376 PNW-USA

Index:
–Washington: 1) Year in jail and fine for ancient forest poacher, 2) Systematic lack of enforcement of criminal landslide loggers, 3) Logging for White oaks,
–Oregon: 4) 35 acre thin on Umatilla NF, 5) Not all the blame on enviros? 6) Juniper logging / Bundling,
–California: 7) Largest Damage recovery for a wildfire, 8) Last of Tahoe’s pure water wonder, 9) Mountain Lion corridor for Santa Cruz population, 10) Los Padres logging suspended by judge, 11) State Supreme Court says loggers are liable for ESA damages, 12) 1,400 square miles of forest cleansed by fire, 13) Headwaters deal finally fails in Supreme Court, 14) Firefighters destroying roadless area in Dillon creek, 15) Thinning works but Forest Service priorities are still wrong,
–Montana: 16) Thinning, fires and housing, 17) Northeast Yaak Project in court over grizzly habitat,
–Idaho: 18) Sen Craig’s bathroom stall interpretation of forest issues,
–Arizona: 19) Restoration Product integrity? 20) Mt Graham Red Squirrel extinction,
–Colorado: 21) Don’t Sign roadless manipulation, 22) Why not leave the land alone?
–Texas: 23) 23 century-old trees lost at the construction site in Austin
–Iowa: 24) 22 acres of impressive oaks torn apart by Tornado
–Ohio: 25) $10 million in damages sought from Ohio Edison
–Pennsylvania: 26) Save 31 white oak trees
–Northeast Forests: 27) Ozone and acid rain cuts down on forest growth! –Alabama: 28) Alabama Power Co. turns homeowners in tresitters and protesters, –USA: 29) Does fire harm our forest ecosystems? 30) Many species thrive from fires, 31) Hurricanes must be taken into account in predicting carbon storage,

Articles:

Washington:

1) A sentence was finally given for the 2004 theft of 27 old growth cedars from national forest land near Lake Wenatchee. For stealing the trees — aged 400 to 600 years — Kevin John Moran, 49, of Camano Island was sentenced to a year and a day in federal jail and a fine of $37,688. Moran, who entered a guilty plea in November, will have three years of supervised probation after his sentence is served. The trees were taken to mills in Western Washington. Forest Service Special Agent in Charge Tom Lyons tried to capture what has been lost: “These trees simply cannot be replaced in our lifetime. Mr. Moran took a portion of the last remaining stand of old growth cedar trees in the lower White River drainage.” Despite that, Judge Fred Van Sickle of the Spokane District Court, let Moran off pretty easily. Theft of government property — such as gigantic, irreplaceable cedars — is a Class C felony, which means a maximum sentence of 10 years or less, and a fine not to exceed $250,000. In this case the fine was comparable with the estimated market value of the trees. The logging was reported by a concerned citizen a year after the theft occurred. Moran was identified because he had a vehicle on the property and also owned nearby land. http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/environment/archives/143853.asp

2) “I don’t feel that there is a burden of responsibility that is taken seriously,” Tom Badger, a DOT geologist, told The Times. “I really think there is a systemic problem.” The state Department of Natural Resources may have been lenient when it comes to requiring the recommended geologic reviews when forest products companies try to clear cut land near state highways, according to a special report published by The Seattle Times this week. The Times looks at a number of examples, particularly highways in Grays Harbor County. The Department of Natural Resources has not been requiring the necessary geological reviews to indicate if landslides could put public safety or public resources at risk, The Times reported. Department of Transportation scientists have been so frustrated and concerned that they have created their own system to monitor roadside logging plans, according to The Times. DOT officials have raised concerns on about 20 logging sites within recent years along state highways, asking the Department of Natural Resources to require geological reviews before issuing logging permits. The Times reports that site visits happened at about half of those sites and state DOT geologists continue to spar with state foresters about logging plans above highways. http://www.thedailyworld.com/articles/2008/07/20/local_news/04news.txt

3) South Sound residents don’t have to visit Washington’s old-growth rain forests to get a glimpse of the state’s living history. It’s in the lustrous leaves and rugged branches of surviving Oregon white oaks, which once dominated South Sound prairies and still loom over some neighborhoods in Tacoma, Lakewood, Parkland and points south. “People don’t realize how long-lived they are,” said Connie Harrington, an Olympia-based forestry researcher who since 1999 has led a team of U.S. Forest Service scientists studying Washington’s only native oaks. Oregon white oaks can live 500 years or more, given the right circumstances. So it’s possible that some of the South Sound’s larger specimens may have sprouted before explorers such as Lt. Charles Wilkes entered Puget Sound in 1840. Historically, Oregon white oak habitat ranged from British Columbia – where they are commonly called Garry oaks – to California. But the trees now occupy less than 1 percent of the area where they once were concentrated. “It’s incredible how much oak woodland has been lost,” said Robin Dobson, a U.S. Forest Service botanist based in Hood River, Ore. The reason? In urban areas, people have cut oaks to make way for roads, homes and businesses. On commercial timberlands, more valuable conifers have supplanted oaks. Elsewhere, oaks have died or are slowly dying because they can’t compete with larger and more vigorous Douglas firs. But as Harrington and her colleagues have found, oaks thrive if given a chance. All that’s needed is to take them out of the dark. “Oak trees love the sun,” said David Anderson, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist based in Klickitat County, which at 195,000 acres has the state’s largest concentration of Oregon white oaks. “They really don’t like shade.” Biologists cite the oaks’ importance to scores of species, perhaps most famously the vanishing Western gray squirrel. Its home on Fort Lewis includes 3,600 acres of oaks in areas that could be divided by the proposed cross-base highway. The Army began trying to save oaks about 10 years ago by cutting firs that blocked the sun and selling the timber, said Jeff Foster, the post ecologist. Harrington’s group has based much of its study on Fort Lewis, which provided several hundred thousand dollars in support, Foster said. The results have validated the post’s oak conservation efforts. “Even if these trees are pretty far gone, it looks like they can recover,” Foster said. Oregon white oaks are vital to wildlife as a source of food and a refuge for for insects, birds and mammals. http://www.thenewstribune.com/front/topphoto/story/412910.html

Oregon:

4) MILL CREEK CANYON — Loggers will soon thin out 35 acres in the Umatilla National Forest to reduce the risk of forest fires in a 700-acre watershed that supplies 85 percent of Walla Walla’s water. “This land is the first stage of our water treatment … the water is naturally filtered here,” said Special Projects Engineer Hal Thomas, pointing out that a fire there could seriously damage the Mill Creek Watershed and its ability to filter snow and rain runoff. On Friday, Thomas and City Councilman Jim Barrow hiked through a 35-acre parcel of Oregon land that is owned by the city, checking out how much thinning will take place. “Nature has a way of taking care of the problem if you don’t, and sooner or later it’s going to burn,” said Barrow during the 45-minute drive to the area located near Tiger Canyon Saddle. If the entire watershed did burn, Thomas said silt levels in Mill Creek could drastically increase for as many as five years, forcing the city to rely more on costly well water. And he added that the city might also be forced to require water conservation programs to some 10,000 families and businesses. “We just don’t know how long those ground water resources would last,” Thomas said. “Almost all these trees have the mistletoe fungus,” the consultant said as he scanned the tops of larch, spruce and Alpine fir trees. “What you look for is a tree that has a healthy crown and is not diseased.” Douglas estimates it will take a four-person crew about one month to harvest around 200,000 board feet of lumber and 40 tons of pulp from the area. But he also pointed out it’s a small logging operation, which means the city might end up having to pay to make this project profitable to bidders. The good news is the state of Oregon is willing to help pay for 75 percent of the costs, up to $20,000, but only for a project completed this year. “We want to get it done now while there is support from Oregon,” Thomas said. He pointed out there is still the possibility the project could end up making money if the bids come in high enough. On Monday, a number of bidders will inspect the 35-acre lot. After their inspection, they will have until July 31 to bid how much they will pay for the lumber and pulp, and how much they will charge to clean the remaining waste material. Thomas added that even though the project covers a little less than 10 percent of the watershed, the area to be thinned is the only road access point for miles. So the city wants to keep the fuels low in case of a human-caused fire, he said. http://www.union-bulletin.com/articles/2008/07/19/local_news/0807203watershed.txt

5) I must take issue with putting all the blame on enviros with their hands-off ideology. As a former Oregon logger and present forest restoration professional with 40 years working in the woods, I have watched big timber companies liquidate over 95 percent of old growth in the feeding frenzy of the go-go years of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Few in the industry thought of the economic future of the rural folks they employed. Few gave a thought to what kind of forest they were creating. Few recognized the extreme fire hazard they were creating with logging practices that left 20 or 30 tons of slash an acre where there had been 5 or 10 tons, or 1,000 to 2,000 peckerwood trees an acre where there had once been 20 to 30 mature and old growth trees. No one thought of the ecological consequences of short 50- or 60- year rotations creating in many places green deserts of unthinned plantations of Douglas fir and p. pine monocultures – that liquefy in forest fires, the loss of wildlife habitat once the 10-year browse bloom of huge clear-cuts brushed over, and conifer replantings failing to take on native hardwood sites. In short, treating our diverse and productive forests as if they were agricultural croplands. Yes, we should be able to salvage logs where site conditions allow (it shouldn’t be allowed on steep 60-percent slopes and on erodible granitic soils except by chopper – and that is expensive as hell with current fuel costs). Enviros were right about salvage operations removing merchantable trees and leaving brush, slash and smaller ladder fuels which also create high fire hazard. That’s why the litigation. In sum, the timber industry is responsible, along with government agencies that allowed these bad practices, for its own decline and the decline of once-viable rural communities. Boom and bust has been the name of the game. Untold suffering and degradation have followed. And catastrophic fires. As a Native American, I am proud of the legacy of healthy forests we passed on to you to take care of. But I am saddened by the way you have squandered this precious gift from the Creator and the heritage and responsibility now of all of us. http://www.trinityjournal.com/news/2008/0723/Opinion/019.html

6) The return of logging to Harney County could be right around the corner. It may not be the days of old when large pine trees rolled out of the forest on log trucks, but the harvesting of juniper for biomass fuel could provide both jobs and energy. Last week, July 8-10, a crew from John Deere was in town to demonstrate how juniper could be harvested and bundled, ready for transport to an energy-producing facility. Mike Schmidt, forestry biomass manager for John Deere, said they wanted to demonstrate how juniper could be used for product. “It is an invasive species, and if it is harvested, landowners will be reclaiming the rangeland for forage and water,” he said. Working on a slope of land a few miles from town, a stand of juniper was cut using a carbide blade, mounted on the front of a feller-buncher. Depending on the terrain and the density of the stand, Schmidt said the feller-buncher could cover 20 to 30 acres a day. Once the trees are cut, a slash bundler moves in. It picks the trees up whole and places them on a high-tech compactor. Using 150 tons of compression, the juniper is compacted into 30-inch diameter bundles, wrapped with twine and cut at a designated length. The slash bundler can handle trees up to 20 inches in diameter and averages about 20 bundles an hour.
Because of their design, neither the feller-buncher nor the slash bundler have much of an impact on the land. “They’re not dragging anything on the ground, there’s no ground pressure, so soil compaction is a non-issue,” Schmidt said. He then invited those in attendance to take a walk through the harvested area to see for themselves. Once the juniper is bundled, it can lay on the ground for several years and not lose its usefulness. “The bundles are compacted so tight, they won’t shrink,” Schmidt said. “They will dry out, which will make them weigh less, and that will result in lower transportation costs.” On average, enough juniper can be harvested on one to two acres to fill up a log truck.Another benefit is that the entire tree is used, so there are no slash piles left behind. Schmidt stated that because the machinery is designed using the latest technology, they hope to attract more young people to the industry. “Training to operate these machines is available, and they use a simulator much like an airplane simulator,” Schmidt said. “And they’re good paying jobs.” http://burnstimesherald.info/2008/07/16/bundles-of-energy/

California:

7) U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said the settlement marks the U.S. Forest Service’s largest damage recovery for a wildfire. The Omaha, Neb.-based company agreed to settle after a federal judge in Sacramento ruled against it in February, Union Pacific spokeswoman Zoe Richmond said. U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. had said the federal government could seek damages far beyond the previous legal benchmarks — lost market value of burned trees and the cost of fighting the fire. He ruled that a jury also could consider the loss of public recreation, scenery and wildlife, as well as wilderness areas with old-growth trees that never would have been logged for sale. That would allow the government to seek significantly higher damages. In this case, the government estimated that could be as high as $190 million, a figure the railroad was disputing, according to court records. “A precedent has been set here … that will let us assess the true, inherent value of forest land,” U.S. Associate Attorney General Kevin O’Connor said during a news conference in Sacramento. He said the case would serve as a national model for the Forest Service and Justice Department. Federal officials also announced that U.S. attorneys in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Utah have dedicated teams to recover damages from people and entities deemed to have started costly wildland blazes. “It’s sending a message that their negligence in setting a fire has consequences,” O’Connor said. An estimated $600 million in such damages could be recovered nationwide from fires set on Forest Service land, said Mark Rey, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the head of the Forest Service. The Union Pacific settlement is the result of a lawsuit filed after a fire about 100 miles northeast of Sacramento that started in August 2000 and burned more than 52,000 acres in the Plumas and Lassen national forests. It was contained after three weeks at a cost of $22 million. It later was determined that sparks from welders repairing tracks set it off. Richmond, the company spokeswoman, said railroad employees thought they had extinguished the sparks that were burning alongside the tracks. Union Pacific said a passing train probably blew them back to life. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j1f06PQqcTOgJFBwGM3fLvOatHGQD9237M6O0

8) Thirty-nine trillion gallons so pure, so clear, it might as well be air. For me and my family, Lake Tahoe is a delightful new experience. A recent move pulled us from Wyoming and planted us in Reno, Nev., on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. From our foothills perch, we look east across the huge, desert-dry reaches of the Great Basin. In the other direction, over an 8,900-foot pass, lies Tahoe. It pulls us like a psychic magnet. Getting to know a new landscape is always a worthy activity, and particularly one as diverse and rewarding as Tahoe. Ringed by mountains of brilliant white granite, it is the largest alpine lake in the country: 22 miles by 12 miles and 1,645 feet deep at its deepest point. It never freezes. Even in winter the blue seems to glow from within like a piece of sky among the peaks. Wherever you go along its 72-mile shoreline, the lake always is a splendid, oceanic emptiness, cold and limpid and strangely remote. You can’t take your eyes off it, but almost everything you do is on the margin. It’s a rich margin, including four wilderness areas in three national forests; six state parks; seven major ski resorts and six smaller ones; hiking trails, bike paths and back roads measuring thousands of miles; two cities and several small communities, home to more than 35,000 people; historic mansions, tacky strip malls, posh restaurants, quirky bistros, lodges both tony and rustic; and, of course, neon-flashing casinos on the Nevada side. The menu of outdoor activities can feel overwhelming. What to do next? Ski, hike, ride a bike, paddle a boat, climb a rock, catch a fish, loaf along the beach? Do them all, and you’ve hardly begun, but I’ve given it a good try. http://www.denverpost.com/travel/ci_9915167

9) Professor Jim Thorne, a wildlife habitat ecologist at UC Davis, has identified the two remaining crucial connection points, or “corridors,” the lions need to use to get from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the rest of the state: Coyote Valley north of Morgan Hill, which connects the Santa Cruz and Northern Diablo Mountain ranges; and the Pajaro Valley, whose river bisects the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Gabilan Mountains near Watsonville. Following this trail, a determined mountain lion could reach the Tehachapi Mountains, which connects the Coast Range with the southern end of the Sierra Nevada. Thorne fears these two areas could both disappear under subdivisions if they are not protected now. A recent plan to build 26,000 homes and a mixed-use office park in Coyote Valley was withdrawn in March when it seemed clear the San Jose City Council might not support it, but other development proposals are in the making. The Pajaro Valley is two-thirds agricultural fields but has no permanent development exemptions and little protected open space. “The likely issue is that there probably isn’t enough space on the Peninsula to have a population that is self-maintaining genetically speaking, without having space to come and leave and mix with other populations,” said Thorne. “There’s enough roads springing up that the Santa Cruz Mountains are in danger of being isolated from the rest of California, at least from the perspective of a mountain lion.” For a sense of what that vision might entail, a person need look no further than the Santa Monica Mountains, a slightly larger range that was long ago cut off from the rest of the state, habitat-wise, with the construction of Highway 101. Officials with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area estimate that five mountain lions, at most, continue to exist there — less than half the number they have known of since 2002. Park officials are now working with the California Department of Transportation to build a highway underpass, just for the mountain lions, that would connect with the Simi Hills to the north. The first effort to count the number of mountain lions in the Santa Cruz range, as well as record their health and habits, got off the ground last year at UC Santa Cruz. With the help of a trapper, the Bay Area Puma Project will collar and track 10 pumas at a time as they make their way across the mountain range and points beyond. http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_9939662

10) A federal judge has blocked a U.S. Forest Service plan to have commercial loggers remove trees burned on 1,000 acres in Los Padres National Forest during the 2006 Day fire. U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu ruled last week that the Forest Service could not move ahead with the project as planned without more environmental review of the potential effects, but it could take steps to allow some foresting, such as salvaging trees in an area of less than 250 acres. John Kuyper, executive director of Los Padres ForestWatch, said the environmental group filed suit in February because of concerns that commercial logging would lead to damaging soil erosion. “We recommended they use Forest Service crews to cut down the trees and then leave them in place, instead of allowing logging companies to come in and take them to the sawmill,” Kuyper said. “Cut trees left in place do not cause ground disturbance, in contrast with commercial logging, which uses heavy equipment that leads to soil compaction.” Kuyper said commercial logging also often involves dragging the multi-ton trees to a central location, leaving “slide trails” that can cause erosion.Kathy Good, a Los Padres National Forest spokeswoman, said the trees need to be removed because they could fall onto roads used by tourists and pose a safety hazard. She said the plan is to remove only those trees that are hazardous. “The reason for bringing in a commercial logger is that we don’t have the staff for the job and we hoped to have some use made of the trees,” Good said. Good said she could not comment on specifics of the judge’s decision or plans. Forest administrators were unavailable for comment Thursday because they were dealing with fires in Los Padres, she said. http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/jul/18/plan-to-remove-burned-trees-barred/

11) The California Supreme Court gave new protection to the state’s endangered species Thursday, ruling unanimously that developers, loggers and other commercial interests may be required to compensate for unforeseen wildlife losses. The ruling, which affects both public works and private development, threw out a long-term logging plan approved by the state for 200,000 acres in Humboldt County, a plan that lower courts put on hold several years ago. The state high court said the Department of Forestry had approved an “unidentifiable” plan that was still a work in progress and then delegated its completion to the logging company. Justice Carlos R. Moreno, writing for the court, called the Forestry Department’s action illegal and an abrogation of its duties. The California Department of Forestry “failed to proceed according to law,” Moreno wrote. Although companies need not compensate for species killed in natural disasters out of the industry’s control, they must mitigate for wildlife losses when the company’s conduct contributed to them or when a natural disaster makes the commercial activity more threatening to endangered wildlife, the court said. “When natural disasters change baseline conditions, then logging activities that previously would not have had a significant impact on endangered species may now have such an impact,” Moreno wrote. Industry critics expressed fears that the ruling could deter companies from entering into voluntary conservation plans. Paul Weiland, a land-use lawyer who represented the building industry in the case, said developers might be reluctant to sign an agreement that requires them to compensate for unforeseen losses of wildlife above and beyond what they have been required to spend for mitigation to get the permit. Permits for the taking of endangered species can be in effect for several decades. Pacific’s endangered species permit was for 50 years. “The question is, who should bear that risk,” Weiland said. “People are willing to take on a permit when they feel they understand the risk, but when the risk is unknowable, people are less inclined to do it.” http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-me-endangered18-2008jul18,0,1646638.story

12) If every cloud has a silver lining, what good can be said of the big brown dome of wildfire smoke that capped much of California these past few weeks? Plenty, say ecologists who study the effects of fire on the landscape. While the siege of lightning-sparked fires continues to inundate parts of Northern California with hazardously smoky air, the blazes also consumed more than 1,400 square miles of dangerously overgrown forests and oak woodlands – the size of nearly three Lake Tahoe basins – leaving that much less fuel for future, more catastrophic and expensive fires. Federal land managers in California are retooling their firefighting strategies to capture more of the public safety, economic and environmental benefits of letting wildfires run their natural course without overwhelming the public with smoke and destroying homes. That’s a tough balancing act in the nation’s most populous state, which already endures the smoggiest and grittiest air in the country. But in a select few remote national forests, parks and wilderness areas, ecologists say, the federal government has been weaning itself off Smokey Bear’s admonitions with measurable success. “We didn’t have any injuries. We didn’t burn any houses, and we cleared out 15,000 acres of dense vegetation that hasn’t seen fire in decades and, in some places, a century – and that’s a good thing,” said Brent Skaggs, a U.S. Forest Service fire management officer who let nature take its course under close watch – and tricky weather – in the Clover fire that was recently contained in the Sequoia and Inyo national forests. Federal officials call it “reintroducing fire” to the landscape. Historically, wildfire smoke filled the Central Valley and draped the mountains flanking much of the summer and fall. Extinguishing the fires became a federal mandate with the creation of the Forest Service at the turn of the 20th century. http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/1091986.html

13) The California Supreme Court on Thursday chided two state agencies for approving the controversial $480 million Headwaters Forest deal under which the state and federal governments bought 10,000 acres of old-growth redwood groves and set standards for how the Pacific Lumber Co. would log a remaining 220,000 acres in Northern California. The court ordered the Scotia-based company, which is owned by Maxxam Inc. of Houston, to submit new plans addressing how it intended to log near watersheds. The justices said the Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Forestry and Fire wrongly agreed to protect Pacific Lumber from having to alter its endangered species protection plan if new animals become threatened. The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling culminates nearly 10 years of legal wrangling over two lawsuits filed by environmental groups and the United Steelworkers of America objecting to the 1999 deal. But the ruling has little immediate effect on Pacific Lumber’s logging activities in Humboldt County because the company has been operating under a different harvesting plan since a trial court judge first ruled against it in 2003. What’s more a federal bankruptcy judge last month awarded control of the bankrupt company to the Ukiah-based Mendocino Redwood Co., which has promised to significantly slow tree-cutting and is supported by environmentalists. Officials with Mendocino Redwood didn’t return a call for comment. Scott Greacen, head of the Environmental Protection Information Center, which sued the state and Pacific Lumber along with the Sierra Club, said the Supreme Court ruling written by Justice Carlos Moreno will force the state to better consider endangered species protection when approving timber harvest plans. “This is a stunning victory for the environment and for holding government agencies accountable,” Greacen said. http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_9913501?nclick_check=1

14) Here is the incident report from the other day that they hooked a Rock Creek dozer line into the GO road. I believe this had to go through the Dillon Creek Roadless area. Rock creek is the most intact creek around and the logging is shaking houses on the property I’m living on many miles away because they are falling so much old growth where no one lives. Notice the fire immediately went over the line, same as at the Wooly Creek fire which I have photos of if anyone wants them. They may also want to put a dozer line into the Elk Valley area near Dillon Creek. It is famous for being the reason for the GO road throw down in the 80′s and the Salvage Rides throw down of the 90′s. Any one who thinks they can put the pressure on the Six Rivers and Klamath NF, or local representatives should. This is roadless, wilderness, and sacred areas in one of the wildest places in the lower 48. It is also the area where the craziest logging showdowns in the last twenty-five years have happened for the Klamath River area. It is also threatening zero houses yet they are building dozer lines and roads like crazy. http://saveancientforests.blogspot.com/2008/07/hells-half-acre.html

Idaho:

15) With a sweep of her hands, Carol McCoy-Brown shows off the park-like setting of Warm Lake, where well-spaced pine trees loom over a forest floor nearly free of underbrush. She points to the rustic wood-frame cabins that dot the Forest Service land in the mountains southeast of McCall – all spared last August by a forest fire that burned right to the community’s doorsteps. McCoy-Brown, a district ranger with the Boise National Forest, credits a nine-year, $1.6 million Forest Service program to thin trees and clear flammable brush with keeping the 300,000-acre Cascade Complex fire at bay last year. “It costs a lot less to do these projects than it does to fight a wildfire,” she said. But taxpayers didn’t see the savings. The Forest Service did fight that fire, at a cost of more than $53 million. While dollars and people were devoted to this and other forest fires around the West, preventive programs – like the one at Warm Lake – were put on hold. And fires rob federal agencies of more than just the resources needed to keep homes and cabins safe in the future. In big fire years – which, thanks in part to a century of suppression, are now more common than ever – money and manpower are diverted from recreational needs, environmental preservation and even timber sales. Scientists and land managers say the forests need fires to be healthy. http://www.idahostatesman.com/102/story/449460.html

Montana:

16) In the dense woods near here, the U.S. Forest Service says it has found the “sweet spot.” That’s what Dave Atkins calls the area where environmental, economic and social concerns overlap, a spot on the landscape where the needs of nature and humans are balanced. “As we demand more of our natural resources in the West, we have to adapt our management,” said Atkins, the acting Ninemile district ranger on the Lolo National Forest. In the modern West, development is converting many rural areas into a problematic “wildland-urban interface,” but Forest Service officials believe they’ve found the answer in their Frenchtown Face restoration project. The $1 million project, which started in May after six years of planning, is designed to reduce the risk of severe wildfires and restore the forest’s health, while producing jobs and revenue for the local economy. It is one of the largest stewardship contracts in the Forest Service’s Northern Region, and work will continue through 2014. Developers are building a growing number of homes alongside the national forest boundary, where wildfires in 2000 heightened public concern about the potential for even more intense fires. (One of those fires, called the Black Cat, came with a vengeance last summer.) The project includes commercial logging and thinning on 3,600 acres that border 1.5 miles of private land and homes. Prescribed burning is planned on another 10,000 acres to reduce fuels and enhance wildlife forage. About 4,600 acres will be sprayed for noxious weeds, and 19 major culverts will be replaced or removed to allow fish passage. Also, nearly 115 miles of roads will be decommissioned, and improvements are slated for campgrounds, picnic areas, parking areas, trailheads, and off-highway vehicle, mountain bike and horse trails. Under the current project, trees larger than 19 inches in diameter are being left alone, while smaller trees are being selectively cut and underbrush is being removed with chain saws and prescribed burns. “We were making a killing, the Forest Service was losing and the money was going elsewhere under the old-style timber sale contracts, but this isn’t like that,” said Scott Kuehn, a procurement forester with Tricon Timber. “It’s much more complicated and it has different benefits for everyone involved. It’s more about restoring the forest than regenerating” it for future logging. http://missoulian.com/articles/2008/07/23/news/local/news04.txt

17) The fate of a logging project in extreme Northwest Montana is in the hands of a federal judge who must decide if the project is bad for grizzly bears. The issue at hand centers around the Northeast Yaak Project in the Kootenai National Forest, which is a combination of helicopter logging and habitat restoration that the U.S. Forest Service says will improve grizzly bear habitat. However, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies says the project will only drive grizzly bears closer to extinction in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem. The first logging in the area began last month, so the alliance asked judge Donald Molloy in Missoula to stop the project, but he refused to do so. Both sides spent Thursday arguing their case to Molloy in person. The USFS admits grizzlies might leave their core habitat to avoid the helicopters, but only for a short time, but the Alliance for the Wild Rockies counters that even that can be harmful to the animals. The alliance is also arguing that the project will affect bears in other ways. Molloy said he’ll soon make a ruling in the case. http://www.montanasnewsstation.com/Global/story.asp?S=8694718&nav=menu227_

Idaho:

18) In Sen. Craig’s narrative we had sound forest management in Idaho’s forests from the time the Weyerhaeuser’s cut down the first growth of trees and the Forest Service put out all the fires. This age of enlightenment, in Craig’s forest history, ended in the 1970s when environmentalists came along and handcuffed the timber industry. Suddenly, overnight the forests filled with fuel and bugs and disease and made Idaho and the West’s forests unhealthy. Beginning in the 1980s the forests started burning and the federal government began letting them burn up. The gist of Craig’s folk forest history is that the only way to fix Idaho and the West’s forests is through logging. His basic story hasn’t changed since the early 1990s. The actual history is of course different, according to every forest scientist and historian around. Fire burned through different forest types in the state at different frequencies depending on the forest type, the climate and other factors. In southern Idaho’s ponderosa pine forest fire regularly burned every seven to 30 years thinning out the underbrush and young trees but leaving the thick-barked pines. Cattle ranchers moved in and grazed down the grasses, reducing the fuels that carried the frequent small fires. Miners and loggers cut down the biggest trees and left the species that weren’t marketable. Fire suppression eliminated the small fires. The number of trees per acre began rising. The national forests, protected by Teddy Roosevelt over the objections of Idaho Sen. Weldon Heyburn, were not intensively managed until after World War II. The only management previously was fire suppression, which became increasingly successful until after the war. But with most of the private forests of the Pacific Northwest now young and growing after harvests in the first half of the century, the national forests became the woodshed of the post-war nation. Timber companies were given long, large contracts to cut down forests that included both good and questionable forest practices. Environmentalists really didn’t have much impact on the harvest until the 1980s, when problems with water quality from poor roads and preserving endangered species led the nation to overcorrect at the same time Craig was building his career in Congress. http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2008/07/16/rockybarker/craigs_alternative_forest_history

Arizona:

19) Arizona Forest Restoration Products Inc. (AZFRP) explains how it can decline to receive cash compensation from the U.S. Forest Service in payment for ecological services rendered during the restorative thinning of Northern Arizona forests, while supporting the payment of $550 per acre by the Forest Service to the White Mountain Stewardship Contract. AZFRP confirmed today that it will decline to receive cash compensation from the U.S. Forest Service in payment for ecological services rendered during the restorative thinning of Northern Arizona forests. This position statement is fully in line with AZFRP’s stated intention, from its inception, to develop an economically sustainable engine to fund landscape-scale ecological restoration in Northern Arizona. Conversely, AZFRP will continue to support the payment of $550 per acre by the Forest Service to the White Mountain Stewardship Contract and the funding of this contract for its full 10 years. “These positions are not contradictory” said Pascal Berlioux, President & Chief Executive Officer of AZFRP. “Actually, they rest on the very simple economics of reality, and it may be useful to clarify them.” Simply put, it can cost up to approximately $1,055 to thin an acre in Northern Arizona (mobilization $15, cutting $205, skidding $155, loading $100, trucking $470, slash handling $45, road maintenance $15, overhead $50). If 550 cubic feet of round wood are retrieved per acre, as is reported for the White Mountain Stewardship Contract, and if this wood is sold for around $35 per ton, then the revenue is about $600 per acre. If there is no revenue from the biomass, as is the case with the White Mountain Stewardship Contract, the contractor can lose up to about $455 per acre, and it is logical for the Forest Service to compensate this contractor for their loss and to pay them a profit. If they did not, nobody would do the job. But this is not a solution sustainable either at landscape-scale nor indefinitely. Quite simply, there are one million acres identified in the “Consensus Scenario” of the Analysis of Small Diameter Wood Supply in Northern Arizona for which mechanical treatment is appropriate. http://www.wmicentral.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19863685&BRD=2264&PAG=461&dept_id=506172&rfi=6

20) We were going to see the scopes. The mountain was under lockdown. Armed guards, rented by the University of Arizona, blocked passage up the new road and patrolled the alpine forest on the crest of Mount Graham. Only certified astronomers and construction workers were permitted entry. And university donors. And Vatican priests. But not environmentalists. And not Apaches. The tail-lights of SUVs streamed through the trees, packing astronomers and their cohorts towards the giant machine eyes, on a road plastered over the secret middens of the mountain’s most famous native: the Mount Graham red squirrel. The tiny squirrel was once thought be extinct. A wider survey showed an isolated population on the mountain’s peak. In 1987, the squirrel was finally listed as a endangered species. Mount Graham is a sky island, a 10,700-foot-tall extrusion from the floor of the Sonoran desert, which has traveled its own evolutionary course since the last ice age, more than 10,000 years ago. The mountain is a kind of continental Galapagos, featuring seven different biomes, stacked on top each other like an ecological flow chart. At the very top of the pyramid (and the mountain) is a cloud forest of fir and spruce, the southernmost manifestation of this biome. This is an ancient forest, as stout and mossy as the fabled forests of Oregon. That’s where the squirrels hang out. Of course, the forests has been gnawed at over the years by loggers and the like, but there was still more than 600-acres of it left when the astronomers laid claimed to the area, with the ironclad brutality of a mining company. The University got its way because it has powerful politicians in its pocket, ranging from Bruce Babbitt to John McCain, and they used them relentlessly, especially the vile McCain. The university tapped McCain to push through congress the so-called Idaho and Arizona Conservation Act of 1988. This deceptively-titled law was actually a double-barrel blast at the environment: it gave the green light to illegal logging in the wildlands of Idaho and for the construction of the Mount Graham telescopes, shielding them from any kind of litigation by environmentalists or Apaches. To help sneak this malign measure through congress, the University shelled out more than a half-million dollars for the services of the powerhouse DC lobbying firm Patton, Boggs and Blow. The bill passed in the dead of night and, in the words of one University of Arizona lawyer, it gave the astronomers the right to move forward “even if it killed every squirrel”. http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair07162008.html

Colorado:

21) Sportsmen’s groups are pressuring Gov. Bill Ritter not to sign off on a soon-to-be-proposed rule regulating roadless areas in national forests. The rule, negotiated by the Ritter administration and the U.S. Forest Service, is expected to protect about 4.1 million acres but potentially open 300,000 acres to development, according to a consortium of conservation groups. The Forest Service’s timetable would adopt the rule before the Bush administration leaves office. “This rule leaves Colorado with less protection on its national forest than any other state in the country,” said Jane Danowitz, director for the Pew Charitable Trust public lands program. The Ritter administration, which took over the roadless plan from former Gov. Bill Owens, did add what it called “insurance policy” modifications to protect land. “Gov. Ritter’s goal on the roadless issue is the same as it is on all of these land-management issues — to strike a balance that protects our water, our mountains, our wildlife and our communities while allowing for responsible development where appropriate,” Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer said in a statement. Starting today, three outdoors groups are airing a radio commercial urging Ritter not to back the proposed rule. The Bush administration created the state planning program to supplant a 2001 rule, issued by outgoing President Clinton, protecting 58 million acres of roadless areas in national forests. Most states opposed the change, and a federal court upheld the 2001 rule. Only Colorado, under Owens, a Republican, and Idaho went ahead with state plans. Ritter inherited the roadless task force from Owens. http://origin.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_9965756

22) Where do you draw the line on developed recreation? The U.S. Forest Service has been asking that question since at least 1919, when a young landscape architect named Arthur Carhart was dispatched to northwestern Colorado to design a road around a remote lake. Why not leave the land alone? Carhart asked. His Forest Service bosses agreed, and Trappers Lake is sometimes called the cradle of wilderness. Now that question is being asked again, this time as the result of a proposal from the ski industry going before Congress. Legislation being readied by U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, a Democrat from Colorado, would broaden the allowed uses of national forests by ski area operators. “My bill would make it clear that activities like mountain biking, concerts and other appropriate uses can be allowed at these ski areas,” said Udall in a press release. Environmental groups, however, say Udall’s proposal is too broad. The bill, says Ryan Demmy Bidwell, executive director of Colorado Wild, a ski industry watchdog, “leaves the door open to urbanized recreation activities like roller coasters and water parks that are inappropriate anywhere on national forest land.” The Forest Service has long struggled with defining what is appropriate. Carhart himself wanted the Forest Service to enable the general public to enjoy national forests by building campgrounds and roads. The agency did, and after World War II, picked up the pace. A major partner – the largest single source of visitors to national forests – has been downhill ski areas. In deciding what is appropriate recreation, the Forest Service is guided first by a 1986 law that defines ski areas as being places that offer alpine and Nordic skiing. Not mentioned is snowboarding or, for that matter, many other uses occurring even then. http://www.telluridewatch.com/pages/full_story?article-Ski-Areas-Look-to-Expand-Recreation-Uses-
on-National-Forests%20=&page_label=news&id=115485-Ski-Areas-Look-to-Expand-Recreation-Uses-on-Na
tional-Forests&widget=push&instance=secondary_stories_left_column&open=&

Texas:

23) Outcries from neighbors in west Austin, near the Bee Caves Apartments under construction near Oak Hill, have put some pressure on city hall to fine a subcontractor for demolishing 23 century-old trees at the construction site. “There have been lots of calls from that area and lots of concerned citizens throughout the city who look at this as the worst violation of tree removals that they’ve seen,” says Pat Murphy, Austin Environmental Officer. He says the city has been investigating for some time violations that might be filed in municipal court. He says that decision was made and they are now pursuing, in municipal court, 20 violations. “The maximum fine is $2,000 per violation,” Murphy says. At the maximum penalty, that could add up to a total of $40,000 in fines for the subcontractor, Gillingwater Excavation. “Municipal Court has set a fine or fee schedule of $1,500 dollars and $10 per violation,” Murphy says. If city hall does not pursue the maximum fine, that would amount to a potential $38,500 break for Gillingwater and whatever other parties which could be named as potentially liable for the razed trees. Murphy says the city believes the incident was an honest mistake, because of the manner in which the trees were cut down. “Typically, if someone has done a limit of construction on their site and has basically made that a barrier, we have allowed them not to survey trees in those areas. In this case, unfortunately, that’s the very area that they’ve cleared.” http://www.590klbj.com/News/Story.aspx?ID=95216

Iowa:

24) DUNKERTON – The property featured 22 acres of impressive oaks. A few towering examples likely started growing 150 years ago. “There were probably a couple dozen monstrous ones,” Bobby Wheeler says. Four sentinels guarding the woodland’s northeast corner stood out as particular favorites. They served as a landmark for hunters and were Wheeler’s old friends. The stand of trees also contained a network of trails wide enough for Wheeler to navigate with an ATV. He maintained the property as a natural playground for his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He and his family were in the basement when a tornado passed on May 25. The National Weather Service estimates the EF5 that devastated portions of Butler, Black Hawk and Buchanan counties was 1.2 miles wide as the storm clipped rural Dunkerton. The tornado tore through Wheeler’s stand of trees north of town, toppling hardwoods and mangling evergreens. “Anything that was hard either broke off or tipped over,” Wheeler says. “It just totally changed the landscape. Everything got lowered by 50 feet, 60 feet maybe.” Cassie Wheeler remembers her father’s reaction. “He said he was close to crying.” Joe Herring, a district forester for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, understands the hurt landowners feel. “Most people who own woods and spend time in them, most of those people develop an emotional attachment to the property and the land,” he says. “The love of trees is old and has been around a long time.” Part of Herring’s job is to address what, if anything, might be salvaged in such a situation. First of all, he says, a severely damaged tree may survive. “You can really batter the hell out of a tree, and it won’t croak and die,” Herring says. Quality of life, on the other hand, may be an issue. Leaving the tree, and letting nature play out its hand, may not serve what Herring describes as a management plan for a sustainable forest. One option, though not always palatable to property owners, is to remove the damaged trees. “A salvage harvest,” Herring says, “… which is just like it sounds, to basically salvage what you can.” “If you have some serious damage, it can be in the timber’s best interest,” he adds. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-ia-exchange-trees-tor,0,5838683.story

Ohio:

25) LISBON – A Lisbon man is seeking more than $10 million in damages from Ohio Edison and the company they hired to cut down 39 trees on his property. On Monday, Wayne Wilson, of 37093 U.S. Route 30, filed a motion to amend his complaint against Ohio Edison, specifically naming the damages he seeks and adding a defendant to the case. Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike approved the motion Tuesday and allowed the complaint to be amended. The amended complaint seeks compensatory damages in excess of $50,000 and putative damages of $10 million. The compensatory damages include “the value of the trees cut and timber unlawfully removed, as well as the diminution in value of the premises,” the complaint states. Penn Line Service, Inc., of Scottsdale, Penn., the company hired by Ohio Edison to remove Wilson’s blue spruce pine trees on Feb. 6, was added as a defendant in the amended complaint. Asked for a comment regarding Wilson’s complaint, Tricia Ingraham, a spokesperson for FirstEnergy, the parent company of Ohio Edison, said, “We do this kind of vegetation management work as part of our ongoing effort to provide safe and reliable electric service to our customers.” “Utilities are under pressure from federal regulators to make sure there are not outages resulting from contact with power lines. Many utilities have taken a more aggressive stance that if trees are under the lines, they need to come out. And we do have easements in place that allow us to perform the work,” Ingraham said. Ohio Edison holds a transmission easement over Wilson’s property. In the mid-1980s, Wilson planted the trees on his property to “ensure privacy and enhance the value of his property,” the complaint states. In March 2007, Ohio Edison said the trees posed a threat to transmission lines and requested Wilson agree to cutting down 50 trees, the complaint states. In December, Pike granted Wilson a temporary injunction against having his trees cut, but in January denied a permanent injunction, ruling Ohio Edison could technically cut the trees, though he recommended the utility wait until the case could be heard on its full merits. Ignoring the recommendation, Ohio Edison cut the trees in February. After Ohio Edison cut the trees, Wilson erected crosses on the land where the trees once stood. Wilson later requested Pike recuse himself from the upcoming trial because of Pike’s denying permanent injunction, but Pike ruled in May he will not recuse himself. A March 3, 2009 trial date has been set to determine if Ohio Edison acted properly when cutting down the trees. http://www.salemnews.net/page/content.detail/id/503617.html

Pennsylvania:

26) A grove of 31 white oak trees sits on the edge of property owned by Sandra Simpson and Jim Sorenson on Aderhold Road. Three of the trees may be a risk to the couple’s property, including one tree that could crush their garage. Since the grove is borough property, Simpson and Sorenson requested council’s intervention, but now they wish they hadn’t. At last week’s meeting, council authorized resident Paul Foertsch and his tree service to handle those three — in exchange for the wood from 20 more. Foertsch says he’s taking a gamble. Between the trees’ questionable density, nails from old tree houses and other flaws, the trees could be worth little as lumber, he said. Other sources place the potential value of the trees at three to four times what Foertsch would normally earn to cut them. Simpson and Sorenson have circulated a petition to stop the trade. They are working with other residents to put together alternatives, including seeking grant money and community service labor from the county to clear trails, add picnic tables and turn the grove into a park. They’re also searching for evidence that, both financially and ecologically, council could be missing the forest for the trees. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_577491.html

Northeast Forests:

27) “Just like we breathe in air through our mouth and lungs, these plants take in air through their leaves and take in the pollution just as we do,” said Andy Finton of The Nature Conservancy. Finton says ozone has cut down on forest growth. “The productivity of northeastern forests has been shown to be decreased by ozone by up to and greater than 10 percent,” he said. That’s just one new finding on the impact of air pollution on New England, published in a report just released by The Nature Conservancy called “Threats From Above.” “This study has shown that air pollution affects more ecosystems than we ever thought before and more severely than we thought,” said Finton. And with forested land covering 60 percent of the state our trees are telling a story. “Recently there’s been tremendous die-off of oak forests in southeastern Massachusetts,” he said. The victims of many stresses including acid rain, a by product of air pollution. “The oak forests are very susceptible to the acid component of pollution,” said Finton. “Because these forests are already very acidic they don’t have much leeway in getting more acidic.” Mercury emissions from power plants are also finding their way into local ecosystems, cutting a path through the soil into the water. “We’ve got hot spots of mercury, especially in these white mountains even north central Massachusetts has a real hot spot of mercury,” Finton told WBZ. Namely the Merrimack River, tagged for high levels of mercury traced back to air pollution. “By reducing the effects of air pollution we will have vital systems for generations to come,” Finton said. http://wbztv.com/local/air.pollution.the.2.776317.html

Alabama:

28) Barbara Wilson of Jacksonville, Alabama (above right) had never been an activist before. But when a representative of the Alabama Power Company appeared at her front door last year and told her the company going to chop down the three 75-year-old pecan trees in her front yard, she decided not to take it lying down. The power company had recently changed its longstanding policy of trimming trees underneath power lines to one of cutting them down. Wilson told the company she’d do everything in her power to stop them, and she put up signs in her yard and started a petition to save the trees. Fellow Jacksonville resident and longtime Sierra Club activist Rufus Kinney saw Wilson’s signs and stopped to talk with her. And on the morning Alabama Power arrived to chop down the trees, they found Wilson and Kinney in folding chairs, chained to the trees, a crowd on hand, and Wilson’s grandson Jake up in one of the trees, telling the power company to “leave my Nana’s trees alone!” The power company set another date for removal, and this time not only were the two again chained to the trees, an even larger crowd and media were on hand. The company then sued Wilson and Kinney, who retained the pro bono services of Birmingham attorney Mark Martin (below at left, with Wilson, Kinney, and key supporter Derek Raulerson), who had successfully represented the Sierra Club before. Among other findings, Martin revealed that similarly situated trees in wealthier locales were being trimmed, not cut down. In March 2008, a county circuit judge ruled that Alabama Power’s new policy was illegal and there was no significant evidence it would increase safety. The company announced it would appeal the decision, but on June 18 it officially dropped its case against Wilson and Kinney. “We received so much support from total strangers who appreciated us standing up for something we believed in,” says Wilson. http://sierraclub.typepad.com/scrapbook/2008/07/activists-stand.html

USA:

29) This year, as in every previous year, fires are occurring in the forests of the western United States. And, as in previous years, we read the predictable headlines about how many acres of forest were “destroyed” by wildland fires. Of course, when fires burn houses, this is a catastrophe, and we must redouble efforts to prevent this through programs to clear brush immediately adjacent to homes and encourage fire-resistant roofing and siding. But the question remains: Does fire harm our forest ecosystems? Recent scientific evidence is providing answers that contradict many long-held assumptions. For example, contrary to popular belief, there is far less fire in our forests now than there was historically. In the 19th century, prior to government fire suppression programs, the average annual area burned was eight to 10 times higher than it is now. Over the past few decades, fires have increased somewhat, but still remain well below their natural levels in western forests. Increasingly, forest managers are realizing that, despite increased spending on fire suppression, fires cannot be indefinitely kept at unnatural levels in ecosystems that are adapted to frequent burning. Flames several stories high make dramatic and sensational images, and tend to be the focus of coverage on television, giving the public a skewed impression of how fires affect our forests. In fact, the majority of the area burned each year generally experiences low- or moderate-intensity effects in which flames slowly creep along the forest floor and most of the trees survive. In the areas where most of the trees are killed by fire, scientists are making some of the most interesting and counter-intuitive discoveries. Far from being destroyed, these areas show some of the greatest rejuvenation and ecological richness. In such areas, natural conifer regeneration occurs, often with thousands of seedlings per acre after the fire. Some conifer species, in fact, require high-intensity fire in order to release their seeds and reproduce. These effects are perfectly natural in western forests. Historically, most of these conifer forests had mixed-severity effects. Some stands remained green and lightly burned while all trees were killed in others. Moreover, some of the highest levels of biodiversity are found in the most heavily burned areas for both wildlife and plants. Many flowering plants and shrubs depend upon fire for germination and reproduction. http://www.theunion.com/article/20080723/OPINION/319918154/1056&parentprofile=-1

30) From my perspective as an ecologist, I have become aware of one of nature’s best-kept secrets —there are some plant and animal species that one is hard-pressed to see anywhere outside a severely burned forest. Consider the black-backed woodpecker. This bird species is relatively restricted in its distribution to burned-forest conditions Everything about it, including its jet-black coloration, undoubtedly reflects a long evolutionary history with burned forests. This (and many other) woodpecker species rely on the larvae of wood-boring beetles, some of which are so specialized that they have infrared sensors allowing them to detect and then colonize burning forests. Many additional bird species, including the mountain bluebird, three-toed woodpecker, and olive-sided flycatcher, also reach their greatest abundance in severely burned forests. And then there’s the fire morel, which occurs only in severely burned forests. This has been a boom year for morel mushrooms at the local farmer’s market precisely because of last year’s severe forest fires in western Montana. An appreciation of the biological uniqueness of severely burned forests is important because if we value and want to maintain the full variety of organisms with which we share this Earth, we must begin to recognize the healthy nature of severely burned forests. We must also begin to recognize that those are the very forests targeted for post-fire logging activity. Unfortunately, post-fire logging removes the very element—dense stands of dead trees—upon which many fire-dependent species depend for nest sites and food resources. With respect to birds, the effects of post-fire salvage harvesting are uniformly negative. In fact, most timber-drilling and timber-gleaning bird species disappear altogether if a forest is salvage-logged. Therefore, such places are arguably the last places we should be going for our wood. We need to change our thinking when it comes to logging after forest fires. There is potential economic value in the timber, yes, but there are numerous other values in a burned forest. And the prospect of losing those values must be weighed against the potential economic gain that may accompany postfire timber harvest. Burned areas are probably the most ecologically sensitive places from which we might extract trees. http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/severely_burned_forests_one_of_natures_best_kept_secrets
/C41/L41/

31) In the March 2002 issue of the journal Environmental Pollution, Steven McNulty, USDA Forest Service Southern Global Change Program Leader, suggests that the effects of hurricanes must be taken into account in predicting the carbon storage capacity of US Forests along the southeastern seaboard. At least one major hurricane hits the southeastern US coastline two out of every three years. Over 55 percent of the land in the southern U.S. is forested: timber damage from one hurricane can exceed $1 billion – and significantly reduce carbon stored. “A single hurricane can convert ten percent of the total annual carbon storage for the United States into dead and downed forest biomass,” said McNulty. “Hurricanes leave behind a lot of dead trees that decompose and return carbon to the atmosphere before it can be harvested.” McNulty analyzed hurricane damage data collected between 1900 and 1996 to address three issues related to carbon sequestration. First, he looked at how much carbon is transferred from living to dead carbon pools when trees are broken or uprooted. Second, he explored what happened to the downed trees – whether they were salvage logged, burned, or consumed by insects. Finally, he examined the long-term impacts of hurricanes on forest regeneration and productivity. McNulty found that even though hurricanes do not immediately change the state of carbon in a downed tree, a large amount of accumulated forest carbon is lost in the years following a major storm. For economic reasons, most of the wood from hurricanes is not salvaged. Not only is carbon lost as trees decompose, but the downed wood becomes fuel for wild fires that can kill surviving vegetation and release additional carbon dioxide. “If increased carbon sequestration is going to be one of the mechanisms used to reduce net emissions of carbon dioxide in the United States,” said McNulty, “incentives to increase post-hurricane timber salvage need to be addressed. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020325080253.htm

375 Latin America

–Mexico: 1) Mangrove protection keeps fishing industry afloat
–Brazil: 2) New forest monitoring satellite in 2011, 3) Minister lies about deforestation increases, 4) Xenophobia spreads among gov. leaders, 5) Pact for Legal and Sustainable Timber, 6) ‘self-suspended’ FSC certifier loses court decision,
–Guatemala: 7) Mel Gibson speaks on Mirador Basin Project, 8) Carmelita forest concession, 9) Alternative forest products,
–Guyana: 10) Sawmill reacts to Gov fines by firing 300 people / shutting down, 11) Lost Land of the Jaguar,

Articles:

Mexico:

1) A study of the fishing industry off the west coast of Mexico has measured the financial consequences of mangrove forest destruction. The scientists behind the study say this is the first detailed research to put a dollar value on the potentially irreparable damage being done to these coastal ecosystems. Mangrove trees form forests that grow at the edge of the sea, and provide a home for a wide variety of species. Octavio Aburto-Oropeza of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, and his colleagues selected 13 marine regions around the Gulf of California and on Baja California’s lower Pacific Coast. Baja California is sparsely populated, and the mainland Gulf states of Sonora, Sinaloa and Nayarit largely have natural coastlines, where fishing is a vital source of food and income. Within these 13 regions, the authors looked at fisheries records of about 9,150 fish landings between 2001 and 2005. The crucial zone within these regions is the seaward ‘mangrove fringe’, just 5–10 metres wide, where tide-flooded red mangrove plants (Rhizophora mangle) provide feeding grounds or nursery habitats for many species. During that period, fishermen averaged annual hauls of 10,500 tonnes of fish and blue crab, worth US$19 million for the 13 regions combined. Roughly one third of all the small-scale fisheries landings in the area were of fish species which rely on mangroves as a habitat. This economic value reinforces the need for governments to preserve mangroves, the researchers say. “Without a coastal mangrove ecosystem, the cost of food can only increase,” says Aburto-Oropeza. In the past, the Mexican government has sold mangrove areas for around $1,000 per hectare. Yet the study by Aburto-Oropeza et al. shows that, on an annual basis, mangrove zones produce a median value of $37,500 per hectare. “And governments need to think about a generational value,” adds Aburto-Oropeza. His team estimated that, considered over a 30-year-period, the mangroves should be valued at more than $600,000 per hectare. http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080721/full/news.2008.966.html

Brazil:

2) Brazil will launch a satellite in 2011 to monitor deforestation and urban expansion around the world, it has been announced. Amazônia-1 will carry a UK-made high resolution camera. The United Kingdom—Brazil collaboration was announced last week (14 July) at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Society for Progress in Science. It is part of the continuing UK—Brazil Partnership in Science and Innovation, and stems from discussions between governments and research partners that began in 2007 during the UK—Brazil Year of Cooperation on Science and Technology. Amazônia-1 will orbit the Earth 14 times a day at a distance of 400 miles, collecting images of several countries. It will have three cameras in total, two of them made in Brazil and one made in the UK. The UK camera, RALCam 3, will be made by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory based in Oxfordshire, and will provide images with each photo pixel showing ten metres of actual terrain — a technology without precedent in a Brazilian satellite. The photos will aid environmental observation and inform natural resources management. It will be easier, for example, to identify illegal activity in forests, particularly in the Amazon and Congo rainforests, the two largest in the world. Other applications include mapping of remote areas, and coastal and disaster monitoring. ‘A few weeks after the launch, the satellite will start sending information,’ Thyrson Villela, director for satellites and applications at the Brazilian Space Agency, told SciDev.Net. The data will then be freely available to Brazilian research centres and those in countries all over the world. Having access to this information will help other tropical forest countries to fight their environment issues. http://www.environmental-expert.com/resultEachPressRelease.aspx?cid=4791&codi=34575&idproduct
type=8&level=0

3) The environment minister on Tuesday revised downward the forecast for Brazilian Amazon rain forest deforestation in 2008, based on a slight slow-down in May statistics. But independent government experts said the May data were inconclusive because clouds obscured more than half the forest from satellite images. A preliminary analysis by the government’s Space Research Institute showed 423 square miles (1,096 square kilometers) of rain forest were cut down in May, down from 440 square miles (1,140 square kilometers) in April. At a news conference in Brasilia, Environment Minister Carlos Minc estimated that deforestation in 2008 would reach about 5,000 square miles (13,000 square kilometers) of rain forest cleared, down from earlier forecasts of between 5,400-5,800 square miles (14,000-15,000 square kilometers). Brazil’s Amazon lost 4,250 square miles (11,000 square kilometers) of rain forest in 2007. The Space Research Institute warned, however, that it was too early to say whether rain forest destruction was slowing because 53 percent of the rain forest was obscured by clouds in the satellite photos taken in May. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/15/america/LA-Brazil-Amazon-Destruction.php

4) With Amazon deforestation accelerating, Brazilian politicians and senior officials are increasingly portraying foreign groups working in the forest as a threat to national security that need to be reined in. Invading armies, theft of medicinal plants, spying and land grabs are among the specters being raised by officials in Brasilia to justify tougher measures such as limits on land ownership and restrictions on environmental groups’ activities. Nationalists, especially in military and intelligence circles, have long harbored conspiracy theories that foreigners are scheming to take Amazon resources. But in recent months — a period that has coincided with a spike in destruction of the world’s largest forest — they have become louder and more public. Some legislators are concerned about foreign businesses buying land in the Amazon. “The growing acquisition of land by foreigners in the Amazon is a threat to our national security, we need to impose restrictions now,” Sen. Joao Pedro told Reuters. The government accuses some non-governmental organizations of biopiracy — stealing medicinal plants for pharmaceutical purposes — but has provided little evidence. The government said this month it could shut down foreign NGOs that fail to provide detailed accounts of their operations. They must register with half a dozen authorities, including the Federal Police, and reveal the qualifications and residence of their directors. “We want to separate the wheat from the chaff,” said Secretary of Justice Romeu Tuma Junior. “The state has the right to demand that those wanting to operate in an area of national interest open their books publicly,” said Tuma. Conservationists say they are being scapegoated and worry about potential censorship. http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN11255782

5) Building on the fruitful cooperation between civil society and industry that produced the July 2006 Brazilian soya moratorium, in which major traders agreed to stop trading in soya grown on newly deforested land, the “Pact for Legal and Sustainable Timber” recognises the importance of voluntary agreements that combine economic production with environmental protection. “In a country where intention and action don’t always meet, the implementation of this agreement by industry and Government will be vital for establishing effective protection for the forests while preserving jobs. It will benefit local communities and promote legal and sustainable logging activities “, said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Director. The agreement is a major step towards creating the governance system necessary for reducing deforestation and forest degradation by the Amazon logging sector. Furthermore, the pact meets several long-time Greenpeace demands calling for law enforcement, combined with positive incentives for local communities and to that part of the industry committed to environmental sustainability. Pará is the source of 45% of Brazilian Amazon’s sawed timber and is notorious for its high rates of illegal timber activity. It is expected that the pact will strengthen international measures to halt illegal logging, including the recent US decision to ban illegal wood imports (including a wide range of forest products) as part of the Lacey Act. It is also hoped that it might influence current discussions by the European Commission regarding legislation to ban illegal timber from the European market. Some 63% to 80% of the timber produced in the Amazon is illegal. Not only does illegal and intense timber exploitation destroy the livelihoods of local peoples, but it is a major contributor to climate change. Recent science has shown that destruction of tropical forests is responsible for about one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Brazil is currently the fourth largest emitter of Greenhouse gases worldwide, primarily due to the Amazon deforestation. http://7thspace.com/headlines/287233/government_bans_illegal_amazon_timber.html

6) A final blow has been dealt to the credibility of the now ‘self-suspended’ FSC certifier SGS, by a Brazilian Federal court decision that nearly one hundred thousand hectares of eucalyptus plantation owned by SGS-certified company Veracel were planted illegally and will have to be torn down within 12 months. The company has also been ordered to pay $12 million in fines for causing environmental damage. Given the seriousness of the failures with the Veracel certification, combined with what have evidently been gross certification failures in other countries including Guyana, Spain and Poland, FSC-Watch believes that the FSC Secretariat should now impose a global and indefinite suspension on SGS’s FSC accreditation. The painstaking process should then begin of investigating all SGS-issued certificates to check for other major failures of SGS’s certification systems, and cancelling them where necessary – starting with Veracel itself, which as of today’s date remains FSC certified. We provide below, in Portguese, the full press statement of July 10th from the Federal Court, preceded by a summary in English, provided by a contributor. http://www.fsc-watch.org/archives/2008/07/14/Millions_of_FSC_cert

Guatemala:

7) Hollywood actor and producer Mel Gibson flew across the world to speak about his passion – the Mirador Basin Project. Unknown to many, the Mirador Basin in Guatemala is the last tract of virgin rainforest remaining in Central America. More importantly, it is home to the largest and earliest cities of the Maya world. “This is indeed the biggest ‘green’ project that I’ve stepped into and I am very passionate about it. “I am absolutely in love with the project and struck by wonders of what can be found,” said Gibson, who is here to address Malaysian corporate leaders and environmentalists on the project as well as to raise funds and create awareness. “It is not developed and there are no roads. It is good that there are no roads so people will not be able to burn the landscape and log,” he said. Gibson, who is chairman of Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies (Fares), is already working with local company Petra Group and the Sekhar Foundation to further develop the project. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/7/18/nation/21845829&sec=nation

8) Today we interviewed Juan Trujillo of Rainforest Alliance, current acting mayor of Carmelita, former president of the Carmelita forest concession. Trujillo describes himself as a skeptic-turned-believer in the concessions concept over the 11-year evolution of Carmelita’s concession. The concession, with its assembly, committees and elected leaders, is a much a political body as an economic cooperative for the harvesting and marketing of forest products. Trujillo says that he is in favor of the development of a large archaeological park in Peten, if and only if local concessions are given a stake early in process. If communities are trained and financially supported so that locals can lead ecotourism businesses, and if additional educational resources are provided granting locals access to university education in fields such as archaeology, the development of ecotourism could be a huge boon for the region, he maintains. However he warns that the creation of a no-cut zone canceling existing sustainable logging rights could backfire, leading people who now survive through sustainable logging enterprises to practice slash-and-burn agriculture or ranching. Trujillo also reports that talks are underway to try to secure carbon sequestration income for the concession areas. In partnership with Rainforest Alliance, community concessions are seeking compensation for their prevention of deforestation in the region. This income would supplement the current revenue from sustainable logging practices and the harvesting of non-timber forest products. It would not require the end of logging activities. No carbon sequestration dollars have yet been received. As I learn more about the various options for economic development in the region, I am reminded how much long-term planning matters in the struggle to meet immediate economic needs. http://www.futureofpeten.com/2008/07/15/community-leaders-in-flores/

9) UAXACTÚN — Everyone in this village down a muddy, rutted road, 23 km past the world-famous Maya archaeological site of Tikal, knows how to “xatear.” The verb, which would stump most Guatemalans, means “to cut xate,” a decorative plant used in floral arrangements in the United States and elsewhere. But as obscure as the word may sound to outside ears, it’s a core activity for most of this village of fewer than 1,000 people. On Friday we accompanied two teams of xate harvesters out into the thick forests that surround Uaxactún who were equipped with not much more than rubber boots, two kinds of knives and large bundles for trudging home the delicate leaves. What struck me was that at least in one village, the hope of sustainable development through low-impact forest product harvesting was possible, as many of the the environmental activists were saying. Villagers earn about US $10 a day cutting the plant when it’s in season, and supplement that with the collection of breadnut, chicle for chewing gum and allspice. During the spring they also cut some timber. But the village’s NGO-monitored sustainable logging community timber concession has managed to keep the area more than 90 percent forest, an accomplishment that many other nearby timber concessions cannot point to. Some of those neighboring concessions are in such bad shape, with the spread of illegal fires, large-scale farms and cattle ranching, that the environmental nonprofit organizations that helped set them up are trying to close them down, hoping their failure won’t drag down the good name of the success stories. http://www.futureofpeten.com/2008/07/20/sustainable-forest-agriculture-spawns-its-own-verb/

Guyana:

10) Toolsie Persaud Limited has closed its forestry and sawmilling operations, sending home 300 workers. The company announced the indefinite closure in a notice in the press, yesterday. This comes in the wake of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) sanctioning the company for breaches of forestry regulations. The company had obtained a court order restraining the GFC from acting on a cease work order placed on Toolsie Persaud Limited, after forestry breaches were discovered. In April this year, the Ministry of Agriculture said an audit in the latter part of 2007 revealed that the company was guilty of harvesting in at least 27 blocks for which complete inventory information were not submitted to nor approved by the GFC. The company was also said to have breached the guidelines by harvesting in two blocks which were not stated in Annual Operation Plan for 2007. The notice in the press said: “It is very much regretted that due to circumstances beyond our control, TPL Georgetown Sawmill and Manaka Logging Concession [have] been forced to shut down operations with immediate effect, until further notice.” The company also said that a further announcement will be made “as soon as we are in a position to resume operations. http://guyanaforests.blogspot.com/2008/07/after-sanctions-for-breaching-forestry.html

11) The BBC’s new wildlife series, Lost Land of the Jaguar starting later this month, brings an international team of scientists, climbers and film-makers to the Guyanese rainforest in search of elusive wildlife including Jaguar and Giant River Otter. Journey through breathtaking rainforest in search of rare mammals and colourful birdlife, swim under cascading waterfalls, travel in dug-out canoes and meet Amerindian communities during Trips Worldwide’s off-the-beaten-track, 14–day Guyana Nature Experience. Locally named ‘The Land of Many Waters’ Guyana has few roads, so small plane or riverboat is the only way to access most of the country – of which 80% is covered by virgin rainforest. From Georgetown, transfer to Cara Lodge for an initial 2-nights. Enjoy a day trip to Kaieteur Falls – five times the height of Niagara Falls, and enjoy a natural Jacuzzi at Orinduik Falls – made from solid jasper. Transfer by plane over rainforest, and boat along Essequibo River, to Iwokrama Field Station. Search for elusive Jaguar in Iwokrama forest, an area rapidly gaining international repute for increasing populations of the world’s third-largest feline. Journey to Turtle Mountain (360m) for breathtaking views over the forest canopy and visit Kurupukari Falls to see the Amerindian petroglyphs (dependent on the water level). View the forest from 35m up in the canopy at Iwokrama Canopy Walkway before continuing on to Surama where escorted walks allow for further explorations in the surrounding forest and opportunities to meet local people. Take a dawn walk across the savannah and climb Surama Mountain where breakfast is enjoyed from a look out point offering incredible views across to the Pakaraima Mountains. Visit Karanambu Ranch, home of Diane McTurk, known for her work rehabilitating orphaned Giant River Otters. Finally, return to Georgetown for a tour of the city’s sights including St. George’s Cathedral, the famous Stabroek Market and the National Museum, before homeward flights. http://www.easier.com/view/Travel/Holidays/article-191542.html

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

374 BC-Canada

Index:

–British Columbia: 1) Forest minister: Mission accomplished 2) Beetle invasion affects tribal culture, 3) Mount Work Regional Park expands, 4) Placating citizen’s on behalf of corporations, 5) Cont. 6) Take regulations away we’ll invest: Suckers! 7) Conifex sees opportunity in buying up crippled industry, 8) Vancouver Island Forests hectares being clearcut faster than ever before, 9) Rapid devastation of landscape even apparent to former loggers, 10) Liberals at work privatizing parks, 11) Karmic payback: Digging for Toxic waste plume dig slowly destroying loggers’ beloved home / garden, 12) Conifex cont. 13) Suzuki foundation report: Dire picture for wildlife,

–Canada: 14) Endangered Communities Tour, 15) Big Swath of Ontario’s forest “protected” in trade for letting the rest be destroyed, 16) Southeastern Ontario loves to clearcut to build houses, 17) Saskatoon’s urban forest applies monetary value to every tree so they can fine / stop overzealous developers, 18) College of New Caledonia given more forestland to destroy in order to pay bills / educate students on how to destroy,

Articles:

BC:
1) Returning to the days of log harvest licences linked to local mills isn’t the solution for the struggling B.C. logging industry, says Forests Minister Pat Bell. Bell, who took over from Rich Coleman in Premier Gordon Campbell’s June cabinet shuffle, faced callers angry about the collapse of the B.C. industry on CKNW’s Bill Good Show on Wednesday. He rejected suggestions that the B.C. Liberal government made a mistake in freeing companies from the obligation to process logs locally, known as appurtenancy. “Some people want to go backwards to a dream world that they thought maybe existed at one point in time, but that clearly wasn’t the case,” Bell said. “I logged through the 1990s, I saw what appurtenancy did back then and I saw lots of mills close during that period of time as well, with appurtenency clauses attached to them.” He said his priorities today are to promote wood construction beyond residential housing, market B.C. wood abroad and develop new uses such as bioenergy. Bell also rejected claims that allowing Vancouver Island logging companies to remove private lands from provincial tree farm licences has resulted in poorly regulated timber cutting and increased log exports. Logging rules on private land are the responsibility of his former ministry, Agriculture and Lands, he said, and the restrictions are similar to those on public timber land. http://forestaction.wordpress.com/2008/07/15/bc-forest-minister-defends-forest-policy/

2) The mountain pine beetle infestation in British Columbia is changing the lives of rural First Nations on a scale not seen for generations of native elders. The safety of more than 100 bands is threatened by fire because the dry, red trees surround their communities, aboriginal leaders say. Animals that natives have hunted for generations no longer take the same paths and berries and medicinal herbs don’t grow where they once did beneath the thousands upon thousands of hectares of dead pine forest. Chief Leonard Thomas of the Nak’azdli Band, near Fort St. James in north-central B.C., is also worried about retaining jobs and keeping communities together once the infested trees are removed. “It is a huge cultural impact on First Nations people, simply because now we have to hunt a little harder to try and get the animals we used to sustain ourselves,” Thomas said. “A lot of these patterns are going to change because of the mountain pine beetle.” Thomas, who is also the president of the First Nations Forestry Council, said many bands know where trees that were modified generations ago by their ancestors stand to mark their territories or traditional camping sites along the well-worn trails. But the beetle, and the subsequent clear-cut of the infected wood, could destroy archeological sites and trails that First Nations have been using through B.C.’s once-thriving forests for thousands of years. Greg Halseth, a geography professor at the University of Northern B.C., said enhanced harvesting through beetle destruction or the elevated fire threat could be very damaging for native culture. “There are very important cultural impacts for First Nations. In Northern B.C., culturally modified trees are an important way in which heritage and structure on landscape is maintained. It’s a way that territories are marked, clans identify areas and that sort of thing.” The pine-beetle devastation also comes at a time when First Nations have been increasing their engagement with the land, where bands are linking youth with elders to learn about traditional native activities. “So traditional areas where generations of people have gone for berries or for mushrooms, or have been good areas for moose or deer or rabbit, that kind of thing, these are just changing fundamentally so it’s coming at a difficult time when we have our First Nations communities becoming more … with culture,” Halseth said. http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5iv_AqQ-r8_cuuh4Ya4yYySPSlVyA

3) Some 65 hectares of older, second-growth Douglas fir forest, large red cedar, open bluffs and wetlands have been donated to the Capital Regional District by the Land Conservancy. The land, adjacent to Mount Work Regional Park in the Highlands, is valued at $2.2 million. “It’s a fabulous piece of property,” said environmentalist and Highlands resident Vicky Husband. “There’s older second-growth Douglas fir and the Douglas fir ecosystem was announced today as one of the most endangered ecosystems in the province out of four endangered ones.” The parcel is extremely important to the Highlands — especially to those living around Fork Lake, because it’s part of their watershed, Husband said. The CRD plans to create a system of trails throughout the land which will connect with Mount Work Regional Park from Munn Road. Land Conservancy executive director Bill Turner received a round of applause from directors at the board meeting. Turner said the process of handing the parcel over to the CRD has been underway for about a year. It makes sense, he said, that the CRD manage it as a park because the parcel complements Mount Work so well. TLC is a charity and land trust which protects wilderness areas, cultural landmarks and agricultural lands. Its partnerships with the CRD in the past have included the Sooke Potholes Regional Park and Sooke Hills Wilderness acquisitions. http://forestaction.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/land-conservancy-donates-65-hectares-to-crd/

4) The Highways Ministry’s provincial approving officer has offered to attend a mediated public meeting to hear from people opposed to Western Forest Products subdivision plans on the southwest corner of Vancouver Island. But, so far, that has failed to appease groups calling for a full public hearing into the plan for 319 acreages on former tree farm licence land around Jordan River, Otter Point and Shirley. Also, the idea has not received support from the Capital Regional District — which has called for approving officer Bob Wylie to hold a public hearing. Environmentalist Vicki Husband leads a protest calling for public hearings into Western Forest Products’ plans to build acreages on former tree-farm land yesterday at the downtown library branch.View Larger Image View Larger Image Environmentalist Vicki Husband leads a protest calling for public hearings into Western Forest Products’ plans to build acreages on former tree-farm land yesterday at the downtown library branch. “Our approving officer has had discussions with the CRD and offered to attend and listen at a moderated public meeting if the CRD wants to host one,” said Highways Ministry spokesman Jeff Knight. “He has also met with leaders of groups opposing the applications and tried to answer some of their questions.” http://forestaction.wordpress.com/2008/07/11/mediated-meeting-offered-on-tfl-plans/

5) Another Government-created (did you say Astroturf???) organization purporting to advocate sustainability http://www.freshoutlookfoundation.com/aboutus/directors.asp The BC Government – in an attempt to diminish the vocal opposition to its policies – has created/financed a number of groups. Here’s the latest. Not one credible environmental voice on the Board of Directors. Sustainability with this group undoubtedly means privatization of BC power, destruction of our critical habitat, promotion of farm fish, etc. What’s interesting is that I ended up their email list without asking to be… As Campbell fails to gain any traction with genuinely environmentally-concerned citizens he continues to pour money into groups like this… Other great government initiatives are the Fraser Basin Council, which just partnered with the Trucking Industry and Ministry of Transportation on an Enviro-trucks initiative. Cause hey, all you Delta and Surrey parents don’t really need to worry about the diesel particulate of 10,000 trucks/day poisoning your children… They are going to put 100 low-emission trucks on the road every two years, so by the time your children are 30, the fleet will be much cleaner. Gordon Campbell insults the people of this region. Donna Passmore, Gateway 40 Citizens Network Farmland Defense League of BC And Fraser Valley Conservation Coalition. donna8@telus.net

6) This Liberal government had the plan in 2003 when the promise from the big three in industry — Weyerhaeuser, Interfor, and Timberwest — at the time said, “Take regulations away and we will invest.” The regulations are gone, and so is the money for investment. Where? To the U.S. in mills there. Last week, Weyerhaeuser just opened another saw mill in Washington. That’s two in the past three months. Interfor bought three mills and has closed as many here since 2003. And Timberwest just closed the last one of theirs and will develop land rather than log it. Are the rules loose enough? Well, say the companies, could you just do one more thing, Gordon Campbell? How about privatizing all the land, then we could all be land developers, and forget about forestry altogether? The First Nations also want the same land the forest industry wants. I believe this will be the final bit of change this industry will get before they will invest. When will that come? Ask Campbell and this positive government. Until secure tenure is part of this forest industry, there will be no investment, and more mills will close. Would you invest if the forest could be taken away for parks, or First Nations land treaties, or whatever the government at the time wanted? http://www.canada.com/nanaimodailynews/news/upfront/story.html?id=ea351b5c-5678-426f-8fc1-fc36
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7) Conifex is entering the lumber sector at a time when companies are bleeding red ink in an severe downturn led by a collapse in the U.S. housing sector. Thousands of jobs have been shed in northern B.C. through mill closures, shift reductions and reduced work weeks. But Shields says the sponsors of Conifex are taking a strategic approach to the sector, banking on a tightened timber supply and an eventual turn-around in the market that will spell higher prices. The thinking, he says, involves the forecast drop in B.C.’s timber supply from the pine beetle epidemic, a reduction in the timber harvest in Eastern Canada and more far-reaching implications like Russia’s recent introduction of a log export tax which will restrict the outflow of raw logs. “You’re going to see much higher prices than today,” said Shields, who went to Fort St. James this week to set the stage for restarting the sawmill which has been down for nine months. “You have to take action when an opportunity presents itself,” he stressed. Shields says the company expects to double its investment with capital upgrades to the mill and its short-term losses, but that is still less than the $39 million Pope and Talbot paid for the mill in 2004. Not surprisingly, the purchase of the shuttered sawmill has been welcomed in Fort St. James, where the mill, with about 280 workers, was the one of the main employers in the community of 2,400. http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/20080710140391/local/news/the-cavalry.html

8) The Douglas fir forests of southern Vancouver Island are being logged at a faster rate than they were as recently as five years ago, according to a report on private-land logging by resource researcher Ben Parfitt. The report examines for the first time the harvesting rates on the swath of private forestland on the Island’s eastern slopes from Sooke to Campbell River. It shows that 2007 logging rates are up more than 20 per cent over 2003, when much of the private land was in government-regulated tree farm licences. The report, titled Restoring the Public Good on Private Forestlands, comes at a time when public interest in private forest lands is at an all-time high. On Vancouver Island, more than 600,000 hectares – one-sixth of the Island – is owned by three major forest companies, an anomaly in a province where 94 per cent of the land is publicly owned. But there’s a sound reason the harvest levels have gone up, said Darshan Sihota, president of Island Timberlands, the province’s second-largest landowner. He said Island Timberlands has stepped up harvesting deliberately to restore a more healthy age balance to the forest. The private lands were clearcut extensively 50 to 80 years ago and are now dominated by trees in that age class. Most of the forests are in a belt of private lands 200 kilometres long by 40 kilometres wide in a long strip on the Island’s relatively flat eastern coast, stretching west from towns like Duncan, Nanaimo and Comox into the chain of mountains running down the Island’s central spine. The region is renowned for having Canada’s mildest climate. It is also one of B.C.’s most productive timber-growing sites, making the lands a lightning rod for controversy. They have regenerated magnificently since being logged in the first half of the 20th century, and now logging companies and resident interest groups view them as a rare patch in the coastal forest that is exempt from the government controls in place on adjacent Crown lands. For companies, it’s an advantage that provides the flexibility to match logging with markets, whether here or offshore. For activists, it creates two classes of logging, one that is subject to public oversight and one that isn’t. At the root of the conflict are the changes that have taken place since loggers last felled the Island’s east-coast forests. Vancouver Island has become more urban. Development pressure has increased, pushing up the value of forest lands near communities. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=53e7be40-49a2-41d5-80b1-02437418
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9) As a teenager in the 1950s, Klock went to work on those lands in Port Alberni’s Ash River Valley. He was a whistle punk on a high-lead show that featured a wooden spar tree. Now, he sees mechanized feller bunchers – large mobile logging machines – marching down the valley at a pace that astounds him. A cougar hunter and self-described environmentalist, Klock said he’s concerned that the return of logging on such a scale has affected wildlife and water quality. “All the indicators of damage are there. You can’t find the frogs. The land is exposed more to the sun. The turtles are disappearing and the game is disappearing. It only takes a change in water temperature of one or two degrees and you can wipe out an entire fishery. This is not rocket science,” he said in an interview. The rebirth of the sawmilling industry in the U.S. Pacific Northwest has created a ready market for the prime Douglas fir logs from private lands. Log exports, always a volatile B.C. issue, have increased. No sawmills are being built to manufacture the harvest this time around and most of the original mills have closed. Woodworkers have equated the export of logs to the loss of jobs. With fewer people dependent on forestry for a livelihood, the return of logging has led to protests. Unemployed workers blockaded trucks loaded with export logs in Port Alberni, Sooke residents fought against subdivision developments replacing the private forests outside their community, and Shawnigan Lake residents told a forest company seeking their input that development plans were not welcome. Retired Port Alberni forest worker Jack Klock said lands that took MacMillan Bloedel more than 30 years to log the first time around, have been harvested the second time in five or six years. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=53e7be40-49a2-41d5-80b1-02437418
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10) BC LIBERALS CONTINUE TO PRIVATIZE PARKS: “Strathcona Park was established in 1911 as the first provincial park in British Columbia; to this day it is the flagship for the entire park system. What happens in Strathcona usually sets precedent for parks throughout the province.Clayoquot Wilderness Resort (CWR) has requested that BC Parks amend the Master Plan for Strathcona Park to allow horses into the protected lands. CWR would like to build a horse trail 14km into Strathcona Park through the pristine Bedwell Valley to You Creek. There they plan to build tent platforms, corrals, and toilets for their exclusive clients. This camp will be located to provide easy access to Cream Lake and Bedwell Lake. The trail would start at their main resort on Bedwell River at the head of Bedwell Inlet, which is in the heart of Clayoquot Sound. The general public will not benefit from this deal, since the resort is only accessible at great costs and the price for a stay there is very expensive. 3 Nights=$4,750 or?7 Nights=$9,450. The cost of barging horses from Tofino to the mouth of the Bedwell River, where CWR is located, is $3000 and rising with fuel prices. Last fall a group of hikers from Friends of Strathcona Park paid $500 for a water taxi so that they could hike into the Bedwell Valley. As a result of these costs the proposed horse trail would be for the exclusive use of CWR guests. BC Parks creates Master Plans for all provincial parks after consultation with the general public as well as groups that represent park users. The policies established in these plans are then upheld by government staff and reviewed publicly every few years. Today the policy from the Master Plan for Strathcona Park clearly states that no horses are allowed in the Bedwell Valley. One of the main reasons for not allowing horses onto parklands is that they eat hay, which often contains seeds from invasive species resulting in the spread of noxious and exotic plants. Horses can spread the seeds from foreign grasses, thistles, genetically modified canola, alfalfa, clovers, and other non-native plants which then grow into seeding plants. In this way an entire ecosystem can be destroyed because rare native plants can no longer compete with newly introduced species, which spread like wildfire. rcboyce@shaw.ca

11) The immaculate garden that Luanne and Don Palmer spent 40 years creating was so picturesque that tour buses often stopped outside their home, in the village of Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island, so tourists could take snapshots. But when Mrs. Palmer looked out her window yesterday, it wasn’t to admire the sweeping green lawn her husband manicured, or the carefully pruned row of 20 poplars that in bloom seemed like giant white ice cream cones. Instead, she was looking at a wasteland of deep craters and piles of stinking, contaminated soil. The show garden of Lake Cowichan is gone – and the Palmer house may be next – as environmental engineers pursue an underground pool of diesel fuel that has leaked out of a gas station adjacent to the property. “It’s a horror show,” said Mrs. Palmer, a retiree who for 25 years worked for the B.C. Forest Service, grafting trees and honing the horticultural skills she used to perfect her one-acre garden. The garden, framed by cedar hedges, featured big, colourful rhododendrons, azaleas and California lilacs, set off against dainty candytuft – a low-growing plant with clusters of pure white flowers – and shade-loving hosta, a plant with leaves that emerge white, then mature green. In one corner of the property is a huge clematis twisting around a cedar trunk. In the backyard, as yet untouched, is a vegetable garden with raspberries, strawberries and blueberries surrounded by fruit trees. “There are big craters 10 to 15 feet deep in my lawn. It’s unbelievable,” Mrs. Palmer said yesterday. “This morning they took this big digger and went right up to the edge of my patio. The fumes that came up were terrible.” Mrs. Palmer said the environmental consultants working to clean up the diesel spill for the Gas and Go service station have warned her that the contamination appears to have percolated through the soil under her home. “They are trying to get people to come and see if they can lift the house … they’ve already dug up the front yard, now they are going down the side. … It is just a nightmare,” she said. “We had poplar trees … they had to rip a lot of those out and they were 50 years old. They tore out a weeping willow that was older than that. I cried that day because I can remember my kids playing there. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080704.BCLEAK04/TPStory/National

12) Conifex Inc. is the successful bidder for the bankrupt Pope & Talbot’s Fort St. James sawmill, beating out Asia Pulp & Paper. Conifex is paying $12.8 million for the sawmill. Conifex also assumes about $3 million in liabilities, mostly reforestation obligations, and expects to spend another $12 million on upgrading equipment at the mill, bringing its total investment up to about $28 million. The Fort St. James mill has a capacity of 250,000 board feet and employs 238 workers. It shut down last fall when Pope & Talbot sought bankruptcy protection, throwing not only sawmill workers but contract loggers out of work. The deal is expected to close by the end of this month (July), opening the way for loggers to return to work in early August. Once enough logs are in the yard, the sawmill will start up. http://foresttalk.com/index.php/2008/07/08/conifex_buys_fort_st_james_sawmill

13) A “groundbreaking” report on the state of B.C. wildlife and wilderness to be released Wednesday by the provincial government paints a dire picture, according to a scientist with the David Suzuki Foundation. “Sadly, it’s going to show that, despite the assumption that most of us have that live here that we have a bounty and a richness of biodiversity — and that’s true — in fact, much of that is at serious risk of disappearing because of human threats,” said Faisal Moola, the foundation’s director of science, who has seen a preview of the report.Called Taking Nature’s Pulse, the 300-plus page report is the result of collaboration between the provincial government and several conservation organizations under a body called Biodiversity B.C.Of the plants and animals reviewed by scientists for the report, 43 per cent — or 1,400 species — are deemed to be at risk, Moola said. Reptiles, turtles, fish, frogs and plants are the hardest hit, he added. Whole swaths of the province are “in big trouble,” Moola said. These include the grasslands in the Okanagan, wetlands in the Lower Mainland, and some forests on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Scientists who worked on the report were more cautious in their assessment. “Our biodiversity in British Columbia is in relatively good shape, compared to worldwide,” Biodiversity B.C. executive director Stuart Gale said in an interview Monday. Marian Adair, co-chair of the Biodiversity B.C. steering committee and a habitat ecologist with the Nature Trust of B.C., added that although “there are threats for sure to our biodiversity,” the report can serve as a way to “recognize and understand how we can maintain the healthy system that we’ve got.” She said what makes it a “watershed” report is that it represents the collective thinking of more than 50 scientists about B.C.’s biodiversity — from ecosystems to species to genetic diversity. Gale said the statistic of 43 per cent of species being at risk isn’t news to scientists. Of an estimated 50,000 species thought to exist in B.C., only 3,800 have been scrutinized for their level of risk. But what is certain is the impact of humans on the B.C. environment. “What we can determine from the report is that the species and ecosystems that are at risk occur largely in areas where there’s the highest concentration of population of people,” Gale said. “So what that tells us of course, is that as we’re looking at expanding human footprints — settlements and other forms of resource development — we have to do it in a way that is compatible with ecological values.” http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=b9603a47-080e-4996-a9fe-e4889431201c

Canada:

14) The battle for the virgin forests of the Northwest has been escalated as both the Ontario Forestry Coalition and environmental agencies recently forwarded petitions to Premier Dalton McGuinty’s office concerning the Endangered Species Act. The coalition collected 545 signatures on their “Endangered Communities Tour” which visited 12 communities in Northwestern Ontario including Kenora over only five days. “We are seeing the breadth and depth of concern that is felt by people across this province. Some of the signatories of this letter are doing so on behalf of thousands of people,” said coalition chairman Iain Angus. At issue is section 55 of the act, which requires a permitting process for logging. Industry has been vocal not only that permitting will replicate actions they already take but that environmental organizations eager to halt provincial forestry entirely will take advantage of the process to stall operations in the courts and make an already failing industry not feasible. They use the state of Oregon as a case study, where they say the protection of the Northern Spotted Owl occupied 50 per cent of state expenditures of the protection of 0.7 per cent of species, ultimately not improving the plight of endangered species, but costing the industry tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in the process. Following a unanimous vote by city council to condemn permitting, Kenora Mayor Len Compton wrote personally advising that in his opinion, “permitting will shut down the industry almost immediately and the courts will be attempting to manage our forests rather than the province of Ontario.” Compton will be raising the issue in a meeting with Minister of Natural Resources Donna Cansfield on Wednesday morning. Conversely, a list of 43 executives comprising the brass of Ontarian and North American environmental organizations defended the new legislation, pressing McGuinty to apply its parameters to the forestry industry. http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1105663

15) A massive swath of northern Ontario boreal forest, considered the world´s largest carbon storehouse, will be off-limits to forestry and mining activities under a plan that will also guarantee First Nations a share of resource revenues, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Monday. McGuinty offered few details, but said the government would consult industry, environmentalists, aboriginal communities and other local residents to develop a plan over 10 to 15 years that would protect half of the province´s pristine boreal forest from commercial activities. “It´s home to the largest untouched forest in Canada and the third largest wetland in the world,” McGuinty said of Ontario´s boreal forest. The area in question, north of the 51st parallel, measures 225,000 square kilometres _ about the size of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island combined. Home to just 24,000 people, it comprises a whopping 43 per cent of the province´s entire land mass. “It´s twice the size of the British Isles,” McGuinty said. “It is, in a word, immense. It´s also unique and precious.” The new plan would also require that mining and forestry companies consult early with aboriginal communities before starting any projects in the other half of the boreal forest, and give First Nations a share of revenues from new projects on their traditional lands anywhere in Ontario. “We´ll make a down payment on that this fall and put some money in the bank (for First Nations),” McGuinty said. “We get to say to our aboriginal communities: if there is some mining exploration here, and you permit that, you get a piece of the action.” Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy said Monday he was encouraged that the boreal forest would be mapped to determine what areas need to be protected and developed, but wanted to ensure resource revenue sharing with aboriginal communities finally takes place. “We´ve had a treaty with the Crown for about 100 years and we have not benefited whatsoever from resource revenues,” Beardy said in an interview. “It´s absolutely essential that legislation, policy and practices change to make sure that we benefit from resource development as well.” Mining generated about $11 billion in Ontario in 2007, and McGuinty said he was confident the consultations on the new protected area of the forest won´t cause any damage to the growing sector. “We don´t want to compromise that, but we do want to ensure that our mining efforts in the province of Ontario are respectful of Ontarians, aboriginal and non-aboriginal alike.” http://www.oilweek.com/news.asp?ID=17391

16) John Gagnon has taken his last walk in the old forest behind his house. “I came home two weeks ago to a pretty sad scene,” he says. The woodland of mature trees behind his home has been cleared to make way for one of the rapidly-spreading new subdivisions that are springing up in the area amid an ongoing boom in the residential construction sector. The site was zoned for residential development last time Brighton prepared an official plan on land use. Back then, consideration was given to preserving prime agricultural land and resources like gravel, but not woodlands, says Ken Hurford, the municipality’s chief planner. “The current official plans don’t really have any special plans in that regard. The new one may,” he says. That is because as municipalities like Brighton prepare new official plans, they are finding forests have moved up the province’s list of priorities. Heather Watson, a planner with Ecovue Consulting, says the province’s policy directive in 2005 placed special emphasis on significant woodlands, though definitions of “significant” vary widely. This new emphasis is being gradually picked up by municipal planners and integrated into their local plans. “In southwestern Ontario most of the forest has been lost. The forests have come down and the wetlands have been drained, so they are more aware about the need to weigh removal of habitat,” says the consultant. This has prompted many municipalities in the southwest to enact tree-cutting bylaws. “But in southeastern Ontario, because we still have it we are less likely to protect it,” she says. Even where awareness is high, the systems for divining a balanced approach to development are limited. http://www.indynews.ca/article.php?id=2227

17) If a tree falls in Saskatoon’s urban forest, someone’s going to pay. In a bid to protect its trees from developers who consider them nuisances, the city is assigning a monetary value to every tree in its 100,000-plus urban forest. The value is how much you’ll have to pay if you yield to the urge to play lumberjack. Bringing down one wide and towering American elm on a boulevard in the city’s Varsity View will set you back $46,412. The price per tree is based on factors including age, replacement cost, species, size, location and condition, said Ian Birse, superintendent of urban forestry for the City of Saskatoon. The city is concerned about trees in older neighbourhoods shrouded by decades-old leafy canopies. “People choose to live in those areas because of that canopy. I do,” said Birse. “But there are those who don’t want them around and we’re losing some, but we’re trying to do what we can to prevent it.” The city has a fight on its hands. Trees are quickly becoming endangered in the rush to capitalize on the economic prosperity that’s sweeping through the province. A development boom has spurred an expansion of roadways, residential areas and businesses in Saskatoon, where the soaring value of real estate continues to push rents and home prices into the stratosphere. City-owned trees in areas slated for construction have been labelled with bright yellow notices that declare them “protected.” If that’s not enough of a deterrent, the city is ready to branch out and take the matter to court. There are a couple of cases going through legal channels involving people who were found to be boring holes into trees and pouring in herbicide in an attempt to kill off a tree they didn’t want around, said Birse. The city is sensitive about its trees, partly because they didn’t come easy. In the early days of this once-barren prairie town, nurseries were established to conduct research and trials as to what types of trees were best suited to the climate. The result is a lush community teeming with varieties of ash and maple, birch, linden, oak, pine and spruce. The city also levies a charge against drivers found at fault for a motor-vehicle accident in which a tree is damaged. Even the hint of a possible construction project will bring out the tree cavalry to tag the timbers. Recently, Birse’s department marked eight elms lined up in an L-shape around a row house located on a corner lot near the trendy Broadway district. The total value of the trees was in the range of $200,000. http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=d622a6c7-b5f2-4fc1-8459-715928f76531

18) The province is offering the College of New Caledonia a research forest that could help salvage its forestry program which has been suspended this fall because of low enrolment and budget constraints. The research forest is viewed as providing a way for students to get more hands-on experience, become involved in research but also, critically, provides the potential for $300,000 from logging revenues. The college is in the midst of revamping the forestry program that is hoped to attract students interested in the mining and oil and gas sector as well. The plan is to re-launch the program in the fall of 2009. Forests Minister Pat Bell said Friday the research forest will provide long-term stability to the college’s revamped forestry program. “We need to become world leaders in growing trees, we need to maximize the value from our existing resource, and with the growing global focus on environmental values and climate change, we can market our products based on the strength of our environmentally sustainable practices,” said Bell, MLA for Prince George North. “By supporting applied research and training of skilled forest managers and technicians, the proposed forest tenure for the College of New Caledonia will help ensure our industry’s continued success,” said Bell. The research forest is spread out over 11 parcels of land in the Prince George Forest District, comprising about 12,000 hectares of land. Bell said the province is consulting with First Nations on the parcels of land. CNC president John Bowman said while its not normal for colleges to have research forests attached to them, there is a push to increase this type of relationship. “The research forests will enhance students’ academic and practical experience and prepare them for successful careers in forestry and other natural resource management fields,” he said. Bowman also noted the logging revenues from the research forest will also help long term with the program’s costs. In suspending the program, the college had noted it was the most expensive to deliver per student. http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/20080711140589/local/news/cnc-offered-research-forest.html

374 World-wide

–World-wide: 19) New global partnership of “forestry experts” 20) UN’s 2005 Global Forest Resources Assessment released, 21) We all get rich when we prevent deforestation, 22) Minimize logging impacts conserves carbon? 23) Books and Trees, 24) FSC’s 2nd largest certifier shuts down certification operations, 25) We destroy 150 square miles of forest every day, 26) Make ‘em pay for lost services before they log and they’ll won’t be able to afford to log, 27) Why you must say no to paper, 28) What’s a paper bag all about, 29) Save the ecological truth-tellers, 30) Wildlife philanthropy, 31) RRI report: Rush to protect forests will mostly fund corrupt politicians and criminals

World-wide:

19) Forestry experts agree on the need for a new global partnership to ensure sustainable forests initiatives deliver on environmental needs and work for the poor. But they say the World Bank, which last year proposed the collaboration, should not take an active role in the initiative. That’s the message in a report by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), based on a survey of more than 600 forest experts in Brazil, China, Ghana, Guyana, India, Russia and Mozambique, as well as those attending international meetings. The World Bank last year proposed a new global programme, the Global Forests Partnership (GFP), to reduce deforestation and unsustainable forestry use, drawing together the Bank’s and other forest initiatives under one umbrella. The thrust of the IIED report conclusions is that the World Bank should step away from such a process and take a “hands off” approach that allows smaller, forest-dependent stakeholders to build a truly effective alliance from the bottom up. It appears this feedback to some extent reflects resistance among some NGOs about the World Bank taking an active role after what they felt was a negative experience with its programmes in the past. The survey respondents also agreed that the programme has to tie in with sustainable forests initiatives at global, national and local levels to be effective. Momentum for new action on forests is building, particularly in the wake of startling data on worldwide rates of deforestation and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. This has seen the emergence of the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) process, promoting the establishment of forest carbon markets to pay local communities for avoiding deforestation. The World Bank’s new Forest Carbon Partnership Facility is one recent initiative in this area. Much work still needs to be done, however, to see that such mechanisms deliver on forest conservation and for the estimated 1.6 billion people relying directly on forests for their livelihood, many of them in poverty in developing countries. http://www.carbonpositive.net/viewarticle.aspx?articleID=1163

20) Monday, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released its 2005 Global Forest Resources Assessment, a regular report on the status world’s forest resources. Some 13 million hectares of the world’s forests are still lost each year, including 6 million hectares of primary forests. –South America where large tracts of the Amazon rainforest are being cleared for cattle ranches and soybean plantations — suffered the largest net loss of forests between 2000 and 2005 of around 4.3 million hectares per year. Africa suffered the second largest net loss in forests with 4.0 million hectares cleared annually. Nigeria and Sudan were the two largest losers of natural forest during the 2000-2005 period, largely due to subsistence activities. At 11.1%, Nigeria’s annual deforestation rate of natural forest is the highest in the world and puts it on pace to lose virtually all of its primary forest within a few years. The regions with the highest tropical deforestation rate were Central America — which lost 1.3% or 285,000 hectares of its forests each year — and tropical Asia. Tropical Asia — including the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam — lost about 1% of its forests each year. According to FAO, Vietnam lost a staggering 51% of its primary forests between 2000 and 2005, while Cambodia lost 29% of its primary forests between 2000 and 2005 [Cambodia's figures were revised by the FAO after this article was published. Original data showed Cambodia's primary forest cover declining to 122,000 hectares in 2005 from 356,000 hectares in 2000. The new FAO data says Cambodia's current primary forest cover stands at 322,000 hectares]. Illegal logging, combined with rapid development, is blamed for much of Cambodia’s forest loss. Due to a significant increase in plantation forests, forest cover has generally been expanding in North America, Europe and China while diminishing in the tropics. Plantations help offset the loss of natural forests but essentially result in an overall decline in global biodiversity as single species plantations replace their biologically richer natural counterparts. The United States has the seventh largest annual loss of primary forests in the world, according to FAO. In the 2000-2005 period, the United States lost an average of 831 square miles (215,200 hectares, 2,152 square kilometers or 531,771 acres) of such lands which are sometimes termed “old-growth forests.” http://news.mongabay.com/2005/1115-forests.html

21) If the deforestation process that is occurring from the Amazon to the Congo basin were to be slowed, it could generate billions of dollars each year that could then be used to aid developing nations as a part of a United Nations (UN) plan to fight climate change. The burning of these forests by farmers who are clearing their land makes up 20 percent of our world’s greenhouse gas emissions. These reductions would represent approximately 300 million tones of unreleased carbon dioxide emissions each year. This is roughly the same amount of heat-trapping gases that are emitted by a country the size of Turkey in one year. A UN climate conference held in December and attended by 190 nations agreed to work on ways to motivate and reward countries for decreasing deforestation. Even small improvements can generate large amounts of revenue and can also create effective emission reductions. A ten percent reduction in the rate of tropical forest loss could create annual carbon finance for many nations at an estimated amount of between $2.4 and $14.3 billion. The UN is pushing for reduced emissions from deforestations to be a part of a new climate treaty that is being formulated to go beyond 2012. The purpose of this treaty is to help avert and avoid more droughts, heat waves, rising oceans, and future disease outbreaks. http://www.naturalnews.com/023623.html

22) Logging practices can be designed to minimize ecological impact, but even when trees are picked selectively there is often collateral damage – ten to twenty times the number of harvested trees are destroyed through human error and poorly designed procedures for locating and removing correct targets. Putz et al. argue that worker training in directional felling and better planning of timber extraction paths can reduce these effects by at least 50%. In long-term studies of conventional versus improved forest management practices in Malaysia and Brazil, improved management reduced carbon emissions by approximately 30%, compared to conventional logging. Using data on intensities and intervals of logging, areas of production forest (managed for timber and forest products), and their estimates of carbon loss, the authors estimated that global implementation of improved forest-management techniques would save 0.16 gigatons of carbon per year. While emission policies in one area can sometimes have the unintended effect of raising emissions in another – for example, economic restrictions in one country can give its neighbor a competitive advantage – Putz et al. argue that better logging techniques have no negative impacts on production and can even improve financial yields, making this rearrangement of emissions, or “leakage,” a non-issue. “Incentives to retain more forest carbon through improved management would represent a big step toward sustainability in the vast area of tropical forests outside protected sites,” the authors argue. “Although many details on measuring, monitoring, and compensating carbon sequestering by individuals, companies, communities, and governments need to be sorted out, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from tropical forest degradation should be given a high priority in negotiations leading up to the new climate change agreement to be formulated in Copenhagen in 2009.” http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/114850.php

23) Very few books have the power to change your life, to help you evaluate what’s important and real in the world, but this exploration of our relationship to trees – and to wood – is one of them. It reveals how central wood has always been to the way we talk and think about ourselves. In Shakespeare people go “into the greenwood to grow, learn and change”; the Chinese consider wood as the fifth element, and Jung counts trees as an archetype in the collective unconscious. Wildwood takes the form of an extended ramble, beginning in the New Forest where Deakin recalls his earliest forays into botany as a schoolboy, detailing all the different plants he and his friends could find while crawling on their hands and knees over small patches of ground: “Some of our projects… read almost like Swift’s accounts of the scientists’ experiments on Laputa in Gulliver’s Travels.” This isn’t simply a book about trees; it’s about how you can learn to look closely at life. More than that still, it’s about what the trees symbolise. “Woods,” Deakin writes, “have been suppressed by motorways and the modern world, and have come to look like the subconscious of our landscape.” They contain ideas about how we might rescue lives which have become somehow buried or lost. Deakin roves as freely as he writes, travelling through Devon, and abroad in the Ukraine and Australia, sharing the journey with diverse companions who share his passion for life. Some of the scenes he describes are hauntingly beautiful: the sound of a newt “singing”, or how pale the night sky can appear in summer after you’ve grown accustomed to the darkness. Others, like his description of a solitary ash tree, vandalised and scarred by pollution in a park at the centre of a Ukrainian town, are desperately sad. This is a moving, passionate account of nature. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/wildwood-a-journey-through-trees
-by-roger-deakin-859672.html

24) In a shock announcement, South Africa-based SGS Qualifor – FSC’s second largest certifier – has said that it has taken a ‘business decision’ not to issue any further FSC forest management certificates, pending a ‘review’ of it’s forest management certification processes. The announcement, made on the FSC’s website, is believed to pre-empt an imminent decision by the FSC Secretariat to formally suspend SGS’s accreditation worldwide. SGS has recently been forced to withdraw several non-compliant certificates, including in Guyana and Spain, following damning assessments by FSC’s Accreditation Services International; in April this year, the certifier was also banned from all certification activities in Poland. FSC-Watch believes this is good news for the FSC, as it reduces by one the number of major certifiers that are wrecking FSC’s credibility by issuing certificates to non-compliant companies. We urge the FSC to confirm SGS’s decision by formally and indefinitely suspending the certifier’s accreditation, along with all its certificates, including those for Chain of Custody, which are not included in SGS’s self-imposed ‘moratorium’. Similar moves should be started against the other major certifiers which have brought discredit to the FSC system. FSC can then get on unimpeded with the all-important job of changing the way that contracts are issued for certification assessments, in order to give the FSC greater control, and breaking the direct economic link between the certification bodies and the ‘client’ timber companies seeking certification. http://www.fsc-watch.org/archives/2008/07/07/SGS_halts_all_new_FS

25) About 40,000 hectares – roughly 150 square miles – are logged or burned to make way for agriculture or grazing on a daily basis. In the past 60 years greed, wanton destruction and exploitation has seen about 50 per cent of the world’s rainforests disappear. Millions of hectares of rainforest in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil and Africa containing a vast diversity of plants and animals have now been replaced by agricultural crops such as palm oil and soya. The rush towards biofuels has helped palm oil becomes the world’s premier fruit crop outstripping even the banana. In EU countries alone it is estimated that consumption of plant-based fuels will soar from around 3m million tons at present to more than 30m tons by 2010. Friends of the Earth says that Malaysia has becomes the world’s largest producer of palm oil with almost half of its cultivated land turned over to plantations. But it is fast being caught up by Indonesia which has about 6.5m hectares under oil palm plantation – an area which could double in size over the next 10 years. Most of the world’s palm oil is supplied by the two countries for use in food and health products but the growing demand for palm oil as a sustainable and alternative transport fuel is expected to result in even greater losses in the rainforests. The palm oil industry is booming and global exports increased more than 50 percent from 1999 to 2004.But the price has been the conversion of thousands of square miles of pristine and ancient tropical rainforests and most of the biodiversity they contained to regimented lines of lucrative palms. Satellite images reveal bare and often barren areas which were once covered by thick and emerald-green forests and which teemed with life. In many cases illegal plantations operated by criminal gangs, particularly in Indonesia, are blamed for consuming huge parts of the rainforests. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/07/07/eabiorain107.xml

26) Ecosystem service approaches to conservation are being championed as a new strategy for conservation, under the hypothesis that they will broaden and deepen support for biodiversity protection. Where traditional approaches focus on setting aside land by purchasing property rights, ecosystem service approaches aim to engage a much wider range of places, people, policies, and financial resources in conservation. This is particularly important given projected intensification of human impacts, with rapid growth in population size and individual aspirations. Here we use field research on 34 ecosystem service (ES) projects and 26 traditional biodiversity (BD) projects from the Western Hemisphere to test whether ecosystem service approaches show signs of realizing their putative potential. We find that the ES projects attract on average more than four times as much funding through greater corporate sponsorship and use of a wider variety of finance tools than BD projects. ES projects are also more likely to encompass working landscapes and the people in them. We also show that, despite previous concern, ES projects not only expand opportunities for conservation, but they are no less likely than BD projects to include or create protected areas. Moreover, they do not draw down limited financial resources for conservation but rather engage a more diverse set of funders. We also found, however, that monitoring of conservation outcomes in both cases is so infrequent that it is impossible to assess the effectiveness of either ES or BD approaches. http://www.pnas.org/search?author1=Rebecca+L.+Goldman&sortspec=date&submit=Submit

27) In addition to the destruction of forests for making paper, now forests and grasslands are being replaced by vast monoculture tree plantations, destroying communities, water, soil and all life. Both the destruction of forests and the installation of monoculture tree plantations – occupying food-producing land – bring about enormous damage to the local population, who see their rights violated, their environment destroyed and their way of life irremediably affected. The destructive cycle is continued with pulp production, in which fewer and increasingly larger companies take possession of land where they plant trees, of water that their trees and mills consume and contaminate, of political power acquired through their billion dollar investments, and of the environment that they destroy in the regions where they are installed. To destruction are added inequities. The enormous volume of paper produced from this pulp feeds a “world market” centred on rich and powerful peoples’ consumption. The average figures (that hide enormous inequalities on a national level), show that consumption per capita is more than ten times higher in the countries of the North than in those of the South. To inequity is added excessive consumption. Only as an example it is enough to see the mountains of paper and cardboard growing night after night in the streets of New York to understand that most of the pulp production does not end up as books, newspapers or journals, but simply as trash. In general terms, at least half the pulp produced goes to the production of paper and cardboard for wrapping and packaging, most of it totally unnecessary. We do not want to have anything to do with paper produced in this way. We do not want to become accomplices to the social and environmental destruction this implies. We do not trust certification schemes that have given their seal of “sustainability” to these same monoculture plantations whose impacts we know so well. The only and real obstacle is the economic interest of large companies, whose objective is to continue making profits by imposing an increasingly large and unlimited consumption of paper.
The time has come to tell them that this is enough. Those who would like to adhere to the appeal can do it at: http://www.wrm.org.uy/plantations/writers.html

28) Where do brown paper bags come from? Paper comes from trees — lots and lots of trees. The logging industry, influenced by companies like Weyerhaeuser and Kimberly-Clark, is huge, and the process to get that paper bag to the grocery store is long, sordid and exacts a heavy toll on the planet. First, the trees are found, marked and felled in a process that all too often involves clear-cutting, resulting in massive habitat destruction and long-term ecological damage. Mega-machinery comes in to remove the logs from what used to be forest, either by logging trucks or even helicopters in more remote areas. This machinery requires fossil fuel to operate and roads to drive on, and, when done unsustainably, logging even a small area has a large impact on the entire ecological chain in surrounding areas. Once the trees are collected, they must dry at least three years before they can be used. More machinery is used to strip the bark, which is then chipped into one-inch squares and cooked under tremendous heat and pressure. This wood stew is then “digested,” with a chemical mixture of limestone and acid, and after several hours of cooking, what was once wood becomes pulp. It takes approximately three tons of wood chips to make one ton of pulp. The pulp is then washed and bleached; both stages require thousands of gallons of clean water. Coloring is added to more water, and is then combined in a ratio of 1 part pulp to 400 parts water, to make paper. The pulp/water mixture is dumped into a web of bronze wires, and the water showers through, leaving the pulp, which, in turn, is rolled into paper. Whew! And that’s just to make the paper; don’t forget about the energy inputs — chemical, electrical, and fossil fuel-based — used to transport the raw material, turn the paper into a bag and then transport the finished paper bag all over the world. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/08/paper-or-plastic-a-look-a_n_111547.html

29) Ecological truth-tellers infused with a revolutionary spirit of action to save the Earth are the most special people around. We are the future hope for humanity and all being. We are going to stop coal, ancient forest logging, and implement numerous other transformative changes necessary to save the Earth and all her creatures. Ecological revolutionaries are smart and speak scientific and other truths. Those that do not believe in climate change or feel the Earth’s pain are stupid and dull. We reject mainstream environmentalism — where what is asked for is insufficient even if fully achieved — for a revolutionary spirit of ever increasing pressure upon criminal Earth destroyers. First we ask, then we protest, then we obstruct and perhaps sabotage, and if and when every offer to embrace sustainability by the elite has been rejected, we must be willing to fight. I Am Special, You Can Be Special Too! It is ok to be special. I am special by virtue of my embrace of Gaia and all her species and people as kin; and unique skills I have to see ecological wrongs, envision sustainability, and possess the smarts, dedication and skills to continuously organize awareness and solutions. There are thousands like me and together we are going to save the Earth. If we are to weather the times that are coming we had better overcome the tyranny of mediocrity and start recognizing genius and truth. Herein I have often been frank with my human frailties. How myopic to think it is ego to now discuss what makes me and others like me special. Why are game athletes, play actors and screaming singers revered and viewed as being special and not political ecologists defending the Earth and all life?
http://earthmeanders.blogspot.com/

30) Bricks and mortar are so passé. So forget Dorset and join the Patagonian land grab, taking your lead from CNN supremo Ted Turner (owner of 128,000 acres) or the well-healed Chilean Sebastián Piñera, who has created the Parque Tantauco (120,000 hectares) ostensibly to conserve Patagonia’s virgin forests, which are obviously vital carbon sinks. No matter that Piñera earned his fortune as the operator of Chile’s biggest airline (I know, the CO2 irony!) – that’s no barrier to becoming a Wildlife Philanthropist (WP), stocking up on land to preserve biodiversity for future generations. If Patagonia is out of your reach, how about a more modest WP act? £50 to the World Land Trust (worldlandtrust.org) will buy an acre of rainforest, or for £70 you can save an acre of Brazilian rainforest courtesy of Cool Earth (coolearth.org), the charity partly founded by sportswear magnate Johan Eliasch, who in 2006 bought 400,000 acres of rainforest, prompting President Lula of Brazil to stress: ‘The Amazon is not for sale.’ Actually it is, along with tracts of wilderness in any cash-strapped country. I was recently offered a timeshare in South Africa’s Kruger National Parkchimpedenresidentialclub.com The information was full of comforting promises about environmental preservation, but more room was given over to the five-star accommodation. Increasingly, wildlife philanthropy crosses with eco tourism. Not a necessarily helpful hybrid. Similarly, private enterprises from developed countries buying up land from developing nations which then implement draconian conservation policies leave themselves open to the charge of eco colonialism. Newer private conservation schemes refute eco-colonialism charges by leasing land rather than buying it or working with the local community and evaluating the rainforest properly in terms of natural capital so that the host country receives a fair price; Canopy Capital recently bought 370,000 hectares of pristine forest in Guyana with the Iwokrama reserve, earning plaudits from Greenpeace. Look for evidence of community conservation (divesting power to the local population to manage) and evidence that the community has been properly compensated. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jul/13/forests.carbonoffsetprojects

31) The rush to protect forests as a way to tackle global warming could see billions of pounds handed over to corrupt politicians, criminals and polluting industries, experts have warned. The Rights and Resources Initiative, a coalition of groups from around the world, says not enough has been done to address land rights in tropical countries, where much of the money is being directed. Without clearer guidelines on land ownership and involvement by local people, they say, the funds provided by rich countries, including Britain, to protect trees could fuel violent conflict and fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation causes about a fifth of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, and how to protect the huge stocks of carbon locked in tropical forests has become a key issue in the climate change debate. Sir Nicholas Stern, in his 2006 review of the economics of the problem, said that £2.5bn a year could be enough to prevent deforestation across the eight most important countries. Britain and Norway have already pledged £108m to a fund to protect forests in the Congo basin. Rich countries paying tropical regions to protect forests is likely to form part of a new global climate deal to replace the Kyoto protocol, which could be agreed next year. Stern also said that a series of institutional and policy reforms were needed, including forest property rights. Without such changes, said Andy White, coordinator of the initiative, the money aimed at protecting trees could go to central government officials, many of whom were closely tied to illegal logging and mining activities. He said direct payments to local groups would be more effective, but that required them to be given clear land rights. Evidence from Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil showed that local communities protected the forests better than governments, he said. White added: “These forests are often in lawless regions with a history of conflict. We have huge concerns about sending all this money in the name of fighting climate change if the land rights for people living there are not resolved. It could cause more violence, benefit only a wealthy elite and lead to even greater carbon emissions. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jul/14/forests.conservation

373 PNW-USA

Index:

–Alaska: 1) Enviros file suit on 4 Tongass NF timber sales, 2) Save Roadless areas / Martens, 3) Tongass carbon sequestration calculations,
–Washington: 4) Clearcuts cause landslides / destroy public trust, 5) Cont. 6) Newspaper’s landslide measuring methods, 7) Elect Goldmark for public land’s commissioner, 8) No wolves in the Olympics means no predators for small tree eating critters, 9) Why we don’t want road repair in the Dosewallips, 10) Beetle wars with Pheromones, 11) Forced to destroy fish shade along levees to keep Fed dollars,
–Oregon: 12) Dissolution of a state’s county is the result of over overlogging, 13) Save Oswald West’s campground trees, 14) Dems more dangerous to forests than Reps.,
California: 15) Sudden oak death at Crystal Springs, 16) UC Berekely treesit, 17) Save Liberty Canyon Oak trees,
–Arizona: 18) Long Walk2 as related to San Francisco peaks
–Montana: 19) Plum’s newest fed swindle won’t be disclosed to county gov, 20) Obama on Plum’s swindle,
–Michigan: 21) Detroit fails to save itself by turning the N. woods into biofuels
–Wisconsin: 22) Global warming caused Tree migration limited by farms, ranches, etc.
–Indiana: 23) I-69 arrests / protests continue
–Ohio: 24) Wayne NF plan fails to maximize public benefits
–New Jersey: 25) Aerial survey results regarding Gypsy moth damage
–USA: 26) Habitat destruction means nation’s bird population is collapsing, 27) Wal-Mart hires WWF as its newest greenwasher, 28) Logging doesn’t really increase water flows so much as it degrades water flows 29) Famers wiping out conservation reserves, 30) Only good loggers need is exemption from the law / categorical exclusions, 31) What the heck is a FLAME act? 32) Forest issues roundup from Washington D.C.,

Articles:

Alaska:

1) Environmental groups sued the U.S. Forest Service in federal court today arguing that the agency has concealed impacts of old-growth logging to the environment and to subsistence hunting in four Tongass National Forest timber projects. At issue is whether environmental impact statements have thoroughly evaluated the effect of the projects on Sitka black-tailed deer – a species that is key to viability of the “Islands Wolf” (Alexander Archipelago wolf) and is among the most important subsistence foods in the area. The plaintiffs are Greenpeace and Cascadia Wildlands Project, both of which have offices in Alaska. They say the Forest Service has violated bedrock environmental laws by deliberately ignoring their legitimate criticisms of how impacts to deer were assessed in the decision process and not providing a “full and fair discussion” of their concerns. While not a plaintiff in the suit, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game has repeatedly challenged these same flaws. “The Forest Service has misapplied the science and has stonewalled all challenges,” said Greenpeace forest campaigner Larry Edwards. “We have sought resolution for years. Now the courts are the only recourse.” The lawsuit demands that the four logging projects be stopped and that supplemental analysis be ordered to fairly evaluate their impacts. Combined, the projects would take 33 million board feet of timber from 1,700 acres of old-growth forest and construct 9.5 miles of new, permanent logging roads. “Ancient forest logging reduces the ability of the forest to sustain deer in winter,” said Gabe Scott, Alaska field representative for Cascadia Wildlands Project in Cordova. “When old-growth forests are logged, deer become more vulnerable to population collapses during hard winters, and the Tongass has had recent record-setting snowfalls consistent with climate change factors for the region. Deer are a vital food source both for residents of the region and the Islands Wolf.” The Tongass, America’s largest national forest, has been a flashpoint of controversy for decades. It is the world’s largest remaining temperate rainforest that is still relatively intact. Even so, viability of Tongass wildlife species – the Islands Wolf prominent among them – is a well acknowledged concern. In 1997, the Forest Service avoided a ‘threatened’ listing of the Islands Wolf under the Endangered Species Act by including a protective standard in its then new Tongass Forest Plan. The standard was intended to protect both the wolf’s “viability and wide distribution” and the needs of families that depend on deer for food on the table. http://www.sflorg.com/ear/?p=200

2) Help us save martens and other forest wildlife! Urge U.S. Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell to protect roadless areas and old-growth forests in the Tongass National Forest – and the martens and other forest wildlife that live there. Take action now at:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=ITXKAtZc3XGBT4HV09cUDg . The Bush plan sets the stage for logging 5 times the timber currently cut on the Tongass – including habitat for martens and many of the undisturbed old-growth stands that form the heart of the Tongass’s still trackless expanses. Logging deals a severe blow to martens, which cannot live in fragmented forests or cleared areas. Marten experts believe that these special forest mammals cannot live in areas without at least 50-60% canopy cover – a far cry from what would be left after a clearcut. But these unique coastal martens aren’t the only species threatened by the Bush plan for the Tongass. Giant grizzly bears, thriving salmon runs, bald eagles, Queen Charlotte goshawks, and the elusive Alexander Archipelago wolf would all lose important habitat under the plan. Speak out for wildlife in the Tongass. Send your message to the Forest Service now. Take action online at: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=7eZAfQUNBxMt3tCoURRzuQ . Defenders and its environmental partners have filed appeals asking the Forest Service to reconsider the Tongass plan, include protections for old-growth forests and roadless areas and acknowledge the impacts of climate change. The public comment period for demanding these protections ends on Tuesday, July 15th. http://newsblaze.com/story/20080711140233zzzz.nb/topstory.html

3) The Tongass National Forest (Tongass) is the largest national forest and largest area of old-growth forest in the United States. Spatial geographic information system data for the Tongass were combined with forest inventory data to estimate and map total carbon stock in the Tongass; the result was 2.8 ± 0.5 Pg C, or 8% of the total carbon in the forests of the conterminous USA and 0.25% of the carbon in global forest vegetation and soils. Cumulative net carbon loss from the Tongass due to management of the forest for the period 1900–95 was estimated at 6.4–17.2 Tg C. Using our spatially explicit data for carbon stock and net flux, we modeled the potential effect of five management regimes on future net carbon flux. Estimates of net carbon flux were sensitive to projections of the rate of carbon accumulation in second-growth forests and to the amount of carbon left in standing biomass after harvest. Projections of net carbon flux in the Tongass range from 0.33 Tg C annual sequestration to 2.3 Tg C annual emission for the period 1995–2095. For the period 1995–2195, net flux estimates range from 0.19 Tg C annual sequestration to 1.6 Tg C annual emission. If all timber harvesting in the Tongass were halted from 1995 to 2095, the economic value of the net carbon sequestered during the 100-year hiatus, assuming $20/Mg C, would be $4 to $7 million/y (1995 US dollars). If a prohibition on logging were extended to 2195, the annual economic value of the carbon sequestered would be largely unaffected ($3 to $6 million/y). The potential annual economic value of carbon sequestration with management maximizing carbon storage in the Tongass is comparable to revenue from annual timber sales historically authorized for the forest. “Effects of Management on Carbon Sequestration in Forest Biomass in Southeast Alaska” — Wayne W. Leighty, Steven P. Hamburg, and John Caouette

Washington:

4) PE ELL, Lewis County — Last December’s big storms left Highway 6 in bad shape. A logged slope above the highway cracked and gave way, destroying one home, damaging another and blocking the road. The state Department of Transportation (DOT) spent $3.3 million and three months cleaning up the mess from the landslide, eventually hauling away 10,000 truckloads of debris from the road that links this southwest Washington town to the coast. For DOT geologists, the slide exemplified their frustration with state oversight of logging around the highways of southwest Washington, a region rife with unstable hillsides.The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which enforces forestry rules, can restrict clear-cutting when geological reviews indicate landslides could put public safety or public resources at risk. But near Highway 6 and other roadside logging sites, state foresters often have opted to skip these reviews when approving logging permits. DOT geologists never knew about the plans by a small landowner to log above Highway 6, so they never pushed for a site visit by a geologist certified by DNR as a qualified expert in unstable slopes. But they have raised concerns about logging at 20 other sites along state highways, asking the Natural Resources Department to require geological reviews, according to a DOT official. That happened at about half those sites, and state DOT geologists continue to spar with state foresters about logging plans above highways. "I don’t feel that there is a burden of responsibility that is taken seriously," said Tom Badger, a DOT geologist. "I really think there is a systemic problem." http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008050123_logging14.html

5) When Weyerhaeuser began clear-cutting the Douglas firs on the slopes surrounding Little Mill Creek, local water officials were on edge. Some of these lands had slid decades ago, after an earlier round of logging. They worried new slides could dump sediments into the mountain stream and overwhelm a treatment plant. Those fears came true last December when a monster storm barreled in from the Pacific, drenching the mountains around the Chehalis River basin and touching off hundreds of landslides. Little Mill Creek, filled with mud and debris, turned dark like chocolate syrup. More than three months passed before nearly 3,000 valley residents could drink from their taps again. "I have never seen anything like this before, and I hope I never do again," said Fred Hamilton, who works for the Boistfort Valley Water Corp. State forestry rules empower the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to restrict logging on unstable slopes when landslides could put public resources or public safety at risk. But in Little Mill Creek and elsewhere in the Upper Chehalis basin, a Seattle Times investigation found that Weyerhaeuser frequently clear-cut on unstable slopes, with scant oversight from the state geologists who are supposed to help watchdog the timber industry. The December storm triggered more than 730 landslides in the Upper Chehalis basin, according to a state aerial survey. Those slides dumped mud and debris into swollen rivers, helping fuel the floods that slammed houses, barns and farm fields downstream. Weyerhaeuser officials are hoping this was a rare, freak storm that won’t be seen again — at least in this corner of Southwest Washington — for hundreds of years. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008048848_logging13m.html

6) First, the Seattle Times obtained data on clear-cuts and landslides from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Using mapping software, we overlaid the clear-cut sites with the landslides from the December 2007 storm. In the Upper Chehalis River and Stillman Creek watersheds, 732 landslides were identified from the storm. We analyzed where each of those slides occurred in the two watersheds, using landslide inventory data gathered in DNR aerial surveys. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the landslides appear to have started near logging roads or in areas clear-cut in the last 15 or so years. (There are limitations to DNR’s surveys. Aerial surveys likely missed some landslides, especially in more heavily forested areas where landslides are harder to spot.) We then looked at some of the steepest clear-cuts in the watersheds by overlaying maps of "hazard zones," which were drawn up during an analysis of the watersheds in the 1990s by scientists from Weyerhaeuser, the state and elsewhere. That analysis assigned each zone a high, moderate or low rating for landslide risk. We limited our analysis to 87 clear-cuts that had at least half of their acreage in a moderate- to high-hazard zone. Nearly half those sites had landslides during the storm. Despite making up only 8 percent of the total acreage in the two watersheds, these 87 sites accounted for 30 percent of the total landslides. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008048858_logginghow13.html

7) One of the races I haven’t paid nearly enough attention to this election season is Peter Goldmark’s incredibly strong challenge of two-term Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland (R-Weyerhaeuser). Goldmark is a farmer, rancher, molecular biology PHD, and former state Agriculture Director and WSU regent, who is not only exceptionally well qualified (and simply a great guy) but a rare opportunity for folks on the other side of the mountains to put one of their own in a statewide elected office. Sutherland, on the other hand, has proven himself to be a lax manager who has clearly sided with timber and mining interests over those of us ordinary citizens who actually own the public lands in his charge. Sutherland’s failure to effectively manage public lands and protect public resources and public safety was highlighted last December, when torrential rains led to over 730 landslides in the Upper Chehalis Basin alone, that wiped out roads, destroyed homes and contributed to flooding that caused more than $57 million in property damage in Lewis County. And as the Seattle Times reports in an extensive multi-part investigative series, 30% of the landslides were produced from steep sites that had been clearcut without proper oversight from Sutherland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “State forestry rules empower the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to restrict logging on unstable slopes when landslides could put public resources or public safety at risk. But in Little Mill Creek and elsewhere in the Upper Chehalis basin, a Seattle Times investigation found that Weyerhaeuser frequently clear-cut on unstable slopes, with scant oversight from the state geologists who are supposed to help watchdog the timber industry.” http://www.horsesass.org/?p=5199

8) Olympic National Park was created in 1938, in part “to preserve the finest sample of primeval forests in the entire United States” – but a new study at Oregon State University suggests that this preservation goal has failed, as a result of the elimination of wolves and subsequent domination of the temperate rainforests by herds of browsing elk. The extermination of wolves in the early 1900s set off a “trophic cascade” of changes that appear to have affected forest vegetation and stream dynamics, with possible impacts on everything from fisheries to birds and insects, the scientists wrote in their report, just published in the journal Ecohydrology. Members of the Press Expedition, hiking in 1890 through what is now Olympic National Park, found the banks of the upper Quinault River “so dense with underbrush as to be almost impenetrable,” they wrote at the time. Logs jammed the rivers, dense tree canopies shaded and cooled the streams, and trout and salmon thrived along with hundreds of species of plants and animals. “Today, you go through the same area and instead of dense vegetation that you have to fight through, it’s a park-like stand of predominantly big trees,” said Bill Ripple, a co-author of the study and forestry professor at Oregon State University. “It’s just a different world.” That world may still be quite beautiful with its jagged, glacier-covered peaks and towering old-growth trees. But it’s not the same one that so impressed President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909 that he created Mount Olympus National Monument – in large part to help protect elk herds that had been decimated by hunting. The Roosevelt elk, a massive animal that now bears his name, can weigh more than 1,000 pounds. With protection from hunters and extermination of wolves not long after that, elk populations surged, and OSU researchers say that in the intervening decades the very nature of Olympic National Park has changed dramatically. “Our study shows that there has been almost no recruitment of new cottonwood and bigleaf maple trees since the wolves disappeared, and also likely impacts on streamside shrubs, which are very important for river stability,” said Robert Beschta, lead author of the study and professor emeritus of forest hydrology at OSU. “Decreases in woody plant communities allow river banks to rapidly erode and river channels to widen.” http://www.sflorg.com/ear/?p=204

9) Out of hundreds of hikes in Olympic, few are less traveled these days than the Dosewallips (pronounced doh-see-WAH-lips) Trail in the southeast corner of the park. The trailhead sits at the end of Dosewallips River Road near the tiny town of Brinnon. In 2001, violent storms washed out a 300-foot section of the road just west of milepost 10, leaving a nearly 5-mile gap between the washout and the start of the trail. Because visitors now must walk those extra miles, many opt for more accessible hikes. Those fainthearted adventurers don’t know what they’re missing. Including the extra miles, the main trail follows the verdant Dosewallips Valley and climbs 20 miles to Hayden Pass, a spine of rotting shale named for Gen. John Hayden, who commanded Puget Sound’s harbor defenses in the early 20th century. On a visit last summer, I dragged a college buddy, Dave, up the Dosewallips for a three-day, guys-only escape. After obtaining our backcountry camping permits from the visitor’s center outside Port Angeles, we left my truck in a makeshift parking lot just east of the washout and tromped a surprisingly easy 12.5 miles to Camp Marion, a well-sheltered campground along the far side of burbling Deception Creek. Along the way, as we passed through stands of western white pine and Alaska cedar, we spied marmots, bald eagles and dozens of black-tailed deer. One species that was noticeably absent: humans. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/11/TRCF11EUUC.DTL

10) On the Chelan Ranger District, forest officials this spring dropped pheromone-soaked flakes on 100 acres of ponderosa pine trees weakened by last year’s Domke Lake Fire. The chemical is a hormone that the mountain pine beetle gives off to signal other beetles that a tree is already infested. Others get the message to fly on and find their own host trees, says Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest entomologist Connie Mehmel. The protection will only last for one or two years, but that will give the trees a chance to get stronger and withstand the next attack, she says. In some areas, the Forest Service is thinning ponderosa pine tree stands so they aren’t as stressed by lack of water and nutrients in a densely packed forest. They’re also thinning young tree stands to help prevent later attacks. On state Department of Natural Resources land, managers are attempting to integrate other species in the lodgepole pine forests to prevent the cycle of a massive beetle kill followed by wildfires, state officials say. "The DNR and the Legislature have recognized forest health as a problem that exists on too big a scale for us to do piecemeal solutions," says Aaron Everett, DNR’s forest health policy specialist in Olympia. He says the DNR has about $1.3 million to fight insects and diseases on the state’s forests during the 2007-09 biennium. Part of it will fund a pilot program in DNR’s northeast region in Colville to: 1) Look for ways to recognize where pine beetles and other insects might strike next. 2) Provide help to local landowners with bug problems. 3) Work on insect control with other agencies with lands that border DNR’s. http://wenatcheeworld.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080712/NEWS04/177986883/1002

11) Chop down riverside trees that provide shade for young salmon or lose millions in federal support to fix aging levees — that’s what the Army Corps of Engineers is telling King County. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and devastating Midwest floods, the corps is taking a conservative approach to levee maintenance, forcing cash-strapped local governments to pull out the chain saws. King County officials would love to fix 14 damaged levees on their own, sparing hundreds of trees and protecting threatened salmon runs. But they can’t afford to."It’s hard for us to walk away" from the federal money, said Steve Bleifuhs, the county’s manager for rivers and floodplains. Levees — reinforced riverbanks built extra tall — can be all that stand between bloated rivers and disastrous floods. The county believes the best way to protect residents and businesses from flooding — plus help save salmon — is to plant native trees on the sloping riversides. During heavy rains when swollen rivers creep up their banks, it’s not the levees planted with native trees that are most damaged — it’s the ones covered in blackberry brambles, grass or not much at all, county officials say. "Vegetation on river banks is desirable," said Andy Levesque, a senior engineer with the county’s Water and Land Resources Division. "Properly designed, it can strengthen." With risks so high, corps officials say their strict standards are needed to ensure safety. Look to the recent events on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to see the tremendous damage possible when levees are topped. Or New Orleans in 2005 and the lasting devastation caused by Katrina. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/370358_levees11.html

Oregon:

12) How did Oregon arrive at a point where the dissolution of one or more of its counties is being contemplated and planned? The problem is tied to the state’s wealth of federal forests. For more than a century the federal government shared timber receipts with local governments, which rely in large part on property taxes to pay for services. Federal land is exempt from local property taxes. Following the decline of public lands logging in the 1990s, Congress passed the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which expired in 2007 but was renewed for one year. The 33 Oregon counties covered — three are not — under the law received their last payments seven months ago. Starting next month, Oregon’s counties will be out a combined $206 million a year in federal money. School districts will lose $31 million. Statewide, that means a cut of 12 percent to county discretionary general funds, which pay for programs such as sheriff’s patrols and libraries, and a 28 percent cut to road programs. But some counties will fare far worse than others. Coos, Curry, Douglas and Josephine counties will each lose at least half of their general funds, while others such as Union or Washington, will lose only about 1 percent. Many counties have already eliminated jobs or shut libraries in anticipation of the loss, although Oregon’s congressional delegation is still fighting for a renewal. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1215827707265720.xml&coll=7

13) The closure is prompted by an ongoing review of the trees in and around the campground. Some trees are 200-400 years old and have been damaged by past storms or are simply near the end of their natural lives. One such tree—an 11-foot diameter spruce—fell without warning on June 24. No campers were injured, though the tree did fall across several campsites. OPRD natural resource staff have been reviewing the forested campground area, and made an initial judgment this week that a significant number of other mature trees are in declining health. "Closing the campground while we study the situation is a responsible precaution," says John Potter, OPRD assistant director of operations. "We need time to figure out what’s best for the forest and for camper safety." The campground closure will be effective until further notice while the agency completes an in-depth study on the health of the trees near the campground. The study will look at both the need to protect the old growth forest and the habitat it provides, and the kinds of recreation the park can support. OPRD plans to assess the situation and develop alternatives for public review. The 2,474-acre park was opened in 1931 near the border of Tillamook and Clatsop counties. Oswald West State Park is named for Oregon’s 14th governor (1911-1915), who protected the ocean shore for public use. The park hosted more than 15,000 campers and just under a million day visitors in 2007. Campers already in the park will be offered any available space at Fort Stevens, Nehalem Bay and other north coast state park campgrounds. Hiking, surfing and beachcombing are the most popular daytime activities. The campground closure will not affect any trails or access to the beach. http://www.kval.com/news/24272639.html

14) “The Democrats now represent a far greater danger to the environment than Republicans,” asserts Tim Hermach, director of the Native Forest Council in Eugene, Oregon. “Clinton and Gore damaged our cause more in eight years, than the Republicans did in twelve.” Similar sentiments course through the campfire conversations of environmental activists across the West, a region that has lacked a true environmental champion in the Congress since the defeat of Senator Frank Church in 1980. Green activists aren’t alone in their disgust with the two-party system. A poll in the Los Angeles Times disclosed that 54 percent of American voters support the rise of a third party. The support is strongest among liberals (64 percent) and Westerners (60 percent). Ironically, it took the end of divided government and the election to the presidency of a politician who came of age during the ascendancy of environmentalism as political force to fuel a discontent that had been smoldering for years. Most greens greeted the election of Bill Clinton and Al Gore with a queasy optimism. While the Clinton/Gore campaign placed environmental protection and public lands reform near the top of the agenda, Bill Clinton was something of a known quantity. His record as governor of Arkansas, fused with his neo-liberal rhetoric, suggested a governmental posture that would sacrifice environmental quality for political expediency or the appeasement of corporate backers. Even so, the pro-environment themes, expertly deployed during the 1992 campaign by Al Gore, played well across the country, particularly in the West, where Clinton captured seven crucial states. The Western Strategy, which proved pivotal to Clinton’s election, was decidedly green in tone. It appealed to the changing demographics of the New West: suburbanized, soft-tech, mobile and capitalizing on the environmental amenities, and not the extractable commodities, of the Western landscape. Within months of taking office, the Clinton administration began to beat a hasty retreat from its commitment to environmental protection. In March 1993, at the first hint of opposition from old-style Democratic politicians in the West, the administration backed off of its already timid proposal to reform archaic mining, timber and livestock grazing policies. An agitated Jay Hair, the usually temperate director of the National Wildlife Federation, condemned the betrayal as a case of political “date rape.” http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair07122008.html

California:

15) For reasons nobody quite understands, the disease known as Sudden Oak Death has colonized the forests surrounding Crystal Springs Reservoir with greater brutality than other areas of the county that also contain trees susceptible to the disease, such as Woodside, Portola Valley, or the county parks in the hills above Pescadero. Biologists have detected only a handful of affected trees in those areas, whereas hundreds of trees are visibly affected throughout the Crystal Springs watershed — and absent a cure, the number continues to increase. Experts have noticed the problem gaining momentum in San Mateo County this year in particular, Moore said. The results are there for all to see. "When you’re in there on the trail and you see a dead tree, that’s one thing. But if you’re on Highway 280 and you’re looking at the watershed, you see pockets, patches of dead trees. It’s summer — it’s not like they’re supposed to be dropping their leaves," he said. One of the most insidious aspects of Sudden Oak Death, which is thought to have spread from imported European nursery plants in Marin and Santa Cruz counties in 1994, is that its symptoms do not always manifest themselves until the very end, which makes it hard to stop it from spreading to other trees. And once a tree has contracted the disease, it cannot be cured. Short of clear-cutting whole sections of forest, there is not a whole lot that officials can do other than monitor the problem, Naras said. Right now he is particularly worried about dead branches raining on the heads of trail users and the fact that the dead trees provide excellent tinder for a forest fire. The Crystal Springs watershed has not had a large-scale burn in 50 years, and Naras says it is due. Forest officials have one tool available to them in the fight against Sudden Oak Death: a product called Agri-Fos developed in the laboratory of Matteo Garbelotto, a forest pathologist at UC Berkeley. The product, applied either to the bark or the roots of a tree, is designed to boost that tree’s natural immune system in the event it comes into contact with the disease. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission singled out a small grove of healthy tanoaks in a remote southwestern corner of the Crystal Springs watershed and applied the product this spring. It is too expensive to spray on an entire forest but can be used to protect choice species and heritage trees. http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_9881470?nclick_check=1

16) BERKELEY ? UC, Berkeley officials adjusted the type of food they are providing to tree sitters Wednesday in response to dietary recommendations made by the campus’ medical director, a university spokesman said. Each day, each of the tree-sitters will receive 1,800 calories, given in the form of three energy bars that contain 2,400 calories apiece, according to UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof. Campus medical director Dr. Brad Buchman determined the tree-sitters each need that amount to meet "essential requirements," Mogulof said. "While we want sustaining the protest to be difficult for them … we don’t want it to be dangerous," Mogulof said. The oak trees have been occupied by tree-sitters since Dec. 5, 2006, when a UC Board of Regents committee approved building a training center next to the football stadium near the grove of oak trees. The plan calls for cutting down many of the trees. Three of the four remaining sitters have been in the trees for at least several months. The fourth protester joined the ranks Sunday by climbing up a telephone pole near the barricade and over into a tree south of the tree where the three other protesters are living, according to Doug Buckwald, a spokesman for the tree-sitters. The newest protester, a man in his 30s who goes by the name Jeff, brought a backpack of supplies with him but accidentally dropped the backpack while climbing into the tree, Buckwald said. Jeff then yelled to the other protesters, who coached him on how to move over to the platform in their tree. Jeff made it to the platform Monday after several hours of careful climbing across the grove, according to Buckwald. Mogulof said he is glad the tree-sitters are in one tree. "We’d much rather have them in a single tree than spread out among the grove," Mogulof said. "It’s safer if they’re not traversing back and forth between the trees." The food and water being provided to the tree-sitters has not increased since Jeff joined the group; the only change was in the brand of energy bars they are being given, according to Buckwald. http://cbs5.com/local/new.tree.food.2.767347.html

17) A landmark oak tree on Liberty Canyon Road which just a few weeks ago had been facing the ax in order to make room for an office and medical center will most likely be spared. In May, the Agoura Hills City Council appealed the planning commission’s approval of a commercial development at Liberty Canyon and Agoura roads. Rather than deny the project, the council kept the public hearing on the project open until Aug. 13 to allow Behr Browers Architects of Woodland Hills to change its design and save the tree. The development calls for a new 9,660squarefoot, onestory office building, a 20,000square-foot two-story medical building, and the remodel of an existing building on the site. The design requires the removal of 12 oak trees, including the old heritage oak on Liberty Canyon. Another 27 trees would be affected by the development, said Mike Kamino, director of community development. "The beauty of that oak cannot be replicated by 12 young ones," Councilmember Harry Schwarz said. "It’s a sculpture we want to look at." Although 48 oak trees would be planted on the site and elsewhere in the city to make up for the loss of the existing trees, many residents want to save the oldest, largest oak tree that fronts Liberty Canyon homes, condominiums and town houses. The project requires Liberty Canyon Road to be widened to accommodate a driveway into the complex. Even if the street widening was decreased from 26 feet to 20 feet, the oak tree’s root system still would be compromised, said Kay Greeley, an environmental consultant. Although the tree is healthy, a seam found in the trunk indicates a structural defect, she said. That, coupled with encroachment, would make the tree vulnerable to sudden limb breakage, Greeley said, which would pose a hazard to drivers. Architect Francisco Behr said the city’s General Plan requires the road to be widened. http://www.theacorn.com/news/2008/0710/Front_page/003.html

Arizona:

18) In 1978, the original Longest Walk raised awareness about the threat to the San Francisco Peaks, a sacred site to over 13 Nations throughout the Southwest and culturally significant to another 22 or more Nations. This sacred mountain has significant spiritual and cultural values; it is the home of deities, the origin of human beings, the place of creation and emergence, and a place in which special offerings are made and rare medicinal herbs gathered. The holy mountain is a single living entity in which the health of the whole is dependent on the well being of each individual part. Thirty years later, the San Francisco Peaks are still threatened by the Arizona Snow Bowl ski resort, which is attempting to expand and utilize treated sewage effluent to make artificial snow. Snow Bowl operates the ski area by a permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service, which supports snowmaking and the plan to clear cut, grade, stump and smooth more than 100 acres of rare alpine ecosystem. The plan includes 14.8-mile long pipeline from Flagstaff to a 10-million-gallon storage pond used to create 205 acres of tainted snow. A study of Flagstaff’s “reclaimed water” known as the Endocrine Disrupter Screening Project found the presence of human and veterinary antibiotics, caffeine, codeine, oral contraceptives and other hormones, steroids, anti-seizure medication, solvents, disinfectants, flame retardants, moth and mosquito repellants, wood preservatives and cancer-causing agents such as Afrizine. And the list continues. As many Natives consider the Holy Mountain to be living, such contamination is clearly unacceptable. All along its journey, the Longest Walk 2 encountered many rivers, lakes and streams affected by the contamination caused by the logging industry. This industry affects the environment in multiple ways. In Virginia, the Occaneechi Saponi Tribe identified both logging and the logging industry’s reforestation practices as major problems. Local Tribal members compared the devastation of the loggers to that of a bomb detonation. They denounce the fact that non-indigenous tree species are being preferred by the industry over native species, to the extent that Virginia and other states are rapidly becoming one big pine plantation. http://www.sfbayview.com/News/Display_Front_page/8_000-mile_Longest_Walk_II_reaches_destination_
in_D.C.html

Montana:

19) Deputy Missoula County Attorney D. James McCubbin on Thursday appealed refusal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which includes the Forest Service, to expedite processing of an information request the county filed on June 25 under the federal Freedom of Information Act. McCubbin said expedited handling was necessary for the county to share time-sensitive information with the public. The requested information includes records relevant to discussions between Plum Creek and Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who oversees the Forest Service. “We have determined that your request does not qualify for expedited processing because you have articulated no threat to public safety and because there has already been considerable publicity about the easements,” Rita Morgan, the USDA’s Freedom of Information Act officer, wrote on June 26.The private negotiations involve easements under which Plum Creek uses federal forest roads to access company timberlands. Representatives of some western Montana counties, including Missoula, say they worry the negotiations between the company and the Forest Service’s chief overseer will foster conversion of timberland into residential subdivisions, increasing the cost of rural services such as fire protection. Under the Freedom of Information Act, anyone has the right to request access to federal agencies’ records or information. Agencies must disclose records not covered by exemptions set forth in the law. It says agencies shall respond to requests within 20 business days, a period that begins when the request is received by the appropriate office. But an agency is not required to send documents by the 20th day; they can be released within “a reasonable time afterward,” according to the FOIA Reference Guide. In a telephone interview Thursday, McCubbin said county officials worry that the USDA will take more than 20 days to provide records, and that easement provisions discussed by Rey and Plum Creek will become final before the public can get information to which it is entitled. http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20080710/NEWS/777166544

20) “At a time when Montana’s sportsmen are finding it increasingly hard to access lands, it is outrageous that the Bush administration would exacerbate the problem by encouraging prime hunting and fishing lands to be carved up and closed off,” Obama said in a written statement. “We should be working to conserve these lands permanently so that future generations of Americans can enjoy them to hunt, fish, hike and camp.” As first reported by the Missoulian in April, Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey has been meeting with Plum Creek officials behind closed doors to redefine the timber company’s future use of easements across Forest Service lands. Those easements were thought to be limited for use by loggers – so the timber company could drive across public land en route to its own timber stands. Now, though, Plum Creek has reorganized itself as a real estate investment trust. So the negotiations are looking at whether the company can use the easements for other purposes, such as accessing subdivisions and backcountry homes. Plum Creek is the largest private landowner in Montana. The vast majority of the easements involve company timberland in western Montana. Rey, whose duties include oversight of the Forest Service, told the Washington Post last week that he expects to finalize the deal next month. Some state and county political leaders and others have come out against the negotiations, arguing they should have been conducted in public, for they deal with how vast acreages of western Montana will be used in the future. Some sportsmen also have come out against the change, saying they fear that placing homes on lands that were used temporarily for logging would harm fish and wildlife habitat and close public access to hunting and fishing grounds. U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has asked the investigative arm of Congress to examine the negotiations to make sure they are legal. On Tuesday, Obama said he would support the use of tax incentives and other mechanisms to encourage private landowners to restore and protect wildlife habitat. About 320,000 acres of Plum Creek land will be protected through a provision that U.S. Sen. Max Baucus included in the latest farm bill, which has $250 million to back bonds to buy Plum Creek lands eyed for development. So far, the company has sold only 3,000 acres in Montana over the past five years. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/07/10/news/local/znews04.txt

Michigan:

21) Michigan may have lost a lot of auto manufacturing over the past few decades, but much talent to develop a new generation of vehicles remains. Detroit’s automakers, which have been producing gasoline-powered vehicles for more than 100 years, are now turning their attention to developing cars and trucks that run on biofuels, electricity and talent. Boston-based Mascoma Corp. announced last month it plans to build a $250 million cellulosic ethanol plant in the Upper Peninsula, using a $15 million state grant. The plant, the first in the country, would produce 40 million gallons of ethanol a year by 2012. Mascoma’s $15 million state grant will come from the new Centers of Energy Excellence program, which was signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday. But aren’t we in danger of again wiping out the forests by producing fuel from trees? No, says Steve Pueppke, director of the Office of Biobased Technologies at Michigan State University. Pueppke says only about 30 percent of new forest growth annually is harvested, resulting in a rising inventory of forest land in the state. "Nobody’s talking about clear cutting forests," he told me. "There’s an awful lot of room for the sustainable harvesting of trees for biofuels." The Great Lakes have long served as an efficient transportation source for commodities such as lumber, grain and iron ore. Pueppke says the lakes could be used to ship Michigan-made ethanol to major ports, giving the state a logistical advantage over Iowa and other land-locked ethanol-producing states. Ethanol can’t be shipped through petroleum pipelines. http://www.mlive.com/business/statewide/index.ssf?/base/business-0/121560870833940.xml&coll=6

Wisconsin:

22) UW-Madison scientist David Mladenoff has been warning for years that some trees common to northern Wisconsin — balsam fir, spruce and jack pine — could disappear from the state as the climate warms. But now Mladenoff and fellow UW forest ecologist Robert Scheller are adding that it will be difficult for southern Wisconsin species — oaks and hickories for instance — to move northward to replace them. Why? Not only is warming expected to outpace the speed at which southern trees can migrate, but barriers to dispersal such as agricultural lands and urban areas also will delay progress, Mladenoff said. Consequently, the standing amount of forest up north could decrease. Currently filled-out forests could thin. "The trees that are there now will be experiencing less than optimal conditions, and the southern species aren’t going to fill in as quickly as we’d like," Mladenoff said. Trees move into new areas by producing seeds, which are carried over short distances by wind, birds or mammals. Under the right conditions, dispersed seeds then grow into seedlings and eventually mature trees, which produce their own seeds. It’s a slow process, but dispersal becomes even slower when forests are fragmented — broken up by farms, cities or suburbs. It can be difficult for seeds to cross such gaps. A wide band of agricultural land that runs across the middle of the state would be a major obstacle, he warned. Inter-species competition also might be a factor, with hemlock reducing dispersal of less shade-tolerant southern species. Scheller and Mladenoff used satellite information and forest inventory data to predict how landscapes will respond to climate shifts. They used climate predictions to examine probable forest succession, seed dispersal and tree growth during the 200 years since 1990, and their findings were published in the current issue of Climate Research. http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/296149

Indiana:

23) This morning, over 20 people opposed to the construction of Interstate 69 shut down work at the Haubstadt Asphalt Yard belonging to Gohmann Asphalt & Construction, Inc. Five of the opponents locked themselves together in a circle at the yard’s gate, accompanied by five others dedicated to keeping them as comfortable as possible in the face of summer heat and the threat of police violence. With construction slated to begin this week, opponents are demanding that Gohmann immediately drop their contract for work on I-69. Additionally they demand that Gohmann and their accomplices, Riverton Trucking, Inc., drop a spurious civil suit brought against the only I-69 opponent arrested at a previous lock-down at Gohmann Asphalt’s Haubstadt facility. Gohmann A&C is the primary contractor with the Indiana Department of Transportation for the construction of the first 1.77 miles of Section 1 of the proposed highway from Evansville to Indianapolis. Several weeks prior, five opponents chained themselves to a truck leaving Haubstadt Asphalt Yard belonging to Gohmann Asphalt & Construction, Inc.. The five-accompanied by twenty-five supporters-demanded that Gohmann drop their contract with INDOT or face continued opposition and work stoppages. The Indiana Department of Transportation is having a secret groundbreaking ceremony for I-69 this week. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not invited. The I-69 Listening Project and Roadblock Earth First! are putting on a counter-party to speak against the construction of this highway and work towards the construction of community. Landowers and activists will speak about how and why the construction of I-69 will be so destructive and about the seventeen-year-old campaign against this road. Come listen, learn, and spend time with us! We’ll set up a barbeque and bring a selection of side dishes and dessert. Bring food to throw on the grill and to share! Logistical info: July 20, 2008, 3 pm, at Werth Park on SR-64, just west of SR-57 near Oakland City. http://stopi69.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/new-flyers-up/

Ohio:

24) A new study commissioned by the regional forest protection organization Heartwood concludes that the U.S. Forest Service’s 15-year management plan for southern Ohio’s Wayne National Forest (WNF) ––Ohio’s only national forest––does not maximize net public benefits as required by law. Assessing costs and benefits of the plan, the 200-page study by GreenFire Consulting Group, LLC, concludes, “It is questionable whether the Wayne Management Plan provides any net benefits to the public.” The study’s authors, economist Christine Glaser, PhD, and Karyn Moskowitz, MBA, found that proposed management activities have substantial economic costs to the public while providing questionable public benefits. “The sum of extractive and destructive activities proposed in the 2006 Forest Plan will lessen the attractiveness of the forest and will negatively impact tourism. They will also diminish the capacity of the WNF to deliver ‘ecosystem services,’ such as water purification performed by the natural filtration systems of the earth and carbon sequestration provided by the trees and other forest plants. These ecosystem services have a much higher value to society than the timber that is taken out.” Calculations based on a wide body of literature put the value of forest ecosystem services––which also include air purification, water flow regulation, biodiversity, and recreation––at an average of $1,800 per acre per year compared to timber’s value of $250 or less per acre per year. Based on a value of $1,800 per acre per year, the study estimates that Wayne ecosystem services could be worth $381 million per year. (pp. 12-13) These services are diminished by the Plan, which designates 70 percent of the Wayne’s 238,000 acres suitable for logging and proposes to log 18,441 acres and burn more than 68,000 acres (over a quarter of the Wayne) over the next decade. 46,215 acres will be burned “for an unproven ‘oak regeneration’ program and 21,904 acres to reduce questionable ‘hazardous fuels’ risks.” (p. 9) The study critiques these burn programs and finds them economically as well as environmentally unsound. http://redstaterebels.org/2008/07/wasting-the-wayne-ohios-only-national-forest/

New Jersey:

25) The state Department of Agriculture announced the results of an aerial survey Monday that revealed 339,240 acres of trees defoliated by gypsy moth caterpillars this spring, compared to 320,610 acres in 2007. This yearÕs defoliation encompasses the largest total acreage since 1990, when more than 431,000 acres of trees lost their leaves to the hungry moth larvae. A number of southern counties, however, including Gloucester County saw a reduction in defoliation this year. "Our gypsy moth aerial spray program to suppress the avid caterpillars is working in the towns that participated in the program," said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. "We are seeing less damage in the areas that were sprayed and have seen a shift in the gypsy moth population from South Jersey to northwest areas of our state." Every spring, gypsy moth eggs hatch and the young caterpillar-like larvae begin devouring a variety of plant species. Two to three consecutive years of significant defoliation, which is defined as 75 percent or more, can kill an otherwise healthy tree. Last yearÕs defoliation resulted in the death of as many as 14,000 acres of trees due to consecutive defoliation by gypsy moth caterpillars, according to the state Department of Agriculture. In an effort to combat the hungry pest, about 94,000 acres in 17 counties were treated this year with the biological insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. Bt is a non-chemical, "minimal risk" insecticide that only kills caterpillars. It does not harm other insects, animals or humans, Kuperus said. http://www.nj.com/news/gloucester/index.ssf?/base/news-3/1216095933253020.xml&coll=8

USA:

26) Hundreds of species of birds, including many once-common songbirds such as the meadowlark and bobwhite, are in severe decline in the United States, falling in population by as much as 90 percent since the 1960s, scientists, government officials and conservation groups told Congress on Thursday. The chief cause is destruction of habitat, scientists told the House subcommittee on fisheries, wildlife and oceans. They said rising food prices and the push for alternative fuels are putting intense pressure on farmland set aside for conservation. Other killers include invasive plant species that take over native seed and nesting sources, wind turbines located near critical flyways, lighted and glass-encased buildings, lighted cell-phone towers, domestic cats, disease, pesticides and climate change, which also is shrinking habitat ranges.Farmers racing to plant corn for ethanol, which is subsidized by the federal government, and livestock feed are pulling millions of acres out of the nation’s largest private land conservation program, the 32 million-acre Conservation Reserve Program, in which the government pays farmers under 10- and 15-year contracts to keep fragile lands out of production. Rising food and energy prices are leading to political pressure from Congress on the Bush administration to allow farmers to break their conservation contracts without penalty. Even "green building" codes that aim to make structures environmentally friendlier, mainly by conserving energy, pay no attention to bird destruction, said Karen Imparato Cotton, a bird crash specialist at the American Bird Conservancy. Cotton said as many as 975 million birds are killed by crashing into buildings each year. Many migrating species of neotropical songbirds, which breed in North America and winter in the Caribbean and South America, are attracted to internal and external building lights as they migrate at night."The light fields entrap night-migrating birds," Cotton said. "They seem to be reluctant to leave these lit areas and tend to circle within them. As they pile up in the light field, circling the structure, they collide with each other, with the building, or they collapse from exhaustion." New green building codes often call for increased natural lighting that includes more glass, which also induces fatal bird crashes. Neither the private U.S. Green Building Council nor a new Senate bill that aims to promote green building by the federal government includes safe bird design features. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/11/MNO511N21T.DTL&type=printable

27) Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. joined the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN), World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) initiative to save the world’s most valuable and threatened forests, WWF announced today. By joining the GFTN, Wal-Mart has committed to phasing out illegal and unwanted wood sources from its supply chain and increasing its proportion of wood products originating from credibly certified sources – for Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Clubs in the United States. Wal-Mart’s commitment to promoting responsible forestry builds on the company’s collaboration with WWF. Earlier this year, Wal-Mart committed to purchasing 100 percent of its wild caught salmon seafood sold in the U.S. from sources certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) within four years. About World Wildlife Fund For more than 45 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The largest multinational conservation organization in the world, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level, from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature. Go to worldwildlife.org to learn more. http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/wal-mart-joins-wwfs-global-forest/story.aspx?guid=%7B6ED0
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28) A report out today by the National Academy of Sciences says that there’s a surprising amount we don’t know about how doing things like cutting down vast swaths of a forested watershed affects the water supply downstream. Requested by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation — which have to make decisions all the time about forests and the water supply they provide — offers: “Recent increases in fire, insects, and disease in forests have spurred adoption of forest management practices, such as thinning and salvage logging, whose effects on hydrology have received little study. The hydrologic effects of many of the new management practices and (best management practices) have not been studied, and dynamic forest conditions make it important to understand how contemporary practices influence water resources.” I didn’t realize until I read the report that there’s a notion that cutting down the forest increases the water supply downstream. The panel, which included input from enviros and scientists and the timber industry (did I forget anybody? let’s just say all the sides are represented) addresses this idea: “While it is possible to increase water yield by harvesting timber, water yield increases from vegetation removal are often small and unsustainable, and timber harvest of areas sufficiently large to augment water yield can reduce water quality.” Climate change, cumulative effects, and more all need careful study if we’re to keep our forests producing the water supply we all need, the panel concluded: “Forests are essential for the sustainable provision of water to the nation. It is incumbent upon scientists, policymakers, land and water managers, and citizens to use the lessons of the past and apply emerging research, technology, and partnerships to protect and sustain water resources from forested landscapes.” http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/environment/archives/143288.asp

29) At issue is the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), under which the government has paid farmers to stop growing row crops, such as corn and soybeans, on 34 million acres across the country. Designed in the mid-1980s to hold down production and bolster commodity prices, the $1.8 billion-a-year program has turned into a major boon for conservation, with much of the acreage planted with perennial grasses or trees, or restored to wetlands. But the ethanol boom, widespread flooding and high prices for feed crops have changed the equation. Livestock producers have been howling about the high price of animal feed. Pork producers say they are losing $30 per pig. “We need more corn. That’s all there is to it,” said Dave Warner, spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, one of many agricultural trade groups pressuring Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer to change the rules of the conservation program to release land into production. Industry observers expect Schafer to announce his decision imminently. Whatever he decides is certain to be controversial. Environmentalists are decrying the idea of renewing farming on the land, saying that the program represents a huge taxpayer investment in conservation and that expanded cultivation might exacerbate future flooding. “He’s got to choose between agriculturalists and environmentalists, and I’m not sure he wants to make that choice,” Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said. Grassley has met with Schafer and urged him to let farmers out of their CRP contracts without paying a penalty, while also, as he put it in a letter to Schafer, protecting “the most environmentally sensitive lands.” Environmentalists argue that the short-term gains from additional row crops would be outweighed by long-term environmental damage. “The reason it’s in the Conservation Reserve Program, it’s environmentally fragile, it’s highly erodible land, and we’ve invested a hell of a lot of money in getting cover on this land and putting it to bed, basically,” said Ralph Heimlich, an environmental consultant to the Environmental Defense Fund and a former deputy director at the USDA. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/10/AR2008071002550.html

30) U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources: 47:22: Salazar: Let me just say to you Undersecretary Rey and to Chairman Binghamton that I hope it is something that we can do, we have legislation from the Colorado delegation and Senator Binghamton does as well and maybe this is one of those issues that certainly is not a Republican or Democratic or political issue this is just a reality of a huge infestation that we have to deal with on the ground. 48:41: Craig: Chairman, thank you very much. Senator Salazar, with the help of the U.S. Forest Service and their scientists, and the whole other group of folks, we’ve prepared a set of amendments for the climate change bill that obviously is dead on arrival so it won’t happen. With what you’re asking and what we can do and will do in the future, is bulletproof in part categorical exclusions so we can do some of these things. Because, you know, the great untold story of my state and your state, when we took away the authority of the Forest service and gave it to the courts to manage our land was that what is green in a climax environment turns brown and dies. And if somebody’s not there to take it away, and create a new dynamic in the forest, Mother Nature comes along and burns it. And that’s what’s going to happen in your country, if we don’t get categorical exclusions so you can go in and clean up those watersheds and protect them and replant them. And create, assist mother nature in the cycle. http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=5a839fdf-aeaa-
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31) Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act. The passage of this bill is an important step towards establishing a federal emergency fund for the suppression of large and costly wildfires that often have devastating impacts on forests and communities. The fund will also allow federal land management agencies to reestablish more reliable funding for other vital land management programs. Costs associated with fire suppression have escalated dramatically in recent years. This trend is only likely to continue to grow as a result of hazardous fuels build-up, climate change, and increasingly populated wildland-urban interface areas. Wildfire suppression costs for the US Forest Service (USFS) have exceeded 1 billion dollars in six of the last eight years. The proportion of the USFS budget devoted to wildfire management activities increased steadily from thirteen percent of the total USFS budget in 1991 to forty-eight percent projected for fiscal year 2009. As wildfire suppression costs have escalated, other program funds have been dramatically reduced. As a result, funding has decreased for important land management activities such as forest restoration, reforestation, and community capacity building. According to American Forests’ Vice President, Gerry Gray, "funding for these types of programs is essential to address our current forest health crisis and the associated threats to communities over the long term." http://www.americanforests.org/news/display.php?id=190

32) On July 10, the Forest Landscape Restoration Act (HR 5263) was the subject of a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee. This legislation, introduced by Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), aims to restore damaged forest ecosystems by establishing a collaborative, science-based forest landscape restoration program that would prioritize and fund ecological restoration treatments for forest landscapes. — Companion legislation (S. 2593) passed through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by unanimous consent in May and is now included in the Omnibus Public Lands Package of 2008. — S. 2593, as passed by Committee, includes many important ecologically protective provisions that American Lands was able to secure. The House version of the bill does not yet incorporate those changes, but House Resources Committee staff assures us that those changes will be made when the bill is "marked-up" (amended) in Committee. — The Omnibus Public Lands Package of 2008, S. 3123, is over 700 pages long and includes wilderness designations, land conveyances, wild and scenic river designations, and National Park Service authorizations, amongst many other public lands bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills included in the massive package. Also included in the bill is the Senate version of the Forest Restoration Landscape (S. 2593), referenced above. — The Omnibus bill has been purposefully crafted to not include any controversial provisions, so that it can pass through the Senate without delay. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) would like to see the package move before the August recess, but insiders say that it is not a priority for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and until it becomes so, movement of the bill is unlikely. At present there are 149 cosponsors of HR 2516 in the House and 19 cosponsors of the Senate version S 1478. These bills seek to provide lasting protections for all inventoried roadless areas in the United States. Click to see if your Representative and Senators are cosponsors of this important legislation. If not, click here: http://americanlands.org/issues.php?subsubNo=1113510651&article=1184861319

372 EU-Africa-Mid-East

–UK: 1) Ancient tree Forum, 2) 200-acre expansion of Durham beauty spot, 3) Limewoods Native Woodland Challenge,
–Spain: 4) Logging industry has advantage when it comes to biofuels
–Turkey: 5) Selling licenses to “operate” national forests
–Tanzania: 6) Jane Goodall’s legacy: a primate-filled island forest surrounded by pasture
–Kenya: 7) Recovery of Meru national park
–Nigeria: 8) Ground-zero for coming resource wars
–Uganda: 9) Forest loss most severe in Kibaale and Nakasongola
–Pakistan: 10) Clandestine plan to clear mangroves discovered

Articles:

UK:

1) From a 5,000-year-old yew said to have sheltered the young Pontius Pilate, to an oak which inspired Mendelssohn and a sycamore under which the Tolpuddle Martyrs met, many of the trees have played a key role in the nation’s history. Britain has more old trees than anywhere else in northern Europe, but many are now at risk. Although some can be protected by preservation orders, conservationists say these can be rescinded if a tree is claimed to be dead, dying or dangerous. The Government is preparing to bring in rules that would give greater protection to ancient trees and conservationists have compiled the register to highlight as many as possible. Jill Butler, from the Woodland Trust, which compiled the list with the Ancient Tree Forum and the Tree Register of the British Isles, said: “These are representatives of our history and heritage, in the same way that old buildings are.” Trees are classified according to three stages – growing, mature or ancient. Once a member of the public has nominated what he or she believes to be an ancient tree, a verifier from the register will study its girth and the conditions in which it is growing. From this age can be established and whether it qualifies as ancient. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/07/13/eatrees113.xml

2) Almost £500,000 is to be spent on creating a 200-acre extension to a woodland beauty spot in Durham. The Woodland Trust will create the extension to Elemore Wood, at Easington Lane, which will be planted out and tended over the next 15 years. More than 100,000 native trees and scrubs such as oak, ash, willow and rowan will be planted alongside rarer species such as spindle, so named because its wood was used for looms, and small leaved lime. Establishing woodland cover will be spread over four planting phases, with the first trees going in the ground at the beginning of 2009. Forestry Commission spokesman Mike Riley said the site would be called White Hill Woods. “This ambitious scheme ticks all our boxes. Expanding Elemore Wood will produce massive dividends, with mixed habitats including trees, glades and open spaces producing a tremendous boost to wildlife. “Local people will also get a place to relax and enjoy healthy exercise. This part of the region is relatively low on tree cover, so this scheme will have a major impact.” When mature, Elemore and White Hills will provide continuous woodland cover for two and half miles between Easington Lane in Tyne and Wear and Littletown in County Durham. Wildflower meadows and an area of magnesium limestone grassland – a rare local wildlife habitat – will also be created. http://www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk/latest-north-east-news/500000-to-create-beauty-spot.4282
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3) The woodlands stretch between Wickenby and Woodhall Spa and are made up of scattered individual woods with lots of lime trees. Landowners and farmers can apply for cash from the scheme – the Limewoods Native Woodland Challenge Supplement – to extend or link existing semi-natural woodland by establishing new native woods. It is hoped the isolated woods might be reconnected to create ‘wildlife corridors’ and help safeguard habitat for years to come. David White, woodland officer with the Forestry Commission, said: “This grant scheme will run for one year only, so we’d urge people to come forward quickly and tell us about their plans. “The importance of the Lincolnshire Limewoods should not be underestimated. “As a habitat they are unique, yet also very fragile. “By expanding tree cover we will improve their prospects and help the wildlife and flora that depend on them.” The woods date back to at least the time of the Domesday Book and support an astonishing range of plants, insects and wildlife, together with a rich human history. http://www.horncastlenews.co.uk/news/85000-to-help-protect-fragile.4279199.jp

Spain:

4) Opportunities abound for forest, paper and pulp industry to play a leading role in the development of second-generation biofuels, such as gasifying refining so-called “black liquor” – the oily liquid residue produced in pulping wood to produce paper – to produce both bio-synthesis gas and liquid fuel. Progress has been relatively slow due to a variety of factors, however, including the challenge of instilling a new industry mindset and culture geared towards innovation and R&D as opposed to one focused on cost-cutting to compete in commoditized markets. Managements can take a big step in direction by taking a holistic perspective of their forest, pulp and paper resources as integrated biorefineries, according to a growing number of industry participants, researchers and analysts. A process of developed by Sweden’s Chemrec that converts biomass to motor fuels based on black liquor gasification looks like it can be a promising element of emerging new industry biofuels business strategies and plans. http://www.resourceinvestor.com/pebble.asp?relid=44320

Turkey:

5) It is better for Turkey to sell licenses to operate national forests because the state is doing a poor job of managing this public land, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said on Wednesday. Non-state companies would do a better job running the millions of hectares of Turkish woodland, Unakitan said at an energy meeting on Wednesday. Countries like Canada have sold such rights to companies that manage their forests better, Unakitan also said. “We had alienated the forests. How do the millions of hectares of Turkish woodland being operated? … In my opinion, they are not operated well. Let the private sector enter in this area… Check how this is being done in Canada.” Turkish government has sold $27 billion of state assets since 2002 during Unakitan’s period. Establishing woodland cover will be spread over four planting phases, with the first trees going in the ground at the beginning of 2009. Forestry Commission spokesman Mike Riley said the site would be called White Hill Woods. “This ambitious scheme ticks all our boxes. Expanding Elemore Wood will produce massive dividends, with mixed habitats including trees, glades and open spaces producing a tremendous boost to wildlife. “Local people will also get a place to relax and enjoy healthy exercise. This part of the region is relatively low on tree cover, so this scheme will have a major impact.” When mature, Elemore and White Hills will provide continuous woodland cover for two and half miles between Easington Lane in Tyne and Wear and Littletown in County Durham. Wildflower meadows and an area of magnesium limestone grassland – a rare local wildlife habitat – will also be created.http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/finance/9404132.asp?scr=1

Tanzania:

6) Goodall has referred to Gombe’s lush forests as a cathedral and tries to visit there twice a year for “spiritual strength”. But its forest and the others that make up the lush Congo Basin are vanishing fast, cleared for crop growing, grazing and timber. Loggers are destroying vast tracts, opening the door for commercial hunters, who indiscriminately exterminate the forests animal inhabitants to satisfy the burgeoning taste for bush meat. In 1900, there were up to two million chimps in Africa – that number has plummeted to fewer than 150 000 today. The expansive forests that Goodall once ventured into have disappeared and its 100 chimps are surrounded by farmland. “They’re trapped. There are only bare fields around them. They used to go out of the reserve to feed, but not anymore.” Thousands of refugees fleeing war in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo into Tanzania have put more strain on the fragile forest region. Goodall points out her institute is working with Gombe’s poverty-stricken villagers with education, health and microcredit schemes, to ultimately safeguard wild habitat. “We’re giving fish hooks instead of fish. Each of the villagers puts aside an area for regeneration and this creates a corridor for the chimps so they can go out again.” http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=31&art_id=vn20080712085637623C809619

Kenya:

7) WHEN I VISITED MERU NATIONAL Park for the first time at the turn of the new millennium, it seemed like a ghost town — if the expression can be used for one of Kenya’s premier parks today. It had gone through a devastating era of poaching that was evidence of a complete breakdown of law and order in the area. The only animals remaining were a few herds of frightened elephants that hid at the slightest sound, antelopes and the elusive cats that had somehow managed to escape the bullets. Only one black rhino remained — Makora — who passed away last year due to old age. He became the flagship for peace after he was brought back from the private ranch where he was taken for safety. Not only were there scarcely any animals left but the infrastructure was in complete shambles. The park headquarters was in ruins, the patrol vehicles were either bullet ridden or unroadworthy, the roads barely passable and just a handful of rangers with little more than a gun to guard the park. The only lodge in the park at that time, Meru Mulika, shut down, bringing tourism to a grinding halt. Meru National Park seemed to have become the poachers’ playground. Yet, this is the park that was immortalised in the Born Free series shown on TV and the film screened across the globe. It was safe enough in the sixties for the legendary Joy Adamson to bring Elsa the lioness and later Pippa the cheetah to the wild because it had the space and a diverse landscape full of rivers, grass plains, woodlands and rock kopjes. Tourists went there to see Elsa’s home and the big game country where elephants, rhinos and the big cats were in plenty. Today, the tarmac ends at the park’s entrance through the newly built Murera gate. The gate office is modern and bigger, fitted with communication gadgets and a secure environment for rangers to work in. The main roads in the park have been graded smooth and the main ones fitted with signposts. Within a few minutes of entry into the park, we come across a herd of elephants close to the road with little ones suckling. On my first visit almost a decade ago, we had spotted a frightened herd of elephants, which quickly scampered back into the bushes. That was the only sighting of them for the next two days. Apart from elephants, I saw one male Greater Kudu, a few antelopes on the plains and no cats. But I got to visit Makora in the newly established rhino sanctuary. Next on the list is a beautiful herd of reticulated giraffes wearing their finely-patterned coats from which comes their name. By the time we arrive at the recently renovated Kinna Bandas by the river that carries the same name, it is already dark. The caretaker brings out the lanterns and we have the log fire on. He has just one warning — not to stray off the pathways or walk in the dark. There are lions around. And to prove it, although we don’t see them, we hear them roar every night. “Meru National Park has had the largest translocation of animals in the world,” explains senior warden Robert Njue sitting by the Kinna River. “Over a period of five years, 1,750 animals were translocated here. http://www.nationmedia.com/eastafrican/current/Magazine/mag140720081.htm

Nigeria:

8) Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta, which juxtaposes the arresting graphics of award-winning photojournalist Ed Kashi with the geopolitical insights of UC Berkeley professor Michael Watts to present Africa’s most populous nation as a possible epicenter for the full-blown resource wars to come. [You can watch a short multimedia presentation of Kashi's photographs on the right-hand side of this page.] They are wars that are already well under way. In mid-June, a Shell facility was attacked by local militants, disrupting production and sending the already sky-high price of oil to further heights before coming back online a week later. Attacks like those have increased in frequency, as Nigerian factions have fought for control of the nation’s lucrative petroleum resources, which are the largest in Africa. The problem, especially as indigenous populations caught between Nigeria’s prosperous rich and their oil industry’s environmental devastation see it, is that viable land and resources have been wasted on a handful while the majority of the country falls into further disrepair and depression. From natural gas flares and oil spills to the destruction of native plants, animal species and other salable commodities, Nigeria’s oil industry has wreaked havoc across the land and its people. And it’s only getting worse. And if you think it doesn’t affect America, think again. The future of Nigeria and the Niger Delta in the short and medium term will be that more oil and gas will be produced. There are perhaps 40 more years of oil left, much of that offshore in deep water, and the government and oil companies will continue to produce it at high prices. What’s America’s stake in the region? Nigeria is a major supplier to the U.S. market, as well as a major plank in America’s energy security policy. The Gulf of Guinea in West Africa is a major new oil supply area in the context of the instabilities in Venezuela and the Middle East. It will be business as usual. And the establishment of AFRICOM is part of the U.S. interest. http://www.alternet.org/story/89692/

Uganda:

9) Loss of forest cover in the country is most severe in Kibaale and Nakasongola, posing risks of fuel wood scarcity and food insecurity, according to a study by the National Forestry Authority (NFA). Both districts lost over half of their forests in the last 15 years. The study, which compared satellite images of 1990 and 2005, shows that out of the 80,000 hectares of high forests in Kibaale in 1990, only 26,000 hectares were left in 2005, representing a loss of 68%. In Nakasongola, the forest cover reduced from 127,000 hectares to 60,000 hectares over the same period, or a loss of 53%. The land conversion, for farmland in Kibaale and for charcoal burning in Nakasongola, is to blame for the looming disaster. Central Uganda is cited in the report as the most affected by deforestation. It consists of the charcoal- producing districts of Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Luweero, Kiboga, Mubende and Wakiso. It is followed by western Uganda, where forests in Kibaale, Kyenjojo, Hoima and Masindi are being mowed down by Bakiga immigrants who come from the heavily populated southwestern Uganda. Uganda’s total forest cover has halved in the last two decades. In 1988, 26% of the country was covered by forests. This has reduced to 13% in 2008, says John Diisi, NFA’s coordinator for Global Information Systems and Mapping. The country loses an average of 86,000 hectares of trees per year, or 2.1%. Most of the destruction is taking place on private land, outside Government protected areas, according to NFA. “The future is not good. What is being destroyed is not restored,” Diisi noted. “This is because what is being destroyed is on private land, where the Government has no control and where it can not touch people who cut down trees.” Within the protected areas, encroachment is the biggest problem. Since President Yoweri Museveni issued an executive order in 2006 stopping evictions from the reserves, the number of encroachers has increased from 180,000 to 240,000, according to the NFA report. http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/638476

Pakistan:

10) A clandestine plan to clear out mangroves has been discovered by a visiting team of environmentalists. It is alleged that, once cleared out, the land near Ibrahim Hyderi and Gizri will be put to commercial use. The Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) have hurled allegations at the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) officials, saying that the area comes under the jurisdiction of the DHA. A large number of people have been hired by the agents of the influential timber mafia to cut the endangered mangroves from inside the forests and they have destroyed wide expanses of mangroves from the inside of the forest, alleged a PFF spokesman while talking to The News. However, he said, this clever eradication of flora is not obvious from the outside. The Sindh forest department had deployed officials near Rehri, a fishermen locality, to keep strict vigil over the move, but the officials have allegedly joined hands with the mafia to wipe out the mangroves. When contacted, the local forest department officials claimed that they were there to impose fines against those caught red-handed. However, the situation observed by the visiting team reveals that influential officials, local sea lords and certain government bodies have initiated a joint move to clean the forest area, leaving millions of the city’s inhabitants vulnerable to natural calamities. “When we entered the mangroves forest on boat we saw the horrible sight of trees being chopped down. People who introduced themselves to us as labourers on daily wages were axing live trees openly without any fear,” said Abdullah Khoso, who is conducting a study on mangroves and keeping an eye over the destruction of thick forests. “It needs proper attention nobody can calculate how much area these people have already cleared. Each labourer is being paid Rs200 daily wages for the work,” added Khoso. The concerned traders take the wood cutters to the forests on boat in the morning and pick them up in the evening. Timber is being transported by boats to the seashore where trucks and tractor trolleys are loaded with the ill-gotten cargo. This is an organised move and environmentalists have been unable to take notice of this up until now. Though the activity takes place in broad day light, civic authorities as well as environmentalists are silent over the issue. It is unfortunate that the institutions made to safeguard the people and the natural resources of the country are completely dysfunctional and are destroying everything around there, the PFF spokesman added. http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=123624

372 Latin America

–Mexico: 11) UN designation likely won’t help save the Butterfly forest
–Brazil: 12) Limiting Soy when its value is rising? 13) Saving the edible heartwood of the Juçara palm, 14) Stora Enso found to be criminal in courts again, 15) Economy vs. environment conundrum, 16) What the forest minister resignation means, 17) Palm Oil Barons plan to take over Brazil, 18) Nature reserves are being thoroughly ransacked,
–Ecuador: 19) Site of Greatest Bat diversity ever being studied, 20) New constitution recognizes rights for nature and ecosystems!!!!!

Articles:

Mexico:

11) Environmentalists fear the decision to list Mexico’s wintering grounds of the Monarch butterfly as a U.N. world heritage site may do little to halt deforestation that threatens the butterflies. UNESCO bestowed the global landmark distinction Monday on the Monarch reserve, a series of mountain forests west of Mexico City where the butterflies spend the winter after migrating thousands of miles (kilometers) from the United States and Canada. “The listing isn’t going to produce results unless there is an integral plan for the reserve,” Mexican environmentalist Ivan Restrepo said Tuesday. “I hope this serves as a wake-up call and doesn’t just serve as an advertisement.” The Mexican government says it has turned the corner in defending the dense fir forests that shelter the Monarchs from the winter cold. Ernesto Enkerlin, Mexico’s commissioner of natural protected areas, said the deforestation problem today is confined to a few small farming communities that account for about 6 percent of the 139,000-acre (56,259 hectare) reserve. It is mostly in those areas that the reserve continues to lose about 100 hectares (247 acres) of trees per year. He acknowledged “it’s a disaster” in the problem communities where much of the land is clear-cut, but said trees are starting to grow back in the rest of the reserve, where local residents are cooperating. “We are entering into a new phase of the Monarch butterfly reserve, one of recovery,” Enkerlin said. Boundary disputes, indigenous issues and local rivalries are also making it difficult for authorities to work in those areas, he said. Enkerlin acknowledged that illegal logging was so bad at the reserve three years ago that if authorities had proposed it World Heritage status, “we would have gotten absolutely nowhere.” http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/08/america/LA-Mexico-Butterflies.php

Brazil:

12) The price for soybeans is soaring as more and more soy is being used to replace petroleum. These days you’ll find the flexible bean in everything from plastics to gasoline. With increased demand comes increased pressure on farmers to plant soy wherever they can – and even places they’re not supposed to, like Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest. That’s why a new agreement to ban soybeans grown in the rainforest could play a big role in preserving the region. The moratorium removes the farmers’ economic incentive. Lindsay Allen of Greenpeace helped broker the deal. So how does this moratorium work? ALLEN: Well the moratorium works by ensuring that there isn’t new deforestation in the Amazon for soy and it sets in place the monitoring mechanisms so that the big traders like Cargill, ADM, and Bunge can know that the soy they’re getting and sending to market isn’t coming from farmers who have deforested. GELLERMAN: Well what’s in it for Cargilll and ADM and the other companies to observe this moratorium? ALLEN: It’s their economic interests because before we announced the moratorium we released a report called “Eating up the Amazon.” And it was essentially a case study that walked from soy in the hands of the farmers to the hands of Cargill, Cargill would then send it to Europe to be animal feed, and those animals were then going into McDonalds’ chain of custody. So the pressure that we were able to exert on McDonalds they in turn exert on Cargill. And knowing that deforestation of the Amazon not only is devastating to biodiversity but it also has an impact on climate change, given Brazil is the fourth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, McDonald’s has European customers who refuse to buy Amazon soy. GELLERMAN: Well why now? I mean these farmers have been cutting down the forest to grow food for years. What’s the impetus for the action now? ALLEN: Well we’ve seen a huge surge of soy moving into the Amazon and while logging and cattle-ranching are still greater threats, this expansion of soy was a reason for us to say, “We can stop this now and we can put in place a moratorium that really protects the biome,” while setting a precedent. So as we see biofuels expand, as European customers came to understand that animal-based products being fed to animals causes mad cow we see an increase desire for soy in the international markets and that’s what’s really driven this expansion. http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.htm?programID=08-P13-00028&segmentID=8

13) The juçara, a palm tree in danger of becoming extinct due to over-exploitation of its edible heart, is beginning to recover thanks to sustainable management by the Afro-Brazilian communities of the Atlantic tropical forest, Brazil’s most deforested biome. “I began cutting palm at age seven with my father, the first ‘palmiteiro’ of Eldorado,” says Antonio Jorge, now 63, and a student of social sciences through a university distance-learning programme. “We did it out of necessity and lack of knowledge,” he admits. But, since 1990, he said, they have been planting juçara instead of cutting it in order to use only its edible bud, the heart, or palmito, which is in high demand on the market. This turnaround occurred in recent years in the Brazilian communities that descended from African slaves in the Ribeira river valley, a basin of 28,306 square kilometres between two industrial cities in the south, São Paulo and Curitiba, and which constitutes the largest preserved area of the Atlantic tropical forest, a coastal ecosystem that has already lost 93 percent of its tree cover. These communities are known as “quilombolas”, emerging from the former “quilombos”, enclaves of blacks who escaped slavery and fought for their freedom in centuries past. A project of the non-governmental Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA) buys juçara seeds gathered by the quilombolas at 1.87 dollars per kilogramme for cultivation in their own lands. In Ivaporunduva, the oldest quilombo in the valley, 13 youths and adults climbed two hills on Jun. 26 carrying sacks full of seeds on their backs to plant in the forest. It was a “mutirão”, an indigenous word used today to describe any community effort that is exceptional and voluntary. Planting has to take place in forested areas because the juçara, whose scientific name is Euterpe edulis martius, needs shade in its early lifetime, and patience, because it takes about eight years to produce fruit and a good palm heart. Silvestre Rodrigues da Silva, a 63-year-old father of five, contributed 250 kg of seeds gathered by his family for the “mutirão”, earning 468 dollars. He was lucky to have preserved hundreds of palms near his house. “I never imagined that their seeds could produce this money. For me, the juçara was just beauty and bird food,” he said. Some communities are growing seedlings in nurseries as another source of income. They are also discovering the benefits of the fruit, whose pulp has nutritional value similar to that of the açaí, an Amazonian palm of the same family that has already conquered a large market share as an energy source. http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=43164

14) The world’s top paper and board maker Stora Enso said on Friday its associated firm, Veracel of Brazil, would appeal against a court decision which said it had no valid deforestation permits. Stora said a decision issued by a federal judge in Bahia, originating from a claim in 1993, said Veracel’s permits are not valid and no environmental impact assessment study was undertaken for the licensing. Veracel was at the time accused of having deforested a 64 hectares area of native forest. “According to the decision, 47,000 hectares of Veracel’s current plantations should be cut down and reforested within one year with native trees,” Stora said, adding that the decision also imposes a possible fine of BRL 20 million (8 million euros or $12.6 million) on Veracel. But Stora said an environmental impact assessment study was undertaken in 1994-1995 and permits were obtained. It said Veracel disagreed with the court’s findings and planned to appeal. “Veracel vigorously disputes the findings of the court and is analyzing the content of the decision,” Stora said. “The preparation work for possible expansion of Veracel will continue.” http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssPaperProducts/idUSL1126401320080711

15) Overall, a stalwart environmentalist might say that the gains in recent Brazilian federal government policy (PAS and PPCDAM) regarding Amazon conservation do not in any way counter the negative aspects of PAS-related development projects that will inevitably cause deforestation and environmental decline. However, Minister Unger says these projects are necessary to provide economic opportunity in the region, and the rhetoric of the PAS claims innovative technology will be used to conduct such projects with minimal environmental impact. Still, environmentalists correctly argue that any such development is detrimental. Also, it remains to be seen whether the highest degree of technology used for projects will, in fact, have a low environmental impact. Will such technology be available to the projects? And will, as is often the case, technology be sacrificed for cost-efficiency? Recalling the history of Brazilian government culture in the 1970s and 1980s, one encounters a Brazilian model of “development” that was environmentally devastating. Governor Blairo Maggi (a controversial figure at the forefront of debate on the Amazon paradox) noted in a speech in Washington on June 10, 2008 that government programs at the time promoted exploitation with no regard to environmental cost. Maggi added, however, that attitudes have changed including his. The lack of past awareness of the environmental impact of development in the 1970s and 1980s was reminiscent of similar ignorance in U.S. history in various eras of frontier life when people falsely sensed that they lived in a land of endless bounty. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0807/S00290.htm

16) The Brazilian president is confronted with a difficult set of circumstances made evident by the bitter debates within Lula’s administration, which came to a head with the May 13 resignation of the dejected Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva. Although it is difficult to anticipate how Brasília’s current measures will affect deforestation in the Amazon, the most important ecological initiative of Lula’s six-year tenure thus far has been the Plan for a Sustainable Amazon (PAS). The document was originally signed in 2004 and later enhanced in 2007, but its implementation only began this year. It is characteristically more pro-economic development than pro-environmental preservation. However, the PAS and related initiatives such as the 2004 Plan of Action for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon (PPCDAM) could potentially slow deforestation by designating new areas as nature reserves, combating illegal logging and farming, and eradicating falsified land deeds throughout the region. Overall, Brasília deserves some applause for developing a policy that responds to the international outcry against deforestation. Unfortunately, the needs of a growing economy and agricultural sector, in concert with high commodity prices, conflicts markedly with environmental groups’ unwavering commitment to preserving the region crucial to the survival of mankind. For some critics, Minister Silva’s resignation, coupled with new reports of increasing rates of deforestation, signify a lack of progress in the Brazilian government’s modest crusade to conserve the Amazon. Silva had been considered the essential spokesperson within Lula’s administration for the environmental movement. Her six-year tenure as Minister of the Environment was littered with tough battles against powerful agribusiness and development interests that ultimately would destroy the Amazon, the area where she was raised as the daughter of rubber-tappers. To understand Silva’s ouster, one must take into account the way Brazilian politics function. The country’s political system is a complex, relational game of corporatism at every level and Lula’s cabinet is no exception. The enormous executive branch currently contains more than 35 ministries–and is known for its non-stop inter-ministry feuding. These ministries, when not given the leeway to work autonomously, fight for the ear of the president on nearly every issue. When dealing with a controversial issue like Amazon conservation, it is easy to see how Silva was overwhelmed by other ministers’ promotion of development and business in the region. http://ranforestpower.blogspot.com/2008/07/contemporary-efforts-to-address-amazon.html

17) Malaysia’s Land Development Authority FELDA has announced plans to immediately establish 100,000 hectares (250,000) of oil palm plantations in the Brazilian Amazon. The agency will partner with Braspalma, a local company, to form Felda Global Ventures Brazil Sdn Bhd. FELDA will have a 70 percent stake in the venture. “As a start, 20,000ha in Tefe will be opened for oil palm planting. After that, between 3,000ha and 5,000ha will be opened yearly,” said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. “Felda wants to emulate Petronas as a global player,” he added, referring to Malaysia’s national oil company. Wednesday’s announcement had been expected. Last month Najib said Malaysia would seek to expand its booming palm oil industry overseas. The country is facing land constraints at home. Accordingly, Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Yusof Noor said the agency had been offered 105,000ha in Papua New Guinea, 45,000ha in Aceh on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and 20,000ha in Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. The establishment of oil palm plantations in the Amazon will be seen by environmentalists as a new threat to the world’s largest rainforest. Presently little commercial palm oil is produced in the region due partly to the traditional nature of Brazilian farmers and pest concerns, but the entrance of industry-leading Malaysian producers could serve as a model and quickly increase palm oil’s visibility as a viable form of land use. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0709-amazon_palm_oil.html

18) Brazil’s nature reserves, which harbor much of the world’s biodiversity, are grossly mismanaged, underfunded, and often ransacked by intruders, the environment minister said on Tuesday. Nature reserves account for more than eight percent of Brazil’s vast territory, an area equal to the U.S. state of Texas. Brazil also claims to have the world’s largest forested national park, the Tumucumac park in Amapa state with 3.8 million hectares (9.39 million acres). But several of Brazil’s parks, which harbor treasures from the Amazon forest or the Pantanal wetlands, are sanctuaries not for wildlife but illegal loggers, miners and ranchers. Of 299 protected areas, 57 percent have no permanent law enforcement officials, 76 percent have no management plan, and nearly one-third have no manager, an internal study showed. “We discovered a very serious problem and we called the public to show this ecological striptease,” Environment Minister Carlos Minc told a news conference in Brasilia. “The current situation is not sustainable,” he added. In the Bom Futuro or “Good Future” National Park in northwestern Rondonia state, around 1,600 wildcat miners, farmers, loggers, and ranchers are raiding natural resources. In some years the rate of deforestation in protected areas of the Amazon was higher than in unprotected areas, Minc said. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/7638401

Ecuador:

19) Bats are a remarkable evolutionary success story representing the second largest group of mammals, outnumbered only by rodents in number of species. Now, researchers of the Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin (Germany) and Boston University (U.S.A.) have discovered the place that harbours the highest number of bat species ever recorded. In a few ha* of rainforest in the Amazon basin of eastern Ecuador, the authors have found more than 100 species of bats. Dr. Katja Rex and colleagues captured bats at several biodiversity hotspots in the New World tropics, in the lowland rainforest of Costa Rica, the slopes of the Andes and a site in the Amazon rainforest of Eastern Ecuador, at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station1 located adjacent to the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve. During many months of strenuous nightly field work, exposed to rain and mosquitoes, the researchers captured bats, identified species and recorded the total number of each species they captured. Based on these numbers, they calculated the species richness and diversity present in each of these forests. “The forest at Tiputini Biodiversity Station is known as one of the global biodiversity hotspots with extremely high numbers of plant, insect and bird species” explains Dr. Christian Voigt (IZW, Berlin). “We expected a high number of bat species when we started our study, but we were amazed ourselves by our final estimates. This forest is just super diverse in life forms, including bats.” Forests of the temperate zone are regionally inhabited by only 3 to 10 bat species which all feed exclusively on insects. In contrast, tropical forests harbour more than 10 times as many species as temperate forests. Now the researchers want to study how so many bat species manage to coexist together in such a small area. “The forest is like a large city with people of various professions, some are specialised and some are generalists. The ecological role of bats in the forest is quite similar. Among bats we observed dietary specialists and generalists” states Voigt. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080712150148.htm

20) On July 7, 2008, the Ecuador Constitutional Assembly – composed of 130 delegates elected countrywide to rewrite the Ecuador Constitution – voted to approve articles for the new constitution recognizing rights for nature and ecosystems. “If adopted in the final constitution by the people, Ecuador would become the first country in the world to codify a new system of environmental protection based on rights,” stated Thomas Linzey, Executive Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. “Ecuador is now leading the way for countries around the world to make this necessary and fundamental change in how we protect nature,” added Mari Margil, Associate Director of the Legal Defense Fund. Over the past year, the Legal Defense Fund has been invited to assist delegates to the Ecuador Constitutional Assembly to re-write that country’s constitution. Delegates requested the Legal Defense Fund to draft Rights of Nature language for the constitution based on ordinances developed and adopted by municipalities in the United States. The Legal Defense Fund has assisted communities in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Virginia to draft and adopt new laws that change the status of natural communities and ecosystems from being regarded as property under the law to being recognized as rights-bearing entities. These local laws recognize that natural communities and ecosystems possess an inalienable fundamental right to exist and flourish, and that residents of those communities possess the legal authority to enforce those rights on behalf of those ecosystems. In addition, these laws require the local governments to remedy violations of those ecosystem rights. In essence, these laws represent changes to the status of property law, eliminating the authority of a property owner to interfere with the functioning of ecosystems and natural communities that exist and depend upon that property for their existence and flourishing. The local laws allow certain types of development that do not interfere with the rights of ecosystems to exist and flourish. Shireen Parsons, Virginia Community Organizer, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund http://www.celdf.org

372 Asia-Pacific-Australia

–China: 21) Farmers get forest contracts to lift production and promote conservation?
–India: 22) Kutch Biosphere reserve sets up 2 management committees, 23) Kolar congress burns forest minister in effigy,
–Philippines: 24) Warning chiefs not to tolerate logging, 25) Caraga tightening its monitoring of 188,000-hectare pulp concession,
–Papua new Guinea: 26) Government lying about illegal logging being non-existent
–Malaysia: 27) OP3-Danum project
–Indonesia: 28) Filing a slander complaint against Yale, 29) Sponsoring trees in Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park,
–Fiji: 30) 70,000 hectares lost in 15 years
–Australia: 31) Stopping destruction of Shire and Yarra ranges, 32) Benedict Arnold of treehugging rejects UN call for greater forest protection, 33) Compensation demanded for unpaid council rates, 34) “Tenants in common” property falls apart when one person wants to develop his share of it,

Articles:

China:

21) Farmers will be given the right to manage collectively owned forestry tracts through 70-year contracts, China’s State Council, or Cabinet, announced yesterday. The reforms, to take effect immediately, will boost farmers’ income, get farmers more involved in the planting and growing of trees, lift production and promote conservation culture, the council said. The reforms have been recognized as another milestone in the country’s transformation of rural production after it adopted the system for collective farmland more than two decades ago. The forestry reforms will not change the nature of collective ownership, the State Council said. It called for ensuring equal access to operating rights among farmers and guaranteeing their rights to know information about the tracts and to take part in the decision-making process about the uses of land. The government said yesterday that it planned to complete the reforms within five years and form a sound development mechanism for collective forests based on the reforms. The system has already been implemented in Fujian, Jiangxi, Liaoning and Zhejiang provinces since 2003, where 58.5 million hectares of collective forestry land have been contracted out to farmers for management. The trial has turned into a win-win situation – farmers were getting richer and the forests received better protection, said the State Council. The practice of the household contract system for collective farmland was initiated by a group of farmers in a small village in the central Anhui Province in 1978. The system was adopted nationwide later and helped boost the country’s agricultural production. The government said it expected the system to work again for the collective forestry land, promote the development of the forestry industry and improve living standards for farmers, according to the statement. http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/?id=366864&type=National

India:

22) In a double bonanza to the fragile ecology of Kutch, the state government has declared Chharidhandh wetland a conservation reserve, and set up two committees for the management of Kutch Biosphere Reserve (KBR). The decisions have been taken in a bid to project Kutch as an international nature destination, according to officials. In two separate notifications last week, the Forest department upgraded its conservation efforts for Kutch with officials hoping this will substantially improve Kutch’s biodiversity protection, at the same time bringing greater visibility to the region. On Friday, the huge wetland of Chharidhandh – known for its Flamingo city and habitation of lakhs of migratory birds in winters – was upgraded as a ‘Conservation Reserve’. It will cover over 22,000 hectares of land in the three Kutch talukas of Bhuj, Nakhtrana, and Lakhpat. The notification said “given its ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural, and zoological significance”, the aim of declaring Chharidhandh a conservation reserve is to protect, propagate, and develop wildlife and its environment. In its second related development, two committees – State Level Steering Committee (SLSC) and Field Level Steering Committee (FLSC) – have been set up by the department to manage the ecology of KBR in its entirety. The SLSC will be headed by the Chief Secretary and have Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) (Wildlife) as its Member Secretary. Principal Secretaries of Forests and Environment, Revenue, Agriculture, Industries, and Secretary (Rural Development), PCCF, Director (Fisheries) and Conservators of Forests (Kutch and Junagadh) will be its members. This committee will critically examine the management action plan and make appropriate recommendations to the Central government and other financing agencies through the state government. http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Chharidhandh-wetland-on-its-way-to-become-an-internatio
nal-nature-destination/335326/

23) Kolar Congress on Saturday staged a demonstration and burnt the effigy of forest minister Kunwar Vijay Shah in protest against his alleged insulting statement on Brahmin Samaj. Few days back the forest minister stated that its better to plant a tree than to provide food to Brahmins which has not only insulted the complete Hindu religion and Indian culture but also an effort been made by BJP to perish the long lasting tradition. This has brought forward their Anti-Hindu policies and that it’s such a party whose leader went Pakistan to offer flowers at the grave of Jinnah. Keeping this in view in the direction of the state congress committee, the congressmen demonstrated against the BJP. On this occasion a letter has been submitted in the name of Chief Minister to the administration for dismissing Vijay Shah from the ministry. On this occasion, the Spokesman and Media Person, Rahul Singh Rathore, the Chairman of Municipal Corporation, Munni Mangal Singh Yadav, District Secretary, Kaushal Tyagi alongwith thousands of party members appealed for instant dismiss of the Forest Minister. http://www.centralchronicle.com/20080713/1307022.htm

Philippines:

24) Isabela Governor Grace Padaca on Friday warned village chiefs against tolerating illegal logging in their jurisdictions, even in the province’s impoverished “forest region.” “Hindi sapat na rason ang kahirapan ng buhay para kunsintihin ang illegal logging (Poverty is not a valid reason to tolerate illegal logging),” she told reporters during a visit in nearby Echague town. After defeating a dynasty that thrived on the logging industry since the height of martial law, Padaca is facing another battle, this time, against another giant called poverty. Sporting her trademark crutches that symbolize her triumph over polio disease at an early age, Padaca warned village chiefs who kept their eyes close and their mouths shut as truckloads of lumber go out of their villages. “Alam ni Kapitan yan, hindi pwedeng hindi (Village chiefs know it [illegal logging], it could not be that they don’t),” she said. Task Force Illegal Logging, a composite team from the provincial government and the DENR intercepted more that 2,000 board feet of softwood and another truckload of Narra lumber last week. The rising cost of petroleum products and basic commodities, including rice, has drove people into seeking economic relief through easy but illegal means like timber poaching. http://www.gmanews.tv/story/106480/Poverty-not-an-excuse-to-allow-timber-poaching–Isabela-gov

25) The DENR in Caraga Region has tightened its monitoring of all forest products that are coming out in all exit roads of the 188,000-hectare concession area of the Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines Resources Inc. (PICOP) in the wake of a widespread timber poaching and illegal cutting of trees within the area over the last two weeks. DENR OIC, Regional Executive Director for Caraga Region Edilberto S. Buiser and RED Ricardo Calderon of Region 11 made an urgent meeting on Thursday at the DENR Regional Conference Hall in Butuan City to look for immediate measure that would stop a stream of poachers that began to invade the concession area of PICOP since its management has opted to stop its milling and logging operation on June 13, 2008 in the face of the country’s economic uncertainties. Buiser and his Regional Technical Director for Forestry Management Services Adeluisa Siapno have been in touch with DENR Secretary Lito Atienza, Jr. since last week to inform the central office about the situation of the forest resources in the PICOP area. Several groups of environmentalists including the parish priest of Bislig City Fr. Floria Falcon have reported to the DENR about widespread cutting of trees in the area but this information have to be verified yet on the ground by the DENR personnel including their exact locations. The personnel of Bislig under CENRO Philip Calunsag and PENRO Diego Escano of Surigao del Sur made a quick ocular inspection in some service roads inside the PICOP area over the weekend and found several scattered cut logs on some roads. PENRO Escano said, the DENR personnel took several hours to haul the cut logs at least on one of the 80 access roads inside the concession area but the two logging trucks the they have used in the retrieval operations were insufficient. He said the sight of cut logs along the roads are just too many. The DENR has imposed “Oplan Pako” in which at lease six pieces of six inches headless nails are driven onto different parts of the logs to discourage timber poachers but the vehicles of the personnel and military escorts have been constantly bothered by punctured tires owing to lots of spikes placed by the antagonists along the way. http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=12&r=&y=&mo=&fi=p080711.htm&no=41

Papua New Guinea:

26) Papua New Guinea’s Eco Forestry Forum has disputed claims by the Forestry Ministry that illegal logging is practically non-existent in the country. The Ministry’s first secretary, Alistair Endose, says the PNG Forest Authority has full control over logging operations and monitors them for compliance. He says while there may be violations of certain conditions of the logging agreement, he doesn’t feel it constitutes illegal logging. The forum’s executive director Thomas Paka says the Ministry seems to be downplaying non-compliance with industry regulations as minor issues. However he says non-compliance is rife. “We know that there is gross illegal logging taking place. We have more than five government-sanctioned reports that point to the fact that there is elements of illegal logging and in terms of definition, we are still saying that as long as somebody is not following what the law says, any operation is deemed illegal.” http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=40854

Malaysia:

27) Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said the launching of OP3-Danum project demonstrates Malaysia and United Kingdom’s readiness to embark on new activities to address environmental issues of global concern, including climate change and biodiversity loss, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. He said though the tropical rainforest was one of the most dynamic forest types on this planet, its environment has been the least studied and understood by scientists worldwide. Unggah said that almost 70 per cent of the oxygen in the atmosphere comes from the tropical rainforest through the process of plant photosynthesis. He said the delicate balance between emissions and absorption of carbon dioxide and oxygen and emission of other reactive trace gases determine the local, regional and global scale atmospheric composition. “We are aware that forest biodiversity is at risk from land use change and climate change. Forests throughout the world are home to many species of rare plant and animal speciesÉthey also play a role in the carbon and energy balance of the earth, which in turn influences global climate,” he said. He hoped at the end of this project, Malaysian scientists and policymakers will be better appreciative of the importance of the inter linkages between forests and the climate of the planet. Nevertheless, he said in so far as climate change is concerned, the major cause is use of fossil fuels and “we cannot address climate change merely by understanding the interaction between the forests and climate.” “We would be more effective if we could also deploy on a wider basis the use of alternative fuels and transfer technology and finance from developed to the developing countries to directly address climate change,” he said at the soft launching of OP3-Danum project, yesterday. British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Boyd McCleary, meanwhile, said the RM16 million funding from the British Government through NERC to the OP3-Danum project was the largest single foreign donor contribution to a fundamental research project in Malaysia to date. He was also happy that the University of Lancester will be leading the UK consortium of research institutions in the said project, while the Malaysian Meteorological Department will be the main local counterpart working with them. He said the British Government commissions a wide range of work to support the development of the policy in response to man-made climate change, an area of crucial concern at national, regional and global levels. http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=58685

Indonesia:

28) Indonesia will lodge a formal protest against Yale University for its environmental performance index (EPI) report, which ranked Indonesia one of the world’s least environmentally friendly countries, a local news report said Monday. The Jakarta Post reported that Amanda Katili, the State Ministry for the Environment’s special expert on climate change, was scheduled to fly to the United States Monday to present the newest forestry data in an attempt to refute the EPI report. State Minister of the Environment Rachmat Witoelar was quoted as saying the report was unfair. ‘It is absurd because all the data is invalid,’ he said. The EPI report, published in the US magazine Newsweek’s July 7-14 edition, ranked Indonesia 102nd out of 149 countries in environmental matters. ‘Where the two biggest carbon emitters, China and the United States, have coal plants and cars to blame, the number 3 culprit – Indonesia – produces 85 per cent of its carbon emissions from forest,’ the report in Newsweek said. The report said that forests were almost wiped out on heavily populated Java island, while Sumatra lost 35 per cent of its forest and Kalimantan lost 19 per cent in the 1990s. Deforestation is also threatening the Sumatran rhinoceros and the orang-utan with extinction. http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/asiapacific/news/article_1416780.php/Indonesia_to_protes
t_Yale_University_environment_report

29) The tree adoption program organized by the Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park (TNGP) and Jakarta’s Green Radio is proving very popular, with listeners and corporations already sponsoring 2,000 trees. Former president Megawati Soekarnoputri is among the many individuals, communities and corporations to have adopted trees through the program. State-owned electricity firm PT PLN has also pledged to adopt a 50-hectare stand of trees in TNGP. Santoso, Green Radio’s director, said the program had been many months in the planning. “It started out with an idea we proposed to Green Radio listeners. We ask whether they want to contribute and adopt trees in TNGP,” he said. Green Radio has pledged to plant 4,000 trees in a 10-hectare plot in the park. “However, for the first step, 2,000 trees were planted,” he said. “The tree adoption is not restricted to radio listeners alone, but includes all the staff of Green Radio. I personally adopted 10 trees.” Bambang Sukamanato, head of TNGP, said those interested in participating in the program would have to pay Rp 3,000 every month for three years, or a flat fee of Rp 108,000. He said some of the money raised would be used to help subsistence farmers in the park. He added the program also served to educate the public on environment conditions in the Bogor and Cianjur highlands. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailcity.asp?fileid=20080712.C03&irec=2

Fiji:

30) The forestry situation in Fiji has worsened over the past decade, according to academics Annette Lees and Suliana Siwatibau. Their findings are in a report on the review and analysis of Fiji’s conservation sector wrapped up at the start of the year. It is conservatively estimated that 70,000 hectares of forest in Fiji has been lost in the past 15 years and forest loss continues.”This is very serious for a small nation such as Fiji which depends on healthy forest cover to protect its water catchments as well as other economic benefits that forests return,” said Ms Lees. The Austral Foundation-based academics report highlighted that forest degradation in Fiji was through agricultural clearance, plantation establishment and destructive and unsustainable logging in large areas of the remaining tropical rainforests of Fiji. “The forests contain the remaining stocks of native terrestrial biodiversity in a country that was once totally covered in tropical forests. “Destructive logging has implications for the sustainable development of Fiji. It is depriving Fijian resource owners of long-term forestry assets and income with the degradation of productive forests and soil,” said Ms Lees. Forest clearing for agriculture was said to have resulted in major loss of forests in smaller islands and the drier and lowland rainforests of the higher islands. A report on sustainable forest management in Fiji by International Tropical Organisation four years ago concluded that much of the damage was done by the timber harvesting in indigenous forests in the mahogany plantations and to a lesser degree in the pine plantations. Ms Lees said Fiji’s forestry situation was of concern for species and habitat conservation causing ecosystem degradation, erosion, sedimentation and predator and weed invasion. http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=95027

Australia:

31) Logging in the Central Highlands region may not resume in 2008, that is, if the Shire of Yarra Ranges has anything to do with it. At last week’s council meeting, councillor Samantha Dunn called on fellow councillors to support her in seeking a federal review. She raised a motion that the council write to the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke to seek an urgent review of the Central Highlands Regional Forest Agreement 1998 and that logging within the Central Highlands should not resume until such a review has taken place. Cr Dunn said the current agreement committed those within the industry to the objective of ecologically sustainable forest management and a five yearly review process that allows members of the public to comment on the performance of the agreement. “The Regional Forest Agreement has been compromised as no review has taken place, it was due five years ago,” Cr Dunn said. “The review would normally allow for the community to provide important input to address any areas of concern in relation to the agreement and is an opportunity for them to voice their aspirations in relation to management of Victoria’s forests.” She said current logging practices in water catchments needed to be subject to a detailed review. “To date 12 Victorian local government authorities, with a constituency representing more than 1.4 million people in the city of Melbourne, have resolved to advocate that logging should cease immediately in Melbourne’s water catchments in the Central Highlands,” Cr Dunn said. “The lack of a comprehensive review has lead to a failure to measure the impacts of logging on nationally listed threatened species, which is a clear indication that the legislation and management measures meant to protect these species is currently failing.” Cr Dunn’s motion was supported by the majority of councillors, with the exception of councillors Ken Smith and Graeme Warren. http://www.starnewsgroup.com.au/story/61410

32) A July 6 meeting of the 21-country United Nations World Heritage Committee unanimously called for the extension of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA). The WHC’s recommendations would protect some of the native forests currently threatened by logging, but federal environment minister Peter Garrett has ruled out extending the heritage area boundary. Huon Valley Environment Centre spokesperson Will Mooney said in a media statement, “Tasmanian and federal governments must now heed the requests of the international community and IUCN experts, by moving to impose an immediate moratorium on logging in these areas and take steps towards extending the boundary of the TWWHA to protect their values”. The WHC recommendations follow a series of wins for Tasmania’s anti-logging and anti-pulp mill campaigns, including the ANZ bank’s withdrawal of funding for logging corporation Gunns’ pulp mill and the resignation of pro-Gunns premier Paul Lennon after his popularity rating dropped to 17%. On July 10, Gunns closed its Tonganah sawmill at Scottsdale, leaving 130 workers without a job. The mill closure happened with less than a fortnight’s notice and followed the company’s previous acceptance of $4 million from the state government to guarantee no retrenchments. http://www.greenleft.org.au/2008/758/39179

33) Bega Valley Shire Greens’ councillor Keith Hughes has given Forests New South Wales a bill for $18 million, for what he says is compensation for unpaid council rates. Cr Hughes presented the invoice covering the past 18 years to a forestry representative at a council meeting this week. The council will increase this year’s rates by 9 per cent, 6 per cent more than what is allowed under rate pegging legislation because it says it is having trouble meeting rising costs. Cr Hughes says State Forests should be carrying its share of running the shire. “Every other trading enterprise, every other business has to pay rates on their land,” he said. “State Forests own over a quarter of the land in the shire and they paid no rates and in effect they are getting a free ride on the back of all the other ratepayers. “I think it is time they paid up.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/11/2301109.htm

34) A feud has erupted between neighbors in a jointly owned enclave at Myola as bulldozers rolled in to clear an area claimed to be a cassowary sanctuary. The “tenants in common” property, where more than a dozen people own sections of a 36ha plot, are fighting over one owner’s decision to develop her 3ha section. Angry co-owner John Willerton, who lives next door to the disputed section, said its owner, Mehery Vudrag, had called in bulldozers to knock down a stand of rare licuala fan palm forest. “They are at least 10m tall and home to two cassowaries,” he said. “She (Ms Vudrag) just wants to rip through there to make it more attractive to buy.” Ms Vudrag said the other owners’ concerns were “a nonsense” and they were complaining because she had declined to sell her land to them. “I have done everything by the book and have council and Department of Natural Resources approval,” she said. “We have surveyed the area and not one licuala tree will be lost.” Ms Vudrag questioned the motives of her neighbours saying that if they believed it was cassowary habitat why did her neighbours allow their “savage dogs” to roam free? Mr Willerton conceded Ms Vudrag had the correct development approvals but could not understand how she had obtained them. “The council has been duck-shoving it and DNR say it is not their responsibility,” he said. Mr Willerton said all of the 14 other tenants had signed a letter saying they wished to buy the land. But Ms Vudrag said her neighbours did not have the money and that their offer for her to finance the sale was unacceptable. “The offer they made was ridiculous,” she said. “If they are not happy I will buy the properties of the three main protagonists if they get them properly valued.” http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2008/07/11/5378_local-news.html

371 EU-Africa-Mid-East

–UK: 1) They lost their battle to save a row of trees, 2) Woodland logging wins prize,
–EU: 3) Critical issues and policy options related to deforestation,
–Portugal: 4) Cork-oak cultivation creates refuge, 5) Cork-oak culture,
–Sweden: 6) Bark beetle are swarming in Southern Sweden
–Ghana: 7) Two-day gathering of loggers and enviros
–Kenya: 8) Ban on importing chainsaws and timber equipment, 9) Mijikenda Kaya forests earns US World heritage status,

UK:

1) Campaigners have lost their battle to save a row of trees on the edge of a nature corridor by the River Frome in Stapleton. More than 100 people complained to Bristol City Council against plans to fell trees in Grove Wood, next to Blackberry Hill. New landowner Lord Houshang Jafari bought the plot in November and since then has carried out a number of works to the wood, which protesters say was home to otters and kingfishers and a favourite haunt for many local residents. They fear plans are afoot to develop the land into residential accommodation, although Mr Jafari has always denied this is the plan. Now controversial plans to cut down sycamore, ash, lime, beech, cherry and elm trees have been given the go-ahead. Up to 250 residents protested last night against the city council’s approval of the scheme, after the authority confirmed last week that it would not be placing a preservation order on the trees. Officers said the existing trees were causing a nuisance to cyclists and pedestrians and risked damaging the wall which divided the woods from the road. Local resident Sue Drake said: “These trees require pruning to ensure they are not a hazard to passing traffic and pedestrians. “But the council’s decision to allow these trees to be clear-felled does not take account of the huge value of these trees for the landscape in a Conservation Area.” Richard Minchin, who regularly jogs through Grove Wood, said: “The council seems to have looked for every possible reason to allow the felling of these trees, but they have no real proof that the trees are causing any damage. “The only thing that is now certain is that a beautiful line of trees will be lost forever.” http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=145365&command=displayContent&sourceNode
=145191&contentPK=21037923&folderPk=83726&pNodeId=144922

2) A woodland which is aiming high has notched one of the most prestigious prizes in forestry for a North York Moors estate. The Hawnby Estate has been declared winner of this year’s John Boddy Rose Bowl, awarded by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and judged by the Forestry Commission and The Royal Forestry Society. Agent John Richardson will receive the prize at the Forestry Pavilion at the Great Yorkshire Show today. Nestling in stunning countryside, the estate manages 2,000-acres of mixed-woodland around the village of Hawnby, near Helmsley, and runs a thriving timber business. But amidst the verdant landscape is one of the most important collections of ancient woodland in northern England. Judges were impressed by the major efforts being made to restore many of these areas, which support rare butterflies and seven species of bat. Conifers are gradually being felled, encouraging species like ash and oak to regenerate, and allowing sunlight to nourish flowers and plants. But in the Gowerdale part of the estate a high rise solution has been required to restore its precious mix of habitats. Steep and sensitive terrain made it impossible to use heavy machinery, so a winch system was used to extract 500 tonnes of timber. The technique, which employs a system of pulleys and cables stretched out between an anchor boom on the hillside and a point further down, is often employed in western Scotland, with trees lifted from the ground and “ski-lifted” to a stacking point, before heading to the saw mill. These ancient woodland sites will have had woodland cover for at least 400 years, with some having been more or less continuously wooded since trees became established after the last ice age. It is an irreplaceable asset that needs sensitive management.” http://www.maltonmercury.co.uk/news/Hawnby-is-top-of-the.4266351.jp

EU:

3) The European Commission’s DG Environment has launched a public consultation to gather opinions on a number of critical issues and policy options related to deforestation around the world. The results of the consultation will feed into the international climate negotiations for a post-2012 climate regime. Forests are crucial reservoirs of biological diversity, but are under threat around world, particularly in tropical and boreal regions, from deforestation and forest degradation. Their disappearance undermines the fight against climate change and accelerates the loss of biodiversity. Deforestation therefore needs to be integrated into any future agreement on fighting climate change. The results of the consultation will be used to inform the development of EU policy in this area, the options for which will be presented in a Communication from the Commission at the end of 2008. The results of recent public consultations, addressing issues directly related to tropical deforestation (e.g. “Living with climate change in Europe”, “Call for evidence on the Economics of Biodiversity Loss”, “Additional Options to Combat Illegal Logging”, “Halting the Loss of Biodiversity by 2010 and beyond”) will also be taken into account in the analysis and follow-up actions. Interested individuals and organisations are invited to submit their views by 22 August using the following web address: http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=deforestation

Portugal:

4) “Because the native cork-oak woodlands around the western Mediterranean were never completely cleared, they still have some of the richest biological diversity in the Mediterranean,” says Jose Tavares, Portugal program manager for the U.K.-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). More than 100 songbird species breed in the montados, he says, including the brilliant, hummingbird-like bee-eaters; hawfinches and chaffinches, with their seed-cracker bills; and big, azure-winged magpies, little rock buntings, and cirl buntings. More than 160 other birds occur here, including many species that overwinter, such as lapwings and golden plovers; millions of wood pigeons and doves, from all across Eurasia; booted eagles and short-toed eagles, honey buzzards and black kites. A handful of very rare species find refuge here, too. Iberian mixed oak forests support the majority of Europe’s Bonelli’s eagles (now numbering fewer than 1,000 pairs), the last 180 breeding pairs of Spanish imperial eagles, and fewer than 100 Iberian lynx. Cork-oak forests across the Mediterranean, in Algeria and Tunisia, harbor some of the world’s last Barbary deer. Laws of one kind or another have protected Portuguese cork oaks since the year 1259. As a result, montado still covers 1.7 million acres here, mostly in the Alentejo region of southern Portugal. But it would be a dangerous mistake to assume that abundance today assures the montados’ safety in years to come, conservationists say. The slow-growing cork oaks are the “gold of Portugal,” a tirador told me. They’ve been preserved because they provide an invaluable source of income for the farmers who own them. But 70 percent of cork revenues come from the wine industry; flooring, insulation, and cork’s myriad other uses barely pay their way. And now, increasingly, the wine industry is turning to alternatives to cork. The change is happening at a full gallop, experts say. Synthetic and screw-top stoppers are no longer embarrassing hallmarks of plonk. They’re commonplace on mid-range wines these days. http://audubonmagazine.org/features0701/habitat.html

Eleven years have passed since the last harvest—the customary 10, plus an extra on account of drought—and the silvery charcoal oaks are swollen with cork so thick and dense it splits to accommodate its own girth. A crew of 33 has been working since early June on this 5,000-acre estate. The men have a month down, a month to go. Coming upon them out here on the sunny hillside, among the low, open-crowned oaks and the aromatic rockroses, far from farm building and blacktop, the little troop seems a natural part of the landscape. They flow from tree to tree, working them over the way a flock of songbirds does. Tiradores—cork strippers—work two to a tree, swinging their small axes from the elbow hard and fast with a rhythmic, cork-muffled thwack, thwack, thwack. A good tirador cuts precisely through the outer bark and no deeper, slicing a narrow door-size rectangle into the broad side of the tree. For the final few cuts, the tirador chops and pries, chops and pries, twisting under the waxy bark in a squeaky-shoe counterpoint to the cut. Thwack-squeak, thwack-squeak. He discards the axe, grabs the turned-up corner with two hands, heaves back, and the plank slowly rips away from the trunk with a long, reluctant, scratchy groan. When all the bark lies below the tree in stiff curls, the men shoulder their axes and the eucalyptus-pole ladder and move on after the rest of the flock. Exposed, a newly fleeced cork-oak trunk is a startling yellow-orange, with the grainless texture of a slab of gyros on a spit, only wonderfully cool and moist. This paler color will redden in a day or two; the inner bark will seal itself and take on an opaque, stuccoed look, as if finely plastered in paprika. As the years pass the bark will thicken and darken once again, to reddish mahogany, to chestnut, and back to silvery-charcoal gray. All is quiet in the tiradores’ wake. A honey-yellow butterfly makes the first move, ascending from a rockrose like petals taking flight. There’s twittering from the crown of a tree. Small birds flit invisibly among the oak leaves. A nuthatch is a common sight in the montados, as these ancient Portuguese cork-oak savannas are called. And common is precisely the point, says Domingos Leitão, an ornithologist with the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds. “Birds that are declining or rare elsewhere in Europe are still common here in the cork-oak montados of southern Portugal,” he says. “Common and abundant.” http://audubonmagazine.org/features0701/habitat.html

Sweden:

6) The dangerous bark beetle is swarming in Southern Sweden earlier than normally, Nordic Forest Owners Association reported. There is also a great risk of a second generation swarming later in the summer. Because of the warm summer the beetle population swarmed early. The drought made spruce more vulnerable to attacks. Mats Sandgren, CEO of Södra Skog, says that the beetle population is very large. The weather has weakened the defence capacity of spruce and trees suffer from stress. More than three million cubic metres of wood may be hit only within Södra’s own region and the total may be as high as 6 million cubic metres. Forest owners try to combat the bark beetle by removing attacked trees and by setting traps treated with feromones to attract swarming insects. http://wood.lesprom.com/news/34735/

Ghana:

7) A stakeholders forum on Forest Management Planning opened yesterday at the University of Ghana, Legon, in Accra. The objective of the two-day forum is to provide an opportunity for the stakeholders including timber dealers forest conservationists and non-governmental organisationas to discuss with the Forestry Commission modalities for a comprehensive Timber Utilisation Contract (TUC) area plan development and identify ways of enhancing sustainable forest management in Ghana. It was organised by the Forestry Commission (FC) with sponsorship from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Addressing the forum, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Prof Nii Ashie-Kotey, said Ghana adopted forest management certification as a tool for achieving sustainable forest management in June 1996. Prof Ashie-Kotey said it, however became apparent that, practical forest management in Ghana was below the required standards because the capacity, knowledge and understanding of the workings of forest certification and management was low in Ghana. In order to provide technical guidance in that regard, the WWF extended its Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) programme to Ghana in 2004. “Four years of GFTN activities in Ghana have enhanced the capacity of a number of concession holders in the area of certification and improved forest management in their respective concessions,” he said. Prof. Ashie-Kotey said this was achieved through training, capacity-building programmes on reduced impact logging, certification and auditing. Prof. Ashie-Kotey said inspite of these major achievements, one key impediment that remains to be resolved is the inadequacy or the non-existence of forest management plans. This has necessitated the stakeholders forum. Mr Mustapha Seidu, Projects Leader of WWF – West Africa Forest programme office in a presentation, said GFTN is a WWF initiative to eliminate illegal logging, transform global market place into a force for saving valuable and threatened forest and facilitate trade links between companies committed to achieving responsible forest management. He said GFTN operates in 34 countries, working with over 360 companies, trade in more than 42 billion US dollars of forest products annually and manage 26.1 million hectares of forest worldwide. http://www.modernghana.com/news/173380/1/Experts%20hold%20forum%20on%20forests%20management.ht
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Kenya:

8) The Environment and Mineral Resources minister has ordered a ban on the importation of timber-harvesting equipment such as power saws to protect forests. Mr John Michuki ordered the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) director-general, Dr Muusya Mwinzi, to enforce and amend existing laws with a view to banning any importation of machinery used in harvesting timber. “We have the Forest Act 2005, which has clear provisions to support this initiative. The director-general of Nema is directed to ensure guidelines are developed for the management and control of the environment. This Act is only second to the Constitution in terms of its power,” he said. Mr Michuki also announced a Sh16 billion programme to rehabilitate Nairobi River in the next three years. He said the filth and destruction of the river system and its environs were shocking, adding, Vision 2030 has identified the environment as a critical component for sustainable development. The minister said the enforcement of environmental laws had been forgotten. He said population pressure, coupled with inadequate resources, had compromised the delivery of services for most residents of Nairobi, leading to many challenges such as environmental degradation. He said about 56 per cent of the city’s residents live in slums and are located along the banks of Nairobi River. “These informal settlements, which lack sanitary facilities, have encroached on the riparian reserve, which should be kept off by 30 metres on each side of the river banks,” he said. Meanwhile, Nema’s Dr Mwinzi has announced a river-cleaning initiative aimed at rehabilitating the Nairobi River basin. The initiative would be undertaken in collaboration with all relevant ministries and the City Council of Nairobi, the director-general said. http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=1&newsid=126949

9) The Mijikenda Kaya forests along the Coast have been added to the United Nations’ list of World Heritage sites. The decision, taken on Tuesday during a Unesco meeting in Canada, is likely to inspire thousands of tourists to visit the forests. Kenya had previously won World Heritage designations for Lamu Old Town and Lake Turkana and Mt Kenya national parks. The Mijikenda Kaya forests are among 27 sites approved by Unesco this week for World Heritage status. Several countries sought unsuccessfully to have sites added to the list at the annual meeting that ends on Friday in Quebec City. In announcing the designation of the forests, Unesco said “the site is inscribed as bearing unique testimony to a cultural tradition and for its direct link to a living tradition”. The Kaya forests consist of 11 separate parcels of land spread over 200 kilometres and containing the remains of numerous fortified villages (kayas) built by the Mijikenda. The kayas, which date from the 16th century, are now regarded as the abodes of ancestors and are revered as sacred sites, Unesco noted. As such, they are maintained by councils of elders. A total of 878 sites around the world have received World Heritage designations in the 27 years that Unesco has been making such inscriptions. http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=1&newsid=127019

Tanzania:

10) Recently four villages, two in Morogoro district and one each in Babati and Muheza districts, managed to obtain a total of Sh8 million from a programme under the Kyoto Protocol for sale of carbon dioxide sequestered through participatory management of their village forests. The villages are Mangala and Gwata in Morogoro district, Handei in Muheza, Tanga region and Ayasanda in Babati district in Manyara region. The programme is called Kyoto; Think Global, Act Local (K:TGAL) and is one of the efforts being done to sell carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases, sequestered through participatory management of village forests. Contracts defining roles of the villages and K:TGAL programme were signed with the village governments and the money is in the process of being transferred to the villages’ bank accounts. The programme has been coordinated by Prof Rogers Malimbwi and Mr Eliakim Zahabu, both academicians working with the Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation at the Sokoine University of Agriculture. Prof.Malimbwi said the programme involved participatory forest management (PFM) and entailed involvementg of local communities in the management of natural forests that would otherwise degrade or be deforested as a result of carbon emissions. The government supports PFM in an effort to reduce the current 17 million hectares or 50 per cent of the total forest land in the country which is prone to deforestation and degradation during agricultural expansion, charcoal making and timber harvesting activities. http://shalinry.org/emissions-pact-pays-off/2008/07/
In 1972, Catherine Craig celebrated her 21st birthday at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, while she was studying with the famed primatologist Jane Goodall. Thirty years later, Craig returned, this time as a conservation biologist with a focus on evolution and ecology and a very particular subspecialty – spider webs. The Gombe she found was horrifically different from the one she had experienced in her youth. The areas bordering the park had been victims of the slash and burn agriculture that is destroying forests around the world. “I couldn’t blame the people who had destroyed that land because they’re starving, they need to eat, and, to them, slash and burn makes absolute sense,” Craig said recently as she walked through an Audubon preserve across the street from her Lincoln home. “But it still bothered me.”The farmers were destroying the forest to survive; to stop them, she needed to find an alternative, something that would compel the farmers to preserve the land. She thinks she has, and it’s something she already knows a lot about: wild silk. Craig, who’s affiliated with Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, got “hooked on silk,” during a year in Costa Rica after graduate school. She saw spider webs everywhere in the rain forest, and wondered how they worked, why so many different species of spiders were spinning similar webs, and why, after millions of years, insects had not learned to avoid them. She wrote her Ph.D on the materials and design of the webs, went on to a career in academia – including nearly a decade at Yale – and then, when she returned to Gombe six years ago, found a calling. The forests that were being slashed and burned contained wild silk moths. If she could teach the farmers how to harvest the silk from their cocoons, to profit from that silk, to make a livelihood from that silk, then, she hoped, she could convince them to preserve, and even replant, the forests. In 2003, Craig founded Conservation through Poverty Alleviation International, which took its seemingly simple idea – plant trees, raise larvae, earn income – to Madagascar, a biologically rich Indian Ocean island nation where deforestation is also a problem and which had a tradition of silk production and weaving on which to build. There had already been projects similar to Craig’s but because her whole point was to preserve the native forests, hers was the first to use wild silk. http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2008/07/07/she_hopes_to_save_forests_with_silk/

Congo:

Conserving the Congo forest, and indeed all of our forests in Africa, as well as accelerating forestation efforts, is vital to our survival on a continent where the Sahara Desert is expanding to the North and the Kalahari Desert is expanding to the Southwest. For this reason the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF) was launched in London on June 17. The initial financing of the CBFF comes from a pair of $200 million grants from the governments of the United Kingdom and Norway. Ten countries in the Central African region established the Congo Basin Forest Initiative to manage the forest more sustainably and conserve its rich biodiversity. The Congo Basin Forest is the world’s second largest forest ecosystem and is considered the planet’s second lung, after the Amazon. The forests of the Congo Basin provide food, shelter, and livelihood for over 50 million people. Covering 200 million hectares and including approximately one-fifth of the world’s remaining closed-canopy tropical forest, they are also a very significant carbon store with a vital role in regulating the regional climate. The diversity they harbour is of global importance. Spanning an area twice the size of France, the Congo Basin rainforest is home to more than 10,000 species of plants, 1,000 species of birds, and 400 species of mammals. Today, the Congo Basin rainforest is coming under pressure. Increased logging, changing patterns of agriculture, population growth, and the oil and mining industries are all leading to ever greater deforestation. This situation is not sustainable for the people who live there, for the countless species that may be driven to extinction, or for the climate. Reversing the rate of deforestation in the Congo Basin is therefore essential both to securing the livelihoods of the people in the region and to maintaining the carbon-storage capacity and biodiversity of the forest. Forests are indispensable yet we take them for granted. Though they appear inexhaustible, they can perish. The two nations who share the island of Hispaniola — Haiti and the Dominican Republic — provide a vivid example of what happens when we destroy our environment, and especially forests. http://chrisy58.wordpress.com/2008/07/08/quick-benefits-can%E2%80%99t-justify-cutting-down-for
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371 Asia-Pacific-Australia

–Russia: 10) Cathay gets to forever destroy another 722,000 hectares
–India: 11) 3,000 hectares of mangrove declared protected, 12) Spider diversity are an ideal indicator of forest health, 13) Citizen’s work together & protect 60,000 Sq. Km,
–Vietnam: 14) Where logging is so fierce rivers become floating log roads
–Myanmar: 15) Storm-made tree scraps being sold as art to raise funds
–Philippines: 16) 13 timber poachers arrested in N. Negros park, 17) Reforestation,
–Malaysia: 18) 19 NGOs oppose Kedah’s logging in Hulu Muda, 19) Belum-Temengor rainforest needs more protection, 20) More on Hulu Muda,
–Papua New Guinea: 21) Leaders claim illegal logging is non-existent,
–Indonesia: 22) 2/3 of all logging concessions are poorly managed, 23) Forest ranger has arrested more than 60 in order to protect trees, 24) #1 in world coal & log exports & no way to reduce emissions? 25) All of country’s forests will be recovered in 10-15 years,
–New Zealand: 26) loggers can’t keep bicyclists and motorcycles away from the action
–Australia: 27) Flying foxes return to forests, 28) Once thought extinct Foxglove is found in a forest, 29) What the heck is silvopastoralism? 30) Gov. defies request for UN heritage site expansion, 31) Video out saving Strzelecki’s forest,

Russia:

10) Cathay Forest Products Corp. a Toronto company which operates forestry businesses in China and Russia, says it has received government approval to expand its timber holdings in Russia. The company said Monday its 51 per cent owned Russian joint venture, DalEuroles L.L.C., has final received approval from the Russian regional government of Khabarovsk for its 49 year land lease concession over 721,198 hectares of new timberland. This concession brings Cathay’s current holdings in the Kharbarovsk region of Russia to 992,198 hectares with a total annual allowable cut of 731,000 cubic metres, the company said. Cathay Forest manages more than one million hectares of standing timber properties and fast-growth, high-yield poplar plantations in China and Russia. The company’s customers include the domestic Chinese pulp and paper industry and other wood products customers in the Japanese market. http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5iZ7-eQMBhaDrblwgg3blx7ZMOiCA

India:

11) The state government has notified over 3,000 hectares of mangroves in and around Mumbai as ‘protected forests’. The new notification, issued last week, covers the mangroves in the Borivali, Andheri and Kurla talukas as well as parts of Colaba, a senior official from the Forest Department said. Vivek Kulkarni, mangrove expert and member of NGO Conservation Action Trust (CAT), said: “This was a long pending issue and the new notification is a welcome move. With this, nearly 90 per cent of the mangroves in the extended city have been notified. However, the ruling was for the protection of mangroves in the entire state and that mammoth job is still pending.” Kulkarni pointed out that not notifying mangroves along the state’s coastline has already caused much harm to the valuable mangroves. “Along the Malvan coast, mangrove land is being sold by builders at Rs 7-8 lakh per acre today. A few years ago it was barely Rs 7,000-8,000 per acre,” he said. In October 2005, in response to a PIL filed by Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG), the High Court had ordered “a total freeze on the destruction and cutting of mangroves in Maharashtra”. The court ruled that the mangroves be mapped and notified as “protected forests” within a deadline of eight months. The government was asked to hand over its land to the Forest Department by August 2006. Confirming the notification, Dr P N Munde, Conservator of Forests, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, said, “All these government-owned mangrove lands will now be protected by the forest department.” http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Mangroves-3-000-hectares-notified-as-protected-forests/
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12) While much research has been done to link animals like tigers and elephants to judge the condition of reserve forests and protected areas in India, a new study focuses on these arachnids with eight legs and how their presence or absence can help judge habitat conditions. Conducted over a five-year period by scientist Dr V.P. Uniyal and senior researcher Upamanyu Hore of the Doon-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) at Dudhwa National Park, the study was conducted to evaluate changes in forest areas in the Terai Conservation Area. Results of the research published recently states that spiders are the best species, which can be used as bio-indicators for monitoring and management of various kinds of forest areas in Terai. “As they are highly sensitive to minor changes in their environment, we found that prevalence or non-prevalence of different species of spiders as vital signs to indicate the health of an eco-system,” said Dr Uniyal. Apart from being predators, spiders are also an important food source and a valuable component of an eco-system. And since they react to changes in habitat structure, the study showed how spiders might be useful indicators of the effects of land management on local biodiversity. Having arrived at that conclusion after studying thousands of spiders belonging to over 150 species, the WII team is now working on ways to extend the utility of field data for conservation and management of reserve forests and protected areas. “If the findings of the study lead to more interaction between conservationists and researchers on spiders, the arachnids can be assessed for usefulness as conservation tools,” said Dr Uniyal. The team had conducted another study on the effect of forest management techniques like burning of trees in Terai and are now studying spiders and their role as bio-indicators in the high-altitude Nandadevi National Park in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. http://forests.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=102504

13) Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has sought active participation of people in deforestation and planting trees. In his message on the eve of ‘Van Mahotsav 2008′, the Chief Minister said it was the duty of every body to protect forests and appealed that people should assist forest department in this regard, an official release on Monday said. He recalled how villagers have been made part of the forest management through 14,000 Joint Forest Management Committees in the state. He said that these Committees were managing over 60,000 square kms of land in the state and expressed hope that this year van mahotsav would accelerate the pace of forest conservation and movement for planting new trees. Inviting people participation in making Van Mahotsav 2008 a success, Ministerfor Forest Kunwar Vijay Shah has appealed Panchayats, Educsational and Voliuntary Organisations to come forward in protecting and preserving forests in the state. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/004200807080169.htm

Vietnam:

14) The forest destruction has been so blatant that the Vu Gia River, which at times is choked with floating logs, has earned another name, “wood road.” Local officials say they once found a man riding down the river on a raft of logs as large as a football field. The man, Mai Hong, said he was paid VND600,000 (US$38) by a stranger to take the raft down to the delta. Since measures to stop the “free for all” stepped up last month, everyone from police officials, soldiers and forest rangers to the head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development had to arm themselves with guns. “Without guns, don’t even think about facing illegal loggers,” a police officer of Dai Loc District, Truong Quang Vinh, said. Vinh said, however, he had fired two warning shots in the air to stop an illegal logging gang but they just turned and challenged him to shoot them. He decided to let them go rather than risk killing them. Since February this year, smugglers have assaulted dozens of wardens and even killed some. A quiet wharf named Mo O between Dai Loc and its neighboring districts seemed completely normal, but under the water smugglers concealed large amounts of wood. Local officials had to run long poles into the water to find it. “The pole will bounce when it meets something hard like a log,” said Phan Tuan, deputy head of Quang Nam Forest Management. In that way, hundreds of cubic meters of submerged wood were found in just one morning – a whole section of a nearby forest had been cut down. Mo O Wharf on the Vu Gia River was favored by wood smugglers because officials rarely inspected it due to a bureaucratic breakdown in communication, Nguyen Thanh Quang, head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said. The wharf belongs to both Dai Loc and Nam Giang districts but its management has not been designated clearly, he explained. In March this year, Dai Loc Forest Management established a special unit to fight the smugglers. Within two months of operation, the unit seized 500 cubic meters of wood hidden under the river. They are now focusing their patrols in Dai Hong Commune, Dai Loc District, because a number of timber mills opened there to saw wood day and night. There are eight mills in a 200-meter stretch of river. Quang said locals called him almost every day with information on illegal timber milling. Smuggling was everywhere and you must be blind not to see it, the locals said. http://www.thanhniennews.com/features/?catid=10&newsid=39977

Myanmar:

15) A cyclone storm, that swept Myanmar in early May, blew down over 13,000 old-aged trees and shade-providing ones. Some of these downed trees and debris pressed and rested on houses, while some dragged down lamp-posts and blocked roads in the city. So far after the disaster, almost all of the downed trees and debris on the roads had been cleared and accumulated on vacant plots in the city from where stem roots and branches are being sorted out for making sculpture products to be auctioned to domestic and foreign business entrepreneurs. These stem roots and branches of downed trees are of 30 to 100 years of ageMeanwhile, the Myanmar authorities have been planting 30,000 shade-providing trees to replace collapsed ones and so far 6,000 downed trees have been put upright in the Yangon municipal areas. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-07/10/content_8523124.htm

Philippines:

16) The arrest of 13 suspected timber poachers here has led to the discovery of massive illegal cutting of trees of banned species within the Northern Negros Natural Park . Ka Joseph, a squad leader of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade, yesterday said an estimated 14 hectares of the forest reserve in this hinterland barangay, have been damaged by timber poaching activities. The 13 timber poachers allegedly behind the forest destruction in two adjacent areas of the park, were chanced upon by patrolling RPA-ABB members led by Ka Joseph, while cutting lauan trees and making charcoal in the forest reserve area, Saturday. Three two-man saws, 11 bolos, a cane cutter, an axe, hammer and four carabaos with sledges used in hauling round timber and logs were also recovered from the arrested suspects, who are now detained at the Cadiz City Police Station. Citing confessions of the arrested suspects, Ka Joseph identified the alleged financier of the illegal cutting of trees, who bought the lumber at P7 per board foot, as a certain Carling Veloso. He also identified the Jaruda Funeral Parlor in Manapla as among the customers of the timber poachers, which use the lumber bought for caskets. DENR Forest Ranger Renato Sabinian yesterday said 1,507 board feet of lauan round timber and lumber with a market value of P75,536, and an estimated 60 sacks of charcoal were recovered by the RPA-ABB from the tree cutting sites, which were turned over yesterday to the Cadiz City Police Station. Initial investigations of TFI showed that the timber poaching activities started three months ago, and were only discovered after the RPA-ABB conducted foot patrols Saturday. Ka Joseph said the suspects may have taken advantage of their absence in the area for several months, as they were focusing their operations in the first district of Negros Occidental. The RPA-ABB red fighters also discovered two makeshift huts used as temporary shelters by the timber poachers, and four charcoal pits, which could produce an estimated 80 sacks of charcoal. Wives of the arrested timber poachers who trooped to the Cadiz City Police Station, vehemently denied claims of the RPA-ABB that their husbands engaged in illegal cutting of trees. http://www.visayandailystar.com/2008/July/08/index.htm

17) This is the final installment in a three-part series focusing on global environmental problems expected to be taken up at the G-8 meeting. In the mountain town of Penablanca on the Philippines’ northeast Luzon Island, 500 kilometers north of Manila, young mango and Indian rosewood trees were planted a few meters apart on stony slopes. Ernest Simon, a 74-year-old town elder, said with a smile, “We should see large forests here in 10 years.” The reforestation project started last autumn. It aims to turn 1,772 hectares of land–an area 15 times the size of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace grounds–into greenery in three years. Conservation International (CI), a U.S.-based nongovernmental environmental protection organization, has provided technical assistance for the project. Toyota Motor Corp. is financing it with a 170 million yen donation. In the Philippines, a large number of trees were felled in the 1970s and ’80s to export mahogany wood to Japan. During that period, 200,000 hectares of forest–the same size as that of greater Tokyo–disappeared every year. The country’s forest area, which accounted for about half of all the land 50 years ago, decreased to 24 percent of the total in 2003. The percentage of virgin forests in 2003 fell to 8 percent. As a result, naked and brown deforested mountain surfaces can be seen near villages in the upstream zone of the 520-kilometer-long Cagayan River. A CI member said, “Soil on deforested mountains is easily washed away by rain.” In addition to the shrinking forests, the Philippines is experiencing worsening flood damage due to prolonged rainy seasons attributable to climate change and more powerful typhoons. In the Philippines, many government- and private sector-led reforestation projects failed. A Philippine government reforestation site next to CI’s was not maintained regularly, with trees still thin 15 years after being planted. There were many cases of arson across the region committed by locals who were displaced from their homes by the reforestation projects. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/summit/20080707TDY01302.htm

Malaysia:

18) Nineteen non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have voiced their protest against the state government’s proposal to carry out logging in the Hulu Muda forest reserve. Calling themseles the Coaltion of Friends of Hulu Muda, the NGOs said logging in the forest reserve would only destroy the environment there, including the water catchments which supplied water to Kedah, Penang and Perlis. Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak recently announced that the state government planned to carry out logging worth RM100 million in revenue a year at the Hulu Muda forest reserve, Pedu, and the permanent forest estates of Bukit Keramat and Bukit Siong in the Padang Terap district if the federal government failed to pay compensation to the state government. Coalition coordinator Nizam Mahshar urged Azizan not to proceed with the plan as the state government had other sources of revenue. He said even if the logging company used a helicopter to extract timber from the area, the method would still cause damage the environment. “Based on the Environmental Impact Assessment report of 2003, more than four million trees were logged and 404km of logging tracks of 10 metres to 24 metres in width created,” he told reporters here today. Nizam said the coalition wanted the federal government to make the 160,000ha Hulu Muda forest reserve free from logging activities and to gazette it as a national park. He hoped the federal government would pay the compensation as requested by the state government as soon as possible and set up a fund to protect the forest reserve. http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=102654

19) MALAYSIA’S 130 million-year-old Belum-Temengor rainforest complex in northern Perak, located 330km north of Kuala Lumpur, is one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests that needs protection as it is rich with biodiversity. The Belum-Temenggor complex, four times the size of Singapore, comprises the Royal Belum State Park (117,500ha), Gerik Forest Reserve (34,995ha), Temengor forest reserve (147,505ha) and 45000ha of waterbodies, managed by Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB). It is the largest area under forest cover in Peninsular Malaysia after Taman Negara. However, its proximity to the border of Thailand and the presence of guerrillas in its jungles after the Second World War made it a security area right up to the mid-80s. After the Communist Party of Malaya laid down their weapons in 1989, Belum started opening up to fishing and trekking enthusiasts. The Royal Belum, which is still protected by police and military, has a good combination of virgin rainforests, a wealth of wildlife and cultural heritage of the indigenous community to apply for World Heritage. In the last decade, Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) has been proposing to the Perak state government to declare the Belum- Temengor complex as a national park. Royal Belum was gazetted as a state park in 2005. In the age of dwindling natural forest, a group of local authorities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), WWF and MNS with Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal’s Emkay Group, are planning to put together a proper integrated management plan (IMP) to promote sustainable development of the Belum-Temengor rainforest ecosystem. The objective of the IMP is to get all related organisations and authorities who are stakeholders in the area to observe standard procedures related to the activities to be conducted in the forest for sustainability. In pushing for the adoption of the IMP, a consultative IMP symposium, led by Pulau Banding Foundation (PBF), will be held at the Belum Rainforest Resort in Pulau Banding, Perak, in October. http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1470700/pulau_banding_meet_to_promote_belumtemengor_biodi
versity/

20) So far only one company has shown interest in logging in the Hulu Muda Forest Reserve, said Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak. “I met WTK Holdings last week where I was briefed on the methods which could be used for logging in the area. “Not all (methods) are acceptable and we have to study them before making any decision,” he told reporters after attending the state secretariat’s monthly assembly at Wisma Darul Aman here Monday. Azizan said the study was important to ensure that the environment would not be destroyed by the proposed logging activities. He said although only WTK Holdings had shown interest in the proposal, the state government had not approved the application yet. Azizan said the Sarawakian logger had proposed logging by helicopter to the previous state government. http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/state_news/news.php?id=344509&cat=nt

Papua New Guinea:

21) Papua New Guinea’s Ministry of Forestry says illegal logging is largely non-existent in the country. The Ministry is under mounting pressure to reduce the rate of deforestation which many environmental groups and development agencies describe as unsustainable and attribute largely to illegal logging practices. A recent study by the University of PNG warned that most of PNG’s forests could be lost by 2021 due to the current wasteful rate of logging. However the Forestry Ministry’s first secretary, Alistair Endose, says illegal logging is a broad term. He says the term may cover logging entities operating without a license, prohibited logs being exported, and improper declarations on timber species. But Mr Endose says the PNG Forest Authority has full control over these: “There’s no illegal logging as far as we’re concerned except these areas where maybe violations of certain conditions of the logging agreement etc… I don’t know if it constitutes illegal logging. But otherwise all operators here are licensed and they’re monitored and controlled.” http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=40845

Indonesia:

22) 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”. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detaileditorial.asp?fileid=20080709.F04&irec=3

23) As a 45-year-old forest ranger, his job has been to ensure the forest remains free from illegal loggers and trespassers who collect firewood and grow crops inside the reserve. Throughout his career, the native of Pringgarata in Central Lombok has arrested some 60 people involved in illegal logging. Assigned to Dompu after graduating as a forest ranger in 1987, Lalu recalled that at the time there were only 22 forest rangers including himself to watch over a 114-hectare forest area in Dompu. They divided their tasks, with Lalu and a friend assigned to watch over a forested area in Soromandi in Kilo district. After three years, he was transferred to Manggalewa district where he married and settled down with his family of five children. “At that time, there were only two forest rangers in Manggalewa, including me. Many times we had to fight illegal loggers and seize their axes even though we were unarmed,” he told The Jakarta Post in his home in Manggalewa hamlet, Manggalewa district, about 30 kilometers east of Dompu regency town center. Once they even had to flee to safety after being chased by illegal loggers. “One night, a mob came to our house after my husband foiled an illegal logging attempt. Luckily, nothing happened,” said Suryanti, Lalu’s wife. In 1996 Lalu started thinking about changing the way his community uses forest resources. The thought occurred to him after some locals were caught conducting illegal logging, taking wood from the forest to build their houses or places of worship. “Once I met residents collecting wood to build a mosque. I was moved. But I’m a forest ranger and I must prevent illegal logging,” he said, adding that the law punishes anyone found illegally collecting timber from protected forest, regardless of whether it may be sold or used for housing or mosque construction. He then started to think of ways to provide wood for residents without sacrificing the forest or violating the law. In early 1997, aside from planting forest areas in a regreening program, he also started planting dormant land outside the forest preserve, preparing tree seedlings by himself. “I began by planting two hectares of dormant land. Many residents then asked me why I had planted the trees. So I told them I had some other young trees and asked them to plant them in their own yard or land if they wanted to find out why,” he said. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailfeatures.asp?fileid=20080708.W05&irec=4

24) Indonesia, the world’s number one coal exporter and a major greenhouse gas emitter, is struggling with conflicting green and growth aims. It wants to increase coal-fired electricity generation by over 40 percent in the next decade, cut emissions and preserve rainforests at the same time. Analysts doubt it can manage all three. “Indonesia is not in a position to be reducing greenhouse emissions at all,” said Brian Ricketts, coal analyst at the Paris-based International Energy Agency. “Their coal-fired power plant construction programme is already under way and Indonesia is quickly expanding coal production to be able to supply its own growing domestic demand and exports,” he said. Indonesia’s energy-related CO2 emissions must rise because, according to government figures, its coal consumption is going to at least quadruple to 90-100 million tonnes a year by 2017. The world’s fourth-most populous country, with 226 million people spread across 17,500 islands, needs a substantial growth in electricity production to fuel economic growth. But while poised to boost its own emissions, in addition to exporting its own polluting coal, Indonesia is attempting to add a new income stream as a high earner of carbon credits if it agrees to be paid to preserve its forests. http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKL0344788620080707

25) Indonesia is expected to recover its damaged forests in the next 10 to 15 years if the current reforestation programs continue to be implemented, Forestry Minister MS Kaban said. The minister made the remarks during the inauguration of The Colomadu Koran Reading and Interpretation Assembly here on Sunday. He said that many people nowadays had forgotten the importance of nature while in maintaining it there were many laws that had to be abode by. “The Indonesia`s territorial land that stretches from Papua in the east to Aceh in the west constitutes a green belt or tropical forests. I hope that all members of this assembly which are living in all parts of the country would also take part in preserving the country`s nature,” he said. He said that one of the problems being faced today was how to preserve the country`s tropical forests. The number of trees being cut down was still bigger than that being planted. “We should now plant trees more than we fell as we have set in the programs now being carried out throughout the country,” the minister said. The minister said that if the reforestation programs were carried out without constraints it was expected that in the next 10 to 15 years Indonesia would recover its normal nature conditions. http://www.antara.co.id/en/arc/2008/7/7/ri-to-recover-its-forests-in-15-years-minister/

New Zealand:

26) Dale Ewers, owner of Moutere Logging, said he was afraid someone would be killed. Last Saturday there were two incidents on Central Rd in the forest, in a closed area where trees were being felled close to the roadside. A motorcyclist almost hit a worker and then narrowly avoided being hit by a falling tree, and a mountainbiker entered the area despite signs and verbal warnings from workers. Mr Ewers said the land being logged was privately owned and had a locked gate and warning signs at the entrance. The area was closed on weekdays, and anyone entering the forest during the weekend needed a permit from Action Forest Management in Richmond, or else they would be trespassing, he said. Moutere Logging crew manager Rob Wooster said people had entered the forest during the week, and had also broken through tape marking off work areas. He was concerned about the safety of his workers and the public. Nelson Mountainbike Club president Emmett Mills said the club, in conjunction with Action Forest Management, would put up signs informing mountainbikers of the rules. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/nelsonmail/4614285a6510.html

Australia:

27) Clarence Valley Council will today consider a report urging it to repel flying foxes from two patches of rainforest in Maclean. The flying fox colony was dispersed from the Maclean Rainforest Reserve in 1999 because of sanitation and noise problems at Maclean High School. But since then they have partially reoccupied the reserve and another patch of rainforest called the Gully. In his report, zoologist Dr John Nelson says the flying foxes could be successfully moved on from both areas and relocated to a nature reserve more than a kilometre away. He says they would move naturally to the reserve if it was turned into an attractive habitat. But he warns the longer council waits, the more difficult and costly it will become. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/08/2297118.htm?site=northcoast

28) The Euphrasia Arguta, a member of the foxglove family, was found by NSW Forests worker Graham Marshall in Nundle State Forest, in the state’s north-west, Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said on Sunday. The species was last recorded in June 1904 near Tamworth, Mr Macdonald said. “In botanical terms, this really is a blast from the past,” Mr Macdonald said. “This discovery is central to our aim of ensuring that we look after the flora and fauna in our forests.” bForests NSW will now develop a conservation management plan for the plant, which was discovered in an area that was affected by fire control activities last summer. http://news.smh.com.au/national/plant-thought-to-be-extinct-found-in-nsw-20080706-32gj.html

29) CSIRO research, underway in Central Queensland’s cattle country, is investigating whether the integration of trees, pasture and livestock into a single agricultural system will produce greater net returns for producers and the environment. The ’silvopastoralism’ system is gaining worldwide attention as a potentially profitable land-use practice, particularly following the emergence of new market opportunities such as carbon trading. CSIRO Livestock Industries’ (CLI) project leader and resource economist, Mick Stephens, says that since the 1960s a significant proportion of trees have been removed from the open woodland zones in northern Australia to support the pastoral and cropping industries. “In the Central Queensland region, over 4.5 million hectares of woodland vegetation has been cleared,” he advised. “Given the environmental/economic problems associated with climate change, we now have an opportunity to investigate whether silvopastoralism can provide some of the answers.” “The environmental benefits would include increased: soil and water retention, nutrient re-cycling and carbon sequestration. Emerging incentive schemes for the sequestration of carbon in forests, and forecast increases in the prices paid for forest products, may act as a driver for silvopastoralism,” Mr Stephens claimed. The project will utilize earlier research by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Water into some of the competitive and stimulatory effects of wide rows of trees on pasture production. The designs being evaluated include planting well-spaced rows of high-yield eucalypt trees – and 20 to 100m wide rows of native woodland regrowth trees – on pasture lands. “It is a complex agro-ecological system so we need an economic appraisal that considers the interactions between tree and pasture growth and the relative costs, prices and yields for livestock and forest products,” Mr Stephens reported. “Emerging opportunities for producing bio-fuels and participating in carbon trading schemes are all exciting possibilities.” Modelling techniques will be employed at a farm level to assess the sensitivity of silvopastoral systems to current and projected cost, price and yield scenarios and help identify under what circumstances these systems are likely to be a profitable land use. http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2008/07/08/csiro-hopes-green-agricultural-system-will-provide-foo
d-security-solutions.html

30) AUSTRALIA will defy a call by the 21-nation World Heritage Committee to extend Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area to include tracts of tall eucalypt forests scheduled for logging. The WHC meeting in Quebec called on Canberra to “consider extension of the property to include appropriate areas of tall eucalypt forests”. Conservationists immediately urged federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to heed the call, but late yesterday he rejected it. “The Australian Government has no plans to extend the current (WHA) boundary into production forests,” Mr Garrett said in a statement. He contrasted the WHC’s call for an extension covering threatened forests with a report presented to the committee by a delegation that visited the WHA earlier this year. Mr Garrett said this report had found a further extension was not warranted “as the WHA already includes a good representation of tall eucalypts”. However, he accepted “in principle” the WHC recommendations that the 1.3million-hectare wilderness WHA be extended to include 21 existing areas of national park and state reserves bordering it. The WHC urged Australia to “have regard to the advice of” the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which called for a moratorium on logging of forests adjacent to the protected wilderness area. This includes tracts of the world’s tallest flowering trees, eucalyptus regnans, in the Styx and areas of the Weld and Upper Florentine valleys. The Wilderness Society spokesman Vica Bayley said the WHC resolutions, combined with the need for carbon sinks, increased pressure on the federal and state governments to protect 90,000ha of unprotected native forests. “There are some of the most carbon dense forests in the world,” Mr Bayley said. “Protecting them would have massive benefits for (reducing) climate change.” http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23985607-30417,00.html

31) A short video about an agreement between the Victorian Government and a US owned logging company to log native forest in the Strzelecki’s is at YouTube – Losing the remnant rainforest The community was excluded from the final negotiatons and has still been given no details about the agreement. A community forum will be held at Boolara on Sunday July 27 to plan the next steps. Full details are at Hancock Watch – John Hancock Insurance Company, Hancock Timber Resources Group currently logging what little remains of native vegetation in the Strzelecki Ranges. http://www.hancock.forests.org.au/

370 PNW-USA

Index:

–Alaska: 1) Destroying National Park forests by giving ‘em to native corporate loggers
–Washington: 2) Restoring 2,500 acres of urban forest, 3) Giving up a strong Spotted Owl court case in exchange for a weak partially secret “settlement,”
–Oregon: 5) Corrupt timber thieves finally take over 9th circuit court of appeals, 6) BLM’s forest protection and how Reagan shut’ em down, 7) Mount Pisgah logging planned, 8) WOPR politics continue, 9) More on Lying timber thieves taking over 9th circuit court of appeals, 10) Thinning younger forests too often increase fire hazards, 11) Blowdown logging is all that’s left of the industry? 12) New state panel to “save” owls outnumbers enviros 7-4,
–California: 13) Sierra Pacific tries to take over PL/Maxxam’s bankruptcy trial, 14) Berkeley treesit confrontation escalating every day! 15) Treesit at UCSC continues! 16) Tree kills human, now humans want to kill too many trees in San Francisco, 17) What is a “climate-change refugia?” is it fantasy or fiction?
–Montana: 18) Great Montana Land Swindle of 2008, 19) More on Smith Creek timber sale lawsuit, 20) More on great land swindle,
–Colorado: 21) Outlawing forest ecosystems in the name of fighting beetles
–Illinois: 22) Shawnee National forest destruction needs you written opposition!
–Ohio: 23) Emerald Ash Borer expands range & tree destruction plans fail to stop it! 24) Climate change lets tree-killing Kudzu range expand,
–Indiana: 25) Timber sale program on Indiana’s State Forests needs your comments
–Tennessee: 26) Logging, burning & herbicides is wrong plan: comments needed!
–Georgia: 27) Tree protest in Savannah
–Massachusets: 28) Thoreaus notes on 400 Plant species leads to thorough research!
–Vermont: 29) James Madison’s Montpelier forest
–Pennsylvania: 30) State squish and maim land to be logged
–USA: 31) How to get rich investing in stolen forestland, 32) They feed my soul as surely as if the roots were joined to my own veins, 33) USFS kids in the woods fraud, 34) Wildly misleading attempts to increase logging,

Articles:

Alaska:

1) JUNEAU — An Alaska Native corporation will receive tens of thousands of acres of federally owned land — including prime timberlands and sacred tribal sites — under legislation being advanced by U.S. Rep. Don Young. Sealaska Corp., which represents 17,000 shareholders across Southeast Alaska and beyond, claims it was shorted of land given to the other 11 Alaska-based regional Native corporations under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. A 13th regional corporation, based in Seattle, did not receive any land. Under Young’s bill, the corporation will pick and choose about 125 square miles from public lands across the region, bypassing a pool of land already set aside for the purpose — some of which is marine waters. The land deal has upset some Southeast Alaska Natives, communities and sawmill operators, and corporate officers with Sealaska are busy — holding more than 150 meetings across the region so far — trying to smooth the way for its passage. Hoonah tribal members worry about Sealaska’s interest in a dozen cultural sites in Glacier Bay National Park, which is the ancestral home of the Hoonah people. In Sitka, residents were alarmed to see several sites selected for small enterprise development where locals like to hunt and recreate. Sawmill operators near Thorne Bay fear the transfer of what are now federal timberlands will put a squeeze on the amount of logs available for local mills. Some of the dozens of small selections were just puzzling. Hoonah Indian Association Executive Director Johanna Once the lands are transferred to Sealaska, the bill would allow the original available pool of land to revert to U.S. Forest Service management. Federal land managers have concerns about the proposed changes to public lands. “I think our biggest concern is the implication of removing sites from a national park. That’s kind of major,” said Glacier Bay Superintendent Cherry Payne. Payne also pointed to the Department of Interior’s written testimony at a November bill hearing in the House Resources Committee, which warned against setting “undesirable precedents” and said the time and cost of processing the transfer of many small parcels would be significant. http://newsminer.com/news/2008/jul/05/sealaska-looks-legislation-help-settle-long-standi/

Washington:

2) The Forest Stewards Program of the Green Seattle Partnership, an effort by the City of Seattle and the Cascade Land Conservancy to restore 2,500 acres of urban forest by the year 2020, harnesses the energy and passion of the community to contribute to the effort. Forest stewards act as leaders for small areas in our local green spaces and natural area parks. In turn, the Green Seattle Partnership provides assistance so that individual community-based restoration groups don’t have to “reinvent the wheel.” By supporting and enhancing the capabilities of volunteer groups, the Green Seattle Partnership provides an opportunity to establish a foundation for the long-term stewardship and health of our city’s forested parklands. For more information on the Partnership, please see http://www.greenseattle.org/ In collaboration with the Green Seattle Partnership, the Washington Native Plant Society has just completed the second year of an annual 10 week training program for Forest Stewards. The 2007 Native Plant Forest Stewards put all they learned to work to restore selected areas in six Seattle parks. For more information about Forest Stewardship, please visit the wnps web site: http://www.wnps.org/ http://www.westseattleherald.com/articles/2008/07/04/interact/columnists/column04.txt

3) A settlement has been reached in a 2006 environmental lawsuit that sought to block logging on 50,000 acres of private timberland to protect the threatened northern spotted owl. On Thursday, the affected parties announced that a policy working group on spotted owl preservation would be established by the Washington Forest Practices Board. According to a state Department of Natural Resources news release, the working group will look into using private land to contribute strategically to areas already protected by the state and federal government, with the goal of conserving a viable northern spotted owl population. The Seattle and Kittitas Audubon societies filed suit in federal court in Seattle, asking the court to bar logging on certain private timberlands west of the Cascades. The lawsuit targeted four sites owned by the Weyerhaeuser Co. in southwest Washington where spotted owls have been seen, citing them as examples of sites where the court should order the state Forest Practices Board to ban logging. The environment groups said state rules offered no “meaningful protection” for the owls outside 13 “special emphasis” areas where the state offers specific protections. The owl is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. Along with loss of habitat, the northern spotted owl also faces competition from other owl species. Weyerhaeuser spokeswoman Kristen Sawin said Thursday that scientific research will determine how private land can strategically contribute to protection of the spotted owl’s environment. The settlement maintains habitat around the four owl site centers that were the focus of the Audubon action against Weyerhaeuser, the state news release said, adding that other settlement details between the forest products company and the plaintiffs were confidential. The goal is to create science-based solutions to the spotted owls’ needs, said Patty Henson, a state Natural Resources spokeswoman. The working group will include representatives of private companies, conservation agencies and a broad array of state offices, including the governor’s office, Henson added. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008032916_apwaspottedowl.html

Oregon:

4) The timber harvest last year was down twelve percent compared to 2006. State, federal, and private land in Oregon produced three-point-eight billion board feet of timber last year. The historic low is three-point-four billion board feet. Gary Lettman is a forest economist with the Oregon Department of Forestry. He says the demand for timber is down, along with the housing market. Gary Lettman: “You know, overall the industry has done quite well given the demand shocks it’s had, but I think there’s some areas where we really need to focus on keeping the mills operating and you know keeping jobs for the Oregonians in these more rural communities.” Lettman says mills in eastern Oregon are especially vulnerable because they aren’t receiving as many logs. And he says the timber harvest this year is expected to be even lower than last year. http://news.opb.org/article/2537-oregons-timber-harvest-continues-decline/

5) Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., has always been a champion of the timber industry and logging on federal lands in his nearly 12 years in the Senate. But it has turned out to be his brother, Milan Smith, who has made the big difference in the logging debate. Milan Smith, a Bush appointee to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, persuaded his fellow judges to rule that the courts need to step back and provide more deference to the logging plans developed by public agencies. As Michael Milstein of The Oregonian explains: The ruling redefines the standards for when federal judges in much of the West can stop a logging project, tilting the playing field against critics of logging on public lands. Smith, the oldest of 10 children and a mentor to his brother, played a crucial role in the case, which stemmed from an Idaho timber sale that environmentalists have sought to block. A year ago, when the Idaho case first came before the court, Smith angrily criticized the 9th Circuit court – widely seen as particularly friendly to environmentalists – for meddling too much in decisions made by the Forest Service. This “blunderbuss” approach has devastated the Northwest timber industry, he said. Typically, the 9th Circuit hears cases in three-judge panels. But Smith persuaded the court to reconsider the case, resulting in Thursday’s rare “en banc” decision by the full court adopting his reasoning. http://blog.oregonlive.com/mapesonpolitics/2008/07/this_smith_brother_made_the_di.html

6) I was the BLM’s forestry planning chief through much of the 1970s and early 1980s. I’d like to set the record straight. We completed a forest inventory and a proposed land use plan revision in 1980. It had become quite clear by that time that the old growth ecosystem was about to disappear throughout Western Oregon. It already had been essentially liquidated on industrial forest land. Given then-current levels of sustained-¬yield timber production, the old growth ecosystem was within a decade or two of being liquidated on much of the BLM lands. The Endangered Species Act was in place at that time, but the spotted owl had not yet been listed as endangered. An interagency task force was convened to determine the minimum number and distribution of owl habitat sites that would need to be protected if the spotted owl were to be kept from being listed as officially endangered. The BLM’s allocation was a total of 90 sites. We used those 90 sites as core locations for a distribution of old growth stands that we thought sufficient to maintain the old growth ecosystem. As part of our plan, we included connector corridors to provide for genetic flow among the sites, as well as extended harvest rotation areas and other provisions to manage for a reasonable distribution of the old growth ecosystem over time. We took our new proposal back to Washington, D.C., where we presented it to the newly minted Reagan political appointees that made up the top echelons of the Department of Interior and the BLM. Their responses still are indelibly fixed in my mind: “The spotted owl will not be listed during this administration,” they said. “This administration will raise timber production, not lower it.” As to the first, they were correct in that the spotted owl did not become listed as officially endangered until the early days of the first President Bush’s administration. As to the second, they were badly off the mark. Rather than accept a reasonable 20 percent reduction in timber output, which would have provided a reduced but still reasonable level of receipts back to the counties, the Reaganites set us off on a tortuous path that eventually led to a 90 percent reduction in timber output and the resultant need for fiscal help from Congress. http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?cid=123493&sid=5&fid=1

7) If you start seeing trees getting logged close to the summit trail on Mount Pisgah in the near future, don’t freak out. It’s a white oak restoration project, and it looks like local enviros are willing to sacrifice a couple of Douglas firs for the greater good of Oregon’s endangered oak savannas. Chris Orsinger, executive director of Friends of Buford Park (FBP), the conservation group that oversees the 2,300 acre Howard Buford Recreation Area, is excited about the approximately 60 acre restoration project. But Orsinger worries that unprepared hikers on Pisgah might mistake the “thinning” of Douglas firs that is part of what’s called a “habitat restoration project” designed to benefit native wildlife for nonbeneficial, for-profit logging. The project, Orsinger says, will remove mainly 10- to 15-year-old Douglas firs that have encroached into the white oak habitat. The oldest trees to be cut are guessed to be about 75 years old. “There are no ‘old-growth’ conifers in this demonstration area,” says Orsinger. The taller Douglas firs overshadow the oaks, but once they are removed, the oaks are able to develop broader canopies, improve their acorn production and provide habitat for 189 at-risk species including endangered Fender’s blue butterfly, threatened Kincaid’s lupine and endangered Willamette Valley daisies. Less than 2 percent of Oregon’s native white oak savannas remains, according to the Nature Conservancy, which calls the Willamette Valley a “crisis ecoregion” and “critically endangered.” Oak savannas are also home to Oregon’s state bird, the western meadowlark, as well as northern pygmy owls and western bluebirds. Oak savannas were once supported by frequent fires through the valley set by the native peoples who encouraged the oak habitats and prairies that provided acorns and camas to be harvested for food. The Oregon White Oak Pilot Project will involve not only removing the Douglas firs but controlling invasive vegetation and using prescribed burns to maintain the habitat. Members of the project are still debating what will be done with the Douglas firs that have been logged. There are three possibilities: The trees can be girdled and turned to snags that will host woodpeckers and other species. The logs might be moved to stream restoration projects at the park. http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2008/07/03/news2.html

8) The final details of a logging plan for 2.2 million acres of public Oregon forests are still being drafted, but 13 elected officials from Multnomah south to Jackson County aren’t waiting to see the final document. They’ve sent a letter to the governor asking him to make sure it protects the oldest trees in the woods. The letter, sent on Monday, asks Gov. Ted Kulongoski to use his power to change the direction of the Western Oregon Plan Revision, known as the WOPR, the document describing Bureau of Land Management plans to increase logging on its forests. “We believe there are a variety of reasons why the WOPR is heading in the wrong direction for Oregon. These include WOPR’s inadequate attention to the values BLM lands provide for the quality of life for Oregonians, in¬accurate economic assumptions about county revenue, and ignoring impacts from climate change and the potential for public land management to mitigate those impacts,” the letter reads. Those who signed it include Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, along with Eugene city councilors Bonny Bettman and Betty Taylor, and Lane County commissioners Peter Sorenson and Bill Fleenor. For the past 15 years, management on BLM forests was governed by the Northwest Forest Plan, which severely curtailed logging in order to protect at-risk species. But a settlement between the timber industry and the Bush administration required the BLM to come up with a new plan emphasizing its original mandate to manage its forests for timber production. http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?cid=123254&sid=4&fid=1

9) “The common understanding of the term ‘live’ is, quite simply, ‘not dead.’” It may sound like something out of a Monty Python movie, but the above is actually a portion of the plaintiff’s argument in a U.S. Court of Appeals case decided last month in the Ninth Circuit. Environmentalists had issued a challenge to salvage logging on the Umatilla National Forest in eastern Oregon following a 2005 fire. The appeals case hinged on two points, one concerning so-called uninventoried roadless areas and the other — believe it or not — having to do with the definitions of “live” and “dead.” The plaintiffs — including The Lands Council and Oregon Wild — argued that there’s really not much of a grey area between alive and not so alive, but the Forest Service claimed “live” is a technical term that doesn’t include dying trees. The court ruled in the agency’s favor, with the result that the Forest Service can make the call that a tree is likely to die and thus legally log it as salvage. (The ruling only applies to the specific salvage project that followed the 2005 fire in the Umatilla.) But on the other matter — uninventoried roadless areas — environmentalists won the day. The court ruled that the agency failed to take the “hard look” required under the National Environmental Policy Act when it chose to conduct salvage logging on several of these areas following the Umatilla fire. (Inventoried roadless areas are Forest Service lands without roads or development that the government identified in one of two reviews conducted in the 1970s. Uninventoried roadless areas are similar pieces of land that were missed in those reviews.) In Oregon alone, three million of the five million acres of roadless areas are uninventoried (and all swathes of land 1,000 acres or greater). Prior to the decision, the Forest Service’s activities on these lands were often not subject to public review. Now, says Ralph Bloemers, attorney for the plaintiffs, uninventoried areas in the Ninth Circuit will be subject to the same public review process as the inventoried. “It’s not a prohibition on going into these areas,” Bloemer says, “but it shines the light of day on the Forest Service’s operations.” http://blog.hcn.org/goat/2008/07/08/wanted-dead-or-mostly-dead/

10) Claims are being made that “thinning” Oregon’s younger forest will reduce wildfire risks and restore “forest health”. The timber industry and Forest Service call these forests “overstocked”. National and regional environmental groups – including Oregon Wild – have signaled that they can live with “thinning” as proposed by Wyden and DeFazio if Old Growth is protected. But, while the claimed benefit of “thinning” have been endorsed by major environmental organizations, both forest research and experience on the ground indicates that “thinning” – as proposed by Wyden and DeFazio – will not reduce the risk from wildfire or “restore” federal forests. That’s because the bills would rely on the traditional timber sale contract to “thin” federal forest. The US Forest Service timber sale contract is a great tool if the task is getting logs to the mills. But it is a very poor tool if the task is to restore our forests – reducing the risk to people, communities and wildlife from catastrophic wildfire. Here’s why: In order for a federal timber sale to attract buyers, the timber companies must be able to make money on the sale. But most federal forests are remote and steep. This means high logging and log hauling costs. As a result, in order to create a timber sale that will actually attract buyers, Forest Service planners must either log the larger trees or they must reduce the forest canopy radically by having loggers removing most of the trees. But when you remove that much canopy shade small trees and brush sprout and grow prolifically. Within 5 years or so the risk of catastrophic wildfire has dramatically increased. Also, immediately after logging the open canopy increases sunlight and wind on the forest floor. Forest fuels dry sooner and this also increases fire risk. Furthermore, economic considerations often cause Forest Service planners to forgo requiring the timber company purchasing the timber sale to remove or burn slash – that is, the limbs and small trees left on the forest floor after logging.The increased wildfire risk which result from excessive “thinning” will persist for 30 or more years until slash decomposes and trees grow enough to form a closed canopy which once again shades out highly flammable brush. The Wyden and DeFazio forest bills would deliver federal logs to the mills and end Old Growth logging on federal forests in Oregon. But they would increase rather than decrease wildfire threat to people and communities near federal forests. http://blog.hcn.org/goat/2008/07/09/oregon-federal-forest-bills-won%E2%80%99t-reduce-fire-ris
k-or-restore-forests/

11) TILLER — It was the perfect scenario for a timber blow-down: Gusts of wind ripped through the southern section of the Umpqua National Forest at speeds between 70 and 80 mph, toppling Douglas firs anchored by shallow root systems in the loose soil already saturated with rainwater. The windstorm that passed that November night claimed possibly thousands of acres of timber on the Tiller Ranger District. U.S. Forest Service officials are still unsure how much fell. “It was quite catastrophic,” said Tiller District Ranger Roshanna Stone. Instead, Forest Service officials are focusing on salvaging trees from a 250-acre area of Tallow Creek, part of the Jackson Creek drainage area, so the timber can be sold and delivered to mills at market value. The more quickly the Forest Service gets the sale moving, the more money it will be worth. Stu Carlson, the Forest Service’s team leader for the Tallow Salvage Sale, said that a logging crew could begin removing up to 4 million board feet of timber by early fall. Paul Beck, timber manager for Herbert Lumber in Riddle, said the value of timber quickly decimates after trees lay on the forest floor for about three years — “it’s pretty much toast” — and it’s no longer salable to stud mills or veneer mills. http://www.nrtoday.com/article/20080709/NEWS/974363482

12) This week, the state’s Forest Practices Board approved the formation of a working group to wrestle with matter of how to increase the Northwest’s owl numbers. The owls — which have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1990 — have seen their numbers slip, rather than rebound. In 2006, environmentalists sued to stop logging on 50,000 acres of private timberland to protect the birds. As their settlement, this working group was formed and everyone promised to hold off on lawsuits for three years. The group will have at least 11 members, including four enviros, four timber folks and three representatives of state government. They’re supposed to have recommendations completed by November 2009. Some of the stuff they’ll be considering: 1) Creating incentives for landowners to survey for owls and protect them on their property. (Right now knowing about and saving owls comes at a price — namely, limits on logging.) 2) Discussion of the role of barred owls, a larger more aggressive competitor, suspected of driving out spotted owls. More information is needed, but even Shawn Cantrell, executive director of Seattle Audubon, said his group is willing to talk about trapping and/or killing the invading barred owls. 3) What to do about “owl circles” — the protected habitat around known nesting sites. http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/environment/archives/142969.asp

California:

13) This week, in what we hope are the final days of the Pacific Lumber (PL) bankruptcy proceedings, Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) inserted itself into the process. Archie “Red” Emmerson, SPI’s owner and chief executive, was in the Corpus Christi, Texas courtroom pressing his offer to purchase PL’s Scotia mill, an offer buttressed by 10 declarations from local timber luminaries like Dennis Scott and Bob Barnum. Opinions differ as to what SPI actually intends to achieve, but any student of California timber will tell you it’s not a great idea to get between Red Emmerson and something he wants. We at EPIC think it’s unlikely SPI will prevail this time. The Scotia mill is not for sale, and would only be sold if bondholders manage to derail the Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) plan to reorganize Pacific Lumber with a new argument that the value of the timberland has declined during the bankruptcy process. It’s unlikely the bondholders will win, not least because they are arguing against their own previous claim that the land was worth more than MRC’s offer. SPI has earned a reputation for sharp elbows. In the Sierra counties where SPI appears to be systematically converting thousands of acres of timberlands to massive housing developments, citizens are organizing to resist the harm rural sprawl does to their communities. According to Cal Fire officials, after the 2002 Sour Grass fire in Calaveras County caused by an out-of-control SPI burn pile, the state of California had to take SPI to court to recover only $500,000 of the more than $940,000 taxpayers spent fighting the fire. In April 2007, SPI settled a class-action suit filed on behalf of hundreds of SPI truck drivers for $2.4 million; drivers alleged they had been forced to work 15-hour shifts without the breaks the law requires. SPI seems to have a hard time taking pollution control laws seriously. Just last year, SPI was assessed a $13 million fine for air quality violations, one of the largest penalties ever levied by the California Air Resources Board. The charges included “falsification of emission reports as a result of operator tampering with monitoring equipment,” as well as repeated violations of emissions limits and other serious violations. SPI even has the gall to package old-growth liquidation and clearcut forestry as a panacea for global climate change. http://www.times-standard.com/opinion/ci_9815116

14) Tensions escalated outside UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium Sunday, following a confrontation between Berkeley City Council-member Dona Spring and campus Assistant Police Chief Mitch Celaya. Spring, who uses a wheelchair because she has severe rheumatoid arthritis, demanded access to the city-owned sidewalk on the west side of Piedmont Avenue, where university police have blocked off the sidewalk. To police, the sidewalk is now an ongoing crime scene, so declared after supporters of the 18-month-old tree-sit in the adjacent grove used to it re-supply the protesters in the branches above. “I want access to the sidewalk,” said the councilmember. “You don’t have the right to keep me off the sidewalk.” “It’s a matter of public safety,” said Celaya. “You’re endangering my safety,” Spring replied. Moments later, Celaya backed away and the crowd of protesters surged forward. What happened next wasn’t visible to a reporter, but someone breached two sections of the police barrier, triggering a tug of war between protesters¬ who hoped to force their way in with food, water and other supplies for the tree-sitters¬and Celaya and his officers. It was Celaya himself who led the counter-charge, struggling to bring the two now widely separated barriers together with the help of other officers while protesters struggled to pull them apart. In the midst of the fray, police arrested Matthew Taylor inside the barricade, where he joined the ranks of prominent supporters arrested in recent days for their attempts to send food to the nine remaining
tree-sitters. He was followed to the pokey a little more than an hour later by Terry Compost, another activist prominent in her support of the arboreal activists. Police earlier had arrested Ayr, perhaps the most visible of the supporters, and at least five other supporters have been arrested in recent days. Following the confrontation at the barriers, protesters managed to block the northbound lane of Piedmont Avenue, forcing hapless motorists caught in mid-protest to back out of the scene. Meanwhile, lawyers for both sides in the ongoing struggle over the university’s building plans for the Memorial Stadium area were rushing to prepare rival documents for Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Miller, who will issue her conclusive order after reviewing both submissions. http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2008-06-26/article/30374?headline=Confrontation-at-Sta
dium-Triggers-New-Arrests

15) Summer Get-together at Science Hill Tree Sit Monday, July 7th, starting at 3:00pm — Dear Friends, It’s mid-summer now, and this coming Monday, there will be another gathering in the Parking Lot below the Tree-Sit. This will be a space to show support for the tree-sitters and an opportunity to discuss current and future resistance to the Long Range Development Plan. We will also hear the latest from the imperiled Berkeley tree-sit. Please consider bringing food, music, art and encouragement in any form to share with each other and send up to the trees. We are still in need of non-perishible food, sealed 5 gallon jugs of water and clean/empty buckets with lids. Many thanks. Now in its 8th month of persistance, the tree-sit at Science Hill will continue to hold fast until the development plans in Upper Campus are called off. – Ground squirrels lrdpresistance@riseup.net

16) Three months after a large branch snapped off a Stern Grove tree and killed a woman, San Francisco officials said Thursday that there are still more than 100 hazardous trees that need to be removed there – and probably thousands of others throughout the city that need to be pruned or cut down. Work to trim or remove the trees at Stern Grove and elsewhere is under way, but it has been slow because the city doesn’t have enough forestry staff, said Dennis Kern, director of operations for the Recreation and Park Department. There are 100,000 trees spread among the department’s 3,500 acres of parkland, Kern said, and only three tree crews. Each crew is made up of two or three tree climbers and one laborer. One of the crews is now working fulltime on Stern Grove’s 2,600 trees. The agency isn’t likely to hire more tree trimmers anytime soon because the city faces a $338 million budget deficit for the 2008-09 fiscal year. However, the department may get some help with equipment and planning through a recently passed park bond: $4 million of the $185 million issue is earmarked for the urban forestry program. At the hearing before a Board of Supervisors committee, which was called in response to the death of Kathleen Bolton in Stern Grove on April 14, Kern said decades of neglect have made the problem more severe. The department doesn’t really know how many trees in the city would be considered hazardous by arborists because only three areas – Stern Grove, Park Presidio and Washington Square – have undergone recent assessments, he said. “Over the decades, had there been a larger or more regular effort dedicated to tree management, it could have put the entire city in better position,” Kern said. Storms and other unforeseen events also strain resources. A January windstorm felled more than 350 trees on city parkland and took months to clean up. Some speakers at the public hearing, however, decried trees’ health at many parks, including Stern Grove, SoMa’s South Park and Buena Vista Park in the Haight-Ashbury. To completely catch up at Stern Grove will take years, said Kern. But he insisted that the dangerous trees are not located near the park’s most popular spots, including the meadow where free concerts are held every Sunday in the summer. Marilyn McAllister, a friend of Bolton’s, said the department is overstating Stern Grove’s safety. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/03/BASP11JLCN.DTL

17) The authors identified several “climate-change refugia” scattered around the state. These are places where large numbers of the plants hit the hardest by climate change are projected to relocate and hang on. Many of these refugia are in the foothills of coastal mountains such as the Santa Lucia Mountains along California’s Central Coast, the Transverse Ranges separating the Central Valley from Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains east of Los Angeles. Many of these areas are already under increasing pressure from encroaching suburban development. “There’s a real potential for sheltering a large portion of the flora in these refugia if they are kept wild and if plants can reach them in time,” Loarie said. The authors argue that it’s not too early to prepare for this eventuality by protecting corridors through which plants can move to such refugia, and maybe even assisting plants in reestablishing themselves in new regions. “Part of me can’t believe that California’s flora will collapse over a period of 100 years,” Ackerly said. “It’s hard to comprehend the potential impacts of climate change. We haven’t seen such drastic changes in the last 200 years of human history, since we have been cataloguing species.” Ackerly, Loarie and colleagues at UC Berkeley, Duke University in Durham, N.C., California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo and Texas Tech University in Lubbock report their findings in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, which appears online June 25. The researchers spent four years mining the data from more than 16 plant collections around the state, in particular from the University and Jepson Herbaria of UC Berkeley, to assess the climatic ranges of more than 2,000 California endemic plants. These represent almost 40 percent of the 5,500 native plants in the California Floristic Province, which includes most of the state except for the deserts and the Modoc Plateau in the northeast, and also includes parts of southern Oregon and northern Baja California. The plants assessed include individual species, as well as subspecies and varieties. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625073809.htm

Montana:

18) The Great Montana Land Swindle of 2008: On June 30 Senator Max Baucus announced the purchase of 320,000 acres of Plum Creek Timber Company-owned land by two conservation groups, The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land. It is the biggest Montana land swindle in many years, perhaps since the days of the 19th Century railroad barons. The so-called Montana Legacy Project will use $500 million in taxpayer monies to enrich Plum Creek, TNC, and TTPL and will provide no significant change in actual land management or environmental stewardship. In fact, stewardship will diminish. The funds will come from the U.S. Treasury through a slick earmark Baucus inserted into the recent Farm Bill, passed by Congress over President George W. Bush’s veto. In addition to the $500 million to be given to the above named corporations, the Farm Bill also gave a $182 million tax break to the Weyerhaeuser Corporation. “Spokesmen for the conservation groups said the deal will preserve the land for wildlife habitat, public recreation and sustainable forestry.” Unfortunately, the land deal will do no such thing. What it will guarantee is catastrophic fire, the destruction of wildlife habitat, the elimination of public recreation, and conversion of forest to brush. Just as Plum Creek’s holdings came from U.S. Government giveaways, so to do those of The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land. Our quasi-socialist system of giving land entitlements to billion-dollar corporations does not lead to stewardship because it removes all private incentive for asset care and improvement. Furthermore, such actions rob the public of funds and of any substantial use what were once public lands. http://westinstenv.org/sosf/2008/07/06/the-great-montana-land-swindle-of-2008/

19) Groups against logging planned in the Gallatin National Forest north of Livingston have sued the Forest Service, eight days after naming it in a lawsuit that challenged logging planned southwest of Butte. The case filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council says the Gallatin logging would violate the forest’s overarching plan and its provisions for Yellowstone cutthroat trout, big game, old-growth trees and dead trees. The Smith Creek Timber Sale would be on 692 acres in the Crazy Mountains, according to the suit. Sharon Hapner, a resident of the Smith Creek area, joined the two groups as a plaintiff. Steve Kratville of the public affairs staff at the Forest Service regional office in Missoula said Wednesday the case had not been reviewed by the agency and it had no immediate comment. On June 23, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council sued over plans for logging [correction — fuel removal and treatment] in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest about 10 miles southwest of Butte. Both cases were filed in Missoula. http://westinstenv.org/news/2008/07/06/enviro-groups-sue-forest-service-over-gallatin-vegetatio
n-treatment-project/

20) In a Washington Post piece entitled, ‘Closed-Door Deal Could Open Land In Montana–Forest Service Angers Locals With Move That May Speed Building‘, we learn that the Bush regime has been instrumental in pimping some virgin forest land to a logger-turned-developer named Plum Creek Timber Co. Bush’s ’gumba’ in this operation was Forestry Servce Undersecretary Mark Rey, who has distiguished himself, prior to this appointment, with decades of lobbying service to the logging industry. Former Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt spent a great deal of energy setting up the forestry service, this regime wants to auction, EBay-style, all of the Federal Government’s forrestry assets. As a citizen, one can’t help but feel betrayed. But the whole boondogle begs a bigger question: Don’t these guys watch the news? Is there more room in the country for pressed-board castles, bought with cut-rate mortgages in far-flung places? http://bryoung.wordpress.com/2008/07/05/montana-forests/

Colorado:

21) Steamboat Springs — City officials are asking Steamboat Springs property owners with trees infected by the pine bark beetle to remove the dead trees as soon as possible. Employees with the Steam¬boat Springs Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department are mailing, and in some cases hand-delivering, letters to residents with infected trees on their property, asking them to remove the trees according to city law. The letter contains a copy of Chapter 24 of the Steamboat Springs Municipal Code, which requires corrective action be taken to remove infected trees within 15 days of being notified. Wilson said dead trees pose a fire hazard and can fall into creeks and rivers. Limbs also can break off, causing damage to nearby houses and cars. He said infected trees can cause the epidemic to spread to other trees that haven’t been infected. http://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/2008/jul/05/beetle_causing_fire_hazard_urban_forests/

Illinois:

22) The Shawnee National Forest is proposing an over 5600 acre prescribed burn, using both ground and aerial (helicopter) ignition, (napalm) in the Illinois Ozarks west of Carbondale. This is way beyond any proportion of any natural wildfires that have occured in the area. In fact, the agency’s own documents admit that there has been almost no wildfires in the area for decades. This kind of burn is going to devastate the forest. It will fragment the habitat, kill non-target organisms, cause increased soil erosion, degrade air quality, and probably most significantly, create heat and release stored carbon into the air. This is just more of the Forest Service’s “make work” programs – spending up money that should be going for fire prevention in high risk fire areas out west. Please help us stop this crazy idea. For more information: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/shawnee/projects/projects/ea/2008/buttermilk/ Please fill out all blanks in the form and then press the “send comments” button at the bottom. If you have time, please modify this letter to reflect your personal concerns. http://heartwood.org/action.html?id=154

Ohio:

23) Four years ago, agriculture officials descended on Hicksville, Ohio, cut down every ash tree in sight and reduced the logs to mulch in huge chippers. The scorched-earth policy was part of a desperate attempt to halt the spread of the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle that got into the U.S. on wooden boxes loaded onto freighters and proceeded to destroy millions of ash trees in Michigan and other states. It didn’t work. The emerald ash borer continued to spread. Eventually, the practice of removing all the ash trees from infested areas was abandoned, and news about the insect, once a crisis, faded. Now, Fort Wayne, 40 miles from Hicksville, is infested, too. Fourteen of the sixteen townships in Allen County have been invaded by the bug, some the result of infected nursery stock planted at a new shopping center and most because people hauled ash logs containing the insect into the townships for use as firewood, says city arborist Bill Diedrichs. Most people probably have a so-what attitude toward the problem. They don’t seem to realize that 25 percent of all the trees lining Fort Wayne’s streets, nearly 14,000, are ash, and that doesn’t count the thousands of ash trees found in parks, woods and private yards around the city. http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080706/LOCAL0201/807060407/1002/LOCAL

24) ATHENS — Kim Brown doesn’t have to travel far across Ohio to hold climate change in her hand. Standing along a road in Athens, she pulls at a leaf from a voracious plant that has swallowed entire forests in the south. “Kudzu is limited by the cold nighttime temperatures,” said Brown, a former environmental and plant biologist at Ohio University who now works as education manager at Franklin Park Conservatory. “Until recently, it couldn’t grow in Ohio.” But kudzu isn’t the end of it. “There will be winners and losers in global warming,” she said. Brown and Jyh-Min Chiang, her former doctoral student at OU who now teaches Earth sciences at Tunghai University in Taiwan, are among a number of researchers predicting how forests might look (and act) under different climate-change models. Chiang looked at sections of forests in southeastern Ohio, northern Arkansas, northern Wisconsin and central Maine for his doctoral dissertation, which he hopes will be published in a research journal this year. Not only will Ohio forests change in terms of species, but rising temperatures probably would reduce their ability to lock and hold carbon. All plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen during photosynthesis. At the same time, they absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide during respiration, Brown said. Photosynthesis rates are not affected much by warming, but respiration rates increase at higher temperatures. That means plants increase carbon-dioxide output, she said. Louis R. Iverson, a research landscape ecologist at the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station in Delaware, Ohio, sought the carbon study. http://www.columbusdispatch.com/live/content/science/stories/2008/07/08/sci_hot_forest.ART_ART_
07-08-08_B4_1HAL6NH.html?sid=101

Indiana:

25) The Indiana DNR Division of Forestry has released its Environmental Assessment of the timber sale program on Indiana’s State Forests. Entitled, Increased Emphasis on Management and Sustainability of Oak-Hickory Communities On the Indiana State Forest System, the DoF proposes to increase logging an additional 2000 acres a year, to double the amount of clear cutting, and to burn thousands of acres of forests. This is an alert from our friends at Indiana Forest Alliance, and we fully support this effort. They are suing the Indiana Division of Forestry over their failure to comply with the Indiana Environmental Protection Act. To try and get around the lawsuit, the Division is trying to slide by with a superficial environmental assessment (EA) for their plan to increase logging on the Indiana state forest system by up to 5 times the current level. The justification for this plan is that Oak-Hickory forests are declining, and must be cut down to save them. They claim that the increased logging will be beneficial for endangered and threatened species, even though they do not have the scientific studies to back up this claim. This is happening even thought the vast majority of the public in Indiana oppose the commercial logging of public lands. Please take a moment to send a comment to the Indiana State Forester. http://www.indianaforestalliance.org

Tennessee:

26) The U.S. Forest Service at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation area (LBL) is proposing to allow industrial logging, burning, and herbicide use in the Devil’s Backbone natural area in the southern part of LBL. They are proposing this because they claim there are not enough baby shortleaf pine trees coming up. Instead of collecting seed and raising up seedlings and planting them in the understory, they claim that logging with skidders, burning, and then herbiciding trees that didn’t get logged will help the shortleaf pine. We don’t think so. We also think that this a major federal action that requires a full blown environmental impact statement. Please help us tell the FS to try another way to accomplish this goal. Please fill out all blanks in the form and then press the “send comments” button at the bottom. If you have time, please modify this letter to reflect your personal concerns. Thanks! http://heartwood.org/action.html?id=157

Georgia:

27) SAVANNAH – Several people are upset about a project on the southeast corner of DeRenne Avenue and Abercorn Street. People living nearby were protesting at the busy intersection early this morning. Abercorn and DeRenne is no doubt one of Savannah’s busiest intersections. To reduce some of the traffic, the Department of Transportation is adding another turn lane for people turning right from Abercorn onto DeRenne. This project is upsetting some people like Susu Cox and Beth Kinstlar because the expansion is causing a reduction in trees at the corner. Five have already been removed, and the trees marked with tape are going to be cut down as well. “We are passionate about preserving the trees in the area and the residences and the homes and anything that hurts that is detrimental to all residences along DeRenne Avenue,” said Cox. Both Cox and Kinstlar are members of the grassroots effort called Project DeRenne that helps decide what’s best for the corridor. The group says they had no idea there were plans for another turn lane. “It was my understanding that nothing would be done along this corridor until the group had the chance to sit down and come up with an alternative,” said Kinstlar. Susan Broker, the director of the citizens office for the city of Savannah, is coordinating Project Derenne. She tells WTOC that the Georgia Department of Transportation has been planning this for years. “It was put into a long range transportation plan 7 maybe even 8 years ago, by the city, county, and the MPO, and now the funding was there and the Georgia Department of Transportation was going to do this,” said Broker. http://www.wtoctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8642209&nav=menu89_2

Massachusetts:

28) By retracing this young naturalist’s footsteps, not once but twice in the past century, researchers have been able to chronicle the fate of hundreds of plant species as the New England climate has changed since Thoreau’s time. Using that data, Harvard University graduate student Charles Willis and colleagues have detected a disturbing pattern, one that he described last week in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the Evolution 2008 meeting. By building a flora family tree that incorporates the “Thoreau” species and mapping onto the tree each plant’s response to the 2°C increase in the region’s average temperature since the famed author was at Walden Pond, the researchers have discovered that climate change has placed whole groups of plants at risk and that the more charismatic wildflowers that prompt conservation efforts, such as orchids, are among the most vulnerable. The study is “an intriguing combination of historical data sets and modern molecular methods to address in a very novel way climate change effects,” says Carol Horvitz, a plant evolutionary ecologist at the University of Miami, Florida. “I think it’s brilliant.” Many studies have looked at how global warming may cause shifts in where plants grow, but very few have examined how specific traits, such as flowering time, are affected. The necessary long-term records rarely exist. But for 6 years, Thoreau tracked the life histories of more than 400 plant species in a 67-square-kilometer area. Another researcher covered the same ground at Walden Pond and its surrounds circa 1900. Then from 2004 to 2007, Boston University (BU) conservation biologist Richard Primack and his student Abraham Miller-Rushing regularly visited the area to make similar observations of about 350 species and to check how the abundances of these plants had changed through time. Their data, published in February in Ecology, revealed that many flowers were blossoming a week earlier than in Thoreau’s time. They noted also that about half of the species studied had decreased in number, with 20% having disappeared entirely. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/321/5885/24b

Vermont:

29) From the first step into the landmark forest at James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange County, a visitor knows there’s something different about these woods. The shade is thick, and the trees that make it are giants. Tulip trees grow tall and straight for 80 feet before spreading their limbs out to hog the sunlight. Some top out at 120 feet. Their trunks are so wide three long-armed people might barely be able to circle them and touch fingers. Oaks, too–mostly red oaks and white oaks–tower over the forest floor. Walking into these woods is an uncommon experience, because the woods have an uncommon history. For at least 300 years, since the days of James Madison’s grandfather, this 200-acre span of forest has been left to grow as it grows, without being widely cleared for farmland or divested of its timbers. Just one main road cut through the forest in the old days, wide enough then for ox-pulled wagons that carried wheat and corn to and from a gristmill. Now that road is no more than a broad path that slopes gently upward, past trees too big to describe with small words. At Montpelier, this forest is known simply as the Big Woods, and visitors to the property this Sunday are invited to take a guided walk through, led by chief horticulturist Sandy Mudrinich and senior interpreter Pat Dietch. It’s not considered a virgin forest, but it can accurately be called old-growth, Mudrinich said. The longest-lived of its tree species, the white oaks, have been allowed to grow undisturbed until they die of old age, up to 300 years from their acorn beginnings. No one knows why this area was left alone, especially since over the years nearly every other inch of Virginia woodland has been cleared or logged at some point in its history. Maybe the Madisons didn’t want to cut down trees so close to their home, some speculate. It’s known that James Madison, the fourth president, bemoaned “injudicious” destruction of woodlands. http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2008/072008/07072008/392584

Pennsylvania:

30) More than 50 acres of Pennsylvania Game Commission land just south of Mount Gretna in Lebanon County will be logged late this year or in 2009. The trees to be cut include many dead and dying oaks that have been damaged by gypsy moths, said David Henry, forester for the Game Commission’s southeast region. The area to be logged lies along the south and east boundaries of the 3,000-acre Game Land 145, including trees on the west side of Pinch Road, which runs from Mount Gretna into Lancaster County. After a bidding process, the Game Commission expects to award a contract for the logging by the end of September, Henry said. The logger will have a year to finish the job, he said. In the meantime, Game Commission staff will mark trees to save, about 15 to 20 per acre, with red paint. In September, herbicide will be applied to kill ground cover plants that would make it difficult for seedlings to grow. “It’s going to look bleak for a couple of months,” Henry said, but he said clearing the dead trees is necessary to start new trees. The Game Commission will plant 1,000 oak seedlings, Henry said. When the seedlings grow to maturity, there will be a lot fewer oak then there are now, Henry said. While about 70 percent of the trees in the affected area are oak, most of the new trees will be maple, beech or tulip poplar, trees common in the rest of that area. http://www.pennlive.com/news/patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/news/1215395757111620.xml&coll=1

USA:

31) Investing in timberland has been popular among pension and endowment funds. But individual investors now have access to two U.S.-listed exchange-traded funds offering a play on wood. The iShares S&P Global Timber and Forestry ETF (WOOD-Nasdaq) started trading recently on the heels of the Claymore/Clear Global Timber ETF (CUT-AMEX) launched in December. While the ETFs have appeal because timberland does not move in concert with stock and bond markets, investors should examine their holdings to determine the forest from the trees. “If you are buying these because you think you are getting a good proxy for owing land with farmable trees on it, you are not,” said Scott Burns, a Chicago-based Morningstar analyst who covers ETFs. “There is some of that in there. But it really is timber, forestry, paper and sawmills.” Investing in purer plays such as U.S.-listed timber real estate investment trust (REITS) would be a better bet, he said. Timberland is gaining popularity among long-term investors. Revenue flows from sales to lumber and paper companies. When timber prices are low, owners can stop cutting to let trees grow and increase in value. Land sales also make this asset a real estate play. “If you look at the long-term returns of private timberlands over the last 35 years, it beats all other investment classes by two or three percentage points,” said analyst Richard Kelertas of Dundee Securities. Institutional and wealthy investors can invest directly in timberland through timber investment management organizations, but it costs millions. An individual would need $5-million (U.S.) to invest through Manulife Financial Corp.’s U.S.-based subsidiary, Hancock Timber Resource Group.While the new ETFs offer an easy play on timber, the problem is that they include stocks like struggling U.S. forest-products giant Weyerhaeuser Co., Mr. Kelertas said.Weyerhaeuser, whose stock is off 41 per cent from its 52-week high of $84.28, “has done terribly” because it owns businesses other than timberland that are doing poorly, he said. http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080708.wrtimber08/BNStory/SpecialEvents2/
?cid=al_gam_nletter_maropen

32) The woods still fascinate me. To drift in thought in the presence of the trees and the proximity of the earth is much of what I feel when I’m up in the Citabria. In it I get a sense of the truly spiritual. Not as Christ in the wilderness, but in the ablution that comes from placing ones self at the alter of the planet, and for just a moment picking out a little infinity from the perpetually crushing teeth of time. I wouldn’t say I was a tree hugger. I do not think the trees are the home of sentient druid spirits, nor do the trees speak to me. However, I am pleased to take shelter under their branches, reinforced in the smallness of my form next to their trunks, smiling as the branches separate me from the chatter of the world that echoes outside the woods. There is comfort in my smallness, for I am stricken by the thought of tremendous roots threading their way under the ground beneath me, knitting themselves to the earth, embracing the soil in a way we poor ground dwellers never will. Such gravity. So sitting on the trunk of one of their fallen I rest, and they feed my soul as surely as if the roots were joined to my own veins. From: “If you are a liberal vegetarian, this is probably not the blog for you.” http://mausersandmuffins.blogspot.com/2008/07/hunter-and-hunted.html

33) Chief Abigail Kimbell of the U.S. Forest Service wrote a guest commentary in the June 13 Denver Post which I respectfully take vigorous exception to. She extolled the virtues of the “Kids in the Woods” program co-sponsored by the USFS and the American Recreation Coalition (ARC). This program is a whitewash of today’s out-of-touch-with-reality USFS. Under the heavy hand of the anti-environmental Bush administration, Mark Rey (Kimbell’s boss) and Kimbell, much damage is being perpetrated upon environmental quality and the sensibilities of the American Public. Some examples: 1) A 1,400 acre phosphate mine expansion into an inventoried roadless area has been approved in eastern Idaho on the Caribou National Forest. Phosphate mining produces Selenium — a horrible water pollutant and fish killer and also highly toxic to humans (Source: Idaho Statesman June 11). The corporate benefactor, of course, is the multibillion-dollar JR Simplot Company. So much for Kimbell’s assertion of the importance of clean water. 2) The forest supervisor of the Lolo National Forest in Montana recently approved aerial weed spraying with 10 deadly chemicals including Natrazine, a proven cause of cancer in humans (Source: retired FS employee Dick Artley, Grangeville, Idaho). 3) In western Montana, Plum Creek Timber Company owns over 1 million acres of private land in a checkboard pattern and plans on selling much of it for land development. Historically the primitive roads built on National Forest parcels were for the express purpose of timber hauling only. Mark Rey wants to throw out the rules with zero public involvement and grant unrestricted legal access to Plum Creek. Affected Montana counties are understandably angry and distressed over the impending burden on emergency services and road maintenance. Rey refuses to respond to their letters. http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_9767457

34) Recent editorials by timber industry spokespersons are a wildly misleading attempt to promote increased logging of western U.S. forests under the guise of reducing wildland fires and mitigating climate change. The timber industry fails to mention, however, that logging is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions (Schlesinger, “Biogeochemistry: an analysis of global change”, Academic Press, 1997). A recent scientific study found that completely protecting our national forests from all commercial logging would significantly increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gases (forests “breath in” CO2 and incorporate the carbon into new growth), while increasing logging on our public lands would have the opposite effect (Depro et al. 2008, Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 255). The logging industry also makes numerous scientifically-inaccurate assumptions about fire. For example, the industry would have us believe that little or no natural growth of forest will occur after wildland fire. In fact, some of the most vigorous and productive forest growth occurs after burns, including in high severity fire areas in which most or all of the trees were killed (Shatford and others 2007, Journal of Forestry, May 2007). Fire converts woody material on the forest floor from relatively unusable forms into highly useable nutrients, which aids forest productivity and carbon sequestration. The rapid forest growth following wildland fire sequesters huge amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Whatever carbon emissions occur from combustion during wildland fire and subsequent decay of fire-killed trees is more than balanced by forest growth across the landscape over time. The timber industry also incorrectly claims that, when fire-killed trees fall and decay, essentially all of the carbon in the wood is emitted into the atmosphere. In reality, much of the carbon ends up in the soil (Schlesinger 1997), and is assimilated into the growing forest. Moreover, the timber industry falsely claims that logging facilitates permanent carbon sequestration ostensibly by converting living forests into lumber. In fact, most of the carbon from a felled tree is either burned as slash or as “hog fuel” from mill residue; only about 15% becomes some type of durable wood product (A. Ingerson, 2007, The Wilderness Society, Washington, D.C.). The half-life of these “durable” wood products is less than 40 years (Smith et al. 2005, U.S. Forest Service Northeast Gen. Tech. Rpt. 34). http://www.counterpunch.org/hanson07092008.html

369 BC-Canada

–British Columbia: 1) “Eco-logging” massacres last old growth cedar groves, 2) Help stop logging on the Jordan River, 3) $1.5-million tree-top walkway, 4) Park views or Trees? 5) Vancouver Island forest stats,
–Canada: 6) FSC interfering with recycled paper markets, 7) Tribal members get sentenced for stealing trees,

Articles:

British Columbia:

1) As usual we are reporting the ongoing high-grading of old growth cedar from west coast slopes in Clayoquot Sound. See photos, this boom is rapidly filling up again. Many new slides are visible in the area, most as a result of logging and road expansion both past and present. It just never seems to end. 90,000 cubic metres have gone out of here this spring and more daily. We were up in Tranquil Inlet trying to find the carcasses of black bears which trophy hunters had taken this past week. It was reported by a Tlaoquiaht FN man who had seen 6 hides in the guide outfitters boat. This guide outfitter has been killing bears in this area and Nootka all spring. This in spite of the protests that were held here previously and the bear watching businesses that are out daily. So it goes in Clayoquot, all the best to you, we hope for positive change. Steve and Susanne Lawson councilfire@hotmail.com – http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w166/peacefromtrees/TranquilandRankinCoveJuly5th2008002.jpghttp://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w166/peacefromtrees/TranquilandRankinCoveJuly5th2008010.jpghttp://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w166/peacefromtrees/TranquilandRankinCoveJuly5th2008011.jpghttp://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w166/peacefromtrees/TranquilandRankinCoveJuly5th2008015.jpg

2) Do you have any advice on how to stop a old growth harvest. There’s a small area left on top of Jordan ridge above Jordan river on Van Isl. that WFP is in the process of high grading out the old growth pockets of timber. many of these 500 year old trees are half rotten and obviously far more valuable as habit.This small rare Valley is alive with bird life (Headwaters of Rosemond creek ) The 60 year old second growth woodlot next to it averages 6-7 inch timber and is a prime example of logging where they have no business being. Would appreciate any contacts of people you may know of who could put the wheels in motion to get the harvest reviewed before its just another irreversible mistake.
Thanks, Brad Harris.BVHarris@shaw.ca

3) A thrilling $1.5-million tree-top walkway through the lush rainforest canopy of majestic conifers at the University of B.C. Botanical Garden in Vancouver opens for business next month. The high-tech prefabricated aluminum walkway will zigzag 308 metres between trees and offer sensational views. It has been designed to give everyone, including those in wheelchairs, the chance to see what life is like 20 metres above the ground in the forest’s hidden canopy. Situated in the David C. Lam Asian Garden section as part of Walk in the Woods Trail, the prefabricated walkway will be connected to nine giant conifers, all sturdy towering grand firs along with a couple of Douglas firs. A ramp will lead people up to the first platform from where they will be able to walk in close proximity to the huge trees and get close-up views of bug and bird life high in the tree tops. Construction began in April after four years of planning, and is expected to be completed this month. The walkway will open for use in mid-August, although the official opening won’t be until Sept. 23. The patented Treehugger technology used on the walkway was developed in B.C. It operates on the same principle as a traditional Chinese finger trap: the walkway and viewing platforms tighten to grip the trees firmly when in use, but relax to allow trees the freedom to grow without hindrance when not in use. The walkway will have “man-catcher” netting on the sides to keep users safe. The narrow bridging walkways will be rigid and won’t rock or sway the way some suspension bridges do. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=de46d8d8-5c4d-4ad6-8a16-d7e7e6881be8

4) Seventy lofty pine, spruce, red cedar and other tall trees in Queen Elizabeth Park could soon have a date with a chainsaw if the proposed tree management plan is approved at the July 7 parks board meeting. The plan proposes cutting the six- to 18-metre-tall trees to restore views from three spots on the north side of the park, plus pruning lateral branches of eight or more trees. Opponents, including Norm Dooley, who has lived across from the park for 32 years, argue the trees themselves are the view. Dooley said he and his wife chose to live across from the urban park because it affords them the peace of nature without having to jump in their car. He believes out-of-towners feel the same way. “Most people who come to Vancouver don’t get out into the bush,” he said. “They come to the park, they see these trees and get a sense of what our nature is like and they go away very happy.” Dooley, a member of the Riley Park/South Cambie CityPlan Committee, finds it “unfathomable” the parks board would choose to chop down trees for what he sees as commercial reasons. Citizens opposed to the plan have gathered more than 700 signatures on a petition. Artist Teresa Waclawik designed T-shirts to complement the campaign and an Art in the Park day is planned for July 6 to celebrate the trees. Artists are invited to add to the merriment and visitors are encouraged to bring refreshments and wear green. Tree management plan opponent and local resident Ned Jacobs will lead tours to the trees proposed to come down. Community Vision steering committee members are disappointed with the process. They argue when the parks board rejected a proposal for an expensive, massive, privately developed observation tower for the park in January, commissioners directed staff to report back on various tree management options with the goal of restoring views, but only received one plan. Allan Buium, chair of the Riley Park/South CityPlan Committee, is upset the parks board held only one open house and worries the related telephone survey could have been misleading. http://www.canada.com/vancouvercourier/news/story.html?id=7ba8055e-bb1e-4a57-92df-3a0cb9326560

5) Vancouver Island is home to some of the Earth’s most spectacular, ancient temperate forests. Old-growth forests harbour trees that can grow to be 1800 years old and are home to many species that can’t live in younger forests. They also sequester more atmospheric carbon to counteract climate change than second-growth forests do. In addition, old-growth forests are fundamental pillars of BC’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry and are of great cultural importance to coastal First Nations people. The most recent photo analysis based on 2004 satellite images shows that at that time: 1) 73% of the original productive old-growth forests of Vancouver Island have been logged. 2) 87% of the original productive old-growth forests on southern Vancouver Island, south of Barkley Sound/Alberni Canal, have been logged. 3) 90% of the low elevation (less than 300 meters above sea level), flat (less than 17% slope) ancient forests, such as the valley bottoms, where the largest trees grow and the greatest biodiversity resides, have been logged. 4) Only 6% of Vancouver Island’s productive forest lands are protected in our parks system. 5) Less than 2% of the original old-growth Coastal Douglas fir forests are protected. –The Provincial Government has not committed to protect these forests in the immediate future. read more >> Go to 20/20 Vision’s Blogsite! Now you can converse with other people about the urgently important environmental and peace topics that concern us all. Engage in dialogue with like-minded individuals interested in creating a better world. Share stories, resources, and news of upcoming events. Make suggestions. Let us know how we are doing. Our core volunteers will be posting to the blog too and look forward to meeting you there! Here is the blogsite link: http://2020visionbc.wordpress.com

Canada:

6) FSC-Watch receives many queries and messages of concern, including from industry, as to why the FSC is helping to undermine efforts at paper recycling by allowing the certification of paper with little or no recycled content. We have now received the following article from the May/June 2008 Eco-Journal of the Manitoba Eco-Network, Canada, which we are happy to reproduce. The article provides interesting insights into how SmartWood’s FSC certification of the output from Tembec’s Pine Falls operations has helped destroyed production of recycled paper. Manitoba is now left with a huge pile of collected paper, which can either be burned or landfilled, or shipped to more distant recycling facilities, all of which will increase greenhouse gas emissions. The pulp and paper industry is one of the world’a major greenhouse gas emitters. FSC-Watch would be interested to know if anyone can calculate how much extra CO2 is now going to be produced, compared with the amount of money that Rainforest Alliance SmartWood has earned by issuing the FSC certificate to Tembec. http://www.fsc-watch.org/archives/2008/07/05/FSC_undermines_paper

6) SAINT JOHN – A Woodstock-based logging company has been fined $2,000 under the province’s Clean Water Act after pleading guilty to failing to comply with the conditions of a permit. C & W Kennedy Farms had been issued a permit to install a bridge over a stream as part of a forest harvest operation in the Burchill Mountain area, near St. Martins, said Crown prosecutor Catherine McNally. But on March 7, a forest ranger found eight violations of the permit, which allowed silt to run into the water, the prosecutor said. For example, the forest was clear cut within three metres on both sides of the brook, when the limit is 30 metres, said McNally. The company was also skidding within 15 metres of a stream; logs and brush were piled in a feeder stream, and a small amount of brush was also in the brook. The company has since complied with a restoration order issued by the provincial Department of Natural Resources, said McNally, who recommended a fine of $2,000. Under the Clean Water Act, fines can range between $1,000 and $1 million, she said. http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/article/344803

7) Justice Thomas Riordon of Miramichi Court of Queen’s Bench recently issued the ruling and ordered the three men — Robert Francis, Romeo Francis and Alvery Paul — back to provincial court for sentencing. The three were acquitted by a provincial court judge after trial. The Crown appealed the acquittals to the Court of Queen’s Bench in May 2006. The crown was represented by William Richards. Ronald Gaffney appeared on behalf of Alvery Paul, who is a resident of the Burnt Church First Nation, and Daniel Theriault represented Romeo and Robert Francis, who both live on the Eel Ground First Nation. The Department of Natural Resources seized the wood in January 2004. The officers had noticed in November 2003 hardwood trees were being cut on Crown land in an area known as Connell Ridge in Trout Brook. Individuals from the Eel Ground First Nation were observed by the officers cutting in this area. “At first this was thought to be harvesting of wood for personal use by native persons from the Eel Ground First Nation. Later, forestry officers believed this to be for commercial use because of the volumes and quality of the product being removed,” wrote Riordon when outlining the facts of the case. In late December 2003, a forestry officer stopped a truck transporting logs from Connell Ridge and found the records indicated Robert and Romeo Francis had some involvement with the wood. The officer later went to their homes and observed what he estimated to be 35 cords of hardwood logs, 25 cords in the yard of Robert Francis and 10 in that of Romeo Francis. On Jan. 10, 2004, two officers in an unmarked car followed Romeo Francis and a transport truck owned by Robert Sherrard, loaded with logs, to the home of Romeo Francis. Shortly after, a large B-train tractor trailer with Quebec license plates arrived and parked in front of the home of Romeo Francis. “Over the next three hours, logs were loaded from the yards of Romeo and Robert Francis about a kilometre away onto the large tractor trailer. The three-ton truck of Mr. Sherrard with the boom loader was used to load the logs.” http://miramichileader.canadaeast.com/article/344390

369 Latin America

–Latin America: 8) Agro-fuels are devastating
–Mexico: 9) Tree planting scam lets illegal loggers off the hook, 10) Border protest done by planting trees, 11) Detailed maps of deforestation in Chiapas,
–Panama: 12) Largest experiment ever on studying ecosystem services
–Belize: 13) Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw
–Guyana: 14) Offering China 500 acres to offset Olympics
–Brazil: 15) 48% of all the world’s deforestation, 16) Extracta couldn’t compete with big Pharma, 17) 22% of deforestation done illegally, 18) Lula on politics at Japan summit, 19) Focus on stopping cattle industry, 20) Disaster of disasters in Sugar Cane, 21) Gov’s Sustainable Amazon Program to increase logging levels, 22) Destroying lightly wooded plains known as ‘cerrado,’ 23) Bad land tenures and scarce enforcement,
–Peru: 24) Sky News tours forest issues, 25) Cont. 26) Cont. 27) Cont. 28) Cont.

Latin America:

8) Dr. Miguel Lovera, Chairperson of the Global Forest Coalition states: “Here in South America the direct and indirect impacts of agrofuels are already devastating: the past two years we have seen a massive increase in deforestation rates in the Amazon, the cerrado, the Chaco, the Atlantic forest, and other precious ecosystems, and the destruction of Indigenous lands and traditional farmer’s communities. Switching to wood fibre feedstock for second generation fuels is not the answer. They will still compete with hungry people for land, but they will also sound the death knell for forests, and will exacerbate biodiversity loss and climate change. The world needs to come to grips with underlying problems like over-consumption by the gluttonous global north.” “One of the greatest threats from ‘second generation’ agrofuels is the manufacture of trees and microbes genetically engineered specifically to produce agrofuels”, [4] stated Anne Petermann, Co-Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and North American Focal Point for the Global Forest Coalition. “Not only will agricultural lands and forests continue to be colonized for agrofuel monocultures, deforestation rates will escalate and the world’s remaining native forests will be devastated by the release of destructive GE tree pollen and seeds. Everyone loses except the agrofuel industry”, she concluded. info@globaljusticeecology.org

Mexico:

9) Packs of volunteers, including oil workers and schoolchildren, trekked into fields and forests up and down Mexico on Saturday to plant more than 8 million trees, according to the environment ministry. “We are repairing just a little of the enormous damage that we are doing” to the environment, President Felipe Calderon said at a tree planting event just north of the capital. The movement started in response to Mexico’s reputation of being a country of rampant illegal logging activity, which destroys 64,000 acres of Mexican forest each year, putting Mexico near the top of a U.N. list of nations losing primary forest fastest. “Everybody needs to help out a little to keep the world green,” said volunteer Marcela Lopez as she patted down soil around a sapling on the west side of Mexico City. Environmental group Greenpeace acknowledged the activity as part of a publicity stunt, adding that a cut back on logging practices would be the best way to keep forests in tact. “This program is a fraud. Only 10 percent of what is planted survives, which means they are throwing the federal budget for reforestation straight into the garbage,” the group said in a statement. The Mexico City mayor has launched a number of green initiatives in hopes of effectively curbing city pollution. http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1466208/8_million_trees_planted_in_mexico_to_combat_illega
l_logging/

10) PIEDRAS NEGRAS — The first of 400,000 trees are being planted to form a “green wall” in protest of the fence the U.S. is building along the border with Mexico. The treeline will eventually stretch for 318 miles along the border between the Mexican state of Coahuila and Texas. Coahuila Gov. Humberto Moreira Valdes says “our wall is of life, and it competes with shame and hate.” The U.S. government says its fence is critical to security. Critics say it fuels animosity between the two countries and raises environmental and private property concerns. The mayor of a Texas border town attended Friday’s tree planting in Piedras Negras. Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster opposes the ongoing construction of 670 miles of border fence. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hfWgkAAgetgdwxNVXixsVGUcVRGwD91IR62O0

11) Our ongoing work with Conservation International has led to the first regional forest cover change map that has been derived using a single consistent methodology. The details of the study have not yet been published. However as we work on validation and interpretation of the results a pattern has become very clear. Previous deforestation studies in Chiapas have usually concentrated attention on well defined study areas. This could produce the impression that deforestation is a homogeneous process over the whole state. In fact study areas selected for deforestation analysis are usually those with the highest rates when compared to the rest of the region. This is quite natural. Many of the areas where deforestation is no longer occurring have already lost a large proportion of their forest cover. However the overall regional deforestation we have quantified is considerably lower than previous studies imply. Where deforestation has followed the classic pattern of forest conversion to permanent agriculture or pasture the CI methodology, which is based on Landsat imagery, has provided a remarkably good match with high resolution imagery. However where chronic, low level forest disturbance takes place the overall impact of human activities are much less easily quantified at the resolution of Landsat imagery. The difficulty in accurately evaluating forest cover change increases in areas of dry forest. Nevertheless regional patterns are robust. The clearest deforestation hotspot in the state of Chiapas remains the Marques de Comillas area in the Southern Lacandon. Deforestation and carbon sequestration in this area has previously been studied in some detail by De Jong et al 2000 The two images below are animated gif files which change when clicked on to enlarge them to full size. The show clearly how Landsat based deforestation analysis coincides in this area with the conclusions drawn from visual analysis of recent high resolution imagery. The visual analysis is produced by overlaying our change analysis in Google Earth using Geoserver, and through the use of QGis. http://duncanjg.wordpress.com/2008/07/02/deforestation-marques-de-comillas/

Panama:

12) The Center for Tropical Forest Science of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute officially inaugurated one of the largest experiments ever attempted to understand ecosystem services—water, carbon and biodiversity—provided by tropical forests. The findings of this long-term study, launched June 21 in Panama, will have major implications for tropical land use worldwide. The 3.3-square-mile study site in the Agua Salud and its adjacent watersheds between Panama’s Soberania National Park and Transisthmian Highway form part of the Panama Canal watershed. The area includes protected mature forests and a wide variety of typical rural land uses. “The Agua Salud project will teach us how to improve reforestation in the Panama Canal watershed so that it can contribute to local and global economies and to a healthy environment in one of the world’s major biological hot spots,” said Jefferson Hall, director of applied ecology at the Center for Tropical Forest Science. The project will explore how reforestation and other land-management practices can optimize ecosystem services such as forest productivity, carbon storage and biodiversity. Research will examine how groundwater storage—thought to be critical for maintaining dry-season flow—can be maximized, thus helping to ensure the full operation of the Panama Canal during exceptionally severe draughts. The project also seeks to address the social and economic value of different land uses such as reforestation with teak versus reforestation with native tree species. Water from the Panama Canal watershed guarantees the operation of the Panama Canal, which is central to world commerce. This route of transportation significantly reduces fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions from ships taking shorter voyages through the canal. Runoff from the watershed provides clean drinking water for Panama’s two largest cities, Panama and Colon, and generates hydroelectricity for canal operations and the national power grid. The watershed’s rainforests harbor tremendous biodiversity, represent vast reservoirs of carbon and attract tens of thousands of tourists per year. http://7thspace.com/headlines/286146/smithsonian_inaugurates_landscape_study_of_tropical_forest
_ecosystem_services.html

Belize:

13) In his new non-fiction book Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, environmental journalist Bruce Barcott follows Sharon Matola — a former Air Force survival specialist and circus-tiger trainer turned zookeeper — as she fights the construction of a hydropower dam in her adopted country of Belize, and attempts to save the nesting site of the country’s last scarlet macaws. During her years of battle, Matola — known throughout Belize and beyond as the Zoo Lady — wrestled with corrupt politicians, the habitual Belizean suspicion of outsiders, and her own impulsive nature. Though her campaign to stop the Chalillo dam ultimately failed, Matola remains a stubborn defender of Belizean wildlife. She’s now working with the Peregrine Fund to reintroduce the harpy eagle, a gigantic bird Barcott describes as a “bear cub with wings,” to the country’s forests. Barcott first met Matola in 2002, while on assignment for Outside magazine, and tracked her and her crusade for the next several years. Along the way, he discovered that reporting in the tropics requires discretion, persistence, and snakeproof boots. My first impressions were immediate, vivid, and strong. That’s how she is — she’s this strong-willed, outgoing, and very charming woman who started and runs her own zoo in the middle of the jungle, in a very tough atmosphere. Belize today really reminds me of Alaska in the old days: if you go down there, you have to make your own way, essentially build your own house, and survive by your wits. That’s what Sharon is doing. The government made a tiny announcement in the newspaper that it was going to let an energy company build this dam. Sharon was the only one who knew what was going on — she was the only one who’d actually been back in the area that was going to be flooded, because she had been doing some fieldwork on the macaws nesting back there. She started looking into the dam quietly and privately — she met with energy company officials, a couple of government officials, that sort of thing — and they brushed her off, saying, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” She started fighting the dam by herself, and little by little she gained allies. She also gained some very powerful enemies. The government spokesman said all sorts of outlandish things about her — that she was an enemy of the people, that she was ruining the economy of Belize. Threats were made on her life and on the zoo — at one point, the government, in an effort to get her to shut up, decided it was going to move the national dump from an area outside Belize City to a spot right next to the zoo. http://www.grist.org/feature/2008/07/02/barcott/?source=daily

Guyana:

President Jagdeo has offered up five hundred acres of Guyana’s Iwokrama Rainforest to help China clean up the Beijing air for the Summer Olympics. ‘I have made the offer, it is up to them to see how they can get the forests across to China in time,’ Jagdeo said at a press conference earlier today. ‘With a few hundred acres of our pristine forests across there, they won’t have a problem with the air,’ he remarked. The President further highlighted that Chinese engineers are expected in Guyana this evening to come up with an immediate plan on how they would extract the 500 acres, and ship it to China in time. http://skinupguyana.blogspot.com/2008/07/rainforest-on-offer-again.html

Brazil:

15) Deforestation is not only unabated, it’s accelerating around the globe. The problem is growing bigger, and yet it is also becoming more concentrated. Just how concentrated? Previously Brazil was thought to account for about a quarter of worldwide deforestation. Now it is understood to be a whopping 48%. This news comes from a new study in the 7/8/08 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by Matthew Hansen – as reported by Mongabay: “…Brazil accounts for nearly half of global deforestation, nearly four times that of the next highest country, Indonesia, which makes up about an eighth of worldwide forest clearing.” A corollary of sorts is that African deforestation may not be as critical as once thought: “Africa, although a center of widespread, low-intensity selective logging, contributes only 5.4 percent to the estimated loss of humid tropical forest cover. This result reflects the absence of current agro-industrial scale clearing in humid tropical Africa.” Interestingly this greater concentration may make the problem more manageable. Matthew Hansen says: “…the geographic concentration of deforestation, coupled with the shift from subsistence-driven to enterprise-deforestation forest clearing, may hold unexpected benefits for conservation: it may be easier for environmental groups to target their campaigns on major forest-destroying corporations and industries.” A sliver of good news to be leveraged for sure. http://climateprogress.org/2008/07/05/rainforest-destruction-greater-and-more-concentrated/

16) Although the two didn’t have the money and machines of Big Pharma, they had the Amazon’s diversity to draw on–and after all, most of the world’s medicine originates from wild plants. So, Carvalho and Raimundo started a business, Extracta, and went “bioprospecting.” In 178 expeditions to the Atlantic and Amazon rain forests, they amassed the biggest “library” of medicinal flora in Latin America: 4,621 medicinal plants, among them, perhaps, drugs to fight staph, diabetes, emphysema and other scourges. In no time, Extracta had attracted $3.5 million in venture capital. If the founders could fashion one active plant molecule into a pill or potion, they stood to gain millions in royalties. That never happened. After four years of battling the Genetic Patrimony Management Council, which controls plant research, and Brazil’s intellectual-property law, which bans patents of anything discovered in the wild, work at Extracta has largely halted. Only five of the original 60 scientists and lab assistants remain. The investors are gone. Thousands of flasks of plant extracts are in the deep freeze. “It breaks my heart to see this,” says Carvalho. “We’ve been stalemated.” The loss isn’t just Extracta’s. Bioprospecting was supposed to help reap the riches of the rain forest without razing it. The problem, from a public-relations point of view, is that bioprospecting falls under the category of “development.” No one opposes the idea of development, but in the Amazon it is still mostly taboo. Brazil, pressed to the wall by environmentalists, has thrown its weight behind halting the jungle’s destruction–with money, police, sophisticated satellite technology and a thicket of conservation laws. None of this has worked. The Amazon is still a free-for-all. Last year, 23,000 square kilometers–an area nearly the size of Sicily–fell to the logger’s ax or the clear-cutter’s match. http://www.newsweek.com/id/49557

17) One tree out every five cut down in the Brazilian Amazon is being taken from government-protected areas where logging is illegal or heavily restricted, a study published Sunday showed. About 22 percent of the deforestation in the rain forest last year took place in Indian reserves or preservation areas, according to government statistics published by the O Globo newspaper. The study was conducted by Brazil’s environmental agency Ibama using satellite images, O Globo said. The report has yet to be officially released by the government. “It shows that our reserves are not well protected,” Environment Minister Carlos Minc told O Globo. “It’s not enough to create an area on paper to guarantee the forest’s preservation.” Officials at the environmental agency could not be reached Sunday. The study shows that the deforestation rate in preservation areas increased 6.4 percent in 2007 from the previous year, while the pace of overall deforestation decreased by 20 percent — a slowdown the government has celebrated. In June, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva created three nature reserves in the Amazon: A national park that is off limits to logging and development, and two “extractive reserves” that allow local communities to harvest rubber, nuts and fruit while preserving the forest. Limited logging is sometimes permitted in some of the new extractive reserves. The environment minister said he plans to hire 120 specialists to analyze the current protection of preservation areas and take several other measures in coming weeks in response to the increase in logging in restricted zones. The Amazon covers 2.4 million square miles (6.2 million square kilometers), with 63 percent of its territory in Brazil. About 20 percent of the original forest has been destroyed by ranchers, loggers and developers. The government hopes to place protections on 200,000 square miles (500,000 square kilometers) of Amazon rain forest by 2012. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/06/america/LA-Brazil-Amazon-Deforestation.php

18) “All participants, including our country, should set a reduction target in accordance with their own emissions of greenhouse gases,” Lula said in an interview with Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper published Wednesday. While he did not specify Brazil’s own goal, he said the world should be able to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60-80 percent from current levels by 2050. Lula made the remarks ahead of his visit to Japan to attend a session on climate change with leaders of the Group of Eight wealthy nations on the sidelines of their annual summit. International negotiations on a new climate treaty, which would cover the period after the Kyoto Protocol’s obligations end in 2012, have been bogged down by disagreements between developing nations and rich states. The United States, the main rich nation to shun Kyoto, argues that any future treaty must involve rapidly growing emerging nations including China and India. Many nations in the developing bloc say wealthy countries are historically responsible for global warming and should take the lead in reducing emissions. In the interview, Lula called for Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who will chair the summit, to take the lead in ensuring that poor countries are not treated unfairly in a climate deal. The Brazilian president also said his country plans to host an international conference in November on use of biofuel, inviting world leaders, researchers and corporate executives. Brazil is the world’s leading producer of ethanol, which is hailed by advocates for reducing emissions caused by fossil fuels. But critics say ethanol’s popularity has exacerbated a crisis of spiralling food prices by stepping up demand for edible crops. “When I speak about biofuels, I am not only considering the benefit to Brazil alone,” Lula told the newspaper. “I am considering producing bio-ethanol in Central and South America as well as in Africa and Asia in cooperation with developed countries such as Japan and Britain.” http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Poor_countries_should_set_climate_targets_Brazil_leader_999.h
tml

19) Brazil’s new environment minister, Carlos Minc is committed to serious punative action when it comes to the estimated 60,000 cows that are raised on illegally deforested land in the region of Amazonia. In fact, cattle pasture now covers 7.8% of the Amazon region, with an ever growing presence as worldwide demand for beef skyrockets. Illegal cattle grazing helped Brazil become the world’s largest beef exporter in 2004, but after several years of declining deforestation rates in the Amazon, degradation of the rain forest is again on the rise. The pressure to produce more and more has led many ranchers to ignore regulation. It is rare to find a politician who is willing to stand up to an industry that is responsible for a significant portion of the GDP, but Minister Minc made good on his promises to crack down on illegal ranching last week when his office confiscated 3,100 cows from one rancher who used a nature reserve in the state of Para as pasture land, cutting away forest that got in the way of his cattle. Not only is Minc committed to punishing those who clearcut the Amazon, he sees a use for the contraband livestock. In his announcement of the ranch seizure, Mr. Minc reported that the cattle would be auctioned off to the highest bidder with proceeds directed towards Fome Zero – the national anti-hunger organization (literally, “zero hunger”). The money will also go toward helping indigenous health organizations and further livestock confiscation efforts. The Brazilian government’s environmental ministry, known as Ibama, reported that much of the Amazon’s deforestation can be blamed on cattle farmers who ignore the boundaries of protected areas in search of ideal ranching land. For example, the rancher involved in the seizure last week had already faced fines of close to US$2 million for illegal deforestation. http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2008/06/30/brazil-raids-illegal-ranches-gives-cattle-to-poor/

20) SAO PAULO – Brazil’s new environment minister, Carlos Minc, called all sugar cane mills in the northeastern state of Pernambuco an environmental “disaster of disasters” and fined them 120 million reais ($75 million). In a crackdown called Old Green Mill conducted jointly with the environmental protection agency Ibama, Minc said on Tuesday on the official government news service Agencia Brasil that all 24 mills in the state had committed a series of crimes. Since he took over as minister after conservationist icon Marina Silva stepped down several weeks ago, Minc has targeted Brazil’s powerful farmers, ranchers and miners, who are riding a global commodity boom, and blamed them for fueling deforestation. The ministry has already seized thousands of cattle and hundreds of tonnes of soybeans and corn in the Amazon region in a crackdown against illegal logging. It has also fined several steel mills for using charcoal produced from illegal deforestation. Minc said the 24 sugar and ethanol mills in Pernambuco were responsible for the loss of 85,000 hectares (210,000 acres) of Atlantic rain forest and were operating without environmental licenses. “Not only in the Amazon” will environmental laws be enforced, Minc said. “The time of being soft on the northeastern mills is over.” Most of Brazil’s sugar cane is grown in the center-south region but a smaller group of mills still maintains production in the northeastern states. The rate of deforestation is increasing in Brazil this year for the first time since 2004 as growing demand for food is pushing farmers and ranchers deeper into forested regions. “It doesn’t matter how high the costs are for the millers. They are going to have to recover the area they have degraded,” said Minc, who added that mills had the help of local politicians to operate outside the law. http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKN0128292720080701

21) The coordinator of the Sustainable Amazon Program (PAS) of the Brazilian government has indicated the possibility of increasing the maximum limit of forest conversion to other uses in rural properties in the Amazon region to above 20%, ITTO reported. The adjustment does not depend on changes to the Forest Code, which is being discussed in the Congress. It refers to a provision that allows the reduction of the legal reserve from 80% to 50% for the purpose of forest restoration under two conditions: indication of ecological- economic zoning, and the endorsement of the National Council for the Environment, and the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture.There are already state laws for zoning in the Amazonian states of Acre and Rondonia. However, many municipalities fail to follow legal guidelines that set aside 80% of a property for protection. According to the Environment Ministry, only three municipalities (out of the 36 municipalities that deforested the Amazon the most) follow the 80% forest protection rule. On average, the target areas of deforestation control operations have lost 50% of their forests. In Brasil Novo, a municipality in state of Para where most deforestation takes place, there are only 17% of forests left.The Minister of the Environment supported the creation of a ‘belt’ in the transition area between savannah and the rainforest, where the population would develop economically feasible and environmentally friendly production activities. He also emphasized that the rainforest is not an agricultural frontier, despite official information pointing out that 40% of the national production of soybeans and meat come from legal areas of the Amazon. In contrast to deforestation measures adopted by the government, the PAS coordinator emphasized that the governmental actions would reach small producers and the settlement of agrarian reform as well. So far, there is no deadline set to announce the results of the PAS. http://wood.lesprom.com/news/34608/

22) Given the abundance here in the fields, it’s hard to believe that these plains were once dismissed as sterile wastelands best left to the emus, armadillos, monkeys, anacondas, and the odd jaguar. The acidic soil was thought to rule out significant farming. The Brazilians still call these lightly wooded plains the cerrado—or “closed” or “inaccessible” land. But nowadays the cerrado is very much open for business, its fertility a springboard from which the world’s newest superpower in agriculture is emerging. “We have been able to transform wasteland into a bountiful land that is helping to feed Brazil and the world,” says Silvio Crestana, head of the Brazilian government’s agricultural research company, EMBRAPA. With millions of people literally hungering for affordable food, Brazil’s breakthroughs in tropical agriculture may prove to be the key to feeding a growing global population. If Saudi Arabia fills the world’s gas stations, China assembles its consumer goods, and India vies to staff its office services, then it is Brazil that is stepping forward to stock its pantries. The rise of Brazil as an agricultural powerhouse may be the most important story of globalization that many Americans have never heard of. With ample sun and fresh water and more available arable land than any other country, Brazil seems to be on a historic trajectory to becoming the next great global breadbasket. “Brazil can be No. 1 in the future in agricultural production,” asserts André Nassar, a leading agricultural economist based in São Paulo. “I think we will exceed the U.S.” If that ambition pans out, Brazil may provide the supply cushion the world urgently needs to meet growing demands for food. China, India, Russia, and other countries are eating higher on the food chain; they want more of the grains and meat Brazil can provide. The same soaring commodity prices that have inflicted so much global pain are creating wealth in Brazil’s fast-growing hinterlands. “The crisis is not bad for Brazil. It allows farmers to get a better price,” says Derli Dossa, a strategic adviser in the Ministry of Agriculture. http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/world/2008/06/25/brazil-becomes-the-new-food-superpower.html

23) Curitiba – A “fragile” land tenure system and “a scarce presence” by the State were identified as key factors in rising Amazon deforestation last week.The diagnosis was delivered to the 3rd International Congress on Bioenergy last week by WWF-Brazil forest engineer Ana Euler, who said there was a need to re-discuss the Brazilian development model.“In many areas of the Amazon we come across a situation in which there are various ‘landowners’ for the same piece of land and proof of land ownership is extremely difficult,” Euler said. “In such a scenario, the populations that are more vulnerable end up being penalized.” “Indigenous peoples, extractivists and small peasants generally lose the dispute to agribusiness and other groups that deploy greater political and economic strength.” The findings draw on studies of the states of Para and Rondônia where a high incidence of land conflict and associated violence were linked to forest degradation and destruction. Using satellite images of the state of Rondônia – one of the Amazon region’s most deforested states, Ana Euler showed that protected areas are proving effective instruments for containing deforestation and conflicts resulting from land use. “It can be noted that indigenous lands, extractive reserves, national and state forests, and other protected areas work as barriers against forest degradation,” she said. Also raised by Euler was the great influence of infrastructure projects, as hydroelectric power plants, highways, pipelines and waterways in increasing conflicts over land use and occupation in the Amazon region. “The speculation generated by the announcement of great infrastructure construction work, as well as the lack of transparence in the project-licensing processes, has serious impacts to local biodiversity and to surrounding communities even before construction is started,” she said. WWF-Brazil is fostering the creation and implementation of protected areas and the promotion of sustainable development in the Amazon. Through providing technical and financial support to the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program (ARPA), WWF-Brazil contributed to the creation of 23 million hectares of additional protected areas between 2003 and 2008. http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/news/index.cfm?uNewsID=139821

Peru:

24) To all appearances, the Amazon seems to stretch on forever, but our journey through Peru has shown that huge parts are disappearing at an astonishing rate. And as well as ugly brown scars on the lush green landscape, we have discovered that deforestation has left behind suffering and fear. We have listened to one of the forest’s most ancient tribes – the Ashaninka – telling us of the daily threats and bribes they face from companies keen to reap the community’s land of its resources. On the outskirts of the forest in the logging town of Satipo, local leaders told us that the industry is bound up with drug traffickers, while the police turn a blind eye to the illegal activities. The man tasked with confronting Peru’s deforestation problem is the new environment minister, Dr Antonio Brack. He has only been in the job just over a month, but he has told Sky News he is already busy raising fines for illegal logging and transforming the way the industry is policed. “We are going to create, under the Home Office the National Office of Environment Police. This will be governed by a general and will be at national level,” he said. “And we have decided that the force will have 3,000 police in three years’ time. Because at the moment, there are only 240 officers and it’s impossible to control the problem.” One of the main tasks for the new minister is to try to placate the discontent among Peru’s rural communities, that the government is ignoring the deforestation problem. He is determined to be harder on the illegal companies and says the scale of the problem is huge. “We have to destroy mafias, and big illegal groups and we need in general to change. That’s what this country needs,” Dr Brack said. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Peru-Environment-Minister-Calls-On-UK-To-Help-Save-T
he-Rainforest/Article/200807115026351?lpos=World%2BNews_0&lid=ARTICLE_15026351_Peru%2BEnvironme
nt%2BMinister%2BCalls%2BOn%2BUK%2BTo%2BHelp%2BSave%2BThe%2BRainforest

25) For the last few days Sky News has been in Tinkereni – a village of 200 Ashaninka in the heart of the Amazon. The live simply, hunting and fishing with bows and spears and gathering fruit and nuts from the trees… at one with nature. But although they have legal rights to the land – this serene existence is in jeopardy. Cesar Bustamente is one of the tribal leaders in the village. Earlier this year he experienced an agressive approach from an illegal logging company offering cash to chop down the tribe’s trees. He told us: “What we want is for our children to live as we have done here in the forest – we don’t want to leave our land. We want to conserve it like our ancestors for future generations.” The tribe decided to contact anthropologist Dilwyn Jenkins. He in turn called the British charity Cool Earth. “We have set up a way for the community to receive an income for not chopping down their trees,” he told us. “It’s taken a big burden off their minds – it’s been a big relief.”Cool Earth is now protecting 50,000 acres of Peruvian rainforest. The idea is that people back home can pay to sponsor an acre of land so in turn the Ashaninka can act as wardens of the forest. Ruth Buendia is the Ashaninka president of the region. She has recently received news that the Peruvian government is thinking of privatising parts of the forest. She has called on the British public for help. “What we want is that the people in your country don’t buy illegal wood. This is our forest – the lungs of the earth. “Leave us in peace to look after it.” The Ashaninka say the alliance with the charity has brought temporary relief, and with growing international efforts to halt deforestation they are now protecting the forest not just for themselves but for the rest of the world. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Perus-Ashaninka-Tribe-Trying-To-Save-Rainforest-Wi
th-Help-Of-Cool-Earth-Charity/Article/200806415016497?lpos=World%2BNews_5&lid=ARTICLE_15016497
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26) Satipo is a place where disputes are often settled by the gun, and international concerns over conservation and climate change are of no interest to those with the power here – the illegal logging barons. There is only one road that leads towards the town, out of the central jungle. The supposed timber and police checkpoints along the route are always unmanned. A constant stream of lorries loaded with tree trunks and freshly cut planks snake along the winding roads. The whirr of sawmills fills the air. Armed guards stand poised outside, pistols at the ready. We were told the wood is usually cut up along the way, and it usually passes completely unchecked. So by the time it reaches Satipo, it’s impossible to tell what’s legal and what’s not. It then goes off to Lima and is shipped out to the rest of the world. And that means that despite the best intentions of those who try to guarantee sustainable timber to protect this rainforest, it’s believed 60% of the hard wood that arrives in the UK has been cut down illegally. As tribal mayor of Peru’s Central Amazon region, Tarsicio Mendoza is on the frontline of the international fight against illegal loggers. In two days’ time, he is having a meeting with the local logging chiefs to confront them with his community’s concerns. But it is a risky business. He told me others before him have been threatened with their lives. “We have decided to be harder on them, but I know we’re going to have problems, because they’re powerful people and they have a lot of money,” he said. “To tell you the truth, we’re really scared of them. In another region near here, many things have happened. When the local leaders have gone to defend their forest, the illegal loggers have gone and contracted people to attack them.” Many here believe the lack of local policing stems from the authorities turning a blind eye to illegal logging, in return for handouts from rich companies. Billy Hammer used to be head of the Central Amazon Loggers’ Association. He decided to run for mayor to try to clamp down on illegal logging, but he told me it has been harder than he thought, because of the extent of criminal activity involved in the illegal logging business. “There is a big mafia here who use logging to traffic cocaine. All of this is interconnected. They hide the cocaine in the wood, and they launder the money through the logging industry.” Billy’s brother Eric runs a local sawmill in nearby San Ramon. He told me the existing paperwork system fails to stop the illegal wood leaving the country and being exported by major companies. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Criminal-Logging-In-Central-Amazon-Peru-Authorities
-Ignoring-Problem/Article/200807115024308?lpos=World%2BNews_0&lid=ARTICLE_15024308_Criminal%2BL
ogging%2BIn%2BCentral%2BAmazon%253A%2BPeru%2BAuthorities%2B%2527Ignoring%2BProblem%2527

27) My name is Jaime and I’m 36 years old. I’ve lived in Tinkereni all my life. Life here in the middle of the forest is idyllic. The selva provides for all our needs. But despite the calm, we face many threats to our existence. A few years ago, it was from the Shining Path terrorists and thousands of my people died fighting them. Now, there’s a new threat: the illegal loggers and oil companies who all want to cut down our trees. Recently I found out about one man in our community in the Cutivereni Valley who wanted to sell part of our forest to a logging company. So I contacted Dilwyn Jenkins, an anthropologist who I have known since I was a child, and asked him to help us. It was a close-run thing. I felt very sad at the thought of my children not having the same forest to grow up in as I have done. What if they said in the future: “Some big companies came and chopped down our trees and my father stood by and did nothing.” That’s when I knew I had to act. Now we’re working with Cool Earth to make sure nobody in our community tries to sell up to the loggers. But it takes time to educate the people here. Many people in my village don’t realise the impact on the environment and on our health. Especially when companies pour chemicals into our River Ene and the water gets toxic and fish die from contamination. At a worldwide level, I understand there’s more to stopping deforestation than the survival of the Ashaninka, but it’s hard for people here in the village to understand the concept that we live on a planet and the rainforest is so important to other people too. We’re happy Cool Earth is helping us. They’ve given us money to build a school and buy canoes. All we want is to live like our ancestors here in peace in our forest. We’re happy to protect it if we’re allowed to, as we have done for thousands of years. Otherwise, when the petrol is finished, how will we survive? How will we feed our children when the forest is gone? http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Peru-Ashaninka-Tribe-Leader-In-Peruvian-Amazon-Tell
s-Sky-News-Of-Threats-To-Survival/Article/200807115017853?lpos=World%2BNews_0&lid=ARTICLE_15017
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28) A quarter of all our medicine is sourced from it and it hosts a mass of colourful biodiversity. But both the Peruvian Amazon’s species and the world’s medicine are facing their gravest threat yet. From toucans to tapirs, anteaters to spectacled bears, the Peruvian Amazon is a living, breathing mass of colourful biodiversity. When you consider that two thirds of the country is covered in rainforest, you start to realise why this is the most biodiverse region on Earth. But the rapid onslaught of deforestation here in Peru is putting this unique array of plant and animal species at risk. Just as the rainforest is rich in flora, it also boasts an abundance of other, more lucrative riches. The race to plunder the forest of fossil fuels, gold and timber for example, means that every day truckloads of trees are slashed and burned with little reforestation. The authorities turn a blind eye to the illegal activities of big business. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says 30% of all the world’s species will face extinction by 2050 if global warming continues at the current rate. In Peru, that figure is nearer 50% because of the sheer scale of its biodiversity. There are few other countries with such a variety of micro-environments. From the mountainous terrain of the Andes to the dry desert heat, and to the lush rainforest region – Peru has it all. As well as containing two thirds of all animal and plant species, the forest is known as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ – a quarter of all our medicines are sourced there. The worry is that due to deforestation a plethora of cures for all manner of diseases have been lost to the world before anyone had the chance to discover them. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Peru-Cures-For-Disease-Being-Destroyed-By-Deforesta
tion-In-The-Amazon/Article/200807115022003?lpos=World%2BNews_0&lid=ARTICLE_15022003_Peru%253A%
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369 Forest-Type / World-wide

–Tropical Forests: 29) Deforestation summary
–World-wide: 30) How leaf veins are arranged, 31) Extinction threat far more severe than previously thought, 32) Biodiversity and Climate conference sells out,

Tropical Forests:

29) From about the mid-1800s, around 1852, the planet has experienced an unprecedented rate of change of destruction of forests worldwide. Forests in Europe are adversely affected by acid rain and very large areas of Siberia have been harvested since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the last two decades, Afghanistan has lost over 70% of its forests throughout the country. However, it is in the world’s great tropical rainforests where the destruction is most pronounced at the current time and where clearcutting is having an adverse effect on biodiversity and contributing to the ongoing Holocene mass extinction. About half of the mature tropical forests, between 750 to 800 million hectares of the original 1.5 to 1.6 billion hectares that once covered the planet have fallen. The forest loss is already acute in Southeast Asia, the second of the world’s great biodiversity hot spots. Much of what remains is in the Amazon basin, where the Amazon Rainforest covered more than 600 million hectares. The forests are being destroyed at a pace tracking the rapid pace of human population growth. Unless significant measures are taken on a world-wide basis to preserve them, by 2030 there will only be ten percent remaining with another ten percent in a degraded condition. 80 percent will have been lost and with them the irreversible loss of hundreds of thousands of species. Many tropical countries, including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, Laos, Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, Ghana and the Cote d’lvoire have lost large areas of their rainforest. 90% of the forests of the Philippine archipelago have been cut. In 1960 Central America still had 4/5 of its original forest; now it is left with only 2/5. Madagascar has lost 95% of its rainforests. Brazil has lost 90-95% of its Mata Atlântica forest. Half of the Brazilian state of Rondonia’s 24.3 million hectares have been destroyed or severely degraded in recent years. As of 2007, less than 1% of Haiti’s forests remain, causing many to call Haiti a Caribbean desert. Between 1990 and 2005, Nigeria lost a staggering 79% of its old-growth forests. Several countries, notably the Philippines, Thailand and India have declared their deforestation a national emergency. http://farahatiqah.blogspot.com/2008/07/de-forestation.html

World Wide:

30) Using an artificial model of a leaf, scientists have unveiled a mathematical principle underlying how leaf veins are arranged to enable water to perspire as fast as possible. Because water perspiration is closely linked to how plants absorb CO2, the findings could help researchers learn about past climates by studying the patterns of veins found on fossilized leaves. Water evaporation helps leaves stay cool and provides the pull that lets plants lift nutrients from the soil. But during photosynthesis, when plants open up the pores on the underside of leaves to absorb CO2, water escapes from those pores at an accelerated pace. “The same membranes that let CO2 inside also let water outside,” says Maciej Zwieniecki of Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum. Leaves then need abundant water flow to avoid dehydration. And the more CO2 a plant absorbs, the more energy it can take in from the sun through photosynthesis, and the more it can grow. Evolution should thus favor a distribution of veins that can carry water through the leaves at a fast pace. Zwieniecki and his collaborators write in the July 8 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that, on average, the distance separating the veins that pump water through leaves is about the same as the distance separating the veins from the leaves’ surface. This finely tuned geometry keeps water flowing quickly through the leaves, the team has found. Within species, leaf veins follow very uniform patterns, Zwieniecki says, suggesting that the geometry is a feature optimized through many generations of evolution. The team’s results are “fascinating,” comments Lawren Sack, a biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The finding implies that leaves are optimized during evolution by adjusting not only the length of vein per area [vein density], but also the thickness of tissues.” The research could help scientists study past climate clues found in fossil leaves, Sack adds. “Venation patterns are often preserved,” he says, and could help reconstruct patterns of rainfall and availability of sunshine. The rate of evaporation from leaves is affected by humidity, and the amount of sunshine determines the energy available for photosynthesis. The patterns could also inspire engineers to design better irrigation systems, he says. Science News
June 30th, 2008

31) Some endangered species may face an extinction risk that is up to a hundred times greater than previously thought, according to a study released Wednesday. By overlooking random differences between individuals in a given population, researchers may have badly underestimated the perils confronting threatened wildlife, it said. “Many larger populations previously considered relatively safe would actually be at risk,” Brett Melbourne, a professor at the University of Colorado and the study’s lead author, told AFP. There are more than 16,000 species worldwide threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). One in four mammals, one in eight birds and one in three amphibians are on the IUCN’s endangered species “Red List”. In a study released on Wednesday by the journal Nature, Melbourne said the current models used draw up such lists typically look only at two risk factors. One is the individual deaths within a small population, such as Indian tigers or rare whales. When a species dwindles beyond a certain point, even the loss of a handful of individuals can have devastating long-term consequences, Melbourne explained. There are less than 400 specimens of several species of whale, for example, and probably no more than 4,000 tigers roaming in the wild. The second commonly-used factor is environmental conditions that can influence birth and death rates, such as habitat destruction, or fluctuations in temperature or rainfall, both of which can be linked to climate change. Melbourne and co-author Alan Hastings from the University of California at Davis argue that these factors must be widened in order to give a fuller picture of extinction risk. They say that two other determinants must be taken into account: male-to-female ratios in a species, and a wider definition of randomness in individual births and deaths These complex variables can determine whether a fragile population can overcome a sudden decline in numbers, such as through habitat loss, or whether it will be wiped out. “This seems subtle and technical, but it turns out to be important,” Melbourne said in an email. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Extinction_risks_vastly_underestimated_study_999.html

32) In a world that is seeing the effects of climate chaos, one could hope that a conference dubbed as the First Biodiversity and Climate Summit, would attempt to solve this disaster. Instead the Conference turned to the same culprits that got us into this mess into the first place: business, industry, and market-based approaches. At their 2006 Eighth Conference of the Parties (COP-8), the CBD made their first pro-business decision, launching the “business and biodiversity initiative.” This year’s 2008 Ninth Conference of the Parties of the CBD (COP-9) was the grand unveiling of this new business-oriented conservation strategy. The new focus on attracting business to the Convention on Biological Diversity has led some to rename it the “Convention on Buying Diversity. “If we want to implement the goals of the CBD and safeguard the natural basis of life for future generation, it is indispensable to involve all spheres of society, and in particular, businesses,” said Gabriel Sigmar, the German minister of environment, president of COP-9. The CBD’s Business and Biodiversity Initiative states, the “Conference aims to visibly integrate the business sector…” The CBD made available many publications that were extremely pro-business, such as “Business.2010,” “COP-9: Business and Biodiversity in Bonn,” and “Banking for Biodiversity.” COP-9 also included numerous side events put on by business to showcase their market-driven conservation solutions. These events were quite blatant in their aims, with titles such as “Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Commodity Supply Chains” or “Biotrade Opportunities in Developing Countries.” One especially memorable side event entitled “A Dialogue on Building Biodiveristy Business: Experiences and Opportunities,” was co-hosted by Shell and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Sandy Gauntlett, chair of the Pacific Indigenous Peoples Coalition (PIPEC), said, “The parties to the CBD are fast becoming the world’s largest organization dedicated to opposing equitable social change, with industry playing an increasingly larger role in commodifying the planet’s environmental resources.” She [authors'ß note He] concluded, “Many of the parties are lining up for their slice of the cake.” http://zcommunications.org/zmag/viewArticle/18090

368 EU-Africa-Mid-East

–UK: 1) Animation commissioned by Woodland Trust, 2) Tree protest in Bristol, 3) Man’s forest loses protection because he says it’s just a garden,
–Germany: 4) Economics of Climate Change, 5) 500 million Euros for tropical forests,
–Lebanon: 6) Forest cover at 13% & efforts to maintain it
–Congo: 7) Conservation and forestation
–Eritrea: 8) Forest plantation stats.
–Kenya: 9) “Sustainable” paper company faces collapse due to lack of raw material?

UK:

1) The short animated film, called Reliable and tidy hoverfly looking for a place to live was made and directed by three young film-makers, and was commissioned by the Woodland Trust. It marks the first complete year of its Ancient Tree Hunt, a five-year project to find and record 100,000 ancient trees in the UK. The film illustrates why such trees are so important as wildlife habitats, with holes, dead and rotting wood, wrinkles and crannies all important habitats for hundreds of plants, animals, insects and fungi, including many rare and threatened species. Using animation with characters made of paper, recycled cardboard and other recovered materials, it tells the story of a hoverfly that wants to move into an old tree and is looking for the perfect spot to live. He is befriended by a click beetle who introduces him to the other inhabitants, the inner workings, relationships and survival mechanisms of the interior of a hollow, ancient tree. The film will be shown at the Woodland Trust’s stand in the Exploring Nature zone. This summer, the Ancient Tree Hunt organised its ‘Summer of Hugs’ to get more people out looking for ancient trees. The Trust will be taking its hugs to Blenheim and running lessons in tree-hugging. Hugging is an easy way to measure the girth of old trees; one of several indicators of age. http://www.fwi.co.uk/blogs/rural-life/2008/07/ok-its-not-indiana-jones-but.html

2) Do these trees look dead, dying or dangerous to you? Well in their wisdom our friends at Bristol City Council have decided to allow the felling of these trees in Grove Wood next to Blackberry Hill. We have contacted the media to tell them of our opposition to this decision. We are organising a PEACEFUL and LEGAL protest to demonstrate our concern on Monday 7th July from 5.30pm. If you want to get involved please email us at snuffmills@hotmail.co.uk If you want to know Bristol’s reasoning for this decision, here is the letter they are sending to the hundred or so people that objected: http://snuffmills.blogspot.com/2008/07/goodbye-blackberry-trees.html

3) The saga began when the businessman and his wife Gillian moved into a £750,000 house in Woolverstone, Suffolk, in 2004. He set about clearing the overgrown parts of the 2.83 acres of land which came with the house, with the aim of planting oak and beech trees and returning it to its condition of 50 years ago. But Forestry Commission officials objected when his contractor uprooted alder saplings that had begun growing wild on the land. Mr Rockall claimed before Lowestoft magistrates that Environment Department rules did not require him to have a licence to cut down trees in his own garden. But magistrates decided the overgrown land had ‘ceased to be a garden’ and convicted him. The legal battle ended yesterday when Lord Justice Moses, sitting with Mr Justice Blake, overturned the conviction, saying that the definition of a garden has become much broader in modern times. Mr Rockall’s barrister, Dominic Grieve, QC, said a previous owner had allowed the land to run wild. Lord Justice Moses said: ‘The Oxford English Dictionary states that a garden is an enclosed piece of ground devoted to the cultivation of flowers, fruit or vegetables. ‘That definition is clearly now too narrow, as the current fashion for wild gardens and meadow areas amply demonstrates. ‘The reality is that no description will categorically establish whether a piece of land is a garden or not. It is incumbent on the fact finder to determine its use. ‘It is important to look at the relationship between the owner and the land, and the history and character of the land and space.’ The judge added: ‘It has been contended that the garden was so disused that it had ceased to be a garden – I have some doubts about that. ‘Did it cease to be a garden because the owner went abroad and the occupier had neither the means nor the intention to keep it well maintained? There will be many of us that inherit land and are unable to maintain it in the way our forefathers kept it, through insufficient time or money. ‘The fact that the previous owner didn’t have the need or desire for the land as a gardener and that the owner went abroad didn’t mean that the garden ceased to be one.’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1032112/When-garden-garden-Judges-better-definition.html

Germany:

4) The European Commission has recently launched a report on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity. This report was inspired by the momentum created by the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change and it was proposed by the German Government. The purpose of this study was to initiate the process of analyzing the global economic benefit of biological diversity, the costs of the loss of biodiversity and the failure to take protective measures versus the costs of effective conservation. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/economics/pdf/teeb_report.pdf

5) German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent pledge of 500 million Euros over four years to conserve tropical forests, followed by increased annual spending on forest protection, starts to address a major source of greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. As Chancellor Merkel notes, tropical forests are home to biological diversity and healthy ecosystems that strengthen Earth’s resilience to global warming and help people adapt to the changing climate. The burning and clearing of tropical forests contributes 20 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions – more than all the world’s cars, trucks and airplanes combined. Emissions from deforestation, rather than industrial discharges, make developing countries Brazil and Indonesia two of the world’s top four greenhouse gas polluters. However, less than 1 percent of current investments in the global carbon market created by the Kyoto Protocol target forest-related solutions. Germany’s G8 partners – the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and Russia – can help correct that imbalance by making pledges similar to Merkel’s and promoting forest conservation as an important and viable way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Halting deforestation is an immediate and cost-effective way to cut greenhouse gas emissions,” said Peter Seligmann, the chairman and CEO of Conservation International (CI). “Solutions for climate change that don’t include the conservation of carbon sinks such as tropical forests and oceans will fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to prevent catastrophic impacts from rising global temperatures.” Tropical forests are home to more than half the species on Earth and harbor vital resources such as fresh water, food and medicines directly depended on by local communities, often the most vulnerable and poorest of society. http://www.netnewspublisher.com/german-initiative-to-conserve-forests-offers-win-win-solution/

Lebanon:

6) CHOUF: Covering 13 percent of the country, they are a unique green area in the Middle East, and attract tourists from around the world. The cedars of Lebanon are much loved, but they have had a difficult time lately. Last year, 4,700 hectares of forest were destroyed in fires, including 1,500 hectares as the worst blazes raged on October 2. There is no national plan for managing forest fires in an emergency, and driving through Beiteddine into the mountains, the view is not of forests, but of hundreds of burnt trees. But on Thursday, the Association for Forests, Development and Conservation (AFDC) showcased several new reforestation programs and prevention measures which have been funded by the EU. AFDC director Sawsan Abou Fakhreddine hopes that with the 350,000 euro ($550,000) grant the AFDC can not only buy equipment for their firefighters and 300 volunteers but, more importantly, set up a central forest fire operations room to co-ordinate action in a crisis. “We will never be able to prevent fires,” she said at the Chouf cedar reserve, “but we hope to be able to limit their impact a little bit, and to control the times when they can break out.” She champions local campaigns to raise awareness that fires can start when broken glass is left as litter and focuses sunlight, although she adds that not all fires are accidents. Even nature in Lebanon is not immune to politics. “People here are sometimes politically opposed to a municipality,” she said, “and so they start a fire in the area.” The main objective of the project is to set up an early warning system. The operations center will be based in Beirut and will be managed by the Civil Defense forces who will work alongside staff from the Lebanese Army, the Internal Security Forces and representatives from the Environment, Agriculture and Interior ministries. They will work to monitor fires, to warn of outbreaks and to co-ordinate volunteers and troops to fight them. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=93813

Congo:

7) Conserving the Congo forest, and indeed all of our forests in Africa, as well as accelerating forestation efforts, is vital to our survival on a continent where the Sahara Desert is expanding to the North and the Kalahari Desert is expanding to the Southwest. For this reason the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF) was launched in London on June 17. The initial financing of the CBFF comes from a pair of $200 million grants from the governments of the United Kingdom and Norway. Ten countries in the Central African region established the Congo Basin Forest Initiative to manage the forest more sustainably and conserve its rich biodiversity. The Congo Basin Forest is the world’s second largest forest ecosystem and is considered the planet’s second lung, after the Amazon. The forests of the Congo Basin provide food, shelter, and livelihood for over 50 million people. Covering 200 million hectares and including approximately one-fifth of the world’s remaining closed-canopy tropical forest, they are also a very significant carbon store with a vital role in regulating the regional climate. The diversity they harbour is of global importance. Spanning an area twice the size of France, the Congo Basin rainforest is home to more than 10,000 species of plants, 1,000 species of birds, and 400 species of mammals. Today, the Congo Basin rainforest is coming under pressure. Increased logging, changing patterns of agriculture, population growth, and the oil and mining industries are all leading to ever greater deforestation. This situation is not sustainable for the people who live there, for the countless species that may be driven to extinction, or for the climate. Reversing the rate of deforestation in the Congo Basin is therefore essential both to securing the livelihoods of the people in the region and to maintaining the carbon-storage capacity and biodiversity of the forest. http://www.nationmedia.com/eastafrican/current/Opinion/op070720088.htm

Eritrea:

8) At the Ministry of Agriculture, the coordinator of the Community Plantation Program, Mr. Fkreyesus Ghilay, stated that there were 20 nurseries at national and community levels in 2006. However, the number was raised to 30 in 2007. Similarly, the Ministry of Agriculture prepared 3.7 million seedlings in 2007 compared to 1.7 million in 2006. This showed a 117 percentage increase. According to Mr. Fkreyesus, since independence more than 30,000 hectares of land were terraced ad planted with different species of trees and about 200,000 hectares were reserved as green area. Speaking about activities for the year 2008, he said that 34 nurseries are expected to produce 12.3 million seedlings and already 5.6 have been prepared so far. The forest resources in Eritrea are known to be rare, degraded and placed under an increasing human and livestock pressures for divers needs such as firewood, construction materials, grazing and agriculture. It is true that not much forest was left from what was reported to exist even only a century ago. But it is also true that Eritrea is still endowed in many of its parts of a sizeable forest cover that plays an important social and economic role in the nation. The forestry formations, which include the highland forests (Juniperus procera, and Olea africana) which cover about 0.8 %, mixed woodlands of Acacia spp. and associated species, grasslands and woodland, riverine forests and mangrove vegetation cover about 13.5 % of the total surface area of the country. (fao.org) http://www.shaebia.org/artman/publish/article_5518.shtml

Kenya:

9) Paper manufacturer Pan African Paper Mills (Panpaper) is facing collapse due to lack of raw materials. Five years after its long term logging licence expired, the government is yet to renew it. The licence, which allows the company to fell and extract wood from government-owned plantations, expired in December 2003. The government has since then been extending its logging licence annually, forcing the miller to engage in short-term felling of trees. The government owns substantial shares in the company. Last year, Panpaper announced plans to stop the production of bleached paper claiming it was unable to stock enough eucalyptus wood — the main raw material in the manufacture of light grade paper — and Hydrogen peroxide, a chemical used to bleach paper. The intermittent supply of raw materials has forced the company to operate at 35 per cent of its capacity over a number of months. However, to avert a recurrence of the crisis, the company has written to the government, requesting it to grant it a long term logging licence. Meanwhile, Panpaper has proposed to the government to issue it with a five-year felling plan to insulate it from material supply interruptions in the short run. Even as the company makes a formal request to the government to re-introduce long-term logging licences, it has criticised the government for its reluctance to bring into action the Forest Act 2005. The Act, which proposes to replace long-term logging licence with concessioning, would enable Panpaper get raw materials from forest with minimal interruptions. The Act stipulates that concessioning authorities will have to ensure that concession areas are well stocked with trees and that only mature ones are felled. If enacted, Panpaper will develop its own plantations in forest concession areas which it estimates will be 18,000 hectares in Turbo, Lugari, Timboroa and Mt Elgon. Under the arrangement, Panpaper will be allowed to manage forests and harvest trees on concessionary terms within some specified period of time. However, Panpaper’s executive officer Niranjan Saha insists that there is need to ensure forest concessions are sufficiently stocked till such a time when new plantations mature. Mid last month, the company announced the return to normalcy of its operations after last year’s poll violence. Coincidentally, the regions most affected by the poll violence were the company’s major sources of raw materials. This led to a Ksh320 million ($5 million) loss. The company claims it will take time before it recovers from such a “substantial” loss. http://www.nationmedia.com/eastafrican/current/Business/biz070720084.htm

368 Asia-Pacific-Australia

–Russia: 10) FSC’s High conservation value areas are popular places to log, 11) Fires,
–India: 12) New strategy to evict tribes from their land, 13) Why cut young trees?
–Bangladesh: 14) Propagating afforestation & reforestation programs, 15) Down to 2%?
–South East Asia: 16) Don’t buy Nutella!
–Philippines: 17) Achieve ideal forest cover of 54 percent?
–Papua New Guinea: 18) 2.1 per cent takings of every log exported sits in a Singapore bank account, 19) Greenpeace demands investigation into 2.1% takings (US$40 Million),
–Malaysia: 20) Company in Tawau earns Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) certification, 21) Save Ulu Muda forest!
–Indonesia: 22) Rivers and tributatries of Bali dry and in need of regreening, 23) Orangutan may be the first great ape to go extinct, 24) IMH’s Acasia growing for pulp and paper, 25) Door makers works to restore Harapan forest, 26) Orangutan survival must guide conservation efforts,
–New Zealand: 27) High grade logger stupidity, 28) Mammalian predators, pest threats,
–Australia: 29) UN investigates Tasmania destruction, says it’s ok! 30) Mt Rae forest saved! 31) Lack of scientists means lack of knowledge of terrestrial ecosystems, 32) Rainforest Rescue travels the world to save Daintree forest, 33) Gunns Pulp Mill summary, 34) Discussion of logging quotas, targets and methods in WA, 35) NSW government moves to shield forest destroyers,

Russia:

10) At the beginning of June, Karelian environmental NGO SPOK wrote an official letter to the Russian national office of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) requesting investigation of the forestry practises of forestry company ‘Zapkarelles’. SPOK considers that the activities of ‘Zapkarelles’ do not conform to the principles and criteria of FSC to protect areas of high-conservation value forest (HCVF). SPOK considers that the leaseholder is ignoring information on HCVF, which has been collected and made public by the NGO several years ago. Large-scale logging operations in HCVFs are planned by the company. The NGO requests that the company does not proceed with logging in the Porosozerkii and Salmiyarvski Forests (Suyoyarvskiy Central Forest District). The company ‘Zapkarelles’ and the Danish parent company FLEXA Group A/S (represented in Petrozavodsk by ‘Fleksa Wood’), did not provide answers to the NGO’s questions concerning HCVF. The current situation cannot be considered normal practice for a modern company certified as sustainable under the FSC scheme. This complaint follows another recent Karelian example of cancellation of FSC certificates for the ‘Segezhskiy’ Pulp Mill, on grounds of not meeting the FSC criteria. http://www.fsc-watch.org/archives/2008/07/02/Karelian_Certificate_challenged

11) This image, captured by NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites on June 30, shows a pall of smoke drifting over a vast area of Siberia and wafting across Sakhalin Island and into the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean. Hundreds of fires, which have destroyed at least 37,000 acres, burned as overtaxed fire crews were unable to extinguish the blazes. Russian scientists say that rising temperatures in Siberia — much of the region has experienced temperature increases of 2 degrees C over the past half-century — are making its boreal and temperate forests more susceptible to fire. Increased logging, much of it driven by China, also plays a role as the cutting brings more people into once-inaccessible sections of the taiga. http://e360.yale.edu/content/digest.msp?id=1290

India:

12) If one day you ‘fail’ to help the fire service in dousing a fire in your neighbourhood or do not assist the police in catching a dangerous culprit, should you be turfed out of your house in order to be taught a lesson? The Tamil Nadu forest department seems to believe so. It feels they have the legal power to eject irresponsible citizens from forestlands, even if this were not so easy in cities. Underlying the move by the forest department to target the scheduled tribe, Kani, on the grounds that its members were lax in preventing a forest fire seems more an attempt to displace them from the forests in violation of the recently operationalised Forest Rights Act than anything else. In an astonishing notice sent to Kanis of Kalakad Mundunthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) the forest department has claimed the schedule tribe forest dwellers have forfeited their right to stay in the forests as they allegedly did not help the department officials in preventing a forest fire that they are ‘required to do’ under the Tamil Nadu Forest Act. The notice, sent by the deputy director of the tiger reserve, also blames them for not providing any ‘useful information’. In the notice, in Tamil, the forest department has said: “Only those who respect the law and assist the Forest Department are eligible to live and obtain rights in the forest”. The deputy director of KMTR, C Bhadrasamy, told TOI, “We were short of staff when the fire occurred but they did not come to help se we sent them the notice.” The Kani, now a scheduled tribe, were forcefully brought to the forests under the colonial rule starting in 1910 to run their and the then zamindar’s plantations. Some of these Kani now live in four hamlets in the heart of what in 1962 was declared a tiger reserve and eke a living out of the forest. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Tribe_faces_eviction_for_failing_to_stop_forest_fir
e/articleshow/3201681.cms

13) More than 50 percent poplar trees (Euramericana guinier) on the banks of canal have completed their average age (10 years) and need be replaced, because they can be hazardous to the environment and health, botanists and environmentalists told Daily Times. They said, however, removal of the trees from the banks of canal would result in soil erosion and affect the city’s beauty. More than 70 percent trees on the banks of canal are poplar while other species include jaman (Eugenia jambolana), shishum (Dalbergia sissoo), mango, amaltas (Cassia fistula) and Alphitonia excelsa. They said, “The Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has adopted a better policy for tree plantation keeping in view the long-term environmental effects. Trees planted by the DHA have an average age of 50 years.” DHA Public Relations Officer Tajjamul Hussain said the DHA had planted 10,000 saplings including sukh chain (Pongamioa pinnata), Magnolia (Magnoliax wieseneri), and amaltas. Punjab University’s Botany Department Chairman Khan Rass Masood said most of the poplar trees on the canal had been planted thirty years ago. He said these trees should be removed. He said, “Rest of the trees should be replaced on time to avoid timber loss and environmental hazards. Trees are considered the lungs of Mother Earth, so they should be planted keeping in view their longevity.” Before Partition, he said, pines (coniferous trees) – with an average age of 100 years, were planted at Khanas Pur. On The Mall pipal (Ficus religiosa) trees – with an average age of 400 years, were planted. http://lahorenama.wordpress.com/2008/07/05/50-poplar-trees-on-lahores-canal-need-to-be-replaced/

Bangladesh:

14) Planting of trees or seeds in order to transform open land into forest or woodland is termed as afforestation. It can also refer to giving land the status of ‘royal forest’. Afforestation is not to be confused with reforestation, which is another related term. Reforestation involves using native trees to restock already existing depleted forests. Most countries have seen rapid decline in forest cover since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Hence, both government and Non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) have been directly propagating afforestation & reforestation programs. Afforestation and reforestation can go a long way in minimizing the Green House effect. These are relatively quick, easy to accomplish options with no economic penalties. It is a viable option to reduce net emissions. The essential benefits that these programs include climate stabilization, food and forest products. The forests under the control of the Forest Department have been classified into hill forests, mangrove forests and plain land forests. The hill forests belonging to tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen species extend over the hilly eastern part of the country. Over four hundred tree species have been found in the hill forest region. According to one estimate more than 100,000 ha of hill forests have been replaced by plantations of valuable and fast growing species. Around 12,000 ha of plantation are raised in hill forests every year. It is also known that about 1.8 million acres of forestland is available for plantation development activities. Homestead forestry is another method by which forest resources are being enhanced and it has an important environmental component. But as it stands today, programmes for community forestry or large-scale social forestry in Bangladesh have had limited success so far on account of nominal participation from local villagers. For the sustainable management of forest resources, it is thus necessary to ensure active participation of the people at large, especially the womenfolk as trees have always been central to women’s life-style. http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2008/07/03/news0489.htm

15) The Northwest Bangladesh has only about 2% tree cover. One popularly cited statistics reckons the rate of forest destruction to be at the tune of 8000 ha/year and the annual deforestation rate is estimated to be 3.3. Traditionally, religious beliefs and culture had a major influence on forest resource generation and use in the Indian sub-continent. Documentation, scripture, seals and paintings from the Indus valley civilisations showed that forests were adored as a collection of celestial plants and were supposed to be inhibited by divine spirits. Some analysts have gone as far as to argue that the ancient culture of this sub-continent had its very origin in Aranyas (forests) and Ashrams (religious centres, mostly located in woods). Major Indian philosophies and preaching, for example, found expression in the thoughts of Rishies and Gurus (saints and hermits), who mostly lived in the serenity and obscurity of forests. As early as 1500 BC, Rigveda, for example, preached: “Plant, Thus I hail Thee – The Divine Mother of Mankind” (Rig-X-97-4). Similarly, the Puran considered “plantation of trees and maintaining them were good acts” and suggested that, for “those who do not have sons, trees are there sons”. Later the Aryans, basically a pastoral community and one of the most dominant races of ancient India, revered forests and maintained all their big institutions in the sylvan surroundings of the forest. The Prophet of Islam also preached that “if any of you plant a single seed or plant whose fruits are eaten by animals, birds or men, then it will be considered an act of piety” and “do not tear even a single leaf of any plant unnecessarily”. The Muslim rulers of India (including Bengal), for example the Mughals, also demonstrated a utilizational and aesthetic approach towards forests. For the rulers, forests served the ‘imperial hunting’ and ‘ornamental’ purposes. Worshipping of trees was commonplace. This, coupled with spiritual preaching by some rulers, most likely instilled among people some consciousness and interest in forest preservation and propagation. Customs and religion, for example, forbade the use of sickles or axe in certain areas; while in other areas forests were treated as Devaranya (gods’ grove) from which only twigs and fallen branches could be fetched without causing any damage to trees. The rulers also fostered the linkage between forests and religious culture. There were forests exclusively “for the study of religion” under some ancient Indian kingdoms. http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2008/07/04/news0516.htm

South East Asia:

16) We’re still working to build a coalition of companies which are determined to reform the palm oil industry so no more forest is lost due to the expansion of their plantations in South East Asia and with Unilever’s help we’re in contact with other major players in the palm oil trade. However, some are less keen than others to co-operate and need some persuading. One such company is Ferrero, makers of Nutella and of course Ferrero Rocher. It is another large user of palm oil and one that has already been the focus of attention for our Italian office. They analysed the ingredients of Nutella and it contained 31 per cent vegetable oil, and much of that is palm oil. Despite repeated requests from Greenpeace campaigners, Ferrero refused to reveal the names of its palm oil suppliers whilst saying it’s dealing with the issue through its membership of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. But as I’ve mentioned in the past, as things stand this organisation isn’t living up to its name and some of its members are actively involved in deforestation. After sending a buffoonery of orang-utans, not to the ambassador’s reception but to persuade the Italian football team to support the campaign (Nutella is a major team sponsor) and more than 9,000 of emails sent from Italian Greenpeace supporters, Ferrero still refuses to spill the beans. It’s still at the stage where Ferrero could be taking a lead on this, but without being honest and transparent about the source of its palm oil, Ferrero can’t even begin to tackle the problem. http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/forests/nutella-with-this-deforestation-you-are-really-spoil
ing-us-20080703

Philippines:

17) The law should identify a management scheme for the remaining open and denuded forests for the purpose of restoration. This is to ensure the expansion of protection for forestlands in order to achieve the ideal forest cover of 54 percent of the total land area of the Philippines. Restoration of forests by rainforestation, which refers to the use of native trees, is a primary objective of the bill given the poor state of our forests and biodiversity. Further degradation or destruction of our forests will lessen our capacity to adapt and mitigate the effects of global warming. Decreasing forest cover compromises our ability to optimize ecological benefits derived from natural forests. Studies have shown that forest restoration is more likely to improve the long-term sustainability of land use because it improves biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Forest restoration also provides a wider range of ecological services such as watershed management, carbon sequestration, and economic gains to rural communities that could benefit from sustainable harvesting of non-timber forest products. The law should provide for guidelines on buffer-zone management. The law should provide for guidelines on buffer-zone management for natural forests, watersheds, critical habitats and other protected areas. It is necessary to determine the effective size of buffer zones to prevent encroachment and reduce pressure on the areas mentioned above. Only indigenous species should be used for reforestation. Strictly speaking, “reforestation” should back the original forest with the planting of species native to a particular forest. The use of native trees in reforestation (i.e. rainforestation) should be promoted because native trees have a greater chance of survival. Aside from reviving the life support system of a forest, they also ensure the flourishing of native plants and trees and truly improve biodiversity. It should be emphasized that reforestation refers to ecological restoration and does not apply to timber plantation establishments. Reforestation should be differentiated from plantation forestry, which is the planting of one or two species for the sole purpose of production and harvesting. http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/july/05/yehey/opinion/20080705opi7.html

Papua New Guinea:

18) About $US40 million, money from log exports is sitting in a Singapore bank account for a Government Minister and is being looked after by a “consortium” in that country. This $US40 million (K145 million) is from the 2.1 per cent takings of every log exported overseas, a deal struck by this MP in the last Government and has been accumulating since. The money has been going to this private account in exchange for logging deals in Papua New Guinea from several loggers in the country (named). Papers sighted by the Post-Courier yesterday showed the money kept in two Singapore banks (named) have been accumulating since 2002. From records, the MP had “touched” this account twice since the opening balance of that account in 2002 and since then it has been accumulating. Two top Government advisers hesitantly told the Post-Courier when approached that this money, which had been deposited every time several logging companies exported logs out of PNG into this private account and has not been used because “the money is too large it will raise concerns if brought into the country in a large amount”. THE papers also state that the money belongs to a single MP but has some percentages shared among three others, also PNG Government MPs and which has the backing of a foreign multi-millionaire businessman from Asia. The two Singapore banks — a commercial bank and a foreign bank (named) — were contacted yesterday for more information and to confirm that Papua New Guineans had accounts in their banks together with cohorts from Singapore as a consortium. The banks refused to comment and they neither confirmed nor denied such things existed. But the Waigani advisers said there was a need to investigate this account and an explanation was needed from whoever was involved because rightfully, this money belonged to the people of Papua New Guinea. http://www.trupela.com/blog/2008/07/03/it-would-appear-that-forestry-and-corruption-in-png/

19) Greenpeace and the PNG opposition are demanding a full investigation into allegations that an unnamed government minister skimmed more than $A41 million from logging deals and funnelled the money into an offshore bank account. PNG’s Opposition Leader Mekere Morauta said Prime Minister Michael Somare and his government must answer the allegations surrounding Post-Courier newspaper report that a senior minister had put the money into a Singapore account. “If the allegations are true, they also demonstrate what I have been saying for a long time – that corruption has been institutionalised, it is systemic,” Morauta said. “If the allegations are true, they show that senior members of the government are using state institutions for personal gain.” Morauta also asked the Singapore government to help in any investigations. The Courier reported $US40 million ($A41.9 million) is being kept in two Singapore accounts and managed by a consortium for the unnamed minister. The minister allegedly took 2.1 per cent on every log exported from the country since 2002. PNG Greenpeace Forest Campaigner Dorothy Tekwie said the PNG logging industry and government are defrauding the people out of a substantial amount of money. “Greenpeace has been concerned for years that there is a complete lack of transparency in the dealings of the government and the logging sector. “This is just another in a string of allegations which claim deep-seated corruption in forestry and collusion by logging companies and public servants to defraud the people of PNG.” The allegations come at a difficult time for Somare, who last week was referred to the public prosecutor for alleged irregularities in his own personal finances. In May, the government strongly rejected allegations surrounding a Taiwanese diplomatic cash scandal, in which $US30 million ($A32 million) earmarked for PNG to switch allegiance from China to Taipei, went missing. A spokeswoman Somare suggested the opposition and the Courier provide evidence to prove the latest allegations. “Until we establish facts about these purported bank accounts, we can’t do much. “There’s been a lot of false reporting and we really ask the Courier to show us evidence,” the spokesman said. http://news.smh.com.au/world/png-minister-accused-of-41m-scam-20080702-30n0.html

Malaysia:

20) SANDAKAN: A timber company based in the east coast district of Tawau has been recognised as among the first commercial entities in Sabah to have successfully implemented a sustainable approach in its logging operations. The Sabah Forestry Department yesterday awarded the Exemplary Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) Certificate to Hormat Jadi Sdn Bhd at the department’s headquarters here. Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said Hormat Jadi, which was represented by its managing director Elbert Lim, was “arguably the only company in the world that had produced a significant volume of tropical timber within a short time while maintaining RIL standards. “All this was achieved without compromising work quality and still maintaining the forest environment,” he said. He said the company’s success was due to its willingness to learn and adopt new technology. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/7/6/nation/21748096&sec=nation

21) The Kedah Sino-Malay Ricemillers’ Association has appealed to Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak to reconsider his decision to log the Ulu Muda forest reserve. Its president, Datuk Chew Giok Kun, said Azizan should hold discussions with the Federal Government before proceeding. “All parties should view the matter positively. They should find the best way to tackle the problem and not find the easy way out since this involves Kedah’s biggest water catchment area,” he said Chew joins a chorus of concerned groups, including non-governmental organisations, which had condemned Azizan’s decision to log in the water basin, about twice the size of Singapore. However, Azizan remained defiant of protests, including from his Kelantan counterpart, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who is Pas spiritual leader. He also drew the ire of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who said logging in the forest reserve would be catastrophic, especially at the Muda Dam, which supplies water for irrigation, industries and domestic use in Kedah, Penang and Perlis. Chew said he expected differences in opinion between the Pas-led state government and federal authorities over Azizan’s plan. “However, we must put the interests of padi farmers and our rice needs first before making any decision. “We may think differently but we must agree on the same thing — whatever is in the interest of the nation.” To date, Azizan has received only brickbats for his decision to log the timber, valued at about RM16 billion, to finance his administration’s development programmes. Azizan had also said that he would continue the logging plan even if the Federal Government gave in to his RM100 million per annum request to spare the trees. http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Wednesday/National/2282699/Article/index_html

Indonesia:

22) The people of Bali will go to the polls on Wednesday, July 9, 2008, to elect their next Governor and Vice-Governor. While who will win the election is a matter of open conjecture; the current front-runners according to pre-election polls are former Bali Chief of Police Made Mangku Pastika and A.A. Ngurah Puspayoga. Comments attributed to Pastika in the Bali Post suggest that, if elected, the man once named “Man of the Year” by Time (Asia) for his role in bringing Bali bombers to justice, will bring a strong commitment to a greener Bali to his job. Lamenting that Bali’s scenic forest and river ways are seeing their trees harvested and their landscapes turned into tourist resorts, Pastika said: “Sadly some 200 rivers and tributaries on Bali have dried up. The condition of our jungles and forests is in decline. Water sources are increasingly limited, leaving smaller reservoirs of water to be managed by the ‘subak’ system. This condition will become a complex problem for Bali where water is the key element of life.” In order to preserve and protect Bali’s water supply, Pastika has identified key areas for action. First, the system of managing the Island’s jungles and forests must be repaired to allow the retention of rainfall. Second, there is a need for closer supervision of sub-terrain water supplies. And, thirdly, better management of Bali’s delicate river system must be put in place. Pastika and Puspayoga are calling for an end to illegal logging in Bali, returning the forests to their natural function as absorption areas and vital link in Bali’s mountainous ecological system. In this context, the duo have also called for an aggressive replanting and reforestation of Bali’s semi-arid eastern plains in combination with organic farming to help support the people of that economically poor region. http://www.balidiscovery.com/messages/message.asp?Id=4617

23) Illegal loggers and palm oil plantations may make the orangutan the first great ape to become extinct, scientists warn. In Indonesia, a mere 6,600 of the apes remain, while on Malaysia’s Borneo Island, the population has fallen 10% to 49,600, the Telegraph reports. Soaring biofuel prices have aggravated the issue by enticing farmers to expand palm oil plantations. The ape will soon die out, one study concludes, “unless extraordinary efforts are made soon.” Indonesia has long promised to step up and help the orange-haired mammal. http://www.newser.com/story/31714.html?refid=rss_all_default

24) To take advantage of high prices of pulp and paper, PT ITCI Hutani Manunggal (IHM) and PT Adindo Hutani Lestari (AHL) are aggressively growing acasia trees to supply pulp and paper mills. IHM, which is partly owned by state forestry firm PT Inhutani I, holds 161,127 hectares in forest concessions in North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara regencies in East Kalimantan. AHL’s concession areas are in four regencies: Bulungan, Malinau, Tana Tidung and Nunukan. IMH general manager Armadani said the company would spend Rp 1 trillion (US$109 million) over the six-year growth-period leading up to harvest, beginning with land clearance, cultivation and maintenance. IHM managing director Mohamad Helmi said: “The forest industry is labor and capital intensive indeed, but we believe it has a very bright prospect thanks to the rising price of paper and pulp globally.” As of May, the company had 68,000 hectares of acasia tree plantations. Of the total fund, 80 percent will be allocated for the seedling process, with the assumption that one hectare of tree plantation will cost between Rp 8 million and Rp 12 million. One hectare of acasia trees can yield up to 145 tons of wood after a 5-year maturing period and 170 tons after six years. A ton of pulp can usually be derived from five to six whole logs. “A ton of acasia timber is priced at between Rp 450,000 and Rp 500,000. “So IHM could reap Rp 65 million to Rp 72 million from each hectare of acasia after a 5-year mature period, and Rp 76 million to Rp 85 million after six years,” IMH public relations manager I Made Suarjana said. IHM sells its harvests to paper mills in Kalimantan, Java and Sumatra, including to Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper in Riau and Kertas Nusantara (formerly Kiani Kertas) in Berau, East Kalimantan. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailbusiness.asp?fileid=20080705.L03&irec=2

25) Door supplier JB Kind is urging major merchanting chains to follow its example in supporting an effort to save an Indonesian rainforest. The Derbyshire-based company, which imports doors from Indonesia, has spent tens of thousands of pounds supporting the campaign to restore the Harapan lowland rainforest, a 250,000-acre logging concession bought by the RSPB and its international partners for preservation. And it has asked RSPB to use the company as an example to persuade others to take part. As well as making a substantial donation, the company’s nine lorries have been painted with the campaign’s “Save the Sumatran rainforest” photo and details, while its website and future catalogue will feature the project prominently. Door ranges will feature Harapan rainforest details on the packaging, while the company’s suppliers, including those in Indonesia, will be supporting the campaign. Company newsletter “Off the Latch” will take the message to customers. JB Kind became involved when its managing director Philip Smith, an RSPB member, was approached to to make a donation. He realised that Sumatra was an area where the company sourced some its products. “There is an opportunity for major merchanting groups to get behind the campaign,” said Gordon Nelson, JB Kind national account director. He said the company’s Indonesian-made doors would achieve FSC certification by October. http://www.ttjonline.com/story.asp?sectioncode=14&storycode=56238&c=3

26) Conservation action essential to survival of orangutans, found only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, must be region-specific to address the different ecological threats to each species, said Wich and his co-authors, a pre-eminent group of scientists, conservationists, and representatives of governmental and non-governmental groups. They convened in Jakarta, Indonesia, in January 2004 to address the threats to orangutan survival and develop new assessment models to guide conservation planning. New orangutan population estimates revealed in the July issue of Oryx reflect those improvements in assessment methodology – including standardized data collection, island-wide surveys, and better sharing of data among stakeholders – rather than dramatic changes in the number of surviving orangutans. The experts’ revised estimates put the number of Sumatran orangutans (P. abelii) around 6,600 in 2004. This is lower than previous estimates of 7,501 as a result of new findings that indicate that a large area in Aceh that was previously thought to contain orangutans actually does not. Since forest loss in Aceh has been relatively low from 2004 to 2008, the 2004 estimate is probably not much higher than the actual number in 2008. The 2004 estimate of about 54,000 Bornean orangutans (P. pygmaeus) is probably also higher than the actual number today as there has been a 10 percent orangutan habitat loss in the Indonesian part of Borneo during that period. “It is clear that the Sumatran orangutan is in rapid decline and unless extraordinary efforts are made soon, it could become the first great ape species to go extinct,” Wich et al. wrote. “Although these revised estimates for Borneo are encouraging, forest loss and associated loss of orangutans are occurring at an alarming rate, and suggest that recent reductions of Bornean orangutan populations have been far more severe than previously supposed.” The new numbers underscore important issues in orangutan conservation. With improved sharing of data and deeper collaborations among stakeholders, the experts determined that 75 percent of all orangutans live outside of national parks, which have been severely degraded by illegal logging, mining, encroachment by palm oil plantations and fires due to a general lack of enforcement by regulatory authorities, who are either unable or reluctant to implement conservation management strategies. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703113628.htm

New Zealand:

27) John Wardle harvests his trees like a farmer culling the biggest and juiciest lambs for the meat market. Not for him the wanton clearfelling of a plantation that levels some trees before their prime. “I was brought up with farming and drafting off the larger lambs and holding on to the others until they were up to size for maximum returns,” he says. “To my way of thinking the same principle applies to trees, although you won’t get many corporates agreeing. Every situation is different, but ours suits us.” John and his wife, Rosalie, can speak with some authority. While a black fog of depressed returns hangs over the radiata-pine industry, the Wardles are making good money from their selective tree harvesting. No tree in their Oxford forest comes down unless it is 60cm in girth, whatever its age. In spite of the critics cautioning that individual harvesting is too costly and damages standing trees, the Wardles have proof otherwise. By removing only the trees ready to be harvested, they get $120 to $140 a cubic metre (cu m) for large pruned butt logs, before costs. Had lower-export-grade trees been clearfelled with the better logs, they would only have got $25 to $30 for them. Once extraction costs of $30/cu m are taken into account that would have left almost nothing to show for their efforts. In one part of the forest three picks have been taken of the best trees and there remains a crop that would warm the heart of any forester. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/thepress/4607435a6531.html

28) Introduced mammalian predators and pests such as possums, rats and stoats present huge threats to our native forests and wildlife, many which are being eaten into extinction. Today’s “silent forests” which have lost their bird song, are due to the destruction of introduced animal predators not 1080 says Colin Giddy, DOC Kapiti Area Office. “It is the killers of the night, such as possums, rats and stoats, that are responsible for the loss of native forest canopy and decline in bird species,” comments Mr. Giddy. New Zealand’s flora and fauna evolved for 80 million years with no browsing or predatory mammals, so they have not developed any natural defence against these animals. Thus, our native plants and animals are particularly vulnerable. The tens of millions of brush tailed possums, which eat millions of tonnes of vegetation each year, cause major damage to forest canopies. Possums also eat birds, eggs, chicks, berries and other native bird food sources. In addition, agile rats easily climb up trees to dine on unsuspecting native birds sitting on nests. 1080 is currently the safest, most cost efficient and effective way to reduce possum numbers. Research has shown forest canopy and nesting success of native birds such as kereru, tomtits and robins improves noticeably following aerial 1080 operations. The recovery of forest vegetation after possums are killed also means nectar, berries and other food sources increase which benefits bird life. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC0807/S00005.htm

Australia:

29) In March the United Nations World Heritage Centre sent a delegation to Tasmania to investigate logging coupes near the wilderness area boundary. A leaked copy of its report, obtained by the ABC’s Stateline program, has found the level of conservation in the region is satisfactory. The report does not agree with claims that logging is threatening old-growth forest within and around the World Heritage Area. Rather, that the threats posed by industry are well managed. But it recommends extending the boundary of the wilderness area to include 21 adjacent parks and reserves, which are already covered by the World Heritage Area management plan. The report will be considered by the World Heritage Committee at a meeting in Canada this weekend. The Wilderness Society’s Vica Bayley says the report is flawed. “We’re disappointed in the report but there are positives and it does recommend that the World Heritage Area boundaries should be extended to include an additional 21 sites,” he said.”It does recommend that existing mining leases should be cancelled once they expire and those areas should be incorporated into the World Heritage Area, and it does call for additional funding to help manage Aboriginal sites. “So there are some positives.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/04/2295174.htm?section=business

30) The developer wanting to log the Mt Rae Forest has withdrawn his appeal against Upper Lachlan Shire Council in the Land and Environment Court. But anti-logging campaigners say this does not mean the issue is over, expecting the proponent ‘Firewood Baron’ Bernie Smillie to wait until changes in the Upper Lachlan’s Local Environment Plan (LEP) make it possible for him to proceed without council determination. Council’s solicitors – Pike, Pike and Fenwick – tabled a letter advising that the applicant Mr Smillie had discontinued his appeal at last Thursday’s Upper Lachlan Council Meeting. The letter advised: “It is likely that the applicant (Mr Smillie) will now proceed to lodge a new development application so as to overcome the problem, which caused him to withdraw his appeal in this case (ie that the modification was not substantially the same development). http://goulburn.yourguide.com.au/news/local/news/general/developer-not-about-to-log-off-shire-t
old-mt-rae-forest-saga-not-over/804140.aspx

31) Australia is not in a position to reliably track changes in its environment caused by climate change and other threats due to a lack of critical ‘baseline’ data and long-term monitoring programs, according to three experts quoted in the latest issue of Ecos (143, June-July 2008). Dr Andrew Campbell and Professors Hugh Possingham and Will Steffen believe our intelligence on the state of our terrestrial environment falls well short of standards set by the US and the UK, and will prevent us from making effective management decisions in responding to future environmental threats. Dr Campbell says Australia has too few botanists, entomologists, vertebrate taxonomists and soil scientists and, surprisingly for the ‘marsupial country’, one full-time marsupial taxonomist. Professor Steffen argues we need a coordinated, national approach to environmental monitoring, with water, the carbon cycle and biodiversity the highest priorities. “We have a world-class national carbon accounting system, but we also need to understand the long-term behaviour of carbon in the environment, to complement carbon flux measurements and satellite assessments of vegetation cover, which are important tools in understanding the processes that drive the terrestrial carbon cycle,” he says. Covered in this issue too is the emergence of a movement of young Aboriginals advocating genuine involvement of indigenous people in managing the land – the Indigenous Environment Foundation (IEF). In recent years, a debate ignited about whether Cape York’s rainforests, wetlands, pristine rivers and savannah grasslands should be managed as restricted-access natural heritage sites or handed to the 10,000-strong indigenous communities living on the Cape manage using traditional knowledge. Shaun Edwards, an IEF founder and member of the Kokoberrin people, says the IEF’s aim is to help shape policy and the broader environmental agenda. “We also want to invest in traditional knowledge for the future through conservation, management and research, establishing conservation scholarship programs, and up-skilling youth to protect their cultural knowledge.” http://www.terradaily.com/reports/State_Of_The_Environment_A_Nation_In_The_Dark_999.html

32) As you probably already know, Dan and I are riding from London to Lhasa to raise money for Rainforest Rescue, a not for profit organisation based in Australia, who is committed to protecting rainforests for current and future generations. To watch the latest video showing footage of some of the endangered rainforests and species that Rainforest Rescue are working to protect, click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wU2kytIXhQ

33) The former Labor prime minister, who used federal powers to halt the Franklin dam 25 years ago, yesterday told The Australian he had serious reservations about the Gunns pulp mill, proposed for the Tamar Valley. “I’d be very sceptical about why it should go ahead,” Mr Hawke said. “The environmental impact of it seems to me to be pretty devastating — both immediately and at the level of ocean (outfall).” The mill will release 64,000 tonnes of treated effluent into Bass Strait each day. Gunns insists the risks to marine life are minimal but the federal Government has demanded further modelling to show how effluent will disperse. Mr Hawke said his decision to stop the Franklin dam, and provide $270 million compensation to create jobs and alternative energy sources, showed that it was possible to protect the environment and grow the economy. This required “sensible policies” and while this was “more acknowledged” in Tasmania now than in 1983, debate in the state on such issues was still held back by “vested interests”. Even so, Mr Hawke pointed to a poll by GetUp released yesterday showing 75 per cent of Tasmanians oppose further public subsidies for the pulp mill. Premier David Bartlett yesterday pushed aside that sentiment to extend a deadline by which Gunns must begin construction of the mill or risk losing a sovereign risk agreement with the state Government. The deal, struck by former premier and pulp mill champion Paul Lennon, grants compensation of up to $15million to Gunns should further forest protection affect wood supply for the mill. The Lennon government claimed the deal was a requirement of potential financiers of the mill. A clause in the agreement states that it can be terminated if construction of the $2billion mill proposed for the Tamar Valley, north of Launceston, does not begin “by June 30″. Gunns sought a further extension until November 30, while it continues to court a syndicate of foreign lenders to finance the $2billion project and awaits further federal approvals. While agreeing to the request, Mr Bartlett said cabinet would remove a clause in the deal that effectively kept the deal alive for an additional six months after the construction deadline. “The Government has drawn the line in the sand,” Mr Bartlett said. “The pulp mill project has divided the Tasmanian community significantly and we believe that the divisions should not last for too much longer.” http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23949724-30417,00.html

34) Members of Margaret River Regional Environment Centre, Leeuwin Environment and the Forest Products Commission met recently to discuss management of WA’s State Forests and farm forestry. Issues discussed included logging quotas, targets and methods, indigenous consultation, tropical timber imports and the value of WA’s forests for bio-diversity and carbon storage. Primary aims of the meeting were to establish positive communications, state positions on various issues and to explore a way forward for a win-win outcome for forest conservation and timber production. As a member group of the WA Forest Alliance, MRREC is committed to ending logging, thinning and clearing in WA’s forests and woodlands including Margaret River’s Chester Forest. The group also supports shifting all logging operations into diverse farm forestry and plantations to ensure a future for the timber industry. “We envisage an agency that would be called Plantations or Timber Products Commission to replace the current agencies that oversee the industrial logging of WA’s forests,” MRREC forest spokesperson David Rastrick said. “Native forests would then be preserved for biodiversity and carbon storage values. As our Federal Government is telling neighbouring Papua New Guinea to stop logging their native forests we must lead by example.” Following the meeting there was some debate between conservationists and logging industry representatives as to whether there are enough native hardwood plantations to provide for timber industry requirements, especially in milling quality timber – a subject to be discussed in future meetings. The meeting is expected to be followed by others aiming to discuss and resolve at least some areas of disagreement on forest issues and to find ways forward. http://margaretriver.yourguide.com.au/news/local/news/general/forestry-talks-optimistic/80217
9.aspx

35) When you submit a development application to transform your house, you know the plans will be pored over by neighbours anxious to find out what you are up to. It used to be the same in the country when you wanted to log the back paddock, but not any more.
On the North Coast, the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, under its minister, Verity Firth, has reversed the long-standing practice of releasing details about logging operations on private land. We know this because of two very different decisions made by the same departmental officer when he received two freedom of information applications within eight months. The department’s FoI officer, Racho Donef, received the first request from the North Coast Environment Council in June last year. It sought access to all approvals granted to “harvest, log, clear and remove vegetation” on six properties. Within a month Donef sent back a one-page letter granting access to all the documents. Then something happened. In February the same group asked for almost identical documents, including the property vegetation plans and maps and documents identifying old-growth forests and endangered ecological communities. This time Donef said that every document was exempt because disclosure would breach a confidence, would affect the operation of the department and the documents contained information about threatened species. When the Environment Council requested an internal review, the department ditched those reasons and Alf Zawadzki, the manager of corporate audit and review, came up with two new ones: that the documents concerned the “business affairs” of the landholder or the department and contained information concerning someone’s “personal affairs”. With five different grounds of exemption claimed in two decisions, it’s pretty clear the department is struggling to come up with a credible argument. There are good reasons this information has been public in the past and should be now. The reason the department says the vegetation maps and logging plans must remain secret is that some landowners have called their office complaining that “people will trespass, machinery could be damaged”. An unidentified staff member said landowners could be “blockaded”. http://forests.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=102382

367 BC-Canada

Index:

–British Columbia: 1) Land Developers finally getting busted for bribery, 2) 100 protest premier Cambell’s forestry roundtable, 3) Exposing the Marmot recovery scandal, 4) 463-km pipeline approved, 5) $1.7 million for 44 new jobs doing trail work, 6) No one is gathering data on Great Bear ecotourism? 7) Save the Garry oak of the Nanoose peninsula, 8) Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, 9) Shuswap to build pellet plant,
–Canada: 10) Hundred of millions spent on promoting clearcutting, 11) Report on Gov’s forestry overhaul, 12) Poplar River First Nation still trying to protect their land,

British Columbia:

1) A pair of Vancouver Island developers will face trial on charges involving the alleged bribery of a B.C. government official in a case resulting from the 2003 police raid on the B.C. legislature. Following several days of preliminary hearings in May and June in Victoria, Justice Ernie Quantz has ordered Anthony Ralph (Tony) Young, 76, and James Seymour (Jim) Duncan, 64, to stand trial for three counts each of fraud and one count each of breach of trust over allegations they paid $50,000 to David Basi in 2003.At the time, Basi was ministerial assistant to then-finance minister Gary Collins. The Crown alleges the money was paid in connection to an application to remove property from the B.C. agricultural land reserve for Shambrook Hills Development Corp., now known as the Sunriver Estates, which has developed a residential subdivision near Sooke, west of Victoria. Evidence from the preliminary hearing is under a publication ban. The two men left the courtroom Monday without making any comment. Basi has yet to go through a preliminary hearing on three counts of fraud and one of breach of trust relating to the alleged bribery. He and two other former government aides are facing separate corruption charges related to the Liberal government’s $1 billion privatization of Crown-owned BC Rail. Basi, his brother-in-law Bobby Virk, and his cousin, Aneal Basi, are accused of fraud, breach of trust and money laundering activities in the case, which is underway in Vancouver. Virk was the assistant to Judith Reid, the minister of transportation. Aneal Basi was a public affairs officer with the B.C. government at the time. They are accused of trading travel, food and job possibilities for government information. http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/20080702138921/wire/bc-news/vancouver-island-developers-to-
stand-trial-for-alleged-bribe-in-leg-raid-case.html

2) About 100 people attended the protest rally Wednesday at Beban Park to greet Premier Gordon Campbell’s roundtable on forestry. The roundtable, which includes new Forest Minister Pat Bell, Nanaimo-Parksville MLA Ron Cantelon, and others drawn from industry, communities, labour and universities, has been touring the province seeking solutions to the ongoing forestry crisis in B.C. But forest unions and the province’s NDP feel the roundtable is not inclusive and is a waste of time and accuse the government of doing nothing while one of the province’s most important industry flounders. Not all at the rally were confident the NDP would save the industry if they were elected in 2009. NDP Leader Carole James, who spoke at the rally, was interrupted by a laid-off mill worker who called on her to promise to stop raw-log exports if elected. Pat Bell said the roundtable is inclusive and open and pointed out that Bill Routley, president of United Steelworkers Local 8 was invited to speak at the roundtable while in Nanaimo. “We’ve invited lots of union representatives and others who are interested in exploring options for the industry (about 50 were scheduled to speak Wednesday) to the roundtable as we’ve toured the province, but they have to be productive and standing outside protesting doesn’t do this,” he said. http://www.canada.com/nanaimodailynews/news/story.html?id=50b8772f-eb40-4b8b-9f7a-12887de68ba1

3) Two recent Times Colonist articles have quoted Environment Minister Barry Penner and Victoria Jackson of the Vancouver Island Marmot Foundation, who promoted the oversimplified assertion that wolves and cougars are primary factors in the decline of Vancouver Island marmots. In fact, the marmot survived with these predators in the landscape for millennia. What has changed is the landscape itself. Extensive conversion of ancient forests to tree farms has reduced deer numbers, the primary prey for wolves and cougars. Under these scenarios, predators often consume alternative prey like marmots. Extensive logging road networks now grant hungry carnivores easy access to marmot colonies. Likely, logging has had additional and more direct effects. For years, researchers have hypothesized that high elevation logging has lured dispersers — critical individuals in marmot society — into clearcuts, which offer ephemeral, low-quality habitat where survival has been low. Predation might be one of several contributing proximate causes of marmot declines, but the ultimate cause is landscape change wrought by logging. Looking forward, a more honest and broader view would focus on the remaining vestiges of so-called “critical habitat.” This is why the provincial government ought to swiftly identify and protect these areas. If B.C. cannot comply with this essential responsibility under the Species-at-Risk Act for Canada’s most endangered mammal, then I fear that the rest of the province’s threatened organisms and habitats will likewise face an uncertain future. –Chris Darimont, conservation scientist, Raincoast Conservation

4) The provincial government granted environmental approval Friday to a Pacific Trail Pipelines LP proposal to build a 463-km, $1.1-billion pipeline between Kitimat and Summit Lake, north of Prince George. Environment Minister Barry Penner and Richard Neufeld, minister of energy, mines and petroleum resources, made the decision following a comprehensive review by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office. The 91-centimetre-diameter pipeline is intended to link the proposed Kitimat Liquefied Natural Gas terminal, which would receive ship-borne imports of super-cooled natural gas, with the Spectra Energy gas transmission system. The proposed project, however, has a few more hurdles to overcome. It is still subject to federal environmental approval and must obtain provincial and federal permits. THE PROVINCIAL ENVIRONMENTAL APPROVAL IS CONTINGENT ON THE PROPONENT: 1) Assessing erosion potential and implementing erosion controls. 2) Mitigating potential losses of fish habitat. 3) Monitoring water quality in the Morice Water Management Area. 4) Developing a hydrostatic test plan to manage discharge water quality. 5) Mitigating potential effects on wildlife habitat. Managing public access into previously inaccessible areas. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=184c930d-cdf7-4f47-b8bd-155fb9a
7d1d0

5) The city has applied for $1.7 million in forestry aid which is, if the entire amount is granted, enough to put 44 people to work until next spring. The money is for four projects and would come from $26.25 million funneled by the federal government through the province to help towns hit hard by the forest industry collapse. The four projects are for silviculture work, to fix up existing recreation trails and build new ones, do stream restoration work and to clear pine trees from the proposed airport lands industrial park before they are attacked and killed by beetles. “We’ve already heard back from the people doing the assessing and everything they say sounds like they’re going to support the proposals,” said local registered professional forester Rick Brouwer who took a lead role in writing the proposals. It means the city will now move to another approvals level requiring more detail. “But what that actually means in dollars, we don’t know yet,” Brouwer added. Jobs applicable to both outside forestry workers and inside millworkers would be provided to avoid the possible problem of having laid off workers in either area not have the skills required for the work available, he noted. “We’ve tried to create a balance for both,” said Brouwer. Terrace is on the list of qualifying municipalities by meeting a set of criteria for the period of May 2007 onward. http://www.bclocalnews.com/bc_north/terracestandard/news/22724834.html

6) Great Bear Rainforest does not appear on any official map, but the name evoking native myths and legends is key to protecting western Canada’s bears, whales, eagles and salmon. Once written off as the “mid-coast timber supply area”, the sprawling 20,000 square kilometers (7,700 square miles) of vast wilderness is fast attracting eco-tourists as environmentalists seek to protect it from logging and mining. Bounded on the west by ocean fjords and winding inlets reaching deep into dense forest and the Coast Mountain range to the east, the remote central and northern coastline of British Columbia is one of the largest and last intact temperate rainforests on earth. As well as being the traditional land of the aboriginal people, it is home to fin, humpback and killer whales, eagles and three kinds of bears — grizzly, black and the Kermode or “Spirit” bear, as local legend calls the massive white bears. A series of conservation treaties have been put in place in recent years between aboriginals, the provincial and federal governments and environmental organizations. Foreign trophy hunters were banished 30 months ago when environmental groups bought out a commercial guiding company, said biologist Misty MacDuffee of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. And now even the bears are unwittingly participating in the new “eco-economy” having mostly lost their fear of people, and are now oblivious to tourists watching them as they feed. British Columbia eco-tourism “is the most rapidly growing sector in the tourism industry,” said Chris Genovali of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. As yet no one has done formal statistics of how many tourists have visited the Great Bear Rainforest, he added. Genovali said environmentalists remain concerned about mining and forestry on the edges of the protected area, and also about poaching of wildlife by illegal hunters.http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Spirit_of_Great_Bear_watches_over_Canadian_rainfores
t_999.html

7) Garry oak ecosystems support high numbers of blue and red-listed species of flora and fauna. These plant communities are red-listed by the BC government and listed as rare and endangered by the federal government of Canada. The Nanoose peninsula is unique because it hosts all of the rare ecosystems that are associated with the Garry oak include maritime meadows, coastal bluffs, vernal pools, grasslands, rock outcrops, and mixed transitional forests. I started my hike after turning right off Fairwinds Drive onto Anchor Road, then Chain Road, and finally onto Link Road. After walking past a large holding tank for water built by Fairwinds I noticed new construction. A building site has been leveled next to an existing house. Several carcasses from Arbutus and Garry Oak trees lay in piles surrounded by newly exposed rock and debris. The view from the south face of the Nanoose Notch is spectacular, overlooking Nanoose Bay and the surround 2nd growth forest with Mt. Moriarty and Mt. Arrowsmith off in the distance. I can understand why someone would want to build a house there. How many more houses will be built on this slope? How much of the Garry Oak ecosystem will be blasted and leveled to make way for buildings and roads? Where they will get their water from? On the other side of the hill Fairwinds continues to blasts roads through similarly rare ecosystems and many more are planned. In their most recent newsletter Fairwinds states: The 1350 acre oceanfront community of Fairwinds has 700 acres remaining to develop which translates into 1600 to 1800 units depending on density. In order to meet the changing times and evolving needs of the community, a detailed master plan is being prepared with an emphasis on Community and the Environment. Public input is needed to protect the rare and endangered Garry Oak ecosystems found on the Nanoose Peninsula. There is an opportunity to significantly change the status quote by developing plans that protect key sites like the Nanoose Notch. Significant buffers around the two lakes, bluffs and meadows should be protected from development while enhancing the quality of life for those who live in the community. Nanoose is one of the last strong holds of the Garry Oak ecosystem, which has been brought to the brink of extinction in British Columbia by agriculture and housing development. –Richard Boyce

8) For generations, Hot Springs Island has been a site for healing. It is one of a group of islands in the Pacific archipelago of Haida Gwaii, as the Haida Indians originally called the Queen Charlotte Islands. Located 50 to 130 kilometres from the British Columbia mainland, Haida Gwaii is a powerful and often dangerous marine environment. Hot Springs Island, now part of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and a Haida Heritage Site, provides a sanctuary of warmth and peace from the wild, windswept sea. In 1985 an environmental standoff over logging old growth forests in Haida Gwaii led to an agreement between the Council of the Haida Nation and the federal government to co-operatively manage Gwaii Haanas National Park. From May to September, members of the Haida Watchmen live at the Hot Springs Island village site (and four other villages within the park), protecting the natural and cultural heritage while providing visitor information and emergency service. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/travel/story.html?id=47d6d453-a281-429d-8255-e27fcce1c86e

9) Shuswap bands are looking at developing a pellet plant at either Kamloops, Savona or Clinton that could ship product to Europe where it would be used to create bioenergy.The idea is one option to help First Nations communities deal with the economic impact of mountain pine beetle. Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Betty Hinton announced a $103,000 grant for the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council as part of pine beetle relief funding. The tribal council’s economic development arm will hire a consultant and prepare a business plan looking at alternative economic opportunities. Mike Lebourdais, co-chairman of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, said First Nations communities, just like other communities, corporations and government, face poor lumber markets and a long-term reduction in logging. “We (Whispering Pines Indian Band) have forest licences affected. Normally we’d take one million cubic metres a year of pine. With the uplift it’s two million. The landscape is changing and we’re determining . . . what does it take to develop and implement a pellet mill or chips?” All three locations being studied are on a major rail line. Lebourdais said one of the requirements for such a plant is an additional 300,000 cubic metres of timber each year. That would produce about 150,000 tonnes of pellets a year. The study will also look at opportunities in tourism, botanical products and recreation. Kamloops Indian Band Chief Shane Gottfriedson was also on hand for the announcement. He said the band is far less forest-dependent than other First Nations communities in the region because of its development interests. http://www.kamloopsnews.ca

Canada:

10) The federal and provincial governments have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on forestry programs that promote clearcutting, says a report commissioned for the Ecology Action Centre. And that has damaged Nova Scotia’s Acadian forest, says Jamie Simpson, forestry program co-ordinator for the Halifax centre. He said the report by the Halifax consulting firm Jozsa Management & Economics concludes the two levels of government have spent $650 million in taxpayers’ money over the past 30 years on forest management policies and programs that promote clearcutting. “Clearcutting is used probably more than necessary,” said Tim Whynot, a forester with the provincial Natural Resources Department. “It has been used a lot.” However, he said, it is an acceptable practice under certain conditions — when the trees are very old, insect-damaged or prone to being blown down by the wind. There is no doubt the province’s forests have been damaged, Mr. Whynot said, but clearcutting is not the main culprit. He believes selective cutting — picking out the best trees and cutting those down — is a greater cause of the degradation. The province is redirecting more silviculture money to methods other than clearcutting, Mr. Whynot said, and while it has taken a while for companies and woodlot owners to show an interest, the effort is now gaining steam. “More and more companies are moving in that direction,” and there is a waiting list for workshops, he said. Mr. Simpson said the province has set aside $9 million for silviculture but just three per cent of that will go toward alternatives to clearcutting. “That is a step in the right direction but a better balance could be achieved, even 10 per cent would be nice, but 97 per cent of the money goes toward practices that support clearcutting.” http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/1065381.html

11) Last Thursday, the interim Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Julie Boulet, submitted a working paper to the National Assembly. Entitled L’occupation du territoire forestier québécois et la constitution des sociétés d’aménagement des forêts, the working paper reflects the government’s position at this stage in the policy overhaul. We find ourselves confused and very preoccupied by this document – both by its contents and by what it fails to include. We gather that Québec has chosen to pursue its agenda with utter disregard for the concerns of environmental groups and of the many users of the province’s public forests. Given the far-reaching implications of this policy reform, we feel obligated to publicly denounce a process which, in our opinion, is rapidly headed in the wrong direction. Reforming Quebec’s forest policy was certainly needed to replace the outdated regime of Timber Supply and Forest Management Agreements (TSFMA). However, it is important to bear in mind that the reform was largely necessary because of concerns over the state of our forest ecosystems. Recall the Coulombe Commission of 2004, which unequivocally concluded that Québec had overexploited its forests, that its network of protected areas was inadequate, and that a large-scale transition to ecosystem-based management was warranted. Evidently, these issues should be at the heart of Quebec’s new forest regime. Unfortunately, nothing in last Thursday’s document allows us to believe that our ecosystems will be spared the mistakes of our past. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/features/viewpoints/story.html?id=6b45dece-18a1-4c3d-8b3d
-d6f38371b66f

12) In 2004, residents of Poplar River First Nation convinced the Manitoba Government to stop all mining and logging on their traditional land, 600km northeast of Winnipeg, for the next five years. Sophia Rabliauskas is a member of this community and at the forefront of their struggle for full protection. She is now being recognized for her tenacity with one of the province’s highest awards, the Order of Manitoba. “It feels great to be recognized,” Rabliauskas says. “It’s good because it gives the whole community of Poplar River the support we need and it’s also bringing a sense of pride to the community and the people.” In 2002, Rabliauskas, along with several other community members developed a comprehensive land protection and management plan for their territory-a precedent setting accomplishment among First Nations in the boreal. The plan outlines core elements for the protection of the forests, such as respecting traditional knowledge; benefiting from environmental analysis; developing economic opportunities, including protection of traditional hunting, trapping and fishing activities; and creating sustainable tourism opportunities. Rabliauskas is working with other First Nations in the area to safeguard an even larger section of the boreal forest and declare it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. She hopes her work will be an inspiration to other First Nations who face similar challenges protecting their land. Vast areas of Canada’s boreal forest have been clear-cut by logging companies and subject to invasive mining development. The Boreal Forest Network reports that nearly 65 per cent of Canada’s boreal forests have been slated for long term clear-cut. Environmentalists and residents fear that these boundless forests could be the next target of the world’s pulp and paper industry. Gaile Whelan Enns, Manitoba Wildlands director, says Rabliauskas’s involvement in her community has to do with preserving the traditional knowledge that has been passed down to her. In April last year, Rabliauskas was one of the six activists to receive the Goldman Environmental Prize in San Francisco for her work. Only three other Canadians have received the award. More information on her community’s work protecting the boreal forest can be found at: www.poplarriverfirstnation.ca – http://www.abcleaders.org/stories/61/sophia-rabliauskas

367 EU-Africa-Mid-East

Index:


–EU: 13) Greenpeace’s 12-meter trunk action, 14) Increase in European forest cover coming to an end, 15) Bio-fool standards still not agreed on,
–UK: 16) Invasive Squirrels trash forests, 17) Pine Marten’s reappearing and eating invasive squirrels, 18) Rare insects found in forests near Staffordshire, 19) Raising money to protect a forest by logging it, 20) Only a half-dozen killed by fallen trees every year, 21) Brazilian Indians arrive in London to plea for forest protection,
–France: 22) Forest species migrating to adapt to climate change, 23) Paris: “New Green Spaces,” 24) France intends to scuttle Bio-fool plans,
–Bulgaria: 25) Reinstating Ownership of Forests and Lands
–Palestine: 26) Israeli’s continue to destroy ancient Olive groves
–Israel: 27) Ancient trees fought for and lost to construction
–Congo: 28) More on $200 million EU protection scheme, 29) More money from 1st world needed for forest protection,
–Uganda: 30) FSC certifies forest that 4,000 indigenous landowners were evicted from
–Ghana: 31) Gov and EU work to registering illegal chain-saw operators
–Ethiopia: 31) Award for Gaia Association’s managing director
–Tanzania: 32) Fishing as it relates to woodland covering 100,000 hectares
–Kenya: 33) Destruction of Embobut forest in Marakwet District is alarming
–South Africa: 34) Working for Water, aka Masakane

EU:

13) Greenpeace has used a 12-metre tree trunk illegally cut from the Amazon to condemn Europe’s role in deforestation. The protest in Brussels sought to pressure the European Commission to ban illegal timber imports. A vote on proposed legislation is expected in three weeks. Greenpeace says the EU’s lack of strict laws against unregulated tree-felling makes Europeans accomplices in illegal logging. Activist Sebastian Risso said: “It is vital that everyone in the market accepts his responsibilities. The EU is also responsible, as the main consumer. It has to stop illegal wood from being sold to Europeans.” The environmentalists say the EU, as the world’s biggest wood importer, should insist that all timber products on the European market are from legal sources and well-managed forests. They say it would help stop the destructive impact of illegal logging on the world’s climate, biodiversity and native people living in forests. http://www.euronews.net/en/article/02/07/2008/greenpeace-accuses-europe-over-deforestation/

14) Carbon capture by European forests has increased by about 70 percent since the 1950s, but this trend might be coming to an end, a joint European study said on Monday. The increase was due to favorable climate, raised levels of carbon dioxide in air the and nitrogen fallout, but logging for bioenergy use as well as climate change are threatening carbon sink capacity. “The European Union (EU) is trying to increase the production of bioenergy, and the target can be reached only if logging is considerably increased,” the Finnish Environment Institute said. “As a consequence, the carbon sink may be reduced almost down to zero.” EU targets cutting CO2 emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and having at least 120 percent of energy demand come from renewable sources. Transport fuels should include 10 percent biofuel by then. Planting new trees is not going to be as effective for carbon capture as old forests which can capture 100 to 240 tonnes of carbon per hectare, while new tree stands capture about 40 tonnes. Thus, to maintain the efficiency of the carbon sink, logging rate should be considerably lower than the growth rate, the study said. Droughts, storms and pest invasions due to climate change will slow forest growth and thus also reduce carbon capture, and the warmer the ground, the more it will release carbon dioxide. http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKL2323663320080623

15) The European Union is near to agreeing standards for biofuels that put human rights and endangered species high on the agenda, a diplomat chairing the negotiations said. But the critical issue of how much CO2 they should save is as yet undecided. Biofuel use is soaring as developed countries try to curb dependence on imported oil and cut emissions of carbon dioxide, but critics say the industry has encouraged deforestation and pushed up food prices by competing for grain. As part of its drive to lead the world in battling climate change, the EU plans to get 10 percent of its transport fuels from renewable sources like biofuels by 2020. The EU set up a working group in February with experts from the Commission and member states seeking ways of hitting the goal without causing social or environmental harm. “The possibility of getting an agreement is much improved now,” said Miran Kresal, who chaired that working group on behalf of Slovenia, which on Tuesday hands the EU’s presidency to France. Last week, aid agency Oxfam said the knock-on effects of biofuels were pushing 30 million people worldwide into poverty. And this week, a long-awaited report in Britain will advise the government on other unwanted side effects. Aid agencies say EU targets encourage the exploitation of workers in biofuel exporting countries, pointing to tough conditions in the sugar cane plantations as an example. The group looked at imposing legally binding standards on exporters, such as ILO labour rules. But the idea has lost currency due to the risk it might break World Trade Organisation rules on free trade. “It will probably move towards a case of heavy reporting of social standards by the European Commission,” Kresal told Reuters. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/7619727

UK:

16) If anyone said squirrels are a major danger to our natural habitat, you might think they were barking mad. But that is exactly the case as trees across Hampstead and Highgate are at risk from an explosion in the number of grey squirrels. By stripping bark from trunks and branches, the ravenous rodents are causing potentially deadly damage to mature trees on the Heath and in Highgate Wood. Experts have not been able to offer a certain explanation for the surge in squirrel numbers, but the effect of their nibbling is evident to see. Wildlife photographer Ron Vester, who lives in Belsize Park, caught one of the feisty pests going hell-for-leather at the bark of a mature beech in the grounds of Kenwood House. “I’ve never seen so many grey squirrels here,” he said. “This is a fight between the trees and the squirrels and I’m afraid I have to side with the trees. “As much as I like squirrels, if you cut around the bark on the trunk of a tree then it’s finished. I looked up and saw 10 squirrels on the same tree recently – they go at it like a buzz saw. “The bark falls off the branches like hair at a hairdressers – it just tumbles. They can go round a whole branch in as little as an hour.”He says that while it would take a long time for the squirrels to kill a significant number of trees, the ones being attacked are around 30 years old and there will be no way of replacing them if the squirrels are allowed to continue unchecked. http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/content/camden/hamhigh/news/story.aspx?brand=NorthLondon24&category=N
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17) Rare mammals are reappearing in parts of the North East, thanks to conservation efforts. Endangered pine martens, part of the weasel family, are increasingly being seen in woods around the region. Now conservation bosses are trying to find out how many there are and what more can be done to encourage them to thrive. Pine martens are very shy and difficult to spot in the wild. The species has been brought to the brink of extinction in England because of hunting by humans. But Wark Forest in the Northumberland National Park is one place where the animals, which mainly live in trees, are starting to reappear. It is thought they are being helped by changes in the types of trees planted in the region and by work being done through the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the Environmental Protection Act. Now the Vincent Wildlife Trust, a national conservation group, will join staff and volunteers from the Northumberland Wildlife Trust to complete a survey of pine martens in the area. On July 9, they will be searching for, photographing and collecting pine marten droppings which can be sent for DNA analysis. That will allow them to find out more about the mammals and how many are living in the forest. John Messenger, one of the UK’s leading experts on pine martens, said: “It is hoped evidence of pine martens in Northumberland will encourage forest and other land managers to tailor their land to suit them. “Pine martens prefer mixed woodland with a variety of fruitbearing trees and it hoped a positive result will spur on further native woodland planting in the region. “Such habitat is also preferred by black grouse, red squirrel, goshawk, dormice and many species of birds, mammals, plants and fungi.” Survey leader Kevin O’Hara, conservation officer with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted to be helping the Vincent Wildlife Trust with this important work and were inundated with calls from our volunteers when we announced we needed help. “Pine martens are becoming yet another endangered species in the UK so it is vitally important that we know where they are so we can protect them for the future. This survey will go some way towards helping us to do that.” The pine marten was recently credited with reducing the population of the invasive grey squirrel in the UK. http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1458986/on_trail_of_the_lonesome_pine/

18) Wildlife enthusiasts are buzzing after discovering colonies of rare insects during a survey of woodland streams across Staffordshire. Experts at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, based at Wolseley Bridge, have recorded five sightings of a rare hoverfly and one of a scarce cranefly over the last few months. The Riverwood Hoverfly was not recorded at all in Staffordshire until 2004 and the Northern Yellow Splinter Cranefly has only been recorded in the county four times. Trust senior wetlands ecologist Nick Mott said the survey results were very encouraging. He said: “The survey covered a fairly small sample of Staffordshire’s woodland streams, ranging from the River Churnet at Tittesworth Water to small tributaries of the River Severn on the Worcestershire and Shropshire borders near Kinver. “Many of these sites – which are called drumbles, dingles, pingles, cloughs or sprinks – are often small, steep-sided headwater streams running through unmanaged woodlands. “These are the conditions that the rare insects we have identified favour. “The findings are exciting because they are good indicators of habitat quality. “They tell us that we have some genuinely wild places in parts of rural Staffordshire. “One of the common denominators in all the sites surveyed was the presence of trees and branches in the watercourse. “In the past, woody debris has been removed but now the trust will be leaving it in place, if possible, to encourage these species to thrive.” Staffordshire Wildlife Trust will be continuing its woodland streams survey next spring, from April to June. http://www.expressandstar.com/2008/06/26/wildlife-fans-buzzing-as-rare-bugs-found/

19) An Oxfordshire environmental charity has issued a grant to allow more light through the trees in Ipsden Heath woods between Wallingford and Henley to help woodland flowers flourish. A grant totaling £1,753 from the Oxfordshire’s Environment Trust and Grundon Waste Management Ltd, has enabled the removal of some conifers that were casting heavy shade in the 32-acre wood, owned by the Woodland Trust. Since the trees were planted on the heath more than 150 years ago, the site has developed into a precious wildlife habitat with woodland plants such as bluebells, wood sorrel, enchanter’s nightshade, herb robert, sweet woodruff and dog’s mercury. The Woodland Trust’s experience of restoring woodland to encourage flora and fauna in this way has come from its work to restore Planted Ancient Woodland sites covering 10,000 hectares across the country. The Trust commissioned research from Oxford university’s forestry institute that found the most successful way to encourage natural regeneration was by gradual selective thinning to manage light levels, as most threats to the survival of ancient woodland come from either excessive shade or light. The Woodland Trust’s woodland officer, Loren Eldred, who is overseeing the restoration work, said: “The emphasis is not simply on replacing the plantation conifers with native trees. We’re aiming for gradual restoration of these woods to stop the gradual decline of the woodland flora. “The slow approach taken by the Trust means it will be a long time before work is complete, but some flora is expected to flourish after the first operation. It’s very encouraging,” he added. http://www.henleystandard.co.uk/news/news.php?id=448878

20) The Health and Safety Executive indicates that on average half a dozen people in the UK are killed a year by trees falling on them and only three people by trees in public places. This means the average risk of a tree causing a death is about one in 150 million for all UK trees or one in 10 million for trees in public places. Country Land & Businesss Association (CLA) members own or manage more than half the land in England and Wales. We value the contribution trees make to the environment and landscape. However, landowners are being driven into unnecessary, costly practices in managing their trees which are out of proportion to the actual risk of harm being caused by the trees. It is really a case of actual risk being vastly less than perceived risk. Of course trees can never be made completely safe. However, tree consultants are often under an unrealistic pressure to certify a tree as safe. This in turn leads to them being too cautious and prescribing excessive, invasive remedial work. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article4199184.ece

21) Two Brazilian Indians arrive in London today to make a desperate plea to MPs for help to save their Amazon forest home. Jacir José de Souza and Pierlângela Nascimento da Cunha, who are from the Makuxi and Wapixana tribes, also hope to meet Pope Benedict XVI as they tour Europe in a bid to save their ancestral lands, which are under threat from large-scale farmers. For decades the Makuxi and Wapixana tribes, along with three other native peoples, have called on the Brazilian government to protect their territory, known as Raposa Serra do Sol, which is in the state of Roraima in the north of the country. The Brazilian president, Luis Inácia “Lula” da Silva, granted official recognition to the Indian communities’ ownership of the territory in 2005 ¬ but a group of powerful landowners, who occupy a significant part of it, refuse to leave the area. The Roraima State government supports the farmers, and is petitioning the Brazilian Supreme Court to give them a large piece of the Indians’ land. In recent months, the tribes have come under attack from farmers who have shot and wounded people, burned bridges and thrown a bomb into one of the communities. CAFOD has been supported indigenous groups in the Roraima region for many years and is helping to fund the Indians’ visit to the UK. The aid agency works in partnership with the local diocese and the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR) which Jacir founded, to help indigenous groups secure the right to live on their traditional land. On Wednesday Jacir and Pierlângela will meet Liberal Democrat MP Martin Horwood and officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and ask for help to save their territory. CAFOD’s Head of Latin America, Clare Dixon, said: “CAFOD has been supporting indigenous groups in the Roraima region for many years to defend their lands, their culture and their livelihood. Now things have reached crisis point. We are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with CIR to show the British Government that people living in England and Wales do care about what is happening on the other side of the globe and they should too.” http://www.indcatholicnews.com/indb323.html

France:

22) An analysis of forest species in six French mountain ranges (the western Alps, northern Pyrenees, Massif Central, western Jura, Vosges and the Corsican range) shows that more than two thirds of them moved at least 60 feet (18.5 meters) higher on the mountainsides per decade during the 20th century. “Among 171 species, most are shifting upwards to recover temperature conditions that are optimum,” says ecologist and lead study author Jonathan Lenoir of AgroParisTech in Nancy, France. “Climate change has already imposed a significant effect in a wide range of plant species not restricted to sensitive ecosystems.” Previous research has shown that plants at the highest elevations on mountains (and in the polar regions) have been shifting to adjust to global warming. But this is the first confirmation that entire ecosystems in lower, more temperate regions are moving as well. “Species are not just moving at the extremes of their ranges,” says ecologist and co-author Pablo Marquet of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago. “What we show is that they are moving everywhere.” In an effort to gauge the effect of climate change on ordinary plant life, researchers measured where the best growing conditions on the mountains were for species of trees, grasses, herbs, ferns and mosses. They discovered that those for 118 of the studied species—from the herblike three-horned bedstraw (Galium rotundifolium) to whitebeam trees (Sorbus aria)—migrated to higher elevations as temperatures warmed. The researchers found that grasses, herbs and other short-lived species that had been through many generations shifted the most in search of perfect temperatures, whereas long-lived trees stayed largely in place. According to the authors, this is changing the composition of the forest—mixing formerly low-altitude grasses with high-altitude trees—which could potentially affect the entire ecosystem, particularly the animals that rely on specific plants to survive. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=climbing-trees-plants-move-uphill-as-climate-changes

23) Paris’s current mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, has taken over the task. In his seven years in the job, he has created 79 acres of what City Hall calls “new green spaces.” Just this month, he transformed the open space in front of City Hall into an “ephemeral garden,” a nearly 31,000-square-foot temporary installation of 6,000 plants and trees, and even a mini-lake. Intimate, lightly trafficked and often quirky, the small gardens of Paris can be ideal places to rest and to read. The trick is to find them. You can consult “Paris: 100 Jardins Insolites” (“Paris: 100 Unusual Gardens”), a guide by Martine Dumond whose color photos make discovery for the non-French speaker a pleasure, or explore various Web sites like http://www.paris-walking-tours.com/parisgardens.html

24) The noose is steadily tightening around the neck of EU biofuels targets, with France on Monday (30 June) saying that the EU’s 10 percent biofuels target may have to be reconsidered, in the latest attack on the renewable energy drive. With France taking over the six-month rotating presidency of the EU on Tuesday (1 July), the statement carries added weight, and follows on from a call from Italy earlier in the month for the bloc to review the target. “Probably we will be obliged to call into question or postpone the 10 percent objective,” said French ecology minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet speaking to reporters in Paris, according to the Reuters news agency. She added that developing a target for the controversial fuel source was “probably a mistake” and that the EU had proposed things the wrong way round: setting environmental and social criteria for the production of biofuels should have been developed first and then any target should have been drafted to match that. The EU in 2007 agreed that 10 percent of all transport fuel should come form renewable sources such as biofuels by 2020 as part of a wider overhaul of its energy sector. “On biofuels, we do not rule out in the long-run reconsidering the target,” Ms Kosciusko-Morizet said. “We took with too much haste the decision on an objective that is not reachable,” said Italian economic development minister Claudio Scajola in early June. http://euobserver.com/9/26419

Bulgaria:

25) Sofia’s Administrative Court refused to revoke the restitution of the forests returned to Simeon Saxe-Coburg and his sister Maria Louisa for being the heirs of Bulgaria’s former tsars Ferdinand and Boris III. The forests are located in the land in the areas of the town of Samokov and the village of Beli Iskar. The State Forestry Agency had applied for the revocation of three decrees dating from 2000 and 2003 for the return of the forests to the Land Commission in Samokov and to the Municipal Agricultural and Forestry Agency. The State Forestry Agency had submitted an appeal to the Court after both local offices declined to fulfill the demand. The Court, however, believes that the timeframe for legal appeal had expired. In addition, they cite new circumstances in the Law for Reinstating Ownership of Forests and Lands from the Forest Fund, where a new special order is provided giving the Municipal Agricultural and Forestry Agencies ways to change a previous decision already in effect. The Court also points out that the State Forestry Agency does not have any legal interest, and its not a side in the administrative proceedings, which were only between Simeon Saxe-Coburg and his sister Maria Louisa as applicants for the reinstitution of their ownership rights and the Municipal Agriculture and Forestry Agency in Samokov. The Administrative Court’s decision can be appealed before the Supreme Administrative Court in a seven-day period. http://www.bulnews.net/bulgaria-tsar-and-his-sister-to-keep-reinstated-forests/

Palestine:

26) Said Nidal Abu Hamda, board member village of Beit Hanina in occupied Jerusalem that the Zionist bulldozers uprooted Tuesday (24 / 6) More than 300 olive trees old Romanian. He added that the Zionist army, using bulldozers, raided and closed down the dig declared a closed military zone. He explained that the strength of the so-called “border guard” for young men and attacked the village inhabitants, who have gathered to defend their lands, batons and tear gas. He appealed to the village of Beit Hanina and Beit Hanina Diwan people of all international institutions and humanitarian work to stop the risks to the village and the razing of lands and confiscation and destruction of villages and isolated and its people. The Cabinet of the residents of Beit Hanina statement to condemn the inhuman acts carried out by the Zionist army They could also for the hundreds of olive trees are bulldozed durables and land confiscation in addition to besiege and isolate parts of Beit Hanina old and new from each other. He SAI distress call to all States and human rights commissions and the countries that sponsor international covenants to move quickly to put an end to serious violations of Zionism. Declaring that prayers will be held next Friday in the region that have been bulldozed. The bureau warned that the Zionist military authorities placed signs near the vast area planted with olive trees, ancient Roman more than 1200 trees covering an area of 5 thousand acres intends extracted in the coming days. http://www.ntimc.org/newswire.php?story_id=8413

Israel:

27) “With great regret I must inform you that I failed in my efforts to save a 130-year-old tree, one of the first trees in Petah Tikva,” wrote Galon three weeks ago to Mayor Yitzhak Ohayon and the members of the Petah Tikva municipal council. “I have spent the past few nights in the vicinity of the tree, watching its death throes. I still cannot digest the action that has been taken by you and at your initiative. You could have preserved the impressive and healthy tree, earned glory and led an educational act of preservation,” continued Galon of the plant engineering department at the Agriculture Ministry. “However, you chose a different path, with the building permit you obtained serving as a fig leaf for this grave action. Despite my pleas in recent days to hold further discussion and to present to you professional alternatives for the preservation of the tree, you did not bother to reply to me. There is no doubt that this is a wonderful and symbolic gift to Petah Tikva in advance of its 130th anniversary celebrations. Cutting down the senior citizen that contributed to the city is ungrateful and inconsiderate.” The story of the tree in Petah Tikva is not unusual. In recent years quite a number of veteran trees have been cut down in other cities. According to the Petah Tikva municipality, the eucalyptus was a dangerous tree – one of its branches fell on a vehicle a year ago and nearly did serious harm. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/997314.html

Congo:

28) KINSHASA–Former Canadian prime minister Paul Martin must worry about the flow of “every single dollar” if he hopes to succeed with a new $200 million fund launched to preserve the world’s second-biggest tropical forest, Congolese activists say. Citing chronic corruption, weak governance and rampant illegal logging, African environmentalists say the Martin initiative faces a daunting culture of impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to 52 per cent of the Congo Basin rain forest. Yet they welcome the involvement of the former Canadian prime minister, who will co-chair the Congo Basin Forest Fund together with Kenyan-born Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai. “We need the world to be watching. We need Canada and Norway and all the big countries involved, because of the climate issues at stake,” said Roger Muchaba, head of the Congolese Natural Resources Network. “But, we also need Mr. Martin and the others overseeing this fund to empower the local leadership of the actual communities who live in and depend upon the rain forest.”Putting power in the hands of the locals is the best way to ensure the forest does not disappear,” Muchaba said. Deforestation is emerging as a critical element in the battle against climate change, with some studies suggesting shrinking tropical forests account for as much as one fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. A senior Congolese government official last week dismissed the fund as paltry compensation for what the world asks of the countries that control the Congo forest’s rich resources. “We cannot be the ones who preserve, while others pollute without paying,” said Environment Minister Jose Endundu. “Of course, it’s not enough. Congo is the country that has done the best job of preserving its forest, and that cannot remain without some kind of value. We are talking today in terms of billions of dollars.” One of the fund’s first projects involves a plan to establish close satellite surveillance of the Congo forest by 2010, enabling far more precise real-time monitoring of an area covering 2 million square kilometres, or about twice the size of France. http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/452458

29) Wealthy nations must provide more cash to help the impoverished Democratic Republic of Congo preserve the world’s second biggest tropical forest, its Environment Minister said. Logging and land clearance for farming are eating away the Congo Basin, home to more than a quarter of the world’s tropical forests, at the rate of more than 800,000 hectares a year. Environment Minister Jose Endundu told Reuters he wanted to reduce to 15 million hectares, from 20 million, the land attributed to logging companies, but that rich countries must help offset lost revenues and spur development there. “We cannot be the ones who preserve, while others pollute without paying,” he said in an interview. “Poverty and misery are the enemies of the forest. There needs to be a way that the local people are able to benefit from that forest.” Last week, donors led by Britain and Norway launched the $200 million Congo Basin Forest Fund to help monitor forest depletion and promote economically viable alternatives. Such projects, while encouraging, fall well short of fairly compensating his country, where the vast majority of the basin is located, Endundu said. “Of course it’s not enough,” he said. “Congo is the country that has done the best job preserving its forest, and that cannot remain without some kind of value. We are talking today in terms of billions of dollars.” Next month, Congo is due to start evaluating 156 logging titles as part of a long delayed World Bank-sponsored review. Most of the deals were agreed during the turmoil of a 1998-2003 war and the corrupt transitional government that followed. Many are expected to be cancelled outright for breaking a 2002 five-year moratorium on new logging contracts put in place to try to stem rampant deforestation aggravated by the conflict. http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnL25203693.html

Uganda:

30) In February 2008, the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Uganda People’s Defense Forces evicted more than 4,000 people from the Benet and Ndorobo communities living in Mount Elgon National Park in East Uganda. People’s houses and crops were destroyed, cattle were confiscated and the people were left homeless. They found shelter where they could: in caves and under trees. The luckier ones stayed in a primary school or moved in with their relatives. The eviction of the Benet started ten days after Annick Van De Venster, a Belgian tourist, was shot and killed in Mount Elgon National Park. According to UWA, which is responsible for managing Uganda’s national parks, cattle thieves were responsible. UWA’s executive director, Moses Mapesa said, “We believe the people who shot at the tourist’s group mistook it to be a rival camp of cattle thieves.” UWA used the tragedy of a tourist’s death at Mount Elgon as an excuse to evict the Benet. “Following these incidents,” Moses Mapesa, UWA’s executive director, said, “UWA found it prudent to address the issue of encroachment in the park, which in any case is all illegal as the boundaries of the park were redefined in 2002.” ActionAid demanded that the government should provide immediate relief to the evicted people through its Disaster Preparedness Ministry. Mount Elgon National Park is certified as well managed under the Forest Stewardship Council system. Clearly, the fact that the national park is FSC certified has not helped the Benet Indigenous People. SGS Qualifor, the certifying body which issued the FSC certificate for Mount Elgon, is aware of High Court ruling that the Benet are historical and indigenous inhabitants of Mount Elgon. But when UWA evicted the Benet in February this year, they did not worry about finding any “alternative land”. In May, a group of about 100 people who had been evicted from Mount Elgon camped outside Parliament in Kampala, demanding that the government allocate them land. A month later, Nelson Chelimo, the district chairman of Kapchorwa, near Mount Elgon, said that food aid was urgently need to save the lives of more than 1,000 Benet people. “People have no food and shelter following their eviction by Uganda Wildlife Authority and the army,” Chelimo said in a statement. http://www.fsc-watch.org/archives/2008/07/01/Thousands_of_Indigen

Ghana:

31) The European Union (EU) in collaboration with Government of Ghana have began registering illegal chain-saw operators, under an European Union Chainsaw Project, to control depletion of forest resources and help minimize further destruction of the ozone layer in the country. Under the project, stakeholders in eight selected forest reserves, including Assin Atandansu Reserve are being educated on effects of environmental degradation through chainsaw operations to assist in preserving the equatorial forest for posterity. Mr Duodu said the project was laudable because, controlling chainsaw operators in the country had become a major challenge facing the Forestry Division as all efforts including formation of taskforce to clamp down their activities had not yielded the desired impact as they adopted various tactics to continue with their nefarious activities. He said Government and the EU were evolving means to review the Legislative Instrument (LI) 1649 of 1997 that banned the sawing of logs by chainsaw machines.
Mr Duodu explained that currently, chainsaw operators supplied about 70 per cent of sawn lumber consumed by the local market as the registered timber firms which had been mandated to supply 20 per cent of their products to the local market had refused to comply with the directive. He said when the timber firms complied with the directive, chainsaw operators could be controlled and their activities checked and would be taxed to generate revenue for the nation because currently their operations were illegal and did not pay taxes. Some members of the public expressed concern about the illegal mining along the banks of Pra River and littering of the environment with plastic waste. http://www.modernghana.com/news/172077/1/eu-assists-government-to-reduce-forest-depletion.html

Ethiopia:

32) Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate and environmental activist, Wangari Maathai, presented the green award to Gaia Association Ethiopia’s managing director, Milkyas Debebe, during a ceremony in London last Thursday. This year’s top prize of US$80,000 went to India’s Technology Informatics Design Endeavour, while Gaia was one of six others to be honoured in the international category. The Swedish-designed CleanCook stove distributed by the Gaia Association on behalf of UNHCR has helped to slow deforestation, curb sexual and gender-based violence, reduce indoor air pollution and ease friction between refugees and locals in Kebribeyah Refugee Camp and other areas of eastern Ethiopia, which has seen an influx of refugees from Somalia since 1991. “Our judges were enormously impressed with the enthusiasm for the stoves among refugee women. Not only did the stoves prevent wood-collection, with its associated dangers and environmental impacts, they were also much safer, quicker and more pleasant to use, in particular avoiding the risk of respiratory and eye diseases from smoke inhalation,” said Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder and chair of the annual Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy. “The Ethiopian people, especially women and children and our growing refugee population, suffer increasingly from poor energy choices and energy poverty. Gaia is pioneering ethanol stoves and fuel, using Ethiopia’s natural resources. With support from the UNHCR and the Ethiopian government we are helping both Ethiopians and refugees. This award will help us to reach more people in need,” said Gaia’s Debebe. The CleanCook stoves run on ethanol produced from molasses, a by-product of the local sugar industry. UNHCR and Gaia distribute ethanol fuel each day to some 17,000 users of the stoves in Kebribeyah. The stoves are healthier and more efficient than traditional wood-burning clay ovens or open fires, while their use means families can avoid using wood altogether. This is important in an area that has suffered severe deforestation and where women were in danger of attack when they collected fuel wood. http://www.waltainfo.com/walnew/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=798&Itemid=48

Tanzania:

32) It is possible to start fish culture in most of Ludewa villages, as long as water sources are plenty. Fishing with modern fishing gear and in large scale, will not only be beneficial to potential investors but also the government in terms of revenues and the local population in terms of employment creation. The district is endowed with forest potential as well. It has vast woodland covering an area of 100,000 hectares. There are four National Forest Reserves occupying 7,354 hectares. These forest reserves play an important role as rain and catchments forest. Varieties of unique tree species are found, birds and animals such as black and white colobus monkeys are common in all the forests in the district. The reserves are; Mdandu National Forest Reserve situated at Madilu ward in Liganga division, Madenge, which is situated at Milo ward in Mlangali Division, Sakaranyumo and Mshora national forest Reserves also situated at Milo ward in Mlangali Division. Local residents in Ludewa district believe that the potential for eco-tourism is very high but is yet to be uncovered. Miyombo Woodland is commonly found in almost every part of the District. Specifically they are located in Mawengi, Mbwila Ngalawale, Kimelembe, Nkomang’ombe and Mundindi villages. Mountains around the district are covered by natural forest, which is equivalent to 12,672 hectares. The trees are used for fire wood and lumbering. The demand is above the production. Various institutions and the government plant trees, and up to March, 2007, about 1,868,918 trees had been planted in the district. Authorities promote plantation of indigenous trees which are found in higher zones of rainfall. Roads of 58 kilometres have been made to avoid firebreaks. The practice of keeping bees can be done all over the district because of the suitable environment of both natural and planted forests. There are 8,521 beehives, which produce 3,234 litres of honey and 45 kilogrammes of wax per year. According to sources, honey produced in the area is very natural. Its quality ranks second to that produced in Kibondo District in Kigoma region. It is done at individual and group levels but nationwide consumption is prevented by poor infrastructure. http://dailynews.habarileo.co.tz/columnist/index.php?id=5473

Kenya:

33) The destruction of Embobut forest in Marakwet District is alarming. A lasting solution must be reached soon by the Government and the community before the situation gets out of hand. For the last five years, a lot has been said and written about the same, but the Government officials have remained tight-lipped about the issue. An outcry by the residents of Kerio Valley about the destruction has borne no fruits either. The situation is further worsened by the local chiefs and their assistants, who have taken advantage of the people’s ignorance and allocated themselves chunks of forest land and engaged in illegal logging. Culturally, Embobut forest is a sacred resource, a source of medicinal herbs, totemic symbols and animals, rivers and other resources. For many clans living in Marakwet District, the destruction of this forest is catastrophic. This is because it has a lot of culture-associated beliefs. At the moment, the survival and development of the area has been jeopardised and many projects initiated by the Kerio Valley Development Authority have been affected adversely. The adverse effects of the destruction of this forest are very clear; soil degradation, landslides at Kaben Location, drought, ecological imbalance and consequent degradation of the quality of life in the semi-arid Kerio Valley. Other negative impacts may soon crop up, which are likely to bring war between the invaders and those using the water for irrigation in the lower lands of the semi-arid Kerio Valley. One thing to note is that no one clan in the Marakwet has monopoly of this forest. All are expected to manage and use it with due consideration of other stakeholders. If the Government is not willing to get a lasting solution to this problem, then the alternative is to declare the forest free for all to invade. http://allafrica.com/stories/200806240718.html

South Africa:

34) Over here we have a group called “Working for Water” or its also known as “Masakane”. They employ mainly African women and teach them which plants are invaders. They form teams which work sections, cutting exotic trees out of the indigenous forests or say, a mountainous area..probably like the United States’ National Wildlife Federation. Up in Mpumalanga (Eastern part of the Transvaal) the main problem is Black Wattle (from Australia). If you cut it it grows back even more vigorously and if there is a veld fire, the seeds love it and come up double as thick. It was bought over in around about the 1800′s as support beams for mine shafts. You will see it popping up in a line when you look at the side of a mountain ..follows the direction of the shaft..even now, a hundred years later. When I worked for a geologist for a while, thats how I would find some of the old mine dumps for testing…look for the wattle. Down in the Cape it is Port Jackson (Australia) very similar habits to Wattle, and was also used to tan hide. Anyway… Kind regards, Jill lady@xsinet.co.za

366 PNW-USA

Index:

–Washington: 1) Commissioner of public lands election, 2) Dabob Bay Natural Area Preserve, 3) Maury island mine approved, 4) Sensitive warty jumping slug?
–Oregon: 5) Palomar LNG pipeline activism, 6) A community free of cheap easy fat logs, 7) Hermach Misinformed? 8) Marbled Murrelet protections upheld by courts,
–California: 9) Implications of Klamath / Dillon Creek roadless areas that are on fire, 10) Bristlecone Pine summary, 11) Berkeley treesit continues despite more tresitters giving up, 12) Grizzly Flat: Destroying a forest every decade is better than destroying it once? 13) Montez logging project delayed, 14) Scorched trees can re-sprout, 15) Cleveland NF management issues are unique because they are so close to LA,
–Idaho: 16) 9th circuit on who’s science should be believed when it comes to old trees
–Montana: 17) Stop logging the Crazy mountains, 18) Thinning sales near homes, 19) 500 sq. miles of mostly clearcuts protected, more clearcuts planned too, 20) Comments on 500 sq. miles of protection,
–Wyoming: 21) High Uintas Preservation Council against West Bear Vegetation Project
–Texas: 22) New Movie: “At what cost” documents loss of old pecan trees
–Illinois: 23) Neighbor protests destruction of neighborhood trees
–New Hampshire: 24) Wasps help researchers find emerald ash borer
–Virginia: 25) Forest cover declines by 128,000 acres since 2002, 26) 14 miles of urban forest to be lost to Beltway widening,
–Pennsylvania: 27) Bad chainsaw management of Pinch rd. oak forest planned, 28) 50 acres of Pennsylvania Game Commission near Mt. Gretna to be logged, 29) Haycock’s formidable terrain has protected it from developers but still needs more help, 30) Restore-Protect-Expand is their motto,
–Massachusetts 31) Neighbors decry clearcutting of conservation property, 32) Greenpeace action at Kimberly-Clark’s new offices,
–Alabama: 33) Crape Myrtle trees finally blessed with lots of bees and blooms

Articles:

Washington:

1) Former state agriculture secretary Peter Goldmark says he has the experience, the money and the right message to defeat state lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland. During a visit to Vancouver last week, the Okanogan County rancher said he has another factor working in his favor in a Democratic-leaning state: the ‘D’ on his campaign posters. “It’s going to be a good year for Democrats,” he said. Sutherland campaign consultant Todd Myers countered that the two-term Republican Commissioner of Public Lands and former Pierce County executive has a strong bipartisan base of support. “If I were Peter Goldmark, I would hope this is a good Democratic year, too,” Myers said. “When people compare his policies to Doug Sutherland’s, they’ll choose Doug’s. The only hope he has is if people who never compare choose the Democrat.” Goldmark made a competitive run in 2006 for the Eastern Washington congressional district held by Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers. A year after that loss, Goldmark turned his attention to Sutherland, who he claims is beholden to the timber and mining industries. “I think people are tired of corporations’ running their public policy,” he said. In the wake of the December wind and rainstorm, which led to widespread landslides, flooding and forest damage in Western Washington, Goldmark said he believes the Department of Natural Resources should do more to identify slide-prone slopes and prevent logging on them. Sutherland has said the DNR has commissioned a $600,000 study to examine whether forest practice rules on private land are sufficient to reduce landslides and the sediment that flows into rain-engorged rivers. Goldmark said landowners should be offered incentives to compensate for putting steep slopes off-limits, but he wasn’t specific about the kinds of incentives or how to pay for them. “I’m a big believer in rewarding appropriate stewardship,” he said. As lands commissioner, Goldmark said, he would push more aggressively for more state timberlands to meet green-certification standards. He said that could mean longer rotations between planting and harvest on 2.1 million acres of state-owned timberlands, but the loss of timber sale revenue would be offset by new market incentives for storing carbon in standing forests. http://www.columbian.com/printArticle.cfm?story=334871

2) COYLE — A state proposal to expand the Dabob Bay Natural Area Preserve up to 3,200 acres has Jefferson County leaders and conservationists working toward a land swap to offset the loss of state timber trust land revenues. North Olympic Peninsula timber-industry interests oppose the state Department of Natural Resources proposal, saying it threatens their ability to harvest timber and produce revenues toward the county’s junior taxing districts that support fire protection and schools. Remote Dabob Bay is known for its salt marsh estuaries, marine riparian shorelines and the oysters that grow in its clean waters deeply embedded between Toandos Peninsula and the Olympic Mountains. The pristine bay is at the heart of the state’s largest concentration of oyster farms along Hood Canal. It is to a great extent why Washington state today leads the nation in oyster producers. Shellfish growers have joined with conservation groups and Jefferson County elected officials to work with Resources in an effort to protect the bay. They support Resources’ proposal, which would dramatically expand the existing 195-acre Dabob Bay Natural Area Preserve. “Tarboo and Dabob bays are the highest-quality nearshore ecosystem in the Hood Canal,” said Heidi Eisenhour, Jefferson Land Trust executive director, whose Port Townsend-base nonprofit organization is one of those working with Resources to expand the preserve. “Everyone is talking about Hood Canal dying, and here’s a chance for us to protect it.” Eisenhour is among those working to come up with a complicated state land swap. The idea is to transfer state-managed timberland inside the proposed preserve to other state lands outside the preserve’s boundaries to offset revenue loss to the Quilcene-area fire and school districts. The Natural Heritage Advisory Council, which advises Resources on natural areas, has approved the Dabob Bay preserve’s proposed boundaries. The final call on the boundaries rests with Doug Sutherland, the elected commissioner of state public lands. http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20080629/NEWS/806290304

3) Federal environmental regulators, dismissing environmentalists’ fears, gave the go-ahead Wednesday for a mining company to massively expand its operations on Maury Island at the edge of Puget Sound. It was one of few obstacles remaining for Glacier Northwest to build a dock to accommodate football field-size barges to haul away sand and gravel that lies buried under hillsides covered in red-barked madrone trees. The Army Corps of Engineers said it had carefully checked into each environmental issue raised by opponents but concluded they did not bear further study. Opponents questioned how a big expansion of mining could be allowed on the shores of Puget Sound just as a major campaign to rescue the ecologically ailing water body is being launched. “The process doesn’t give us an answer on whether it’s good for Puget Sound or bad for Puget Sound,” said Kathy Kunz, chief of the regulatory section in the corps’ Seattle office. “It is: Is it consistent with our regulations? And in this case, we found it is consistent.” Glacier Northwest called the decision, which followed approval by the Shoreline Hearings Board and two courts among others, “a major milestone.” “It has been determined time and again through multiple scientific and legal reviews that this project can proceed without harming the environment,” the company said in a statement. “We have repeatedly shown that it complies with local, state and federal environmental and land use laws.” Pete Stoltz, the company’s permitting coordinator, said it was the final environmental approval needed. Environmentalists, residents of Vashon and Maury islands and others asked the corps to order an in-depth environmental study that could have delayed the project for years. They fear harm to orcas and salmon, as well as other effects. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/369403_mine03.html

4) One particular item included in the Environmental Impact Statement for the repair of the Dosewallips River Road caught my eye. It was “Sensitive warty jumping slug.” I’ve been tromping around in the Olympics for more than a half-century now, and I am happy to say that to the best of my knowledge, I have never encountered a sensitive warty jumping slug. For that matter, I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered an insensitive warty jumping slug. I’ve seen plenty of slugs in the Olympics — including some big enough to give a python a run for its money — but I’ve never seen one jump. I have an admission: I haven’t read the entire 355 pages of the environmental impact statement prepared by the good folks of the Olympic National Forest. I certainly commend those of you who HAVE read the entire document, especially those of you who got through it without slipping into an unrecoverable coma. In my opinion, the statement is a typical example of the extent to which a government agency will go to avoid an inevitable lawsuit. No matter what alternative the U.S. Forest Service chooses to fix a road that has existed for almost a century, it will not be acceptable to somebody, and they will sue. Perhaps it will be the Society to Save the Sensitive Warty Jumping Slug. I’m guessing the U.S. Forest Service figures it’s covered that base by the following statement concerning the impact of fixing the road on the warty jumping slug: “For the Sensitive warty jumping slug, May Impact Individuals Or Habitat, But Will Not Likely Contribute To A Trend Towards Federal Listing Or Cause A Loss Of Viability To the Population or Species.” http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/jun/30/seabury-blair-jr-mr-outdoors-jumping-slug-raises/

Oregon:

5) When we first looked at the maps of the proposed Palomar LNG Pipeline, there was something familiar about the features in one of the segments near the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River. There hasn’t been much forest spared by logging, so we figured it was one of the timber sales Bark fought in the past ten years….oh, no! SOLO! The Solo Timber Sale was one of the great victories in Bark’s history. One of the last old-growth logging proposals on Mt. Hood, this project was incredibly controversial, even leading to a summer of treesits. Eventually, thanks to Bark’s groundtruthing, we were able to stop the logging in court and the trees remain standing today. Please join us in once again showing that our communities do not support old-growth logging in our national forests! Now that Bark, with the help of over 45 volunteers during Hike the Pipe, has documented the forests, rivers, wetlands, and recreation areas that will be destroyed for the proposed Palomar Pipeline, what do we do about it? In addition to sending e-mails to Governor Kulongoski (click below to send yours today), for years Bark has been educating Oregonians about threats to Mt. Hood National Forest the old-fashioned way…talking to people. Bark’s door-to-door canvass reaches tens of thousands of people every year, and right now the Palomar Pipeline is the hot topic. Bark’s Canvass Director, Ezra Reece, recently left the organization and two long-time Barkers, Matthew Bristow and Guy Miller, have taken over. Best wishes to Ezra, and a big welcome to Matthew and Guy! If you are interested in protecting Mt. Hood and making money doing it, consider joining our canvass team today http://bark-out.org/info/jobs.php#439 – where you can see photos and writing from our intrepid walk across Mt. Hood National Forest following the route of the proposed Palomar pipeline: http://www.orangealerts.blogspot.com/

6) WONDER — In this former logging community outside Grants Pass, a handful of locals chat over beers at Katie’s Redwood Bar and Grill, a dimly lit roadhouse with a few wooden booths, Bud on tap and a pistol behind the counter. “That’s our law enforcement,” Marcella Roche says about the .32-caliber Derringer two-shot. Roche, 25, owns and operates the restaurant with her mother. The one time they called the sheriff, he showed up a week and a half later, Roche says. His main advice was not to shoot anyone in the back, she remembers, ” ’cause that means they were leaving.” Her expression suggests she isn’t joking. Sheriff patrols in rural Josephine County, already a spotty prospect, are just one of the services that could all but disappear within a year with the sudden loss of $238 million in annual federal payments to Oregon’s timber-dependent counties. At least a dozen Oregon counties are making plans that include deep cuts in deputies, jail space, prosecutors, juvenile detention and animal patrols. Congress appears unlikely to restore the payments, which were meant to offset revenue losses caused by the near shutdown of logging in federal forests. Counties have begun looking at possible tax levies to help cushion the blow. State and local government officials have started calling it a “crisis.” But among residents most affected by the expected cuts in service, the news is being treated with a mix of suspicion and outright anti-government bitterness. And it’s clear that Josephine County, like much of Oregon, is still undergoing a deep and painful economic transition — one that has been masked in part by years on the federal dole. “You can’t take away an industry and not replace it with something else,” says Dave Paulsen, co-owner of Dave’s Outdoor Power Equipment in Cave Junction, about 30 miles southwest of Grants Pass. The shop, which used to deal almost exclusively in chain saws and forestry equipment, now sells yard gear, outdoor clothing and ATVs. “This business was built on the backs of loggers,” says Liz Paulsen, Dave’s wife and business partner. “Now we’re 99 percent homeowner driven.” Rural folks have adapted, she says, but “we’re struggling.” http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1214636121202010.xml&coll=7

7) Tim Hermach (guest viewpoint, June 19) should be applauded for his passion when it comes to defending our publicly owned forests. With somewhere close to 90 percent of the Northwest’s old growth already gone, our magnificent forests need vocal advocates. However, Hermach’s claim that the recent settlement over timber sales in Northeast Oregon is a “betrayal of the planet” is at best totally misinformed, and at worst completely contradicts the very ideals he espouses. A close look at the final deal in Northeastern Oregon reveals that Oregon Wild and other conservation groups fought hard to appeal two large timber sales on the Malheur National Forest. Our efforts ultimately kept tens of thousands of acres of old-growth forests off the chopping block while also protecting critical wildlife habitat and wilderness quality lands. It is in this spirit — a spirit of fighting for the environmental values that all Oregonians cherish — that Oregon Wild is willing to engage in public processes to save the land we all love, even if those processes are sometime flawed. It is also in this spirit that Oregon Wild credits Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Peter DeFazio for their interest in protecting our remaining old-growth forests. Just as we did in Northeast Oregon, we will work hard to ensure that the end product results in the strongest protections possible for these mature and old-growth forests. Oregon’s old-growth forests provide world-class recreation, habitat for wildlife and salmon, and clean drinking water for our communities. Additionally, Pacific Northwest old-growth forests play a key role in combating climate change — storing more carbon per acre than any ecosystem on Earth. In a state where we pride ourselves for being on the cutting edge of the “green” movement, it is time to atone for our legacy of forest destruction and protect the ancient forests we have left. Both Wyden and DeFazio have drafted legislative proposals aimed at permanently protecting old-growth forests. However, as one veteran Oregon forest advocate likes to say, “What do you mean by ‘old growth,’ and what do you mean by ‘protect?’ ” http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?cid=120171&sid=5&fid=1

8) Timber industry efforts to get a small sea bird off the threatened species list were denied in two court rulings. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., and the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals turned down actions Thursday stemming from the long-running battle over whether the marbled murrelet deserves Endangered Species Act protection. Like the spotted owl, the marbled murrelet depends on old growth forests for nesting, and habitat protection has meant less logging in Oregon, Washington and Northern California, as well as lower federal timber revenues shared with timber counties. The American Forest Resource Council and Coos County had tried to force the bird off the list after a finding that West Coast birds were not a distinct population from birds in Canada and Alaska. A Fish and Wildlife document obtained by The Associated Press indicates agency staff originally found the Northwest population was distinct, but were reversed by the Bush administration. The service left the birds on the threatened list while it looks at the entire population, which a U.S. Geological Service survey has indicated is declining from Alaska to California. U.S. District Judge John D. Bates had ruled that Fish and Wildlife did not have to delist the bird, and when the timber industry pressed him to reconsider, ruled that they had had plenty of time to raise their arguments in the original case. The 9th Circuit made a similar finding in a case from Coos County commissioners. “The timber industry has had its sights on this poor little bird for a decade,” said Kristen Boyles, attorney for Earthjustice, a public interest conservation law firm in Seattle that intervened in the case on the side of Fish and Wildlife. http://www.eastoregonian.info/main.asp?SectionID=13&SubSectionID=206&ArticleID=79660&TM=31362.95

California:

9) I’ve been following with interest the reports of a 7000 acre fire called the Siskiyou Complex, about 25 miles downriver from Happy Camp, CA. The fire is burning in the Dillon Creek drainage, one of the few unroaded drainages in that area, and there are virtually no houses in the area, just a campground at the mouth of the creek. Hwy. 96 was closed for a couple of days due to falling rocks and logs. Here’s the deal: they have 20 handcrews on the fire, but only one heavy helicopter (resources being sucked up by fires further south that are near houses). The way the Forest Service operates, that means it’s pretty hard to do burnouts in heavy fuel, with only one helicopter to do bucket drops. This fire has already cost well over a million dollars, but what the heck are they protecting? Some heavy timber will burn, but the FS has no money to build roads anymore anyway, and this roadless area will (please God) probably never be logged. If they just let it go, they could actually make a better case for having a helicopter salvage sale later on…if aviation fuel isn’t priced out of reach by then. I can only conclude that they are operating out of inertia, doing things this way because “we always have.” They have evolved far enough to let two of the smaller fires at the head of the drainage alone and call them WFUs, but they haven’t thought the whole thing through. Seems to me that’s kind of the way we are about global warming now — we seem constitutionally incapable of thinking through the consequences of our actions. Louise wwpboards@lists.onenw.org

10) The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest has two groves of Bristlecone Pines: Schulman Grove at 10.000 feet/3000 m high and, even higher, Patriarch Grove at 11.200 fl/3400m high. Schulman Grove lies about an hours’ (20 miles) drive from Bishop on a good paved but twisty road (with beautiful views of the valley and mountains in the distance). Take US Hwy 395 to Big Pine and turn east onto State Hwy 168 just north of Big Pine. Follow Hwy 168 east 13 miles to White Mountain Road. Turn left (north) and drive 10 miles to the Schulman Grove Visitor Center. As we experienced, the weather doesn’t always cooperate for a visit. In general, the Forest is open from mid-May to October and there is a $3.00 per adult to a maximum of $5.00 per vehicle. Fees can be paid at the Visitors Center when open or at a self-service fee tube near the Visitor Center. Schulman Grove has a small but nice Visitors Center with exhibits, a small shop, restrooms (very important!) and in the area are picnic tables, hiking trails and even a nearby campground. The Bristlecone pines can be viewed from the parking area of the Visitors center and along three interpretive nature trails. Because of the snow, we couldn’t hike the trails (in fact, we couldn’t even find them!). Patriarch Grove is an additional 12-mile drive north of Schulman Grove on a dirt road that was still closed when we were there. Here you can find the world’s largest Bristlecone Pine, the Patriarch Tree. The oldest living organism known in the world is a bristlecone pine tree nicknamed “Methuseleh” (after the longest-lived person in the Bible). Methuseleh’s location is kept a secret to protect it from vandalism. Its age is measured at 4,789 years old! A sad story: there was an even older pine than Methuseleh called “Prometheus”. When a student was taking core samples of trees to measure their age, his coring tool kept breaking so he applied for and, amazingly enough, got permission from the U.S. Forest Service to cut down the tree to take his measurements! After Prometheus was cut down, its rings were counted and it was discovered that the oldest living thing known to man had just been killed. Prometheus was at least 4,844 years old! This shocking story led to protest and later, the granting of protected status to the Forest. http://www.travbuddy.com/Ancient-Bristlecone-Pine-Forest-v203935

11) Four more people who have been living in a single redwood at the UC-Berkeley oak grove have come down since Tuesday, a university spokesman said Wednesday, and only a few remain aloft in the grove. Pamela “Olive” Zigo, 19, and Travis “Bird” Richey, 19, came down from the tree Wednesday after several hours of negotiations with University of California-Berkeley Assistant Police Chief Mitch Celaya. Tree-sitters have used nicknames to hide their identities. Zigo and Richey, who were both arrested on charges of trespassing and violating a court order that prohibits people from living in trees, were taken to Berkeley city jail and released, said university spokesman Dan Mogulof. Their descent took place without incident, after another tree-sitter attempted to leave the grove late Tuesday by scaling a fence, Mogulof said. Drew Beres, 19, was apprehended on the ground, arrested on charges of trespassing, violating the court order and a probation violation. He has been released from jail, Mogulof said. Shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday, Amanda “Dumpster Muffin” Tierney, 21, also came down peacefully from her perch. She is the woman who last month was seen in news photographs and on TV news programs yelling and jumping around in a wooden box that was attached to a tree at least 40 feet above the ground. The university cut off food and water supplies to tree-sitters about two weeks ago in hopes they would give up the protest, but have been providing them with cases of water and energy bars daily. http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_9773681?nclick_check=1

12) Opponents, who unsuccessfully challenged the 1997 sale at Grizzly Flat in court, said logging endangers the city’s water supply and removes large trees that provide a canopy, effectively eliminating the cover that shelters the forest floor from fuel build-up. “I don’t really see how you can possibly go in every 12 years … it just doesn’t make sense. There aren’t that many trees in there now,” said Betsy Herbert, a consultant from Bonny Doon who fought the 1997 Grizzly Flat sale. “They took quite a bit of timber out of there the first time. Now, 12 years later, there aren’t going to be that many great big trees that have grown back in 12 years,” Herbert said in an interview Friday. “The trees are just going to get smaller and smaller and smaller. Every time they go back in, the trees are going to get smaller.” In a letter about Grizzly Flat, Herbert added, “I think that the City of Watsonville is ill-advised to proceed with yet another logging plan in the same manner as before, without including the public in a discussion of how to best manage this property. This public discussion should include a post-mortem fire report for the Summit Fire, which partially burned the Grizzly Flat property.” Koch said the logging plan is designed to maintain a steady rate of tree regrowth, meaning that the city should be able to repeat similar harvests over time without reducing the net amount of timber. http://www.register-pajaronian.com/V2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=&story_id=4873

13) A project to log 161 acres on the Tahoe National Forest 15 miles from Truckee is on hold after foresters decided they need to take a closer look at the effects to plants and wildlife. An environmental assessment will take 12 to 14 months to study the cumulative effects of logging on federal land when combined with another timber harvest planned on adjacent private lands, said Quentin Youngblood, district ranger of the Sierraville Ranger District of the Tahoe National Forest. “We have to be very proactive analyzing the environmental effects,” Youngblood said. The decision was considered a victory by environmental groups who had appealed the Montez Project in May and asked the Forest Service to prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed logging. The Sierra Nevada property is located at 7,000 feet elevation, two miles southeast from Webber Lake, Youngblood said. “We would be removing competing conifer and thinning conifer to reduce existing fuel hazards. We know we have overstocked stand up there,” Youngblood said. Fifty years of fire suppression has led to the overcrowded forest, Youngblood said. Foresters will look at how the two projects would affect vegetation, water quality, fisheries and wildlife such as the spotted owl, Northern Goshawk and Pine Martin. The forests consist of red fir, aspen, white fir and Ponderosa pine, Youngblood said. To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail lbrown@theunion.com or call 477-4231.
http://www.theunion.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080630/NEWS/726662189/1066/NEWS&parentpro
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14) Just because a tree is scorched and leafless, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dead. Given time, a good number of the trees burned in the recent wildfires will recover. Many of our native trees have developed adaptations to withstand California’s periodic wildfires. Today’s leafless skeleton may eventually be able to recover much of its former glory. Tree survival depends on the nature of the fire that swept through an area. A fast, low-intensity fire might just cause a tree to lose the current crop of leaves, and the tree could be green and full of leaves by next summer. On the other extreme, a hot fire can turn a stand of trees into an eerie forest of charcoal. Bark insulates a tree against fire. The first step in evaluating a tree for recovery is to see if the bark was able to protect delicate tissues underneath. Scrape off a very small section of the charred bark and see if there is a pale, moist layer preserved below. If it’s whitish, pink or pale green that’s a good sign; if it’s yellow, orange or brown, it’s probably damaged. Check a few more locations around the trunk. If 60 percent or more circumference of the trunk is uninjured, the tree is a good candidate for preservation. Trees damaged more seriously than this may recover, but they are more likely to be unstable and subject to attack by insects and diseases. Smaller trees are more sensitive than larger trees. Once trees for preservation are identified, there are a few things that can be done to help them recover. Replace the mulch that has burned off. This will protect the roots and help to re-establish beneficial fungi in the soil. If there are arborists working in the area, many will deliver chips for free or a nominal charge. Delay all pruning except safety pruning. It can take a long time for some trees to resprout. In a year, it will be much easier to evaluate which parts are dead and which are alive. If the trees were in a landscape, continue to water them. After the soil is rewetted, they won’t need as much water as they previously did. Native oaks shouldn’t be watered this summer, though if the rains start late this year, a deep watering in mid- to late-October would be beneficial. If we have another dry winter, give oaks another deep watering in April or early May. The most important thing is patience. Trees react slowly, but they are tough. Don’t cut down trees just because they “look dead.” http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_9773626

15) When managers of the Cleveland National Forest tried to limit access at four sites last year to protect nesting raptors, rock climbers protested, saying they would be locked out of areas popular for their sport. The strong opposition – some of it rallied from climbers across the country – surprised the U.S. Forest Service. Officials retreated and have yet to adopt a plan for balancing the interests of birds and climbers. It’s the kind of conflict that has become increasingly common and intense as once-remote federal lands are besieged by growing numbers of users. Besides climbers and wildlife advocates, the Forest Service must juggle demands from telecommunications companies, hunters and campers, utilities, off-road-vehicle enthusiasts, hikers, horse riders, neighbors and others. The forest offers attractions in every season, including winter snows that draw carloads of visitors to its mountains. “We are getting pressure from all sides,” said Cleveland National Forest Supervisor Will Metz. “It’s so divisive and it’s so emotional.” The forest marks its centennial Tuesday. Opinions vary about how those who manage its 438,000 acres of open space in San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties are performing. Some users said officials are willing to work with them. Others said the managers lack commitment to helping endangered species rebound. Still others said the agency’s staff is ambivalent about making sure people can enjoy the public’s land. Another compounding factor is population growth. About 10 million people live within an hour’s drive of the three districts that make up the Cleveland National Forest. “The biggest difference is what’s happening around the forest. . . . More people are moving in,” said Tom White, a land management planner who started working at the forest in the late 1970s. This closeness compels the Forest Service to devote ever-larger chunks of its budget to prevent fires – natural and man-made – from spreading beyond the forest into residential communities. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080629-9999-1n29forests.html

Idaho:

16) A decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Wednesday could become a landmark for logging in national forests. The suit, originally filed in district court, contended the Forest Service failed to comply with the National Forest Management Act in approving the project, which included selective logging of 3,829 acres in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. District court denied the injunction, but was initially overturned by the appeals court. “The 9th Circuit reversed itself,” O’Brien said. The battle has been ongoing since 2004, when the Forest Service approved the project. “It certainly is (a setback),” said Mike Petersen, executive director of the Lands Council. He said the issue revolves around whose science should be believed in determining the status of forests, particularly the health of old-growth trees. “If the Forest Service would make the commitment not to cut trees over 21 inches, we would have common ground,” Petersen said. “They claim a tree is starting to die, even after a wildfire when experts said the tree is not going to die.” The court said the Forest Service science was appropriate, O’Brien said. http://www.cdapress.com/articles/2008/07/03/news/news04.txt

Montana:

17) The Smith Creek Timber Sale would be on 692 acres in the Crazy Mountains, according to the suit. Sharon Hapner, a resident of the Smith Creek area, joined the two groups as a plaintiff. Steve Kratville of the public affairs staff at the Forest Service regional office in Missoula said Wednesday the case had not yet been reviewed by the agency. “We think it (the timber sale) is a good project that proposes doing needed fuels reduction work in the wildland-urban interface,” Kratville said. The project went through a process for public review, he added. Groups against logging planned in the Gallatin National Forest north of Livingston have sued the Forest Service, eight days after naming it in a lawsuit that challenged logging planned southwest of Butte. The case filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council says the Gallatin logging would violate the forest’s overarching plan and its provisions for Yellowstone cutthroat trout, big game, old-growth trees and dead trees. On June 23, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council sued over plans for logging in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest about 10 miles southwest of Butte. http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080702/NEWS01/80702009/1002

18) Among the targeted areas are Sawmill Gulch in Missoula’s Rattlesnake Valley, the Frenchtown foothills and the Superior and St. Regis areas northwest of Missoula. Forests in those wildland-urban interface areas – where residential development meets the woods – are crowded with fuels that can create unusually intense surface fires that leap into the crowns of trees, officials said. The Frenchtown Face project, which is under way, includes thinning, commercial logging and prescribed burning of about 3,600 acres, and prescribed burning of an additional 6,500 acres within the low-elevation ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forests. The goal is to use thinning and other tools to return the area’s ecosystem to a more natural condition, improve fish and wildlife habitat and reduce the risk of tree death from bark beetles, said Boyd Hartwig, spokesman for the Lolo National Forest. Beetle-killed trees are a major source of fuel for wildfires. The Frenchtown Face project also includes removing or replacing culverts, reconstructing or decommissioning of roads, spraying noxious weeds and improving campgrounds, picnic areas, parking areas, trailheads and off-highway vehicle, mountain bike and horse trails. The Sawmill Gulch project, which is under way, includes 754 acres of timber cutting, brush removal and prescribed fires. More than 400 of those acres are within the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area. After the 2003 wildfires burned thousands of acres of national forestland near Missoula, the Forest Service, Sierra Club, Society of American Foresters and private landowners formed a partnership to reduce fuels on public and private lands around Sawmill Gulch. The project, which will take several years to complete, will reduce the number of trees by up to 50 percent in the work area. This summer, thinning will occur on 178 acres of the project area. The Sawmill Gulch trail will remain open, but there may be short-term closures. Recreationists are urged to use caution near the work zone and logging trucks. Two more fuel-reduction projects are nearly complete near the towns of Superior and St. Regis. The projects are only about 200 acres each, but they are critical because they target crowded forests on the towns’ borders, Sweeney said. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/07/03/news/mtregional/news07.txt

19) A huge patchwork of privately owned forest in northwest Montana — much of it abutting wilderness, and together almost a third the size of Rhode Island — will be permanently protected from development under an agreement announced Monday by two private conservation groups, the Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land. The groups will pay $510 million for about 500 square miles of forest now owned by Plum Creek Timber, a lumber and real estate firm based in Seattle. It is one of the biggest sales of forest land for preservation purposes in United States history, conservation experts said. About half the amount will come from private donations, the conservation buyers said, and about half from the federal government under a new tax-credit bond mechanism that was included in the giant farm bill recently passed by Congress over President Bush’s veto. The bond mechanism was devised by Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana. Mr. Baucus, his spokesman said, was approached about a year ago by representatives of the Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land, who argued that development pressures were growing so intense that new tools had to be created to buy the Plum Creek properties if they were to be protected. “The ordinary tool kit was not industrial-strength enough for us to make an offer,” said William Ginn, the director of conservation markets and investments for the Nature Conservancy, and one of the lead negotiators of the deal. Mr. Baucus’s spokesman, Barrett Kaiser, said that while Montana might be the pilot for the conservation bonds, Mr. Baucus believed there would be applications for preserving lands all over the country. Mr. Kaiser said there had been “no deal on the table” to buy the Plum Creek properties when the bond measure was passed. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/us/01develop.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

20) When the ink finally dries on the largest conservation land purchase in the history of the United States – 320,000 Montana forest acres for $510 million – nearly nothing will have changed. And that, of course, is exactly the point. The deal between Plum Creek Timber Co. and conservation buyers is designed to maintain the status quo; the real change would come if those western Montana acres were sold instead to real estate developers.
http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/07/01/news/local/news02.txt I guess I don’t really understand this. Why did someone pay so much money to let Plum Creek continue cutting trees. Is this a good deal? – Lynne — – The resource colony called Montana has no forest practices act to regulate “private” lands. It’s a deregulated free-for-all. So, Plum Creek Timber Co. liquidated its forest asset. Left with only the land (sans trees) to sell, it just hit the jackpot. Good? Nothing is good about 150 years of corporate subsidies, but the unintended consequences are less evil than the (subdivisions) alternative. Oh, there will still be subdivisions, just a lot fewer. Good, or excellent, is never an option in a rigged world limited to choosing between evil or the lesser-evil. Stumps@lists.forestcouncil.org

Wyoming:

21) The High Uintas Preservation Council is against a plan that would harvest trees near Whitney Reservoir east of Kamas. The West Bear Vegetation Management Project is located about 40 miles south of Evanston, Wyo., and would require almost eight miles of new temporary roads. “Language is everything vegetation management project translates, in this case, to timber sale!” the June edition of the High Uintas Preservation Council newsletter states. “The desire to proceed with constructing eight miles of roads and turn hundreds of acres of forests into cubic feet appears to be the prime motive.” But U.S. Forest Service officials claim timber harvesting and prescribed fires are necessary for stimulating tree regeneration. They intend to clear spruce, fir, mixed conifers and aspen off about 1,686 acres of land in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. “It’s a large area,” said Larry Johnson, a timber management coordinator in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Prescribed fires and timber sales could occur in the area in the next five years, he explained. Mature trees are removed to “create uneven regeneration of the stands,” Johnson said.” Aspen, really needs disturbance to regenerate — either fire or timber harvest,” he said. “It stimulates suckering from the root systems.” Acting Forest Supervisor Dave Myers approved the project June 11 and there were 45 days to appeal the decision. Contact Johnson at (307) 789-3194 for information about how to file an appeal. http://www.parkrecord.com/county/ci_9721642

Texas:

22) If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably heard about the debate raging over the 100 year-old pecan grove in South Austin that is being partially felled for the Barton Place condos. The debate over how the land is being treated by developers even led to an indictment of the developers and Austin Java (owned by one of the co-developers and located amidst the chaos on Barton Springs Road) by musician Marcia Ball at Blues on the Green last week, which in turn led to a written response from Austin Java owner Rick Engel to Ball. Well, it turns out Ball and her suggested boycott of Austin Java, which Engel said led in part to a 50% drop off in business at the restaurant last Thursday, is not the only one raising a stink over the tree removal.A documentary about the tree removal is making its debut online today. According to a press release: “At What Cost?”, a short film about the demise of a 100-year-old pecan grove in the center of Austin, debuts today on the internet. The film, by Tom Suhler, takes the form of an obituary for one of the 50 trees that were toppled to make room for the Barton Place Condominiums.” Shuler goes on to say, “I don’t consider myself an environmental activist. I’ve owned land; I believe in property-owner’s rights. But once I started documenting the land-clearing I was surprised how much the take-down affected me and those of other Austin residents. So I put this piece together to try to resolve some of those feelings.” Check out the film’s Web site here: http://www.atwhatcostthemovie.com/ http://www.austin360.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/mo/entries/2008/07/01/online_doc
umentary_about_tree.html

Illinois:

23) GENEVA – They were only up for short time, but Marsha Reinecke said she made her point. Signs seeking honks to save trees leaned against the Geneva woman’s wood fence Thursday afternoon. By Friday, they were taken down because, Reinecke said, they fulfilled her intention of raising tree awareness. Reinecke expressed concern Thursday over a neighbor’s plan to remove an area of trees for a new driveway off South Batavia Avenue between Foxford and Hawley lanes. “These are living things,” she said while standing in front of the soon-to-be-removed trees, which are lined with bright orange netting that can be seen from the street. Reinecke said her neighbor, who has spoken with her and other neighbors about his plans, is going to remodel the existing brick drive into a “grand, fancy driveway with monuments.” She stressed that she’s not mad at her neighbor, who according to the city, followed city requirements for tree removal. The city requires those seeking to remove trees to fill out an application, which then must be approved. Geneva City Administrator Mary McKittrick said Friday that Reinecke’s neighbor “has been through the permitting process” and “meets our codes.” “In all fairness, he owns it,” Reinecke said of the driveway, which she and other neighbors use through a covenant with the county. “If the city approved it, he’s entitled to do it, but the city needs to have something in place.” Another problem, Reinecke said, is that the definition of “tree” comes down to individual interpretation. From her count, there’s about 30 trees that will be lost, but she said the city count is at six because some are classified as “tree shrub,” rather than a “tree.” Regardless, Reinecke said she doesn’t understand how a city that prides itself on its character and tree city designation can approve such a project. “I may not be able to change this,” Reinecke said. “But the city needs to know next time, there will be a whole group of activists looking over their shoulders.” http://www.kcchronicle.com/articles/2008/07/01/news/local/doc48660d268f688931534591.txt

New Hampshire:

24) Forest managers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states soon will enlist wasps to help search for a tree-killing. By monitoring which beetles the wasps (Cerceris fumipennis) carry home, foresters hope they will be able to detect emerald ash borer infestations more quickly than by current methods, which could take up to three years. “The earlier we detect an infestation, the more options we have for management and eradication,” said Mike Bohne, Northeastern Area Forest Health Group Leader in Durham. He said at least a dozen agencies will participate this summer and fall, in New York, all six New England states, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Forest experts believe people have helped the spread of the emerald ash borer by carrying firewood long distances. Several states have placed restrictions on the movement of firewood and ash wood products to reduce the spread. The emerald ash borer is native to Asia. It kills ash trees within a few years after infestation. Infestations continue to spread toward the Northeast through Pennsylvania and Ontario and threaten the entire North American ash family, Forest Service spokesman Glenn Rosenholm said. The Forest Service considers invasive species one of its top forest threats, costing the United States about $138 billion a year in reduced revenue and forest value, and control and eradication. Currently, foresters looking for the boring beetle often have to kill trees to try to save a forest. One method involves stripping bark off ash trees, which is costly, time-consuming and kills the tree. A newer method involves deploying purple prism traps high in tree canopies. It is costly and time consuming, but spares the tree. The wasp method is simpler and cheaper and does not harm trees. And they don’t have to import the wasps. They live in a wide area of the United States, from Canada to Mexico and as far west as the Rockies. Foresters find a C. fumipennis colony, put a clear plastic cup over the entrance hole, and note what insects the wasp brings back to the colony. If the wasps do not carry an emerald ash borer home within the first 40 returns, it is unlikely there is an infestation, said Canadian Food Inspection Agency Entomologist Philip Careless, in Ontario. http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=8584839&nav=menu183_2_2_5

Virginia:

25) Since the last survey published in 2002, there has been an estimated net loss of forest land of nearly 128,000 acres. Forests now cover 15.7 million acres of Virginia’s 25.4 million acres, according to the survey. With an average plot re-measurement period of 5.2 years, the net loss was at an annual rate of 25,000 acres per year, up from 20,000 acres per year in the 7th survey. Despite the loss of forestland, positive net growth on the remaining acres has increased the total biomass by 50 million dry tons and total growing stock wood volume by 18 million cubic feet. Therefore the amount of carbon stored in Virginia’s forests has increased by nearly 6%. Despite the loss of trees to gypsy moth defoliation, hemlock wooly adelgid, southern pine beetle and hurricane Isabel in 2003, mortality rates were lower during the 8th survey period than the previous survey period. Regional differences in forest land loss, growth and mortality exists across Virginia and these will be addressed in future posts. If you would like to explore the 8th survey data further you can visit the USFS Forest Inventory data website for more details. http://virginiaforests.blogspot.com/2008/06/virginias-8th-forest-survey-shows-loss.html
26) Along Americana Drive in Annandale, well-maintained apartment complexes are nestled in lush, dense woods. Swimming pools and tennis courts are connected by a network of paved footpaths. Depending on the spot, the roar of the Capital Beltway can sound like little more than a faint whisper. That last fact will change dramatically with an enormous widening project recently begun along the Beltway, which lies a stone’s throw from such Annandale complexes as Heritage Court, Heritage Woods, Ivy Mount and Lafayette Forest. Like neighborhoods all along the 14-mile stretch of Beltway where two lanes will be added in each direction, these communities are about to lose virtually all of the vegetative buffer that has grown between them and the highway for 40 years. And they’re not happy about it. “This is a catastrophe for this neighborhood,” said Amy R. Gould, 52, a 13-year resident of Lafayette Forest. “We’re going to have beautiful views of retaining walls with no buffers and no trees.” Gould said she considers herself lucky: Her 1980s-era condominium complex sits in its own woodland, providing more insulation from the Beltway than dozens of apartments, condominium buildings and townhouses that line Americana Drive. But she is furious that state highway officials and county leaders allowed a $1.4 billion project that calls for forest destruction that, she said, will leave the Beltway looking like the Springfield interchange: a sea of concrete, asphalt and steel, with little green in view. “They keep telling us we have a great quality of life here, but what makes it is the greenery and the wildlife,” she said. Gould is not alone. Across Northern Virginia, commuters from McLean, Alexandria and Arlington and Fairfax counties have been waking up in recent weeks to the reality of the Beltway widening project. Road crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation and its contractor, Fluor-Transurban, have been working quickly to clear massive staging areas and station heavy equipment and office trailers near the highway’s interchanges with Braddock Road, Interstate 66 and Georgetown Pike. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/02/AR2008070201252.html

Pennsylvania:

27) Dave Henry figures the oak trees that dominate the hilltop off Pinch Road, just south of Mount Gretna, have been growing there for the past century. In just the past two years, however, gypsy moth caterpillars have killed nearly all of them. “Seventy percent of the trees in this block of forest are oaks,” said Henry, southeast regional forester for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. “Ninety percent of them are dead.” Henry delivered his bleak diagnosis Wednesday morning during a media tour of a section of the 3,000-acre State Game Lands 145 in southern Lebanon County, just over the Lancaster County line. The Game Commission is planning a timber cut and ground foliage elimination project on 53 acres of SGL 145 on the west side of Pinch Road at Mount Gretna Borough in an effort to re-establish the oak forest. Except for a few oaks that are still living and some maples and tulip poplars left scattered throughout the tract, virtually all of the vegetation will be cut down or killed over the next year. Then, 1,000 oak seedlings will be planted to jump-start regeneration of the forest. “I’m not going to lie to you. For the first year or two, it’s going to look pretty bleak up here,” Henry said. “But in about five years, it’s going to be so thick in here you won’t be able to walk though it.” SGL 145 is not the only tract in the Furnace Hills that’s likely to see such measures by the Game Commission to revive forests devastated by gypsy moth caterpillars the past two years. After receiving reports from Game Commission foresters who surveyed several parts of southeast Pennsylvania by helicopter Tuesday, Henry said more tree-clearing projects probably will be scheduled for nearby SGL 156 and SGL 46 in northern Lancaster County. http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/223934

28) More than 50 acres of Pennsylvania Game Commission land just south of Mount Gretna will be logged sometime late this year or in 2009.The trees to be cut include many dead and dying oak trees which have been damaged by gypsy moths during the past two years, said David Henry, Forester for the Game Commission’s southeast region. The area to be logged lies along the south and east boundaries of the 3,000 acre Game Land 145. Some of the trees to be cut are along the west side of Pinch Road in West Cornwall Twp. After a bidding process the Game Commission expects to award a contract for the logging by the end of September, Henry said. Game Commission staff will be marking trees to save with red paint. About 15 to 20 trees per acre, including some seed and den trees, would be spared the loggers’ chain saw, Henry said. In September herbicide will be applied to kill ground cover plants such Japanese stilt grass and spicebush that would make it difficult for seedlings to grow. Game Commission officials agreed that the first few months after the logging wouldn’t be a pretty sight in the logged area. “It’s going to look bleak for a couple of months,” Henry said. But not logging was not an option, said southeast region land manager Bruce Metz. “Doing nothing would be abdicating our responsibility,” he said. Henry said clearing the dead trees was necessary in order to start a new stand of trees. In five years, he said, the new seedlings should be growing as high as your head, he said. http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2008/07/game_commission_to_log_woodlan.html

29) Haycock’s formidable terrain has kept major development at bay, but township officials are taking no chances. The supervisors are considering two new ordinances to further protect wetlands, floodplains and other environmentally sensitive areas from development, as well as additional measures to minimize the effects of logging. “We’re always looking at things that could possibly be an issue,” said supervisor Chairwoman Kathy Babb. One regulation is designed to make sure new development in the agricultural and preservation areas of the township does not harm natural resources. It would require all new single family homes being built on at least 2 acres to have a building envelope of at least 15,000 square feet. Within this envelope there can be no floodplains, lakes, ponds, wetlands or other environmental resources. “We’ve had some people coming in and creating a little building envelope here and there. Haycock has a lot of lots that are not meant to be developed to the maximum,” said Babb. The nearly 20-square-mile Upper Bucks township has virtually been immune to the growing pains its neighbors have endured in recent years. The largest development in the last decade was 11 homes on 70 acres off Harrisburg School Road. Most development proposals in the township are for minor one- or two-lot subdivisions. “One of the things that make Haycock unique is its topographical features,” said Babb. “It protects us from being overly developed and keeps our rural setting.” Half of Haycock is preserved land and cannot be built on. More than 2,000 acres are state game lands, including Haycock Mountain, and there’s the 500-acre Lake Towhee county park. Individuals have also preserved land through Bucks County’s open-space program. http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/113-06302008-1556467.html

30) Restore-Protect-Expand: That’s the motto of Habitat for Wildlife Inc., which had an opportunity Sunday afternoon to showcase the tremendous amount of work its small group of volunteers has put forth since 2001 to improve the environment in reclaimed mine area off Route 901 above Excelsior. Dave Kaleta of Shamokin, president of Habitat for Wildlife, served as the tour guide for a program sponsored by the Central Susquehanna Woodland Owners Association that attracted approximately 20 people interested in sound woodland management. Assisting Kaleta on the 1¼-mile walking tour were state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Forester Marty Martynowych, Bob Harris and Henry Williams, president and vice president, respectively, of Central Susquehanna Woodland Owners Association. Harris said the public educational program entitled “Diamonds in the Rough: Turning Our Coal Lands into Premier Wildlife Habitat,” is one of several sponsored by the association throughout the coal region. Kaleta said Habitat for Wildlife has planted approximately 25,000 trees and other vegetation to restore the once scarred and toxic area so wildlife can thrive and families, hikers and sportsmen can safely visit and enjoy the outdoors. http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19814908&BRD=2715&PAG=461&dept_id=558782&rfi=6

Massachusetts:

31) Mr. Matera and his wife settled in Northampton and, to his dismay, he found evidence of forest clear-cutting on state Department of Conservation property, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife management areas and the Quabbin watershed. He documented his concerns with aerial and ground-level photographs on the Web sites http://clearcutma.blogspot.com and http://clearcuttingmapubliclands.blogspot.com. Mr. Matera urges people to ask their legislators and Gov. Deval L. Patrick to stop the practice, stating, “Clear-cutting looks bad, because it is bad.” Not a scientist himself, Mr. Matera cites several sources on his Web sites to support his claim. He said he has 20 years of experience as a civil engineer.Managers of the state’s forests acknowledge there is no disguising a clear-cut for what it is, but they see things differently and say Mr. Matera’s concern does not take into account forest science. Foresters who oversee the Quabbin Reservoir watershed, the DCR forests and parks, and the state’s wildlife management areas say clear-cutting to replace existing plantations is essential to improve the natural diversity of tree species, promote wildlife habitat and, in the case of Quabbin, protect the forest that in turn protects the water supply for 2.2 million state residents. The Quabbin plantations are primarily red pine and Norway spruce, both non-native species that foresters would eventually like to replace with trees native to the region — white pine, red oak, maple and birch. Foresters at the Harvard University Graduate School of Forestry in Petersham are planning clear-cutting at Harvard Forest as well, and often are asked, “Isn’t clear-cutting bad for the environment?” The consensus among Harvard Forest experts is that clear-cutting based on best forest management practices is an accepted and effective method of regenerating forests. Herm Eck, chief Quabbin forester, said at the June 16 annual review of Quabbin’s 10-year land management plan that clearing selected tracts of watershed, the majority of which range from less than a half-acre to 2 acres, is necessary for maintaining the most weather-resilient and disease-resistant forest to protect the water supply. Mr. Eck said the goal is to open up 1 percent of the 40,000 managed acres each year for regeneration, at the same time providing new wildlife habitat. http://www.telegram.com/article/20080703/NEWS/807030652/1101

32) FRANKLIN — Disguised as movers, four Greenpeace activists broke into the newly opened Kimberly-Clark office building with boxes of recycled toilet paper and a document demanding the company “stop destroying one of North America’s wildest forests” to produce disposable products, according to Greenpeace “forest campaigner” Lindsey Allen. The activists, Stephanie D. Finneran, 22, Chelsea M. Ritter-Soronen, 21, Rachel L. Humphreys, 24, and Travis J. Peters, 22, rang the bell and were admitted into the facility at 124 Grove St., then chained themselves together in the hallway and refused to the leave, said Franklin Deputy Police Chief Steve Semerjian. Police found the key to their padlock on one of them and arrested them on charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct, Semerjian said. “I’m not sure what ruse they used, but … it’s not like they were assaulting anyone. They come along when it’s time to go, they’re not rookies,” said Semerjian. “They believe in what they’re doing – what are you going to do? They’re not violent people, at least not this group,” Semerjian said. The environmental activists were protesting the Kleenex-makers’ limited use of recycled fiber in its products, Allen said. Kimberly-Clark is one of the largest tissue product companies in the world. It manufactures the popular Kleenex, Scott and Cottonelle brands of toilet paper and facial tissue. Greenpeace chose to protest yesterday because Kimberly-Clark just moved into the new, 15,000 square-foot location at Franklin Oaks Office Park. “The event is the latest step in an international campaign to force Kimberly-Clark to stop purchasing pulp for its disposable products, including Kleenex, from destructive logging operations in Canada’s Boreal Forest,” Allen said. Greenpeace is asking Kimberly-Clark to have a higher standard of forest protection, said Basil Tsimoyianis, an activist who attempted to negotiate with the company to sign a pledge. http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/x875595549/Greenpeace-activists-protest-in-Franklin

Alabama:

33) After Dorothy England, who moved to the shores of Woodland Lake near here in east Tuscaloosa County eight years ago, she planted three crape myrtle trees in her back yard. They didn’t seem to be thriving, however, and she had almost decided to prune them back drastically and maybe even cut one of them down. “The problem was they wouldn’t bloom,” she said one day recently. “But just look at them now. And I think it’s all because of the bees.” Those would be bumble bees. Hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand of them which for the past few weeks have been swarming to her trees like clockwork about 8 a.m. every morning. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said as a steady hum surrounded the trees, whose flower petals were falling like snow as the busy bees went about their business. “They show up at the same time and then about 11 o’clock start leaving one-by-one. In an hour they’re all gone. “It all started about a month ago when I came out early in the morning and noticed that my trees were finally blooming and there were petals all over the ground,” she said. “And then here come the bees. “I don’t know where they come from or where they go, but this is the first time I’ve seen so many in one place — they don’t seem to be attracted to the crape myrtle I have the front yard — but they really seem to be helping these,” she said. “They’ve never bloomed like this before.” Milton Ward, an associate dean for Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama, who also has a degree in entomology, said that while such concentrations of bumble bees doesn’t necessarily happen that often, it is not unheard of. “I would imagine it is more a function of the trees than the bees,” he said. “This just might happen to be the year the trees are putting out exactly the right aroma to attract swarms like that. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&hs=8
uI&q=Indian+country+today%3A+Alan+Parker&btnG=Search

365 Asia-Pacific-Australia


Index:

–Russia: 1) Cathay’s private logging roads / 45% of Japan’s wood from Russia
–Bangladesh: 2) Wild animal decline in human-filled Modhupur forests
–India: 3) Power company caught cutting, 4) Forest smell of sandalwood all but gone,
–Vietnam: 5) New paper plant will consume 200,000 tons of pulp per year
–Philippines:6) Forest Faces: Hopes and Regrets in Forestry, 7) Declare illegal logging a heinous crime, 8) Value of uncut forests needs to be included in management law,
–Indonesia: 9) Save the dipterocarp forests: stop Asia pulp & Paper, 10) Call to stop all forestry deals in Papua, 11) Gov. again lies about no more oil palm expansion, 12) Plan to build massive highway will rip the heart out of Papua,
–Malaysia: 13) Gov. lies about no more oil palm expansion, 14) Jungle train no longer travels through jungle, just oil palm, 15) Ulu Muda reserve logging plan in state of Kedah get loads of media attention, 16) Cont.
–New Zealand: 17) More on treaty’s handover of Whakarewarewa Forest, 18) Novel log shipping method contaminated with bugs,
–Australia: 19) UN may help with protecting Tassie forests, 20) Gov. refuses to analyze logging phase out in Upper Yarra, 21) Bartlett just as corrpupt as Lennon when it comes to Gunns, 22) Senators oppose more tax breaks for forests as Carbon sinks, 23) Gov promises that enviro protection authority with only one staff member will have teeth? 24) Indigenous values of 18 Wet Tropics rainforest tribes, 25) Victoria to protect 75,000 hectares for rare possum, mouse and frog, 26) 75% of Tassies want Gunns deal killed, 27) Rainforest at Woolgoolga Creek is now protected, 28) Forest and Ag not hit as hard as thought, 29) Protest to Rudd written in Japanese,

Russia:

1) Cathay’s report finds that in an effort to begin harvesting operations, all major phases of infrastructure construction are on or ahead of schedule. Harvesting activities are expected to commence in the third quarter of 2008 with annual production projected to reach approximately 300,000 cubic metres by the end of 2009. The report also shows significant advantages with Cathay’s strategy of creating and using an in-house road construction unit as Cathay is better able to control construction costs and quality. In addition, ownership of machinery allows multiple uses across future projects. The access road construction is completed and the logging road is in progress and expected to be finished ahead of original schedule. The Indufor report identified Japan as the most attractive wood market in Asia. 45% of all logs imported into Japan are sourced from Russia due to strict Japanese quality standards. Japan will continue to rely heavily on Russian wood exports as Japanese industry continues to shift towards using softwood plywood. Russia also continues to be leading exporter to China and wood prices in the region have been increasing significantly over the past 2 years. Indufor also recommends that Cathay constructs a sawmill facility in Russia in order to achieve higher profitability as it will allow wood exports to bypass recently enacted and future export tariffs on un-processed roundwood. http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1716434/

Bangladesh:

2) With shrinking of forest areas, wild animals in Modhupur forests in Tangail district are decreasing. Shortage of food, poaching and negligence of duties by the forest department officials are also responsible for the imperilment of wild animals in the forests. Many kinds of wild animals including leopard, wild buffalo, wild cow, wild hog, wild cock, peacock, spotted deer, jackal, wild cat, mongoose, wild goat, red mouth monkey, black mouth baboon, porcupine, squirrel, hare, pangolin, wild cat and bobcat etc were seen in Modhupur forests only three to four decades ago, said Forest Department officials and indigenous residents of Modhupur. Besides, a large number of different varieties of birds including hawk, kite, vulture, mynah, nightingale, swallow, owl, pigeon, dove, skylark, sparrow, woodpecker, parakeet, parrot, different varieties of martin, dove and kingfisher were available in the forests. There were also different varieties of reptiles and snakes including python and poisonous cobra, different varieties of frogs, numerous varieties of environment friendly worms including earthworm, ant and white ant, many varieties of butterflies in Modhupur forests. Land grabbers have occupied total 20,000 acres out of 45,565 acres of forestland in Modhupur region by using forge documents. The grabbers, most of them local influential people, have raised different orchards including banana and pineapple cutting and destroying forests, they said. There is also 17,436 acres of forests under Modhupur Garh region in Mymensingh district. The government raised a National Park covering 30,000 acres of forestlands in Modhupur region in 1962. Massive destruction of forests still continues while steps taken by the local administration and forest department are too ineffective, locals alleged.Most of the wildlife of Modhupur forests including leopard, wild buffalo, wild cow, wild hog, peacock, wild goat, porcupine, hare and pangolin have already gone lost due to shrinking of forests, shortage of foods and poaching by a section of local residents. Thousands of red mouth monkeys, black mouth baboons, hares, squirrels, wild cocks, jackals and hundreds of spotted deer were seen in Modhupur forests several years ago. But the number of these wild animals has greatly reduced following food crisis due to unusual decrease of trees and plants in Modhupur forests. Often wild animals are seen moving near residential areas due to shortage of their foods in forests. Over 70,000 people including 25,000 indigenous people living in forests under Modhupur Garh region in Tangail and Mymensingh districts, depend on the forest resources for their livelihood, forest department sources said. http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=42931

India:

3) The forest department of Himachal Pradesh has booked Trident Power System Ltd for axing trees in violation of the Forest Conservation Act, official sources said Tuesday. The company, executing the 5-MW Uhal hydroelectric project in Mandi district, has been asked to stop the construction work, a forest officer said. The forest department had accused the company of dumping debris in a tributary of river Beas and cutting trees in the forest area. The company had axed 18 trees in violation of a ban imposed by the state government, Kunal Satyarthi, Mandi’s divisional forest officer, told IANS. He said the project authorities claimed they had the permission to cut the trees.Even “if they had the permission, then the state forest corporation can cut the trees on their behalf”, Satyarthi said.The project authorities had not even demarcated their area, according to the officer. These violations came to the notice of the forest department during the demarcation process in May. However, the company has denied violating the ban. “The forest department directed us not to cut trees, so we have moved the high court in this regard. No trees have been damaged by us,” said Rajinder Sharma, an official of the power project. http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/uncategorized/power-company-accused-of-illegal-axing-of-tr
ees-in-himachal_10066412.html

4) There was a time when if you walked into the forests of Kollegal, you could literally smell the sandal. It was called Gandhdhagudi or the fragrant forests. Today, the name seems like a joke as not a single sandalwood tree in sight. In fact, NDTV’s search for a tree leads it on a desperate journey across the vast forests. So what happened? How did the sandal disappear? ”In the last 30 years, dacoits like Malayoor Mamooty and Veerappan began felling trees. And it’s reached such a stage that there are no trees left not only in the forest, even outside it. It’s difficult to find even a single tree,” said Rajendra Kollegal, a conservation activist. As per the Karnataka Forest Department, between 1972 and 1997, Veerappan alone was responsible for smuggling more than 10,000 tonnes of sandalwood from these forests, which earned him more than $22 million. His final capture and death in 2004 should have made these sandalwood forests safe. But there is another shocking truth. Sandalwood smuggling has actually become much worse. Smaller smugglers, who had stayed away from the sandal in fear of Veerappan, now have a free for all. ‘’After Veerappan’s death, the sandalwood smuggling has become diversified and many smugglers have come into play. The number of trees that are removed are much more,” said Dr M Munireddy, additional principal chief conservator. What’s more is the Special Task Force to combat Veerappan and sandalwood poaching no longer exists. And the countless new Mini-Veerappans have pushed up smuggling by 430 per cent. As per data by Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, in between 1970 and 1980, 412 metric tonne was smuggled. In between 1980 and 1990, it increased to 1918 metric tonne while during 1990 and 2000, it was 3340 metric tonne. And now, in between 2000 and March 2008, it is 14,338 metric tonne. It was surprising to see a man, who as per the police has been absconding for 10 years with 44 cases of sandalwood poaching, sit comfortably outside his house in Sheshadripuram. http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080055131

Vietnam:

5) Tran Duc Thinh, general director of Tan Mai Paper Company, said construction of the plant will begin this year, with the facility scheduled to come into operation in 2010. The plant, to be equipped with an automatic production line, will turn out 200,000 tons of pulp a year. Tan Mai has so far planted 10,000 hectares of forest in Lam Dong Province to supply its paper production. The company last month was greenlighted to build a VND900 billion ($54 million) ecotourism resort and golf course in Lam Dong’s Di Linh District, where it is also implementing a $30-million afforestation project. The Kala Lake Resort, covering nearly 4,000 hectares on the shores of Kala Lake, will include an 18-hole golf course, a luxury hotel and restaurants. It will additionally host a craft village where visitors can enjoy gong performances and local artisans making handmade products. Visitors to the resort complex will be able to climb mountains, row canoes on Kala Lake, go camping or visit ethnic villages in nearby forests. http://www.thanhniennews.com/business/?catid=2&newsid=39714

Philippines:

6) Forest Faces: Hopes and Regrets in Philippine Forestry is published by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC) at the Ateneo de Manila University. “In few countries has forest management’s successes and failures been played out so dramatically as in the Philippines,” writes FAO’s He Changchui. “The scale of forest loss… irrevocably altered the identity of many Filipinos…” This book “gives a face” to the interplay between Filipinos and forests. “Not all embrace the value and indispensability of trees and forests,” it says. “Currents of regret for what has gone before and cautionary notes for what has yet to come” resonate throughout. “Forestry is not about trees,” the legendary forester Jack Westoby taught. “It is about people.” And Forest Faces hews to Westoby’s insight through striking photographs and interviews. These were arranged by FAO’s Christopher Brown and Patrick Durst with ESSC’s Peter Walpole. Interviewees include “the weak and the powerful, unknown as well as most influential” Filipinos. Among them are lumads (indigenous persons), rebel commanders, forest guards, a climatologist, a cardinal, a European Union diplomat and policymakers. “No more dirges for Philippine forests,” songwriter Joey Ayala insists. In Mount Banahaw’s forests, he gathered material for his songs. Ayala “dreams of a time” when his songs and poems will no longer be elegies of treasures we lost as a people, but rather hopes turned real. “Hunger defines our lives,” says South Cotabato’s T’boli leader, Timbang Tungkay. His photo, with a mop of silver hair and firm lips, is superimposed on a satellite montage of deforested Mindanao gullies. This graces the book’s cover. Tungkay’s people used the mountain forests down to the Allah River — until lowland migrants shoved them off the land. Tungkay, his Hilongo wife and 24 children recall gutom (hunger), stretching over months. His family was not spared from high infant death rates that chronic hunger spawns. Now, gutom is seasonal. http://globalnation.inquirer.net/cebudailynews/opinion/view/20080626-144909/From-regret-to-hope

7) BUTUAN CITY- Environmentalist group Caraga Watch today expressed support to former President Estrada’s proposal in urging Congress to declare illegal logging as a heinous crime. Caraga Watch, a multi-sectoral group formed not only to combat illegal logging but illegal mining as well, in their press statement suggested that since illegal logging activities only succeed in a mafia-like syndicated operations which includes alleged participation of scalawag DENR personnel, it called on for a thorough lifestyle check of all DENR personnel directly link to illegal logging activities. “Illegal logging and illegal mining to succeed requires full nod sometimes unseen but manipulative participation of DENR officials and subordinates by making illegal logging or wood smuggling look like legal through manipulation of documents” Leonardito Q. Flores, Executive Director of the Caraga Watch said. Flores alleged that said acts have been associated for so long on the unabated illegal logging and now illegal mining activities in Caraga Region destroying not only the region’s last remaining forest through unabated cutting of trees but also deprived national government of revenues worth billions of pesos in the past. Flores has been calling for total revamp in the entire DENR bureaucracy of Caraga Region but allegedly some powerful elective officials most of them Congressmen even wrote letters to DENR officials in Manila not to transfer at least six Community Environment and Natural Resources Officers. In the past, the group called for a no none sense investigation and real inventory of lands, surveyed, titled and distributed by the DENR claiming most of its beneficiaries were allegedly relatives, close associates even sons, daughters, wives, nephews with some also friends and associates of politicians. http://www.mindanao.com/blog/?p=3910

8) A mechanism for valuing and paying for the ecological services provided by forests should be incorporated into the Sustainable Forest Management Law. Forests are valuable in themselves. Their continued existence is necessary for maintaining life and sustaining environmental stability. The SFM law should provide a mechanism for valuing these services. If this is done, activities in forests such as mining and logging will be not be considered solely for the monetary benefits that they bring from permits and licenses and employment opportunities. Biophysical and environmental services that are lost when a forest is exploited should be considered in analyzing their true costs and benefits. Thus, the law should incorporate a provision on scientific resource valuation and the use of fair and objective economic tools for valuing and paying for the ecological services provided by forests. Commercial logging and mining in protection forests should be banned completely. Deforestation and degradation of forests in the last five decades brought about by persistent logging, and a policy environment that has significantly reduced the forest cover of the Philippines. Although current statistics show that the area recognized as forestlands is very extensive (i.e. about 50 percent of the country’s total land area), the area actually covered by forest is much less. In reality, only 5.39 million hectares or 17.9 percent of the total land area is covered with forest (Edwino Fernando, Restoring the Philippine Rainforests, Haribon Policy Paper No. 2, CY 2005, Haribon Foundation). Moreover, these statistics could be misleading because of the loose definition of forests used in obtaining these figures. Considering that very little forests are left, it is necessary to impose stricter measures to protect forests. Commercial logging and mining should, therefore, be totally banned. There should be no harvesting in our remaining natural and restored forests, even those that have secondary growth and residual forests. Under government policies, there is a total log ban in forested areas (see DENR A.O. 24, s. 1991) at elevation 1000 meters and higher with 50 percent slope, where montane and mossy forests occur and the trees are small and not commercially viable. Most harvesting happens in lower elevations (see lowland dipterocarp forest) where trees are bigger and there are remaining patches of secondary growth (i.e. logged-over areas). Ecologically, this is not wise since different species occur at different elevations and kinds of forest. All natural and restored forests regardless of their location must be designated as protection forests that must be protected and restored. http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/june/28/yehey/opinion/20080628opi6.html

Indonesia:

9) Indonesia’s magnificent dipterocarp forests, a hardwood valued for its timber, have been in retreat for decades. They’re almost entirely gone on heavily populated Java. In the 1990s, Sumatra lost 35 percent of its forests and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) lost 19 percent—much of it lowland forest rich in iconic creatures like the Sumatran rhinoceros and the orangutan. In the forestry component of Yale and Columbia’s Environmental Performance Index, Indonesia comes in last with a score of zero. (Brazil, more infamous for rain-forest destruction, scores an 82.) Although much of the loss was initially due to harvesting for timber and forest products, particularly plywood, in recent decades illegal logging has been more widespread. The rapid spread of oil-palm plantations is a relatively new threat. Palm oil has recently been recognized as a source of biofuels. From 1990 to 2005, 56 percent of the expansion in oil-palm plantations in Indonesia occurred at the expense of biodiversity-rich forests. Another disturbing trend is the conversion of peat forests, which hold huge amounts of carbon, into plantations by international companies, China’s Asia Pulp & Paper principal among them. Once the forest is cut, the peat dries out, releasing its carbon and raising the risk of fires, which can smolder for years. Many efforts are underway to stem the deforestation. Emil Salim, Indonesia’s first minister of the Environment, created protected areas and laws and regulations to control logging. Conservation International is working with coffee producers to maintain upland forest in Sumatra. Of particular promise is the innovative Samboja Lestari project on Kalimantan, which uses income from sugar palm (a biofuel source) to wean locals from logging. http://redapes.org/news-updates/indonesia-scores-a-whopping-zero-on-the-green-index-for-forestry
/

10) There is a call in the Indonesian region of Papua for a halt to all new forestry deals until laws have been passed to protect the rights of indigenous Papuans. A coalition of 65 groups has come together to lobby the government on the matter. At least 3 million hectares of forest in Papua have been converted to oil palm. Jago Wadley from the Environmental Investigation Agency says forests are key to the survival of many Papuans. “Papuans have an expression that the forest is their mother and also the forest is like a supermarket. Under the current activities happening in Papua large areas of forest will be cleared into monoculture plantations whether that be timber or oil palm or biofuel, so obviously the situation would dramatically impact on local Papuans.” http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=40569

11) The government will not allow the clearing of forest areas for any new oil palm plantations, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday. He said this was avoid accusations being made by some western parties that the opening of oil palm plantations was destroying the forest and ecosystems. “We realise there are campaigns being carried out by some non-governmental organisations in the west to spread negative news about us as they think that the oil palm plantations are a result of forest clearing which is also endangering the existence of orang utan,” he told reporters here. Abdullah, who is also Finance Minister, said the existing oil palm plantations were enough to cater to current demands and there was no need for the opening of new plantations at the moment. There are currently 4.3 million hectares of oil palm plantation land in the country. “We don’t have to reduce the protected forests to increase new oil palm plantations. We have proof. With more effective management of the plantations and new technologies, production can go up by 30 per cent,” he said after chairing the meeting of the cabinet committee on the competitiveness of the country’s oil palm industry. He said continued research and development would also result in value added products in the industry. On the expansion of the biofuel industry, he said: “This will depend on the investors, on whether they want to produce palm oil as a fuel material. The high price of world crude oil will be a major determinant on whether they produce oil palm-based fuel.” On whether he was concerned with the increasing palm oil price, he said: “As far as we are concerned, price of oil (palm oil) is our wealth. As for cooking oil, it is a controlled food item.” http://redapes.org/news-updates/malaysian-prime-minister-no-clearing-of-forests-for-oil-palm-pl
antations/

12) Papua – An Indonesian plan to build a highway through the forests of Papua risks opening the door to massive deforestation in the jungle-clad half-island, environment groups said Wednesday. The 4,500 kilometre (2,796 mile) Trans-Papua highway between the provinces of Papua and West Papua would lead to an explosion in palm oil plantations and allow easy access for illegal loggers, Greenpeace and Papuan NGOs said in a statement. The planned road “would not only result in irreversible biodiversity loss and consequent ecological disaster, it will have a devastating impact on the lives and livelihood of the Papuan people,” Greenpeace campaigner Bustar Maitar said. The NGOs urged the government to properly consult local Papuans before going ahead with highway, which is the cornerstone of a 2007 plan by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to develop the resource-rich but impoverished provinces. The plan comes as Indonesian officials eye Papua’s vast wilderness as a potential site for more palm oil plantations to cash in on voracious global demand for the crop. Palm oil plantations could be created on between three and four million hectares (up to 9.8 million acres) of suitable land in the two provinces, an agriculture ministry official told AFP in May. Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, also has one of the highest levels of deforestation, with weak law enforcement and widespread corruption allowing illegal landclearing and logging to flourish. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gICUEyfICWM1rFoJQDP6NmwDPATA

Malaysia:

13) Despite a prime minister’s directive banning conversion of forest reserves for oil palm plantations, the Malaysian state of Sarawak will continue to open up forest land for oil palm plantations, reports the New Straits Times. Speaking to the press Saturday, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said that the move will not go against the prime minister’s directive because “it did not apply to the state,” according to New Straits Times. Taib said the land targeted for new plantations “were not permanent forest reserves but land targeted for agriculture since the 1950s.” He added that orangutans were “safe” in the state due to the establishment of a sanctuary. He said the state had also set up a 30,000 hectare (75,000 acre) reservation for the Penan and other indigenous nomadic tribes that live in the rainforest. “There are no reasons for us not to continue opening up more land,” he said. Taib’s comments shortly after a month-long protest by the indigenous Kenyah over illegal logging on their communal lands. The blockade of logging roads was broken up by Malaysian police earlier this month. Researchers say that growth of the Malaysian palm oil industry has come partly at the expense of natural forests. A study published in the journal Conservation Letters showed that 55-59 percent of oil palm expansion in Malaysia between 1990 and 2005 occurred on forest land. Environmentalists say the loss of forests threatens biodiversity and has diminished important ecosystem services including water regulation and carbon storage. The palm oil industry has responded by noting that palm oil is used mostly in food products — not for biofuels — and has a higher yield than other oil crops, including soy and rapeseed. The industry says that palm oil has been a driver of rural development in Malaysia and that much of the forest converted for oil palm had previously been logged or zoned for agriculture. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0630-palm_oil_sarawak.html

14) Just before sunrise, Malaysia’s predawn sky is painted in dreamy hues of purple and pink. A train chugs southwards across paddy fi