn a doctorate in history from the Catholic University of America. He was deeply influenced by the work of Teilhard de Chardin, a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who developed the concept of the “noosphere”-the realm of human thought comparable to the atmosphere and biosphere. Berry also studied Native American culture and shamanism.

Berry went on to become one of the most profound thinkers in the environmental movement, with his books including “The Dream of the Earth,” “The Universe Story” and “The Great Work” exploring the place where ecology and theology connect.

In 2006, Southern nature writers John Lane and Thomas Rain traveled to Greensboro to talk with Berry about how nature writers can help resolve the current imbalance between humans and the rest of the natural world. Berry was critical of the idea prevalent in among some evangelical Christians that the Bible says that “man shall have dominion over all the land,” noting that a more accurate translation is that “man shall be steward to the land.” He was also critical of some environmentalists, suggesting they lack a deep understanding of how the human mind functions. According to the interview posted on Appalachian Voices’ website:

Humans can be described as “that being in whom the universe reflects on itself in a conscious mode of self-reflection.” We humans actually enable the planet Earth because we are members of the planet Earth. We enable the Earth to reflect on itself. We’re doing a terrible job with what knowledge we have. It’s not that the knowledge is wrong. It’s that we don’t know how to use it. This is one of the basic failures of science. Science does not instruct us on how to use science.

Berry also had a radical notion of rights, believing that it was a mistake to ascribe them only to humans. As he told his interviewers:

This kind of thinking is a disaster! To think that we have certain rights to intrude upon the living things and that the other beings don’t have rights, this is a sacrilege. Every being has rights! Every being has free rights. … The right to be. The right to habitat. And the right to fulfill one’s role in the great community of the cosmos. I don’t see how anybody could argue with these rights. I mean, for humans to think they are the only beings that have rights is just silly. All things get their rights from existence. From merely existing.

Among those whose thinking Berry influenced are David Korten, an outspoken critic of corporate globalization and co-founder of the nonprofit group that publishes YES! magazine, and Wangari Maathai, the founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement and the first African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize.


USA: Obama forests cleared for strip mines

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Environmentalists were stunned to learn from Rahall's office May 15 that the EPA had given its blessing to 42 out of the 48 mine projects it had reviewed so far — including two dozen mountaintop removals. "It was a big disappointment," said Joan Mulhern, a lawyer for Earthjustice, an environmental law firm that has led court challenges to mountaintop removal. "It's disturbing and surprising that this administration, headed by a president who has expressed concern about mountaintop removal, would let such a large number of permits go forward without explanation." Mulhern charged that the EPA "blew off" Jackson's earlier promises that the agency would adhere to science and would conduct an open process.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-mountaintop-mining31-2009may31,0,7589633.story

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For all stories about Obama Forests: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/tag/obama-forest/

The White House is "searching for a way to walk this tightrope," said Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America. "They have a large constituency of people who want to see an immediate end to mountaintop removal, and an equally large constituency . . . whose communities depend on those jobs." Shortly after his inauguration, Obama won praise from the green lobby for taking a skeptical view of the mining process. And in March the EPA announced it would review the mountaintop projects, breaking from the Bush administration's practice of granting permits with little or no scrutiny.

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The EPA has the authority to block mountaintop removal under the Clean Water Act. But if the agency raises no objections, the final decision on projects is made by the Army Corps of Engineers, which historically has approved mountaintop mining. The corps previously had indicated its intention to approve 48 pending permits. Although environmentalists had expected the new administration to put the brakes on mountaintop removal, Rahall and other mining advocates have pointed out that Obama did not promise to end the practice and was more open to it than his Republican opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain. A review of Obama's campaign statements show that he had expressed concern about the practice without promising to end it. On a West Virginia visit, when asked about the impact of the mining on the state's streams, he said he wanted "strong enforcement of the Clean Water Act," adding: "I will make sure the head of the Environmental Protection Agency believes in the environment."

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-mountaintop-mining31-2009may31,0,7589633.story

Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

Oregon: As backwards as ever when it’s comes to sustainable state forest policy

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A current proposal with the Oregon Board of Forestry would allow "maximum profitable harvests"– essentially clear cutting our state forests. The Board of Forestry is meeting on Wednesday to decide on a new management plan for our state forests. 
 
Please contact Governor Kulongoski and the Board of Forestry and tell them not to clear cut our state forests.

Our state forests provide abundant habitat for fish and game as well as recreation– like hiking and mountain biking.  
 
This new Forest Management Plan would abandon the concept of balanced management on our state forests and turn publicly owned treasures like the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests into commercial tree farms. 

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These forests already provide income to the state each year. But our current management plan balances logging with other uses such as clean water, fishery health, and recreation.  Oregon's public forests also serve as a carbon sink, removing global warming gases from our atmosphere. This proposal to put timber harvest above all other uses will inevitably cause environmental impacts that can't yet be predicted. 
 
Tell the Board of Forestry and Governor Kulongoski to protect our publicly owned forests by taking action at: action.sierraclub.org/stopORclearcutting
 
Increasing timber harvests in our public forests would damage drinking water sources, harm rich salmon fisheries, and degrade recreational opportunities on our publicly owned state forest lands. 
 
We need your help to convince Governor Kulongoski and the Board of Forestry to protect our vital state forests.  
 
Click here to contact the Board of Forestry and Governor Kulongoski.

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Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

USA: Roadless rules rule again, at least temporarily?

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a temporary order yesterday (last thursday) governing development in "roadless" areas of national forests, requiring all new projects to be approved by him personally. Vilsack's order, which will be in effect for a year, is the latest turn in an eight-year-old battle over 58.5 million acres of pristine woods. President Bill Clinton made these areas off-limits in 2001, but President George W. Bush effectively reopened some in 2005. That led to a series of court cases that ultimately replaced the national policy with a patchwork of regional rules.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/28/AR2009052803049.html?referrer=emailarticle

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Vilsack, whose purview includes the U.S. Forest Service, did what environmental groups had been urging: call a "timeout." Agriculture Department officials said that while the temporary order is in effect, the Obama administration and Congress will try to create a permanent policy on roadless regions. They said Vilsack's caseload is not expected to be large: Over the past eight years, one official estimated, 30 to 40 projects have been proposed in these areas. "We're raising the level of scrutiny," said Chris Mather, a spokeswoman for Vilsack.

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"From this moment . . . we are going to make sure that our forests are protected in all projects we approve." In most of the country, USDA officials said, managers of individual forests have been deciding where to allow development. They did not permit much: One official said that about 70 miles of road had been built in these areas over the past eight years. And during that time, the official said, more miles of road were eliminated in these areas. Jim Matson of the Utah Forest Products Association said he is glad that the Obama administration is working on a national policy because years of limbo have made it hard for businesses to plan. "You've got communities and workers and capital tied up while — basically, while the feds figure out what they want to be when they grow up," Matson said.

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Brazil: First complaints of corruption eliminates Minister Silva, is Minc next?

After a meeting with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday last week, Minc told reporters that government ministers "are going behind his back to Congress, 'each with their little hatchets, pushing amendments that tear to pieces and disfigure environmental legislation,'" according to the AP. "I explained to President Lula that the (environment) ministry is under attack," he was quoted as saying by Reuters. "The environment is being attacked by Congress and society."

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Minc has taken an active role in battling Amazon deforestation, reducing credit access to illegal loggers and ranchers, seizing agricultural products and cattle produced on illegally deforested lands, and pushing for new protected areas. His efforts have angered powerful development interests and at times have put his at odds with President Lula, who is promoting new road and hydroelectric projects. Still Minc told reporters that Lula supported him on "six of the eight issues he raised, including a ban on sugar cane planting in the Pantanal," according to Reuters.

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Last year President Lula unveiled an ambitious program to reduce Amazon deforestation by 70 percent from a 1996-2005 baseline, although bulk of the cuts are targeted for after he leaves office. Lula hopes to finance the $21 billion plan by soliciting donations from industrialized countries. To date only Norway has committed funds.

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Poetry: Three Versions of the Same Bird-Library-Book Poem

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With still more sitting on water…

We’re returning too many Library books at the same

Time and they slide down the chute and land inside

With a thump, one after the next…

In the background from the direction of the ocean.

A kind of guttural buzzing accompanies each thump

We look up to find the noises are a flock of turkey vultures

Circling above us…

How can it be their sound so well accompanies

A return of a knowing borrowed with a due date?

Loud sounds leading us further Swirling

White over ocean a cloud of ecstatic terns

With still more sitting on water…

We’ve never seen a vulture float before &

None of the terns seems to be diving for fish

Now the excited cloud comes in for a visit

They rest on a liquid sky reflection & the buzz of Books

Falling fades into giving away as hushing waves.

Without any visible effort they all

Drift together to a beach on our right & walk ashore to

Fix their feathers. Without our books we’re quick to move in

for a closer look, baby step after baby step we advance on

A flock of lively peeps who join the party as a line of

brown pelicans pass by… In migration time of books once ours

before their past due we forget our limitations… and fly away

Deane Rimerman & Steve Toth

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MY GRATION!

There is a strange howl coming

from the direction of the sky

A kind of cutter-like buzzing

that is loud four miles away

We look up to see a flock of

vultures circling above us

at the library book return chute

Can it really be that they

want to return some overdue books?

But the sound is scaring us further

Swirling white over the library

we see a cloud of frightened seagulls

with still more hiding under the water

We have never seen a vulture attack before

but all of them seem to be diving at the seagulls

Now the seagulls turn in flight & land

on our heads and shouders

& the vultures swoop down toward us

Without any visible teeth they all chomp

together on our heads and shoulders

as the seagulls fly away laughing at us

We want revenge on those seagulls

& advance carefully with giant steps

But a flock of baby vultures joins the party

and chomps on our fingers

This must be migration time

We better start migrating fast!

Dave Morice & Steve Toth

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MARVELOUS SIGHT

There is a strange sound coming

from the direction of the ocean

A kind of guttural buzzing

that is loud four blocks away

We look up to see a flock of

turkey vultures circling above us

at the library book return chute

Can it really be

those usually silent ones?

But the sound is leading us further

Swirling white over the ocean

we see a cloud of ecstatic terns

with still more sitting on the water

We have never seen one float before

& none of them seems to be diving for fish

Now the excited cloud comes to rest

on the liquid sky reflection

& the buzz fades into the hushing waves

Without any visible effort they all drift

together to a beach on our right

& walk ashore to fix their feathers

We want a closer look

& advance carefully with baby steps

A flock of lively peeps joins the party

as a line of brown pelicans passes by

This must be migration time

Forget your limitations & fly anyway

Steve Toth

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California: Yosemite Park and its origins as modern day conservation-based genocide

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Lafayette Bunnell, American explorer, Yosemite on March 21, 1851: Accompanying him that day was one of the most ferocious militias in western American history, the Mariposa Battalion, commanded by James Savage. A veteran of Indian wars, Savage was there with one blunt aim: to rid Yosemite of its natives. Bunnell, who is remembered today largely for his lyrical prose about nature, stood by and watched while Savage and his men burned acorn caches to starve the Miwok out of the valley. Seventy were physically removed. Twenty-three were later slaughtered at the foot of El Capitan, the towering granite obelisk that has become a totem of California wilderness.

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Although it took some years to complete the task of creating a fictional wilderness in Yosemite, all the valley's residents were eventually evicted, and in 1914 their land became a national park – no natives welcome. In the century that followed, millions of tribal natives around the world were forcibly evicted from wildlife reserves and national parks such as the Royal National Park of Australia, Banff in Canada, and Tongariro in New Zealand. In East Africa, the Serengeti and Amboseli National Parks were formed this way; on the border of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest of Kenya, Batwa pygmy refugees still camp in hovels hoping one day to return to their forest homeland.

Refugees from conservation have never been counted; in fact they're not even officially recognized as refugees. But the number of people displaced from traditional homelands worldwide over the past century, in the interest of conservation, is estimated to be close to 20 million, 14 million in Africa alone. It is a sad history, and one that has forced conservationists to reevaluate the hero status of their movement's founders, and to reconsider the idea of protecting biological diversity by removing humans from the mix.

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As the world shrank and transportation accelerated, inhabitants of the most remote villages began to discover that they were not alone. There were others like them on almost every continent – people with unique dialects, diets, cultures, and cosmologies who were at best misunderstood, at worst oppressed by the dominant nationalities that surrounded them. These indigenous groups began to communicate with one another and to meet, and through interpreters they learned of ways that aboriginals in other societies had succeeded in protecting their cultures and recovering their sovereignty, independence, and homelands lost to colonization.

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They began to resist assimilation and to petition for recognition of territorial rights. As these movements gained force, it was perhaps inevitable that they'd come in conflict with conservationists. And as conservation became global in its reach, conflicts with large international organizations like the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the Nature Conservancy, the Africa Wildlife Federation, and Conservation International occurred on every continent. The sad consequence of this discord is that proven land stewards like the Maasai of Eastern Africa, the San Bushmen of Botswana, the Karen of Thailand, the Ashaninka of Peru, and the Kuna of Panama have in one way or another declared themselves "enemies of conservation."

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Mark Dowie is an investigative historian. This article was adapted from his seventh book, "Conservation Refugees: The Hundred Year Conflict Between Global Conservation and Native People," and portions of the article appeared in Resurgence, Orion, and Stanford Social Innovation Review.

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California: Salvage Logging does more harm, cost more than letting the forest naturally recover

The Environmental Protection Information Center on the north coast is among those that often files such actions opposing salvage timber sales on public land in the north state. “There are no ecological benefits to salvage logging,” said Scott Greacen, the group’s executive director.

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The U.S. Forest Service announced plans last November for a 155-acre salvage logging sale, saying the dead trees left on land torched by wildfires near Junction City and Big Bar could fuel future fire storms. But the Forest Service dumped those plans last month after an economic analysis of the sale and discussions with Trinity River Lumber Company in Weaverville, said Lance Koch, district ranger in Weaverville. He said steep terrain in the area would have meant logging the area with helicopters. “Basically (harvesting the trees) was going to cost more than we would make on the sale of them,” he said. “It would have been an upside-down timber sale, as they say.”


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While salvage logging has its supporters – who say it is a way to make money to pay for thinning and other projects to reduce fire danger – projects often are stalled either by economic obstacles or legal challenges. Declines in the housing market translate into decreased demands for lumber. That means that sawmills are paying about half of what they did 10 years ago for logs, said Herb Baldwin, Redding district manager for Sierra Pacific Industries. Salvage logging is often on remote land and the harvest is usually brought in by helicopter or cables, he said. Both methods are more expensive than traditional tractor logging, and there is a time crunch to collect the timber before it is eaten and stained by insects or softened by rot.

The company next month will complete salvage logging on 9,000 acres of its private land in Shasta County after last year’s wildfires. “It’s been a struggle to make those salvage operations economical,” Baldwin said. Costs jump even higher when appeals and lawsuits slow salvage logging on federal land.

Snags and logs that remain after a fire provide crucial habitat, Greacen said, and the suits are aimed at keeping the downed trees where they fall. He said his group and several others had been prepared to appeal the Forest Service’s planned salvage logging near Junction City and Big Bar, called the Down River Salvage Project. Koch said he’d already received opposition letters from two conservation groups – the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center in southern Oregon and the Conservation Congress in Lewiston, Mont.

The district is also planning to thin about 5,000 acres of woods near Junction City, Big Flat, Big Bar, Del Loma, Burnt Ranch and Denny as part of the Down River Community Protection Project, Koch said. Although forest officials had yet to calculate the cost of the thinning, Koch said it would be covered in the district’s annual budget for fuels reduction. He said the district is now looking at a possible 250-acre salvage of timber stands on Ironside Mountain north of Big Bar that burned last year. That lumber could be cut as early as this fall. But economics could again stop the project just as they did the Down River project. “We didn’t want to take on a project if it couldn’t at least pay for itself,” Koch said.

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Australia: 22 arrests as 300 rally for mother’s day defense of ancient forests

300 people attended the rally at the start of the controversial new logging road. A diverse range of people were arrested including veteran forest campaigner Geoff Law, a local woman in her seventies from Westerway and a 17 year old male.


Photo: Matthew Newton http://www.matthewnewton.com.au

Speakers including Tim Morris MP, Geoff Law, and acclaimed photographer Rob Blakers addressed the crowd, as well as local forest campaigners and Derwent valley residents. Police formed a human barricade across the road to try and prevent conservationists from entering the exclusion zone.

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Photo: Matthew Newton http://www.matthewnewton.com.au

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A number of Derwent Valley residents who have been lobbying the government to save the area crossed the line in peaceful protest and were arrested. This brought the total number of arrests to 15. 50 people then walked down Timbs Track, a walking track that parallels the logging area not in the exclusion zone. From there they walked through the rainforest and into the coupe. As a result police ordered logging contractors to stop work and their machines were locked into a giant cage that has been constructed. Once in the coupe, 7 further community members were arrested, bringing the total arrests to 22. 32 people have been arrested in the last week.

"The Tasmanian public has had enough of this government's rampant old growth logging regime, they have had enough of the lies that Forestry Tasmania pedal to try and prop up their obviously unsustainable industry, and they have had enough of seeing their forests sold off with marginal returns to the tax payer and massive profits for climate criminals Gunns ltd." Said Mr Hill. "Today's rally highlights the massive amount of support for the campaign to end old growth logging. David Bartlett must solve this dispute swiftly if he doesn't want it to become an election issue, which it most likely will as the majority of Tasmanians want to see an end to this wood chip driven madness. The huge diversity of people from all walks of life here today confirms that this is a mainstream issue that average Tasmania's want solved before it is too late for our old growth forests," said Mr. Hill.

Local residents of the Derwent Valley have exhausted all other avenues of campaigning. They have been refused a meeting with Premier Bartlett and Primary Industries Minister David Llewellyn several times. Now as the chainsaws and bulldozers tear apart this ancient forest, what option to these people have but peaceful community protest?" said Ed Hill. The 22 arrested were taken to Hobart where they are currently being processed, they have been charged with trespass.

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Mexico: Drug war is destroying forests, making a drug ring of traditional peoples

After a silence as pregnant as his gaze, the Indian ends up talking: "They come; they kill the trees and afterwards we have to choose: either we leave our lands or we stay to grow their drugs." The region with the richest biodiversity in North America is located in Mexico's far north, at 1420 meters of elevation, in the heart of the Western Sierra Madre. These lands, rugged and inhospitable, have been inhabited by Tarahumara, "the light-footed people," for close to 2,000 years.

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Today, these peaceful people are threatened by narco-trafficking which threatens the very essence of their culture and the equilibrium of their environment. "Narco-trafficking violence is a thousand-headed snake. When you cut one head off, a hundred grow in its place," explains a Tarahumara Indian, who intends to stay alive, and, consequently, to remain anonymous.

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"Don't think my word is worthless," he defends himself, "but what I'm going to relate to you could cost me my skin."  In this Mexican narco-trafficking war, massacres of unspeakable violence are commonplace, even in the most inaccessible parts of the country, such as the canyons of the Sierra Tarahumara.

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Last August, Mexico discovered with horror the killing that took place in broad daylight in Creel, a little village set at the summit of the Sierra Madre. Four luxury vans arrived out of nowhere and their occupants fired on a hundred people, leaving many wounded and 13 dead, including several children and teenagers.copper.canyon.ext.hiking.jpg

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British Columbia: Movie about saving the last ancient forests

Part 1:

This is a powerful new documentary by Jeremy Williams about the campaign to protect the last old-growth forests and forestry jobs on Vancouver Island and BC's South Coast.

The fight for ancient forests exploded in 1993 on Vancouver Island in Clayoquot Sound, where thousands of people joined efforts to save the old-growth rainforests, including Dr. David Suzuki and Australian rock band Midnight Oil.

In recent years a resurgence in environmental concerns, partly triggered by Al Gore's climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth", has also been accompanied by a massive expansion of the ancient forest movement again on Vancouver Island, as thousands of environmentalists and forestry workers join together in solidarity at mass rallies in Victoria organized by the Wilderness Committee.

Part 2:

Join 70 000 Canadians and become a member or donate tothe Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Canada'slargest grassroots, membership-based wildernessprotection organization.

Donate online on the left side of our website http://www.wcwcvictoria.org

Part 3:

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Maryland: Campus-wide resistance to land clearing leads to “protestabration”

Students and professors say the University of Maryland administration is missing the forest for the trees by planning to bulldoze nearly 9 acres of woods on the sprawling 1,400-acre campus to make way for maintenance sheds, a mail-handling depot and a parking lot for the university's buses and trucks. "The university says they're going to become carbon neutral by 2050, but they make a decision to cut down 9 acres of forest on the campus," said Davey Rogner, a senior from Silver Spring who's majoring in environmental restoration. He and others plan to stage what one student leader called a "protestabration" Friday at the arboretum festivities, to highlight their concerns about how the loss of the woods conflicts with the university's commitment to the environment.

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He and others plan to stage what one student leader called a "protestabration" Friday at the arboretum festivities, to highlight their concerns about how the loss of the woods conflicts with the university's commitment to the environment. University officials say they need to use most of the 15-acre wooded hill behind the Comcast Center to relocate support facilities that are to be displaced by the redevelopment on east campus that will bring more stores, eateries, entertainment and graduate student housing. They say putting the maintenance operations anywhere but on the wooded tract would be too costly or pose too many environmental problems. Anne G. Wylie, vice president for administrative affairs, suggests it's the critics, not the administration, who might need a refresher class in sustainability.

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 "This is a very complicated problem," she said, adding that she sees no conflict between bulldozing woods and the university's campaign to be rated one of the nation's greenest schools. The overall aim is to develop a more compact, walkable campus and reduce the amount of driving by students, faculty and staff, she explained. "It's not just about preserving trees."

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Krygzstan: Extinction threat to the original Apple species that led to all commercial species

The Red List of Trees of Central Asia identifies 44 tree species that are threatened with extinction; the ‘original’ apple tree Malus sieversii, from which all domesticated varieties of apples were developed, is on the list: Compiled by international scientists and published by Flora & Fauna International, in collaboration with , the Red List of Trees cites over-exploitation, human development, pests and diseases, overgrazing, desertification and fires as the main threats to the trees and forests of Central Asia.

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The forests of Central Asia, with their incredibly rich diversity of fruit and nut trees, are of global significance. The conservation of this unique inheritance is paramount, not only for the region but for the whole international community. It is therefore imperative that the international community provides the necessary financial resources,investment and training to build the capacity of scientific institutions, nature conservation and forestry agencies, botanic gardens and germplasm banks to manage and conserve this unique heritage effectively.The region’s state forestry agencies and protected areas network require substantial investment and capacity building. With so many challenges faced by these agencies, training in the development of participatory forestmanagement plans, local community engagement, rural development and natural resource management is urgently needed. Many of the state agencies lack basic equipment and infrastructure such as uniforms, horses or vehicles, communication equipment and ranger posts. In order to alleviate the immediate pressures on forests from firewood collection and illegal logging, pilot projects that provide alternative sources of energy to villagers should be trialled, assessed and rolled out.

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RedListCentralAsia.pdf (539 KB)

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India: Last Rainforest in Sri Lanka needs more protection

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Sinharaja forest is the only undisturbed rain forest left in Sri Lanka. It is about 9000 hectares in extent. Many of the plants are very rare. Over 60% of the tree species are found only in the lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka. n 1988 the Sinharaja was made a national wilderness area. in 1989 UNESCO included the  Sinharaja forest in the world heritage list, as the first national heritage of sri lanka. The Sinharaja forest is home to many rare animals, birds, butterflies, insects, reptiles and trees. Ferns and mosses grow well as the climate is humid because of heavy rainfall.

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Studies have recorded 145 species of birds. Some threatened species of birds are found in the Sinharaja . among them are the blue magpie, the white –headed starling and the ash-headed babbler. Studies have recorded 45 varieties of reptiles. These include snakes, lizards and tortoises.

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The viper and the cobra are among the venomous species. Conservation of Sinharaja is of vital necessity. It ensures the maintenance of water resources. It also controls floods, which is a constant threat due to heavy rainfall in the area.

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Vietnam: Illegal logging in North & Central Provinces

Many locals, hired to protect the forests, have colluded with illegal loggers while park rangers have been involved in bloody battles over the protection of the forests. In mid-April, park rangers of Son Ha Forest in Quang Ngai Province spotted two people illegally carrying logs, Thanh Nien learned. Ranger Nguyen Quoc Bao chased the two but was attacked by another two accomplices of the violators. He suffered a broken arm and seriously injured hand.

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On April 21, Le Hoang Son, chief park ranger of Dong Giang District in Quang Nam Province had to ask for police protection after being harassed by an illegal logger who continuously sent messages threatening to kill him. Son said the suspect was Tran Duc Lam of Da Nang City, who had previously been fined for illegally transporting logs. Some illegal tree-cutters have even stormed the office of park rangers who have seized their logs and means of transport. In the latest case, illegal loggers congregated at the Forest Management office of Lang Son Province’s Huu Lung District and shouted at rangers and traffic police who had seized 46 logs from them two days earlier, Vietnam News Agency reported.

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Nong Quang Dai, vice chief of Huu Lung Forest Management, said the district has been a “hot spot” for illegal logging activity for years. He said the loggers use chainsaws to cut down trees and carry them using bicycles, motorbikes, trucks and even three-wheeled vehicles intended for use by war invalids. Dai said the 6,700-hectare Huu Lien Forest contained many valuable trees and some residents hired to protect the forest have conspired with illegal loggers to cut down trees.

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He also said local authorities in Huu Lien Commune had agreed to protect 4,000 hectares of forest for VND100,000 (US$5.62) per hectare, but they in turn handed the job over to residents for VND90,000 per hectare, keeping a small fee for themselves and paying no attention to the protection work. In the first quarter this year, Huu Lung park rangers unearthed 220 cases of illegal logging, and confiscated 55 cubic meters of logs and several vehicles. Nguyen Thanh Ha, a forest inspector in Phuoc Son District in Quang Nam Province, said a recent investigation from April 28 to May 6 led to a seizure of 42.2 cubic meters of illegal logs.

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How our lives were like long ago…

cherry-history
Long live the trees, Deane

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Australia: Surprised logging last Native Forests in NSW is unsustainable?

A report by the NSW Auditor General, Peter Achterstraat, has found that logging practices in northern NSW native forests are unsustainable and unprofitable. “The native forests managed by Forests NSW on the North Coast are being cut faster than they are growing back. This will eventually result in a reduction in the available timber,” Mr Achterstraat said.

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The report also revealed that native forest operations in NSW ran at a loss of more than $14 million in the 2007-08 financial year. “I can only see this loss increasing as Forests NSW continues to look for new sources of hardwood timber and the costs of harvest and haulage increase,” he said. The timber industry’s peak body, the NSW Forest Products Association, responded by saying that if the costs of environmental management and compliance were stripped, then the industry would be in a healthy state. Susie Russell from the North East Forest Alliance said the report validates what the Alliance has been saying for many years. “The logging industry in north-east NSW has no long-term future. Forests NSW has failed to check its estimated timber supplies against actual volumes obtained, or to update its estimates based on areas that have already been logged as required by various Forest Agreements…

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“It is now abundantly clear that our forests are not in the ‘safe hands’ we are told, nor are they  managed for the long-term benefit of the people of NSW. They should be managed as carbon sinks, biodiversity stores and water reservoirs. Mining them for timber is no longer acceptable,” Ms Russell said.

A full copy of the Auditor General’s report is available online at http://www.audit.nsw.gov.au

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RIP: New York’s tree defender Hildegard “shotgun-totin’ granny” von Waldenburg

EAST NASSAU – She was a spunky woman everyone loved, even if they once stood at the business end of her shotgun. The spry German immigrant, who with her husband, Fritz, lived off the land and the many animals they keep on their small farm, quickly ascended to folk hero status. She appeared on the Court TV network and made guest appearances on several radio talk shows from Boston to Seattle. Newspapers in Dusseldorf, Germany, carried the tale of the “Weffen Oma” (“Weapons Grandma”. She turned down a guest spot on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=797207


For all New York Tree News: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/north-american-tree-news/new-york/

Hildegard “shotgun-totin’ granny” von Waldenburg, who received worldwide attention after her 1999 arrest for using a shotgun to run off a five-man town road crew cutting trees by her rural farmhouse, died Sunday. She was 89. When asked about the sales of her book, she said she received enough to pay medical and electric bills. “You see, German people are very frugal so they are just cutting it out of the newspapers for free,” she said the time. “She was a fascinating woman with an indomitable spirit,” said Terry Kindlon who was her attorney during the criminal case. “It was a privilege to know her.” Kindlon said her case struck a cord with the common man. “At the end of our days we worry about our significance in the face of gigantic government,” Kindlon said. “She stood up to them in her youth and as a grandmother.”

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At the age of 79, von Waldenburg was arrested by State Police at her Cold Water Tavern home on a menacing charge after brandishing a old rusted 20-gauge shotgun to chase off a Nassau town roadwork crew trying to cut down her hickory and oak trees. She kept the gun by her door to keep foxes away from her chickens and ducks. At the time, she said, she did not think she had any other options. “They were rugged men with big muscles. I’m a little German woman. They’d do nothing but laugh,” she said in Times Union story about the incident. Joe Meizinger was the road boss of the stunned crew staring down the barrel of the gun that day. “It was one of those things that reminds you you never know whats going to happen,” Meizinger, now retired, said. “That’s too bad that she died. I never held any bad feelings at all for her. She just loved her trees. Thats all.”

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Scott Gallerie became highway superintendent just after the incident. “She was a character, no doubt,” said Gallerie, who now works for Rensselaer County and got to know von Waldenburg. She even invited the crew over for tea. “She was truly a good lady just doing what she thought was right” he said. “She eventually let us trim some of her trees after we showed her what we were going to do first. I remember she said no one ever explained it to me like that before.'” Gallerie said the crew was more upset about the ribbing they got around the garage in the months after the incident. The criminal case was eventually dropped and even though the gun was not loaded it was a shot heard around the world.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=797207

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Oregon: Another $51 million to thin federal forests for better or worse?

How do we really know if we hurt or harm a forest when we thin it? The lack of accountability in forestry in the past has been addressed a bit more on US federal lands in recent decades… But how can we be sure? As someone who loves to drive the back roads of National Forest lands, why do I so often see forests that were thinned so much that the soil dried up and most all of the remaining trees are dying off? Overall thinning forests does nothing more than mimic catastrophic events like wildfire, diease outbreaks, storm caused blowdown, erosion and landslides. The greater the extreme of mimicing, the less resilient the forest is to unavoidable future (naturally occurring) catrostrophic events. Keep all this in mind as you read the article below. –Editor, Forest Policy Research

Read more about how Thinning Harms Forests:
http://forestpolicyresearch.com/tag/thinning-harms-forests/

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Oregon will get $51 million in federal cash to put people to work in the woods in coming months to reduce fire hazards and improve forest conditions. The state will share $9 million more with Washington state for work on the Blue Mountains, in the eastern portion of the two states. Oregon received the largest share of $240 million in projects for 26 states announced today by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. California netted $31 million, and Washington state got $3 million. This is the second round of forest-related projects flowing to Oregon from more than $1 billion appropriated to the U.S. Forest Service.

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Still more Oregon projects are expected in funding rounds soon. Details about the Oregon projects were scarce. The Forest Service regional office in Portland was barred from discussing the projects, referring questions to Vilsack’s agency, which didn’t return calls. An abbreviated list distributed by the White House to Oregon’s congressional delegation did not say how many jobs the projects would create. The project list contained few specifics, listing $28 million going to “eight county hazardous fuels reduction” without identifying the counties. The list did show hazardous fuels projects of $1.5 million in Central Oregon, $1 million in Deschutes County and $1.3 million in Jackson and Josephine counties. — Les Zaitz, leszaitz@news.oregonian.com

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2009/05/feds_announce_more_money_for_o.html

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Read more about how Thinning Harms Forests:
http://forestpolicyresearch.com/tag/thinning-harms-forests/

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Australia: Recent Direct Action forest defense in Upper Florentine

For the most recent previous article about this campaign go here:
http://forestpolicyresearch.com/2009/05/02/australia-forest-defender-set-on-fire-by-cops/

60 Police have raided camp Florentine this morning to remove road blockades so that logging of the contentious area can begin. An Exclusion Zone has been declared by Forestry Tasmania, to prevent public access to the area. A Hobart man has already been arrested for being in the exclusion zone. More arrests are expected today. Three conservationists are positioned 50 m up tree platforms blocking the access road and log landing.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://upperflorentine.blogspot.com

Two conservationists are chained to vehicles cemented into the road. Another is occupying a tunnel that has been dug under the road preventing access to the old growth logging area. “It’s disappointing to see, once again, Tasmania Police being the public escort for Gunns Ltd and Forestry Tasmania’s ruthless plans to log our remaining old growth forests into extinction. 80% of the forest that will be logged will go to Asia to make wrapping, toilet and writing paper. Is this how we want our iconic world heritage valued forests to be remembered?” said spokesperson Ed Hill. “The logging industry is facing massive cutbacks and a stagnant wood chip market. Ports are drowning under wood chip stockpiles, yet this government insists on continuing to decimate the pristine, carbon dense forests of the upper Florentine for woodchips.” Said Mr. Hill

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://upperflorentine.blogspot.com

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MP Daniel Hulme claims activists have put lives at risk by setting up booby traps. He said they were to blame for a trap in the Styx Valley, which Forestry Tasmania said could have seriously injured or killed a timber worker. A strand of fencing wire was strung between two trees in a forestry coupe last month, 30 metres above the ground so the wire could not be seen from the ground, Forestry Tasmania told police. A contractor discovered the trap after a tree limb was snapped by the wire as a tree fell to the ground, fortunately missing the faller. Such traps redirect the path of falling trees or limbs, meaning workers, believing they are standing in a safe spot, can be struck. The discovery followed a $1.2 million arson attack the week before on forestry equipment in the Lower Florentine valley. No charges have been laid over either incident. Mr Hulme is convinced anti-logging activists are to blame, saying "tying cables between trees as they did in the Styx" was one example of how they were putting lives at risk.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/activists-lay-booby-traps-in-forests-mp-20090504-arvy.html

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Two people have been arrested and a third is hiding in a tunnel in the latest flare-up in the Upper Florentine Valley. At dawn this morning about two dozen police converged on Gordon River Rd. Forestry Tasmania plans to resume logging in the area. Officers arrested a 21-year-old woman from South Australia and a 24-year-old Hobart man. Three other protesters secured themselves in tree-sits and woman secured herself in a tunnel under a van concreted to the road. Rescue squad police are working to extract the woman and dismantle the tree-sits. About 20 protesters have been maintaining a vigil at a protest camp in the area since Forestry Tasmania built a road into a contentious old-growth coupe.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2009/05/04/70795_tasmania-news.html

Read about all forest issues in Australia here: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/oceania-tree-news/australia/

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Interview: British Columbia Marmot specialist Andrew Bryant

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Photos are of Marmots from all over the world thanks to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmot

A while back I wrote a summary of what’s wrong with the Marmot recovery effort in British Columbia and I listed 8 specific issues. Recently Marmot Biologist Andrew Bryant contacted me and replied to each and every issue I raised (see below). In addition Andrew also promptly responded to 6 interview questions:

1) Question: 50 years from now what’s the optimistic reality for Marmots?

Answer: My newborn grandchildren WILL get to see marmots in the wild (if they choose to look).  I wouldn’t have spent 22 years on this if I didn’t believe in the project.

2) Question: 50 years from now what’s the most likely reality for Marmots?

Answer: Small (<1000), fragmented population, genetically healthy, but requiring ongoing management and monitoring

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3) Question: Do you do other work to study / protect endangered ecosystem, such as Ancient Native Forests?

Answer: Yes.  Old-growth forest songbirds, burrowing owls, grizzlies, bats, spider monkeys, Rarotongan flycatchers. Curiously I agree with Ingmar about most forestry issues…I just disagree with misconceptions about marmots.

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4) Question: What makes SARA ineffective in the  conservation of displaced, threatened, at risk, and endangered species?

Answer:
Unlike the US system, there is no funding automatically associated with designation. Note that the Vancouver Island marmot was the FIRST species listed as endangered in Canada. In 1978.  Nothing much happened until MacMillan Bloedel offered a million bucks in 1997. Call it “guilt money” if you will, but I frankly don’t care (I actually think they made a very sound business decision). In any event, that contribution kick-started the real on-the-ground recovery effort, and without it we would only be talking about marmots in the past tense.

5) Question: Have you involve yourself in the reform of SARA?

Answer: Yes and my involvement is ongoing. In particular, the whole notion of “critical habitat” was ill-conceived (by bureaucrats) and is scientifically indefensible and impossible for any practicing scientist to calculate. That’s why it’s omitted from most recovery strategies. Even for a species such as the Vancouver Island marmot, for which such voluminous geographic distribution data are available. The public just does not “get this” and assumes some perverse government conspiracy. My word! How would one even go about defining “critical habitat” for polar bears or orcas? In my humble opinion, the EARTH is the “critical habitat”.

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6) Question: You claim zero destruction of natural Marmot habitat,…

Answer: Yes. Logging did not destroy natural marmot habitat. At no time and no place.  However, and this is a big however, logging has profoundly altered many other things of great importance to marmot populations. Predators. Deer. Marmot density. Marmot dispersal. Forest regeneration in clearcuts formerly occupied by marmots. It’s complicated. Again I encourage you to read the published science and would be more than happy to talk. There is too much published nonsense about marmots, so I applaud you for wanting to get the facts straight.

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Hi Deane,

My thoughts on your various points. Let me know if you want copies of any of the cited science… I would be happy to provide any of these as PDF files (free).

1) Preventing species extinction is only possible if it’s “affordable.”

Response: That statement is a no-brainer.  If one has no money, practical recovery work on the ground is impossible. Budget restrictions this year are apparently really hindering field monitoring efforts, as Crystal correctly reported in her interview.

2) Deforestation / causation of habitat destruction is not explained.

Response: The progressive pattern of logging/deforestation has been described here:
http://rparticle.web-p.cisti.nrc.ca/rparticle/AbstractTemplateServlet?calyLang=eng&journal=cjz&volume=74&year=1996&issue=4&msno=z96-075 There has been zero destruction of natural marmot habitat (precisely because marmots do not live in forests), as is explained here: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/recoveryplans/rcvry1.htm

3) Humans tracking technology is the only way to assure recovery?

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Response:
No it isn’t. But radio-telemetry and systematic monitoring is the only way to find out if recovery efforts are working, or if not, WHY they’re not working.  What would be the point of breeding and releasing marmots if you don’t know what happens to them? See:http://rparticle.web-p.cisti.nrc.ca/rparticle/AbstractTemplateServlet?calyLang=eng&journal=cjz&volume=83&year=2005&issue=5&msno=z05-055

4) Long-term Inbreeding from a small remnant population is less valid than the first ever year of “successful” breeding in the wild Vancouver Island marmots are not highly inbred.

Response: DNA evidence shows very high maintenance of existing variability. See here: http://www.springerlink.com/content/309l3888u1303n44/?p=ca087dfb883040088e6bb2359e7e8fd2&pi=24 By the way, 2008 was not the first year of successful breeding in the wild…it was the first year that offspring of captive-born-and-released marmots themselves reproduced in the wild.  In short, the original captive-born animals became grandparents (Aaltonen et al., Biological Conservation, in press).

5) Outrage related to Eagle / other predator control slaughters is not  worthy of mention. I was outraged as well by the eagle kills as these were undertaken independently by the BC government without discussion.

Response:
That was wrong (although the BC government does have legal authority over such things). However, there have been no further or broader “predator control slaughters”.  This despite growing evidence that the primary cause of mortality is predation by golden eagles, cougars and wolves.  See here: http://rparticle.web-p.cisti.nrc.ca/rparticle/AbstractTemplateServlet?calyLang=eng&journal=cjz&volume=83&year=2005&issue=5&msno=z05-055

6) Motivation of funders of the program is not explained as a corrupted / flawed mitigation for Marmot habitat destruction

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Response: Please help me out here:  What habitat destruction again?  Where?  When?  By what mechanism?  As to the motivation of funders, I like to think that the scientific evidence made for a compelling case for landowners to exercise some stewardship, for governments to govern, and for individual conservationists to put their money where there mouths were.

7) Signing a petition and making an almost extinguished species a Olympic Mascot will bring accountability / resolution to the problem.

Response: Going from ~70 animals in the wild in 1997 to over ~150 in the wild today makes them “almost extinguished”?  I’ll be very surprised if we don’t break 200 in 2009.  But, yes, I don’t expect any conservation miracles to emerge from the Olympic/Mukmuk exercise.

8) Zero-accountability for what happens if the captive-breeding program fails because the destroyers now have an option to make excuses for not paying. I mean it doesn t really have to matter to them anymore because they already got the habitat destruction they wanted, right?  Your thoughts on this?

Response: What failing captive-breeding program are you referring to? The annual population growth rate (lambda = 1.31) is highly positive. See here: http://rparticle.web-p.cisti.nrc.ca/rparticle/AbstractTemplateServlet?calyLang=eng&journal=cjz&volume=83&year=2005&issue=5&msno=z05-056

Overall response:
Referring to your point #1, if we hadn’t had any money, I believe Vancouver Island marmots would already be extinct. You can ascribe motivations all you want.  However it is fact that MacMillan Bloedel Limited was the first “big player” to step up to the plate, and without that initial contribution it is likely that Marmota vancouverensis would now be extinct.

Andrew
——

Read about all forest issues in British Columbia: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/north-american-tree-news/british-columbia/

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Your firewood ash is radioactive & wildfire is nuclear fallout

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While cleaning ashes from his fireplace two years ago, Stewart A. Farber mused that if trees filter and store airborne pollutants, they might also harbor fallout from the nuclear weapons tests of the 1950s and 1060s. On a whim, he brought some of his fireplace ash to Yankee Atomic Electric Co.’s environmental lab in Bolton, Mass., where he manages environmental monitoring. Farber says he was amazed to discover that his sample showed the distinctive cesium and strontium “signatures” of nuclear fallout – and that the concentration of radioactivity “was easily 100 times greater than anything [our lab] had ever seen in an environmental sample.”

Please value the writer & producer of these words: Science News – August 10, 1991

Since then, he has obtained wood-ash radioactivity assays from 16 other scientists across the nation. These 47 data sets, representing trees in 14 states, suggest that fallout in wood ash “is a major source of radioactivity released into the environment,” Farber says. With the exception of some very low California readings, all measurements of ash with fallout-cesium exceeded – some by 100 times or more – the levels of radioactive cesium that may be released from nuclear plants (about 100 picocuries per kilogram of sludge).

Ash-cesium levels were especially high in the Northeast – probably because naturally high levels of nonradioactive cesium in the soil discourage trees from releasing fallout-derived cesium through their roots, he says. Industrial wood burning in the United States generates an estimated 900,000 tons of ash each year; residential and utility wood burning generates another 543,000 tons.

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Already, many companies are recycling this unregulated ash in fertilizers. The irony, Farber says, is that federal regulations require releases from nuclear plants to be disposed of as radioactive wastes if they contain even 1 percent of the cesium and strontium levels detected in the ash samples from New England. If ash were subject to the same regulations, he says, its disposal would cost U.S. wood burners more than $30 billion annually.

Please value the writer & producer of these words: Science News – August 10, 1991

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Poetry: After the Revolution…

In the not too distant future…

In cover of night nocturnal ones

Steal our every last scrap of barren ground

Always more tree seedlings everywhere…

And no sooner do we clear ground for our own warm sun

That they show up again!

An age old war of ax and leaf once almost won by us

Has taken a turn for the worse! And now no matter how hard we try

All our axes and all our saws keep disappearing

Reappearing as fresh young determined trees

Now an almost lost civilization is terrorized by sunsets

Because it’s when the treeplanter’s awaken from slumber

When we take cover, when we hide from their terrorisms,

From their destroying of our once profitable way of life?

The war we’d never thought we’d lose has buried

Our dreams in a grave of green… So many tree bombs they drop on us…

How many more tree bombs will they throw at us?

Centuries of over-redundant unending saplings of truth

Digging in an defending their foxhole

For centuries successfully defending themselves from our

Now nearly lost and demoralized armies

And we once nearly conquered them all… Since then so many of our people

Have been lost to their treeplanting relentlessness. So much feeding them has been lost

To their determination to fight us… even though they themselves

Threaten their very own ability to breathe and grow leaves… Imagine!

Who really are these trees?

By DeaneTR

5/3/09

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