246 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 34 new articles about earth’s trees! (246th edition)
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–British Columbia: 1) Selling stolen land that’s illegal to sell, 2) No loss to loggers means extinction for caribou, 3) Law Clinic to investigate Western’s Swindle, 4) Tribes have been protesting these Swindles for a long time,
–US Pacific Northwest: 5) 80,000 Spotted Owl comments requires outside contracting,
–Washington: 6) Earth Tree News down for the count, but makes it back to its feet
–Oregon: 7) Measure 49
–California: 8) Thinning limits fire Damage, 9) Fires take Avocados, 10) Maxxam scam,
–Montana: 11) WildWest Institute has been working with forest ecologists
–Arizona: 12) Badly needed thinning scrapped in favor of old growth logging
–Colorado: 13) 20-foot pipeline corridor snaking through a wilderness
–Arkansas: 14) Evaluating techniques for rehabilitating degraded forests
–Virginia: 15) Virginia Ridge and Valley Act of 2007
–North Carolina: 16) Logging controversy in Waynesville
–Georgia: 17) Plans for largest woodland garden in the nation
–USA: 18) National forest meet green standards, 19) Houses to surround NFs, 20) Building Leadership Skills in the Natural Resource Professions and Beyond, 21) GAO on forest thinning challenges, 22) Pygmies visit Wash. DC.,
–Canada: 23) Canadians will pay $53 per year for new parks, 24) Watershed management plan in W. Newfoundland,
–UK: 25) Prince Charles want to save world’s old trees,
–Brazil: 26) New oil and gas exploration planned, 27) Croton palanostigma trees for RX,
–Guyana: 28) Tree origin of Arawak people, 29) Loggers challenge fine,
–Sumatra: 30) Forest Defenders Camp
–Indonesia: 31) Opposition to pulp schemes, 32) Carbon financial incentives not enough,
–Asia-Pacific: 32) Where deforestation is predominant, corruption is very high
–New Zealand: 33) Small scale loggers lose viability to large scale loggers
–Australia: 34) Still plenty of Old growth chip exports

British Columbia:

1) Financially troubled forest company Pope & Talbot has put more than 6,400 hectares of private land in the Kootenays up for sale, even though much of it is part of a tree farm licence and can’t legally be sold. The company has advertised the land through Colliers International on the uniqueproperties.com website. The offering includes “significant lake frontage and some development potential” along the Upper and Lower Arrow Lakes and Kettle River, according to the ad. But more than 70 per cent of the land offered for sale is part of tree farm licence 23, said NDP forests critic Bob Simpson. And in order for it to be sold for development, that land would first have to be released from the TFL by the provincial government. Yesterday, Forests Minister Rich Coleman said he hadn’t even seen Pope & Talbot’s request to have the land removed. He said First Nations are being consulted on the issue and that ministry staff will eventually make a recommendation to him. Until then, no decision will be made, he said. But Simpson thinks there is an “understanding” between the government and Pope & Talbot. “I believe there’s a wink and a nod. Otherwise, why would you take the risk?” Simpson said in an interview. “Why would you put your neck out and go and put all those [hectares] up for sale?” http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=f37bfdcc-98da-45d6-800e-ae3c202
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2) Today in the Arrow Lakes News the president and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries is quoted as saying “There’ll be little, if any, impact on harvesting levels” due to the government’s secret and still unfinished plan to save the mountain caribou. Here’s an animals that is being sent to extinction by old-growth logging, mostly at low and middle elevations, and they are proposing to save it without appreciable impact to the AAC. This is an ecologically incompetent and fraudulent plan. This is what ForestEthics’ Candace Batycki says in the same article: “Candace Batycki of environmental organization ForestEthics said the plan was a victory for those who’ve worked towards protecting mountain caribou, ‘These new commitments are critical for the survival of one of North America’s most endangered mammals, and have raised the bar for future forest protection across Canada. Today’s announcement is a victory for the thousands of citizens from BC and beyond who made their voices heard about the critical role old growth forests play in endangered species protection and climate change mitigation. For environmental organizations it’s never enough, but we think this is a giant leap foreward … for the mountain caribou I think this is going to do the job.” The article also has a photograph of Tzeporah Berman and Paris Hilton and a whole article about Tzeporah and ForestEthics. It describes FE as “the environmental group that got the biggest nod from Minister of Agriculture and Lands Pat Bell on the conference call las week announcing plans to recover the mountain caribou.” Question: Why is it that our most anti-environment government ever, LOVES ForestEthics? Why is it that the Council of Forest Industries LOVES this mountain caribou plan? And what will the ten environmental group partners of these logging and winter recreation interests do for an encore in the ensuing years when it is experienced that their support and signature has underwritten the logging of thousands of hectares of prime mountain caribou forest? wildernesswatch@netidea.com

3) The University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Clinic has asked the provincial auditor general to investigate the government’s decision to allow Western Forest Products to take private lands out of tree farm licences on Vancouver Island without public consultation and without demanding compensation. The law clinic, acting for the Sea to Sea Greenbelt Society and supported by organizations ranging from unions and First Nations to ratepayers and recreational groups, wants an opinion from Acting Auditor General Errol Price on whether the public has suffered an economic loss and whether environmental protection and public recreation is being compromised. “On the face of it, it doesn’t seem to be very prudent management,” said Calvin Sandborn, the clinic’s legal director. “It doesn’t seem to serve the public interest. It’s great for Western Forest Products, but not for the workers and local residents and environmentalists and people in urban planning and surfers and First Nations.” Since WFP has taken those lands out now, the law clinic suggests it should be forced to financially compensate the government for that privilege. Pope and Talbot is in default on its secured loan agreements and exploring options for improving its balance sheet, including the sale of company assets. The forest lands in the Kootenays are one of those assets up for sale. The real estate boom has prompted other forest companies with lands that never were in tree farm licences to also put acreages on the market. They include: 1) TimberWest Forest, with 5,500 hectares for sale through an online auction and 1,200 hectares for sale though Colliers. 2) Tembec, which recently sold 345 hectares at Fernie. 3) Merrill & Ring with five properties, from 50 hectares to 160 hectares, for sale on islands in the Campbell River region. http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=f37bfdcc-98da-45d6-800e-ae3c202
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4) First Nations have been the first communities to protest against this profiteering. The government announced the removal of 28,283 hectares of private land from three coastal tree farm licences held by Western Forest Products on 31 January 2007. The land includes some 16,100 hectares from Tree Farm Licences 6 and 19 on northern Vancouver Island. This is 1852 Douglas Treaty protected land and the Kwakiutl Band Council wrote a letter to the government on 5 February 2007 protesting: “Your perceived “partnership” with Western Forest Products has allowed the company to largely ignore their obligations to the Kwakiutl First Nation community, thus disrespecting our treaties and Aboriginal rights and title as Western Forest Products’ are lawfully required to do so.” On 12 February 2007 the Kwakiutl held a protest demonstration at the Legislature. Photos and the Kwakiutl letter of protest can be seen here:

http://www.firstnations.de/03-0-intro-1.htm

US Pacific Northwest:

5) Unprecedented public comment on a draft recovery plan for the northern spotted owl has prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to call for reinforcements. In order to meet its April 2008 deadline for a final plan, the agency responsible for conserving and protecting the nation’s flora and fauna announced Wednesday it will hire outside help. Fish and Wildlife must process and analyze the more than 80,000 comments it has received since it invited public input in April. The plan spells out how best to help boost the population of a species first listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990. Besides the public comments, the plan also hasbeen scrutinized in a half-dozen scientific peer reviews, mostly critical of gaps in the plan’s science. To address the comments and reviews in time for the agency’s deadline, the agency will need outside expertise, Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Joan Jewett said. The agency expects to hire a firm within the month, she said. The outside firm will include scientists who can help not just process the comments but assist with analysis, Jewett said. Fish and Wildlife will also convene several work groups to focus specifically on habitat management, competition from barred owls and fire. “The service is committed to developing the best final recovery plan possible for the northern spotted owl, one that incorporates the latest science and most effective current management practices,” said Ren Lohoefener, the agency’s Pacific regional director, in a prepared statement. But those familiar with the plan and the scientific peer reviews say the process has been so flawed that the agency should scrap the current recovery plan and start over. “To now outsource to a private contractor is just a continuation of a bad pattern,” said Dominick DellaSala, executive director of the National Center for Conservation Science & Policy. “The consequence is removal of protection for old growth. It’s the key domino to topple the Northwest Forest Plan and protections for old growth forests.” http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?mid=6857

Washington:

6) This is to let you know that after 2 1/2 years of providing you uninterrupted access to news about Earth’s Trees my hard drive died last night and I lost the past 5 days of tree news stories… This project has been a labor of love that takes many daily hours to assemble and distribute. And right now I could really use some encouragement and understanding, and especially some $$$ to help me get a new hard drive and get back to work again. In the past, the funding for this project has been via my personal student loans, as I’m in the Master’s in Public Administration Program (Evergreen State, Olympia, WA.), yet that money is not currently available. So if anyone can hire me for research work, or if you can simply donate what you can afford to give I’d very much appreciate it. Please! —> If you’ve ever benefited from this news service let me know about it with an email reply, or a phone call (1-360-789-7843), or especially some money. If I get enough money I’ll be able to afford put the data base of these newletters online in a coherent searchable format. My hope is that this data set will ultimately lead to a world-wide grassroots forest protection movement that thrives on a web-based network of interaction and communication that’s based on not just the existing data I sent out, but also on additional data readers from around the world will add, especially via Google earth. To make this dream come true please donate money by going to my website http://www.peacefromtrees.org and clicking on the paypal link in the upper left hand corner. Also you can mail checks and money orders to: Deane Rimerman PO Box 2640 Olympia, WA 98507 Thank you for taking the time to consider my circumstances and if you have any feedback at all that would make this news service better, please let me know? Be well, Deane

Oregon:

7) “If you follow the money, it’s clear that the real opponents of Measure 49 are timber companies that want to pave over Oregon’s forests with housing subdivisions,” said Liz Kaufman, head of the Yes on 49 campaign. But timber companies contend they have no immediate intention of turning vast tracts of their holdings into subdivisions, and are just keeping their options open. Considered the farthest-reaching statute of its kind in the country, Oregon’s 2004 law allows property owners to seek compensation if land-use actions imposed after they bought the property reduced its value and restricted its use. Cities and counties facing Measure 37 claims must either pay the compensation sought or waive the regulations. Since the 2004 law passed, property owners have filed more than 7,500 claims on 750,000 acres – mostly on rural farm or forest land. They’ve demanded billions in compensation or the right to build everything from a single home to subdivisions with dozens or even hundreds of homes. Measure 49, the measure on the Nov. 6 ballot, is intended to bring order to land-use rules. It would allow rural landowners to build a few homes – three in most cases and as many as 10 for some – but curb larger subdivisions and industrial development currently allowed under the 2004 law. Many Oregonians who voted for Measure 37 regret doing so, saying they didn’t realize it would go so far in opening up areas for development, or that it would turn out to be so unclear and flawed. But there also those who say Measure 37 corrected injustices within existing land-use rules and should be left as it is. The timber industry, owners of vast acreage in Oregon, is among the most powerful of the ballot measure’s opponents. The largest single contributor to the anti-Measure 49 campaign so far is the Stimson Lumber Co., which has chipped in $375,000. The Portland-based company has filed the largest development claims under the 2004 law’s provisions – a total of at least 57,000 acres in six counties, which the Yes on 49 Committee says signals Stimson’s intent to convert forests into subdivisions. The property rights group leading the charge to defeat Measure 49 notes it’s being outspent by a 2-to-1 margin. More than half of the $4.23 million raised so far by supporters of the measure has come from two sources – Yamhill County vineyard owner Eric Lemelson and the Nature Conservancy, which usually works behind the scenes buying property to preserve as wildlife habitat. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/W/WST_PROPERTY_RIGHTS_OROL-?SITE=OREUG&SECTION=HOME&TEMPL
ATE=DEFAULT

California:

8) As flames ravage surrounding communities, this resort town high in the San Bernardino Mountains emerged largely unscathed, an island in a sea of destruction. The credit for that isolated victory, federal officials say, should go to firefighting tactics, shifting winds and favorable terrain — and a sometimes controversial U.S. Forest Service effort to eliminate the tinder that fuels forest fires. Since 2002, the Forest Service has removed millions of trees, thinned brush and cut low-hanging branches, creating fuel breaks around almost 80% of the community. Fires don’t spread quickly or easily through such areas, instead burning lower to the ground and with less intensity. “The fuel breaks saved Lake Arrowhead,” said Randall Clauson, the Forest Service’s division chief for the San Bernardino National Forest and incident commander earlier this week on the two biggest wildfires still burning in the mountains. He said he believes that, without the breaks, “the fire would have run right through Lake Arrowhead and gone to Highway 18, cutting off the evacuation route and probably resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives.” But not everyone was convinced that forest-thinning itself played such a pivotal role. “Thinning and cleanup of surface fuels really does help,” said Ken Larson, a fire behavior analyst with the Forest Service, stationed at the fire command post in the San Bernardino Mountains. “But there are many variables at play. Even that may not save structures in the face of extreme winds and extreme conditions.” Still, evidence was dramatic in the thinned forest areas. In one cluster of Lake Arrowhead neighborhoods protected by fuel breaks, only a few stumps were burning and no trees were lost. Hundreds of surrounding homes were untouched. Some of the worst-hit areas like Running Springs don’t have fuel breaks. Just 20% of Big Bear is protected by breaks, fire officials said. http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-arrowhead25oct25,0,1805511.story?co
ll=la-headlines-pe-california

9) The deadly brush fires raging in Southern California have destroyed thousands of acres of avocado trees and it will take years for the area’s crop to recover, said state and county agriculture officials. “We know we’ve lost thousands of acres of avocados. That will be one of the big losses,” Jay Van Rein, spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said of the avocados in a telephone interview with Reuters. In addition to avocados, other agriculture in the fire areas includes citrus groves, egg farms, and plant nurseries. More than 500,000 people have been evacuated from the fire areas, most of them in the San Diego area, the largest number in California history. Seven Southern California counties have been declared major disaster areas. There are 18 active fires from Los Angeles County to the Mexican border, which have burned 426,000 acres, or 666 square miles. Six deaths and about 40 injuries have been attributed to the blazes. http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN2422540420071024

10) The federal Bankruptcy Court judge presiding over the Pacific Lumber Co.’s Chapter 11 process told the bitterly divided parties Tuesday to pick a mediator by Friday and present a unified plan within 30 days. That order, issued by Judge Richard Schmidt in Corpus Christi, Texas, left unsettled the issue that had been the subject of a seven-hour hearing in his courtroom Tuesday: whether Pacific Lumber or its creditors should control the reorganization of the troubled company. Pacific Lumber, which is ultimately controlled by Houston financier Charles Hurwitz’s Maxxam Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection in January when it was unable to make payments on what was then $714 million in bonds secured by the company’s timberland. Under bankruptcy law, Pacific Lumber got the first shot at proposing a plan to reorganize the company and pay off its debts. It did so on Sept. 30, when it made a proposal that included selling 22,000 acres of its most valuable redwoods as 160-acre timber farms. But the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, which would have to approve housing permits so the owners of these tree farms could live there, earlier this month approved a move designed to prevent just that – a fact that Schmidt noted Tuesday. “The county is so incensed, they passed a resolution (so) that you couldn’t do this plan,” the judge said, according to Dow Jones News. Pacific Lumber has been a flash point for environmental protests ever since Hurwitz, with help from former junk bond king Michael Milken, acquired the company in a debt-leveraged takeover in 1986 and more than doubled its cutting of old-growth redwood trees. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/24/BUM6SV2KB.DTL

Montana:

11) A widespread notion is that fire suppression has greatly altered fire regimes across the West and is therefore largely responsible for the large, severe wildfires witnessed in recent years. This logic even lies at the base of national policies such as the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA) and Healthy Forests Initiative (HFI) which emphasize widespread logging and prescribed fire to ameliorate the effects of fire suppression and reduce the likelihood of large fires. However, significant scientific debate exists about the historical causes of forest change and the best management responses to these changes. Recent studies have begun to highlight many potential dangers of rushing headfirst into widespread logging and burning practices, as is currently advocated by national policies. Just as fire suppression was thought to be a beneficial policy for forest health and public safety and yet we now find ourselves in part the victim of a century of fire suppression policies, we need to be sure that current thinning and burning policies do not, in the long run, actually worsen the very problem they aim to solve. In order to avoid such an outcome, solid scientific principles must exist as the foundation of management policy and practice. Over the last several years, the WildWest Institute has been working with forest ecologists at the University of Montana to help fill the scientific gap at the base of current national forest policies. The following is a brief review of our research and other relevant scientific findings that should help to form the basis for forest management policies and practices on public lands. At the heart of the scientific debate about the causes of recent large wildfires is whether they are climate driven or the result of altered forest conditions due to past human influences. With increasing certainty, new studies suggest that climate change is driving wildfire behavior, with warmer springs, earlier snowmelt, and longer, drier fire seasons contributing to the increased size and severity of wildfires. http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/WildWest/blog/comments.jsp?blog_entry_KEY=22
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Arizona:

12) Rejecting a decade of restoration-based forest management, the U.S. Forest Service has unilaterally revised its guidelines for management of wildlife on national forests in Arizona and New Mexico. The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a formal objection to the first logging project to be proposed under the new guidelines. The Jack Smith/Schultz timber sale on the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, Arizona, would log more than 8,000 acres, including an undisclosed number of large, old-growth trees. It is the first project to explicitly implement the agency’s major changes to the Northern Goshawk Management Guidelines, which the Forest Service developed in 1996 in response to litigation by the Center over the agency’s poor record of protecting the imperiled species. In the spring of 2007, the Forest Service made major changes to the 1996 Northern Goshawk Guidelines, which affect management of all ponderosa pine forest on national forests in the Southwest. The new guidelines could signal a new round of timber wars in the Southwest. “The Forest Service has illegally amended every forest plan in the Southwest Region by failing to involve the public and state agencies prior to implementing this substantial weakening of the Goshawk Guidelines,” said Todd Schulke of the Center. “The new Forest Service guidelines will spell disaster for the goshawk, and for southwestern old growth forests.” The Goshawk Guidelines require the Forest Service to leave a specified percentage of the forest as canopy cover to provide habitat for goshawks and their prey. The changes will significantly weaken this requirement, and could lead to dramatically increased logging of large, old-growth trees. Despite the significance of the changes, the Forest Service provided no public notice prior to revising the Goshawk Guidelines across the region. The public and other agencies were provided no opportunity to provide official comment or otherwise be involved in the controversial revisions to the guidelines. http://www.ewire.com/display.cfm/Wire_ID/4308

Colorado:

13) When a 20-foot pipeline corridor snaking through a wilderness threatens to become a 100-foot-wide swath, environmentalists become indignant. If the proposed Bull Mountain Pipeline is allowed to penetrate three large roadless areas around the eastern reach of Mesa County, it could provide an excuse for energy companies to enter roadless areas with their pipelines all over the West, Wilderness Workshop Director Sloan Shoemaker said Tuesday. “Then we can do other stupid things in roadless areas,” he said. Shoemaker sat in the copilot’s seat of an EcoFlight Cessna as it seemingly skirted the tops of aspen trees over the proposed pipeline route east of Battlement Mesa on Tuesday morning. The pipeline could violate the federal Roadless Rule, prevent wilderness designation for the area and critically damage elk, lynx and deer access to Grand Mesa and Battlement Mesa, he said. The problem, he said, is that it’s not just a matter of putting a pipe in the ground. Building the Bull Mountain Pipeline would require at least a 100-foot swath of range and forest to be denuded, according to a Forest Service draft environmental impact report. The proposed pipeline would be a 25-mile-long, 20-inch pipe slated to carry natural gas from a Gunnison Energy and SG Interests coalbed methane field in Gunnison County to a compressor station in Garfield County south of Silt via the far eastern tip of Mesa County. It would roughly follow the path of a decades-old, 5-inch pipeline whose narrow, lightly forested scar can still be seen from the air. A decision about whether Bull Mountain will be built and what route it will take is expected sometime early next year, Forest Service spokeswoman LeeAnn Loupe said. Other proposed routes would be longer, but would take the pipeline along roadway corridors. The Forest Service prefers the route through the roadless areas. Gunnison Energy officials say the pipeline scar will be reclaimed quickly after construction, but environmentalists say they fear it will take much longer for the scar to disappear, and they argue it will require the company to build temporary roads that are prohibited by the Forest Service’s Roadless Rule. http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/content/news/stories/2007/10/24/102407_1a_BullMountainPipeline.
html

Arkansas:

14) The quality of oak stands in Arkansas forests can be degraded by pests or by “high-grading” — a timber practice in which the best or biggest trees are removed, leaving only inferior or undesirable trees. Scientists in the University of Arkansas’ Division of Agriculture are evaluating techniques for rehabilitating degraded forests to increase the value of timber and improve wildlife habitat. Matthew Pelkki, forest economist at the Arkansas Forest Resources Center in Monticello, Ark., is lead scientist for the study. He said the goal is to evaluate the effectiveness and economics of techniques that remove less desirable trees that compete for soil, sunlight and other resources needed to establish healthy oaks. The study is being conducted in forest plots at the Savoy Research Unit, west of Fayetteville, Ark. Chris Stuhlinger, forest manager, said high-value trees were harvested from the area several years ago, leaving only poor-quality oaks and other species with little or no commercial value. In some plots, controlled burns kill undesirable trees and open the canopy for new growth of oak seedlings. Pelkki said only one burn is used in some plots, and others will have multiple burns about three years apart. In other plots, low-value trees will be killed with herbicide. Some tests will include a combination of single- or multiple-controlled burns and herbicide application. “Prescribed fire offers a number of benefits,” Pelkki said. “Oaks are particularly well adapted for fire. The stem may burn up or die, but the root system survives and a new tree will sprout from the roots.” All the controlled burns in the study are conducted under supervision of the Washington County office of the Arkansas Forestry Commission. Pelkki said a burn costs about $20 an acre, and herbicide application costs about four times more. Initial results show that oaks are responding better to a single herbicide application than to a single burn or combination of burning and herbicide. A combination treatment with a single burn followed by herbicide application to kill non-oak regrowth costs about $100 an acre. Other elements of the study include studying the effects of varying fire temperatures on different species and diameters of oaks. Temperatures can vary widely in different areas of a burn, Pelkki said. The study uses temperature-indicating liquids — disks of paint in varying colors that melt at different temperatures. http://deltafarmpress.com/news/071023-rehabilitating-forests/

Virginia:

15) The U.S. House of Representatives gave its approval Tuesday to the Virginia Ridge and Valley Act of 2007. The legislation, which has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and referred to committee, would create more than 53,000 acres of new wilderness or national scenic areas, as well as expand six existing wilderness areas in portions of Bland, Craig, Grayson, Giles, Lee, Montgomery and Smyth counties within the Jefferson National Forest. The designation of land as either a wilderness or a national scenic area aims to protect it and help preserve its natural, historic and recreational resources. Recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, kayaking and horseback riding are encouraged in both wilderness and national scenic areas, although motorized traffic and mechanized equipment are banned from wilderness areas. Non-motorized mountain biking and limited motorized access are permitted in certain portions of national scenic areas. The new wilderness areas proposed include Stone Mountain in Lee County; Raccoon Branch in Smyth County; Brush Mountain in Montgomery County; Brush Mountain East in Craig County; and Garden Mountain, Hunting Camp Creek and Lynn Camp Creek in Bland County. The proposed national scenic areas listed in the legislation are Seng Mountain and Bear Creek, both in Smyth County. In addition, the Virginia Ridge and Valley Act would expand six existing wilderness areas. Among them is the Mountain Lake Wilderness Area in Giles and Craig counties, which would gain 5,476 acres. http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/wb/137000

North Carolina:

16) An issue that caused a firestorm of controversy for Waynesville’s current town board is rearing its head in this election cycle — and may prove to be a defining factor in how voters cast their ballots. The debate over whether to allow forest management in the town’s watershed divided the aldermen in 2004, when a 3 to 2 vote was cast before a jam-packed, highly emotional town audience in favor of a conservation easement that would allow management. Now, candidates are once again being forced to choose a side — and they’re divided. Some, like mayoral candidate Gavin Brown, are backing the town board’s vote. For Brown, who voted in favor of the conservation easement as an alderman, it’s simple. “The facts prove our ability to maintain our watershed and actively manage it,” he insists. Others, though, aren’t convinced. Alderman candidate Charles Miller has made it clear that forest management in the watershed is the issue he’s running on. “I feel that over 90 percent of people in the town of Waynesville are opposed to cutting any timber on that watershed and certain members of our town board have ignored these people and ignored petitions with almost 600 names opposed to the cutting of any timber,” says Miller. The town’s leaders began buying up pieces of Waynesville’s watershed in the early 20th century to protect the creeks and streams that comprise the town’s drinking water source. It took nearly 100 years, but in the late 1990s, the town bought the final 690 acres to complete protection of the watershed. The watershed spreads over 8,600 acres of a bowl shaped mountainside above Allens Creek reaching all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. http://www.smokymountainnews.com/issues/10_07/10_24_07/fr_watershed_logging.html

Georgia:

17) A leading landscape architect unveiled plans Thursday at Smithgall Woodland Garden to create what he says will be one of the largest woodland gardens in the nation. Principal designer Herb Schaal presented the final garden design for Phase 1 and said he does not want to change what is already here. “We’re not going to change that quality, we’re going to enhance that quality,” Schaal said. Developers and supporters plan for the garden to become a major tourist magnet for Gainesville when it opens in the spring of 2010. Schaal is the principal designer and said plans call for blending horticulture, art and education by saving the large trees on the site and including a road through the forest that will pass a woodland pond. The Woodland Garden will feature an entry drive, a visitor center as well as a woodland garden trail. Lessie and Charles Smithgall donated the 185-acre forest at Lake Lanier to the Atlanta Botanical Garden in the year 2000. The Atlanta Botanical Garden is developing the site and has launched a $10-million fund raising campaign called ‘New Seasons’. With $5-million already committed for endowment, current fund raising is aimed at $5-million for the Phase 1 development now in progress. http://www.accessnorthga.com/news/hall/newfullstory.asp?ID=118767

USA:

18) A new study says national forests generally meet “green certification” standards for sustainable management to ensure they remain healthy but balancing the demands for logging, recreation and conservation remain a challenge. The 2-year study was conducted to help the U.S. Forest Service decide whether to join private timber companies seeking independent certification of sustainable management practices to boost forest product sales to gren-minded consumers. The Washington, D.C.-based Pinchot Institute for Conservation studied five national forests, including the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon. Overall, the forests rated well for planning, community involvement and for identifying threatened or endangered species. But the study indicated improvement was needed in various areas, including old growth timber management and a backlog of road maintenance. http://www.ktvz.com/Global/story.asp?S=7268462

19) Americans are moving closer to national forests and other public lands because of the amenities they provide. As a result, housing density is expected to increase on more than 21.7 million acres of rural private lands located within 10 miles of national forests and grasslands by 2030, according to a recent study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. “Forests, farms, ranches, and other open spaces are rapidly being developed as more people are choosing to live at the urban fringe and in scenic, rural areas,” says Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell. “This development is affecting our ability to manage national forests and grasslands as well as our ability to help private landowners and communities manage their land for public benefits and ecosystem services.” The recently released, National Forests on the Edge: Development Pressures on America’s National Forests and Grasslands, provides information on rural residential development to private landowners and communities as they work to manage and conserve open space. Some of the findings in the report are: Nine national forests and grasslands are projected to experience substantial increases in housing density on at least 25 percent of adjacent private land; the Bitterroot National Forest in Idaho and Montana ranks highest in this category. Almost all eastern national forests are may experience high to moderate increases in adjacent housing density. Private lands bordering national forests in Colorado, northwestern Montana, northern Idaho, California, and Oregon are also projected to experience moderate to high increases. Thirteen national forests are projected to experience substantial residential development on more than ½ million acres of adjacent, currently rural, private lands. Most of these national forests are located in southern states and in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions. Lead authors of the report include Susan Stein, a private forest land studies coordinator, State and Private Forestry, Forest Service, Washington, D.C.; Ralph Alig, a research forester and team leader; and Eric White, a research economist. Alig and White are both scientists with the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Study_Shows_Housing_Development_On_The_Rise_Near_National_Fo
rests_999.html

20) “It is estimated that 75 percent of the leaders in this profession will retire in the next decade, and TWS feels strongly that we have a responsibility to prepare our members and others to fill this void with a new generation of leaders.” The Wildlife Society (TWS) announced publication of “The Leadership Workbook: Building Leadership Skills in the Natural Resource Professions and Beyond” authored by Michael Morrison of Texas A&M University, Laura Bies of TWS, and Cherrie Nolden of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. “Leadership is key if we hope to advance understanding and conservation of our natural world,” concluded Hutchins. “In fact, our vision is to use this workbook, and its many attractive features, to enhance our Leadership Institute, a unique and inspirational training program focused on promising young wildlife professionals with demonstrated leadership potential.”This innovative instructional volume is aimed at natural resource professionals at all levels of training, from university students to early- and mid-career professionals to volunteers. Employees of government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private industry will also find useful information about how they can effectively improve their interactions with colleagues, peers, and the public, all necessary skills for reaching one’s professional and organizational goals. “It is our intention to help already motivated people to increase their effectiveness as leaders, which, in turn can ultimately result in more insightful management of our valuable natural resources,” stated Dr. Michael Hutchins, executive director of TWS. http://www.enn.com/press_releases/2217

21) The GAO [General Accounting Office] examined 762 U.S. Forest Service (USFS) proposals to thin forests and prevent fires during the past two years. According to the study, slightly more than half the proposals were not subject to third-party appeal. Of those proposals subject to appeal, third parties challenged 59 percent. Appeals were filed most often by anti-logging groups, including the Sierra Club, Alliance for Wild Rockies, and Forest Conservation Council. According to the GAO, 84 interest groups filed more than 400 appeals of Forest Service proposals. The appeals delayed efforts to treat 900,000 acres of forests and cost the federal government millions of dollars to address. Forest Service officials estimate they spend nearly half their time, and $250 million [of your money] each year, preparing for the appeals and procedural challenges launched by activists. “The report demonstrates that the appeals needlessly delay federal efforts to prevent wildfires, and if the process is not streamlined, millions of acres will be lost this summer,” said Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico). “The American people will no longer tolerate management by wildfire,” Domenici added. “This finding is nothing short of appalling, especially when you think of the catastrophic losses suffered in last year’s horrific fire season alone,” said House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-California). http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/2007/10/runaway_wildfir.html

22) “They bring with them huge machines which go deep into the forest and make noise which frightens all the game animals away,” says Adrian Sinafasi, the man seeking to alert the outside world to the plight of central Africa’s pygmies. “When the loggers arrive, they bring with them many workers who are needed to fell the trees. They also need to eat and start hunting but, rather than use traditional weapons in the right season, they hunt with firearms and don’t care about seasons or how much food they take.” Mr Sinafasi, who was displaced from his ancestral home in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is leading a delegation of pygmies to meet the new head of the World Bank in Washington this week. He hopes the talks could lead to deal to safeguard the world’s second-largest rainforest. There is mounting optimism that when the representatives of some of Africa’s most remote tribes arrive in the US capital today, they can capitalise on international outrage over the bank’s plan to turn 60,000 sq km of pristine forest over to European logging companies. Forty million people in the Congo depend on the rainforests for survival. Among them are up to 600,000 pygmies who are engaged in a David and Goliath battle over plans to allow millions of hardwood trees to be felled, many to make garden furniture and flooring for European homes. As well as retaining nearly eight per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide, the rainforest is home to a vast biodiversity, including the bonobo apes unique to the Congo river basin. The indigenous tribes scored a victory last month when their complaints about logging were upheld by the bank’s independent experts. Observers believe the bank’s board of directors is poised to accept the principle that forest peoples should have a final say in any future development. The panel, which visited Congo to investigate the pygmies’ claims, accepted evidence that the economic value of the trees had been wildly overstated and officials had failed to consider other sustainable uses for the wood. It also concluded that locals were not consulted and the necessary environmental checks were not carried out before the chainsaws started buzzing. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article3061147.ece

Canada:

23) Canadians are willing to pay more out of their own pockets to preserve national parks, a new study by a University of Guelph researcher has revealed. In a first-ever survey examining the economic value placed on Canada’s national parks by the general population, Will Wistowsky found that 61 per cent of Canadian households were willing to contribute additional funds to help maintain and complete Canada’s national park system. When people were asked how much more they’d be willing to pay, the average amount was $53 per household, with 47 per cent saying they’d be willing to contribute that amount annually. Multiply that amount by the Canadian population and it adds up to $374 million in one-time funding plus an annual benefit of $176 million. “This shows how much all Canadians – both park visitors and non-visitors – value their national parks,” said Wistowsky, a doctoral student in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development. While his research is not intended to put a price tag on national parks, dollar figures allow officials to talk about the benefits of national parks in comparable and concrete terms, he said. Previous studies have looked at the value of national parks based on gate receipts, said Wistowsky. But that puts pressure on the parks to focus on boosting revenues by increasing the number of users, which will come at the expense of environmental damage. “This shows how much Canadians value their national parks regardless of whether they visit them.” Despite Canada having one of the world’s oldest national parks system there is little information on their actual economic value to Canadian society, said Wistowsky. His findings are based on questions added to Parks Canada’s 2005 national public opinion poll. He was able to survey more than 1,300 respondents. When asked why they would contribute more, a majority of people said they wanted these areas protected and available for future generations, said Wistowsky. http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2007/10/canadians_willi.html

24) The public forum — led by Western Newfoundland Model Forest and the City of Corner Brook — was held at the Greenwood Inn and Suites on Tuesday evening. Only a few people from the general public trickled in throughout the evening, leaving representatives from the model forest, the City, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, Western Newfoundland Environment Centre, and the Department of Environment mingling among themselves. “It’s unfortunate people haven’t come out, but I think it demonstrates that people have confidence in this council moving forward,” Mayor Charles Pender said. “I think some of the things we have done have taken care of some of the issues that were dogging the last council. We have put a moratorium in place on new permits, we’ve contracted Model Forest to do this watershed management plan, so we are moving forward on our commitments and I think people have confidence we are putting their best interests first.” The mayor still feels avenues to exchange information are of an importance as the process of establishing the plan proceeds. “I think if people came here tonight and listened to how Corner Brook Pulp and Paper works in our watershed — the things they have done and how they have managed to do it in an environmentally friendly way, while still meeting their needs, I think people would be very impressed,” he said. Meanwhile, Tina Newbury, watershed planner, said the lack of public participation has been common throughout the process as they move towards establishing a preliminary plan by spring. http://www.thewesternstar.com/index.cfm?sid=73888&sc=23

UK:

25) The Prince of Wales has launched a global private-sector initiative dedicated to find ways of keeping the world’s old-growth forests standing and providing “essential public services to humanity.” He did so in a keynote speech in which he said that the burning of rainforests was responsible for more global greenhouse gas emissions than any activity other than power generation. Prince Charles announced that a consortium of companies – including Sky, Sun Media, Rio Tinto, KPMG, Deutsche, Morgan Stanley and Barclays – has undertaken to work with him over the next 18 months on ways to make old-growth forest more valuable alive than dead. His announcement, in a keynote speech before a WWF event at Hampton Court, was seen as creating momentum for moves to place value on standing forests in the successor to the Kyoto climate change treaty, talks on which begin in Bali, Indonesia, in December. Prince Charles said the world’s forests needed to be seen as what they were: “giant global utilities, providing essential public services to humanity on a vast scale. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/10/25/eacharles125.xml

Brazil:

26) This week Brazil announced it is seeking approval to explore for new oil and gas reserves near the Jurua River in the Amazonian state of Acre. The government will set aside US$35.5 million for the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) to begin exploration, while the Acre State Industrial Federation has promised to raise US$15 million. Officials cited the economic benefits the project will bring to a neglected part of the country but raised concerns among local and international environmental groups who worry that the exploration will damage sensitive ecosystems. Commenting on the proposed project, Environmental Ministry Executive Secretary, Joao Paulo Capobianco, is reported as saying, “It’s necessary to examine how this will be done, on what scale and in what areas. In theory, there are methodologies and technologies that allow this activity without environmental damage.” For his part, Acre Congressman Marcelo Serafim said that, “development brings damage, it destroyed the Atlantic forest, it ruined much of the Pantanal (wetlands), and that’s not what we want or defend.” But, he added, “If the Brazilian government and the world want the Amazon preserved, the world has to give us conditions to preserve the Amazon. And it hasn’t.” The ongoing debate over resource extraction in the Amazon Rainforest is controversial. Governments and citizens have a number of conflicting interests between increased energy demands necessary to fuel development and their desire to protect the rainforest. Current and expected energy shortages complicate matters. For example, Chile and Argentina are in the middle of an energy crisis while Brazil is expected to face shortages by 2010. http://southaffairs.blogspot.com/2007/10/brazil-announces-new-oil-exploration-in.html

27) U.S. scientists have discovered an extract from an Amazon rain forest tree is a potent antioxidant that can prevent human cartilage destruction. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine said the discovery’s unique actions suggest a broad set of applications in various joint, skin and gastrointestinal diseases, including osteoarthritis and irritable bowel syndrome. The new product, now named Progrado, is an extract from Croton palanostigma trees that prevents cartilage destruction by molecular scissors called matrix metalloproteinases. The researchers said the enzymes cut collagen, which forms the backbone of the cartilage, into tiny pieces during states of inflammation and alter the fabric that holds tissues together. “This is an exciting finding,” said Professor Tariq Haqqi, the lead investigator and senior author of the study. “This is the first time a natural product has been shown to directly block these molecular scissors, while showing potential to stimulate repair. This is a testament to the wound healing properties of this traditional medicine and the distinctive therapeutic opportunities that nature offers.” Haqqi and his research partner — Paul Bobrowski of Rainforest Nutritionals Inc., in Raleigh, N.C. — reported their findings in the Journal of Inflammation. http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Science/2007/10/25/rain_forest_tree_makes_potent_antioxidant/1897/

Guyana:

28) Plenty, plenty moons ago, them Arawak people used to live in the sky. Then one day, they come across a big hole. In the hole had a tree going down. Of course, them Arawaks had to climb down this tree to see what been underneath. They discover earth. Oh my! What a splendiferous place, what fruits, what colours, what plants and animals and sweet water. Them Arawaks feast and feast until they get drowsy. They settle in the soft grass and the breeze lullaby them to sleep. And while they doh-doh…nap…the hole in the sky close up. And that is how them Arawaks end up staying on earth. Whatever version, one truth remain…the Arawaks descendants, the Amerindians, was the first people of Guyana. They live in the interior, in the rainforest, using the land without destroying. Then along come Modern Man. He tear down them trees, gouge the land for diamonds and gold. I remember a young fella me and my mother did meet in the late nineties. He used to work a drudge…a dredging machine…for he older brother. He say, with naive pride swelling he malaria-thin chest, that this machine been so powerful, it dig out massive trees like they was matchsticks. Today, if you fly over the hinterlands you might see red scars here, there, earth bleeding in the middle of dark-green forest. I ain’t never see this, the last time I fly over the interior was the mid-nineties, and the bleeding didn’t show then…or at least, where I fly didn’t have any. But my cousins from Canada who visit in May this year see them red wounds; they say they heart weep as they fly above. But all ain’t lost, I tell meself again on Friday evening. On Friday evening me and Auntie H. been to see a short film, Iwokrama, The Untold Story. http://sapodilla.blogspot.com/2007/10/rainforest-people.html

29) A Malaysian timber company fined by Guyana for allegedly underreporting its harvest of trees announced Wednesday it will seek international forestry experts to back its claim that the penalty was excessive. The chairman of Barama Company Limited, Girwar Lalaram, said a $500,000 fine imposed Monday against the Malaysian company by Guyana’s forestry commission was extreme and would force the firm to fire local workers. “The penalties imposed by the forestry commission are severe, unclear, and in our opinion, arbitrary,” Lalaram said in a statement. “(Barama) is prepared to engage internationally recognized auditors, forestry consultants and other experts to investigate the issues.” Guyana has accused the timber company, owned by Samling Global Limited of Sarawak, Malaysia, of failing to report some of the trees harvested in northwestern Guyana, near the border with Venezuela, and illegally excluding logs it purchased from its total production report. Two Guyanese field monitors have been dismissed and others are under investigation for possibly turning a blind eye to Barama’s operations, according to the forestry commission. Barama, one of several Asian timber companies logging in Guyana, was awarded the concessions nearly 20 years ago. Part of its forestry area includes land in what was the notorious settlement of Jonestown, where U.S. cult leader Jim Jones led more than 900 followers to their deaths in 1978. The Forest Stewardship Council, which sets international standards for sustainable logging, suspended Barama’s certification for its 1,408,470-acre section of western Guyana in January after concerns were raised over its practices. But certification was reinstated in August after the company made adjustments, according to FSC records.http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/5242646.html

Sumatra:

30) Climate change and deforestation are inextricably linked. Forest destruction contributes around one-fifth of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire global transport sector, and the problem is so severe that Indonesia and Brazil are ranked third and fourth respectively in the list of top emitting countries, mainly because of deforestation. It’s against this background that our latest Forest Defenders Camp opened a couple of weeks ago on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, located on the frontline where the peatland forest is being cleared for palm oil plantations. Palm oil is used in hundreds of food and cosmetic products, as well as biofuels. There are two reasons Indonesia was picked for this project. First, the forests of South East Asia are being destroyed faster than anywhere else on the planet. Industrial logging plus the expansion of the palm oil industry and the pulp and paper sector are to blame, which affects not only the people who live there and the biodiversity that the forest supports, but also the global climate. Both the forest itself and the thick layers of peat lying beneath it store millions of tonnes of carbon. The peat is cleared and drained to make the land suitable for palm oil plantations and, of course, this releases vast quantities of greenhouse gases. The second reason is that in December Indonesia will play host to the United Nations Climate Change conference, the next round of international climate talks that will begin negotiations on an extension to the Kyoto Protocol. Strong measures to prevent deforestation have to be included as an essential part of any international climate change agreements, and the forest camp is the first stage in our plan to ensure that happens. As the Stern Review noted almost a year ago, “curbing deforestation is a highly cost-effective way to reduce emissions.” http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/indonesia-gets-its-own-climate-change-camp-20071024

Indonesia:

31) Opposition to the government’s industrial forest scheme (HTI) from various quarters is hindering the efforts of the Forestry Ministry to have industrial plantations covering 9.5 million hectares by 2009. Director general of forest protection and nature conservation at the forestry ministry, I Made Subadia, said Wednesday that the resistance occurred because people were looking primarily at the early stages in which the ministry logged forest areas before replacing the trees with ones having more industrial potential. Currently, Indonesia has around 3.7 million hectares of HTI area providing logs for paper and several other timber-based industries in the country. The ministry is now focusing on planting eucalyptus, albazia falcataria and acacia, which are the varieties most in demand on the market. “They are protesting because they realize that this was just an early part of the process that will make the forests more useful,” Subadia said “Our main concern now is how to change people’s perspective of the land clearing method, so we can prevent unnecessary problems in the future.” Currently the ministry is involved in a dispute with the Riau Provincial Police over forest concessions to Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper and Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper. The Riau Police have accused the two paper giants of illegal logging in Riau’s protected forests and confiscated thousands of cubic meters of timber from them. http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailnational.asp?fileid=20071025.H02&irec=1

32) Financial incentives for forest protection should consider the value of the natural resources inside to motivate local residents to protect the area, the government said Tuesday Forestry Minister Malam Sambat Kaban said the incentives should also count potential losses if the people stop exploiting the forest. “If we get only US$100 per hectare as a financial reward, it will not resolve poverty problems for communities living in forest areas,” Kaban said. He said Indonesia’s forests had extensive natural reserves, including trees and mineral resources. “A cubic meter of meranti tree wood, for example, is priced at $150. A hectare of land could produce 70 cubic meters of meranti timber. The reward must consider this,” he said. “In Bengkulu, 80 percent of the forest is protected… where many precious minerals such as iron, gold and coal are found. But what will the world give us for protecting it?” Kaban also said other countries had paid little attention to Indonesia’s efforts to protect its forests. “Our forests trap tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) every day but no country appreciates this,” he said. He said that only since the issue of climate change became important had the international community paid attention to Indonesia’s forests. “But they accuse Indonesia of being the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases due to forest fires,” he said. Kaban said that the government had carried out several actions to help protect forests. “We have reduced logging from 27 million cubic meters before the 2000s to only 9.1 million cubic meters per year. We have also intensified efforts to fight illegal logging,” he said. “We have designated 40 million hectares of protected and conservation forest but we never get rewarded for our efforts.” http://www.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp

Asia-Pacific:

33) And as the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) notes, in countries where excessive corruption prevails, the destruction of natural resources, such as local forests, for private gain is not far behind. ‘’Illegal logging is a symptom of the disease of corruption,’’ says Lisa Elges, TI’s senior programme coordinator for the Asia-Pacific region. ‘’In countries where deforestation is predominant, corruption is very high.’’ What has fuelled such abuse is the political climate that shrouds the forestry sector in the region, she explained to IPS in this northern Thai city, where a conference on the future of forests in Asia and the Pacific was held last week. ‘’There is a great deal of lack of accountability and transparency in the forestry sector. Forests are held under the authority of governments, so there is no one to check the abuse by relevant ministries, politicians and local officials.’’ In fact, TI estimates that if left unchecked, the current pace of illegal logging in the Asian region could result in a loss of 6.6 million hectares by 2020. The affected countries range from Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia to Burma, Laos and Papua New Guinea. Currently, Asia and the Pacific have 700 million ha of forestland out of the world’s 3.9 million ha, or some 30 percent of the earth’s landmass. In the past 15 years, however, this region lost 10 million ha of its forest cover, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the U.N. agency that hosted the conference on forestry, which drew 250 experts, policy makers and activists from 39 countries. Other international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have expressed similar concerns about rampant corruption fuelling the destruction of pristine forests across Asia. According to a speaker from the Rainforest Alliance at the conference, illegal logging in developing Asia ‘’results in the loss of assets and revenue of over 10 billion U.S. dollars annually.’’ In June this year, another NGO, Global Witness, shed light on the dire situation in Cambodia, one of South-east Asia’s poorest countries afflicted with the twin evils of corruption and illegal logging. The illegal logging trade in the country was estimated to be 13 million US dollars annually, said the London-based group in its report, ‘Cambodia’s Family Trees’. http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39742

New Zealand:

34) Nelson logging company Heartland Logging Ltd was put into liquidation by the Nelson High Court last week. Company director Michael Ewers of Wakefield said he had been in the industry for 25 years but had effectively been forced out by large forestry companies awarding large contracts, and exporting logs at cheap prices without having confirmed contracts. “They are just screwing the prices down.” Running the business had been particularly hard in the past four years, and he had resorted to getting work in Marlborough. “It seems to be getting worse.” The cost of fuel and rise in average wages had also made survival in the industry tough. “We’ve lost everything.” Financial pressures were being felt by other smaller businesses too, he said. Heartland Logging had 12 staff, most of whom were fortunate to have found work either in New Zealand or Australia, he said. The High Court appointed David Crichton and Keiran Horne from Christchurch firm Crichton Horne and Associates as liquidators of the company. Mrs Horne said Inland Revenue had applied to have the company put into liquidation. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/nelsonmail/4251532a6510.html

Australia:

35) The Tasmanian Greens today obtained an admission from the Premier that old growth woodchip exports will still be exported in the quantity of half a million tonnes every year once the pulp mill is built, as part of an ongoing native woodchip trade, despite attempts by government to imply that the pulp mill would somehow end old growth wood chipping. Greens Opposition Leader Peg Putt MHA also pointed out that the wood-fired power station co-located with the pulp mill will burn old growth material, and that the pricing of plantation wood compared to native forest trees is set so as to discourage a transition to a plantation-based pulp mill. “What Tasmanians were not told in the carefully pitched announcement on the pulp mill wood supply is that Tasmania will continue its disgraceful trade in export of old growth forest woodchips at the level of half a million tonnes a year even if the pulp mill is built. And native forest woodchip export levels will be even higher. Also very carefully glossed over by the Lennon Government is that old growth material will be burnt on the pulp mill site in the co-located forest furnace which was approved as part of the pulp mill development application. Don’t fall for the political trickery that implies old growth logging for woodchip will cease if the pulp mill is built, when it won’t, and be aware that old growth will be burnt on the pulp mill site as well.” http://tas.greens.org.au/News/view_MR.php?ActionID=2635

245 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 36 new articles about earth’s trees! (245th edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

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

British Columbia:

1) The government’s decision to remove 70,000 acres from the Vancouver Island tree farm licence is absolutely bizarre. It will result in massive, windfall profits for Western Forest Products and absolutely no benefit for British Columbians. Not surprisingly, there is now a call to make some areas parkland. So the government will have to buy the land (at full market price) that recently skyrocketed in value because of the government’s decision. A few months ago they could have had the land for a fraction of today’s cost. Or they could have asked WFP to donate parkland as part of the deal. Tree farm licences were originally granted to timber companies so they could generate economic activity in the region. It’s a slap in the face to turn this area into yet another real-estate development so WFP shareholders can make a quick buck. And don’t let the 10-acre lot size fool you, 10 acres is a large urban sprawl lot — nothing less. These properties will have fences, gates and no-trespassing signs, ensuring the waterfront becomes an exclusive playground for a wealthy few. This is the type of corruption and mismanagement one reads about in backward, third-world dictatorships. It’s hard to believe shady back-room deals were not a big part of this fiasco. British Columbians deserve better from a government that went to the polls railing against corporate subsidies and bailouts. — Richard Brunt,Victoria http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/letters/story.html?id=5523c320-e9bd-422e-b4fe
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2) The mountain caribou range within an area that’s more or less 14 million hectares. With the 2.2 million hectares that the government says it will bring up to protection, that’s protecting 15% of the area. As opposed to about 34% that was protected on the mid- and north-coasts and the 50% that scientists say must be protected to maintain species. Now, let’s say we get that much protected, and that leaves 85% of the mountain caribou range to continue to be logged. An animal that is now on the brink of extinction because of the degree of logging of its habitat is not going survive having logging go on over 85% of its range. We saw we could no longer afford the luxury of being able, with a sweep of our arm, to point out how much the loggers have left to support their livelihoods. They’ve logged so much of it that a species like the mountain caribou is on the verge of extinction and its critical imperillment means critical imperillment for a whole list of species connected with old growth. Nor is it any accident that Slocan Forest Products pulled out, that Pope & Talbot is fighting bankruptcy, that the cedar logging outfit up in the Robson Valley went bankrupt. This is no longer about leaving a good whole bunch of forest for logging. This is about the fact we’ve almost logged it all and we have to decide whether we are really going to kill off our wildlife to strip what old growth remains. We can’t escape what we know now: The critical links of the mountain caribou’s habitat have to be preserved now or we are going to kill a major species and wipe out a whole constellation of low-elevation old-growth species. 380,000 hectares of new protection is enough only if we don’t mind that. And if we don’t mind it, we are in a lot of trouble on other fronts. As you know, we are losing 10 million hectares of dry pine forests. Our forests are our carbon sinks, and in the humid forests there are huge trees and ancient soils that hold huge quantities of carbon. By what insanity are we continuing to log our humid forests when that’s all we have left to help mitigate global warming? The difficulty that Valhalla experienced, that you experience, at the crossroads where we must try to save or abandon a wide-ranging, old-growth dependent species is the same torpor that could wipe out the human race.
wildernesswatch@netidea.com

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

Oregon:

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

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

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

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

California:

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

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

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

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

Montana:

12) The Forest Service is good at putting out fires when it’s wet, but no one can put out fires when there is extensive drought, high winds, high temperatures, and low humidity. These conditions are the main factor in all large fires – no matter where they occur – whether in wilderness or in managed landscapes. Furthermore, thinning, logging, and other timber-cutting can actually increase fire risk. This may seem counter-intuitive because most people simply believe more fuels automatically equals bigger fires. But fuels are less important than weather conditions. Logging opens the forest floor to more sunlight, which can dry fuels faster, making them “flashier” and easier to burn. Logging can open the stand to greater wind penetration, which, in turn, fans flames. Logging, by reducing competition and opening up the canopy, also promotes growth of shrubs, small trees, and grasses that are the most flammable fuels. Recent research by Jack Cohen at the Forest Service fire lab in Missoula has demonstrated that the most effective way to protect homes from wildfire is not to log the forest but to fireproof your home. Having a metal roof, removing burnable fuels for 100 feet around the home, and a few other measures are the only practical ways to reduce wildlife hazard to humans while, at the same time, we permit wildfire to resume its important role as an ecological process. Our western forests need fire like the tropical rainforest needs rain. Not surprisingly, our ecosystems are adapted to this process. For instance, the nutrients released by the blaze enrich aquatic ecosystems, often leading to greater fish productivity and growth. Wildlife such as elk and deer are attracted to the nutritious regrowth produced after a fire. More than a third of the bird species in the northern Rockies rely on snags for nesting and foraging – and fires obviously create an abundance of snags. And snags that fall into waterways create fish habitat and structure that armor stream channels against erosion. Wilderness designation ensures that these ecological processes can continue to operate, while at the same time ensuring that watersheds, wildlife habitat and wildlands values are protected. http://www.queencitynews.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=7685&mode=flat&o
rder=0&thold=0

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

Hawaii:

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

Florida:

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

USA:

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

Canada:

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

UK:

18) PUPILS at an East Kilbride primary school helped South Lanarkshire Council mark the end of its woodland regeneration project in the town by helping to fell one of the last trees under the scheme. Murray Primary School was joined by the council’s chair of community resources Gerry Convery last week to cut down the tree at woodland at Balfour Terrace. The re-planting on the site of 1200 broadleaved native trees including oak, rowan, wild cherry, ash and birch will take place next month. Said Councillor Convery: “Together with the trees, our very own little ‘acorns’ from Murray Primary will grow tall and strong.” Earlier in the week the children were visited by a council tree specialist and learned how massive trees grow. http://iclanarkshire.icnetwork.co.uk/eknews/news/tm_headline=from-little-acorns-to-regeneration
-lesson&method=full&objectid=19966720&siteid=50144-name_page.html

Uganda:

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

Congo:

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

Caribbean:

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

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

Brazil:

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

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

Guyana:

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

Peru:

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

India:

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

http://www.hindu.com/yw/2007/10/19/stories/2007101950030200.htm

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

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

Australia:

30) Forestry products firm Gunns Ltd has reached an in-principle agreement with Forestry Tasmania for the supply of native forest and hardwood plantation pulpwood to Gunn’s proposed $1.7 billion pulp mill at Bell Bay in Tasmania. Forestry Tasmania manages Tasmania’s hardwood forests. The agreement provides for a 20-year supply of 1.5 million tonnes per annum of regrowth and plantation forests to the mill. “Consistent with Gunns’ stated commitment, no supply from old-growth forest coupes will be supplied under this pulp mill agreement,” Gunns said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange. “All supply under this agreement will come from regrowth or plantation forests that will be regenerated as forests into the future, following internationally accredited, sustainable forest management principles.” Gunns said the commercial terms of the agreement with Forestry Tasmania were consistent with the company’s feasibility assessment of the project. Stumpage prices to be paid to Forestry Tasmania would reflect the value of market pulp through a price adjustment mechanism. Pricing and commercial arrangements prior to the proposed pulp mill operations would be consistent with current supply arrangements. A final contract is expected to be completed by the end of November 2007. http://www.smh.com.au/news/Business/Gunns-agrees-to-supply-deal-for-Tas-mill/2007/10/19/119230
1018984.html

31) Australia now has more than 1.8 million hectares of plantations, but most recent investments have been into short-rotation crops for pulpwood production through managed investment schemes (MIS), where investors can use business tax arrangements for their investment in tree crops. After a two-year process of review, the Federal Government has moved to give certainty to these arrangements to encourage city investment in the bush. The establishment of long-rotation plantations (for high-value sawn timber) through the MIS framework received a boost in the last federal budget, as the Government allowed investments in tree plantations to be traded after a holding period of four years. But even if there is an increase in long-rotation plantings, the trees will not be available for harvest for decades. In any case, it is fair to say there will always be a place for native forest products as plantation timber does not have the same durability and appearance. But Ms Ajani’s opposition to timber production within native forests implies Australia increasing its reliance on timber imports from countries without the strict environmental frameworks that exist here. Research has shown that up to 10 per cent, or $400 million, of Australia’s imports could be coming from illegally logged overseas forests in our region. This number is a direct result of more than 11 million hectares of production forests being placed in national parks over the past decade or so (which Ms Ajani has supported). Increased bushfires and imports of timber are two truly perverse environmental outcomes considering the “Green” motives behind the creation of these national parks. Literally millions of hectares of these forests have been devastated by bushfires, due to poor management of the parks. The 2002-03 fires that devastated the ACT, NSW and Victoria burnt more than 3 million hectares of forest, mostly in national parks, and resulted in the equivalent to 25 per cent of Australia’s annual carbon dioxide emissions being released. http://www.theage.com.au/news/business/forest-idealists-blinkered-in-their-thinking-on-wood-ne
eds/2007/10/18/1192300954261.html

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

33) At least 80 per cent of macadamia rainforest trees had been destroyed for agricultural and resi¬dential development, reported The Courier Mail (9/10/2007, p. 11) Lismore grower Ian McConachie had set up the Macadamia Conservation Trust, aimed at protecting the tree that provided the only Australian native produce to have become a major international food. The trust’s primary aim was to ensure wild macadamia numbers did not decrease any further. McConachie, a com¬mercial macadamia grower for more than 30 years, started the trust after searching rainforests and finding hardly any of the trees that were also known as Queensland or bauple nuts. Queensland nuts were found along a 600km coastal strip between Grafton, New South Wales, and Maryborough, about 300km north of Brisbane. http://waterweek.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/at-least-80-per-cent-of-macadamia-rainforest-trees-de
stroyed-for-agricultural-and-resi%C2%ADdential-development-conservation-trust-started/

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

Asia-Pacific:

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

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

245 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 35 new articles about earth’s trees! (244th edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

–British Columbia: 1) Caribou extinction agreement, 2) Betty speaking out again,
–Washington: 3) GE rabbit trees will take over a toxic world by asorbing our toxins
–Oregon: 4) Horse logging for wildlife
–California: 5) Tens of thousands of mining claims filed in beautiful wild places,
–Montana: 6) Landowners team up for Conservation
–Colorado: 7) Setbacks for giant Wolf creek development
–Wisconsin: 8) There’s been a shift in the entire ecosystem
–Florida: 9) Forest defender opposes wetland restoration
–Canada: 10) More on Grassy Narrows,
–Bulgaria: 11) Eco-activist’s tie people to trees to protest treecutting
–Hungary: 12) Saving eight-million year-old cypress trees
–Congo: 13) Pygmies go to Washington DC, 14) Virunga National is a World Heritage Site, 15) Massive logging in Congo, 16) Illiterate now use GPS to save forests,
–Namibia: 17) Sustainably develop and utilize our forest?
–Guyana: 18) President call for forest protection?
–Brazil: 19) Deforestation begins on a much larger scale with this year’s fires
–Costa Rica: 20) Debt for Nature with USA and Nature Conservancy
–Jamaica: 21) Heavy flooding due to deforestation is killing and evicting people
–Chile: 22) Annual Mapuche protests
–India: 23) Forest officers stealing trees, 24) Ban on Green Felling,
–Brunei: 25) committing 75% of its rainforest to the Heart of Borneo Project
–Philippines: 26) Suspending the cutting of trees in mining areas
–Sarawak: 27) Timber is scarce while villagers restore forests
–Malaysia: 28) Creating plantations in the 1.5 million hectare Bakun Catchment
–Sumatra: 29) Last undisturbed forest
–Indonesia: 30) Illegal logging in Riau, 31) Orphaned by Palm Oil, 32) Aceh thieves,
–New Zealand: 33) Land at the center of anti-terror raids, 34) Convicted of cutting the wrong trees on his own land, 35) Sustainable logging means eliminating ¼ of the forest,

British Columbia:

1) Of the 2.2 million hectares, 380,000 hectares, or 17%, will be newly protected forest. “Spread over the mountain caribou range of about 14.3 million hectares, that isn’t a lot of improvement,” says Craig Pettitt, a director of Valhalla Wilderness Watch. “It means a whole lot of mountain caribou forest can be logged. And where is the new protection located? “Until a detailed map showing the location of newly protected forest is released, we don’t know what the mountain caribou is getting. It could be one of the biggest green hoaxes in the history of planning in BC.” The plan contains $136,000 in subsidies to snowmobile clubs to do public education and monitoring so they can keep roaring around in mountain caribou habitat in a more educated way. “The previous draft of the plan was based mostly upon killing nine different species of wildlife, including all the large carnivore species in the planning area” says Anne Sherrod, a director of Valhalla Wilderness Watch. “This is still in the plan. Killing off predator populations causes terrible damage to ecosystems; and once again, where are the details? Are they still planning to increase killing of other species at risk -the grizzly bears and wolverines?” – “The government’s announcement focuses on protection of winter mountain caribou habitat,” says Pettitt. “That means high-elevation forest of little worth to logging companies. This suggests that a large amount of lush low- and mid-elevation old-growth forest may have been traded off to the logging companies in return for preserving forest that the caribou can use only one season of the year. Without four-season habitat, the mountain caribou will continue to disappear. The mountain caribou has been a victim of planning hoaxes for years,” says Sherrod. “That’s why Valhalla Wilderness Watch and many other environmental groups need to see the details of this plan, to scrutinize exactly what it means for the caribou. The ten environmental groups that are now in partnership with the government and these collaborating vested interests can’t very well provide that scrutiny. “This has come as a real shock because this is the first time that a BC government has decided who will represent the environmental movement.”

http://wildernesswatch@netidea.com

2) It’s the same kind of legalities that are used to toss poor people out of substandard housing.” Krawczyk draws a connection between the endangered species being displaced at Eagleridge Bluffs, and street people in Vancouver being denied social housing in favour of new condominium construction projects. “It’s like the homeless people on the downtown eastside. We’re destroying their habitat. Where are they going to live? They’re like the spotted owl, an endangered species. It’s all the same,” she says. I ask her why she thinks she was put in jail, and for so long. “Because I challenged a judge’s order. It’s about the judges — they can do whatever they want.” The arrest of Krawczyk and others at Eagleridge Bluffs followed a pattern becoming quite familiar to protesters in B.C. The penalties for disobeying a court injunction are much heavier than for misdemeanour crimes like trespassing. Once a firm has wrangled a court injunction against direct action protest methods such as blocking a road or swarming a bulldozer, activists who disobey the injunction are seen by judges to be directly challenging the very authority of the courts. That is why Krawczyk served more time for her protesting than do many criminals who steal or assault. Krawczyk wants to argue in Supreme Court that use of commercial injunctions is an unconstitutional method of squelching dissent. If she wins, the decision would change the way protests are carried out, and snuffed out, in British Columbia. Krawczyk has a long history of activism that has spanned over decades and across borders. She is an American by birth, and first got involved with the fight to desegregate her children’s school in Louisiana in the ’60s, and was an outspoken agitator during the civil rights movement. She became an avid protester during the Vietnam War, and her list of complaints against her government grew even longer when she saw the Southern Wetlands become desecrated by commercial development. She was married three times, and had eight children. After her third marriage “bit the dust,” she headed north to Canada, where she purchased land near Tofino, and one of sons built her an A-frame house, where she lived happily until the logging began at Clayoquot. “You could only get there by boat,” she says nostalgically. “I had always craved the wilderness, I was raised in the wilderness. I feel an affinity.” She started to write a book about what she described as the “wildly beautiful,” and began to meditate on all her prior activism. http://thetyee.ca/News/2007/10/11/BettyKrawczyk/

Washington:

3) In the UW project, a gene from a rabbit is added to the poplar’s DNA. The gene contains the instructions for an enzyme that breaks down pollutants. A very similar enzyme naturally exists in the plant, but scientists have not been able to isolate the poplar’s version in order to boost its production. “It’s a beautiful thing that a rabbit gene is perfectly readable by a plant. Look at how connected life is,” said Sharon Doty, a professor with the UW’s College of Forest Resources. She’s the lead author of the poplar research published Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “It’s a beautiful thing,” she said. “I don’t think it’s something to fear.” Others are not so smitten. The trees could prevent the need for digging up tons of soil or pumping out millions of gallons of water for treatment and disposal. They naturally render a list of cancer-causing pollutants — benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), vinyl chloride, chloroform — non-toxic. But while the poplars could benefit cleanup projects, they raise a multitude of ecological and ethical concerns. Many people are worried about transgenic organisms, in which a gene from one species is inserted into another, whether it’s corn that produces a pig vaccine or a soybean that makes its own pesticide. There are concerns that mutant plants could spread, entering the food supply and threatening human health. Or they could interbreed with normal plants, transferring herbicide resistance to weeds, for example. No one can predict all of the potential side effects of a new gene on the host plant or other plants and animals. When it comes to the pollution-consuming poplars, “it’s really a question of trading some of the unknown risks of planting genetically modified trees with the positive environmental benefits,” said Andrew Light, a UW professor of philosophy and public affairs. “It’s commendable to be thinking about finding ways to reverse some of the pollution that has been caused in the past, but in doing so we have to make sure we don’t cause new problems at the same time,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, a Washington, D.C.-based senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “There are a lot of unknowns here,” he said. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/335572_transgenic16.html?source=mypi

Oregon:

4) Hoffman Horse Works, owned by Blake Hoffman, and Kingfisher Natural Resource Contractors LLC, owned by Russell Macal, have been hired to help thin out several patches of crowded forest at the William L. Finley Wildlife Refuge south of Corvallis. Wildlife biologists overseeing the project chose a horse-logging operation because the animals do far less damage in the woods than heavy logging machinery, which can seriously compact the soil and rip up vegetation. On Thursday, they were working on a patch of Douglas fir crowding out a stand of ancient oaks near the Fiechter House on the property. “It’s real low impact,” said refuge wildlife biologist Jock Beall. “The way we’re extracting them is finessing the trees out so as to not damage the oak crowns.” Biologists want to keep the land relatively undamaged and hope to restore oak woodlands and savannah on the refuge. The long-term project at the refuge may take years to complete, as crowded smaller firs and other trees are removed to give more sunlight to century-old oaks that dot the property. The logs taken from the current operation are going to be used by the Marys River Watershed Council for stream habitat restoration near Wren. Macal has been working with Hoffman for more than two years, and although it’s physically tougher to work with horses rather than operating big machines to move logs, it’s worth the effort. “We’re just an alternative, a way that you can do a selective harvest and try to keep the sustaining forest,” Macal said. “A lot of people like that it’s low impact. You’ll hear saws but you won’t hear heavy equipment back here.” Many of Hoffman’s horses are rescues, considered problem horses by previous owners. http://www.dailytidings.com/2007/1016/stories/1016_valley_logging.php

California;

5) Claims are even being sold on EBay – More than 21,300 mining claims have been staked within 10 miles of California’s national parks and monuments and federal wilderness and roadless areas, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Land Management records released Monday. The claims, which have risen by more than one-third in the last four years. Nearly 11,400 claims have been staked within 10 miles of roadless areas in the Tahoe, Stanislaus and Humboldt-Toiyabe national forests, with more than 4,600 in the last four years. Nearly 1,500 of the claims are located within the boundaries of roadless areas. There are also 41 near the Giant Sequoia National Monument. In California and across the West, mining claims have skyrocketed in the last five years, driven by a boom in the global price of gold, copper, uranium and other metals. The rising demand, particularly from China and other developing nations, has spurred interest in reopening abandoned mining sites. With its open pits, acid drainage, and air and water pollution, mining is the dirtiest of all resource developments, accounting for more Superfund toxic cleanup sites than any other industry. It also requires vast amounts of water for the processing of metal ore at a time when shortages are plaguing California and other western states. The revival of hard rock mining also comes at a time when Congress is grappling with how to revise the General Mining Law of 1872 — a statute virtually unchanged since it was signed by President Grant. “If just a handful of these thousands of claims already staked turn into major mines, it could have devastating impacts on California’s national treasures,” said Dusty Horwitt, public lands analyst at the Environmental Working Group, the Washington-based nonprofit that issued the report. Federally designated roadless areas, including the watersheds that replenish the drinking water in many California cities, are also affected. Most of the claims will never become mines, Horwitt acknowledged. “But with the price of gold rising so rapidly, deposits that might not have been economically mined could become much more attractive,” he said. “Once a claim is staked, there is very little land managers can do to prevent mining. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-me-mining16oct16,1,5150053.story?ctrack=1&cse
t=true

Montana:

6) Houses have marched up the hillside west of the Rimel place. Just across the way from the gate that marks the entrance to the Line Ranch, the countryside has sprouted big fine homes in a subdivision called Mansion Heights. Some call it progress. And it looked like that progress would surely someday swallow up the pastures and timber that had been home to the Line and Rimel families for decades. But something happened along the way. These two families didn’t forget their long history with the land. They didn’t forget the friendships that went back a generation. They didn’t forget their roots. For years now, they’ve talked about the future of their land with each other. They wondered if their small ranching operations could survive against the urban pressures that were knocking on their doors. They understood their fate was tied together, one family to the other. “The families have been together up here for a very long time,” Rimel said. “We’ve had our differences, but we’ve always cooperated with each other. It didn’t make sense for one to preserve their property and not the other.” On Monday, Five Valleys Land Trust announced that the Line Family Partnership and John Rimel and his sister, Whitney, had decided to seek bargain-sale conservation easements that would forever protect their properties from development. Last week, Dick and Joyce M. Hayden donated a conservation easement to Five Valleys Land Trust on 425 acres that lie between the Line and Rimel properties. Put all of the properties together and they effectively draw a nearly two-mile-long line – 1,000 acres – across Missoula’s South Hills that would be off-limits to subdivision and sprawl. “It’s up to the community now,” said Five Valleys executive director Wendy Ninteman. “Do we want to draw a line for open space, agriculture and wildlife in the South Hills? From our perspective, this is it. It’s now or never for the South Hills.” Ninteman said the proposal is the best example of neighborhood conservation she’s ever seen. Late last week, Missoula’s City Open Space Advisory Committee toured the properties. On Thursday, it will make its recommendation on whether the city should allocate about $1.16 million of funds from the 2006 open space bond. http://missoulian.com/articles/2007/10/16/news/top/news01.txt

Colorado:

7) Separate Court Rulings Go Against Massive Development in Wolf Creek –
Development that would threaten critical wildlife habitat, watersheds, and existing local businesses in Wolf Creek, Colorado has been staved off in two key legal victories. On September 20, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by the District Court that threw out zoning approval for the project. The Court stated that the Mineral County Board of Commissioners “abused its discretion in granting final approval, because the record contains no evidence of year-around access to the state highway system at the time of final approval.” Currently, the area’s only connection to the state highway system is a one-lane gravel road maintained by the Forest Service that is closed for most of the year because of snow, which can pile ten feet high during the winter. The $1 billion “Village” as the developers, Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (LMJV), have called it, would include 2,100 residential and commercial buildings, house approximately 10,000 people, provide parking for 4,500 vehicles and require the creation of two power plants and a wastewater treatment plant. A separate ruling on October 4 by Colorado’s District Court extended the Preliminary Injunction that has prevented road construction in the area since last fall. The roads would have been created through the Rio Grande National Forest, which surrounds the land proposed for development. The Judges Order found various inconsistencies with the Forest Service’s decision to grant permission to build roads for the development. The Court also addressed the plaintiff’s dual claims that an improper relationship developed between the Forest Service’s environmental impact statement (EIS) contractor and the developers, and that the Forest Service failed to properly investigate the relationship or include evidence of it in the administrative record. http://www.friendsofwolfcreek.org or http://www.coloradowild.org

Wisconsin:

8) “There’s been a shift in the entire ecosystem,” said Schulte, whose research has recently been published in the journal Landscape Ecology. For the study, Schulte, along with Laura Merrick of Iowa State; David Mladenoff of the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Thomas Crow and David Cleland of the U.S. Forest Service, took forest composition information as described in the Public Land Survey from the mid-1800s and compared it with today’s forests. She found that none of the areas surveyed _ from Minnesota to Wisconsin to Michigan _ have the same tree species makeup as they did 200 years ago. “This system was made up of largely conifers with some deciduous trees, and now we have the opposite,” she said. Conifers — mostly pines and other evergreens — have gotten more scarce while deciduous trees such as aspen, birch and maple have taken their place. Trees in today’s forests also tend to be smaller. “Our analysis shows a distinct and rapid trajectory of vegetation change toward historically unprecedented and simplified conditions,” Schulte’s published paper says. “In addition to overall loss of forestland, current forests are marked by lower species diversity, functional diversity and structural complexity compared with pre-Euro-American forests.” The changes have come from several stresses on the ecosystem including pests, diseases, timber harvest and high populations of white-tailed deer, which feed on young trees, according to Schulte. The effect of humans may be the most important factor in the shift. “Human land use of forested regions has intensified worldwide in recent decades, threatening long-term sustainability,” the report says. http://www.physorg.com/news111775271.html

Florida:

9) WEST PALM BEACH — The state owes 40,000 Palm Beach County residents fair compensation after it cut down more than 66,000 citrus trees from their yards in a failed decade-long effort to eradicate a harmful bacteria, an attorney said Monday during opening statements in a class-action lawsuit. The Palm Beach County case is the first of five pending lawsuits against the state to go to trial over efforts to stop the spread of canker. The disease can be transferred by birds, humans and wind, makes fruit blemish and prompts it to drop prematurely. It does not harm humans but threatened the state’s citrus industry. The program to eradicate canker through the removal of citrus trees began in 1995. “This case is about the deprivation of private property in violation of our state constitution,” plaintiffs’ attorney Robert Gilbert said. “Regrettably, the state refuses to accept financial responsibility.” All citrus trees within a 1,900 foot radius of one infected with canker were ordered destroyed _ even those in yards that appeared to be healthy. About 16.5 million residential, nursery and commercial trees were destroyed statewide, including more than 800,000 from the yards of homeowners. The program compensated residents with $100 vouchers for the first tree cut down and $55 for each tree after, but has spawned lawsuits from angry homeowners who feel that wasn’t enough. The eradication effort ended in January 2006 after state officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which was helping pay for the program, determined that that the state’s spate of hurricanes had spread the disease beyond containment. Gilbert said none of the trees removed from the plaintiffs’ yards were infected with canker. “All of these trees were needlessly destroyed,” Gilbert said. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/5214978.html

Canada:

10) Asubpeeschoseewagong, the indigenous or Ojibway name for Grassy Narrows, is situated 80 kilometres north of Kenora, Ontario. The band membership is approximately 1,000, and their traditional land use area spans some 4,000 kilometres. About half of the community still follows a subsistence way of life that relies on hunting, trapping, and gathering berries and medicines from the land. The community says that 50 percent of their traditional lands have already been clear-cut by multinational logging companies, and the current licenses issued by Ontario authorities will permit continued clear-cutting for more than 25 more years. “Mining issues continue and permits are handed out despite the Supreme Court decision around native land rights,” John Cutfeet of the nearby Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nations near Grassy Narrows told IPS. The Grassy Narrows First Nation is within an 1873 treaty that recognises the right of the Anishnaabe peoples “to pursue their avocations of hunting and fishing throughout the tract.” Recent Supreme Court decisions have upheld the government’s duty to conduct meaningful discussions with native groups before carrying out projects that impact their lands. In early September, the Ontario government appointed former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci to facilitate a negotiated process and make recommendations to solve the impasse. Talks are expected to begin in November. The Grassy Narrows community has suffered many traumas over the years, including forced attendance in Canada’s notorious and now-defunct boarding schools, forced relocation away from their traditional living areas, flooding of sacred grounds and burial sites by hydroelectric dam projects, and clear-cut logging of their forests. Mercury waste from a paper mill constructed in the 1970s contaminated local rivers and created devastating long-term health problems. Compared to other racial and cultural groups in Canada, indigenous people have the lowest life expectancies, highest infant mortality rates, most substandard and overcrowded housing, lower education and employment levels, and the highest incarceration rates. Native people lead in the statistics of suicide, alcoholism, and family abuse. http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=30&ItemID=14050

Bulgaria:

11) Eco activists tied people to trees on Sunday to mark the official start of the Green Bulgaria party campaign against the cutting down of the country’s forests. In addition, the eco activists tied posters on the trees on major Sofia boulevards, urging the society to save Bulgaria’s forests.The campaign goes under the motto “Leave the trees alone” and is aimed also to raise awareness of the pollution of the country. The campaign is part of the party’s initiative “Apathy kills”, which has to inform the society for the crimes against nature. The campaign symbolizes the natural connection of the people with trees, which are the lung of our planet and it was provoked by the new Sofia urban development plan. “No human being will give its lung, which is a vitally important organ in the name of another hotel,” activists say. http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=86437

Hungary:

12) European scientists want to help Hungary preserve 16 cypress trees, estimated to be 8 million years old, Hungarian media said Monday. The trees, uncovered in a water-soaked lignite mine in Bukkabrany in northeastern Hungary in August, are unique because they have not turned into fossils and thus could lead to clues to plant life in prehistoric times, the Hungarian news agency MTI reported. A group of Danish researchers, experienced in restoring old Viking sailing boats they found underwater, offered their assistance in conserving the Hungarian cypress trees, the Eszak Magyarorszag newspaper said. Experts from Italy, Norway and Sweden said they are ready to provide whatever help they can. Officials from Finland and its ambassador in Budapest inspected the trees during the weekend. A Finnish firm is to provide steel tanks to store the four trees that will be dipped in a special glucose solution to strengthen the trees’ barks. The process of soaking is to last up to four years, the newspaper said. http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2007/10/15/europe_helps_hungary_save_ancient_trees/8342/

Congo:

13) “We are going to Washington to tell the World Bank that they must not allow any expansion of the logging industry,” pygmy spokesman Adrian Sinafasi said in a statement released by the Rainforest Foundation, which is accompanying the delegation. “We have been stewards of these forests for many generations and to lose them now would be utterly devastating.” The delegation hopes to meet new World Bank President Robert Zoellick, who has said that protecting the environment and indigenous peoples will be two of his main priorities. Since the restoration of peace in most of the former Zaire after a 1998-2003 war, the World Bank has promoted logging as a way of quickly rebuilding the country’s shattered economy. Last week’s leaked report — prompted by a complaint from the pygmies — criticised the bank for failing to follow its own guidelines on environmental impact assessments, on the verification of logging areas, and on policing. It also accused it of hugely overestimating the potential benefits to the pygmies. The Rainforest Foundation, a charity whose mission is to support indigenous peoples in the world’s rainforests, said more than 40 million Congolese depended on the rainforests for their livelihood. “The indigenous `Pygmy’ people of the Congo have fought hard to have their voices heard. The recent Inspection Panel report was instigated by these people and the findings have shamed the World Bank,” said director Simon Counsell. “Now the `Pygmies’ have the chance to meet face to face with the organisation that risked devastating their forests. Hopefully President Zoellick and his colleagues will listen to what we have to say and commit to working with them to protect Congo’s forests in the future.” http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnL16113873.html

14) Virunga National is a World Heritage Site in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR) that contains within 790,000 hectares the greatest diversity of habitats of any park in Africa: from steppes, savannas and lava plains, swamps, lowland and montane forests to volcanoes and the unique giant herbs and snowfields of Rwenzori over 5,000 meters (m) high. It is. Thousands of hippopotamuses lived in its rivers, its mountains are a critical area for the survival of mountain and lowland gorillas, and birds from Siberia overwinter there. The Park was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1994 after civil war in Rwanda and the influx of 1.5 – 2 million refugees into Kivu province. This led to massive uncontrollable poaching and deforestation: 9,000 hippopotamus were killed; fuelwood cut for refugee camps was estimated at 600 metric tons/day, depleting and erasing the lowland forests. Most of the staff were unpaid and lacked means to patrol the 650 kilometer-long boundary. The north and center of the park were successively abandoned; many guards were killed. Protective soldiery also turned to poaching. The fishing village near Lake Rutanzige grew to threaten the integrity of the Park. Most of the gorillas living higher up the mountains have survived but tourism ceased. The park has become a threatened island in a sea of subsistence cultivation. In 1996, the World Heritage Committee recognized that major effort would be needed for at least ten years after this tragedy to rehabilitate and restore management of the Park and regain local support for its conservation. http://www.eoearth.org/article/Virunga_National_Park,_Democratic_Republic_of_Congo

15) The rumble of giant machinery heralds the arrival of loggers deep in the heart of the Congo rainforest. For the pygmy tribes which have inhabited this thick jungle for millennia, the sound of the advancing column is the sound of encroaching hunger and the loss of a way of life stretching back hundreds of generations. “They bring with them huge machines which go deep into the forest and make noise which frightens all the game animals away,” says Adrian Sinafasi, the man seeking to alert the outside world to the plight of central Africa’s pygmies. “When the loggers arrive, they bring with them many workers who are needed to fell the trees. They also need to eat and start hunting but, rather than use traditional weapons in the right season, they hunt with firearms and don’t care about seasons or how much food they take.” Mr Sinafasi, who was displaced from his ancestral home in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is leading a delegation of pygmies to meet the new head of the World Bank in Washington this week. He hopes the talks could lead to deal to safeguard the world’s second-largest rainforest. There is mounting optimism that when the representatives of some of Africa’s most remote tribes arrive in the US capital today, they can capitalise on international outrage over the bank’s plan to turn 60,000 sq km of pristine forest over to European logging companies. Forty million people in the Congo depend on the rainforests for survival. Among them are up to 600,000 pygmies who are engaged in a David and Goliath battle over plans to allow millions of hardwood trees to be felled, many to make garden furniture and flooring for European homes. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article3061147.ece

16) Illiterate villagers who do not understand maps choose an icon on the screen of the Global Positioning System handsets whenever they reach a treasured area of the forest. The location is then beamed to a satellite. This information is downloaded into a map used by the logging firm running the scheme, Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB). It is the first time a logging company has linked with groups representing local tribes to stop the destruction of their sacred sites. “It may seem an unlikely alliance,” said Scott Poynton, director of the Tropical Forest Trust, a Hampshire-based charity working to promote responsible forestry worldwide. “But the company deserves credit for setting a benchmark for the sustainable use of forests which recognises rights of the indigenous people.” The Mbendjele Yaka tribe, who inhabit the world’s second largest rainforest in the Congo River Basin, had taken to the scheme “like kids with a computer game”, he said. “They may be unable to recognise much on a traditional map, but they understood pretty quick how to use the new technology.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/13/wpygmy113.xml

Namibia:

17) The aim of this Strategic Plan is to streamline, in accordance with the Vision 2030, our forestry operations in such a way that we sustainably develop and utilise our forest resources for the economic benefit of the country. It makes provisions for our citizens to generate income through forestry-based projects while at the same time preserving the environmental functions of our forest resources. It must be noted that the uncontrolled use of our forest resources simultaneously leads to the depletion of the forests environmental functions. Therefore, while we strive to use our forest resources to derive financial gain, we must at the same time realise that our forestry sector is primarily an “environmental service sector”, and hence strive to conserve the forest resources for environmental protection for the benefit of both our present and future generations. We are also confronted with a high level of illegal activities that are difficult to control given our limited capacity in terms of transport and personnel. Last but not least we are still very much concerned about widespread annual wild fires in many parts of our country that pose a threat no only to our natural environment but also to human life. Especially with regard to illegal activities and wild fires we therefore very much depend on the co-operation and assistance of our partners and stakeholders. At the same time, the community forest programme has become an important component for community-based wildlife and tourism management in conservancies as it helps to safeguard attractive landscapes and habitats. With our regional tree nurseries we are able to provide various indigenous and exotic tree species to interested individuals and institutions. http://allafrica.com/stories/200710110415.html

Guyana:

18) “We must square up to this reality and recognize that the way to stop deforestation is to ensure that there is an economically viable alternative,” President Jagdeo told ministers of the 53-nation Commonwealth at the official opening of the three-day meeting. The meeting is being held one week before board meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, and ahead of the December 3-14 UN conference on climate change in Bali, Indonesia. Jagdeo urged his audience to push for incentives at the Bali conference to reward not only re-planting of tropical forest trees but also preservation of pristine forests. “This is not only morally right because countries like Guyana … deserve to be rewarded,” but also “because to not do so would result in economic leakages across national borders in the Amazon region and elsewhere,” he said. Jagdeo called on the Commonwealth to work with the United States and Australia, which have not ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that sets limits on carbon emissions. He also urged them to engage developing countries like China and India “in a way which recognizes that on a per-capita basis, they are far lower emitters of greenhouse gases than much of the world.” Also at the event was Finance Minister Niko Lee Hang of Samoa, who described how climate changed has resulted in what was the island’s main export — tuna — migrating away from their region. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gJ50hIiA0_sjI_DkaIB2YvFsRcoA

Brazil:

19) Veteran Amazon pilots such as Fernando Galvao Bezerra are hard men to shock. During 20 years in aviation Mr Bezerra, 45, has ferried prostitutes and wildcat miners to remote, lawless goldmines. He has taxied wealthy loggers between ranches, lost countless colleagues to malaria and once survived when his plane plummeted out of the sky. But as his 10-seater Cessna banked over a vast expanse of burning rainforest in the state of Mato Grosso, the pilot, who now works for the environmental group Greenpeace, was virtually speechless. “Holy shit,” he blurted over the plane’s PA system, as the plane swung sharply to the right towards an image of destruction which owed more to a scene from Apocalypse Now than the Amazon rainforest. “Just look at the size of what this guy is burning.” It is burning season in Brazil, and across the Amazon region, where illegal loggers, cattle ranchers and a growing number of soy producers continue their advance into their world’s largest tropical forest, similar scenes are taking place. In August government satellites registered 16,592 fires across Brazil, the overwhelming majority in the Amazon. For environmentalists the fires are one of the first indications that deforestation is once again on the rise. Over the last two years fears for the future of the Amazon have been tempered by news of a reduction in deforestation. In August the Brazilian government heralded a 30% drop in rainforest destruction – the result, it said, of a government deforestation plan launched in March 2004. The plan outlined the creation of conservation units and 19 anti-deforestation units in deforestation hotspots such as Novo Progresso and Apui. http://www.guardian.co.uk/brazil/story/0,,2191877,00.html?feed=12&gusrc=rss

Costa Rica:

20) The Bush administration, Costa Rica, Conservation International, and The Nature Conservancy will today announce a “debt-for-nature” swap that could herald something bigger in the future. The United States will write off $12.6 million in debt owed it by Costa Rica. In exchange, Costa Rica will protect some of the most valuable rainforest wildlife habitat in the world. This follows the Bush administration’s support for an even bigger swap with Guatemala. Of course, the sums involved and the area conserved are relatively puny compared to the global forest destruction caused by the Bush administration, especially through its support for tropically grown biofuels that require deforestation to be grown. But the Bush administration has always had two sides to its tropical forest policy. Although it’s happy to help Cargill, ADM, and other agrigiants despoil the last remaining tropical forests, it’s also expressed quiet backing for carbon ranching — allowing polluters to get global warming credit for protecting forests instead of cleaning up pollution at their own facilities. They like it because saving carbon through protecting forests is generally a lot cheaper than cleaning up industrial pollution, and we should like it because that means we can keep a lot more carbon out of the atmosphere a lot quicker — and save the forests, their wildlife, and their indigenous people at the same time.Of course, the Bush administration’s quiet backing of this concept is completely worthless right now until the Bush administration backs strict, mandatory limits on greenhouse-gas pollution. Until they do, polluters will have no incentive to actually go ahead and protect those forests (or clean up their own pollution). But that support — and today’s forest conservation actions — signals that forest conservation may provide some common ground between Democrats and the White House on stopping the climate crisis. http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/10/17/61942/428/?source=daily

Jamaica:

21) Heavy flooding caused by five days of rain has killed at least three children in Haiti. A civil defence official said rising waters have flooded roughly 4,000 homes across the country since the start of the month. Widespread deforestation has left much of the Haitian countryside unable to absorb rainfall, while poor drainage and shabby home construction put many residents at further risk during sustained rain.The rain in Haiti stems from the same system that has been affecting Jamaica’s weather for the past few days. http://www.radiojamaica.com/content/view/1987/88/

Chile:

22) The annual march has been held since 1990 to call attention to the issues of concern for the Mapuche rights movement in Chile. Organizers said the purpose of this year’s march is to highlight the failures of the current government to recognize the territorial rights of the Mapuche to land in southern and central Chile, and the government’s refusal to grant Mapuche communities some degree of self-determination. “The government is denying the existence of a people. They are denying one of the most fundamental rights of life, and we are demonstrating against this,” Felipe Curivil of the Mapuche organization Meli Wixan Mapu told the Santiago Times. “We have had no response from the state at all, and this confirms how the repressive Chilean state is denying Mapuche rights.” Under Chile’s current constitution, indigenous groups such as the Mapuche have no official recognition or status, and none of the nation’s legislators are of indigenous origin although most official estimates suggest the Mapuche and other indigenous groups account for about 10 percent of Chile’s population. Meanwhile, much of the land originally belonging to the Mapuche is owned by large-scale businesses or threatened by energy development. The continued plight of the Mapuche and the mistreatment of their ancestral lands, say activists, is a blight on the nation’s history. “There has been 500 years of denial and 500 years of the confiscation of our land and the abuse of our people. We want to condemn this and we want to condemn the Chilean state which represses our communities,” said Jorge Huenchullan of Meli Wixan Mapu. “The Chilean state continues to repress the communities that are struggling and fighting legitimately.” http://www.tcgnews.com/santiagotimes/index.php?nav=story&story_id=14938&topic_id=1

India:

23) The deputy director FPF vide his letter dated March 14 had furnished a detailed enquiry report to the chief conservator of forests, Jammu. The then range officer, Gandhri, Mohammed Iqbal Sohail had ‘engineered’ a cloudburst showing that 560 trees (37,000 cubic feet) in compartment numbers 55, 56, 57 and 58 were washed away in the natural calamity, which according to him happened on August 11, 2002. Abusing his official position, Sohail prevailed over his subordinates to prepare a false joint inspection report of the cloudburst and then without reporting the matter to divisional forest officer, Batote, the range officer issued a certificate that 560 trees were lost in the incident. Subsequently, he made direct correspondence with the Divisional Manager (DM), SFC (State Financial Corporation) Ramban on his own without seeking any authorisation. The then range officer had also directed his subordinates for handing / taking over the compartments without seeking any authorisation. The enquiry committee headed by deputy director, Forest Protection Force, Doda had also visited the spot and much to its chagrin, found no trace of any cloudburst in any of the compartments numbered 55 to 58. In the detailed report, enquiry committee clearly stated that no cloudburst occurred in any of the four compartments and the contractor axed the green gold (560 Deodar trees) in connivance with Batote forest officials and SFC. “Had there been a cloudburst, there would have been widespread damage to human lives and their cattle as well. But nothing had happened,” said an SFC official. “This scam was just a tip of the iceberg as several reports continue to gather dust,” he added. The entire timber was allegedly smuggled and the contractor managed withdrawal of payment for extraction of timber from these compartments, including charges of transportation and damages as well. The committee fixed responsibility on the range officer, two foresters, four forest guards, some SFC officials and the contractor.

http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=127001

24) The forests in Himachal Pradesh not only contribute in maintaining the ecological balance but also play a significant role in the economic development of the state. In Himachal Pradesh forests provide physical sustenance to the fragile Eco-system and also act as a source of precious raw material for rural and industrial application. According to the forest policy of the state, till yesterday the forests were no more a source of revenue and supply of raw material. The government was lying emphasis on the protection and conservation of forests. The state government has imposed complete ban on the green felling in the state. Besides, the state government had made forest laws more stringent to check the illicit felling , deal with smugglers and poachers in the state. The state government had allowed only the removal of dead, diseased and decaying trees and had salvaged lots from the forests to meet the requirements the masses. However, the extraction of herbs had been allowed only on selective basis But the setting of cement plants and execution of over two dozen major power projects in the state have posed serious threats to the existence of many forest lands. According to a recent survey conducted by a NGO dealing with the “ protection of environment” has termed the situation in the state alarming, it has revealed that Himachal Pradesh is fast loosing its forest cover and in past five years over ten thousands precious trees were axed in the state for the setting up of power projects and other construction activities. Survey revealed that Kulu, Solan, Bilaspur and Shimla districts of state are the worst affected where hundreds of acres of land has gone barren because of reckless felling of trees by power projects and cement plants. State government has failed to understand that the growing population has led to disastrous over use of forests for fuel wood and timber under TD in past two decades. There has been manifold increase in the requirement of fuel wood in the state, it has increased to the tune of two lakh tons valued at RS 160 crore per year.Today the flash floods, land slides and sinking of land has become quite common. Every year thousands of persons are being killed because of flash floods and land slides in the state. http://himachal.us/2007/10/14/alarming-rise-in-flash-floods-and-deforestation-in-himachal/3303/a
ctivism/rsood

Brunei:

25) “Brunei takes sustainable development most seriously. For a small nation, we are proud of our efforts to protect and conserve our environment while we progress and grow. His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is leading the way in ensuring that our nation’s development is in line with an environmentally sound policy. Brunei has committed 75 per cent of its rainforest to the Heart of Borneo Project.” The Deputy Minister went on to explain the Heart of Borneo Project. It is a joint project by Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia to set aside 220,000 square kilometres of rainforest that possess a staggeringly high number of unique plant and animal species. “Investment in eco-tourism and its infrastructure are among some of the business opportunities available in Brunei,” he told the Hainanese community. Brunei will also be developing a world class Industrial Park in Sungai Liang which will house a methanol plant and is also looking to develop deep water port in Pulau Muara Besar that will link China to the Middle East and beyond. The Sultanate’s stable economy with strong financial backing, strategic geographical location, excellent international relations and a highly educated and young workforce, Dato Hamdillah said he was certain that Brunei would make an excellent business partner. “Forest enrichment is important as the villagers can live off the forest again in future. Some 3,000 saplings of mostly timber species like kapor have been transplanted in secondary forests around the village,” said Octoris Lugan, who heads the project development and management committee. The 40 subsistence farming families have, since June, participated in the reforestation of 200ha of degraded forest and 20ha of fallow cultivated land. A total of 5,000 saplings, including fruit trees, agarwood and petai, were grown in a nursery. http://www.brudirect.com/DailyInfo/News/Archive/Oct07/161007/nite01.htm

Philippines:

26) Residents of Sibuyan, Romblon have cheered Environment Secretary Lito Atienza’s order suspending the cutting of trees in mining areas on the island, but said they would be doubly happy if he stopped mining altogether. “We are thankful for the suspension of the cutting of trees and mining in Sibuyan. However, what we need is the cancellation [of mining permits],” Sibuyanon Rodne Galicha said. “Justice for Sibuyanons and Armin [Marin] is the pullout of all mining operations and applications in Sibuyan.” Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño, who raised Sibuyanons’ concern over mining during last Thursday’s House deliberations on the environment department’s budget, commended Atienza for his order. “I am glad he heeded the clamor for his department to intervene to prevent the escalation of the brewing conflict between Sibuyan residents and mining companies that has claimed one life,” he said in a text message. The next step, the congressman added, would be for Atienza “to stop all mining operations in the ecologically fragile island as demanded by its residents.” Atienza, however, said he could not cancel the permits issued to at least three small-scale mining firms by the provincial government of Romblon in 1996, but said he expected them to eventually pull out. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view_article.php?article_id=94854

Sarawak:

27) For many indigenous communities in Sarawak, years of commercial logging have depleted natural resources that are available for their basic needs. Timber for building traditional longhouses is scarce, medicinal plants have been destroyed, rattan for weaving has been depleted and the rivers are polluted. Some of these remote villages are now rehabilitating degraded forests, under a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) initiative with financial assistance from the European Commission (EC). Under the EC-UNDP Small Grants Programme for Operations to Promote Tropical Forests (SGP-PTF), eight villages have embarked on various activities to restore their communal forests since last year. One such village involves the Kenyah community in Belaga in Bintulu division, eastern Sarawak. Kampung Mudung Abun is a relatively new village with a population of 300. The families were relocated from Long Mejawa after their longhouses were gutted in a fire in 2001. The Kenyahs were familiar with the new site, 15km away, as they had set up swidden farms (shifting cultivation land) there since 1994, alongside logging activities which eventually stopped in 2002. http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2007/10/16/lifefocus/18941528&sec=lifefocus

Malaysia:

28) Establishing plantations in the 1.5 million hectares Bakun Catchment is likely to threaten the viability of the Bakun Dam and the Bakun HEP, warns Philip Khoo. The Sarawak state government must provide some answers quickly. To counter criticisms against the Bakun Hydroelectric Project, several federal ministers had promised that the 1.5 million-hectare Bakun catchment would be gazetted to conserve the forest and protect the investment in the dam. Indeed, the then deputy prime minister was quoted on 12 March 1996 as saying that “we should realise that we will be gazetting a catchment area covering 1.5 million hectares which may not have been created if the Bakun project is not implemented.” Until now, however, the catchment continues to be intensively logged. Worse, large parts of it are either in the process of being clear-felled for plantation or have been licensed out for the same purpose. In short, not only has the catchment not been gazetted, it is being actively undermined — with the approval of the Sarawak state government. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) recently brought this to the attention of the public when they produced evidence that the Sarawak state government had approved at least three large plantation projects in the Bakun catchment between 1999 and 2002. None of the mainstream newspapers carried SAM’s press statement and conference. The three plantation projects are: 1) the Shin Yang Forest Plantation covering almost 156,000 hectares, 2) the Bahau-Linau Forest Plantation covering over 108,000 hectares, and 3) the Merirai-Balui Forest Plantation on almost 56,000 hectares. http://www.aliran.com/content/view/325/10/

Sumatra:

29) The significance of Imbak is that it is the only large contiguous area of Class II forest in Sabah that remains undisturbed. This is largely due to its isolated location in the heart of the State, where it is protected on three sides by precipitous ridges up to 1500m high. The lost valley of Imbak is an area of outstanding beauty and biodiversity. Through some mystery of nature the lowland forest retains a higher density of enormous trees than nearby Danum Valley and Maliau Basin. To walk in the cool under-storey beneath the canopies of these giants is a humbling and uplifting experience. However unlike Danum and Maliau, Imbak is not safe from logging until it has been formally gazetted by the Government as a Class I Conservation Area. Just before we left for Imbak I learned from some NGO friends that although Imbak Canyon is safe for the time being, the surrounding area is due to be logged imminently. Unfortunately this logging will start at exactly the best spot for bird-watching – the Tampoi Basecamp. The heart of Imbak Canyon remains inaccessible except by foot so Yayasan Sabah have set up the Tampoi Basecamp and research station in logged over forest on the periphery of the Conservation Area. It is in this mixed habitat that we did most of our bird-watching both in 2004 and in 2007, taking advantage of old logging roads to provide vantage points on the forest canopy. During our 2007 trip the reality of the proposed logging became clear when we saw contractors marking out the 30m riparian reserve along the Imbak River right up to the Basecamp and beyond. I found it depressing to be surveying an area where our data may just become a record of what used to exist. In this context I’m not sure whether it is better to find more species or less. Of course it’s better to find more but every memorable observation leaves a bittersweet taste. http://arkitrekker.blogspot.com/2007/10/imbak-bird-watching.html

Indonesia:

30) The administration and the House of Representatives remain at loggerheads over illegal logging in Riau, causing legal and investment uncertainty in the country. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s decision to set up a joint team led by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo A.S. to deal with the issue only seems to have complicated the issue. The joint team was formed following friction between the Forestry Ministry and the National Police over illegal logging in Riau. The ministry defended its decision to give forest concessions to Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) and Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper (IKPP), while the police accused the two companies of getting illegal logs from partner companies. The issue heated up at the House when the environment commission and forestry commission summoned the management of the two pulp and paper companies on the eve of the Idul Fitri holiday. House Commission VII overseeing environmental affairs canceled a hearing with RAPP, which was seen as being uncooperative and because of the absence of its owner Sukanto Tanoto. Several field tours by the joint team have yet to result in any firm recommendations, while the two pulp and paper producers are facing shortages of raw materials because their partner companies supplying wood have stopped operations and areas of their timber forests have been fenced off by police. http://www.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp

31) It is a sickening picture. A photograph of six soft-eyed baby orang-utans stamped with the words “Orphaned by Palm Oil companies”. The image, along with scores of others showing adult apes staring out through the bars of cages, has created a public relations disaster for global companies buying the oil that many hoped would fuel a green energy boom. This week, as Greenpeace International launched a “Forest Defenders Camp” in the Indonesian province of Riau, where swathes of orang-utan habitat have been cleared by felling and fire for lucrative palm oil plantations, the “oil for ape” scandal hit Australia. Caught in the middle is a quietly spoken Sydney businessman who walked away from the petroleum industry several years ago convinced that price, supply and climate change made it yesterday’s game. Barry Murphy, a former Caltex Oil chief, plunged into the heady world of “clean” energy hoping to fuel Australian industry with diesel made from the world’s second most popular edible oil. “It would be foolish to ignore the fact that people are anxious about fossil fuel and its effect on the environment and that it’s not sustainable,” Murphy told the Herald last week. “People are naturally looking to palm oil.” Why? “It has the highest yield of any of the vegetable oils. You can get 4000 to 5000 litres of oil per hectare per year.” That is about 10 times more productive than soya beans. http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/green-fuel-gets-a-black-name/2007/10/12/1191696173955.ht
ml

32) Illegal logging in South Aceh`s western coastal area is still rampant and has triggered flash floods and damaged river basin areas, an environmental activist said here on Monday. “Local authorities must take firm actions to deal with the problem,” TAF Haikal, a spokesman of the South Aceh`s South Western Coast Caucus, said. Illegal logs from Aceh are mostly transported to neighboring North Sumatra province, he said. Data from the Aceh chapter of the Indonesian Environmental Forum (WALHI) showed that the deforestation rate in Aceh has reached 20,796 hectares annually. Up to 2006, a total of 374,327 hectares of Aceh`s forest areas were degraded. Due to the deforestation, 46.40 percent or 714.724 hectares of a total of 1,524,624,12 hectares of river basin land in Aceh, were damaged. The damaged river basin areas were located in South Aceh, West Aceh, Nagan Raya, Southwest Aceh and Aceh Jaya Districts. According to WALHI`s data, Aceh was hit by 39 disasters , mainly floods and landslides, in 2006. The disasters had killed 20 people, destroyed 249 houses and 12 bridges. Meanwhile, a local legislator of South Aceh, Azmir, called on the authorities to fight illegal logging activity and provide people living around forests with jobs to prevent them from cutting wood illegally. http://www.antara.co.id/en/arc/2007/10/15/illegal-logging-still-rampant-di-south-aceh/

New Zealand:

33) The area at the centre of police anti-terror raids is home to a strong and politically defiant tribe, reports Rebecca Todd. Mist-cloaked forests in a remote part of the central North Island have long spawned legends and the name given to its Tuhoe Maori people – Nga Tamariki o te Kohu – Children of the Mist. Now the tribe’s traditional lands in Te Urewera and Te Urewera National Park in the eastern North Island are the focus of an unprecedented police operation, alleging the forests also hide military-style training camps. Tuhoe’s powerful sense of injustice stems from Crown confiscation of their fertile lands after the battle of Orakau in 1864. Four years later, Tuhoe’s crops and buildings were destroyed as part of the Government’s “scorched earth policy”. Tuhoe have been fighting to have their lands returned ever since. Tuhoe Waikaremoana Trust manager Tama Nikora said his people had been struggling for years to have their voices heard. The tribe had a strong sense of cultural identity, but for the 19 per cent of members who still lived on their traditional lands there was little work and many people were beneficiaries. Nikora said the trust was trying to create some work in forestry, but their efforts were being thwarted by tribe radicals. “What they really want is work. If they were busy in employment they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing,” he said. Nikora believed there was some truth in the reports of military training and guerilla-style camps. http://www.stuff.co.nz/4240168a8153.html

34) A Taumarunui man has been convicted and fined for illegally harvesting native timber from his property. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) yesterday welcomed the recent conviction and fine for harvesting native timber in excess of the amount legally permitted. Eric Grant Nutbeam, the owner of native forest in the North Island’s National Park area, was fined $700 and ordered to pay a further $1260 in costs for contravening a “Personal Use” approval and taking more than the permitted volume of timber from his property. He pleaded guilty to the charge when he appeared in Taumaranui District Court last week. MAF Indigenous Forestry Unit manager Robert Miller said yesterday that under the Forests Act 1949, Nutbeam was permitted to harvest up to 50 cubic metres of rimu and matai for personal use. “On investigating the case, we found that an excess of the approved amount had been harvested and subsequently sold for timber,” Mr Miller said. “MAF’s job is to promote and regulate the sustainable management of indigenous forests in New Zealand. “We take breaches of the Forests Act seriously and this prosecution sends the appropriate message that harvesting of timber in excess of the volume approved will not be tolerated,” Mr Miller said. “Likewise, the sale or trade of timber under such a provision is not permitted.” Other people have been charged in relation to the case and are yet to appear in court. Mr Miller said that the unit was happy to provide information and advice in relation to various harvesting and milling approvals available to landowners and others involved in the indigenous timber industry and was able to assist them in the approval process. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4239865a12855.html

35) Sustainable logging of the West Coast Rimu forests will be achieved by clearfelling up to one-quarter of the forests within the next few decades and then leaving the cleared land free for new Rimu seedlings to propogate. At least, if paleoseismologists have interpreted the trace evidence from the Great Alpine Fault correctly, that is what will happen. Without these magnitude 8 quakes every few hundred years the Rimu forests would have been colonised by Beeches. You can’t grow a Rimu in the shade at the forest floor the way you can with a Beech. The only way the Rimu defeats the Beech is by colonising the clearfelled clearings created by earthquake landslides. Sustainable logging of native hardwood means, in the case of Rimu, that Coasters can either wait for the quake then take advantage of it or they can imitate mother nature and clearfell pockets of forest themselves. Selective logging by helicopter would be the most unsustainable thing the Coasters could do. No logging at all is just delaying the inevitable until until mother nature shakes her rump. http://blog.greens.org.nz/index.php/2007/10/10/sustainable-west-coast/#comment-32098

243 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 34 new articles about earth’s trees! (243rd edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

–British Columbia: 1) Biggest logging protest since 1990’s, 2) Logger strike stats, 3) Community forest in E. Fraser,
–Washington: 4) Moss poaching
–Oregon: 5) Wildlands-urban interface
–Idaho: 6) Old trees planted by US leaders turned into woodcrafts
–Utah: 7) Lightning torches 300,000 acres of sagebrush and juniper
–Montana: 8) Putting Mark Rey in jail, 9) Fireproofing Helena NF, 10) Rich buy land,
–Minnesota: 11) Action teams plan future forest industry
–Wisconsin: 12) Biocomposites saves trees, 13) Schools like to log, 14) more on schools,
–Maryland: 15) 330 trees to be cut at airport
–New Jersey: 16) Princeton University students embraced trees last week
–Georgia: 17) Orginal forests of pine and wiregrass
–Florida: 18) Restoration destroying forests
–USA: 19) US private lands change hands
–Canada: 20) 11 Greenpeacers arrested protesting boreal, 21) Nova Forest Alliance leader steps down to decry corruption, 22) Diverse forest more likely to thrive,
–UK: 23) Sherwood Forest is dying, 24) Three Village Woodlands Group
–Netherlands: 25) Dutch Glory destroys forest
–Panama: 26) Canal expansion is a threat to ecosystems
–Brazil: 27) Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers Movement, 28) NGOs draft an ambitious plan, 29) Development brings only disease and death
–Peru: 30) Precautionary measures to protect some of the last indigenous peoples
–Madagascar: 31) Zurich zoo conservation project
–Australia: 32) pulp mill is exposing tensions in both major parties, 33) Illegal logs,
–World-wide: 34) Innovative Forest Carbon Partnership Facility

British Columbia:

1) Numbers grew to close to 600 at the rally that followed, with most of the group taking part in what organizers called an “ancient forest falldown” — crouching to their knees in sequence to simulate the loss of old-growth forests over the years. The sound of a revving chainsaw was played over a public-address system before each group of people knelt. A few stayed standing to symbolize the old-growth trees that remain in the province. “This is the most important time in the history of B.C.’s coastal old-growth forests,” the Western Canada Wilderness Committee’s Ken Wu told the crowd. He said the sheer magnitude of old-growth trees makes them unique. “There’s so few places on Earth where you have trees literally as wide as your living room and as tall as a skyscraper.” The huge trees are a boon to tourism and provide a habitat for many species, Wu said. “Our goal at this point is to put an end to old-growth logging on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, have the industry log the second-growth forest sustainably and ban raw-log exports to protect the jobs of B.C. timber workers.” The march and rally were staged to coincide with the provincial government’s consideration of a new coastal forest-industry plan and coastal old-growth strategy. The Forests Ministry has said that neither will be released until the ongoing coastal forestry strike is settled. Other jurisdictions, including New Zealand and southwestern Australia, have banned old-growth logging in recent years. “The logging industry is already making a transition into second-growth logging in southern BC. We’re just advocating that they make the full transition sooner, before they finish off the last of the unprotected ancient forests,” stated Anya Reid UBC Ancient Forest Committee co director. See the Global TV news video and article at: http://www.canada.com/globaltv/bc/story.html?id=876eaa39-10b2-43e7-867e-2e336d17a30b&k=83959# – http://www.wildernesscommitteevictoria.org/gallery_ubc_rally.php

2) Almost half the usual volume of timber is still being harvested on the Coast despite a three-month-long strike by 7,000 woodworkers, according to government statistics. The scaled harvest volume for the Coast in September from Crown land was 45 per cent of last year’s volume while August’s volume was 43 per cent as high as last year, strong indicators that the United Steelworkers strike has failed to shut down the industry, said independent analyst Kevin Mason. “The wood is still moving,” Mason, of Equity Research Associates, said Friday. “Those of us who live on the Coast have seen it and we have heard anecdotally that there’s a lot of logging going on. Now we have the numbers that prove it.” On July 21, 7,000 loggers and sawmill workers went on strike. The union is fighting over contracting out, changes in shifts and hours of work, and attempts by some companies to freeze workers out of severance pay through partial shutdowns. In a partial shutdown, most of the workforce is laid off until their seniority runs out. A portion of the operation stays open with only a few employees who would then be eligible for severance pay. The issues do not affect everyone equally and have led to a bitter strike, where so-called good operators are being lumped in with bad, and crews with no complaints are striking in support of comrades who have been affected.The Steelworkers are picketing 33 companies, 31 of them who are represented by their bargaining agent, Forest Industrial Relations. On other fronts in the coastal strike, the Labour Relations Board ruled against TimberWest Friday for offering signing bonuses of $100,000 each to 29 forestry crewmen and engineers, in exchange for a five-year agreement that the union claimed is designed to destroy the rest of the bargaining unit. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=e11f268f-e998-41a9-b932-73aa791
e6f3c&k=40746

3) A community forest agreement in the eastern Fraser Valley is expected to stimulate local economies and build a sense of regional harmony in Yale, Hope and the Yale First Nation. With management decisions “in the hands of local people,” harvested timber can be sold to local companies or mills, instead of markets outside the region like a multinational owner would do, says Doug Hansen, forest manager at the Yale First Nation. “Under local control … the logs can be sent to a log-home company or to a small cedar mill,” he says, creating value-added jobs and keeping harvest dollars in the region. Local managers will also have control over logging sites, crucial to maintaining recreation areas. The five-year agreement allows the Cascade Lower Canyon Community Forest Corporation the right to harvest up to 34,300 cubic metres of timber per year on public forest lands in the Chilliwack Forest District. The corporation owned by the Yale First Nation, Hope and the Fraser Valley Regional District (for the Yale electoral area) plans to re-invest the profits in silviculture projects and other community-oriented programs. An advisory committee will focus on recreation and educational issues. The agreement can be extended for 25 to 99 years after the initial five-year probationary term expires. B.C. forests minister Rich Coleman says such agreements “diversify and stimulate local economies” and allow communities to manage forest resources like timber and plant products, recreation, wildlife, water and scenic viewscapes, based on the needs of the community. http://www.hopestandard.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=13&cat=23&id=1080954&more=0

Washington:

4) A 1940s poem by Theodore Roethke, who gathered moss for his family’s greenhouses, likened harvesting to “pulling off flesh from the living planet; As if I had committed, against the whole scheme of life, a desecration.” Deputy Sheriff Ted Drogmund was patrolling remote logging roads in the damp foothills of the Olympic National Forest in June when he came upon two men and a pit bull in a pickup truck. The men said they were camping on a timber company’s land. Mr. Drogmund gave them a trespassing ticket. He found out later what they had really been doing: stripping the forest floor of moss. They left behind dozens of 50-pound bags of wet, stringy green moss. “It was just regular moss,” says Mr. Drogmund, who is the law-enforcement official charged with nabbing poachers across 1,000 square miles of mountainous county land. “To these guys, it’s just money growing in the woods.” Moss poachers have been plying the Olympic range in recent years, combing the soggy ground and trees for the squishy stuff that lines flower baskets, provides greenery for nativity scenes at Christmas and cushions Holland’s tulip bulbs for shipping. Long unpopular with gardeners and careful tenders of grassy lawns, moss has new cachet as a trendy ground and outdoor wall cover. It’s also used in small, desktop rock gardens and as a base in Japanese bonsai-tree kits. Gardening Web sites and TV shows advocate its low-maintenance growing potential, the cushiony feel of walking barefoot on it, and even the plant’s supposedly stress-reducing green color. Last year alone, Mr. Drogmund, who calls himself “the woods deputy,” estimates he arrested more than 100 greenery thieves on private property and national forest land. In the Pacific Northwest, dried moss stripped from tree trunks and branches goes for about 45 cents a pound locally. Wet or dirty moss, or moss from the forest floor littered with pine needles and leaves, fetches a bit less. Hiawatha Corp. in Shelton, Wash., touts its moss as “clean, light and feathery.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119223579420958031.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Oregon:

5) Everyone here in Oregon loves our forests. These lands — most in public ownership — are the cornerstone for both the economic and ecological health of the state, and are central to our identity. Indeed, more and more of us are making our homes in the woods every year, in the so-called “wildlands-urban interface.” And so, whether we are loggers, conservationists or vacation-home owners, we all share a common fear: fire. Uncontrolled, stand-replacing wildfire can destroy in a day all the forest values that took centuries to develop. Therefore, it’s hard to believe that the Bureau of Land Management would propose to drastically increase the risk of wildfire on their forestlands in Oregon. Yet that is exactly what the agency is doing. This burning secret is hidden deep within the BLM’s recently-released Draft Environmental Impact statement for its Western Oregon Plan Revisions, or WOPR, pronounced “whopper” by just about everyone. Arising from an out-of-court settlement between the Bush administration and a timber industry group, the plan discards the present management framework governing 2.5 million acres of low-elevation forests throughout western Oregon and the Klamath Basin. Current management includes an extensive network of reserves that were established to assure the survival of the threatened Northern Spotted Owl, and that are off-limits to commercial logging. The draft plan would eliminate those reserves, drastically reduce no-cut buffers along streams, and instead designate commercial logging as the “predominant” use. http://origin.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_7138875

Idaho:

6) The Idaho Statehouse lawn may have lost its trees as part of the Capitol remodel/wings project. But the state isn’t losing the wood, nor, hopefully, its history. Woodworkers from around the state are being asked to transform the salvaged lumber from the Northern red oak planted in 1971 by the Sons and Daughters of Idaho Pioneers, from the maple planted by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 and all the other trees into objects for display in the remodeled Capitol. The wood, which took about six weeks to cut into pieces, is drying in storage in Eagle, Boise GOP Rep. Max Black said. He plans to use pieces from the three trees planted by presidents, an Ohio buckeye planted in 1911 by William Howard Taft, a water oak planted by Benjamin Harrison in 1891 and the Roosevelt rock sugar maple, to make a miniature steam engine. “All three of the presidents who planted trees on the grounds would have arrived in Idaho in such an engine,” he said. Black expects all the wood to be dry and in the hands of woodworkers by the end of the year. In certain cases, a long drying process wasn’t necessary. The Roosevelt tree blew down years ago and had been curing on its own in a closet under the Statehouse steps ever since. The Taft tree was technically alive, but barely. Most of its limbs and trunk were hollow, Black said. The wood was dry even before the tree came down. Paulette Shelledy, a woodworker in Rigby, is waiting for her wood to make walking sticks, one for Idaho and one for her daughter, Vhiana, 5. “I’m using pieces from the Martin Luther King tree,” said Shelledy, about the tree planted in the 1980s on the Capitol grounds by the NAACP. http://www.magicvalley.com/articles/2007/10/13/ap-state-id/d8s8fne81.txt

Utah:

7) In early July, a bolt of lightning struck the high desert outside of Milford, Utah, lighting a fire that torched more than 300,000 acres of sagebrush and juniper. As residents fled the nearby town of Cove Fort, smoke blanketed Interstate 15, causing a pileup and one fatal crash. It took more than 300 firefighters, two air tankers, two helicopters, 30 fire engines, and nine bulldozers to control the flames of the Milford Flat blaze. A thick blanket of invasive cheatgrass burned like gasoline because, unlike native grasses, it had completely dried out weeks before, dropping its seeds to the soil below. Wildfires burned nearly 5 million acres in the West this year, much of that in the sagebrush ecosystem where cheatgrass thrives. Though the fight to subdue those fires is winding down, a new, high-stakes drama is just beginning. Government scientists are already in the field, writing restoration plans for the burned areas and taking advantage of a slim window of opportunity to tackle what is generally accepted as one of the great environmental catastrophes of the West: the vicious cycle of cheatgrass and fire. Before pioneer settlement, sagebrush may have burned once every few hundred years or more, taking more than a century to fully recover. Then huge herds of cattle were turned out onto the land, grazing it down to almost nothing and making way for cheatgrass to invade. Once cheatgrass gets a foothold, an area can burn every six or seven years, which is too much for the native ecosystem to handle. It’s up to researchers and land managers to try to break that cycle. http://www.hcn.org/servlets/hcn.Article?article_id=17279&utm_source=newsletter1

Montana;

8) A federal judge on Friday warned the Bush administration’s top forestry official he could go to jail for contempt of court in a case challenging the use of fire retardant by the U.S. Forest Service to fight wildfires. U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy in Missoula, Mont., issued the warning in a written order canceling a contempt hearing for Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey that had been scheduled for Monday. The judge said he needed time to read 200 pages of material filed at the last minute by the Forest Service. “If on review I find there is noncompliance, I will reschedule the contempt hearing and Secretary Rey will be required to appear and show cause why he should not be held in contempt — and jailed — until the law and the court’s orders have been complied with,” Molloy wrote. The judge gave the Forest Service 10 days to produce the environmental analysis the agency did on fire retardant six years ago, to evaluate the “legitimacy” of the analysis. Rey said the Frost Service was committed to complying with the judge’s orders and he stood ready to appear at any future contempt hearing set by the judge. “If he wants us to be there we will be there,” Rey said. In 2005, Molloy ruled that the Forest Service violated the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act when it failed to go through a public process to analyze the potential environmental harm from using ammonium phosphate, a fertilizer that kills fish, as the primary ingredient for retardant dropped on wildfires. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit brought by Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics after fire retardant dropped in Fall Creek in Central Oregon in 2002 killed 20,000 fish. Ever since Molloy’s ruling, the Forest Service has been dragging its feet on producing a new environmental review. Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics pressed to have Rey found in contempt, arguing the environmental assessment filed on the deadline Wednesday lacked a formal declaration of no significant impact. A NOAA Fisheries review found that with the Forest Service’s lax attention to fire retardant drops in streams, the program jeopardized the survival of 26 species of salmon and other anadramous species. However, if the Forest Service agrees to test the toxicity of various formulations of fire retardant and pay more attention to when it is dropped in streams, there should be no problem. http://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-21/1192236607186950.xml&story
list=orlocal

9) The Helena National Forest wants to use chainsaws and other hand tools to cut down small trees on small parcels totaling 960 acres in the mountains around Helena. The work would take place in areas where forest lands come close to homes, often called the “urban/wildland interface.” “This doesn’t involve any commercial logging or timber sales,” Dave Larsen, the Helena Ranger District’s fire management officer. “We’ll just walk up the hill, hack the stuff down, put it in piles and burn it when the weather is good (for burning) like when it’s wet out or the ground is snow covered.” The intent of the project is to improve public safety by reducing burnable fuels in the forest, which should decrease the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires close to Helena. The public has 45 days to appeal the proposal to the regional forester. “The project will begin to return the area to a condition which results in fires which are less damaging and easier to control. As a result we will be more successful in managing a fire in this area,” according to Helena District Ranger Duane Harp. Harp said only trees 6 inches in diameter or smaller will be cut down and stacked in piles. Existing roads and trails will be used for access, and the work should be complete within five years. Larsen said he hopes they can start the project after the 45-day appeal period ends, and that it will wrap up in two years. “Some of this could take place during the winter, but we probably won’t do much until the spring,” Larsen said. “I think there is a little sense of urgency, and we’d like to get this done within two years.” The Tri-County Fire Working Group identified the project area in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan of 2005 Pat McKelvey, a member of the group, notes that fuel reduction work on the National Forest will assist private landowners in creating defensible space against wildfires. http://www.helenair.com/articles/2007/10/13/helena/c01101307_02.txt
10) Mr. Foley, 62, standing by his private pond, his horses grazing in the distance, proudly calls himself a conservationist who wants Montana to stay as wild as possible. A timber company began logging in view of his front yard a few years back. He thought they were cutting too much, so he bought the land. That does not mean no development and no profit. Mr. Foley, the chairman of a major title insurance company, Fidelity National Financial, based in Florida, also owns a chain of Montana restaurants, a ski resort and a huge cattle ranch on which he is building homes. But arriving here already rich and in love with the landscape, he said, also means his profit motive is different. “A lot of it is more for fun than for making money,” said Mr. Foley, who estimates he has invested about $125 million in Montana in the past few years, mostly in real estate. Some old-line logging companies, including Plum Creek Timber, the country’s largest private landowner, are cashing in, putting tens of thousands of wooded acres on the market from Montana to Oregon. Plum Creek, which owns about 1.2 million acres here in Montana alone, is getting up to $29,000 an acre for land that was worth perhaps $500 an acre for timber cutting. “Everybody wants to buy a 640-acre section of forest that’s next to the U.S. Forest Service or one of the wilderness areas,” said Plum Creek’s president and chief executive, Rick Holley. As a result, population is surging in areas surrounding national forests and national parks, with open spaces being carved up into sprawling wooded plots, enough for a house and no nosy neighbors. Here in Flathead County, on the western edge of Glacier National Park, the number of real estate transactions, mostly for open land, rose by 30 percent from 2003 to 2006, according to state figures. The county’s population is up 44 percent since 1990. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/13/us/13timber.html?hp

Minnesota:

11) For nearly a year, “action teams” comprised of a diverse mix of forest stakeholders of Minnesota’s forests have been meeting to deliberate the challenges and opportunities inherent in increasing the productivity and availability of the state’s public and private forest lands. The teams have focused on three key challenges to that productivity, namely: the silviculture of forests; private, or family forest land ownership; and crossing political boundaries to share and manage information about the state’s forest inventories, harvest schedules, and management plans. The foundation of the conference lies in the economic challenges confronting the state’s forest products industry, including increasing energy, transportation, and harvesting costs; and recent demands that Minnesota’s forest products industries position themselves to become major contributors to the state’s renewable energy standard. On October 16, the deliberations of those action teams will culminate in a “challenge” to state legislators, private funding organizations, and rural community business leaders to take actions to improving forest productivity. http://www.ifallsdailyjournal.com/node/5175

Wisconsin:

12) Actually, it wasn’t intended to be a bench at all. Rather, it was an example of an engineered biocomposite board made of 50 percent bovine digested solids and 50 percent recycled paper fiber. It was made of material developed at the USDA Forest Products Laboratory in Madison and was on display at the booth of GHD, Inc. of Chilton, a company that specializes in designing and installing manure digesting systems on dairy farms across the country. Steve Dvorak, owner of GHD, Inc. said his company has been involved in research with the USDA Forest Products Laboratory in Madison aimed at finding possible uses for digested manure solids in fiber board. And after a year of research, the FPL has come up with the manure/paper composite and is doing an economic analysis of the product. Some background: In the 1880s, the U.S, Forest Service was actively involved in “timber physics” and in 1909 sought a centralized location for a wood research laboratory. After some competition among several universities, the University of Wisconsin was selected in 1910 as the site for the new Forest Products Laboratory by secretary of agriculture James Wilson. In the 97 years since, the FPL has continued on its mission “to use science and technology to conserve and extend our nation’s forest resources,” and has long been recognized as a source of unbiased information about wood science and use. One of the focus areas of the FPL is working with advanced composites, where Jerrold Winandy is the project leader for Engineered Composites Science. His 12-member group of researchers includes John Hunt, a mechanical engineer who is working directly with performance-engineered composites including the digested manure research program. http://www.madison.com/tct/business/250589

13) It won ‘t erase the Madison School District ‘s projected budget shortfall of about $4 million, but an upcoming sale of timber from the district ‘s forest is expected to generate $63,000 — and some lessons in a “selective harvest ” for students. At its meeting tonight, district administrators are asking the School Board to approve a bid from Meister Log and Lumber Co. of Reedsburg to cull crowded trees and large timber from portions of 80 acres of the district ‘s 307-acre forest southwest of Verona. Half of the $63,000 would go to the district ‘s general fund, while the remainder would be given to an environmental education endowment fund at the Foundation for Madison ‘s Public Schools. “It ‘s cool, ” School Board President Arlene Silveira said. “The students are learning and we can reap financial benefits as well. ” The Madison School Forest ‘s first timber sale in about seven years would include the cutting of small numbers of white pines and red pines planted by students in the 1960s. “This is a thinning so that the desirable species that are there, predominantly oaks, will have more room to mature, ” said Lisa Wachtel, the district ‘s science and environmental education coordinator, who noted the plan has been approved by an advisory board, a boosters group and experts at UW-Madison and the state Department of Natural Resources. On trips to the forest, students have seen how crowding causes trees to grow weak and spindly, Wachtel said, and after the culling is complete, they ‘ll see how the work improves the health of the forest. The logging would take place this winter if the weather cooperates. It won ‘t disrupt students ‘ learning, she said. For the timber project, the district contacted 56 companies, but Meister was the only one to submit a bid. About 75 percent of the trees removed, Witkowski said, will be black cherry and black oak, with an average diameter of 16 inches and ages of 80 years and up. The lumber will be sold on global markets and fashioned into furniture, cabinets and flooring, he said. In addition, workers will remove smaller trees and the tops of large trees for firewood and pulp for use in paper and cardboard. That will involve aspen, white pine, red pine, white oak, elm, hickory and basswood and will open up the forest to speed the growth of younger trees, Witkowski said. http://www.madison.com/wsj/topstories/index.php?ntid=251108

14) The West Salem Outdoor Education Center, which covers 130 wooded acres near Fort McCoy in Monroe County, is among the nearly 1,000 acres of forest that belong to school districts in the six-county area. In theory, districts could make a fair sum of money by selling off such prime woodlands. But educators contend the real value of these school forests is as a teaching tool. And even cash-strapped districts say they’ll never sell. “I think people are starting to realize how important the school forest is to their school district,” said Barb Thompson, environmental education coordinator for the West Salem School District. “Without them, environmental education wouldn’t be the same.” It’s been suggested several times that the West Salem district sell its forest. Each time, the school board resisted, Thompson said. “The forest is such an asset,” she said. None of Wisconsin’s 25,000 acres of registered school forest land has fallen under the budget axe in five years, said Jeremy Solin, school forest education specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Budget-crunched districts occasionally discuss letting go of school forest land, but actual sales are rare, Solin said. “A sale is a short-term income generator,” he said. “If a school board is interested in selling, we work hard to show them the educational benefits.” In fact, some programs are adding on. The average registered school forest parcel in the Coulee Region is 52.75 acres, but many districts have multiple sites. Single-parcel sizes in La Crosse, Monroe, Crawford, Jackson, Trempealeau and Vernon counties range from the 3-acre Blair-Taylor School Forest in Jackson County to the 138-acre Osseo School Forest in Trempealeau County. The West Salem district’s forest east of Sparta is the largest owned by a La Crosse County district. It was acquired in the late 1950s through a land giveaway at Fort McCoy. The property’s quit-claim deed required 20 years of continuous improvements, so the district added shelters, bathrooms, telephone service and electricity. Work continues on the land this year as the West Salem High School construction class remodels one of the existing shelters. http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2007/10/14/news/00ead.txt

Maryland:

15) Carroll County officials will seek permission Tuesday to harvest about 330 trees along the sight of a planned runway expansion at the Westminster-area regional airport. The proposal, which will be made at a public hearing, is an effort to override a denial by the local forestry board. The trees are in a conservation zone and can be cut to clear airspace obstructions under state law, but Carroll’s forest management plan has more stringent requirements, county attorney Kimberly L. Millender said. But the Federal Aviation Administration ruled that the trees should be harvested to install a precision lighting system and improve visibility as pilots take off and land, said Cindy Parr, county chief of administrative services. “The variance is needed for us to comply with an FAA directive,” Parr said of the tree-harvesting request. “It’s required for the safe and efficient operation of the airport.” As the commissioners approved a controversial multimillion-dollar plan to expand the Carroll County Regional Airport in June, activists said the tree-cutting proposal showed the runway expansion would harm the local environment. Those residents persuaded county officials to postpone the timber harvest this summer. With 150,000 flights taking off and landing at the airport annually, removing the trees is necessary even if the airport’s runway is never rebuilt, Parr said. She said the county had planned to complete the installation of a new lighting system along the runway since updating the 20-year airport master plan in 1986. A 2003 obstruction study re-emphasized the need for timber harvest to better guide pilots landing at night. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/carroll/bal-ca.airport14oct14,0,2704532.story

New Jersey:

16) Princeton University students embraced trees last week in a display intended to persuade the university to convert to the use of recycled paper. Wearing green armbands to show their solidarity with the trees, dozens of students hugged, patted and leaned against the American elms lining McCosh Walk for 20 to 30 minutes each. ”We are asking them to maintain physical contact with the trees,” said an organizer, Doug Hsu, a junior majoring in environmental policy from Richmond. ”Hugging is the recommended form. But any kind of physical contact is appreciated. The goal is for students to make a statement showing their appreciation for trees.” Todd Goldman, another organizer and a junior from Stony Brook, L.I., majoring in physics, said three fully grown trees were killed every hour of the business day to meet the university’s demand for paper. He said an objective of the event was to encourage professors and department heads to request the use of paper that is 50 percent recycled. The university purchasing department offers such paper. ”This is a symbolic and positive thing to do,” said Miss Stephenson of Albany, a senior majoring in English. ”We are embracing these trees as we embrace the resources that we use.” http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE4DB1E39F93BA35757C0A966958260

Georgia:

17) One of my most favorite wild places in Georgia — and the world, for that matter — is a 200-acre swath of old-growth longleaf pine and wiregrass near Thomasville in South Georgia, near the Florida line. It’s called the Wade Tract, named for the family that preserved it and still owns it. Several of us Georgia Botanical Society members visited it last weekend and quickly found ourselves marveling over its lush, early autumn splendor. “This is a very special place,” noted our leader, naturalist Wilson Baker of Tallahassee. More than 400 species of wildflowers, grasses, ferns, trees, shrubs and other so-called vascular plants can be found on the Wade Tract, making it one of the world’s most biologically diverse places. Though its best-known groundcover is wiregrass, some of its other grasses, like big bluestem, are common to Midwestern prairies. The grasses and most of the other plants grow on the ground beneath the soaring longleafs, several of which are hundreds of years old and stand more than 20 feet apart. At first glance, the preserve looks more like an open city park than an old-growth forest — like a grassland with trees scattered over it. “Take a look around you,” Baker said. “You can see about half a mile through these woods, a characteristic of a healthy, old-growth longleaf forest.” Another characteristic, he noted, is the several still-standing dead trees, or snags, which serve a valuable ecological role by providing homes and foraging areas for creatures in the forest. When the trees topple over and rot, they nourish the soil. Some biologists who bring visitors to the Wade Tract like to point out that it is similar to the scenery that Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto probably saw when he and his soldiers tromped across lower Georgia in 1539. At that time, a vast longleaf/wiregrass forest covered the southern half of the state, part of an even greater system stretching over the coastal plains from Virginia to Texas — some 60 million to 90 million acres of longleaf. http://www.ajc.com/living/content/living/homeandgarden/stories/2007/10/12/wildga_1014.html

Florida:

18) Naples native James Smith, 52, is seething behind the wheel, a low-tech Canon AE-1 perched on the arm rest at his right elbow. As he drives, the wooded roadside opens onto a virtual moonscape, a wide strip of cleared forest on either side of a scraped-down road disappearing into the horizon. Smith grabs his camera, points and shoots. The clearing is part of the first phase of a restoration project, decades in the making, to return back to nature a sprawling subdivision carved out of a swampy forest south of Interstate 75 in the 1960s and 1970s. Smith sees something else. “That’s absolute devastation,’’ Smith drawls. “I don’t have all the answers, but I know what they’re doing out here ain’t right.’’ The Picayune Strand restoration project, devised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District, calls for tearing out 227 miles of roads and plugging 42 miles of canals so a broad shallow sheet of water can once again flow across the landscape and into the Ten Thousand Islands. But some surprises have greeted restoration crews, who have had to clear wider swaths of land than planners first thought.After seeing how many trees the restoration work was toppling, the Florida Division of Forestry signed contracts with logging companies to remove thousands of palms and pines ahead of the clearing crews and sell the trees for a tidy profit. The problem — how large depends on who’s talking — is that the land-clearing operation and the logging operation aren’t always in sync. He was 5 years old when his father, Jesse Smith, started taking him hunting there and teaching him the ways of the woods. In 1987, Smith’s father died fishing on Naples beach. Smith returned to the woods to rekindle old memories. “It’s very important to me for that very reason,’’ Smith said. Since then, he estimates, he has spent a thousand hours driving around the state forest, following the progress of road-removal crews and logging contractors. Foresters say the patrols border on harrassment by Smith, who is not shy about jumping out of the pickup, camera in hand, to photograph workers under the hot sun or to yell angry questions above the din of heavy equipment. Not satisfied with the answers, Smith has collected more than 700 signatures on a petition to stop the work in the forest. Officials with the water management district and the Division of Forestry say Smith’s complaints are misguided. http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2007/oct/13/special_report_its_not_clear_cut_whether_everglade/?
breaking_news

USA:

19) Kirk Johnson, the Denver-based national correspondent for the New York Times, weighed in Saturday with a fine front-page story entitled “As Logging Fades, Rich Carve Up Open Land in West.” “According to a Forest Service study, not yet published, more than 1.1 million new families became owners of an acre or more of private forest from 1993 to 2006 in the lower 48 states, a 12 percent increase. And almost all the net growth, about seven million acres, was in the Rocky Mountain region,” Johnson reports. He chats with Plum Creek CEO Rick Holley, who tells him the company is getting “up to $29,000 an acre” for one-time logging lands. And Johnson also discusses the efforts by loggers and environmentalists – both of which see massive development of forest lands as a threat – to work together in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and elsewhere. All and all the piece offers a solid discussion of issues which, if you’ll forgive me the shameless plug, will be central to our upcoming New West Real Estate and Development in the Northern Rockies conference. http://www.newwest.net/city/article/the_new_york_times_on_the_new_western_moguls/C8/L8/

Canada:

20) Netherlands — Police arrested 11 Greenpeace activists yesterday after they prevented a cargo ship from unloading newsprint made from trees felled in Canadian forests, the environmental group said. The demonstrators held up the ship Finnwood from unloading its cargo at Terneuzen port, 215 km south of Amsterdam, and hung a banner across its loading doors calling for newspapers not to use paper made from old established forests. The group said 10 activists climbed aboard the 170-metre ship and hung in front of its unloading doors to prevent the paper being unloaded. http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/World/2007/10/14/4575101-sun.html

21) The chairman of the Nova Forest Alliance said he stepped down from the volunteer post Tuesday so he could speak publicly about how government has done nothing to stop what he calls devastating forestry practices on land adjacent to his property in Pomquet, near Antigonish. “I just felt I had to tell the truth,” Mr. Bancroft said in an interview Wednesday. Mr. Bancroft has chaired the alliance for more than four years. The organization develops and promotes sustainable timber management practices in the province. It is comprised of about 60 groups, including government and forest industry representatives, environmentalists, First Nations, academics and woodlot owners. “As chairman, I have to be neutral and I just thought given the history of what happened on the property adjacent to us and what happened to our land and our waterway as a result of it, that I could not be neutral,” Mr. Bancroft said. “This hit too close to home. It has damaged our woods, now there is all this flushing action. There is ripping and tearing . . . on our property that has never happened before in all these years of managing the woodlot.” Mr. Bancroft has owned a 22-hectare woodlot for 32 years and spent thousands of dollars and many hours restoring a small brook on the property that drains into a salt marsh and into Pomquet Harbour. Last spring his neighbour decided to sell trees for lumber on about 12 hectares of her property adjacent to the Bancroft property. “There is nothing wrong with that . . . but (the company) took three and a half months to cut it. It went on all summer on water-saturated soil. There are acres of clear-cut land now that are all rutted up and suitable for mud wrestling,” Mr. Bancroft said. He claims the cutting was done too close to the brook and his land, adding he even saw a large piece of machinery repeatedly stuck in the brook. After a heavy rain, silt now runs into the brook ¬ home to five fish species ¬ and into Pomquet Harbour, he said. “(The company) stuck up a couple of token little silt traps, bales of hay and some filter fabric, and I have pictures of water just streaming around these things. Nothing they put in lasted and nothing they put in was adequate.” A North East Timber Co. official who answered the phone Wednesday acknowledged the Antigonish firm cut the timber adjacent to Mr. Bancroft’s property. “We did everything we were supposed to do,” said the unidentified official who declined to comment further. http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/951622.html

22) Forests planted with a diverse species of trees will be better able to withstand pest infestation than those that are sown plantation-style with just one species, a study released Monday said. A diversity of trees will support a greater range of insects than a single species, ensuring that there are more predators to keep down the numbers of a pest that, unchecked, could decimate a swath of woodland in an outbreak year. “Mixed forests have a greater flexibility than plantation-style forests,” explained Eldon Eveleigh, an entomologist with the Canadian Forest Service in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The findings have implications for the management of forestry lands, and also commercial plantations. Eveleigh and colleagues studied three patches of the Arcadian Forest in the eastern Canadian province of New Brunswick as part of an effort to examine how biodiversity could protect forests from pest damage. They looked at three sections of forest: one was almost entirely composed of balsam fir, which is a favourite target of a moth called the spruce budworm – one of the most destructive native insects in the northern spruce and fir forests of the eastern United States and Canada. A pest outbreak occurs once every 35 years, and once it has begun, it usually continues until the larvae consume much of the available foliage. The other two plots were varying mixtures of balsam fir and hardwood species such as birch, maple and deciduous varieties. The Canadian researchers found that the budworm thrived in the plot that was almost entirely balsam fir, laying twice as many larvae per square meter than in either of the two other plots during a peak reproductive year. The results were devastating, with tree mortality averaging 65 percent in this plot – almost three times higher than the mortality rates seen in either of the other two chunks of forest. Separately, the scientists also noticed that as the abundance of budworms increased, so too did the numbers of other plant-eating insects or parasites that feed on the moth. The so-called “birdfeeder” effect continued on up the food chain, with other higher-order insects flocking to the area in search of more plentiful food sources. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gZCKz2BVPd7Rofjamf3r3gCy223w

UK:

23) For the people who care for Sherwood Forest it is like a death in the family when one of the ancient oaks falls, a tragedy that is now becoming depressingly frequent. They used to lose an average of one a year, now it is usually five, and the rate is accelerating. The appalling calculation, which almost breaks the foresters’ hearts, is that in 50 years’ time the greatest collection of ancient oaks in Europe, many 1,000 years old and more, may be no more. Yesterday, in still hazy autumn sunshine, the forest seemed magically unchanged since time immemorial, but that is an illusion. The great oaks came almost unscathed through the hurricane that 20 years ago today felled millions of trees in the south. But this year alone four fell in the January storms, two were destroyed by arson, and on August 13, with a splintering crash that sent passersby running, another toppled without warning. “It’s devastating when it happens. To be honest, I cried over that one,” Izi Banton, the chief ranger, said. “We had our eye on it, and we were planning a bit of gentle intervention, but nature got there first.” A rescue plan, for which a £50m bid will be made this winter from the Big Lottery Fund, includes planting 250,000 oaks on 350 acres, linking the surviving fragments and creating new stretches of the equally important grazed open heath. “People might say, having waited three centuries what’s the rush?” Austin Brady, a conservator with the Forestry Commission, and coordinator of the lottery bid, said. “But if we don’t do it in the next decade or so we might well go past the point where we can claw the forest back. That won’t show for another century – but then people will look back and see that we failed to save it.” “This is the beating heart of the forest,” he said, standing by a 600-year-old giant believed to hold the oldest colony of wild bees in the country. “We have been raided for centuries for buildings all over the country, including Lincoln cathedral and St Paul’s. Now we want something back in return.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/oct/15/conservation

24) VILLAGERS in three communities worried about the loss of woodland have launched a venture to create a new wood which can be enjoyed by the public. The Three Village Woodlands Group is looking for a suitable site around Kirton, Falkenham and Trimley St Martin. It aims to involve all age groups – and youngsters from Trimley St Martin Primary School have planted seeds which it is hoped will grow into trees which can one day form part of the new wood. At the official launch of the scheme, there was a tree planting ceremony at the school with two-and-a-half year old Edward Matthews and Irene Barton, 90, symbolically planting a tree to mark the start of the fundraising. Group chairman Stephen Harvey said: “The project has been born out of increasing concern about the steady losses of woodland to development. “Its object is to acquire a piece of land which will become community woodland accessible to the public. http://www.eveningstar.co.uk/content/eveningstar/news/story.aspx?brand=ESTOnline&category=News&t
Brand=ESTOnline&tCategory=News&itemid=IPED11%20Oct%202007%2011%3A13%3A45%3A473

Netherlands:

25) A Greenpeace report entitled “Dutch Glory – Paper” contends that a Canadian paper manufacturer called Abitibi Consolidated uses very dubious processes to manufacture the paper on which virtually all Dutch national dailies are printed. The report was published earlier this week and has stirred up debate because it reveals in depth information that’s not generally out in the public domain. “Abitibi-Consolidated makes paper from wood from ancient forests which are chopped down to be replaced by very simple conifer trees,” Dutch campaign leader Suzanne Kroger is quoted as saying in De Dag newspaper. The replaced trees will only match the forest that is being removed in a time span of 250 to 300 years in terms of biodiversity, the campaigner says. Greenpeace also points out that one of the forest’s most authentic species, the caribou, is under threat as a result. Greenpeace says the fact that Abitibi’s manufacturing practices are dubious is is totally in conflict with some newspaper organisations’ public statements indicating that they conduct environmental friendly policies. http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?at_code=432267

Panama:

26) Environmentalists will be protesting against the expansion of the Panama Canal, and this article is an excellent example of the types of half-reporting and misinformation you can expect to see for about ten years. Step ONE of the expansion of the canal is (was) to pass a national referendum as required by the constitution, which has been done. Now that the referendum has passed, step TWO is to conduct a comprehensive Environmental Impact Study (EIS) as required by current Panamanian law. I interview the Director of ANAM just prior to the referendum vote. The first money that is being spent on the expansion of the canal is a contract that was let to write the EIS for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP.) This will obviously be a category III EIS and the project can potentially have significant negative environmental impact. And ANAM will study the issue and will require steps to protect the environment as much as practically possible considering the size of the project. There are ways to (here’s the key word for ANAM) mitigate potential environmental damage. But at the end of the day here’s the real deal – the Panama Canal generates billions of dollars of income for the Panamanian people. If the construction of the expansion of the Panama Canal, which will ensure that it continues to generate billions of dollars of income for generations, means that Gatun Lake (which, by the way did not exist before the canal was built) will become saltier and the mix of flora and fauna will change as a result, then that’s what will happen. Or, if you want to be a militant environmentalist then be intellectually honest and support the complete and total removal of the Panama Canal, the destruction of the locks and Gatun Lake, and the return of the Chagres River to it’s original pre-1914 condition. Arguing any other position is logical hypocrisy. Sorry, but from an economic standpoint 37% population living below the poverty line trumps good fishing in a man-made lake every time. And nobody (and I mean nobody) likes pulling Sargentos out of the lake more than I do. http://vippanama.com/silt-happens-the-environmental-impact-of-the-expansion-of-the-panama-canal

Brazil:

27) The largest social movement in South America and one of the most important in the world, held its 5th Congress in mid-June 2007 in Brasilia. Despite successful mobilization of masses of people and significant media impact, under Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government the movement faces strong challenges to activate its base against new enemies, such as agribusiness. Agrarian reform will no longer be the principal demand from the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers Movement. “The agrarian reform proposal that drove MST’s struggle for 20 years has run its course. We need a new model of agrarian reform,” according to João Pedro Stédile, an MST leader. He explains: “Classical agrarian reform was developed in European countries, the United States, and Japan after World War II. It involved combining agrarian reform with the development of national industry to create an internal market. Brazil missed four historical opportunities to establish this sort of agrarian reform.” The MST believes that agrarian land redistribution could have occurred: at the end of the 19th century with the abolition of slavery; or during the “Revolution of 1930”, which led to industrialization; in 1964, with the rise in social struggles that were interrupted by the military coup; or at the demise of the military regime in the mid-1980s. The problem, Stédile adds, is that during the 1990s, “Brazilian elites abandoned the national development project” and accepted the neoliberal model that subordinates the country to finance capital.” Over the past years, landless farm workers have observed, and suffered, important changes in agriculture and in rural areas. There was the extensive expansion of monoculture, first with transgenic soy beans and then with sugarcane. The best lands are dedicated to these crops, which prevents the development of family agriculture. But these same crops are destroying entire areas of the country. It is estimated that in a few years, Los Cerrados, a high plain ecosystem between Brazil’s Atlantic coast and the Amazon jungle, will be completely overtaken by monoculture, and its biodiversity destroyed. The next step is the conquest of the Amazon, the planet’s lungs, which is being devoured by forestry businesses. http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=154734

28) Halting deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is the objective of nine Brazilian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have drafted an ambitious plan to stop clearcutting in the region within seven years. The groups, which include national affiliates of Greenpeace, WWF, and The Nature Conservancy, presented the proposal at an event in Brasilia on Friday attended by environment minister Marina Silva, state governors, and other authorities. The plan aims to unite sectors of Brazil’s government and civil society in efforts to conserve the biologically rich Amazon region. “This is just the start, but it is a good start, and it is something interesting,” said Silva, who herself grew up in the Amazon and achieved global recognition as a leading rainforest activist before joining the ministry. “We are building a national plan with common, but differentiated responsibilities.” The proposal, known as the “Agreement on Acknowledging the Value of the Forest and Ending Amazon Deforestation,” calls for combining strong public policies with market strategies to achieve annual deforestation reduction targets. It suggests that roughly $1 billion Real per year (US $550 million) from national and international sources be invested in maintaining existing forests and the environmental services they provide. Other recommendations include strengthening forest monitoring, control, and tax measures and providing economic incentives for indigenous people and rural producers to conserve land. “It is necessary to go beyond ‘command and control’ measures by promoting the revision and re-orientation of financial incentives, which historically have been channelled into destructive practices,” the Agreement notes. http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/007413.html

29) Davi Kopenawa, a shaman of the Yanomami tribe, will help launch a report that, says Survival International, the charity behind it, claims separation from the land is directly linked to the ‘physical and mental breakdown’ of indigenous communities, whose lifestyle and culture is already under threat from mining, logging and resettlement away from traditional lands. In a statement issued through the group, Kopenawa said: ‘You napepe (whites) talk about what you call development and tell us to become the same as you. But we know that this brings only disease and death. Now you want to buy pieces of rainforest, or to plant biofuels. These are useless. The forest cannot be bought; it is our life and we have always protected it. Without the forest, there is only sickness.’ Survival International, which announced Kopenawa’s visit, said that destruction of the rainforest had been blamed for the release of 18-25 per cent of human carbon dioxide emissions, the biggest greenhouse gas blamed for climate change. Charities such as Cool Earth, the organisation set up by Eliasch and former Labour minister Frank Field, could buy a tiny fraction of the rainforest, but their popularity ‘diverts attention’ from the more urgent need to return rainforest to indigenous people, claims Stephen Corry, Survival International’s director. ‘It’s like a bucket of water in the North Sea: the amount of land that’s being bought by outsiders is infinitesimally small, and if you look at [the land bought by Cool Earth] there’s 15,000 times more land protected because it’s under indigenous control in the Amazon,’ said Corry. ‘We’re not saying it’s imperialistic, we’re not even saying there’s anything wrong with it: what’s wrong is the claims being put forward in its name, that this is a permanent solution.’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/oct/14/climatechange.brazil

Peru:

30) The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will this Friday hear three urgent requests for precautionary measures to protect some of the last indigenous peoples still living isolated, traditional lifestyles in the Amazon from the devastating impacts of oil and gas drilling, illegal logging, and other unwanted intrusions. Two requests for immediate action by the Commission were filed in June and August by AIDESEP, Peru’s national federation for indigenous Amazonian peoples. Those requests ask the Commission to urge the Peruvian government to stop planned oil and gas drilling in the Kugapakori-Nahua State Reserve and the proposed Napo Tigre State Reserve respectively in order to protect isolated indigenous peoples including the Nahua, Nanti, Tagaeri and Taromenane. The third request was filed in July 2005 by FENAMAD, a regional indigenous federation, to protect the lands and lives of the isolated peoples of Peru’s Madre de Dios region from illegal logging and oil concessions. That request was granted last March. The Commission ordered the Peruvian government to take measures to protect the rights of the Mashco Piro, Yora and Arahuaca peoples. At Friday’s public hearing the Commission will be seeking more information from AIDESEP, FENAMAD and the Peruvian state regarding the current situation on the ground of these threatened isolated indigenous peoples. The three requests for Commission assistance also call for an immediate end to the granting of oil concessions in indigenous territories, no further intrusions into the existing and proposed reserves, and legislative and administrative measures to guarantee the health, wellbeing and physical integrity of the indigenous groups, as well as their rights to be free from forced contact with outsiders and to remain in isolation, living freely according to their culture. Currently, the Peruvian government has granted an oil concession in block 113 located within the State Territorial Reserve for the isolated peoples of Madre de Dios. Block 133, within the same reserve, awaits a state grant. Block 88, operated by a concession led by Texas’ Hunt Oil, overlaps the Kugapakori-Nahua reserve. http://www.amazonwatch.org/view_news.php?id=1478

Madagascar:

31) A Zurich zoo conservation project that helps to both preserve rainforests in Madagascar and provide locals with better living conditions has been hailed a success. Ten years after starting its work at the African island state, the zoo has helped convert many farmers to conservation ideas. And four years ago it created its own replica rainforest in Zurich. The zoo invests $100,000 (SFr118,000) a year on a number of projects in Madagascar to provide park wardens and infrastructure in the national park and improve rice farming methods, irrigation and drinking water supplies for surrounding villagers. Four years ago the zoo created its own Madagascan rainforest biosphere in Zurich – called Masoala – to aid research of the ecosystem and to keep a stock of flora and fauna that may need reintroducing to their natural habitat in future. It was then that the zoo joined forces with the Wildlife Conservation Society to safeguard the newly formed Masoala national park in Madagascar. Rochel Rakotonarivo, deputy Malagasy consul to Switzerland, told swissinfo that the zoo’s efforts have been vital in the battle to conserve Madagascar’s largest national park – situated on a peninsula in the northeast of the country – from destruction by farmers. Madagascar has some of the world’s most pristine rainforests that are home to some species only indigenous to the country, such as the unique lemur primates. It also boasts numerous orchid species and is abundant with amphibians, reptiles, insects and birdlife. http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/front/detail/Madagascan_forests_profit_from_Zurich_zoo.html?siteS
ect=105&sid=8302643&cKey=1192087783000&ty=st

Australia:

32) GUNNS’ pulp mill is exposing tensions in both major parties. A decade of opportunistic me-too-ism has left big political problems for Australia’s forest industry. The big parties, thinking voters have nowhere else to go, have shoved forest policy under the carpet, leaving a cabal of industry lobbyists to shape decisions. Gunns is not alone in benefiting from this situation, but the pulp mill is at last bringing the contradictions in its business to the surface. Gunns’ pulp mill is moving against the Australian wood products industry’s surge into plantation processing. While 80 per cent of Australia’s wood products industry — the makers of sawn timber, wood panels and the wood used to make paper — is now plantation-based and therefore enjoys the commercial advantages of processing an agricultural crop, Gunns prefers to use native forests as its major feedstock. Its 20-year wood supply contract with the Tasmanian Government is too good to refuse. Forestry Tasmania sells native forest chip logs for a low $12 to $13 a tonne, and its contractual arrangement for the pulp mill allows chip-log prices to move in line with the price Gunns receives for its globally traded pulp. For more than 20 years, real (inflation-adjusted) prices for globally traded pulp have trended down by an average 2.4 per cent a year. At best, China might flatten this historical downward trend in real pulp prices for part of Gunns’ wood supply contract. China retains a staggering capacity to import huge volumes of wood and processed wood products without triggering real price increases. Federal Government published projections indicate that Gunns could feed its mill, from start-up date, with Tasmanian hardwood plantations. Most are private-sector investments, including through Gunns’ managed investment schemes. While Gunns shareholders rub their hands together, many more people are angrily witnessing the breakdown in governance in Tasmania and the long-term disengagement of both federal Liberal and Labor. Gunns’ pulp mill saga has a potential upside. The overwhelming intensity of the politics may shake one or both major parties out of their forest policy complacency. This would not be before time for the many rural voters fuming about the plantation prospectus-driven rural land buy-up, which is driven by tax benefits now totalling more than $2 billion, not wood market realities. The furore surrounding Gunns’ pulp mill is just the wake-up call both parties need. http://www.theage.com.au/news/business/gunns-doublebarrelled-dilemma/2007/10/10/1191695991840.ht
ml

33) In response to questions from Paul Llewellyn MP (Greens Party) in the Western Australian Legislative Council on 5 September 2007 about the Forest Products Commission’s sale of logs from state forests, FPC share farms and state-owned plantations, Kimberley Chance MP (Minister for Forestry, Labor Party) said it was not possible at this time to give an assurance that illegally harvested logs were not finding their way to mill landings. Better processes being put in place: Chance stated that all forest products of various types, including log timber, sold by the Forest Products Commission were accounted for under what was known as the delivery note system, as required by and detailed in the Forest Management Regulations 1993. He had encouraged the FPC to put in place processes that could provide greater guarantees of integrity than were currently possible. They included granting FPC and Department of Environment and Conservation officers cross-authorisation powers to police logs from both state forests and private property on mill landings; and the employment of an FPC standards officer to monitor log grading and regulation enforcement. Those two components had been carried out. The FPC was also investigating the potential for the reintroduction of hammer branding of state-sourced sawlogs to enable better identification. http://waterweek.wordpress.com/2007/10/12/minister-says-processes-being-put-in-place-to-verify
-source-of-logs-sold-from-state-forests-fpc-share-farms-and-state-owned-plantations/

World-wide:

34) The World Bank is working to increase significantly the world’s ability to tackle global climate change and deforestation with two new carbon finance facilities to benefit developing countries. An innovative Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) would prevent deforestation by compensating developing countries for carbon dioxide reductions realized by maintaining their forests. Details are being finalized on that facility, as well as a new Carbon Partnership Facility (CPF). Both aim to support developing countries in their moves towards lower carbon development paths, by helping remove heat trapping gases from the atmosphere which are changing the climate. “Developing countries will earn money and obtain clean technology in exchange for the greenhouse gas emission reductions they will sell to developed countries,” said World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick. “Both facilities will pilot ways to ratchet up the fight against climate change by adopting a larger-scale, longer-term approach to greenhouse gas emission reductions. They will also build on the World Bank Group’s traditional relationship with developing countries, and the new relationships it has forged over the past decade as a pioneer in carbon finance.” http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:21506175~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424
~theSitePK:4607,00.html

242 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 35 new articles about earth’s trees! (242nd edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

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

British Columbia:

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

http://www.ecoearth.info/alerts/send.asp?id=mountain_caribou

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

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

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

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

Oregon:

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

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

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

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

California:

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

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

Montana:

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

Illinois:

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

New York:

14) Only an hour from Manhattan, you can experience the profound silence of the Upper Reservoir between Whitehouse Mountain and Mount Misery in New York’s Black Rock Forest. Or track the hawks wheeling over pristine hills at the Pine Paddy outlooks in Norvin Green State Forest in New Jersey, or find lonely trails in the Pine Barrens of Long Island. Even seeming wilderness — give or take a fire tower — is available to hikers at, say, the 1,300-foot level at Rattlesnake Hill in Black Rock. Forests cover nearly 60 percent of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and there is no question that they will continue to exist. But a concern is growing: What will they look like? Will the forests of the future resemble today’s, or will they be a green tangle of alien plants devoid of native oaks, maples and beeches? That is the worst-case scenario envisioned by experts like Dr. Emile DeVito, manager of science and stewardship at the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. The pressure of development, the exploding deer population and the proliferation of invasive plants and insects on the region’s native species is threatening the woodlands of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, according to forest managers, scientists and public officials. “It is a quiet crisis,” said Carl P. Schulze Jr., director of the division of plant industry in the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. “The average person sees that the woods are green,” he said, “and doesn’t understand that foreign species — a form of biological pollution — are outcompeting” native vegetation. For now, the big trees are still there. But Dr. DeVito said it is the changes taking place in the “understory,” the layer of vegetation beneath the forest canopy, that are causing the most concern. From state to state and forest to forest, the situation is variable and dynamic. “There is a lot of healthy forest left,” said Dr. Joan Gardner Ehrenfeld, an expert on invasive species who is a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources at Rutgers University. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/07rCOVER.html?_r=1&ref=nyregionspec
ial2&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin

USA:

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

Canada:

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

Armenia:

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

Ghana:

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

Cameroon:

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

Ecuador:

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

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

Jamaica:

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

Bolivia:

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

Peru:

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

Brazil:

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

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

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

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

Peru:

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

Asia:

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

India:

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

Myanmar:

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

Papua New Guinea:

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

Indonesia:

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

Australia:

35) Forest protesters have blockaded a road leading to a cable logging coupe in Tasmania’s south. The Huon Valley Environment Centre (HVEC) and Still Wild Still Threatened have organised tree-sits to block access to eucalypt forest in the Picton Valley. “These cable logging operations are used to decimate forests on steep slopes that can’t be logged using conventional methods,” HVEC spokesman Will Mooney said. “These operations degrade water catchments, carbon sinks and threatened species habitat.” He said the “degradation” was being allowed to continue while the federal government had failed to ensure a proper assessment of the impact of the Gunns pulp mill on Tasmania’s forests. Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull approved the mill, earmarked for the Tamar Valley, in Tasmania’s north, last week subject to 48 conditions. Mr Mooney said the protesters would stay in the area long term. http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Forest-activists-block-logging-coupe/2007/10/10/119169
5949137.html

241 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 34 new articles about earth’s trees! (241st edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

–British Columbia: 1) Non-disclosure of Caribou extinction, 2) Great Bear Rainforest
–Oregon: 3) Wallowa-Whitman NF logging, 4) BLM should thin young forests,
–California: 5) Ficus trees saved pending lawsuit, 6) 80 protest Sierra Pacific,
–Montana: 7) Healthy forest restoration fraud
–Colorado: 8) Ski resorts silt streams
–Vermont: 9) Father son are experts in climate-based forest change
–West Virginia: 10) Mountain top removal must be stopped
–New Jersey: 11) Restoring a cranberry bog back to a native forest
–North Carolina: 12) Globe harvesting scaled back
–USA: 13) Homes bleed forest service firefighting funds
–Canada: 14) Grassy Narrows, 15) 42,000 Kilometer biosphere preserve, 16) Pillar?
–UK: 17) Roddick’s funeral was 100 per cent eco-friendly
–Israel 18) Acacia invasion was intended but now is unintended
–Congo: 19) Destined for China – 90% illegally
–Guyana: 20) More on the Wai Wai
–Bolivia: 21) Leader speak out about his humble roots in a land that is being lost
–Brazil: 22) How big is the Amazon rainforest?
–India: 23) Firewood gatherers are now Eco-tour guides
–Thailand: 24) Seizing 1,000 illegal logs of rosewood
–Vietnam: 25) Furniture demand up and wood supply is way down
–Philippines: 26) Sibuyan Island defender killed by mining group
–Papua New Guinea: 27) Illegal logging based on Indonesian military
–Indonesia: 28) Global warming also a threat to Orangutan, 29) Pay us or we cut it all,
–Australia: 30) 5000 blockade road in pulp mill protest, 31) More pigs than people,
–World-wide: 32) Good wood for musical instruments is almost gone, 33) Reduced Emissions from Deforestation, 34) Deforestation is also caused by climate change,

British Columbia:

1) The public process on a recovery plan for the endangered mountain caribou isn’t public anymore. The BC government is forcing people to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to obtain a copy of the final draft implementation plan. Valhalla Wilderness Society (VWS) director Craig Pettitt received a tip about the plan and called Mark Zacharias, the head of BC’s Species at Risk Coordination Office (SARCO). Zacharias said the plan was released approximately a month ago. “I requested a copy,” says Pettitt, who sat at one of the recovery tables for two years and has made several presentations and written submissions to SARCO. “Mr. Zacharias said I would first have to meet with him and SARCO representative Pat Field next week to determine whether we could have a copy, and that VWS would have to sign a confidentiality agreement.” Pettitt was told that the document is “Cabinet secure” – it has been sent to Cabinet and is now confidential; however he was also told that the document is “still under discussion”. “Any document that is still under discussion can be amended, and that means it’s still a draft,” says Pettitt. “The story I heard was that there are negotiations going on between environmental groups, logging companies and the winter recreation sector. This has been the best-kept secret in the environmental movement. It may even turn out to be the biggest back-room deal we’ve ever encountered in over 30 years of environmental work, but our access to information has been very limited.” People who sign have to be willing to keep the information secret from the media, the public, their colleagues and even their own members, no matter how much bad news it contains for the mountain caribou.” Furthermore, the government has apparently been selective about who was offered an opportunity to sign the agreement. “VWS found out about the release of the plan and the negotiations by accident,” says Pettitt. “It was never given a chance to consider whether it would sign a confidentiality agreement,” says Sherrod. “Over 19 environmental groups and 50 scientists have said the previous draft strategy was overly focused on predator control and inadequate to protect mountain caribou. They have called for an end to logging old-growth caribou forest, as well as for numerous new parks and conservation zones,” says Pettitt. http://www.vws.org

2) Great Bear Rainforest – It is a done deal and the deal looks an awful lot like our worst environmental fears for the forests of the central coast of BC. No conservation of remaining critical environment, no restoration of agroforestry modified critical habitat, equivocating protection of vast areas of rock, ice and low value forest, no commitment to stop industrial logging in the few remaining old growth stands and particularly no commitment to stop logging the very scarce remaining alluvial zone forests. Regular liquidation and conversion logging has been stalled while highly focussed helicopter high grading is targeting all of the remaining original old growth cedar and cypress. These are two species we have been completely unsuccessful at replanting and restoring to their historic level of ecosystem importance and function. The alluvial zone of the central coast forest has been excoriated and that is the jewel, the biodiversity engine, and the critical source of resilience in the remaining original coastal forests of BC. The US foundation idiots payed the RSP enviros to create the PR appearance of a win win environmental and industrial solution but they simply have no idea how the coastal forest is structured and how easily its critical functioning components can be destroyed. The alluvial zone occupying perhaps 8% of the total coastal forest area is like the distributor in a car engine. If it is removed, the engine looks nice but ceases to function. The forest industry identified that it particularly wanted the remaining alluvial forests (the distributor) and the US funders identified that they wanted announceably huge areas of forest protected. The RSP enviros brokered a deal to provide both with what they wanted, but in doing so they have deprived the already damaged coastal forest of its critical capacity for maintaining and restoring biodiversity and resilience. The win win deal looks good on the idiotic RSP enviros and it delivered their money’s worth in announcements to the US foundation funders, and it even works very nicely for the forest industry who would just like to leave with some cash, but it does not work at all for the coastal forest. That is not environmentalism. It is simply a brokered deal so that the public forest is exploited and our forest environment suffers a catastrophic loss. landwatch@lists.onenw.org

Oregon:

3) Carla Monismith, who oversees the timber sales program for the Wallowa-Whitman, said Forest Supervisor Steve Ellis has set a goal of offering for sale at least 30 million board-feet of timber each fiscal year. The Wallowa-Whitman nearly got there during fiscal 2007, which ended Sept. 30. More than half the timber the Wallowa-Whitman offered came from a trio of sales. The largest is near Unity and includes 6.4 million board-feet. D.R. Johnson Lumber bought that timber this summer, Monismith said. The two other main sales, Bald Angel and Smith, stand next to each other in Union County several miles east of Medical Springs. Dodge Logging of Maupin bought Bald Angel (4.2 million board-feet) and Smith (5.4 million), Monismith said. Although the Wallowa-Whitman added both sales to its timber total for fiscal 2007, its not clear if loggers will ever fall trees in either sale. A pair of environmental groups this summer sued the Wallowa-Whitman, seeking to stop the Bald Angel and Smith sales, as well as a third adjacent project, called Cold Angel, which forest officials intend to offer for sale during fiscal 2008. The plaintiffs, Hells Canyon Preservation Council of La Grande and Oregon Wild of Portland, have asked a judge to grant an injunction that would prohibit logging until the lawsuit is concluded. http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2007/10/good_year_for_wallowawhitman_b.html

4) The Bureau of Land Management should be planning to thin trees in tree farms instead of clear cutting old growth forests, a member of the Oregon Heritage Forests campaign told the Curry County section of the Sierra Club on Wednesday. Under the BLM’s preferred alternative of the Western Oregon Plan Revisions, “old growth reserves would be reduced by half, riparian reserves would be reduced by half,” Leslie Adams, outreach coordinator for the Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center in Ashland, told the meeting in Gold Beach. “It puts timber in the front seat and everything else in the back seat,” Adams said. “The Forest Service has weaned off old growth,” she said. “They’re thinning in old growth. Thinning is a better way and it protects old growth forests.” But she said the BLM has mostly grassland and deserts under its jurisdiction with only some Oregon lands in forests. She said the BLM doesn’t understand forests like the Forest Service. The BLM presented three alternatives for the Western Oregon Plan Revisions, announced on Aug. 10. The alternative two is the one that the BLM is proposing that would benefit the O&C counties through a return to timber harvest on the federal lands. Two of Curry County’s commissioners attended a meeting in Roseburg where the BLM announced the plan. The second alternative was hailed as a way to help cash-strapped Oregon counties. “The good thing about it is it would replace about 94 percent of the revenues lost when the current safety net terminates,” Curry County Commissioner Georgia Nowlin said after attending the meeting. “It meets all requirements of the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.” The BLM plan includes a draft environmental impact statement for future management of 2.5 million acres of public lands in Western Oregon. http://www.currypilot.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=16031

California:

5) Protesters obtained a restraining order Friday to stop the destruction of a stand of ficus trees in downtown Santa Monica that the city had planned to remove starting Monday as part of an $8-million downtown development project. Local activist Jerry Rubin got the order approved by a judge on behalf of Santa Monica Treesavers. The order prevents the city from removing 54 ficus trees on 4th and 2nd streets unless they pose a danger to the public. The city planned to remove 23 trees that its arborist considered damaged or diseased and to replant 31 of them elsewhere in the city. Protesters doubt the trees are damaged and want time to get a second opinion. “If the trees were truly a danger to the public, they would have been removed already,” said the group’s attorney, Thomas Nitti. http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-ficus6oct06,1,5372033.story?coll=la-h
eadlines-pe-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

6) A crowd of demonstrators protesting clear-cutting practices by Sierra Pacific Industries included a group of children, who made it clear how they feel about the issue. The protest took place Saturday outside Redding City Hall. Car honks, friendly waves of support — and at least one extended middle finger — greeted a crowd of demonstrators Saturday as they rallied on the sidewalks outside Redding City Hall to protest clear-cutting practices by the Shasta County-based Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI). The approximately 80 demonstrators, some toting signs deploring the timber practice, made it clear that they did not oppose logging. “We aren’t against logging,” said 51-year-old Marily Woodhouse of Manton. “But we want responsible logging.” The two-hour demonstration, which also saw a group of children repeatedly chanting “Save our trees, help us, please,” was designed to draw attention to SPI’s use of clear-cut logging and its possible environmental consequences, organizers said. It’s their hope that SPI — the largest private forestland holder in North America — will halt that destructive practice, they said. An SPI spokesperson could not be reached Saturday for comment, but a company official has said that it complies with strict California forest practice laws and regulations and that its practices are also reviewed by a number of state agencies. Demonstrator Tammy Allan, a clinical social worker and three-year Montgomery Creek resident, brought along to the sidewalk protest her nearly7-year-old white boxer, Annie, who carried her own anti-clear-cut message on her flanks. Allan, who said she fears Shasta County is one of several California counties being decimated by clear-cutting, thinks SPI should act more responsibly in its logging. Woodhouse, who said she is also trying to fight an SPI plan to clear-cut more than 800 acres near the Manton area, agreed. http://www.redding.com/news/2007/oct/07/protest-ax-clear-cutting/

Montana:

7) Last week I went up the East Fork of the Bitterroot River and visited a few of the Middle East Fork Healthy Forest Restoration Act logging units. Attached are a few photos from within Unit 13 of that project, which was the first Healthy Forest Restoration Act logging project in Montana. The unit pictured below was never logged before and was previously considered old-growth habitat by the FS, but they re-surveyed it in 2005 and determined it wasn’t old-growth habitat after all so they could log it. The logging unit pictured below also sits 4 air miles from the nearest home. This logging was done under the guise of “community fire protection” and “restoring fire adapted ecosystems.” Remember, this was a previously unlogged forest that was considered old-growth habitat. Look at it now. This is a good example of how “restoration” and “fuel reduction” are buzz-words, but mean very different things to people. However, it would certainly be a challenge for anyone to go out to the logging unit pictured below and convince the general public that doing this type of heavy, industrial logging in previously unlogged, old-growth forests 4 miles from the nearest home is in any way “restoration” or “fuel reduction.” This was also the reason that a number of PhD faculty from the University of Montana’s School of Forestry and Conservation and Dept of Biology expressed concerns or spoke out in opposition to the project, as well as a number of people who live up the East Fork. Below the photos are pasted below a number of comments and perspectives about the Middle East Fork HFRA project that were obtained from the official project file. For photos contact: koehler@wildrockies.org

Colorado:

8) Sediment runoff is an issue at Summit County ski resorts. The Forest Service and ski area operators work hard to try and control the impacts from ski trail clear cuts and service roads, but often struggle to meet the agency’s own stream standards. Similar issues are widespread across National Forest lands in Summit County, where runoff from unpaved roads impacts numerous streams. Many Forest Service roads do not meet the agency’s own construction and maintenance standards. Walking along Forest Service roads in areas like Montezuma makes it clear that the agency doesn’t come close to having a handle on controlling runoff from the far-flung network of backcountry roads. A dramatic increase in logging during the next few years will exacerbate this problem unless logging roads are monitored and maintained to the highest possible level. And the vast areas of dead forest left in the wake of the pine beetle infestation will present another huge water quality challenge. http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20071008/NEWS/110080059

Vermont:

9) Father and son Hubert and Thomas Vogelmann, the former and current chairmen of plant biology at the University of Vermont, each knows how it feels to work on headline-grabbing forest studies. Professionally stimulating — and personally depressing. Hubert “Hub” Vogelmann, a professor emeritus after heading UVM’s botany department for two decades, recalls back to 1964, when he and his students, to the bafflement of some peers, began studying how vegetation varied at different altitudes on Vermont’s most celebrated mountain, Camel’s Hump. “This was a pure ecological study,” the 78-year-old says today. “It had nothing to do with producing an offshoot that would generate money or prestige for the university.” Then in 1982, the professor made news by citing the research in a Natural History magazine article titled “Catastrophe on Camel’s Hump.” The story — one of the first mainstream explanations of the effects of acid rain — sparked the interest of mass-market publications like Time, which quoted the elder Vogelmann on how the peak’s red spruce were shedding and dying. “There are some pretty big holes in the forest,” Vogelmann told Time in 1984. Hub retired in 1991. A decade later, his son Tom took over the botany department. The younger Vogelmann, 55, and students still study the mountain whose silhouette is minted on 883 million Vermont quarters. But acid rain no longer is their biggest concern. Global warming is. When the New York Times launched a series this year on “how climate change is affecting American life,” it interviewed Tom Vogelmann about his worries that rising temperatures will supplant traditional trees with Southern species, as well as his fear that the state’s $20 million annual flow of maple sap will all but evaporate. “It’s within, well, probably my lifetime that you’ll see this happen,” Vogelmann told the Times in March. “How can you have the state of Vermont and not have maple syrup?” Forests cover almost 80 percent of the Green Mountain State. The two Vogelmanns have chronicled them for a combined half-century. The span and specificity of the research they’ve overseen is unsurpassed. But the changes it documents are unsettling for leaf-peepers, loggers and other locals tied to the state’s nearly $1.5 billion forest-related manufacturing, tourism and recreation economy. http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071007/NEWS/71005002/1024/NEWS04

West Virginia:

10) “First they take our land, then the water, now the air,” fumed Gunnoe who lives in Boone County, W.Va.’s top coal-yielding county, and the epicenter of Appalachian coal extraction, where the dirty business of mining, processing and hauling coal is the main meal-ticket in town. On a calm, clear morning in the forested mountains of southern West Virginia, 12-year-old Chrystal Gunnoe played outdoors in the green mountain valley where her family has lived for hundreds of years. It was Veteran’s Day and a school holiday. Chrystal’s mother, Maria Gunnoe, 38, was inside when she heard her daughter yell for help. Gunnoe rushed outside to find Chrystal coming towards her. Chrystal was coughing and struggling to breath, running from a strange-looking cloud that was moving down the valley and headed towards their house. Gunnoe would later learn the strange cloud came from something known as a “slow burning blast” — an explosion set at the coal mine above her home that failed to ignite and instead burned slowly, releasing a wet toxic cloud of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide. In the weeks following, Chrystal suffered from a bronchial infection, a consistent cough, nose bleeds and bouts of painful breathing. Her mother, who was also exposed, “had sores on the inside of [her] nose,” she said. Gunnoe lives in Bob White, W.Va., where coal companies have become increasingly unfriendly neighbors. Coal mining dominates the lives of the people in the remote, coal-rich mountain communities of West Virginia, where coal operators like Massey Energy are waging a remorseless campaign to extract all the coal they can, as fast as they can, before coal is legislated into the past and President Bush is out of office. Out-of-state coal operators reap billions in profits every year, while residents of southern West Virginia remain among the poorest in the nation. In the coal fields, the imbalance is amplified: while Boone county produces the most coal in the state, 20 percent of its residents languish below the poverty line without sufficient income to achieve an adequate standard of living. Massey Energy Co., the largest coal producer in Appalachia, grossed $1.78 billion in revenue on coal sales of 42.3 million tons in 2005, while residents have toy drives for the kids around the holidays and often rely on free medical care administered by a global traveling clinic unit that comes around once a year. http://www.alternet.org/story/64547/

New Jersey:

11) WOODLAND TOWNSHIP – This land, in the heart of the Pine Barrens, once was full of water and cranberry vines. Now, the flat terrain of the former DeMarco Farm’s cranberry bogs is being transformed into a virtual moonscape. For the past month, excavators churned the earth at Franklin Parker Preserve, knocking down the man-made irrigation canals and building artificial hills and valleys. The goal is to let nature take its course and have the land revert back to the wild, according to Tim Morris, director of stewardship for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. Changing the surface of the former bogs is important to encourage new growth. While some cranberries will remain, Morris hopes to see red maple and pine trees return to the property over the next few years. “We’re trying to make a mess, so that rather than have one type of plant community we’ll have diversity,” Morris said about the pilot restoration project, which covers 100 acres. The preserve is home to 52 different rare and endangered plants and animals, such as the Pine Barrens gentian, the bald eagle and northern pine snake. Over time, the former cranberry bogs could become a breeding ground for other species, said Betsy Clarke, a biologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The pilot project is part of a proposal to restore 2,200 acres of former cranberry bogs, blueberry farms and buffer zones. The project is funded by $1.25 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The entire restoration should be complete by August or September 2009. The Franklin Parker Preserve covers 14 square miles on several sections of land in Burlington County. The property is about the size of Jersey City and it filters water into the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, the main drinking water source for thousands of southern New Jersey residents. The preserve was created in 2004 when the New Jersey Conservation Foundation purchased the property from A.R. DeMarco Enterprises for $12 million. The foundation co-owns the land with the state Department of Environmental Protection. The following year, the Natural Resources Conservation Service paid $4.4 million for an easement to keep the land undeveloped and agreed to fund the restoration. Historically, the bogs were used for cultivating cranberries, a native plant, as far back at the Civil War, according to J. Garfield DeMarco, the former landowner and cranberry farmer. His father, Anthony R. DeMarco, expanded the farms when he began acquiring land in the 1940s. http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/ocean/story/7507737p-7405522c.html

North Carolina:

12) The U.S. Forest Service announced yesterday its decision to allow timber harvesting in the Globe area, outlining a plan that it says scales back the project and protects views. The project has infuriated people who say that the logging will ruin million-dollar views. Opponents have been fighting the project for more than a year, and had wanted the forest service to abandon plans to log the area. Instead, partial harvests will be done in small sections averaging about 11 acres. A third of the trees in each of those sections will be left standing. There will be 17 of those small sections, which add up to 212 acres to be harvested out of the 11,225-acre area. A spokesman for the forest service, Terry Seyden, said that people may remember the last timber harvest in the area, which involved clear-cutting of 300-acre tracts. This harvest will be very different, he said.The appearance would be more like a heavy thinning of a small section of forest, Seyden said. In response to concerns, he said, the forest service will have a forest-landscape architect with the crews on site during tree marking and harvesting to make sure that the design plan is properly followed. “We take very seriously our responsibility to manage the scenic values of the forest,” Seyden said. People who are opposed to the logging, though, say that the forest service hasn’t listened to their concerns. “They say they’re feathering these cuts, but the hard fact is we’re talking about million-dollar views, which bring in billions of dollars (in tourism),” Marshall said. “It’s unacceptable, in my opinion.” The forest service announced the plan in January 2005, and during a feedback period got more than 1,800 written comments, mostly from people who were opposed to the logging. Several hundred opponents of the logging turned out in Blowing Rock for a public hearing on the issue in August 2006. The Blowing Rock Town Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the project. The Globe area can be seen to the south and west of Blowing Rock from several places along U.S. 321. “The visual quality of that area is what drives the economy,” said Chris Joyell, a spokesman for the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project, based in Asheville. http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSJC%2FPage%2FWSJC_ContentPage&c=Page&cid=
1051216105698

USA:

13) All of those dream homes that are sprouting up at the edge of national forests in Utah and elsewhere in the West are creating a nightmare for the U.S. Forest Service. Increasingly, the federal agency is raiding its bank account to douse wildfires at the expense of some of the public’s favorite outdoor programs. A new analysis of the Forest Service budget shows the agency, already staggering under stagnant funding, might soon spend virtually all of its average annual $4.5 billion federal appropriation fighting fires that threaten homes on the rim of national forests. Headwaters Economics, the nonprofit consulting firm in Bozeman, Mont., which issued the report, found that the nation’s taxpayers are bound to spend even more as increasingly affluent Westerners continue to seek solace in wild country subdivisions. That means the Forest Service amenities the public most cares about – clean campgrounds, sturdy trails, fish-cleaning stations and ranger talks – could go begging, said Ray Rasker, Headwaters executive director and co-author of the report. “Fire is becoming the big gorilla that is eating all the bananas,” Rasker said. And it could get worse. About 14 percent of the land at the edges of the national forests now have homes on them. If 50 percent of the lands on the urban-forest line go to housing, annual firefighting costs could range from $2.3 billion to $4.3 billion, Rasker’s report says. “It’s like the perfect storm,” Rasker said. “We’ve got fuel buildup from the Smoky Bear years. We’ve got a warming climate and more drought. We’ve got a lot of insect infestations, so a lot of these forests are dead. And we’ve got a more prosperous West where people want to live out of town in the woods.” The Forest Service has reported that the cost of firefighting has exceeded $1 billion four times since 2000. Last year, the bill was $1.5 billion. Already this year, with months of fire season still to go, nearly 65,000 fires have burned almost 7 million acres and cost $1 billion. http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_7104774

Canada:

14) In early September, the Ontario government appointed former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci to facilitate a negotiated process and make recommendations to solve the impasse. Talks are expected to begin in November. “Companies are drilling without following the rule of law,” Cutfeet said. “There has been virtually no consultation or accommodation of our people. Treaty land was a fulfillment of the land claims process. The government and the companies have an illegal presence in our territories.” The Grassy Narrows community has suffered many traumas over the years, including forced attendance in Canada’s notorious and now-defunct boarding schools, forced relocation away from their traditional living areas, flooding of sacred grounds and burial sites by hydroelectric dam projects, and clear-cut logging of their forests. Mercury waste from a paper mill constructed in the 1970s contaminated local rivers and created devastating long-term health problems. Compared to other racial and cultural groups in Canada, indigenous people have the lowest life expectancies, highest infant mortality rates, most substandard and overcrowded housing, lower education and employment levels, and the highest incarceration rates. Native people lead in the statistics of suicide, alcoholism, and family abuse. Brant Olson of the Rainforest Action Project told IPS, “Amnesty International and many groups have verified the problems at Grassy Narrows. The historical and political context is dire due to the logging industry. Since the mid-1960s, large portions of the community have been uninhabitable and there have been enduring health problems and 25 percent unemployment. That led to the Grassy Narrows group to call for a moratorium on development [in January]. We want to ensure that buyers of the wood honour the moratorium. The community doesn’t trust the intentions of companies like Abitibi Consolidated and Weyerhauser,” said Olson. Loney added that provincial and federal governments should honour their commitments and responsibilities with First Nations people and consult on matters related to the use of native land. As mining and forestry companies are moving ahead with development, there are concerns about creating a high-profile and credible process to mediate the land rights dispute. http://www.ipsnews.net/print.asp?idnews=39576

15) It has been described as the northern lungs of our planet. It is the largest source of fresh water in the world. One of the biggest, untouched swaths of it sits right in our own backyard. “It” is the boreal forest, 15 million square kilometres of trees, lakes, rivers and bogs that circle the top part of the Northern Hemisphere like an emerald halo. A 42,000-square-kilometre section of the forest on the east side of Lake Winnipeg is being pitched to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site. It is a prestigious designation, bestowed upon 851 of the world’s most famous and important historical and ecological sites such as the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, rainforests in Madagascar, Indonesia and Brazil, and the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru. The Pimachiowin-Aki would be the first UNESCO world heritage site in Manitoba and the 15th in Canada. The Pimachiowin-Aki site encompasses the traditional lands of five first nations, three provincial parks and six protected areas in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. While much of the boreal forest globally has been harmed by logging and industrial development, this particular swath is largely untouched. It is home to some of the most traditional first nations in Canada, but they are also among the poorest. The uniqueness of the aboriginal culture coupled with the beauty of the landscape would be a draw for tourists from all over the world, says Thiessen. European tourists in particular, notes Thiessen, would be a prime market for aboriginal powwows and sweat lodges, canoe adventures down rivers abundant in rapids and waterfalls, hikes through forests thick with stands of jack pine and black spruce where woodland caribou roam freely in one of their last remaining habitats in North America. What kind of infrastructure is needed to support the growth of a tourism industry on the site is not certain yet but must keep a balance between protecting the environment and economic opportunity, says Manitoba Conservation Minister Stan Struthers. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/special_report/story/4053745p-4659049c.html

16) Canada’s forest products industry is a fundamental pillar of Canada’s economy. It generates three per cent of Canada’s GDP, directly employs more than 300,000 Canadians and is the economic cornerstone of more than 300 communities. It is also the largest industrial employer of aboriginal Canadians. The industry is facing the most significant set of challenges it has seen at one time in more than 30 years. The mountain pine beetle, the U.S. housing crisis, a Canadian dollar near parity with its U.S. counterpart, high energy costs, export taxes and emerging low-cost global competitors are leaving the industry very vulnerable — more so than it has been in decades. With so many jobs and so much of the economy resting on the industry’s long-term health, one can only wonder why there is not more of a sense of urgency among governments in addressing the challenges. Complacency or defeatism will take us in only one direction. However, working together, the industry, governments and communities can take the necessary steps to right the ship. We have most of the necessary ingredients: Fibre, energy, water and a skilled, innovative workforce. With renewed investment and a supportive government policy environment, the industry would be the best positioned in the world to take advantage of the growth in global demand. http://www.vivelecanada.ca/article.php/20071008110410506

UK:

17) It was fitting that Queen of Green Dame Anita Roddick’s funeral was 100 per cent eco-friendly. The Body Shop founder, who died last month, was cremated in an ‘eco-pod’ coffin made from biodegradable shrubs, while special filters designed to reduce mercury emissions were used during the cremation. While green living may be one thing, green dying is quite another – and not usually something that’s at the forefront of an eco-consumer’s conscience. But new research from the Post Office reveals that nearly 35 per cent of people plan on an ‘eco-friendly’ burial, rather than traditional coffin burials and cremation ceremonies. Eco-friendly funerals include being buried in cardboard coffins or being freeze-dried and buried as bio-degradable dust (the latter being an option which 13 per cent would choose). Natural burials are increasingly taking place in secluded woodlands, and some people are choosing to plant trees in place of headstone. The cost of a traditional funeral varies depending on location and choice of coffin and memorials, but Mike Jarvis, director of independent funeral advice organisation the Natural Death Centre, says eco-funerals are relatively inexpensive in comparison. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/cash/story/0,,2185212,00.html

Israel:

18) The green cloaking the Jerusalem hills and southern coastal plain recalls a typical Middle Eastern landscape. However, a closer look reveals that these trees are not local breeds, but rather dense groves of blue acacia, a tree imported from southwestern Australia and the most invasive species on Israeli soil. The Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority recently conducted trials on the use of a herbicide that could halt the spread of some of the tree populations. Dr. Jean-Marc Dufour-Dror, a specialist in pervasive plant species, was invited by the science division at INNPPA to research the effectiveness of a glyphosate-based herbicide on controlling the blue acacia. Dufour-Dror examined 98 mature acacias and 98 younger samples that were injected with the herbicide, which stunts the trees’ growth. The trees were given regular injections for two years, and 90 percent of them did not produce seeds. The herbicide treatments significantly reduced the trees’ ability to proliferate. The blue acacia was first brought to Israel in 1920 to help dry up swamps, create forests and stabilize sand dunes. At that time its pervasive nature was unknown, and by the time it was discovered, it was already too late. Official bodies such as INNPPA found themselves helpless against the spread of the acacia, which produced large quantities of seeds and could flourish under almost all Israeli soil and climate conditions. The areas that have been damaged the most are the coastal beaches, which were covered by a thick growth of acacia trees at the expense of local species of plants, and the animals native to open sand dunes. In recent years the acacia has also spread in the Jerusalem hills, mainly in the Nahal Sorek and Sha’ar Hagai regions, which were badly damaged by forest fires in the mid-1990s. “This invader could be destroyed, but that would cause tremendous environmental pollution,” explains Hanoch Tzoref, of the Jewish National Fund. “In order to destroy one dunam (1/4 acre), we would have to spread several liters of highly toxic herbicide.” http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909982.html

Congo:

19) From the vantage point of a creaking Soviet-era propeller plane we appear to be hovering above a sea of broccoli, every child’s worst nightmare. That could explain the screaming children sitting behind me, though more likely it is the intense heat inside the plane and the dripping condensation. The rainforest below stretches over six countries, but in this region it is being cut down at an alarming rate. A recent Greenpeace report speaks of vast concessions being handed over for a few bags of sugar. In Congo most of the wood is destined for China – 90% illegally, I am told. The pilot scans the horizon for the red-earth runway at Pokola, the town at the centre of a logging concession two-thirds the size of Wales. Despite its remote location 500 miles (800km) from the capital, Brazzaville, this forest is home to Congo’s largest private employer, a Danish logging subsidiary called CIB. It is not long before I realise Pokola is no ordinary logging town. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7028445.stm

Guyana:

20) An indigenous group in Guyana, backed by government decree and a U.S.-based conservation organization, has banned miners and loggers from its section of the Amazon jungle and pledged to pursue an economic strategy based on ecotourism, research and traditional crafts. The leader of the Wai Wai said the group — which has about 200 members — has developed a management plan for its homeland in remote southern Guyana, near the border with Brazil, that is intended to preserve forest, create jobs and keep young people from leaving for cities. “We want to protect our land for our way of life and also for our future generations,” the group’s chief, Cemci Sose, said by telephone from Bariloche, Argentina, where he announced the protected status this week at the second Latin American Parks Congress. The Wai Wai received control of the 2,400 square miles of tropical forest and savanna — nearly half the size of Connecticut — from Guyana’s government in 2004. It is habitat to rare animals including the jaguar, blue poison frog, and scarlet macaw. Under the plan outlined at the conference, some of the Wai Wai would train to become forest rangers or to help researchers studying plants and animals of the rainforest. The group developed the strategy with Guyana’s government and Washington-based Conservation International, which set up a $1 million trust to help manage the area. Sose said he feared his land would be destroyed by miners who entered the Wai Wai’s territory illegally from Brazil. The effort to preserve the land comes as development pressure is expected to increase as Guyana prepares to pave a dirt road linking it with Brazil. Any miners or other threats spotted by the rangers will be reported to national authorities, said Lisa Famolare, vice president of the Guyana program for Conservation International. The protected area includes the watershed for Guyana’s largest river, the Essequibo, and makes up part of the Guiana Shield, an area of Amazon forest stretching across international borders that contains more than 25 percent of the world’s remaining humid tropical forests. “The really exciting part is the indigenous community owns it, and they did it themselves,” said Lisa Famolare, vice president of the Guyana program for Conservation International. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gJqgsuM6JqDFxst94n2-ad0luVZwD8S35COO0

Bolivia:

21) Different investigations have demonstrated that out of the 40,170 living species that have been studied, 16,119 are in danger of extinction. One out of eight birds could disappear forever. One out of four mammals is under threat. One out of every three reptiles could cease to exist. Eight out of ten crustaceans and three out of four insects are at risk of extinction. We are living through the sixth crisis of the extinction of living species in the history of the planet and, on this occasion, the rate of extinction is 100 times more accelerated than in geological times. Faced with this bleak future, transnational interests are proposing to continue as before, and paint the machine green, which is to say, continue with growth and irrational consumerism and inequality, generating more and more profits, without realising that we are currently consuming in one year what the planet produces in one year and three months. Faced with this reality, the solution can not be an environmental make over. I read in the World Bank report that in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change we need to end subsidies on hydrocarbons, put a price on water and promote private investment in the clean energy sector. Once again they want to apply market recipes and privatisation in order to carry out business as usual, and with it, the same illnesses that these policies produce. The same occurs in the case of biofuels, given that to produce one litre of ethanol you require 12 litres of water. In the same way, to process one ton of agrifuels you need, on average, one hectare of land. Faced with this situation, we – the indigenous peoples and humble and honest inhabitants of this planet – believe that the time has come to put a stop to this, in order to rediscover our roots, with respect for Mother Earth; with the Pachamama as we call it in the Andes. The countries of the north need to reduce their carbon emissions by between 60% and 80% if we want to avoid a temperature rise of more than 2º in what is left of this century, which would provoke global warming of catastrophic proportions for life and nature. We need to create a World Environment Organisation which is binding, and which can discipline the World Trade Organisation, which is propelling as towards barbarism. We need to adopt an indicator that allows us to consider, in a combined way, the Human Development Index and the Ecological Footprint in order to measure our environmental situation. http://www.countercurrents.org/morales260907.htm

Brazil:

22) Amazonia receives about 9 feet of rain every year. Fifty percent of this returns to the atmosphere through the foliage of trees. Most of the Amazon River’s water comes from the annual snowmelt high in the Peruvian Andes. Between June and October, the water level rises by 30 to 45 feet. Tens of millions of acres of rainforest are covered by water as the flood advances, reaching as far inland from the main channel as 12 miles. Some 15 million years ago, the Amazon River flowed westward into the Pacific Ocean. When the South American plate moved into another tectonic plate, the Andes Mountains slowly rose up and blocked the flow of the river. As the river system backed up, freshwater lakes were formed, and the environment of the Amazon basin changed drastically. Then about 10 million years ago the river found its way eastward towards the Atlantic. The Amazon rainforest is the drainage basin for the Amazon River and its many tributaries. The northern half of the South American continent is shaped like a shallow dish. About 1,100 tributaries, seventeen of which are over 1,000 miles long, drain into this depression. Whenever rain falls in the river basin, it all drains into Amazon rainforest and into the Amazon River. The Amazon is the largest river system in the world. At some points, the Amazon River is one mile wide, while at other points it can be thirty-five miles wide. At Belem, where the river flows into the Atlantic Ocean, it can be 200 to 300 miles across, depending on the season. Some of the animals that make their home here are river otters, freshwater river dolphins, turtles, piranha, manatees, electric eels, and a remarkable, giant air-breathing fish called the piraracu. http://amazing-nature.blogspot.com/2007/10/amazon-rainforest.html

India:

23) Tribals, who once wandered in interior forests to collect firewood for their livelihood, have become eco-tourism guides and environmental protectors of Kumbakarai Falls, a popular tourist attraction of the district. To begin with, 100 tribal residents of Indira Nagar, all members of Village Forest Council (VFC), have been deputed as eco-tourism guides to maintain the Kumbakari Falls site, regulate and monitor tourists and keep the surroundings clean. They will also sell seeds for income generation. The tribals will take up eco-conservation measures to protect forests under Periyakulam Range and monitor the movement of wild animals, forest fire and natural calamities. The programme brings two major benefits: protection of tourists and sustainable income generation activities to tribal people. Above all, it mitigates poverty. “We have set up a check post at the entry point of the falls and a ticket counter manned by VFC members. They collect Rs.2 per person, Rs.5 for cars and light motor vehicles and Rs.10 for buses as entry charges to meet maintenance costs and honorarium for their services. The proceeds will also be used for village development. With the presence of eco-guides, drowning deaths will be eliminated. Moreover, forest conservation will become an easy task,” he added. Tribals will operate in shifts at entry point, ticket counter, vehicle parking area, canteen, food shelter and the Falls site. Eco-guides will also act as eco-guards, preventing tourists from entering danger zones. Uniforms and identity cards will be given to them. A first-aid box will be kept at the counter and they will be trained in giving first-aid, the DFO said. http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/08/stories/2007100850540100.htm

Thailand:

24) Police raided a warehouse in Pathum Thani’s Lam Luk Ka district yesterday, seizing more than 1,000 illegal logs of rosewood which were allegedly set to be smuggled out of the country. A Taiwanese man was arrested and charged with attempting to export illegal logs worth more than 100 million baht and dodging timber export taxes. Police also confiscated a container truck, a forklift, and arrested the Thai drivers of the two vehicles. All the suspects were detained at the Lam Luk Ka police station and charged with violating the Forestry Act. Pol Lt-Gen Rachot Yensuang, commander of the First Region Police, said he was told by subordinates that a foreigner had smuggled illegal wood into Thailand from neighbouring countries and was storing the logs in a warehouse before exporting them abroad. The wood was about to be transported to Klong Toey port for export to third countries, he said. There were no export tax documents on the wood. If the export taxes were added up and collected, the original price of the logs would go up by as much as 40%, he said. http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/07Oct2007_news11.php

Vietnam:

25) The Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (Vietfores) said exports had made their way to 80 foreign markets and there was great potential for wood processors to further step up shipments. It added that the US imported wooden furniture worth over $3 billion annually, providing an opportunity for Vietnamese processors to increase exports to that market. Furniture ranks among Vietnam’s top ten export commodities, ranking fifth behind crude oil, textiles, footwear, and seafood. The Ministry of Trade hopes export of furniture will reach $5.5 billion by 2010 and that Vietnam could over-take China in exports to the U.S. The country has 464 chair exporters, 400 Vietnamese-owned and the rest foreign-invested. However, all this trade depends on finding timber, of which there is a serious shortage. Following a ban on logging and timber exports in neigh-boring countries, wood prices have soared 30-40 percent in the last three years. Domestic sources meet a mere 20 percent of Vietnam’s timber demand, with the rest imported from Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines at high cost. In the last two years, Southeast Asia’s two largest exporters, Indonesia and Malaysia, have stopped exporting sawn lumber. As a result, several Vietnamese companies have been having trouble sourcing timber. Last year the furniture industry had to import more than $1 billion worth timber, machinery and accessories. Many furniture firms have begun to look for timber from elsewhere in the world. Leading outdoor furniture maker Scansia Pacific Co. Ltd. has signed a $200,000 deal to ship nine containers of outdoor furniture to the US and the EU. The Ho Chi Minh City-based company uses wood imported mainly from the U.S., Brazil, New Zealand, and Canada. To capitalize on the timber short-age, import-export firm Sadaco has signed a deal with Canada’s leading timber supplier Canfor. The government also plans to grow 2.5 million hectares of forest, which will supply about ten million cubic meters of raw wood by 2020. http://www.thanhniennews.com/business/?catid=2&newsid=32289

Philippines:

26) A mining consortium, under fire for the killing of an environmentalist, could still cut down trees and mine ore on Sibuyan Island unless stopped by the Romblon governor, environment officials said on Monday. The fatal shooting of Councilor Armin Marin by a guard of the Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development Corp. (SNPDC) last Wednesday set off calls for the pullout of the firm and cancellation of its permit. Marin, 42, was leading a picket against mining in San Fernando town last Wednesday when he was shot and killed during a heated confrontation with a guard named Mario Kingo.“The decision has been made,” Environment Undersecretary Manuel Gerochi said in an interview, when he explained that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources could not cancel the small-scale mining permit previously issued to the firm by Romblon Governor Perpetuo Ylagan. Only the provincial government could withdraw the permit, and if it did, it would have to pay expenses incurred by the firm, Gerochi said. “The local government should initiate a dialogue with the protesters. It should look into the core of the complaint of the protesters and whether they represent the communities,” he said. Gerochi added that if the provincial government recalled the permit, DENR would also recall the permit issued to SNPDC to cut down trees in San Fernando town. “We will also recall the permit because the small-scale permit is the basis for the tree-cutting permit,” he said. For now, nothing is stopping the SNPDC from cutting down trees and mining ore in forest lands in the village of España and Taclobo in San Fernando town which the DENR said were outside of the Mt. Guiting-Guiting Natural Park. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view_article.php?article_id=93279

Papua New Guinea:

27) Papua is the size of California and is almost entirely covered by vast stretches of virgin rain forest spread over 41.5 million hectares — or 23 percent of Indonesia’s total forested area of 180 million hectares. But some 22 million hectares of these forests are classified as production forests, rather than conservation areas. Indonesian control over the territory of Papua has seen the region’s forests suffer deforestation at the hands of foreign and domestic private companies. First, during the Soeharto regime, Papua’s forests were targeted by logging industries authorized by the Jakarta-based central government. Up until 2001, as many as 40 logging companies — none of which were owned by the indigenous Papuans — were active in Papua, with permission from the central government.The timber companies, without any interference, were able to cut down trees in Papua and sell them to foreign countries. According to Greenpeace, more than 25 percent of Papua’s natural forests has been sold by timber firms exporting to Japan, the U.S., European countries and China. Second, as the timber business is worth billions of dollars annually, Papua’s forests have also been targeted by illegal logging companies. Pressure on Papua’s forests has progressively increased due to overseas demand, notably from China. In 2003, some 7.2 million cubic meters of timber was reportedly smuggled out of Papua. An investigation carried out by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) revealed “illegal logging in Papua typically involves the collusion of the Indonesian military, the involvement of Malaysian logging gangs and the exploitation of indigenous communities”. Due to deforestation in Papua, both legal and illegal, Indonesia has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the country with the fastest pace of deforestation in the world. http://www.thejakartapost.com/detaileditorial.asp?fileid=20071006.F04&irec=3

Indonesia:

28) A study predicts that global warming will further decimate the orangutan population in Sebangau National Park in Central Kalimantan, home to Indonesia’s largest orangutan habitat. About 6,900 orangutans out of the estimated 14,000 on Kalimantan Island currently occupy the 567,700-hectare park. “The rising temperature and rainfall will have adverse consequences on plant species in the park,” Chairul Saleh, the biodiversity conservation coordinator at WWF Indonesia, told The Jakarta Post on Saturday. “The plants are sensitive to climate changes. This will threaten food supplies for the orangutans.” Orangutans are reliant on the trees and fruit for their existence. Chairul said that coupled with the long-standing problem of forest fires, global warming would affect the reproductive cycle of the orangutans. “It will also trigger the migration of orangutan to other forests and affect genetics, the reproduction rate and health of orangutans,” he said. The rising temperatures is expected to cause a big increase in the number of malaria cases. The study on the impact of global warming on orangutan habitat in the Sebangau National Park was conducted jointly by the Jakarta-based, privately-run National University and WWF Indonesia in September. The study says that temperatures in the Sebangau Park would rise by one degree Celsius by 2050 and three degrees by 2100 due to global warming. Between 2000 and 2003, temperatures in the park were between 21 to 23 degrees Celsius. The WWF will present the findings of the study at the international climate-change conference in Bali in December, which will be attended by representatives of the 191 signatories to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Sri Suci Utami, an orangutan researcher from the National University, said that extensive land clearance and illegal logging had significantly reduced the orangutan population. “Without global warming, orangutans are already very vulnerable to extinction thanks to rampant forest fires and illegal logging,” she said. “Thus, global warming could further expedite the loss of orangutan habitat unless the government takes immediate protective measures,” she said. The Sebangau Park is a combination of mixed swampy forest, transitional forest, lowland canopy forest and granite forest, where 106 species of birds, 35 mammals and several groups of primates can be found. The government designated the Sebangau National Park as a conservation forest in 2004. http://www.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp

29) Indonesia wants to be paid $5-$20 per hectare not to destroy its remaining forests, the environment minister said on Monday, for the first time giving an actual figure that he wants the world’s rich countries to pay. Participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in Bali for global climate talks at a U.N.-led summit in December. They will hear a report on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation (RED) — a new scheme that aims to make emission cuts from forest areas eligible for global carbon trading. But apart from carbon trading, Indonesia also wants big emitters such as the United States and the European Union to pay the country to preserve its pristine rainforests. “We will ask for a compensation of $5-20 per hectare. It’s not fixed; it is open to negotiation,” Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar told reporters after a cabinet meeting at the presidential palace on Monday.With a total forest area of 91 million ha (225 million acres), Indonesia could receive as much as $1.8 billion for preserving its forests under the proposal. Indonesia will also negotiate a fixed price for other forms of biodiversity, including coral reefs, Witoelar added. http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKJAK10785920071008

Australia:

30) Over 5000 people jammed the roads leading to Low Head today in a show of strength against the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill. The crowd exceeded initial estimates of 3000 as more and more people arrived after walking up to three kilometres as parking places close to the rally were totally clogged. After hearing from speakers condemning Environment Minister Turnbull’s pulp-mill decision, the passionate crowd moved on to East Beach to spell out STOP THE PULP MILL in letters seven metres deep. The 80-metre-long message was filmed from a helicopter just as a flurry of showers was brought by strong south-westerly winds. The demonstration was the public’s first major opportunity to protest against the pulp-mill decision announced last Thursday by Malcolm Turnbull and endorsed by Labor Shadow Minister Peter Garrett. “Today was a fantastic show of strength,” said Wilderness Society campaigner Geoff Law. “This is a message to politicians who have failed to gauge the public mood against the pulp mill.” Mr Law described how the pulp mill’s massive appetite would destroy over 2000 square kilometres of Tasmanian native forests; the impacts of the mill on the marine environment of northern Tasmania were outlined by Jon Bryan of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust; Trudy Maluga of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre explained how the pulp mill would damage her people’s culture and heritage; Bob McMahon from Tasmanians Against the Pulpmill; and Danielle Ecuyer from the Wentworth-based Women for Change Alliance spoke of the concern in Sydney about the pulp mill and its contribution to climate change. The biggest and warmest reception was for Senator Bob Brown, who pledged to fight the pulp mill all the way to the ballot box and into the banks. The crowd was particularly scathing of Peter Garrett, who was booed every time his name was mentioned. http://www.wilderness.org.au/campaigns/forests/tasmania/gunns_proposed_pulp_mill/5000/

31) It was recently estimated by a federal government agency that there are now 23 million pigs living in Australia – outnumbering the continent’s human population of 21 million. They are the descendants of domestic pigs which European explorers, including Captain James Cook, released as part of a “living larder” for future expeditions. The pigs found Australia to be hog heaven, with plentiful food, a balmy climate and no natural predators aside from the occasional crocodile. They have grown bigger and brawnier than their British ancestors, with some bristle-backed males weighing more than 150kg and capable of goring a human with their formidable tusks. In the tropical state of Queensland they are causing millions of pounds worth of damage to sugar cane and banana plantations, and threatening endangered rainforest animals. “There’s no question that they are on the increase,”said Norman Kippin, from the farming lobby group AgForce. “They are the biggest single problem up here in the wet tropics region and the government won’t do a bloody thing about it.” Feral pigs inhabit about 40%of Australia, colonising habitats ranging from forests and mountains to semi-arid savannah plains. Populations have risen during decades of inaction and blame-shifting between farmers, national parks and government. http://www.sundayherald.com/international/shinternational/display.var.1741606.0.0.php

World-wide:

32) Do you know what the relationship between forest devastation and classical musical instruments? Probably you will have to think for a couple of minutes before you reach the correct answer. It has to do with special kinds of woods needed to make musical instruments. According to an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, dubbed Sour, “only certain fine woods can suffuse musical instruments with rich tonal quality. But now the best woods are becoming scarce.” In order for a musical instrument to make a certain sound, the strings as well as the wood, has to vibrate. Violins and guitars bring forth those beautiful sounds because they are made of fine woods that vibrate along with plucked or bowed strings. In the past, everything was well and good in the music industry, because fine woods were plentiful and musical instruments could be manufactured at affordable prices. As the forests of the world are being rapidly devastated, these fine woods are no longer available. Or almost no longer available, to be more exact. “The best tone woods are becoming unavailable or prohibitively expensive as the world’s forests succumb to over harvesting, illegal logging and pollution.” For example in 1970, a retail price for a Martin D-28 acoustic guitar with Brazilian rosewood would range between $600 to $800. Now the price has escalated to a range between $10,000 and $12,000. http://epiac1216.livejournal.com/187249.html

33) The proposal “Reduced Emissions from Deforestation” (RED) was not included in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. But now is being evaluated by scientists, companies and agencies in poor countries that have extensive forested areas. The CDM allows governments and corporations of industrialised countries (required under the Protocol to cut greenhouse gas emissions) to meet part of their obligations by investing in “clean” projects in developing countries, by which they obtain certificates of emissions reductions — at much lower cost than curbing emissions at home. “Slowing emissions from deforestation would not stop climate change, but it could be an important part of a many-part strategy,” Christopher Field, head of the global ecology department at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, said in an interview for this report. RED emerged in 2005 at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, with support from the Coalition for Rainforest Nations. Its aim is to include “avoided deforestation” in the global market of carbon credits — carbon dioxide being the principal greenhouse gas. Implementation is expected to be finalized at the 13 Conference of Parties, to take place in December on the Indonesian island of Bali. Brazil, for its part, proposes a fund with voluntary contributions of public money to compensate the effort made by developing countries to reduce deforestation, and that they would be remunerated based on prevented emissions. http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=85525

34) Worldwide, people understand “deforestation” as something done by the ax and saw. That’s still true, but now it’s just half the story. Ax and saw have a new partner. Deforestation is also done by increasing global temperatures. For example, in comparing the consequences of droughts dating back to the 1800s, Breshears et al report that a recent drought in the Southwest US was NOT as severe as some earlier droughts, but caused more extensive forest death. Why did the milder drought kill more trees? Because this recent drought was paired with extreme heat, prompting the researchers to conclude that heat was the “trigger” for extensive death. These recent and future droughts ain’t yer grandpa’s kind of drought. Now, I know that I’m sacrificing details galore by boiling this story down to simple brevity. But science has always preferred elegance, parsimony, simplicity. And common sense demands “cutting to the chase.” So, there are two kinds of deforestation. One is by ax and saw. The other is by hiking the temperatures of the planet. Each kind of deforestation has climatic impact of its own, and the combination of two deforestations will be an increasingly potent force on regional and global scale. Drying and heating will “thin” the forests, and plausibly on a radical scale. lancolsn@gmail.com

240 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 38 new articles about earth’s trees! (240th edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

–British Columbia: 1) RAN called out for despicable sell-out of earth’s last forests, 2) Why RAN, FSC and others must be stopped, 3) Final caribou call, 4) 14,000 stolen acres for sale online, 5) Beetle madness, 6) Current condition of destroyed forest lands,
–Texas: 7) Old timberland being sold off by paper industry
–West Virginia: 8) Logging has begun in Blackwater, supporters needed
–USA: 9) Dismantling NEPA for years
–Canada: 10) Northern Ontario, 11) If 84% of forests are certified then certification is meaningless, 12) Destroying the forest to save it fails due to inclement weather,
–UK: 13) Human influence of pollen record,
–Russia: 14) World’s largest stands of untouched timber
–Congo: 15) Capitol of Congo’s rainforest in poverty
–Ghana: 16) Gangs of unlicensed chainsaw operators
–Cameroon: 17) Common effort to combat illegal exploitation
–Angola: 18) Special assessment of the state of forests
–Uganda: 19) Save Lake Victoria’s Shores
–Kenya: 20) Ecosystem services and poor, 21) Shamba system, 22) Be a Hummingbird,
–Guyana: 23) Asst. Comm. of Forests speaks out about corruption, 24) Wai Wai people,
–South America: 25) Is on fire! 26) Initiative for Integration of Regional Infrastructure,
–Brazil: 27) Save the Atlantic rainforest
–Nepal: 28) $5 million for biogas in order to stop use of firewood
–India: 29) New legal term for forest, 30) Court’s stops ownership handover, 31) Kaki forest reserve once an ethnic bloodbath is now full of people,
–Indonesia: 32) Investigation into logging case in Riau
–Australia: 33) Activist chained to log truck, 34) Tourist economy to be destroyed by a handful of loggers, 35) Mill approval now set to destroy 200,000ha of forest
–World-wide: 36) Tobacco-based forest destruction, 37) 10% loss of forest leads to 1/3 greater chance of flooding, 38) Corrupt FSC is now a 226 million acre empire

British Columbia:

1) Ecological Internet has identified Rainforest Action Network (RAN) of San Francisco, USA as the next target of our “End Ancient Forest Logging Campaign”. As the largest and historically most active rainforest conservation organization in America; RAN continues to support industrial ancient forest logging, suggests FSC certification of such practices ensures “sustainability”, and has already sold out British Columbia’s ancient forests to such practices. They must not be allowed to do so again. Targeting a group that, however misguided, has long been our brethren is difficult but unavoidable. Climate change will not be solved without preserving fully intact ancient rainforest carbon sinks. These carbon sinks will not remain in place unless all ancient forest logging — including selective, certified, sustainable or ecosystem management — is ended. The absolutely necessary global ecological goal of ending ancient forest logging to stop climate change is difficult but not unattainable. Even countries rich in tropical rainforests are receptive to being compensated to end their industrial development. Sadly we find Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace and WWF amongst the greatest impediments to achieving these policies. Consider the attached open letter to RAN background for a major escalation of this campaign which will commence shortly. At that time we will be asking for your organization’s support, continued participation in on-line protests, and involvement in additional protest tactics. http://www.rainforestportal.org Email your outrage to: mbrune@ran.org

2) I think that Ecological Internet’s take on FSC and RAN is right. We are not just talking about mutually recognized mistakes here, in the case of RAN and groups like it. We are talking about forms of environmentalism that have become collusionary with the logging of what little of our old-growth rainforest still exists. When the cover is ripped off of the destruction of priceless rainforest trees under the name of FSC, such as in Clayoquot, sometimes the worst part of the scandal is not what the logging companies are doing. That’s the nature of the beast. The real scandal is that people who purport to be protecting the environment are part of what’s going on. They are too busy protecting themselves to protect the forest: protecting their comfortable middleground, not ruffling any feathers, protecting their funding, or whatever. When the logging companies can link up with these groups, they are home free. If RAN or ForestEthics are with them, that’s all they need. What can anybody DO about it? Well, first, FEEL it. No wonder there are so few ideas about solutions, if so many people aren’t impressed that there’s a problem worth doing anything about. I’ve been criticized for talking too much about “fighting” for the environment. What I’m talking about is an energy of moral outrage that vocally repudiates wrong environmental practices whether from the logging companies or the environmental movement. Mediocrity and blandness refuse to feel problems because feeling puts us in jeopardy of having to do something about what is felt, and that threatens our comfort level, our peace, our weekend. Secondly, having felt the problem, we need to go back to that most fundamental function of environmentalism, which is to TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT IT, and for environmental groups that means publicly in some way or the other. I agree, it is a major moral deficit in our movement that groups and activists are still going around touting FSC while huge rainforest trees are being cutdown and old-growth dependent species are going extinct. I have to be really honest and say that I’m personally disgusted at the widespread unwillingness of environmentalists to criticize practices within our movement. wildernesswatch@netidea.com Email your outrage to: mbrune@ran.org

3) British Columbians have sent a final “caribou call” to the BC government, linking protection of mountain caribou habitat to the province’s fight against climate change. 2500 cards, emphasizing the importance of old growth forests in carbon storage and species adaptation, were delivered to Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell to pass on to the Premier, and another 2000 email messages have been sent to government this summer. A major announcement on mountain caribou recovery is expected this fall. Sent from across British Columbia, the cards are the product of a summer of grassroots campaigning by environmental group, ForestEthics. The campaign included a public service announcement that ran in movie theaters, as well as on-the-ground canvassing that signed up thousands of new caribou supporters. “British Columbians understand the link between protecting caribou habitat and fighting climate change,” said Candace Batycki of ForestEthics. “These cards are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to public support for mountain caribou recovery, and we hope the Premier does the right thing by protecting the habitat recommended by his own science team.” With BC’s mountain caribou population hovering around 1900 – down from 2500 a decade ago – the fate of one of North America’s most endangered mammals hinges on the government’s recovery decision. Environmentalists also contend that significant protection of the province’s Inland Temperate Rainforest, where all mountain caribou are found, is one of the easiest and most significant steps the government can take in fighting climate change. http://www.mountaincaribou.ca

4) Forget humble logs and two-by-fours. The real value in the B.C. woods these days is as high-priced real estate, a trend that has picked up speed with TimberWest Forest Corp.’s new agreement to sell more than 14,000 acres through an online auction. The sale, announced yesterday, features six parcels of land ranging from the mountaintop, 12,000-acre Capes Lake site – about 70 kilometres west of Comox with a minimum bid of $2.9-million – to an industrial site in Campbell River. California-based LFC Online is conducting the auction and the deadline for bids is Nov. 8. “In many ways, Vancouver Island is just getting discovered,” TimberWest chief executive officer Paul McElligott said in a recent interview, adding that real estate prices on the island have roughly doubled in the past five years. Demographics are also driving the company’s real estate strategy. “What we have going for us on the real estate side is that baby boomers who are starting to think of a second home or recreational property or retirement home are looking at Vancouver Island as a really attractive place to go and live,” Mr. McElligott said. The loss of forest land to other uses is cause for alarm, said Thomas Maness, an associate professor in the University of British Columbia’s faculty of forestry. “From a conservation point of view, the biggest problem we have is the loss of forest land to other uses,” Mr. Maness said. The trend is not as pronounced in Canada as in the United States because most Canadian forest land, about 95 per cent, is publicly owned, Mr. Maness said. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071005.RTIMBERWEST05/TPStory/Business

5) Flying 1,000 metres above the mountain pine beetle-infested forests of the Cariboo-Chilcotin, Vancouver Board of Trade chairman Henry Lee got his first real look Wednesday at the scale of the epidemic that has swept through the central Interior. A sea of rusty brown unfolded below the charter Pacific Coastal aircraft, stretching from the Fraser River to the rugged folds of the Coast Mountain Range, 300 kilometres away. Lee was part of a nine-member delegation of Vancouver business people who had responded to a call from Cariboo community leaders to see first-hand what the beetle has done to their world. Through the windows of the Beechcraft 1900, Lee and the others saw the cutting edge of climate change. The largest single asset in the province of B.C. — the forest — is undergoing a catastrophic natural event. But it is unfolding slowly, at a pace that provides hope that unlike a tsunami or earthquake, people can adapt in time. In Williams Lake later in the day, local leaders explained how communities are adapting to their changing world. They want broader public awareness about the unfathomable scope of the epidemic out, explained Keith Dufresne, manager of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition. Further, Dufresne said, there’s a lesson for everyone in how the Cariboo communities have responded to the crisis. The beetle has taught them that sudden change is a part of the natural world. Some species will die. Others will thrive. It’s the same with communities. And in the Cariboo, the communities are determined to adapt. “This is spreading through the province like a shock wave,” said Dufresne. The outbreak’s epicentre was Tweedsmuir Park, where a series of warm winters in the 1990s fostered all the right conditions for the beetles to multiply. Now, more than a decade later, the insects have killed half of all the pine in the province, moving every summer in a front that now stretches from Merritt in the south to the eastern side of the Rockies. The front passed through the Cariboo in 2005 and 2006. The trees turned red within the first year and now they are a deep rust color or grey. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=d82cb5bf-a390-4863-b4f1-517586b4
7b5d

6) The Southern Coastal Region has been over-logged. All industrial (heavy equipment logging) in old-growth forests should be terminated. Coupled to that closure there should be extensive ecological remediation/recovery efforts made across this tattered landscape. The recent recommendations of the FPB on privately owned second-growth forests should be the basis for any further extraction. The current plans for the North and Central Coastal old-growth forests provide inadequate protection. There should be a return to the 70%% retention standard advised by the government’s own scientists. Though I worked as a salvage logger in the Southern Interior, twenty-five years have passed and the precise issues faced in the BC’s interior forests have changed. (over logging, climate related stresses, Pine Beetle infection, and so on…) Perhaps it would be best if someone local suggested general plans for these regions. dlrubin@telus.net

Texas:

7) An environmental group is competing with oil and gas interests and private equity firms to snatch up the old timberland being abandoned by paper companies. Otherwise, ecotourism in these parts amounts largely to a marketing scheme, a brand called the Pineywoods Experience that’s the brainchild of the environmental group, the Conservation Fund and a consulting outfit. Ecotourism, in a nutshell, is a kind of travel that prizes flora, fauna and cultural heritage, and which emphasizes preservation of the natural environment. Towns from Jefferson to Beaumont, eager to find an alternative to the industry that has so long shaped their economy, appear to be banding together and buying into the idea. At least 70 businesses, individuals and small governments have signed onto the plan, which has a $1.5 million budget, much of it raised by the Conservation Fund. For generations, East Texans have considered the paper and logging companies, such as Temple-Inland Inc., to be benevolent corporate stewards, even as the mill in Lufkin caused a chemical stench that kept people indoors as far away as Nacogdoches, 20 miles away. In 2000, about a half-dozen companies owned about a third of the 12 million forested acres in East Texas. But by this summer, when Temple-Inland sold 1.55 million acres of timberland for $2.38 billion to a private equity firm, no land remained in the hands of the big paper companies, Boggus said. The future of the timberland, either as managed forest or subdivision, remains a question. The land could be turned into a “sterile pine plantation,” said Richard Donovan, the author of “Paddling the Wild Neches,” and, like many people in these parts, a former Temple-Inland employee. “Seeking to maximize their profits, they go in and completely obliterate anything but pine trees, and plant them in rows just like you plant corn or cotton or anything else,” he said. “No wildlife will live in pine plantations — there’s nothing for them to eat and no shelter for them. No sunlight reaches the floor of forest for flowers, shrubs or anything else.” http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/10/06/1006pineywoods.html

West Virginia:

8) Hello Blackwater supporters! Logging has begun in TSL A82258 Cutblock 19! This is an area of forest which is on the hillside south of Blackwater Lake. Please come out to Blackwater and help increase our presence on the ground. Any assistance for our protest camp would be greatly appreciated. We are in need of firewood, food, batteries, and extra rain gear. Spread the word! We need your help to save the Blackwater ecosystem. Friends of Blackwater is asking lovers of West Virginia’s great outdoors to sign a petition asking West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin to help protect the Blackwater Canyon Trail. The petition drive follows a successful campaign by Friends of Blackwater to get comments to the Forest Service in Elkins calling for Trail protection. The petition campaign will continue until the Forest Service makes a final decision sometime later this year. http://www.saveblackwater.org/

USA:

9) The Bush administration, since taking office in 2000, has been working to fundamentally weaken our country’s core environmental law – the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). On August 16 the US Forest Service published their latest attack on this bedrock law: a proposed rule that could jeopardize the core of the NEPA process. This new rule would: 1) reduce citizens’ ability to fully participate in decisions that would affect our national forests and grasslands; 2) curtail review and analysis by the Forest Service of environmentally damaging activities; and 3) weaken requirements to fully evaluate past activities on these public lands when making management decisions. —Make your voice heard, click here to send a letter to the Forest Service urging them not to silence the public’s voice in public land management decisions! http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/americanlandsalliance/campaign.jsp?campaign_
KEY=14086&t=default.dwt

Canada:

10) To drive west on the long loop of Highway 11 as it spans northern Ontario is to encounter the vastness of this province. You can go for miles without seeing another vehicle except for the occasional logging truck or tractor-trailer rig. At night the forest forms a black wall on either side of the road. The headlights carve a tunnel though the night, reflecting off the scarred face of Precambrian rock. The radio fades out, the news reports from Toronto or Ottawa replaced by the hiss of the universe. The lights of small towns — Hearst, Cochrane, Longlac, Geraldton — where you stop for gas and a coffee come almost as a surprise after the empty miles. Northern Ontario accounts for nearly 90% of Ontario’s land mass. It stretches from Georgian Bay in the south to Hudson Bay and James Bay in the north. It cuts across two time zones, from Quebec in the east to the Manitoba border in the west. Residents in northwestern Ontario are closer to Winnipeg than Toronto, which is a two-day drive from Thunder Bay. This image of vastness — and a few cross-Ontario road trips — helps to understand the frustration of those who live and work in northern Ontario about what they perceive to be the Toronto-centric obsession of provincial politics. Northerners feel their voice is lost in the cacophony of catering to vote rich southern Ontario. http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/story.html?id=46d2b066-5234-42e1-a864-00cae361a4cb

11) About 84 per cent of Canada’s working forests are certified, the report noted, but FSC covers only 14 per cent while SFI covers 26 per cent and CSA 62 per cent. The difference between a FSC forest and a CSA forest “can be negligible or it can be very significant,” depending on a variety of factors, Hamilton said. The SFI program “is weaker with respect to forest management practices … and is still struggling with credibility issues,” her report found. Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. – which has recently been a target of Greenpeace offensives – uses CSA certification, as do some other members of the Forest Products Association of Canada. In 2002, the association required certification by one of the three programs by the end of 2006, president Avrim Lazar noted yesterday. Canada now has almost 45 per cent of the world’s certified forests. “The fact that we are debating in Canada which certification system is the platinum and which the silver and which is the gold standard is cause to celebrate because most other countries have forests that are uncertified for sustainable practices,” Lazar said. “Most of our competitors don’t qualify at all.” Kathy Abusow, who recently became president of the U.S.-based SFI, said that she has yet to read the report but that it is “counterproductive” to nitpick about which system is best when only 10 per cent of the world’s forests undergoes any form of certification. Greenpeace is more interested in “protecting the brands that it loves,” than “recognizing and rewarding” certification efforts, Abusow said. Yet recognition and reward of best practices is one possible outcome of studies such as EEM’s, Rycroft said. It will spur the growth of environment-friendly papers and forest products, said Rycroft, adding that she knows of 10 large Canadian companies looking for paper that has a high content of recycled paper or FSC-virgin fibre. http://www.marketsinitiative.org/

12) Cold, wet weather has delayed Alberta’s plans for three controlled forest fires this fall along its boundary with British Columbia to slow down the pine beetle’s voracious march eastward. The province must now wait out the winter and attempt the “prescribed fires” in about six months before warmer spring temperatures cause forests to dry out and wildfire hazards get too high. “Nature’s just not co-operating right now,” Rob Harris, a spokesman with Alberta Sustainable Resources, said Friday. The biggest burn was to be a 112-square-kilometre fire in the Kakwa-Willmore interprovincial park north of Jasper National Park. There was also an 80-square kilometre fire planned for an area in the west-central part of the province near Nordegg. “If we do find trees in that area that do have mountain pine beetle in them, we’ll still be able to go in there and treat them with single-tree cut-and-burn operations,” said Harris. The third fire planned was a 13-square-kilometre blaze near Mount Nestor near Canmore in an area that straddles Banff National Park and the provincial Spray Valley Park. It lies just one mountain pass over to a swath of B.C. forest that has been completely stricken by the beetle. But as with the other two fires, the province has been waiting for a dry autumn that never came. “The weather’s really started to cool down; there’s been a lot of precipitation in that area,” said Harris. “Chances are we’re not going to get the type of burning conditions that we need to move forward with that prescribed fire.” http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5j4-rwB_bQah99C-X9nAPvNQjx3xQ

UK:

13) Pollen records suggest a decline between 4000 and 3000 BC in tree species such as ash and an increase in plants such as nettles and plantains. As ash tends to grow on the edges of woods, its decline could well be associated with the clearance of parts of the wildwood for agriculture, though it may also have disappeared because of disease. It is possible that some parts of the country never quite recovered from this Neolithic clearance. It is thought that some areas like East Anglia and the Somerset levels were largely cleared of the wildwood. Neolithic farmers probably had sheep and goats, which their ancestors brought from the continent, pigs bred from wild boar, and domesticated dogs derived from wolves. The grazing of the goats, sheep and pigs probably had a significant effect on the woodlands of lowland Britain. The farmers also cultivated wheat and barley, which had been grown thousands of years earlier in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Later metal (copper) tools were used (probably about 2220BC) though flint continued to be important for some time as evidenced by the extensive workings at Grimes Graves, near Thetford. (Here, black floorstone flint was mined from underground shafts using antler picks). The early settlers felled large trees and used them to make wood henges, for example, at Stanton Drew in the West Country. Others have been found, for example Seahenge at Holme next the sea in Norfolk. The posts of this structure (made of oak) have been laser scanned and it seems that many different bronze axes were used to shape the timbers, which indicates a degree of social organization and cohesion. Evidence of farmsteads and settlements dating from 3500 BC have been found near Mildenhall; indeed East Anglia and its coast have yielded many artefacts associated with Neolithic settlers. http://www.woodlands.co.uk/blog/trees/the-wildwood-and-onwards/

Russia:

14) Vast and largely desolate Siberia is home to one of the world’s largest stands of untouched timber, full of red pine and larch coveted by the pulp and paper industry. These remote northern Russian woods are also right next door to China, where demand for paper and consumer packaging for the country’s booming middle class has far outstripped supply. In August, International Paper, the world’s biggest paper and packaging company by sales, formed a 50-50 joint venture with Russian mill operator Ilim Group Holdings. If all goes well, one analyst predicts the deal could add almost 10% to the company’s 2008 per-share earnings. It’s not a move without risks, PricewaterhouseCoopers analyst Craig Campbell said, citing potential political instability, poor infrastructure and a fractured market with numerous competitors. “But it does have potential,” Campbell said. “Ilim is the biggest player, a smart player, with older mills that could benefit from new investment.” Furthermore, International Paper sold almost all its North American timberland to raise $11.3 billion to help pay for the venture, along with its investments in Brazil and Eastern Europe. After paying off about $6.2 billion in debt and buying back about $1.4 billion in stock, that’s still a lot of cash investors might not see again if the Russia-China gamble fails. “The unknown is worrisome, sometimes for the right reasons,” Chief Executive John Faraci told MarketWatch. But, he added, IP has been in western Russia since 1999. “We know how to do business there, and we’ve been successful.” http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/international-paper-heads-wild-russian/story.aspx?guid=%7
B7D821B7E-A3AE-4D7A-9294-C00C329509FE%7D

Congo:

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

Ghana:

16) Chopped, sawn and milled, these logs bring in valuable foreign exchange revenue for the West African country. Timber is one of its biggest foreign exchange earners. But Ghana is losing its forests, as a result of gangs of unlicensed chainsaw operators that devastate the country’s forests, depriving the government of revenue in the process. Ghana is currently negotiating a timber trade agreement with the European Union, its biggest export market for timber. The hope is that the deal will reduce illegal logging, reverse the devastation of its forests and halt the slide in timber sales to Europe. The EU is in talks to establish bilateral timber trade agreements with a handful of countries, three of them in West Africa: Ghana, Liberia and Cameroon. Agreement with Ghana is likely to be reached by early 2008. Once implemented, timber products covered by the agreement can only be sold in Europe with a license certifying their legality, says the Ghanaian Forestry Commission’s Chris Beeko. But sceptics warn that high domestic demand for timber and a growth in non-European markets may limit the impact of the deal, which is called a voluntary partnership agreement or VPA. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6983895.stm

Cameroon:

17) “Illegal forest exploitation is an illness that affects the world’s forests, notably tropical forests. It is a problem with multiple repercussions”, Ambassador Puyol said, underscoring the fact that the forestry sector is of primordial socio-economic and political importance to Cameroon. The action plan that came out of the meeting is a new approach in legal logging. “It reflects our commitment towards common effort to combat illegal exploitation”, he said. The implementation of the plan will be done when the Voluntary Partnership Accord will be signed to combine measures to reinforce good governance in forest resources management as well as put in place an exploitation licence to ensure that only legally logged wood is sold in the European Union market. The road map makes provision for the definition of certain concepts: legal timber, application of forestry law, governance, etc. http://allafrica.com/stories/200710050893.html

Angola:

18) A seminar to present a study on the special assessment of the state of forests and ecosystems in Angola happens Friday in Luanda, in a promotion of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Minader). The meeting, according to the press release of Minader, aims to equip the participants with information on the use of geographic information systems for the management of the forest resources, as well as to present data of experiences carried out in the provinces of Huambo and Kwanza Sul on the current use of the lands. The already conducted satellite studies on the artography, added the note, will enable the elaboration of an integrated programme of natural resources administration for the forests across the country. During the one-day event, the participants will discuss topics on the “Application of data”, “Methodology of Mapping used in the ongoing project” and “Discussion on the transformation of forests, bushes and sensible ecosystems of Angola”. The meeting gathers officials and technicians of Minader, Forests Development Institute (IDF), representatives of international organisations and guests. http://allafrica.com/stories/200710050122.html

Uganda:

19) John Speke, the British explorer, who arrived at Lake Victoria’s shores in 1858 after months of braving dense forests and tropical diseases in his search for the Source of the Nile would be shocked if he were to see the lake today. At the time, it is said, the lake water was as clear as the creator intended it to be. Today, intense rains pounding down on barren and degraded lands have swept in tons of phosphorous laden sediments into the lake, adulterating its waters with excessive nutrients thus allowing growth of water weeds. Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) are among the basic nutrients plants require for growth. Saddening though, the very phosphorous needed in the farmlands is being swept into the lake and ‘poisoning’ it. Apart from affecting the quality of water, in the lake, the fact that vast farmlands have been denuded of NPK has brought on the spectre of reduced productivity around the lake’s formerly rich agrarian areas. Scientists at the World Agroforestry Centre report that within a generation the land surrounding the lake could degrade to a point where it would pose grave consequences for people living around it. 30 million people in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda derive their livelihood on the more than 65,000 square kilometre lake or it’s surrounding areas.
Icraf’s researchers have come up with the Western Kenya Intergrated Land Management Project, one of the most comprehensive efforts ever undertaken to conserve the areas around the lake.The project, which has already kicked off on the Kenyan side, is also expected to expand to Uganda and Tanzania. So far, the research team involved has combined field surveys and satellite imagery with advanced analytical techniques to create detailed maps that pinpoint soils and their nutritional problems. With grants in excess of of $60 million from Global Environment Facility and World Bank, the project will see large scale planting of indigenous tree species on abandoned agricultural land and planting of carefully crafted mixtures of improved species that farmers can use to produce a range of marketable products including fruits, firewood and timber, in addition to helping farmers adopt more sustainable agricultural practices. http://forests.org/articles/reader.asp?linkid=85110

Kenya:

20) As a follow up to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), the World Resources Institute together with the International Livestock Research Institute and the Kenya Government have published an innovative new atlas of Kenya. Nature’s Benefits in Kenya explores the link between ecosystem services and poor people, overlaying socio-economic information with spatial data on ecosystem goods and services. The atlas shows the location and status of key environmental resources – including water, biodiversity, agricultural land and forest land – and the ways poor people use these resources. This atlas demonstrates the contribution that visual aids such as maps can make to this debate, analyzing competing demands for different ecosystem services – food, water, wood – across one region, the Upper Tana River watershed. Whereas academic journals may be intimidating or inaccessible to many, maps can be powerful communication tools that can be used by professionals and public alike, allowing patterns, trends, and clusters to be easily identified. There are many limitations – not least, that not all ecosystem services and social processes relevant to poverty are easily mapped. Even for those aspects that can be mapped, the final product is only as good as the data that goes into it. Yet both poverty and environmental data can be patchy, unreliable and open to wide interpretation. Even when good data are available, the analysis may reveal little about the causes of poverty, or changes in the underlying processes and functions of natural environmental systems. Nonetheless, as a first step to more closely examine potential synergies and tradeoffs among different ecosystem services the report authors point out that “such a visual and geographic approach may let policymakers ‘see’ Kenya’s natural systems in a new light, helping them to visualize ways to use those systems to alleviate poverty.” http://www.wri.org/biodiv/pubs_description.cfm?pid=4279

21) Farmers from four districts in the North Rift region want the Government to reinstate the shamba system in public forests to boost food security. The farmers from Nandi North and South, Uasin Gishu and Keiyo districts petitioned the Government to allow them to carry out farming activities in public forests while taking care of the planted tree seedlings. “The system had proved beneficial in terms of attaining food security and improving afforestation efforts hence the Government should consider re-introducing it,” former assistant minister for Planning Elijah Sumbeiywo said. The system was banned more than five years ago as a measure by Government to contain wanton destruction of forest cover through illegal logging activities. Environment and Natural Resources minister David Mwiraria recently disclosed plans by the Government to re-introduce the system following pleas from some leaders and farmers. But the North Rift farmers asked the Government to prepare a clear environmental conservation policy instead of banning the shamba system. “Lack of sufficient manpower and adequate financial allocation has made it impossible for the Kenya Forestry Services to carry out tree planting exercise on cleared plantations,” said Mr Samuel Kirui of Nandi South district. http://allafrica.com/stories/200710021106.html

22) Once upon a time, Maathai said, a hummingbird saw a raging forest fire. The other animals gathered at a safe distance and watched the trees burn. Some just stood around and stared at their hooves. Others neighed in resignation. But the hummingbird was a creature of action. It flew to a nearby lake, put a bead of water on its beak and ferried the drop to the flames. It did this over and over. The bird hoped to fight the fire, one drop at a time. Other animals — including lions, zebras and a jackass or two (yes, they’re everywhere) — teased the bird for being hopelessly optimistic and shouted discouragements. Eventually, the hummingbird had heard enough. It chirped back at the cynics who wondered why such a small bird bothered to take on such a big fire. “I’m doing the best I can,” the humble hummingbird sighed. “That’s all we can do.” On her way to becoming a force for nature, Maathai fought gender discrimination (women weren’t supposed to earn a Ph.D., she heard) and other doubters. But the tale of the hummingbird also is a metaphor for anyone who has tackled a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Hummingbirds are all around us, not always recognized and sometimes rebuked, but they steadfastly march to the beat of their own wings. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/jamieson/333659_robert29.html

Guyana:

23) Dismissed Assistant Commissioner of Forests Rudolph Adams is claiming that he was fired because he refused to carry out an illegal act. And the former top official is threatening to disclose all he knows. Adams ‘s statements are the latest twists for the forestry sector, which has been taking quite a hammering from critics. Last week, Minister with responsibility for the forests, Robert Persaud, and Guyana Forestry Commissioner James Singh, in a press conference, announced that several companies are being investigated for allegedly under-declaring their forest production and incorrectly stating the origin of logs harvested. If the accusations prove true, the infringements would also have severe implications on Government’s revenues and would indicate forestry employees’ illegal collusion with businesses, it was stated at the press conference. Speaking with Kaieteur News, Adams said he was dismissed because he insisted on inspecting a shipment of logs belonging to a Chinese company. Speaking out for the first time, Adams said that his troubles all started on July 21 this year. As Assistant Commissioner of Forests – Quality Control division, Adams said that, according to regulations, he had the authority to inspect logs, although GFC has inspectors specifically for this purpose. On the said day, he was informed by a junior employee that a shipment was coming from Kwakwani, Berbice River . As per normal, a team was assembled and checks were made for the shipment at the various wharves. http://guyanaforestryblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/forestry-official-breaks-silence.html

24) An indigenous group in Guyana has established one of the world’s largest sustainable forest reserves, reports Conservation International. The Wai Wai, a forest-dwelling people who received title to 625,000 hectares (1.54 million acres) of land in 2004, will build a “conservation economy” based on principals of sustainable use. With assistance from conservation scientists, the Wai Wai will seek to develop ecotourism and expand their traditional craft business. “We have always been keepers of the forests that support us, and now it is official, recognized by the government and the world,” said Cemci Sose, chief of the Wai Wai. “The immediate challenge we face is creating economic opportunity through the Community Owned Conservation Area to prevent our young people from leaving, which could destroy our community.” Conservation International, an environmental group that is working with the Wai Wai, hopes that the reserve will generate additional income from payments for ecosystem services, like carbon sequestration and watershed protection. Carbon credits for forest conservation could be worth tens of millions annually to Guyana. “This shows the power of giving land rights to indigenous populations, because they know what’s best for their communities,” CI President Russell A. Mittermeier said. “The Wai Wai could have sold off the timber and other natural assets for a one-time payoff, but instead they chose to protect the rainforest and allow future generations to continue to benefit from it.” http://news.mongabay.com/2007/1003-ci_guyana.html

South America:

25) Vast areas of Brazil and Paraguay and much of Bolivia are choking under thick layers of smoke as fires rage out of control in the Amazon rainforest, forcing the cancellation of flights. Satellite images yesterday showed huge clouds of smoke and much of the Amazon basin burning as fires, originally set by ranchers to clear land, have raged into the forest itself. From Santa Cruz in the east of Bolivia, where flights have been grounded, to the Brazilian frontier city of Porto Velho, where the river Madeira has been made unnavigable, burning smoke has blocked out the sun and local communities have begun to complain of respiratory disorders. Roberto Smeraldi, head of Friends of the Earth Brazil, said the situation was out of control: “We have a strong concentration of fires, corresponding to more than 10,000 points of fire across a large area of about two million sq km in the southern Brazilian Amazon and Bolivia.” Each year at the end of the dry season, in anticipation of the first winter rains, farmers and cattle ranchers throughout South America set fires to “renovate” pasture land. But this age-old cycle has spun out of control as deforestation and climate change have created a tinderbox. There has also been a massive expansion of cattle ranching into forested areas, where fires are then set to clear an area after chainsaws have felled the trees. Mr Smeraldi was clear on who was to blame for this year’s fires: “They are mainly, I would say more than 90 per cent, the result of expanding cattle ranching.” The first rains have arrived but they are weaker than usual in most areas and have been useless against the fires. In the past three years Brazil’s National Development Bank and the World Bank have poured funds into the southern Amazon, fuelling the expansion of the cattle industry with new slaughterhouses and four million additional head of cattle arriving in exactly the areas where the fires are now. Conservationists have said that while governments insist they are doing their utmost to stop deforestation they have been putting in place incentives for the destruction of the forest. “It is taxpayers’ money fuelling these fires,” said Mr Smeraldi. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article3028701.ece

26) Meanwhile, in Argentina, a recent symposium on the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), highlighted threats to the Amazon. Timothy Killeen, a U.S. biologist living in Bolivia who works for Conservation International’s Centre for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS), presented his research report “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon Wilderness: Development and Conservation in the Context of the IIRSA”, at one of the workshops. … Of the 10 corridors planned across the Amazon region, nine cross the highly biodiverse Amazon wilderness area, the world’s largest intact tropical forest, which provides global environmental services such as carbon sequestration, water resources and climate regulation. … “Unfortunately, IIRSA has been designed without adequate consideration of its potential environmental and social impacts. It should incorporate measures to ensure that the region’s renewable natural resources are conserved and its traditional communities strengthened,” the report says. Among his proposals, Killeen advocates programmes that reward people who do not deforest land, instead of those who do. According to his estimates, governments could subsidise longer logging cycles, or benefit from the new market in carbon credits. “The largest — and as yet unexploited — economic asset in the Amazon is its carbon stocks, which we estimate to be worth 2.8 trillion dollars if monetised in today’s markets,” according to the report. If Amazonian countries agree to reduce their present rate of deforestation by five percent a year for 30 years, they would achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that could be converted into credits and used to pay for the health and education needs of thousands of municipalities in the region, the report says. http://words-of-power.blogspot.com/2007/10/sustainability-update-10-5-07-ask-them.html

Brazil:

27) I made the trip with the World Land Trust, which specializes in the buying-up of endangered habitats. And here’s the good news: a complex series of talks and meetings have been set up with a view to buying up crucial areas – wildlife corridors – of the Atlantic rainforest in Brazil. There’s just 4 per cent of it left. Here’s the snag: you don’t march into a foreign country and start buying it up. That’s neocolonialism and a Bad Thing. And you can’t buy an area of forest and consider that you’ve done a good job. The place needs to be visited, patrolled and looked after: otherwise poachers of both animal and trees will move in, and others will simply take the place over. It’s a ticklish business, involving the funding of a local NGO for the purchase, and subsequent advice on development and maintenance. I paid a visit to the Reserva Ecológica di Guapi Assu, where purchases, aided by WLT, have already been made and stunning areas of forest have been made safe. That’s where I climbed slopes so steep a man would need to use his hands in places – but my horse, a skinny beast of bottomless stamina, marched up with a bounce in his stride between the soaring pillars of the trees beneath the vaulted roof of the canopy. It’s impossible to enter either rainforest or a cathedral without a feeling of reverence. It’s not because a forest is like a cathedral but because a cathedral is like a forest. I did genuflect as I entered: though to inspect an ocelot scat. There was the burrow of an armadillo, a place where the howlers howl, a pool with butterflies of quite astonishing beauty and diversity. But never mind all that: here, the forest itself is the star: a place of epic silences, for though the place is species-rich, it has always been population-poor. Which makes it the more fragile. But as you walk the forest paths – snaking vines, moss-laden trunks, branches bearing impossible burdens of bromeliads – it is the strength of the place that gets to you: its integrity, its endlessness. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/simon_barnes/article2599272.ece

Nepal:

28) The World Bank has agreed to provide $5 million in assistance to co-finance the setting up of 37,000 biogas plants in rural areas of Nepal. The World Bank administered Global Partnership on Output Based Aid (GPOBA) has signed a grant agreement with the Nepalese government under the fourth phase of the Biogas Support Program (BSP-IV). The Project will be implemented by the Alternate Energy Promotion Center (AEPC). The grant is co-funded by the United Kingdom ‘s Department for International Development (DFID). The project aims to replace traditional energy sources used by the rural population, such as fire wood and kerosene, with modern biogas plants. Biogas digesters use anaerobic decomposition of organic material to produce a methane-rich which can be used for cooking and light. GPOBA’s grant will sponsor new biogas plants ranging in capacity from 4m3 to 10m3. Even the smallest plants with a 4m3 capacity produce enough gas to run a cooking stove for nearly 2.5 hours daily. Women and girls, who are traditionally responsible for running the household, colleting firewood and cooking, will be among the project’s primary beneficiaries. Furthermore, access to biogas will enable families to use gas lanterns after sunset to provide light for children’s studies or other household activities. http://biopact.com/2007/10/world-bank-to-provide-5-million-for.html

India:

29) What constitutes a forest in India is all set to change if the new definition proposed by the ministry of environment and forests goes through. The definition of a forest is critical because of the Forest Rights Act enacted last December, which aims to give land and rights of forest resources to tribals residing in these forests. This comes right after the ministry also notified core areas of tiger and wildlife sanctuaries as off-limits for any habitation. According to the proposed definition, which has at present been sent to all the states for comment, “any area notified as forest in any Act or recorded as forests in any government record” will be forest. Further explanation of the definition says that any area having trees, scrub, grassland, wetland, water body, desert, geomorphic or any other features and any area variously recorded as jungle or forest, such as chhote bade jhad ka jangal, jhudupi jungal (shrubland), unclassified state forests and so on, on community-owned lands will also come under Central control as they will be classified as a forest. However, the definition excludes man-made plantations, orchards and agro-forestry tree crops on private and community-owned land from its purview. The ministry, before finalizing the definition, had initiated a consultative process with the not-for-profit Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, which had proposed three options. However, none of them were taken into consideration. “The definition is too simplistic and completely unacceptable. It will open up numerous arenas for dispute and conflict,” said Sanjay Upadhyay, a Supreme Court advocate specializing in forestry rights and environment. http://www.livemint.com/2007/10/06001803/Redefining-forests-may-hurt-tr.html

30) When gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi decided to throw the gauntlet at the Central Government, he probably did not know that it was the Supreme Court that he was defying. In his “civil disobedience movement” on Gandhi Jayanti, Modi handed over ownership rights of forest land to 30 tribals. He promised to dispatch documents to the remaining 2,204 encroachers soon. On Friday, responding to an interim application filed by Amicus Curiae Harish Salve, the Supreme Court directed the Gujarat Government to immediately cancel the pattas. They reminded the state that it would be a violation of Supreme Court orders until the Government notifies the Tribal Act passed by Parliament in December 2006. The application said that there is a procedure laid down for state governments to request regularisation of forest land by applying to the Ministry of Forests and Environment. States like Orissa and Chhatisgarh have followed it in the past. Regularisation of encroachments is the biggest reason for reduction in forest cover, it said. The matter was brought to the attention of the court by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), the Supreme-Court-appointed panel on forest-related issues. A day after Modi’s public announcement, they had written a strongly-worded letter to the Gujarat Chief Secretary asking him to cancel all the pattas and file an Action Taken Report at the earliest. They had also written to the Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests to conduct an ‘immediate inquiry” and issue “directions” to cancel these allotments. http://www.indianexpress.com/story/225222.html

31) When Abdul Mallek, his two wives and three children reached Kaki reserve forest of Karbi Anglong district sometime during the Karbi-Kuki ethnic bloodbath in 2003, only a few migrant families had huts inside the dense forest where nobody dared to move even at daytime. Now, after four years, the number of families residing inside the forest is over 300. The fallout: rapid depletion of the dense green cover. “Some of us cultivate fields in the reserve forest areas which had been cleared. Others prefer working with those who come to collect timber,” explained Mallek, who visited Lumding first referral unit recently for treatment of his malaria-stricken eight-year-old daughter Sulema. Mallek is an expert woodcutter who can fell four large trees in a single day. “We work on a contractual basis. Our duty ends after we load the timber onto trucks,” he said. Timber mafiosi and militants, in cahoots with a section of dishonest forest officials, pose a grave threat to the green cover of almost all the reserve forests of Karbi Anglong. The Kaki reserve forest covers an area of 121.49 sq km, but rampant felling has turned what was once a dense jungle into a mere grassland. A cubic foot of segun wood costs Rs 150 in the Nagaon-Karbi Anglong border belt. With pirated transit passes, such timber is ferried through central Assam to Guwahati, where the rate shoots up to Rs 1,400 per cubic foot. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1071006/asp/northeast/story_8397982.asp

Indonesia:

32) Headed by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal & Security Affairs, Widodo A.S., the team was expected to settle the logging case in Riau, a crisis that led the Forestry Minister and National Police Chief to a tense debate. Sixteen echelon I officials are in this team. Besides police, forestry and prosecution institutions, the Environment Minister’s Office, the Industry Department, the Home Affairs Department and the State Intelligence Agency are also represented. The President asked the team to settle three main issues: the collection of accurate data on Riau’s forests, utilization of seized timber, and legal action against illegal-logging suspects. A great task was indeed ahead of the team members. Apart from holding meetings, they flew to the location where piles of timber were sealed by the Riau Regional Police in the forest of Sungai Gaung, Indragiri Hilir. The wood produced by PT Bina Duta Laksana, a partner of PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper, had some problems. The license was for chipped wood but a lot of logs over 30 centimeters in diameter were discovered, which was against the rule. The license issued to Bina Duta by Riau Governor Rusli Zaenal when he was Regent of Indragiri Hilir was seen as procedurally flawed. The Riau Police Chief had sent a request that the President allow the examination of the governor. Rusli himself denied having issued an illegitimate license. “My God, I will explain everything about it later,” Rusli told Tempo. The Joint Team has met already at least nine times to thoroughly resolve Riau’s timber looting case, most frequently in the Bima Room, the main room at the Coordinating Minister for Security’s Office. http://sobat-hutan.blogspot.com/2007/10/sobat-hutan-fruit-from-poison-tree.html

Australia:

33) Police arrested a man in Hobart yesterday for chaining himself to a log truck to protest against the approval of the Gunns pulp mIll. About 20 protesters stopped a log truck on Macquarie Street near Franklin Square, about 3:30 AEST yesterday afternoon, while one of them shackled himself under the vehicle. The truck was heading to the woodchip mill at Triabunna. Warrick Jordan from the Huon Valley Environment Centre says those opposed to the decision will keep voicing their opposition. “We’re here to highlight the fact that Tasmania’s democratic processes have been subverted,” he said. “The Gunns pulp mill will consume vast quantities of ancient forest, such as those in the Weld, the Styx and the upper Florentine.” http://abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/06/2052529.htm

34) BRUNY Island tourist operators are furious that the hills directly behind historic Adventure Bay will soon be logged. Forestry Tasmania plans to clearfell alternate strips of a 30ha block of state forest next to the popular Mavista Falls reserve and rainforest walk behind Adventure Bay. New logging roads into the area will be constructed in November, with six to eight weeks of logging in April when the peak summer tourism season is past. Tourism operators on Bruny Island have branded the logging plans an outrage and claim they have been kept in the dark. Logging on Bruny Island ceased last November after locals and forest workers identified a high number of rare swift parrots in areas targeted to be logged. Former fisherman Rob Pennicott, who runs Bruny Island Charters boat wildlife trips, said many tourism operators and locals had hoped the temporary moratorium meant the end of logging in areas frequented by tourists. He said he feared the sight of log trucks and clear-felled forests would negatively impact on tourists who came to the island for its clean beaches, wildlife and forests. Mr Pennicott was also worried about the increased chance of accidents involving log trucks and tourists unused to driving on narrow dirt roads. “We all believe forestry is important, but to log such a sensitive area so heavily that will be so visible to tourists is just a bad move,” Mr Pennicott said. Artist and Adventure Bay accommodation operator Barry Weston queried how the logging industry, which employed fewer than 10 people on Bruny, could take precedence over the interests of more than 100 residents who were engaged and employed in tourism. http://www.sundancechannel.com/blogs/thegreen/390255646/

35) Malcolm Turnbull has done what Gunns and the Prime Minister required and approved the pulp mill. But he hasn’t taken it off the election agenda – this is far from over. Mr Turnbull is saying that the conditions he’s put on the marine effluent, and saving 400ha of forest, make this a world’s best practice mill. But how can a mill which will destroy 200,000ha of magnificent forest, 500 times what’s being protected, be world’s best practice? How can a mill that pumps effluent, albeit less than it might, into a pristine environment be world’s best practice? How can a mill that adds 10 million tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere every year be world’s best practice? Mr Turnbull didn’t answer those questions, because he decided he didn’t have to. He is attempting to argue that his capacity to act was very limited, but he has broad powers under the EPBC Act that he ignored. A case in point is the greenhouse gas emissions from the pulp mill which he chose not to assess, even though he has the power to do so under the EPBC Act. He chose not to even though the greenhouse emissions from the project were to be assessed under the joint Commonwealth / State approved assessment process conducted by the RPDC in Tasmania. When Gunns withdrew from the RPDC process and Minister Turnbull offered an alternative Commonwealth process, he chose not to include greenhouse gas emissions. http://greensblog.org/2007/10/04/worlds-best-practice-pulp-mill-my-foot/

World-wide:

36) Without even factoring in the paper wrapping, packaging and print advertisements – which require as much paper by weight as the tobacco being grown – nearly 600 million trees are felled each year to provide the fuel necessary for drying out the tobacco. That means one in eight trees cut down each year worldwide is being destroyed for tobacco production. In South Korea and Uruguay, tobacco-related deforestation accounts for more than 40 percent of the countries’ total annual deforestation. While in Malawi, in a region where only three percent of the farmers grow tobacco, nearly 80 percent of the trees cut down each year are used for the curing process. http://robinnixon.com/blog/2007/10/01/1-in-8-trees-are-destroyed-for-tobacco-production/

37) The international study adds numbers to the equation: As little as 10% loss of forest cover leads to a an increase of as much as 28% in flood risk, according to the Charles Darwin University and the National University of Singapore research, written about in today’s Straits Times of Singapore. Nearly 100,000 people died, 320 million were displaced and $1.15 trillion in damages was sustained due to flooding in 56 developing countries across Africa, Asia and South America in the 1990s. Analyzing records of forest cover and using a complex mathematical model, the scientists estimated that a 10% loss of forest cover leads to an increase of flood risk of between 4% and 28%. The loss of forest is also a major contributor to global warming. Because of deforestation, Indonesia is the No. 3 contributor to climate change, behind China and the United States, where the contribution comes from burning coal and other fossil fuels, primarily. This study could provide some additional political support for retaining forests in developing nations, but larger schemes that have industrialized nations funding forest protection in the third world will most likely be needed, since economic development in many forested nations relies on logging, farming and other practices that can be destructive to forests. http://www.thedailygreen.com/2007/09/28/a-little-deforestation-makes-a-big-flood/7327/

38) The Forest Stewardship Council’s certification of sustainable forestry practices is growing, with 50% of the paper product market share and 226 million acres accounted for. Advocates say the demand for recycled paper and sustainably harvested pulp from consumers, advertisers, magazine makers and other users of paper will yield the fastest reforms of the industry. http://www.thedailygreen.com/2007/10/02/15-facts-about-paper-industry-and-the-environment/7447/

239 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 35 new articles about earth’s trees! (239th edition)
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–Alaska: 1) Judge stops Tongass logging
–British Columbia: 2) Caribou need the whole forest not just a portion, 3) Timberwest’s giant land sell off, 4) Cutting the last giants is not certified sustainable forestry,
–Oregon: 5) 7 of 8 units withdrawn, 6) Portland’s tree value, 7) Umpqua’s Beetle Battle,
–California: 8) Quincy group unravels, 9) ConocoPhillips gives millions for treeplanting,
–Minnesota: 10) 51,000 acres of forest conserved
–Georgia: 11) Virgin paper is now supposedly green
–USA: 12) McVideo Game, 13) Forestweb,
–Canada: 14) Everyone wants Canada’s forestlands
–UK: 15) Woodland to be new adventure playground, 16) National Trust destroys forest,
–Latin America: 17) 7 million hectares lost each year
–Colombia: 18) Alternative economic investments urged by US
–Uruguay: 19) FSC certifies the poisoning of workers and their offspring
–Brazil: 20) Highest carbon emissions, 21) Seven year plan to end logging, 22) Fires,
–China: 23) 45 Billion pairs of chopsticks each year, 24) Aboriginal rights,
–Japan: 25) GE larch trees
–Thailand: 26) New loan scheme encourages Teak farmers
–Vietnam: 27) Conservation strategies
–Philippines: 28) 60% of wood is imported, 29) Protecting communal forests,
–Malaysia: 30) The plunder of TA ANN Holdings, 31) Palm oil is the cornerstone,
–Indonesia: 32) 79 million trees in one day?
–Australia: 33) End the export of softwood logs, 34) Red Gum wetlands overharvested, 35) Greedy Tasmanian rednecks want to destroy it all,

Alaska:

1) Native villagers won a significant victory Wednesday (Sept. 26) against timber interests when a federal judge refused to let logging proceed in a roadless region of the Tongass National Forest. Federal District Court Judge James K. Singleton, Jr. ruled that the U.S. Forest Service failed to follow its own advice — and used misleading information — by allowing logging in Threemile Arm, on Kuiu Island, a traditional subsistence use area relied upon by the village of Kake. The Forest Service used outdated market information that overstated demand for the timber, Judge Singleton said. Concurring with an Earthjustice lawsuit filed on behalf of villagers, he ruled that the timber sale could not occur without an Environmental Impact Assessment that used accurate market information. “This ruling confirms the Organized Village of Kake’s claim that the U.S. Forest Service has consistently subsidized industrial logging over tribal members’ way of life,” said Mike Jackson, an official with OVK. “We need standing trees and healthy creeks and watersheds for our culture, our food, our way of life and our economic opportunities.” The ruling echoed a 2005 court action that disallowed the management plan for the entire forest because it also used inflated market information. A new management plan is expected in November. “The Forest Service has repeatedly misused its own economic data to justify a bloated, wasteful timber sale program in the Tongass,” said Tom Waldo, an Earthjustice attorney who argued the case. “As a result, special places like Threemile Arm are needlessly put at risk, and it’s costing American taxpayers tens of millions of dollars every year.” Kuiu Island is 20 miles south of Kake. The proposed logging would have required 8.4 miles of new roads and 621 acres of clearcuts in a roadless area. Earthjustice also represented the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and Center for Biological Diversity in the case. NRDC co-counseled the case with Earthjustice. http://www.earthjustice.org/news/press/007/judge-rejects-timber-sale-in-native-area-of-tongass-
national-forest-1.html

British Columbia:

2) “The Incomappleux forest is only a small part of the Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park Proposal that Colleen McCrory helped to draft just before she died,” says VWS director Craig Pettitt, project manager for the park proposal. “The lower two-thirds of the Incomappleux River Valley has been ruthlessly clearcut,” says Pettitt. “The remaining forest at the head of the valley is only about 9,600 hectares. Most of it is steep slopes. It contains only about 1,000 hectares of commercially viable forest. It is not used by mountain caribou because it is too small. The upper Incomappleux Valley must be protected. But the endangered mountain caribou, grizzly bears and important fisheries in this area need far more forest protection than that. Valhalla’s proposal would make the Incomappleux part of a network of protected old-growth forest over an area large enough to help save our large wildlife and fish populations.” The article quoted ForestEthics as saying that protecting the Incomappleux is seen as a way to honour Colleen McCrory. “When the article was being written, both The Province and ForestEthics were told that it was the park proposal, not just the Incomappleux, that would honour Colleen,” says VWS Chair Anne Sherrod. “It is ironic that in failing to mention VWS’s park proposal, both FE and The Province have shown that they do not support what Colleen was actually asking to have protected.” VWS believes that Pope & Talbot knows very well that any move to log the upper Incomappleux would spark outrage all over Canada and Europe. “The BC government and P&T would be seen as barbarians to log the Incomappleux,” says Sherrod. “We’re afraid what they really want to do is to hold the Incomappleux hostage to obtain a trade-off for getting to log more mountain caribou habitat,” says Sherrod. Currently the federal and provincial governments have a recovery process for the mountain caribou under the Canadian Species at Risk Act. BC is overdue filing a strategy for recovery. Its draft strategy relies mostly upon killing predators. But recently, a petition signed by 50 scientists said the draft strategy is inadequate, and that there should be no more logging of old-growth mountain caribou forest. “That’s a heck of a lot more forest than the Incomappleux, and that’s what really has Pope & Talbot on the spot. http://www.vws.org

3) TimberWest Forest Corporation is uniquely positioned as the largest owner of private forest lands in western Canada. The Company owns approximately 334,000 hectares or 825,000 acres of private timberland that, over the previous five years, has provided an annual average harvest of 2.594 million m³ of logs and has an approximate annual growth rate of 8.0 m³ per hectare per year on the productive land base. These timberlands are located on Vancouver Island and the majority of the land base supports the growth of Douglas fir, a premium tree species sought after for structural purposes. TimberWest runs fully-contracted harvesting operations. With almost 80% of the Company’s annual private land logging now being done in second-growth stands, TimberWest leads the Coastal industry in the growing and harvesting of second-growth timber. The Company’s independent auditor, KPMG Performance Registrar Inc., periodically certifies that the forest management practices on the Company’s private timberland continue to meet all Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) requirements. SFI requirements specify that forest harvesting is integrated with environmental and conservation goals for soil, wildlife, water quality protection, conservation of biodiversity, protection of special sites and aesthetics in a manner that ensures a sustainable harvest over the long-term. TimberWest also owns renewable Crown harvest rights to 0.7 million m³ of logs per year and operates a sawmill located near Campbell River, BC. In addition, approximately 38,000 hectares or 94,000 acres of the Company’s private forest lands have been identified as having greater value as real estate properties and will progressively be made available for higher uses over the next ten to fifteen years. The Company reviews its land base on a periodic basis to update the size of its portfolio of higher use properties. http://www.timberwest.com

4) My sense is that group certification for small private ecoforestry holdings is completely appropriate for FSC in BC. But I am outraged that Ecotrust has found it profitable to finance and support the “environmental” certification of helicopter highgrading of the last remnant patches and tufts of coastal old growth that were unavailable, out of deflection or otherwise inaccessible to conventional logging in the recent past. These ancient patches and remnants were fragmented by logging and isolated by economies of scale but in many cases they now represent scarce, small but completely functioning vaults and isolated refugia of original forest ecological integrity. In the near future when our society in the absence of intense industrial development propaganda turns towards forest restoration, these remnants will provide wonderful and valuable examples, scarce blue prints and transplantable culture for restoring our industrial forests’ lost biodiversity and milleniums of adapted resilience. Ecotrust’s financing of these desperate salvage and cherry-picking initiatives leverages cash and policy subsidies without which these small refugia could not be economically liquidated. Ecotrust had a wonderful heritage from emulating Shorebank that was forged in Wilapa Bay of funding sustainable alternatives to resource liquidation. But, it seems to have lost that model in its coastal BC attempts to integrate First Nations interests into full participation in the environmentally subsidized resource exploitation economy. Other than Ecotrust being willing to take higher risks and lose more money to achieve emblematic progress, I can’t see any difference between its BC operations and those of the larger chartered bank mortgagers of forest liquidation tenures. Personally, I think it is certifiable insanity for FSC to certify original forest liquidation logging and I would greatly appreciate Ecotrust to stand back and use its credibility and financial clout to leverage sustainable alternatives rather than to spur a jump-on-the-bandwagon First Nations’ goldrush for remote and isolated forest liquidation subsidies. mbmajor@telus.net

Oregon:

5) The U.S. Forest Service agreed Tuesday to withdraw plans to log spotted owl habitat that burned last year in the Central Oregon Cascade Range. The settlement came in a lawsuit brought by conservation groups opposing plans to log 190 acres of the Deschutes National Forest outside Sisters, Ore., that burned in the Black Crater fire. The lawsuit said the timber sale violated federal law by distorting science that shows spotted owls still use forests after they burn and by keeping the public out of the decision making. The lawsuit also said the project would violate the Northwest Forest Plan by logging in an old growth forest reserve primarily to make money from the trees, and not to improve the forest. “Burned forests are healthy forests, and logging sets back their natural recovery,” Jay Lininger, director of the Cascadia Wildlands Project, said in a statement. The Forest Service admitted no wrongdoing but is withdrawing seven of the eight logging units. Under the settlement, the government will allow trees to be harvested on only 27 acres next to privately owned timberlands that have been logged since the fire. That timber was sold to Butte Timberlands Inc. last month. The other 173 acres will not be sold, Lininger said. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/20071002-1549-wst-loggingsettlement.html

6) After months of data crunching, the City Nature Urban Forestry division of Portland Parks & Recreation concludes that the theoretical replacement value of Portland’s public and private trees would be at least $5 billion. Analysts say that reflects trees’ worth in terms of everything from cutting pollution to improving property values. Armed with figures like that in a just-finished report titled “Portland’s Urban Canopy,” city forester David McAllister is expected to go to the City Council today to recommend increasing the city’s amount of tree planting, tree maintenance and public education. “We take our trees for granted,” McAllister says. “Everybody likes them. They’re green. Portland considers itself a livable city. But nobody understands the hard work these trees are doing. They provide a direct economic benefit to every citizen in Portland.” For those who want to know those benefits, he flips through pages of facts such as these: Tree canopy covers about one-quarter of Portland — 26 percent. The public part of Portland’s arbor cover — the estimated 1.4 million trees in city parks and along city streets — has an estimated replacement value of $2.3 billion. The other part of Portland’s canopy — uncounted numbers of trees on private properties — has an estimated replacement value of $2.7 billion. Annually, the city says, those public trees cost about $6.6 million to manage while providing some $27 million of aesthetic and environmental benefits. Trees do that, the analysts say, by reducing needs for natural gas and electricity, removing some air pollutants, keeping much storm water from reaching overburdened city sewers, and by reducing an earth-warming greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. In sum, the report says, for every dollar invested in Portland’s public trees, those trees return $3.80 in benefits. The idea of fastening a price tag on the functions of trees, parks officials say, is a way of asking what would happen if the trees disappeared. The idea is to calculate how much it would cost for machinery and more to try to replicate what trees provide naturally. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1191383714167220.xml&coll=7

7) By next fall, forest officials hope to have thinning operations underway to keep mountain pine beetles in check and reduce fire loads surrounding Diamond and Lemolo lakes. The areas marked for timber management would provide buffer zones for summer getaways and popular recreation areas and make up 4 percent of the 300,000 acres susceptible to infestation and fire. Pine beetles are part of the area’s natural ecosystem and thrive in older, large-diameter lodgepole pine. When stands become dense, at least 80 years old and 8 inches in diameter per tree, outbreaks occur. Because of decades of applied fire suppression in the forest, stands around Diamond and Lemolo lakes — and also within Crater Lake National Park — have reached vulnerable dimensions. Trees can transform into stands of potential Roman candles not long after beetles move in. On Wednesday, UNF officials guided a public tour of areas affected by the beetle outbreak and areas where they expect it to spread. In a previously thinned stand of lodgepole, south of Diamond Lake and north of the national park boundary, Gabe Dumm, a fire ecologist on the Umpqua forest, explained why the thick pines in the path of infestation and possible fire needed to be thinned. The Umpqua forest spent nearly $100,000 earlier this year to remove “hazard trees” from Diamond Lake Campground so weakened conifers wouldn’t topple on campers. The U.S. Forest Service also hosted a workshop in Roseburg to solicit suggestions from the public that could be used in a proposed action for curbing the outbreak. Options include heavy thinning, which would leave about 40 trees per acre; seed-tree treatment, a more aggressive thinning approach that leaves only 15 percent of trees to naturally seed the next generation of trees; or no action at all. http://www.newsreview.info/article/20071004/NEWS/71004024

California:

8) Emboldened by recent successes, a vindicated Quincy Library Group went on the offensive with the Forest Service at its Thursday, Sept. 27, meeting. “I am no longer blaming 80 percent of the problem on environmentalists,” attorney Michael Jackson told Forest Service representatives from the Plumas, Lassen and Tahoe national forests. “The (Forest Service) people designing the (QLG) projects are violating the law. We are going to do something about it.” Jackson’s comments came as he updated the group on recent developments. Early in September, negotiations with the Sierra Forest Legacy, a coalition of 100 environmental groups, yielded a small victory when SFL agreed to withdraw its motion for a preliminary injunction against the Freeman project. According to Jackson, Indian Valley logger Randy Pew made quite an impression on the SFL representatives. “They didn’t want to put a small business out of work,” Jackson said. “They felt bad about that.” Later negotiations in Washington did not go as well – one source described the proceedings as “gruesome” – and the parties could not agree on several contested projects. Representatives of the QLG, the Forest Service and SFL, and Senator Dianne Feinstein and members of her staff, participated in the talks, which Feinstein virtually ordered during a meeting at Lake Tahoe in mid-August. “Feinstein gave the environmentalists a chance to lay out their case and they failed. From her point of view it sounded like all that was happening here was obstruction,” said Jackson. “I sat and watched the reputation of the environmental movement move back 10 to 15 years.” County forester Frank Stewart, another QLG negotiator, said the meetings were “worth a $1,000 ticket to watch.” “I would have paid $1,000 to be invisible,” responded fellow negotiator Linda Blum. The day after the negotiations concluded, however, the QLG scored a significant victory. After two-and-a-half hours of testimony Friday, Sept. 21, U.S. District Court Judge Morrison England ruled from the bench. As smoke from the Moonlight Fire fouled the air in Sacramento, site of the hearing, England denied SFL’s motions for injunctions to stop three QLG pilot projects – Empire, Slapjack and Basin. According to Jackson, the decision releases 70 million board-feet of timber. http://www.plumasnews.com/news_story.edi?sid=5509

9) American Forests will receive $2.8 million to plant trees in wildfire-damaged areas in California as part of a $10 million settlement between the state of California and ConocoPhillips. The settlement, announced Sept. 11 by state Attorney General Jerry Brown, is designed to offset emissions caused by an expansion of a ConocoPhillips refinery. The oil giant will donate $7 million to support offset projects in the Bay Area and $200,000 to restore the San Pablo wetlands, in addition to the $2.8 million for tree planting. Brown called the agreement a “groundbreaking step in California’s battle to combat global warming. . .” http://www.americanforests.org/news/display.php?id=177
Minnesota:

10) Governor Tim Pawlenty announced today that more than 51,000 acres of forest – almost 80 square miles – in Itasca and Koochiching counties have been conserved. State and private money totaling $12 million has been used to purchase a working forest conservation easement that precludes development of the property. This is the single largest conservation project in Minnesota in at least a decade. The agreement will protect jobs, preserve wildlife habitat and guarantee public access for outdoor recreation. “A key aspect of this landmark agreement is that the land will continue to be managed for timber production and continue to provide jobs and revenue for local economies as private land,” Governor Pawlenty said. “It will be open to the public for a wide variety of uses, including hunting, hiking and fishing. Minnesotans have always taken great pride in our vast forests and this achievement is a testament to our long-term commitment to responsible stewardship of our heritage and future.” Public funding for the easement purchase comes from $6.6 million in bond funds appropriated by the Minnesota Legislature in 2006. Private foundations and conservation groups contributed $5.4 million. The newly conserved lands are located near almost 440,000 acres of state-owned lands – Koochiching State Forest, George Washington State Forest, Myrtle Lake Peatland State Natural Area and Scenic State Park. Because of its proximity to the two state forests, the project is being called the Koochiching-Washington Forest Legacy Project. http://www.mnbiketrails.com/main.asp?SectionID=21&SubSectionID=44&ArticleID=1161&TM=66487.91

Georgia:

11) You can buy virgin paper and still support responsible forest management. That’s the takeaway from Neenah Paper’s latest environmental certification. The company’s flagship STARWHITE Brand is now the first paper in North America to meet the requirements for labeling as FSC Pure. The FSC Pure label means the paper is made only with virgin fiber that comes from a forest certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. STARWHITE, known for its “Whites for All Occasions,” is also now 100 percent Green-e certified and Carbon Neutral. “Being green and buying virgin fiber aren’t mutually exclusive,” says Gabe Bolton, the U.S. Chain of Custody Coordinator for SmartWood, the certification arm of the Rainforest Alliance. “Virgin fiber is still a significant requirement. In fact, buying FSC Pure fiber can be a more environmentally friendly choice because you can’t always know where post-consumer waste has come from. However, with fiber labeled FSC Pure, you can be assured of where it comes from – an FSC-certified forest.” Neenah is introducing an exciting addition to the brand, a “Soft Touch” finish that will be available in the Sirius and Natural colors on a 110 lb. basis weight Cover sheet. Joining the existing palette of four whites that includes Sirius (98+ brightness blue white), Tiara, Archiva and Natural, will be four pearlescent offerings: Stardust, Flash White, Flash Pearl and Flash Natural in both smooth and vellum. “It wasn’t that long ago that people thought offering this kind of paper would be very difficult to achieve,” says Bolton. “The interest in FSC Pure papers is obviously growing. Neenah Paper has taken another commendable step forward in helping to protect the world’s forests.” http://www.socialfunds.com/news/release.cgi/9794.html

USA:

12) If you’d like to get a feel for what it’s like to run a trans-national fast food company, head over to McVideo Game. You have to make some tough choices, like whether or not to demolish Indigenous villages in order to plant soy to feed to your malnourished cattle. It’s a fairly “enlightened” video game with lots of options (especially compared to recently featured ones). For instance, you can choose to feed the parts of the cows that don’t make it into the burgers back to the ones that are still waiting for slaughter. There are consequences for such actions, of course. Turning rainforest into grazing land (which RAN has campaigned against in the past) starts to cause climate change. But no worries, you can use your profits to bribe a climatologist to say it isn’t happening. Even with the deck clearly stacked against me, I tried to give it a go and run as sustainable a business that I could. I avoided genetically-engineered crops, bovine growth hormone, advertising to children (yes, you even control the unruly marketing department complete with macs and mohawks) and didn’t bribe any state officials. I was managing to do alright for a while, even the Board of Directors was happy. That’s when the activists began. I started getting picketed by what the game called “corpulent gold-diggers” saying I caused obesity. I closed my eyes, clicked “corrupt a nutritionist” and never looked back. http://understory.ran.org/2007/10/02/mowing-rainforest-for-fun-and-profit/

13) This upcoming 10/16/07 will be an International Day of Action against the McDonalds corporation, an entity responsible for factory farming cruelty and pollution, rainforest clearcutting, worker abuse and increasing heart disease by serving cholesterol saturated burgers to the consumers and calling it nutritious food! Show your resistance to this fast food megacorporation at a McDonalds store near you! How does one corporation cause so many problems throughout the Earth? In order for McDonalds to serve those cheap burgers, indigenous people in South America are displaced by force from their rainforest homes. Then the trees are clearcut, replaced by cattle ranching corporations who sell the meat to McDonalds here in the U.S., which people eat unawares of the political, ecological and social injustices committed against the native peoples and rainforests of South America by McDonalds (and other) fast food corporations.. Sister Dorothy Stang was not alone in her struggle to protect the rainforest, and like her companion Chico Mendes recieved the same retribution from the cattle rancher’s hired guns.. “Mendes’s life is studied now in some business schools, which might seem odd at first, until one examines his character and tactics more carefully. He was the consummate achiever, starting with a clear goal but never getting locked into one strategy to achieve it….[O]ne thing he never abandoned was a core focus on nonviolence. He put a tropical spin on the tactics of Gandhi and King, organizing downtrodden rubber-tree tappers into a determined but peaceful resistance force that stood between the forest and the chainsaws of land-grabbing cattle ranchers. “Like his predecessors, Mendes chose peace in part out of pragmatism, knowing that any other stance would be brutally crushed. The tappers’ goal in this resistance was twofold: to protect their rights to the land they had utilized for generations without title and to protect the rubber and Brazil nut trees that, while an impediment to a rancher, represented a renewable source of income to people willing to live within the standing forest. “The tools and tactics Mendes devised to deal with road builders, ranchers, and the government still influence efforts to both develop and preserve the Amazon—and the planet itself…. http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/10/02/18451390.php

14) Forestweb, an information and technology company, provides business intelligence to more than fifty TIMOs, REITs and Timberland Management companies. Rami Ghandour, CEO Forestweb said, “The timberland investment market offers many challenges and opportunities for all classifications of investors. We are pleased to have the opportunity to take part in this forum with our clients and to extend our brand to other institutions interested in becoming more active in this vibrant market segment.” The 3rd Annual Timberland Investment World Summit, “Staying Ahead of a Market in Transition,” takes place at the Westin Hotel in New York and focuses on the rapid changes in the U.S. timberland investment market and its future impact in the global market. According to Vishal Thakkar, Divisional Marketing Director of IQPC, “Our goal with our Timberland Investment Summit is to engage investors, international institutions, educators and governments on the most pressing issues in the market today. Through our targeted panel discussions and focused workshops and classes all attendees will leave our conference well informed to help them make better business decisions.” http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,192275.shtml

Canada:

The Americans may claim that our public forests give Canadian producers an unfair advantage, and the forest companies may be asking for more secure property rights, but the players to watch are in the financial markets. They want a chance to buy Canadian forests. For long term investors, timberlands are an even better asset than mineral deposits. The price of wood may go up and down, but the trees just keep growing. Combine this natural growth rate with the long term rise in the value of timber and you can see why financial interests are drooling. Add to the equation the fact that forest management in Ontario produces perhaps half the yield of private forest lands in Finland or the U.S. and you can see why timberland investors are sure they can make more money than the province on forest lands. So the war for the North has begun. On one side, embedded financial journalists like VanderKlippe and are reaching out to the southern decision makers. They are probably hoping for a new government that will move quickly and irreversibly to end the Crown forest era. It happened in New Zealand in the 1980s when a radical conservative government came to power. It could happen here. On the other side is a weak and scattered community forest movement. The tiny Northern Ontario Sustainable Community Partnership, for example, has been circulating a Community Forest Charter. The Charter invites Northerners to think about shifting power to the communities of Northern Ontario. It puts forward the view that forest communities should actually have some control of their forests. http://www.nob.on.ca/columns/Robinson/10-07-woods.asp

UK:

15) Glasgow City Council is backing a plan to transform acres of woodland in Pollok Park into a giant adventure playground. However, regular visitors to the historic park are afraid the high-wire obstacle course will disturb the peace of the woodland and harm the natural environment. The course, developed by forest adventure operators Go Ape, is earmarked for a site just a few hundred yards from the Burrell Collection in the Park’s North Wood. A public consultation is now in its final month. If planning permission is granted, it could be in place as early as spring 2008. Go Ape has already opened a similar facility in Aberfoyle, one of 12 courses it owns in the UK. It is home to the UK’s longest “death slide” – 426 metres across a gorge. Participants, known as “gorillas” and “baboons”, pay £20-£25 to complete three hours of canopy walks, 40ft above the ground, overcoming obstacles including rope bridges and tarzan swings. The Aberfoyle course, on Forestry Commission land, has attracted 9000 visitors so far. The vast majority have been adults, the eldest a partially sighted woman aged 86. Tristram Mayhew, founder of Go Ape, said: “This is a way to help people get into the woods and see them from a different perspective. As well as giving people a sense of adventure, the thing is designed to be environmentally sensitive. It’s in the treetops so there is no trampling of land and the trees can still carry on growing.” Glasgow City Council is promoting the facility as part of its health agenda, aiming to encourage teenagers to take part in active leisure. The council’s land services director Robert Booth has recommended developers be granted a 21-year lease of land in the park. The deal will include a clause allowing free entry for up to 450 schoolchildren from disadvantaged areas. http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/other/display.var.1724685.0.0.php

16) Outraged residents and walkers have accused the National Trust of “wanton vandalism” after 17.5 acres of trees were cut down in historic woodland They were shocked to dis-cover the mass tree felling last week in St Anthony’s Wood, in the Standen Estate near East Grinstead, and fear it could threaten wildlife. And walkers are also furious at the trust’s treatment of volunteer Victor Friend who has been looking after St Anthony’s Wood for about 25 years. Those who use the wood, say Mr Friend, has dedicated his life to it – putting in bird-boxes, paths, a bench and even a pond – and was instrumental in restoring it after the devastation of the 1987 Great Storm. But now Mr Friend, 66, feels he is being sidelined by the trust, which took over the whole of Standen Wood in 2001. “I did all the work here off my own back. “I built one pond by hand, which took me six months. “I can understand woodland management, but as long as the pathways are free of brambles and bracken, then I left the rest of it alone. “It’s the nature I’m concerned with. “If you cull too much, there will be nowhere for the animals to live. But the National Trust said the tree clearance was necessary management to protect the woodland from invasive species. A spokesman also said the trust was working closely with Mr Friend over the woodland. James Masters, the head gardener at Standen, said: “Most of the young trees in Standen Wood are species which require coppicing to survive. “The area which has been cleared was very overcrowded with both naturally regenerated trees and, in addition, those which have been planted from non-local seed sources which in turn threatens the biodiversity of the wood.” Vic started working in the woods, which contains badgers and deer as well as many species of birds, when it was run by the St Anthony Trust, before the National Trust took over. His partner, Sue Fogwell, said: “He’s made it a brilliant conservation area, for birds and wildlife. Everyone who used to walk there said how lovely it was. “The bird population more than doubled under him. Well, there won’t be any birds there now.” http://icsurreyonline.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0600eastgrinstead/tm_headline=residents-slam-trus
t-s-vandalism-of-woodland&method=full&objectid=19887853&siteid=50101-name_page.html

Latin America:

17) Latin America is blessed with more than its fair share of wildlife and lush forests. A third of the world’s mammal species and more than a quarter of all known reptiles and bird species can be found there. However, this abundance is under threat. Felling 7 million hectares of trees each year, South America clears more forests than any other continent. As a result, more than 10,000 species are threatened with extinction — two-thirds of all endangered species on the planet. In a sense, the solution to this challenge is as plain as day. Landowners cut down trees because it is the most economically beneficial thing for them to do. So policymakers need to provide them with an incentive not to. If we can unlock the hidden potential in Latin America’s forests — without destroying them — then we could provide a solution to the problem of habitat destruction. Economists’ estimates range from US$1.23 billion a year for saving trees in Latin America’s biodiversity “hot spots” to US$5.8 billion a year for saving 2 percent of the continent’s land area to US$500 billion for making a one-off payment to save all of Latin America’s forests. One common argument is that governments should protect biodiversity because of its untapped potential for the pharmaceutical industry. A fern deep in the forest could, for example, one day prove helpful in the fight against AIDS. This idea became very popular in the 1990s. A famous project saw Merck Pharmaceutical provide US$1 million to Costa Rica in exchange for 1,000 plants collected from its forest. Although the Merck project successfully raised money for Costa Rican biodiversity research, few if any drugs have been developed and the model has not been transferred elsewhere. The merits of “bio-prospecting” have been examined carefully and the returns are in fact very modest, ranging from just US$0.20 per hectare in parts of California to US$20 in western Ecuador. Thus, the potential for pharmaceutical development will not provide strong encouragement to private landowners or companies to protect their land. Another approach for policymakers is to quantify the economic benefits of “ecosystem services” — the miraculous yet mundane things that nature provides like erosion control, and water management and purification. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2007/10/01/2003381229

Colombia:

18) From his dugout canoe in the Napipi River, Jefferson Rojas spotted what he was after: a 40-foot-high jagua tree, its canopy dotted with dozens of thick-skinned fruits the size of tennis balls. Rojas pulled his boat to shore, macheted his way through thick foliage and with his telephone lineman gear quickly scaled the tree. He lopped off the fruits, which fell with thuds to the floor of the jungle. Why did Rojas go to such lengths for a fruit that isn’t even ripe? Because the body-marking market has caught on to what indigenous tribes here in Choco state have known for centuries: Jagua is an excellent source of nonpermanent tattoo ink. Ink that eventually makes its way to the biceps or backsides of trendy teenagers thousands of miles away might appear to have a tenuous connection to Plan Colombia, the seven-year program that has funneled $5.4 billion in U.S. taxpayer money into fighting drug traffickers and guerrillas. But with the current fiscal year, which began Monday, more of those funds are to go to economic projects such as Rojas’ tattoo ink venture and fewer to finance the Colombian military and anti-coca spraying than in past years. The initiative will soon take on a “softer” profile, at the insistence of the Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress. It is expected to contain more money to fund “alternative development” programs to encourage farmers to grow legal crops and steer clear of joining armed groups. “It is beyond dispute that spraying chemicals is not a sustainable strategy,” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee controlling foreign aid expenditures, said in an e-mailed comment. “Without real economic alternatives, coca farmers will find ways to grow coca. . . . Rather than continue to act as a rubber stamp, we are shifting more funds into economic and social programs.” http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-tattoo4oct04,0,2191829.story?coll=la-home-c
enter

Uruguay:

19) As for the agrotoxic substances employed, the study highlights that in both nurseries the fungicide Captan is used. It should be noted that this substance was banned in Finland by that country’s pesticide division in August 2001, due to its extreme toxicity. It is officially considered carcinogenic by the government of the State of California. It contaminates both soil and groundwater, is highly toxic for fish, and affects frogs, birds and fowl. So, how can Forestal Oriental, a subsidiary of the Finish company Botnia, be using in Uruguay an agrochemical banned in its country of origin? The research also found that the company Eufores uses two agrotoxic substances that are banned by the body that granted its certification (the Forest Stewardship Council – FSC). One of these substances is the fungicide Fundazol, whose active ingredient is Benomil. The use of Fundazol is not permitted by the FSC as it is an endocrine disruptor and because it produces genetic mutations, and the EPA has classified it as a possible carcinogen for humans. The other fungicide is Flonex, whose active ingredient is Mancozeb, and which is also banned by the FSC because it is carcinogenic. Also surprising were the differences found between the lists of agrotoxic substances provided by the two companies to RAPAL, on the one hand, and those supplied by the workers, on the other, as the latter contain 3 fungicides, 1 insecticide and 1 hormone, all of which are omitted by the lists of the companies. In one of the nurseries, women workers say that 90% of the children born from women who work there suffer from allergies, spasms and asthma. In sum, the research concludes that these two certified companies are anything but “environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable” (as defined by the FSC’s mission). On the contrary, they use that seal at the expense of the work and health of their workers and of the environment of all Uruguayans. http://webs.chasque.net/~rapaluy1/agrotoxicos/Uruguay/Viveros.pdf

Brazil:

20) According to the World Resources Institute, Brazil had the highest carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in the region in 2001, primarily due to changes in land use.) Most of the region’s forests are in South America, particularly in Brazil and Peru, which comprise 92% of the total forest cover. These countries are among the 10 that hold two-thirds of the world’s forests and jungles. Because of its size, the greatest extent of deforestation is in Brazil, but the deforestation rates are higher in Mexico and Argentina. While the deforestation rate in Brazil in the 1990s was 0.4%, the rate in Mexico and Argentina was 1.1% and 0.8%, respectively. Tree-felling in the Brazilian Amazon basin during the last decade increased by 32%, from 14,000 to 18,000 square kilometres per year. The major sources of pressure in the forests include the expansion of farming and livestock activities and urban spread, which force a re-conversion of the land. More recently, there has also been the impact of plants in the Amazon and Cerrado regions that are involved in the production of beef and soybean substitutes, with a harmful impact on the forests. http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/annual_deforestation_in_the_amazon_and_resulting_co2_emissions

21) Environmental groups on Wednesday gave the Brazilian government a seven-year plan aimed at putting an end to deforestation in the Amazon rain forest. “It is necessary to immediately halt the deforestation of the Amazon region,” said Paulo Adario, a coordinator for Greenpeace, one of nine non-governmental organizations that presented the plan to the government. “The climate of the planet and the natural diversity of the region cannot support the current rates of deforestation,” he told AFP. The seven-year plan calls for setting a fund with a budget of one billion reals (over 500 million dollars) a year that would be used to combat deforestation and maintain the way of life of those living in the rain forest. The Brazilian government would be responsible for providing 76 percent of the funds, with the rest coming from sources outside the country. Environmental Protection Minister Marina Silva, who received the proposal during a ceremony in Congress, said the government will study the project. About 17 percent of the Amazon forest has been destroyed, according to data released last year. Brazil is the fourth largest source of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming in the world. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hQP39WZQRzljOMEJZElpEBuyYbQw

22) John Cain Carter, founder of what is perhaps the most innovative organization working in the Amazon — Aliança da Terra, told mongabay.com that fires in the Amazon are presently among the worst he has seen in a decade in Brazil. “We are in the middle of our burning season and it is one of the worst I have seen,” he said. “Three weeks ago I tried to land at the Kamayura Indian village and upon flying 300 feet over the village, was not able to land because I could not see it do to the smoke. A huge area of the Xingu National Park was on fire, truly sickening as it is a sign of things to come.” Carter says that his own ranch was also damaged by fires set by illegal land clearers. “Our own ranch burned, thanks to land grabbers who started a forest fire in my neighbor’s 65,000-acre forest reserve,” he told mongabay.com. “That fire jumped into our property and wiped us out, both financially and emotionally. Our forest is toast, literally.” Carter says that high commodity prices are driving fire setting by land speculators who seek both to clear forest and to generate buying opportunities for cattle ranches. “Commodity prices are up, land prices followed, and subsequently the crooks started to invade the remaining large tracts of forest still found in the Xingu,” he explained. “They intentionally set fires to wipe out the region´s forage base (grasses/pasture) to create great cattle buying opportunities.” http://news.mongabay.com/2007/1004-amazon.html

China:

23) China is the biggest consumer and exporter of disposable wooden chopsticks, producing 45 billion pairs each year, which uses up about 25 million trees. Last year the Chinese government imposed a 5% tax on disposable wooden chopsticks in an attempt to preserve forests, and Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture introduced a recycling program to turn one-use chopsticks into biofuel. Instead of reaching for the paper wrapped disposable wooden chopsticks the next time you get take out, bring your own set of bamboo chopsticks or use a fork (just make sure it’s not plastic.) Artisans are giving second life to used chopsticks. Check out their creations at http://www.Chopstickart.com
24) Aboriginal tradition and national law collided in the case of three Atayal tribesmen from Smangus in Chienshih Township, Hsinchu County, who took the stump of a fallen tree to their village and were accused by the Forestry Bureau of stealing it. The second verdict in the case was issued recently, with the Taiwan High Court ruling that the three villagers had violated the Forestry Law. It reduced their sentence from six to three months, but fined the three more than NT$79,000 (US$2,400), and sentenced them to two years’ probation. The Smangus tribe has said it cannot accept this ruling. This lawsuit is a clash between the rights and interests of Aborigines and national forest management. It reflects the conflicts that arise between the diverse ideas about life of the Aborigines and the nation’s machine-like management model. The tribes and the government have completely different systems and ways of thinking, and when these two meet, clashes and confrontations are almost inevitable. Taiwan’s forest industry should protect the rights and interests of the Aborigines because their livelihood needs, communal relations, cultural identity and other issues are all closely related to the forest. In the future, communication and co-ordination between the tribes and the government should be strengthened to avoid conflicts. The government should also let the Aborigines play a more active role in the planning and management of the forest resources. Apart from that, we have to be aware that a sustainable forest industry is built on the basis of mutual trust and help of the government and the Aborigines. This is the only way to establish a sustainable forest industry and make sure there is a way to solve the problems that occur when the tribes and the government collide. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2007/10/04/2003381664

Japan:

25) The Hokkaido Forest Research Institute and Hokkaido Forest Products Research Institute conducted joint research from 2003 to 2005 on an F1 hybrid of Dahurian Larch (larix gmelinii) to identify families and parent trees with high carbon-fixing potential. The research team discovered that trees grown from certain pollen and seed trees had 30 percent greater carbon storage capacity, compared to typical larch trees. The Dahurian Larch is a species found in Eastern Siberia and Northeastern Asia, where it forms the enormous forests of the taiga. A fast growing tree, the larch is widely used in afforestation and industrial plantation projects. The news is important for the bioenergy community because rapidly growing trees with an enhanced carbon storage capacity will be used as ‘carbon capture’ machines to be used in carbon-negative bioenergy production. The concept is easy to understand: the trees are planted to store large amounts of CO2, after which they are converted into energy (liquid fuels or electricity), while the CO2 they release during the process, is captured and geosequestered. The result is radical carbon-negative energy. http://biopact.com/2007/10/japanese-scientists-develop-hybrid.html

Thailand:

26) The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has come up with a new loan project aimed at improving the well-being of people living in protected forest areas and to increase forest coverage across the country. If it works out as planned, the loan-for-tree schemes will also reduce forest encroachment, said Saksit Tridech, the ministry’s permanent secretary. Under the project, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will provide loans for people living in forest reserve areas to plant teak trees and pay back the loans once they can sell the timber. Participants will be allowed to plant and manage teak plantations on their own land. Eligible participants are forest dwellers who have received 15-rai land plots from the government in a bid to stop them from further encroaching on forest reserve areas. However, agencies will conduct thorough checks on applicants’ qualifications before allowing them to join the new loan project, Mr Saksit said. The bank will loan seed money of 12,000-15,000 baht to each participant to plant around 500 trees on a five-rai plot, he said. Five years after starting the plantation, commercial forest plantation experts will check on the trees’ growth and quality. If the plantation meets the required qualifications, the second tranche of the loan will be approved. The Forestry Industry Organisation will buy teak trees when they are 10-25 years old. The price will vary from 227 baht to 15,408 baht per tree, according to the amount and age of the timber, said Paisal Kuwalairat, deputy permanent secretary. ”Thailand spent almost 60 billion baht in 2002 on importing wood. At the moment, only around 1.3% of wood consumed here is from domestic plantations. The loan scheme will give us a good opportunity to reduce our wood imports and depend more on domestic timber,” said Mr Paisal. http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/05Oct2007_news09.php

Vietnam:

27) Conservation in a dynamic setting requires understanding the factors leading to landscape change. This study integrated traditional remote sensing and geographic information systems analysis techniques with a narrative policy analysis to assess the 1975–2004 land cover changes and their determinants in Nam Dong district (central Vietnam). Total forest cover of Nam Dong remained stable, but there were major transitions within forest and non-forest categories. Recent policy initiatives, particularly forest land allocation, have resulted in short-term benefit maximization through land speculation and illegal logging, while increased awareness of the economic potential of forests and their products have motivated people to access forests more frequently, leading to a highly dynamic landscape and increased barriers to forest conservation. This study suggests that (1) state-sponsored logging needs to be reduced, (2) forest allocation should proceed more rapidly to give farmers better incentive to improve and protect allocated forests, and (3) small-scale industry should increase. Forest conservation policy must be amended. More research is needed to link household land-use choices with policies, and determine how those choices lead to changes in the landscape. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1207212

Philippines:

28) Sixty percent of the country’s wood needs is being imported because of the worsening condition and denudation of our forests, local foresters said at the 58th anniversary celebration and national convention of the Society of Filipino Foresters Inc. (SFFI) held here last week. Ricardo Umali, SFFI national council president, said it would take the government “hundreds of years and trillions of pesos” to rehabilitate the barren forests but if the people contributed to the effort, this could be shortened by up to 50 years. Eriberto Agete, director for policy planning at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources central office, said the country’s forest area had widened from 5.5-million hectares to 7.2-million-ha in five years – between 2001 and 2006 – through the reforestation and forest management efforts of the government and other sectors. In 1930, the country had 17-million-ha of forests. Agete said SFFI was seeking the support of the private sector to establish a massive tree plantation since the government had scarce funds for the initiative. He said the 800,000 trees planted on Aug. 25 for the green highways campaign showed the people’s concern for the environment. The foresters are still waiting for the Senate to pass the Sustainable Forest Management Act, which has been under deliberation for 12 years. “We need a new law that is more comprehensive. We currently rely on executive orders which do not allocate regular resources for forest management,” Umali said. He said one of the factors that was delaying the passage of the bill was the debate on whether the law should advocate a total or a selective log ban. On the controversial land use conflict going on at the La Mesa watershed because of a planned housing project, Agete said the SFFI did not have much to say about it since the watershed was a titled property owned by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System. “The question now is, will the MWSS allow the DENR to make it a protected area even if it is a titled property? Society, though, would want it proclaimed a protected area since we want to preserve our watersheds,” he said. There are some 8,000 licensed foresters in the country who are members of the SFFI, the main forestry service provider for the national and local governments, communities and the private sector. http://ephraimaguilar.blogspot.com/2007/09/rp-now-importing-wood-needs-dueto.html

29) Environment officials have asked officials of the province’s 13 towns to muster enough political will and assume the task of protecting their communal forests as required by law. Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Benguet Environment and Natural Resources Office (Benro) said the local officials’ obligation to lead the inventory of existing communal forests was long overdue. They said the call for the towns’ participation recognized the role of the province’s indigenous communities in determining the extent of use of their natural resources. The environment officials said the devolution provision of the Local Government Code (Republic Act 7160) provided the legal basis for the DENR’s decision to transfer some of its functions to cities, towns and provinces. Explaining the devolved functions to local officials at the provincial capitol here recently, Severino Balangcod, Benro forester, said the code transferred to towns the management and control of communal forests with an area of not more than 50 square kilometers or 5,000 hectares. Balangcod said the management of small watershed areas, which are sources of local water supply, was also devolved. He said towns could impose measures to prevent illegal tree cutting and the kaingin system or “slash and burn” agriculture. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view_article.php?article_id=91876

Malaysia:

30) TA ANN Holdings Bhd, which has cash reserves of more than RM100 million, is keen to buy more timber concessions. “We bought our first concession of 170,000ha in 1988 and to date we’re still growing,” said managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Wong Kuo Hea. At present, Ta Ann holds five timber concessions in Sarawak totalling 403,232ha and they are due to expire between 2012 and 2022. “Resource is the most important growth catalyst in the company. We’re keen to acquire concessions in Sarawak that are reasonably priced,” he told Business Times in an interview held in Sibu recently. Ta Ann is buying Borlin Sdn Bhd, which holds a 32,023ha concession with an annual production quota of 87,600 cubic metres of logs. It wants to establish a forest management unit on this concession with the aim of obtaining certification in sustainable practices. This is part of Ta Ann’s ongoing efforts in “greening” its timber business. In January 2006, Ta Ann and Sumisho Mitsuibussan Kenzai Co Ltd signed a 20-year wood supply agreement with Forestry Tasmania. This forest, which comes under the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification scheme gives a competitive advantage to Ta Ann in supplying “green wood” to environmentally-conscious buyers. Ta Ann’s clustered timber processing mill in Sibu is the largest in Southeast Asia. Sited on 25ha, it houses nine production lines and employs 2,500 workers. As the group expands, it uses more fuel but churns out more sawdust and offcuts. To kill two birds with one stone, Ta Ann decided to invest in a biomass power plant, which will use waste wood to generate almost 100 per cent of the electricity required by its timber processing mills in Sibu. http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_News/BT/Wednesday/Nation/20071002220624/Article/

31) The palm oil industry is a corner stone of Malaysia’s economy, generating export revenues only surpassed by oil and gas. Recently, two scientists writing in Nature urged conservationists to forget the idea of compensated reduction – which is a top-down, bureaucratic scheme unlikely to reach the small holders who need the money most – and instead suggested they should become palm oil farmers themselves. With the profits made from the plantations, conservationists could then buy forests to keep them intact (earlier post). To some the idea sounded bizarre (‘join the enemy, to beat him’) but it clearly illustrates the tension between direct socio-economic benefits from palm oil and more abstact benefits from environmental goods and services embodied in intact forests. Malaysia is accutely aware of this tension, which has prompted it to show interest in diversifying its portfolio of biofuel crops by looking into Jatropha curcas. The shrub has been touted as an alternative to the large oil crops because it can be grown on poor soils, with limited inputs, away from forests. http://biopact.com/2007/09/malaysia-to-trial-jatropha-in-sabah.html

Indonesia:

32) Indonesia will attempt to repair its reputation as one of the biggest contributors to deforestation by planting 79 million trees in one day next month. The initiative is part of a global campaign to plant a billion trees and will precede a UN summit on climate change in Bali in December. The ambitious reforestation program, which aims to reduce the impact of global warming, will see trees planted throughout all of the country’s 33 provinces within a two-month period. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will officially inaugurate the campaign, planting 1,000 trees in Cibadak village, Bogor, on Nov. 28. The program is scheduled to begin in mid October and continue through the end of November. To meet program targets and ensure coordinated efforts, Forestry Minister M.S. Ka’ban has already contacted governors, regents and mayors throughout the country. “We will utilize public lands such as schools, places of worship, housing complexes and offices,” Soetino said. “We will display photos of the tree-planting activities during the UNFCCC conference.” http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailheadlines.asp?fileid=20071004.A03&irec=2

Australia:

33) The Federal Forestry Minister wants the Tasmanian Government to end the export of softwood logs, saying jobs are at risk. Eric Abetz has written to the Premier, Paul Lennon outlining his concerns that about 220,000 cubic metres of logs are exported from Tasmania each year while Auspine and other softwood processors are struggling for timber. The Scottsdale-based sawmiller Auspine lost its wood supply contract earlier this year and is receiving financial help from both the State and Federal governments to get timber from the west coast. Senator Abetz says he has been told logs are being exported at prices below that which north east sawmillers are prepared to pay. “It makes no economic sense whatsoever to divert those logs overseas whilst we as an Australian Government are being asked to provide support to get logs for example from Strahan right up to Scottsdale whilst the State Government is busily selling off softwood logs overseas,” Senator Abetz said. http://abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/03/2049357.htm?section=business

34) The VEAC report clearly shows that the red gum wetlands along the Murray are severely stressed and require improved land and water management. These wetland forests are home to about 400 threatened or near-threatened Australian plants and animals. Their health is also important to indigenous Australians, who have had an association with these lands and waters for tens of thousands of years. While some vested interests have attacked the messenger, it is worth noting that VEAC and its predecessors — the Environment Conservation Council and Land Conservation Council — have served Victoria well for more than 30 years, delivering largely balanced outcomes backed by transparent, scientifically based processes that have engaged the community. Environment groups have certainly not got everything they wanted from these draft recommendations, especially the poor protection proposed by VEAC for the ecologically important Gunbower forest north of Echuca. If we look across the border to NSW, over the same period processes for nature conservation and land classification have been largely ad hoc declarations of change, with little community input. The VEAC process is a robust and fair planning process to guide future public land use, and should be supported. The alternative, to leave these important decisions to the whim of politics, would be unlikely to deliver robust decisions either for resource users or the environment. Even without VEAC, changes to timber production along the river are already in the wind, with Department of Sustainability and Environment figures showing logging levels of 40 to 60 per cent over present sustainable limits in red gum regions, largely because of reduced tree growth from a lack of water. http://www.theage.com.au/news/business/red-gums-are-not-just-a-green-issue/2007/10/04/119109127
8418.html

35) Tasmanians, at least Tasmanians employed in the “forestry” industry (really the de-forestation industry), or in the hydro-electricity industry, appear to believe that they own Tasmania and that Tasmania owes them a livelihood even if that is through the sacrifice of everything that makes it extraordinary and unique. Values Australia grew up in Tamworth NSW, Deliverance Country Capital of Australia, so we know a redneck culture when we see one. Tasmania is full of brain-dead rednecks who think they own the place, and who think outsiders (that is, people who know what a town is) should butt out. But, you know, the Tasmanians don’t “own” Tasmania, any more than a leech “owns” its victim. Nevertheless, because they think they own it, they think they have a right to destroy it and anyone who gets in their way. The forests, after all, are just a resource to be exploited, although to us it is not significantly different, ethically, from murdering someone for their gold teeth fillings. Almost twenty-five years ago Australia narrowly averted an environmental and cultural catastrophe – the building of the proposed Gordon Below Franklin dam by the enormously powerful Hydro Electric Commission, widely acknoweldged at that time as the de facto government of Tasmania. The fight against the dam saw the emergence of Bob Brown and the Tasmanian Wilderness Society and eventually the demise of Malcolm Fraser and Bill Hayden and the ascendancy of Bob Hawke. As we noted yesterday, it is unconstitutional to pass or to employ laws to silence “the people” when they engage in political communication in Australia. Protests are a form of political communication which is engaged in as part of political debate and these proposed laws should be fought on constitutional grounds. Nippon Paper Industries imports around 1.6 million tons of woodchips annually from Tasmania, for use as raw materials in paper manufacturing. It responded to claims by Greenpeace Japan and the Wilderness Society that harvesting of old growth forest in Tasmania has resulted in the razing of forests that should be preserved. (More than 5,000 people supporting the campaign sent protest e-mails to the Company.) http://valuesaustralia.com/blog/?p=371

238 – Earth Tree News

Today for you 31 new articles about earth’s trees! (238th edition)
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–British Columbia: 1) conservation amid rampant decline, 2) Transforming the economy is critical, 3) Life after logging, 4) Selling off the stolen Comox valley,
–Pacific Northwest: 5) New Owl plan is both an insult and a failure, 6) Deadwood,
–Washington: 7) Creek logging made to seem eco-friendly, 8) Urban sprawl, 9) Creek logging cont. 10) Deadwood essential ingredient in all healthy forests
–Oregon: 11) Support NFC: send ‘em money and also write a letter for the owls
–California: 12) Maxxam proposes bankruptcy swindle, 13) Silicon forest defenders,
–Montana: 14) Wilderness Society creates agreement where they aren’t even a litigant
–Colorado: 15) Money for watershed groups
–Wisconsin: 16) Logging and burning Bayfield Peninisula
–Texas: 17) Save the sanctuaries at High island
–Pennsylvania: 18) Save the roadless
–Florida: 19) Save the last of the Cypress, 20) 172 acres saved from housing
–USA: 21) Rainforest defenders from around the world tour US
–Canada: 22) Spruce Bark Beetle, 23) FSC has failed us, 24) Stop forest spraying,
–Brazil: 25) development plan will destroy the amazon, 26) Coca-Cola water program,
–Ecuador: 27) Ban drilling in Yasuni National Park
–Chile: 28) Imprisonment and genocide of indigenous who defend their land
–Peru: 29) Little-known isolated Indian tribe found
–Australia: 30) Taxpayers subsidising Japanese woodchip mill, 31) Government wants to ban protests,

British Columbia:

1) Specifically, we contend 1) that there is a fundamental conflict between economic growth – the root cause of these declines – and biodiversity conservation and 2) this root cause is not being addressed by most conservation organizations. Two high-profile conservation projects that we have worked on – the Strait of Georgia Black Brant Monitoring and Conservation Project and the Wildlife Tree Stewardship Project (WiTS) on Vancouver Island – serve to illustrate successful conservation efforts by conventional standards. The Wildlife Tree Stewardship Project (WiTS), for which Terri is the program biologist on Vancouver Island, evolved from extensive efforts in the 1980s by the BC Ministry of Environment on Vancouver Island to assemble a master database on bald eagle nest tree locations from all sources. CWS researchers determined that eagles in the Strait of Georgia produce more young than other areas and that this surplus is likely an important source of recruits to the regional population. Detailed bald eagle nest tree inventories along southeast Vancouver Island are now in their 20th year. Since inception, many more government and non-government partners and naturalists (now over 200 volunteers, with their labour valued at $70,000 in 2006), have joined the ranks. A website was launched (www.wildlifetree.org) as well as an online wildlife tree atlas. Much like the brant project, this project has been considered a success. So, while the bald eagle nest tree and brant projects themselves have been considered successes, what about the objects of their efforts? Indeed, the Pacific Flyway brant population is in decline. And what of the bald eagle nest trees? Along southeast Vancouver Island, the most detailed information exists in the area from just north of Campbell River to the south boundary of the Regional District of Nanaimo (South Wellington). In this area, at least 25 percent of the known breeding territories have lost one or more nest trees over the project’s history and land use activities associated with development and industry have played a key role in 63 percent of these losses. Almost half of the territories (42 percent) have recently or are currently under development pressure in the core area around nest trees or will face extensive land development in the very near future.

2) “Transforming the economy is critical. It’s the key to large-scale conservation. We can’t ask First Nations to starve. For this project to be durable, First Nations communities have to be healthy with jobs and an economy,” Smith says. The clever and sophisticated “markets campaign,” which recruited the support of foreign companies in the battle to save the Great Bear Rainforest from industrial-scale development, forced forest companies and government to the table. However, environmentalists quickly realized that if they wanted to simultaneously conserve habitat and promote small-footprint economic development, they had to come to the table with money, an effort that they knew would quickly overwhelm their conventional fundraising capacity. In 2002 B.C. enviros turned to the U.S.-based Nature Conservancy for fundraising help. Erica Bailey, director of resources for the Nature Conservancy’s Great Bear Rainforest project, says B.C.’s Central and North Coast presented an opportunity the organization couldn’t pass on: to do broad-level conservation on a chunk of terrain with world-class biodiversity and cultural values, for which there is nothing even remotely comparable south of the 49th parallel. “We realized that most of the biodiversity in the world happens outside of the U.S., so we had to step it up a notch. It was a case of how can we not take this on?” Bailey explains of the Nature Conservancy’s decision to accept the fundraising challenge. “I’ve done conservation work in 12 countries, and I’ve never seen anything like the Great Bear Rainforest.” It would turn out to be an astonishingly successful campaign. In just four years, the Nature Conservancy rallied private foundations and philanthropists in the U.S. and Canada to the tune of $60 million for the Coast Opportunities Fund, by far the largest international conservation project in both monetary value and geographic scale that the Nature Conservancy has ever been involved with. Bailey says it was a relatively easy sell. http://www.bcbusinessmagazine.com/

3) “Working long hours and too many days in a row took a toll,” said Simpson. The machines were double-shifted and so there was not time to maintain them and they became hard to operate and dangerous, he said. “Six- and 10-day shifts were the norm, so family life went out the window and many relationships ended. Men were killed and maimed on the job. Too many of them.” When the next layoffs came, Simpson was offered a buyout and he took it. For Bob Simpson, taking a buyout from TimberWest 2.5 years ago and using the money to purchase a small backhoe turned out to be the best decision he could make at the time. He said that since he started his own business as a backhoe operator he’s had a steady stream of business across the Cowichan Valley. One week he might be in Cowichan Bay, the next in Lake Cowichan. Last week he was digging a trench for a homeowner who is replacing his waterline. “It made more sense for me to use the money I got from the buyout to purchase the backhoe, rather than get a loan,” said Simpson. “It was one of the best decisions I ever made.” He moved to Lake Cowichan to play hockey and work at the WFI mill in Honeymoon Bay. From there he worked for Pacific Logging in Mesachie Lake and then had his longest stint with BCFP in Caycuse. He worked on tugboats, did dryland sort duty and was a night watchman. Things started to change in the forest industry, though, and Simpson became frustrated as his pride in his job began to wane. He said he has seen even more changes since he left the industry. “Two and a half years later I can still see many changes and more coming. Finally, all our old growth and second growth will be all gone — and then maybe the companies — but probably not, as they are now into the real estate business.” When Simpson isn’t out digging a hole somewhere, he can often be found at the local curling rink skipping a team in the men’s league or one of several bonspiels. He said he’s much happier these days and he isn’t looking back, except to make sure he can safely back up his backhoe. “For me, the nightmare is over, I am out of it.” said Simpson. http://www.cowichannewsleader.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=9&cat=23&id=1074174&more=0

4) A 5,260-hectare-acre slice of Vancouver Island paradise — including two lakes and a mountain, just below a glacier — is for sale for just a few million dollars. Forestry company TimberWest has listed the large chunk of land in the Comox Valley on an online real estate auction site. The property has a minimum bid of $2.86 million, while TimberWest suggests that it could be worth as much as $25 million. It is being sold in line with the company’s policy to dispose of land that could have better uses than as a forestry resource. “This is an area that, because of its location and elevation and that sort of thing, it’s really not, for the large part, prime forest land,” said TimberWest spokesman Steve Lorimer. The description on the real estate site notes that “this unique parcel is … on a mountain with a beautiful, sparkling, private lake near the top of its towering peak accessible by seaplane or helicopter.” “It really has some fairly spectacular areas in terms of high elevation and the lakes,” said Lorimer. “That has the potential to lend itself as a resort type of a thing, but I can’t do anything in terms of speculation as to what a purchaser may choose to do with a parcel like that.” The land is zoned by the regional district as Water Supply and Resource Area, which allows for forestry, explosive sales and residential use — although the minimum lot size in the zone is just under 400 hectares. Regional district staff said that rezoning would almost certainly be required if a new owner wanted to build a commercial resort on the property. Located beside Strathcona Park, the land includes a spectacular waterfall as well as the start of the Comox Glacier Trail — used by the Comox District Mountaineering Club and others to access the glacier. “Environment Minister Barry Penner should buy the land and put it into Strathcona Park,” said Ken Rodonets, a member of the mountaineering club. While the Ministry of Environment does acquire land every year, the budget for this fiscal year is $3.1 million, most of which has already been spoken for. Even if the entire 2007/08 budget was allocated to this land purchase, it might not be enough to win the auction. “Every region makes those recommendations on a yearly basis and they’re set out in priority,” said ministry spokeswoman Kate Thompson. http://article.wn.com/view/2007/09/28/Two_lakes_and_a_mountain_yours_for_286_million/

Pacific Northwest:

5) A group of independent scientists has concluded that a proposed recovery plan for the northern spotted owl was “deeply flawed.” The conclusion fueled allegations that the proposal was manipulated by political appointees in Washington who were determined to boost logging in Northwest forests. The peer review by outside scientists, requested and paid for by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, found that the recovery plan disregarded 20 years of research about the owl, which lives in the region’s remaining stands of old-growth timber, and would result in reduced efforts to protect the bird and its habitat. The review has attracted attention on Capitol Hill. Democratic lawmakers will ask Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to appoint a committee to write a new recovery plan. “We are especially concerned the peer review has produced unanimous findings that the draft recovery plan is not based on the best available science and will not ensure recovery of the species,” the letter says. The letter suggests that the recovery plan may have been “tampered with by high-ranking officials within the administration,” including Julie MacDonald, a former deputy assistant interior secretary. MacDonald resigned in May amid allegations that she had interfered with and overruled scientists working on recovery plans for various endangered species. MacDonald was a member of the Washington Oversight Committee, which apparently instructed the spotted owl recovery team to add an option to its draft that would allow more logging in the Northwest’s forests, the congressional letter said. A related report from the administration called for reducing by almost one-fourth the habitat considered critical to the owl’s survival. Other members of the Washington Oversight Committee included Mark Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist who, as undersecretary at the Agriculture Department, oversees the U.S. Forest Service, and Deputy Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett. “The politics trumped the science, and independent scientists have now blown the whistle,” said Rep. Jay Inslee, a Washington Democrat, who circulated the letter. “White House fingerprints are all over this (recovery plan). This administration will distort science to get more gas out of the Rockies, more oil out of the Bering Sea and more timber out of the forests of the Northwest.” http://www.kansascity.com/news/nation/story/296755.html

6) When it comes to counting, evaluating, and explaining the distribution of dead wood in our forests, it is, to put it mildly, incredibly complicated, as two Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station scientists acknowledge in upcoming papers. “For over 25 years, there has been a move for the regional inventory programs to measure all vegetation, not just timber resources, so there was already an effort underway to inventory standing and down dead wood,” Janet Ohmann explains. “However, our analysis was a first,” Karen Waddell continues. “We had access to valuable information that had been collected in Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management inventories for years, but had not yet been compiled into a ‘dead wood database.’ People were extrapolating from very small studies, in order to understand what the dead wood component of Oregon and Washington forests is.” “Initially, dead wood data were collected to address wildlife habitat issues,” Ohmann adds, “but more recently dead wood is considered relevant to issues of forest health, site productivity, fuels, and carbon stores as well. We took the opportunity to analyze extensive inventory data to look at these issues on a regional basis.” The study is based on over 16,000 field plots distributed across nine wildlife habitats. This segment of the study highlights the importance of legacies in the dead wood world: without a source of snags and down wood, a forest will be starved of a key source of nourishment, in many senses. This is especially a concern for larger dead wood, which will not be re-created under current rotation ages. What may be a surprise to many was the large quantity of dead wood still surviving on industrial land, Ohmann says. “This is largely due to the huge legacy from the original old-growth forests, and also from the much lower utilization standards in the early days of logging. There are numerous large, decayed stumps still showing springboard notches high above the ground.” –USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station, Sally Duncan

Washington:

7) Sixty years later, his sinewy hands and weathered skin betray a lifetime spent in the woods – as a smokejumper, logger and finally, owner of his family’s tree farm, which covers 1,150 acres in southwest Washington. A maze of environmental regulations governs which of the towering Douglas firs he can cut. His mail brings weekly overtures from developers willing to pay cash. It’s easy to see why someone less committed to the trees might be tempted – and why the conversion of private timberland to sprawling cul-de-sacs is one of the greatest threats facing the Northwest’s salmon and other protected species. It’s a problem that Stinson, his son Steve, and a few other local foresters decided to do something about. They immersed themselves in the impossibly complex minutia of forestry policy – How close to a stream should you be able to log? How much shade is needed to keep the stream cool enough for fish? – and a decade later, they have a plan. Nearly 400 pages long, it’s designed to let small-time timberland owners in Lewis County cut more of their trees while still protecting critters and, hopefully, keeping their land forested for generations. It’s the first time in the history of the Endangered Species Act that a group of private landowners has undertaken such an effort, federal officials say. The county has signed on, submitting the document this month for review by the federal agencies charged with enforcing the act. But the approach is contentious, as some environmentalists worry that it could set a template for easing logging restrictions across the state. “You watch all this land being developed around you, and you know you could go out and make a fortune in a heartbeat,” Stinson, 74, said recently as he surveyed a stand of pencil-straight firs. “Most small family landowners don’t want to do that.” Family-owned forestland covers an estimated 5,000 square miles, or 8 percent of Washington. That’s a far cry from the massive swaths covered by state, federal and timber company land. But many of the family-owned forests are at low elevations between residential areas and larger tracts of forest, making them the front lines in the fight against sprawl – and tens of thousands of acres are believed to be converted to development each year. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420AP_WST_Family_Forests.html

8) More than two years ago we learned of a development boom that threatened to convert tens of thousands of acres of private forest land south of Mount St. Helens into sprawling second home developments. The area had no zoning and no water, electricity, or sewer services. We’ve worked hard over the last couple years to convince Skamania County to establish a moratorium on new development and to prepare a zoning plan for the area that would limit development. Last month, Skamania County adopted a plan and interim zoning for the area that would limit development to approximately 900 homes (as opposed to over 10,000 homes under no zoning). We are still developing our strategy in response to this new plan and zoning. In the meantime, however, Skamania County Commissioners are to hold a public hearing (details below) on whether to lift the existing Swift area development moratorium and allow development to proceed. We need your help in convincing the Commissioners that lifting the development moratorium is premature until: 1) the county’s critical areas ordinance (protecting fish & wildlife habitat among other things) is updated, 2) a clearing and grading ordinance is adopted, and 3) stormwater management regulations are adopted. In particular, point out that the previous resolution extending the existing development moratorium stated that the moratorium would be in place until the critical areas update process has been completed. These related measures are needed to ensure adequate protection of ecological resources under the adopted Swift sub-area plan. Please attend and testify at the public hearing. If you are unable to attend, please submit written comments by noon on Thursday, Oct. 11th to: Commissioners@co.skamania.wa.us http://www.gptaskforce.org

9) Tens of thousands of acres of family-owned timberland in Washington are sold to developers each year. A group of Lewis County foresters believe that allowing the landowners to cut more of their trees, especially near streams, will help keep the land in forestry. As many as 2,400 forestland owners in Lewis County who have between 5 acres and 4,500 acres could enroll if a plan developed by the Family Forest Foundation is approved. The Family Forest Foundation says it has developed new modeling to examine how harvesting trees closer to streams might affect fish habitat, and that results show the narrower buffers are justified. Some scientists have rejected the modeling, saying its results were biased and that the no-cut buffers proposed are inadequate. U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the National Marine Fisheries Service are reviewing the plan to see if it should be put out for public comment. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420AP_WST_Family_Forests_Summary_Box.html

10) In an old-growth forest you are surrounded by death and dying. More than likely, you’re tripping over it, you’re marveling at the weird growths on trees, you’re listening to the hammering of woodpeckers, without knowing how much death you’re actually witnessing. In its undisturbed state, a forest offers standing dead trees, live trees decaying because of various fungal infections or insect attack, and a cornucopia of logs. “The truth is, the system depends on it, depends on the death of trees,” says Torol Torgersen. “The more we learn, the better we understand that the connections in the life and death cycle from trees to logs are not only wonderfully complex but also quite confounding. What is clear is that the forest absolutely requires death to survive.” Torgersen is an entomologist who worked with wildlife biologist Evelyn Bull and plant pathologist Catherine Parks, all from the Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Forestry and Range Sciences Laboratory in La Grande, Oregon, to produce a report—now much in demand—on the elements of death and their role in east-side forests. The report is titled “Trees and Logs Important to Wildlife in the Interior Columbia River Basin.” It effectively upgrades a 20-year-old publication on wildlife habitat in managed east-side forests, on which many current Forest Service standards and guidelines are based. The challenge their research results have posed to managers is simple: “As complex as the management challenge already is, and as much as we already know about snags and logs, we need to keep adjusting our understanding of the dead tree components,” says Parks. “If we manage only for the living component in a forest, we’re making it too simple, and the system won’t function properly—in other words, it won’t be sustainable in the long term.” In particular, the management of death in the forest must stretch beyond the current notion of managing for quantity, she explains—just meeting the quotas for snags and logs won’t ensure sustainability. We need to differentiate among types of dead components for the latter to serve wildlife and other forest functions. –USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station, Sally Duncan

Oregon:

11) Please take a few moments to email your comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at NSOplan@fws.gov, demanding nothing less than Forever Wild on public lands. The comment period has been extended for the second time to October 5. The “Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl” does little to ensure the recovery of the spotted owl, whose populations are still in decline 13 years after the Northwest Forest Plan was adopted to prevent their extinction. Habitat loss from logging native forests was, and remains, the main threat to the northern spotted owl. Instead of increasing and strengthening protections for native forests and spotted owl habitat, elements of the Recovery Plan actually seek to reduce the inadequate protections currently in place. I urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to do its job of ensuring the survival of the spotted owl by rewriting the current Recovery Plan to recommend the protection of every acre of native forest remaining on public lands. Anything less will guarantee the extinction of the northern spotted owl–and the further destruction of our forests and watersheds–to which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be held accountable. Native Forest Council remains one of the ever-fewer organizations refusing to compromise away our birthright of wild lands and waters, but we can’t do it without your help. For as little as $35, you can join us in our simple and principled stand to keep our national forests and public lands Forever Wild and Free. Just go to http://www.forestcouncil.org/join/. Thank you so much for helping us defend America’s forests! As a member, you’ll receive the Forest Voice, our quarterly publication that exposes the truth about our nation’s threatened public lands and how you can do something that matters.

California:

12) Environmentalist Mark Lovelace, president of the Humboldt Watershed Council, said the trees aren’t worth anywhere near as much as the company says. “It’s pie in the sky, utterly preposterous,” Lovelace said. Pacific Lumber’s Michael Claes said there are three main elements to the plan, which puts the value of its holdings at about $1.4 billion. The deal would include: 1) Selling 6,600 acres of ancient redwood groves for $300 million, presumably to some governmental or habitat conservation interest willing to preserve them as parks; 2) Selling 22,000 acres adjacent to these old-growth parcels as 160-acre timber ranches to raise another $300 million; and 3) Valuing the company’s remaining 181,000 acres of timber lands at $800 million. Lovelace, the environmental critic, said it was hard to believe any conservation group would pay $300 million to preserve that first 6,600 acres, because those acres are covered by restrictions that effectively prohibit logging for another 40 years. The second part of the Pacific Lumber plan, which calls for creating about 138 tree farms, is tough to immediately evaluate, said Charlie Tripodi, a Humboldt County Realtor. He said the land that Pacific Lumber has proposed to sell includes some of its best holdings. But will the company be able to sell these 160-acre tree farms for what works out to an average of $2.2 million apiece? “It’s valuable land, but whether they can get those prices remains to be seen,” Tripodi said. The attorney representing the bondholders, whose legal claim to the company’s lands gives them considerable clout in the bankruptcy proceedings, could not be reached Monday. But Jim Rinehart, whose firm, R&A Investment Forestry in the Presidio, advised a group of Pacific Lumber bondholders about the value of the property secured by their notes, said the estimate he offered about two years ago put the worth of all the company’s trees at less than $700 million. Michael Neville, a deputy attorney general who had initially tried but failed to have the bankruptcy case heard in California, said the state is not directly involved in the judge’s decision as to whether Pacific Lumber or its bondholders ultimately get to write the bankruptcy reorganization plan. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/10/02/MN41SI0CB.DTL

13) While other logging battles feature environmentalists sitting in trees, this one featured Silicon Valley computer programmers sitting at their monitors, studying every acre of the plan. The tech-savvy opponents used Google Earth and other tools to rally support, even drawing former Vice President Al Gore to their cause last year. And so the plan by the San Jose Water Co. to log 1,000 acres along Highway 17 has capsized, overcome by neighbors armed with high-tech cameras, mapping software and other Silicon Valley tools. The plan, which over the past two years became the most contentious logging battle in Santa Clara County history, failed to win the approval of officials from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Details were not available Friday evening because the agency had not yet released its official action letter. But neighbors opposing the plan said Rich Sampson, a top official in the forestry agency’s Felton office, confirmed to them Friday over the phone that his agency turned down the project. Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, D-Los Altos, released a letter saying the plan “has been denied” and noting his “desire to see the area preserved as open space.” The investor-owned water company, which provides drinking water to 1 million people, said it wants to log to reduce fire risk on 1,002 acres of watershed lands it owns between Lexington Reservoir and Summit Road. The area has not been logged in a century. Opponents argued that the logging actually would increase fire risk because the water company and its contractor, Big Creek Lumber of Davenport, planned to remove too many large trees. Last year, Adelman flew Google engineer Rebecca Moore, a Summit Road-area resident who opposed the plan, above the San Jose Water property. They took more than 700 photos, which she then merged with Google Earth software. Adelia Barber, a doctoral student in ecology at the University of California-Santa Cruz, then analyzed each photo, circling areas of redwoods and Douglas fir trees so the software could measure the exact area of each. At a minimum, the company has 2,754 acres of commercial timber, she concluded, but it could have as many as 3,428 acres if surrounding areas where small saplings could grow are included. State forestry officials agreed with Barber. But Tang noted the water company could sell some of its lands to get the forested total under 2,500 acres, making it eligible again for the ongoing permit. http://origin.mercurynews.com/healthandscience/ci_7036606

Montana:

14) The Missoulian has an article today boasting about the courageous folks at The Wilderness Society who have put aside their lawsuits and done the “very difficult work” of sitting at a table and outlining logging plans for a local national forest. They have established “principles” to guide their logging project and are now moving toward implementing it. The article says this will be a way to break through the paralysis and get something done and plus everyone gets to learn a little something about each other. The group will start planning logging projects on the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests in Western Montana. Other than the local lumber mills and The Wilderness Society, the article did not identify what organizations were involved in this collaboration, but I found it telling that no organization that has actually been involved in any litigation in Montana was quoted or identified as being a part of the group. And when you look at the principles they have come up with (“improve terrestrial habitat,” “enhance ecological processes,” and, um, “establish . . . a road system”) there is nothing in there that is not already codified in some manner in our nation’s laws or in the forest plans. (I can hear those ignoramuses guffawing at that statement already–but it’s only because they haven’t actually read or spent any time defending the Forest Plans or the laws and regulations that guided them.) The problem is not a lack of principles or law, it is a lack of enforcement of principles and law. And for enforcement of principles, well, that is something one would most assuredly not turn to The Wilderness Society to see. (Their principles are derived from and printed on the checkbooks of their contributors.) If the Forest Service wants to avoid litigation, it is going to need to talk to the people who actually sue it, not the green-cover groups like The Wilderness Society, and the Missoulian should be able to see this (or certainly Michael Moore should, a long-time reporter there with a clearer eye and, hopefully, cleaner conscience than that embarrassing paper’s other environmental reporters, Perry Backus and Sherry Devlin).

Colorado:

15) Congratulations to Trees, Water & People for winning a $762,340 Environmental Protection Agency grant to dole out to local watershed groups like the Colorado Watershed Assembly and to the basin roundtables. The EPA grant is the largest of six national grants awarded by the EPA’s Targeted Watershed Capacity Building Program. Located in Fort Collins, TWP has worked with small groups internationally to help conserve and manage natural resources since 1998. “There are roundtables around the state that are dealing with water issues,” said Jim Webster, director of Watershed Protection at TWP. “They are an important mechanism to the state.” Webster said watershed organizations are usually grassroots organizations of local community members helping to clean and conserve water bodies that have few financial resources. “We’re really assistance to the service arm,” Webster said. The grant also will help TWP provide education on water quality issues and water monitoring techniques. Colorado Watershed Assembly, a coalition of more than 55 watershed groups in Colorado, will also work in collaboration with TWP. Because the EPA is mostly concerned with water quality, the grant will be applied to helping grassroots organizations clean up rivers and other bodies of water, Webster said. While Webster knows the grant will go toward helping groups in Montana, Utah, South Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado, which collectively are known as the Headwaters Region, TWP has not selected the particular watershed organizations. http://radio.weblogs.com/0101170/2007/09/29.html#a9186

Wisconsin:

16) The U-S Forest Service plans to harvest about 55 acres of forest near Mount Valhalla on the Bayfield Peninsula. Officials want to shift the area of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest from predominantly oak to a mix of oak and white pine — which was one of the first species to go during the heyday of logging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Earlier this summer the Forest Service conducted a prescribed burn in the area, which is about seven miles west of Washburn. The burn followed a timber harvest about a year ago, and was meant to reduce the limbs and other brush left behind and provide more open ground for pine plantings. http://www.wsaw.com/home/headlines/10128811.html

Texas:

17) This is a plea for you to help the Houston Audubon Society restore the bird sanctuaries at High Island. The sudden, unexpected fury of Hurricane Humberto devastated the sanctuaries on Sept. 13. Great tree canopies in the woods were laid waste. “Many more trees went down than during Hurricane Rita, due to wet soil,” sanctuary manager Winnie Burkett said. “We had 6 to 8 inches of rain during Hurricane Humberto. We also had lots of branches break off and many trees defoliated.” I love the woodland sanctuaries at High Island. I learned about warblers and songbird migration in those woods long before Houston Audubon owned a single acre. Landowners allowed me and others to walk in the woods back then. Also, I’m proud to have been a president of Houston Audubon’s board in the 1980s as it continued work begun by former board presidents such as Ted Lee Eubanks Jr. and Fred Collins to purchase High Island woodlots. We had no money to purchase the land, but we went forward because we had faith that our fellow citizens and business leaders would help out. And they did. Houston Audubon conserved the woods for the birds, but also made it possible for people to enjoy birds by building nature trails, many accessible to people with disabilities. Accordingly, people crowd into High Island sanctuaries by the hundreds every weekend during spring migration. They come from around the country and all over the world — Canada, Europe and Japan — to see the phenomenon of songbird migration. But the songbirds come to the woodlots for survival. “The sanctuaries are vital to the survival of native and migratory birds,” said Gina Donovan, executive director of Houston Audubon. “Millions of migratory birds are dependent upon the natural areas for rest stops during migration.” http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/homegarden/5173491.html

Pennsylvania:

18) Did you ever see a picture of a vast expanse of valleys and mountains from a western state and marvel at its beauty? At first glance, such pictures are the definition of pristine, untouched wilderness. Oftentimes, if you look a little closer, you can see scars of the man-made variety within the picture. The scars appear as a squiggly line or two bisecting the swaths of green, forested hillsides. Roads. An obvious indicator that the landscape you admired is not as pristine and untouched as you thought. Closer to home, the same detriment can be seen throughout the commonwealth. Glance at any of the mountain ranges defining our area and you are likely to see one of the two interstates or the turnpike conquering what little wilderness we have left. Even the remote forests of State Game Lands 57 — all 44,000 acres of it — are riddled with old logging roads. Sure, they provide additional access for hunters and serve as great paths for bikers and hikers. Still, the roads are a reminder that someone has been there before you, and they were able to conquer this wild place with the ease of four tires and a tank full of gasoline. There still are places in Pennsylvania and the country where the tentacles of roads haven’t overcome the wilderness. Many of them are National Forests, such as the Allegheny. According to a report released on Thursday by PennEnvironment, the benefit of pristine, intact forestland is more than an aesthetic issue. The report states that last year 4.2 million residents participated in fishing, hunting and wildlife watching, generating $4 billion for the state’s economy. Unbroken forests also provide critical habitat for wildlife, including four endangered species that rely heavily on roadless areas. “Pristine forests boost local economies, provide unique outdoor opportunities, preserve wildlife, and protect watersheds, but a major portion of our national forestland is defenseless against drilling, logging, and mining,” said PennEnvironment Forests Associate Zachary Pitts. That’s why it’s important that our elected officials on the federal level support the Roadless Area Conservation Act (H.R. 2516), which would protect 25,000 acres of roadless forests in Pennsylvania and 58.5 million acres of untouched forests nationally. http://www.timesleader.com/sports/20070930_30Venesky.html

Florida:

19) Every day, the mulch industry grinds up cypress trees, leaving stumps in place of giants that can take decades to grow back to harvesting size. It’s a practice that environmental advocates say is harmful and unnecessary, and they have been calling for its end. “We’re destroying an ecosystem in Florida so our flower bed can look nice,” said William Broussard, founder of the Osceola County conservation area Forever Florida. In the late 1700s, during his travels around the St. Johns River, naturalist William Bartram described the trees as “majestic.” His journal entries have references to their stature and to birds’ nests resting on their umbrella-like frames. “What adds to the magnificence of their appearance,” he wrote, “is the streamers of long moss that hang from the lofty limbs and float in the winds.” By the late 19th century, an expanding U.S. railroad system had ramped up demand for cypress — known as a strong, long-lasting wood — and depleted most of Florida’s cypress trees. “They ran out of the very best trees,” Broussard said. Florida’s old-growth cypress — which over hundreds of years had acquired resistance to water, rot and bugs — was mostly gone by the 1950s. What stayed was cypress’ reputation as a sort of wonder wood — a reputation that today churns demand for its use as mulch and could endanger a new generation of trees. “One of the things that a lot of people like about cypress mulch is that it’s considered resistant to termites. This is kind of a perception from many, many years ago,” said Chris Dewey, a Florida Yards & Neighborhoods program coordinator. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/features/health/orl-cypress0107oct01,0,4769438.story

20) Leon County will soon own half of 172 acres that are home to some endangered wildlife and closely tied to Tallahassee’s water supply. Leon County commissioners voted unanimously Sept. 11 to finalize the purchase of the Fred George Basin Greenway, located at Capital Circle Northwest and Fred George Road. The property was slated for development, but will now be preserved and turned into a park, thanks to the hard work of residents and environmentalists. “It’s one of the crown jewels of Leon County’s passive recreation initiatives,” County Commissioner Cliff Thaell said. The county is buying the land from R. P. Properties LLC for $1.4 million, using money from Blueprint 2000, an environmental agency that serves the city and the county, as well as some money left over from other county projects. When the deal is closed in about three months, the county can move forward in turning its share into a park with hiking, biking and riding trails and fishing at the pristine Fred George Basin Pond. The property is home to endangered species such as gopher tortoises and wood storks. Additionally, rainwater that collects in the area drains into a sinkhole that flows to three of the city’s water wells. Commissioners would like to purchase the additional property within the year. Misty Penton, a neighboring resident, helped start the preservation process about a year and a half ago when she filed legal challenges to block rezoning and to keep the property from being developed. She helped create the Save Fred George Basin Coalition, a group of individuals and organizations who worked with developers, property owners, conservation groups and government officials to preserve the property. “It’s been a remarkable experience,” Penton said. “This community has unbelievable resources. People came out of the woodwork to help.” Tom Asbury, one of the partners in R. P. Properties, said initially, preservation was the farthest thing from his mind. “We bought the land to develop it. We thought it was a great piece of property for a residential neighborhood,” he said. “But when Misty came to us and started talking about all the unique features on the land and then the county started showing an interest in developing it, then we said, ‘If that’s what you want to do, we will try to make it happen.’” http://bulletins.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=bulletin.read&messageID=4523354590&MyToken=e
e524f49-61d2-475f-a961-cbc07bc8ff61

USA:

21) Rainforest defenders from Indonesia, Peru and Papua New Guinea kick off a tour of the U.S. Monday in San Francisco focusing on illegal logging and the United States’ role in driving it. The internationally-acclaimed, prize-winning activists are speaking out about the impact of illegal logging and associated trade on their communities, forests and global warming. Worldwide, illegal logging crimes drive human rights abuses, environmental harm and billions of dollars in annual economic losses to governments in developing countries. Illegal logging’s effects have been blamed for deadly mudslides, loss of community water sources and destruction of critical endangered species habitat. It drives and accelerates deforestation, which already accounts for almost one-fifth of the world’s global warming emissions. The trade in illegally harvested timber, estimated to soon reach 10% of the global wood trade, is fueled by ever-growing demand from developed countries, few of which have any laws and regulations that can put a stop to this illegal trade. “Timber companies and illegal loggers are increasingly threatening our territories, culture and lives,” said Julio Cusurichi, a Goldman Environmental Prize winner from Peru. “It is ruinous for isolated indigenous people when illegal loggers enter their territories, bringing with them sickness, violence and death threats. Working with our national organization, AIDESEP, I will not rest in seeking justice for these people.” In the Peruvian mahogany industry alone, an estimated 33,000 people work under forced labor conditions to cut trees that will later sell for thousands of dollars apiece. The illegal timber trade also has proven ties to drug smuggling, money laundering and organized crime networks. Profits from this trade are used to finance criminal regimes and regional conflict around the world. “The illegal timber industry is a corrupting force in politics,” said Anne Kajir, an indigenous lawyer and Goldman Environmental Prize winner from Papua New Guinea. “Illegal logging hurts local communities, the economy and the environment. Yet government complacency allows it to continue.” The tour will be making stops in Portland, OR and New York City, NY before ending in Washington D.C. where the activists will urge Congress to pass the Combat Illegal Logging Act (S.1930) and the Legal Timber Protection Act (H.R. 1497), legislation amending the U.S. LACEY Act to curb the U.S.’s role in driving the illegal timber trade. http://www.yubanet.com/artman/publish/article_66648.shtml

Canada:

22) Back in the ‘40s and ‘50s, everyone had a “back 40″ where they grew hay and pastured their cattle. But as years went by people stopped using these pastures, and they started to fill in with trees. Most of those trees were white spruce, and many of them are affected today by the Eastern Spruce Bark Beetle. “It’s everywhere,” said Jeff Ogden, a field entomologist for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “For years it was no problem, because the trees were young and healthy.” Mature white spruce trees, aged between 35 and 60 years, are the most common target for the beetle, according to Ogden, who said it was a big problem 10 years ago in the North Mountain area between Wolfville and Digby. In areas such as Cumberland County, he said a lot of people used their back 40 a little longer, so the trees growing there are still young enough that they are not as prone to the beetle infestation. But they are starting to reach that vulnerable age now. Hurricane Juan exacerbated the problem in 2003, according to DNR information officer Don Cameron. “It knocked down a lot of mature spruce trees and therefore provided a great food source for them,” he said. “Now those trees are gone and they are out in search of other food.” The impact on the forestry industry is that many private and industrial landowners are being forced to cut woodland long before they had planned to, or perhaps hadn’t planned to cut at all. The spruce beetle will wipe out a healthy tree in a matter of months, according to Cameron, who said there is no spray or easy cure for the problem. The only cure is to cut and remove the trees. “You have to look around the tree because once it’s dead, that means the beetles have already left,” said Ogden. “They won’t go too far but will fly to adjacent trees, so look for symptoms like sap nodules or resin, even if the tree is still green and healthy. That’s when you should remove it, because the beetle is still in there.” http://www.amherstdaily.com/index.cfm?sid=66719&sc=58

23) The Forest Stewardship Council was a great idea and carried a lot of hope to anyone who read through the ten principles concerning the integrity of the forest ecosystems, the rights of rural and native peoples, biodiversity and so on. However, since most ecological practitioners work on a small, local and low-impact scale, it is costly and difficult to be inspected and certified by an international body. On the other hand, the FSC had to certify someone if it wanted to survive at the scale at which it operates. Group certifications were a way to get around this problem and maintain the necessary credibility of both, the agency and the forest stewards. It saddens me to see that this was not enough. The FSC has started to award it’s certification to industrial operations. Tembec, Kruger, Domtar and the like are all claiming to be ecological and are using the FSC for their PR and advertising. For the individual buyer, these claims are costly and difficult to verify since it entails research and on site expeditions to see if the forestry practices are really acceptable. So all I can share is our experience in our area. In the fall of 2005, an FSC evaluation team organised a public meeting at the Francis Hotel in New Richmond, Quebec, in Gaspésie, just across the Chaleurs Bay from New Brunswick. The purpose was to inform and consult the public about a possible certification of TemRex (a consortium of Tembec and Rexfor) for the whole of their work and practices in the Gaspé peninsula. The evaluation team could not even get through the principles before the gathered public told them that :”TemRex doesn’t do any of that!” For some time I had been gathering pictures of the disaster area that our public forest has become. The interior of the Gaspé peninsula is degraded, eroded, emptied and impoverished. The pulp and lumber mills have closed BECAUSE THERE IS NO WOOD LEFT!! All TemRex does is clearcut with heavy machinery followed by monoculture plantations. This is being certified by the FSC. During a phone call, Alexandre Boursier, the head of the assessment team told me that CLEARCUTTING IS AN ACCEPTED PRACTICE BY THE FSC. So come on all you good foresters out there. Let’s have the courage to admit that another great idea has not worked out as we had hoped. We can start by drawing the line between those who clearcut and those who don’t. The FSC has let us down, it has chosen it’s source of bread and butter. May it live with the consequences. ecoforesterie@globetrotter.net

24) Where I live in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, and in other areas of the province, there has been an upsurge in opposition to the use of forestry biocides in 2007 by rural people who live in areas targeted for forest spraying. New voices have come forward to take up the fight, usually out of personal necessity, in order to try and stop herbicides being dumped on woodlands in the vicinity of where they live. But public opposition to forest spraying goes back in this province to the late 1970s. We are talking about 25-30 years of rural opposition, and the experience which goes along with this, plus opposition to the spraying of Christmas trees, blueberry fields, power lines, and roadside spraying. After moving to Nova Scotia from the West Coast in 1979 with my family, I became involved in organizing around uranium mining/exploration and forest issues, although then living in Halifax and later Truro. Our own family’s direct personal involvement in forest spraying dates back to 1984 when we moved to our rural place in Saltsprings, Pictou County, and then found out, completely out of the blue, that there was an imminent forest spraying planned right alongside of us by the Scott pulp and paper company. With the help of our new neighbours, and after much scrambling, we were able to stop this spraying. Some twenty years later, on August 15th 2005, a helicopter with spraying booms suddenly appeared fairly close to our residence and started spraying herbicides – forest poisons – into the environment. Nobody had told us about the spray site, which is on land to one side of us, under so-called forest management with Neenah Paper, formerly Kimberly Clark and before that Scott Paper. So the forest spraying issue is a persistent one for many of us and not only of theoretical interest. The article “Opposing Forest Spraying” is somewhat dated, but while the names of two of the three multi-national pulp and paper companies in the province may have changed (and Irving, based in New Brunswick, has now entered the province as the new kid on the block, having acquired large forest holdings in Nova Scotia which it clearcuts and sprays), the picture of industrial forestry remains, generally accurate for today. http://home.ca.inter.net/~greenweb/Opposing_Forest_Spraying.html

Brazil:

25) The Amazonian wilderness is at risk of unprecedented damage from an ambitious plan to improve transport, communications and power generation in the region, conservationists warned yesterday. Development plans have been drawn up to boost trade links between 10 economic hubs on the continent, but threaten to bring “a perfect storm of environmental destruction” to the world’s oldest rainforest, according to a report from Conservation International. Projects to upgrade road and river transport, combined with work to create dams and lay down extensive power and communications cabling, will open up previously inaccessible parts of the rainforest, raising the risk of widespread deforestation that could see the loss of the entire Amazon jungle within 40 years, the environmental group said. Tim Killeen, a scientist with Conservation International, examined the projects funded under the multinational government-backed Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA). He found that the environmental impact of individual projects had often been well assessed, but there had been a failure to look at their collective impact on the region. Part of the planned improvements will see motorway-style roads built from the Andes, across the Amazon to the Cerrado tropical savannah, linking the Pacific to the Atlantic. “Failure to foresee the full impact of IIRSA investments, particularly in the context of climate change and global markets, will bring about a combination of forces that could lead to a perfect storm of environmental destruction,” Dr Killeen said. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/oct/02/conservation

26) The Brazilian Rainforest Water Program represents one of the Coca-Cola Brazil System activities geared toward the environment and we hope that it can make a difference in the recovery of watersheds and also benefit the surrounding communities. The program promotes the recovery of watersheds by replanting riparian forests. Such actions fall In line with the objectives of The Coca-Cola Company, which announced a partnership with WWF on World Environment Day to recover the world’s seven main watersheds and become Neutral in terms of water use. The company also used the occasion to establish goals for water use, summarized by “The Three Rs” Reduce, Recycle and Replenish. From 2008, The Coca-Cola Company will establish global goals on the ?Reduce? platform to become the most efficient global company of water use in its sector. For “Recycling,” the goal until 2010 is to return all of the water used in the plant processes to levels that support aquatic life and agriculture. “Replenish” means that the company will support projects associated with protecting water sources and community access to the natural good, rainwater collection, reforestation and efficient agricultural use. In May, the Institute began to plant trees in Brazil as part of the third platform, Replenish. It also sequesters carbon by planting trees and collaborates for a more pleasant climate by increasing native vegetation. The program was designed following the rules of the Kyoto Protocol, which includes the recovery of devastated forest areas. Therefore, the program emerged already with an additional possibility for resources to ensure its sustainability. That is why the program’s implementation was preceded by phases of study, RESEARCH and planning, including physical and chemical s of the river waters. To design and plan the program, the coordinators first identified the region’s needs and the availability of the material and technical resources required for its implementation. http://www.ad-hoc-news.de/Aktie/12718105/News/13444150/RESEARCH.html

Ecuador:

27) Ecuador President Rafael Correa’s proposal to ban drilling in the ITT block of Yasuni National Park was announced today at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. Correa’s landmark decision simultaneously addresses two causes of global climate change – tropical deforestation and oil consumption. The President is attempting to build support for the Yasuni-ITT proposal, named after Yasuni National Park, thought to be the Amazon basin’s most biodiverse area. Under the proposal, Ecuador would forego drilling an estimated 920 million barrels of crude oil contained in the Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) fields located directly under Yasuni. The plan would entail Ecuador forgoing an estimated $4.6 billion in oil revenues and prevent significant carbon dioxide emissions as a result of avoided oil extraction activities in the lush Amazon rainforest. Ecuador’s proposal is one of the most significant proposed commitments from a developing nation aimed at combating global climate change. The Ecuadorian government has invited the international community to help develop innovative financing options in support of the Yasuni-ITT proposal, to help this developing country make up for the foregone oil revenues. Speaking earlier in the week at a UN meeting on climate change, President Correa stated: “For the first time, an oil-producing country, Ecuador, where a third of the state’s income depends on the exploitation of this resource, is renouncing this income for the wellbeing of all humanity and invites the world to join this effort through a fair compensation package, so that together we can sow the seeds of a more humane and just civilization.” In addition to being home to some of the last indigenous peoples living traditional, isolated lifestyles anywhere in the Amazon basin, Yasuni also boasts stunning and irreplaceable biodiversity, including 4,000 plant species, 173 species of mammals and 610 bird species. The Yasuni-ITT proposal is supported by an growing alliance of environmental groups and foundations, including Amazon Watch, Earth Economics, Save America’s Forests, the Pachamama Alliance, CS Mott Foundation, the Wallace Global Fund, and the World Resources Institute. http://us.oneworld.net/external/?url=http%3A%2F%2Famazonwatch.org%2Fview_news.php%3Fid%3D1461

Chile:

28) There is now grave concern for the welfare of Chief Juana Calfunao and her sister Luisa Calfunao, who have been on hunger strike since 7 August. They were imprisoned in Temuco in November 2006 after being involved in protests to defend their community land against local landowners. After suffering a long history of harassment against their entire family, including this most recent detention, they resorted to a hunger strike in order to protest their innocence and highlight the use of repressive measures against the Mapuche. As well as the urgent concern for Chief Calfunao and her sister, there are ongoing worries about the safety and wellbeing of a number of other Mapuche prisoners. On 1st September Ernesto Lincopan was hospitalised following an attack by a fellow inmate in Temuco prison, who stabbed him in the shoulder. This is one recent example of the kind of intimidation Mapuche prisoners are left exposed to, as they have no status as political prisoners and are therefore detained alongside violent criminals. Other Mapuche campaigners, including Chief Calfunao’s husband, Antonio Cadin, suffer from chronic health problems but have not received adequate care and treatment whilst in detention. Their communities have now asked for the assistance of an independent doctor from the International Red Cross. Chief Calfunao, her sister and husband and a number of other Mapuche political prisoners are due to appear in front of an open tribunal in Temuco on 22 October. They have been told to expect sentences of between 10 to 17 years and have requested the presence of independent observers from international human rights organizations at the hearing. Mapuche International Link appeals once again to the international community to express their solidarity with the Mapuche. Please address your concerns to the following authorities. http://www.mapuche-nation.org

Peru:

29) A little-known isolated Indian tribe has been sighted deep in Peru’s Amazon jungle. Ecologists photographed the group at the Alto Purus national park near the Brazilian border as they were looking for illegal loggers. Flying over the jungle, the forest ecologists saw about 21 Indians, mostly children, women and young people, living in palm-leaf huts on the banks of the Las Piedras river. Some were carrying bows and arrows. The indigenous group is thought to be part of the ancient Mascho Piro tribe. The sighting could intensify debate about the presence of as foreign oil companies, who have been invited by the government to look for oil in the rainforest. Many indigenous people have shunned contact with the rest of society to live on the Amazon rainforest land which has been set aside for petroleum prospecting. Environmental and Indian rights groups firmly oppose the exploration in the remote jungle area about 900 kilometres east of the capital, Lima. http://story.malaysiasun.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/b8de8e630faf3631/id/286378/cs/1/

Australia:

30) NSW taxpayers are subsidising a Japanese woodchip mill on the South Coast to the tune of $3.5 million a year because the State Government is selling native timber to the mill too cheaply, industry experts say. At a time when there are fears native forest logging is fuelling climate change, the Government is selling native timber from South Coast forests for between $6.90 and $16 a tonne to an Eden woodchip mill owned by Japan’s South East Fibre Exports. The Government says the operations “pay their own way” but environmentalists and forestry analysts believe it is under pressure from unions and Forests NSW to maintain industry jobs. “It is actually costing the Government money to run this operation … but the CFMEU gives a lot of money to the Labor Party,” said an anti-logging campaigner, Harriet Swift. “The bureaucracy of Forests NSW is very good at looking after itself, too.” The native timber prices for the 2003-04 year were so low they did not cover Forests NSW’s own costs, leading to windfall profits for the mill, said a forestry analyst, Terry Digwood. The figures were revealed following a freedom of information application to Forests NSW. The Government made a loss of $3.5 million in 2005-06 supplying native pulp logs to the mill, analysis done by Mr Digwood showed. “The Eden chipmill has made windfall profits for 35 years as a result of paying low royalty rates for its pulplogs. All of these profits are foreign-owned and are a negative item in the current account in the balance of payments,” said Mr Digwood. The mill also buys cheap native timber from Victoria. Mr Digwood estimated the combined NSW and Victorian subsidies were worth about $9 million a year. “Forests NSW is a very strong supporter of the chipmill on economic grounds,” said Mr Digwood. http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/cheap-timber-costs-taxpayers-35m-a-year/2007/09/30/1191
090943381.html

31) The Tasmanian Government will be asked to look at ways to help prevent forest protests and enable police to sue people taking part in unlawful anti-logging protests. The Tasmanian Police Force wanted to sue a visual artist who staged the ‘Weld Angel’ protest in May, but has received legal advice the plan would fail. Commissioner Richard McCreadie now wants the State Government to pass new laws enabling police to recover the costs incurred in future protests. “The bar has been raised on a number of occasions, to have the conflict to attract the media, now I can’t keep letting that go,” he said. Ken Jeffreys from Forestry Tasmania has praised the idea, saying the organisation is plagued by unsafe and illegal demonstrations. “They’re putting our staff at risk and, more importantly, they are putting themselves at risk,” Mr Jeffreys said. But the Tasmanian Greens say the proposed changes would be an attack on democracy. Greens Deputy Leader, Nick McKim, is concerned about any changes to the laws. “Any move to target forest protesters would be a highly political move and something that I would think would be an attack on fundamentals of our democracy like free speech and political expression,” Greens deputy leader Nick McKim said. “[It may] also be a concern to groups like the union movement, who also sometimes do take action on the ground which requires a police presence.” The Tasmanian Government is yet to comment on the plan. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/09/29/2046870.htm

237 – Earth Tree News

Today for you 34 new articles about earth’s trees! (237th edition)
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Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

–British Columbia: 1) Value of Powell River’s standing forests, 2) Jean-Pierre Kiekens, –Oregon: 3) Save the Wild Rogue
–California: 4) Cutting trees for a better view in Yosemite
–Montana: 5) Agreeing on basics of forest restoration
–Arizona: 6) Exploitation jeopardizes $2.2 Billion in forest value
–Missouri: 7) Old oak trees to be cut for better view of corporate retail stores
–South Dakota: 8) Another 60,000 acres to be logged in the Black Hills
–Wisconsin: 9) County plan for housing developments in forestlands –New Hampshire: 10) White Birch decline
–Canada: 11) End all logging of old growth, 12) Buying protected forest for his kid, 13) Amnesty International claims Weyco genocide in grassy Narrows, 14) Sears Catalogs destroy forests, 15) More on Weyco genocide, 16) Greens praise destroyers,
–Russia: 16) burning the forest and calling it research
–Mozambique: 17) Chinese thieves are everywhere
–Kenya: 18) Artists take action to save Ngong forest, 19) 10,000 plan curse to save trees,
–Congo: 20) China buys Congo forest for $5 billion loan
–Senegal: 21) Chimpanzees try to survive without enough trees
–Uganda: 22) Floods are a result of careless felling, 23) Army stealing trees from Sudan,
–Brazil: 24) Michelin’s Biodiversity Research Centre
–Peru: 25) False claims of saving 1.5 million hectares of rainforest
–Guyana: 26) Internal probe not good enough
–South Korea: 27) Long live the Diamond Pine
–Bangladesh; 28) New locals in Naikkhangchhari like to log
–Nepal: 29) 80,000 hectares lost in past 20 years
–Malaysia: 30) Fined for illegal logging, 31) Palm oil destroys biodiversity,
–Indonesia: 32) Selective harvests have no place in carbon deals, 33) Pulp mill,
–World-wide: 34) 13 million hectares lost each year

British Columbia:

1) A former Powell River resident has completed a preliminary study measuring the value of Powell River’s standing forests. Caila Holbrook conducted the research for an internship with Eco-Care Conservancy, an environmental organization promoting community forests and eco-tourism. The internship is a requirement for her master’s degree in international nature conservation. The degree is offered by Lincoln University in New Zealand and Georg-August University in Germany. The study measures the value of three forests in the Powell River region and attempts to take the whole value of the forests into account, their worth as carbon sinks (their ability to trap greenhouse gasses) and the other benefits they provide. Holbrook found two American studies that gave estimates of forest worth for Pacific boreal temperate forests. She used those figures to determine the values of the three local forests. “I believe the true estimates to be higher because of inflation, and some specific attributes of the forest around Powell River which are not accounted for in such a broad estimate,” Holbrook wrote in an email. Holbrook estimated a 16-hectare (40-acre forest) on property belonging to Martin Rossander and the estate of his brother Victor, to be worth $5,251 per year for its environmental benefits as an intact forest. The area has the ability to store 6,000 to 12,000 tonnes of carbon and trap four tonnes per year. She estimated its value as a carbon sink to be $281 per year. Holbrook estimated the 7,105-hectare (17,559-acre) Powell River Community Forest to be worth $2.2 million per year as a standing forest. It has the ability to store 600,000 to 1.2 million tonnes of carbon–101 tonnes per year. Holbrook estimated the forest is worth $28,142 per year as a carbon sink. The Sunshine Forest District, a 1.6 million -hectare (3.8 million-acre) area, is worth $504 million per year as a standing forest according to Holbrook’s rough estimates. It stores .64 billion to 1.15 billion tonnes of carbon and can trap 386,544 tonnes per year. The forest is worth $27 million annually as a carbon sink. http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18862373&BRD=1998&PAG=461&dept_id=221583&rfi=6

2) Jean-Pierre Kiekens says Canada used to be an environmental leader but we’ve lost our voice. He’s the founder, president and editor of Forest NewsWatch. He also acts as a consultant in forest policy, and has led several strategic consulting assignments for the European Commission, and the French, Dutch and Canadian governments. On the academic side, Jean-Pierre Kiekens was a lecturer in economic development and agricultural economics at the University of Brussels for seven years. He holds degrees from the University of Brussels in Belgium and from the University of Oxford in the UK. Click on the link in the “Listen to This” box to hear Mark Leiren-Young talk to Jean-Pierre Kiekens about how the world sees Canada’s trees, the importance of tree huggers and why rocket science is easy compared to running our forests. http://thetyee.ca/Views/2007/09/28/RocketForestry/print.html

Oregon:

3) The “Save the Wild Rogue” campaign is a coalition that environmental groups, rafters, anglers, businesses and various and sundry others have gotten together to try to save the wild river. The other conservation groups in addition to CWP and KS Wild include Oregon Wild, the Siskiyou Project, American Rivers and American Whitewater. There are 46 businesses involved, including nine from the Eugene-Springfield area. Lesley Adams of KS Wild, a straightforward and upbeat self-described river lover with “a fire in my belly,” has been expending seemingly limitless time and energy on the campaign, trying to save the river. According to Adams, this campaign to save the Rogue has been around in some form or another since the 1970s. It started with the Oregon Wilderness Coalition, a network of small wilderness groups around the state. The current campaign got under way in 2002 when the BLM proposed to log old growth in the area, she says. The “Save the Wild Rogue” coalition is proposing to add almost 60,000 acres to the Wild Rogue Wilderness. They want to add almost 100 miles of Wild and Scenic designation to seven creeks that feed into the Wild and Scenic Rogue: Kelsey, Whisky, Dulog, Big Windy, East Fork Windy and Howard Creeks. The proposal would stop the proposed Kelsey-Whisky timber sale (imaginatively named for the nearby Kelsey and Whisky creeks it would muddy). If it isn’t stopped, the sale would mean the clearcutting of old-growth forest in the Zane Grey Roadless area, says wiry and energetic Josh Laughlin of Eugene’s CWP. Laughlin predicts if logging is allowed, salmon-bearing streams such as Kelsey and Whisky creeks will become choked with sediment which would then wash into the Rogue, killing the salmon and turning the clear water to a murky brown flow. The WOPR, which calls for increased “regeneration harvests” (BLM-speak for clearcutting and then replanting with a tree plantation) and opens the formerly somewhat protected O&C lands to voracious logging, endangers the future health of the Wild Rogue as well as forests close to Eugene, says Laughlin.Vaile, the campaign director for KS Wild, adds to Laughlin’s comments. “Even the supposed protected areas under the WOPR are in danger,” he says. http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2007/09/27/coverstory.html

California:

4) One of the most iconic views in the American West – Yosemite Valley framed by El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls and Half Dome – draws millions of people every year to a wide spot in the road at Yosemite National Park known as Tunnel View. Now, after little change since its construction in 1933, the celebrated overlook two miles west of Yosemite Valley is about to get an overhaul, even a tree-cutting. The National Park Service is finalizing a $2.3 million plan to expand public viewing areas, install new interpretive signs and improve traffic safety at the spot, whose panoramas were made famous by photographer Ansel Adams. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring and finish by next fall. “Tunnel View is probably the most well-known view in the park,” said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Michael Tollefson. “What we’re trying to do is make the traffic flow better and safer, and improve the viewing area so that the visitor has a better experience.” Potentially the most controversial part of the plan calls for cutting down about 20 ponderosa pines and other trees that have grown to block the celebrated view for the 3 million tourists who visit every year. So far, however, even the Sierra Club supports cutting the trees. “I suppose there will be some people who think they should never cut a tree. But those iconic views are important,” said George Whitmore, chairman of the Yosemite Committee of the Tehipite Chapter of the Sierra Club, which includes the park. Whitmore noted that stewards of the park, which was first protected by Abraham Lincoln in 1864, have cut trees for years to preserve views. “Unless people can see the natural wonders and the beauty – the reason why the park was established in the first place – they might say ‘all I see is a bunch of bushes and trees. What’s so special about Yosemite?’ ” he said. “If you can’t see it, you’re going to lose the political support for protecting it.” http://origin.mercurynews.com/news/ci_7023986?nclick_check=1

Montana:

5) For months, a diverse group of conservationists, timber industry officials, forest users and government leaders met in an effort designed to stem the tide of lawsuits filed against forest restoration projects. Finally, on Thursday, the group announced a set of 13 principles that might guide future restoration work on the Bitterroot and Lolo national forests. And because those principles are the result of a time-consuming consensus process, the hope is that restoration projects will move ahead more quickly, be less likely to spawn litigation and, most important, be good for the ecosystems they’re designed to restore. “This type of collaborative work is not easy,” said Tom Tidwell, regional forester for the Forest Service’s Northern Region, headquartered in Missoula. The effort started in the frustrating wake of a post-fire restoration project in the southern Bitterroot Valley. The project became embroiled in litigation, and prompted many on both sides of the debate to wonder if there wasn’t a better way to approach such projects. “How can we move beyond that?” Ekey said. Not long after that, a group of about 35 gathered at the Lubrecht Experimental Forest for a meeting that eventually evolved into the Montana Forest Restoration Working Group. Over the next months, they worked to find what they characterized as a “zone of agreement,” a place where everyone could accept what a successful restoration project ought to look like. The zone eventually grew into a preamble and set of principles. That preamble notes the importance of scientifically sound, ecologically appropriate restoration work, but it also factors in the importance such work can have on surrounding rural communities. The principles include: 1) Restore functioning ecosystems by enhancing ecological processes. 2) Re-establish fire as a natural process on the landscape. 3) Consider social constraints and seek public support for reintroducing fire. 4) Engage community members and interested parties in the restoration process. 5) Improve terrestrial and aquatic habitat and connectivity. 6) Establish and maintain a safe road and trail system that is ecologically sustainable. 7) Integrate restoration with socioeconomic well-being http://www.montanarestoration.org

Arizona:

6) Mining, logging, and oil/gas drilling in Arizona’s national forests jeopardizes $2.2 billion per year in Arizona business from transportation, lodging, equipment, and licenses for activities such as fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching, according to a new report released today by Environment Arizona. The Environment Arizona report on the value of recreation, water and wildlife, “Worth More Wild: The Value of Arizona’s Roadless National Forests,” analyzes data from a national survey done by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. Key findings of the report include: 1) In 2006, 1.2 million Arizona residents participated in fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching, and these recreationists spent $2.2 billion in Arizona on transportation, lodging, equipment, licenses, and other related items. The economic strength of this outdoor recreation relies on pristine and intact forestland. 2) Annually, more than $200 million worth of freshwater comes from the Southwestern Forest Service region, which encompasses Arizona. 3) Undeveloped national forests provide critical habitat to Arizona’s native wildlife, and at least 27 of the state’s endangered species would be even more threatened without the protection of roadless areas. – “Pristine forests boost local economies, provide unique outdoor opportunities, preserve wildlife, and protect watersheds, but a major portion of our national forestland is defenseless against logging and mining,” said Erik Magnuson, Program Associate for Environment Arizona. Dave Baker owner of the Summit Hut in Tucson added, “I see the economic benefits of our wilderness everyday. However by business is only a fraction of the economic value generated from roadless areas. Local businesses including hotels, restaurants and many others see the ripple effects of the tourism that our roadless areas attract.” http://www.uspirg.org/news-releases/americas-wild-places/americas-wild-places/worth-more-wild-
the-value-of-arizonas-roadless-national-forests-is-2.2-billion

Missouri:

7) The Liberty City Council heard robust debate recently on the fate of several mature oak trees on the site of the former Clayview Country Club at the corner of Kansas and Conistor streets. Most of the decades-old trees would have to be removed when the site elevation is raised to accommodate the demands of tenants on the site, said John Davis, a developer with Star Development Corp., the site owner. “National retailers have expectations for their properties,” Davis told the council. “They want to be at highway level, and they want great visibility. Unfortunately, the existing site does not lend itself to that without adding four or five feet of fill, which essentially will lead to the demise of a few of the old-growth trees throughout the middle of that site.” To preserve the sentiment garnered by the oaks, Davis said his company is looking into using the timber to create benches or some other public feature. http://www.kansascity.com/115/story/292489.html

South Dakota:

8) The Forest Service plans to conduct two logging projects next year to thin ponderosa pine on about 60,000 acres of the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota and Wyoming. The Moskee Project is 14 miles southeast of Sundance, on the Wyoming side of the Black Hills. The Citadel Project is about two miles southwest of Spearfish. They join more than 30 similar ongoing projects to thin dense stands of pine scattered throughout the 1.2 million acres of the Black Hills National Forest. Since 2000, the Forest Service has thinned – by logging, noncommercial thinning or prescribed burns – about 340,000 acres, national forest spokesman Frank Carroll said. Carroll estimated that Mother Nature had thinned another 200,000 acres of federal land, either by wildfires or mountain pine beetles. About 540,000 acres of 1.2 million acres have been “treated,” one way or another. “We’re about halfway there,” Carroll said. The Moskee and Citadel projects, like all the rest, include commercial timber sales, noncommercial thinning and prescribed burns. The Forest Service said forest thinning improves wildlife habitat, slows insect infestation and reduces the threat of catastrophic fires. http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2007/09/28/news/wyoming/42-logging.txt

Wisconsin:

9) According to the Vilas County Year 2020 Comprehensive Land Use Plan, “Vilas County is at a critical juncture in its history. The counties of Vilas and Oneida together hold one of the highest concentrations of inland freshwater lakes in the world. The area is also located in the heart of Wisconsin’s beautiful Northwoods. Due to the abundance of lakes and forests, residential growth trends over the last ten years lead many areas of the state. As land use developments increase, so do pressures to maintain the county’s Northwoods atmosphere.” In their land use plan, Vilas County listed “key terms and ideas that most local vision statements highlighted.” These included, among other things, “Northwoods character, rural character and rural identity, lakes, streams, rivers and waters, forests, lakeshores, natural resources, density, shorelands, outdoor recreation and tourism.” Vilas County’s vision statement talks about the county’s rural character as defined by “its world-class lakes and abundant rivers, streams and wetlands; its small towns and large hospitality.” In the past few years hiking and biking trails have connected communities and recreation areas all around the Northwoods. These trails have become part of the economic and recreational portrait of the area. The Oneida County Forest Comprehensive Land Use Plan details the access control and history of the Oneida County Forest, “Since the forest is large and diverse, a broad network of access routes have developed. A combination of geography, soils, vegetation, surface waters, seasons of the year, presence/absence of roads or trails, ownership of adjoining lands and public regulations interact to control access to any part of the forest.” http://www.rhinelanderdailynews.com/articles/2007/09/28/entertainment/enter01.txt

New Hampshire:

10) First of all, as many readers know, the White Mountain forests have undergone both radical and subtle changes caused by human and natural events. One era that has had lingering effects on our forests is the logging boom of the turn of the century where most every log of marketable size was cut, limbed and railroaded out of here to fuel the industrial revolution. What was seen in its wake was an area, once left untouched for several decades, that was able to rebound to its previous glory, with some changes of course. The most significant changes were the species of trees that grew to dominate the forest landscape. From historical records we learn that the timber of value was red spruce. What grew in its place were a combination of white birch, maple, cherry and beech depending on elevation. These species are fast growing, short lived and relatively intolerant of shade making up what we call a successional forest. Eventually balsam fir and red spruce also grow up in the forest and begin to compete for sunlight with the faster growing species. Okay, but why does it appear that all of the birches are dying at once?
White birch has a life span of 75-90 years, so the first successional trees after the logging boom are reaching their age limit. Older trees are also more susceptible to environmental stressors such as disease and disturbance. The Ice Storm of ’98 coated trees with an inch layer of ice. The sheer weight of the ice snapped thousand of branches off healthy trees allowing insects and disease a pathway to move in. http://amcnaturenotes.blogspot.com/

Canada:

11) Stop all logging in what little remains of old growth forests in Canada. Science has determined that forests are extremely important to the life cycles and functions of this planet. Trees filter air by taking carbon, nitrogen, phosphates, and other airborne chemicals in the atmosphere and fixing them into the soil where they can provide nutrients, in turn producing vast amounts of oxygen. Rainforests redistribute water, functioning as huge sponges to retain water and pumping vast quantities of water back into the atmosphere. Large tracts of intact forest help to stabilize weather patterns both locally and globally. Biologists have also determined that a ‘healthy forest’ is made up of trees that are multi-aged, multi-species, multi-sized, and multi-layered. These types of variations are only found in old growth forests and are not found in tree plantations. In fact scientists have determined that the rainforests found in the low valley bottoms on the west coast of Vancouver Island have a biomass greater than anywhere on earth, meaning that the density of living organisms per square meter surpasses even the famous Amazon rainforest. On Vancouver Island less than 10% of the original old growth forests remains, they must be protected. It is time that our federal government gives priority to protecting the environment. I encourage you to act as do most of the people that I know. Sincerely, Richard Boyce, BFA, MFA Errington, British Columbia

12) Frank MacEachern wanted to give his son something special for his 13th birthday. But he couldn’t think of anything. “Isaac had everything he needed to get along in life. He had boxes of toys and clothes,” says the Charlottetown man. So after pondering it, MacEachern decided to spend $30 and buy his son a piece of P.E.I. woodland. “I wanted to do something that would mean something to him. I also wanted to bring his attention to global warming,” says MacEachern a participant in a program partnered by Island Nature Trust and Trees In Trust. In exchange for a donation, the latter organization provided him with a mapped piece of forest and a dedication certificate instantly, via the Internet. When MacEachern gave the documents to his son for his birthday, Isaac was thrilled. “As soon as I saw the certificate, I went online to the land registry website and put in the plot number to see what it looked like. I was very impressed,” says the Queen Charlotte intermediate school student. The property, protected by Island Nature Trust is located on the Selkirk road. It’s entirely forested in Acadian forest species. “The woodland is completely covered by beautiful hardwood trees and scattered softwoods such as the huge and uncommon Eastern Hemlock. “Sugar and red maple, American beech and yellow and white birch trees also dominate the property,” says Jackie Waddell, executive director of Island Nature Trust. The property was obtained through a web-based system which re-packages forest conservation as a gift, memorial or carbon offset project, says Andrew Lush of Trees In Trust. He started the organization to make a real difference in native tree preservation. “I had been thinking of buying a piece of land, splitting it up and selling dedications. Then someone gave me the idea of using Island Land Trust land — land that is already protected — and helping the organization to raise money to buy more forest land,” says Lush, who is involved in several environmental organizations. When he approached Waddell with the idea about a year ago, she was positive. http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/index.cfm?sid=65597&sc=100

13) Clearcutting vast swaths of northern boreal forest in the traditional territory of a Canadian indigenous tribe violates the rights of its members and should stop, says Amnesty International Canada. Amnesty is calling on the Ontario government to respect a moratorium on logging declared by the people of Asubpeeschoseewagong, or Grassy Narrows, until “free, prior and informed consent” has been given. “The Province of Ontario has long failed to uphold its responsibility to respect indigenous rights,” the report states. “The province did not carry out meaningful consultation before licensing large-scale logging activities. And it has ignored clear calls from the community to stop the logging and other industrial development until consent is given.” Canadian Supreme Court rulings require meaningful consultation and accommodation of aboriginal concerns and, in some circumstances, the consent of the affected people before government undertakes activities that impact indigenous land use, the report points out. But all too often, federal and provincial policies and regulations fail to conform to what is required. Amnesty sent a mission to Grassy Narrows in April to look into the rights violations, only the second such investigation in Canada’s history. While Grassy Narrows was chosen because a history of catastrophic disruptions makes the situation there particularly urgent, the report says it is not unique. Rather, “it’s a powerful illustration of the great harm that can be caused by the exercise of arbitrary and unchecked state power over the lands and lives of indigenous peoples.” The report received scant media coverage, even though it was released in the middle of the current Ontario election campaign in which indigenous concerns are an issue because of several high-profile occupations and blockades. One aboriginal occupation of a proposed subdivision on disputed land has lasted 19 months. “Aboriginal disputes are not on the wavelength of many editors unless they erupt into violence, in which case it fits their news values,” John Miller, journalism professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, said in an interview. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/sep2007/2007-09-25-02.asp

14) Did you know that Sears Holding Corporation sends out 425 million catalogs a year, enough catalog paper to wrap the Sears Tower six times a day? Sears is the largest catalog company that has refused to take significant action to ensure that their catalog paper is sustainable; instead their catalogs are made from Endangered Forests! I recently joined ForestEthics’ campaign to get Sears to stop destroying Endangered Forests for catalog paper. I’m writing to ask you to join me and ForestEthics in asking Sears to use sustainable catalog paper. Our Endangered Forests are paying the price, and it’s time Sears changes the way their catalogs are made. Tell them its time to protect our Endangered Forests! To find out more and take action go to http://www.catalogcutdown.org

15) Spending last summer inside a tent in the Whiskey Jack Forest, about 1500 miles northwest of Toronto, I became very aware of my mortality. Judy DaSilva, a clan mother of Grassy Narrows First Nation, took me to a section of the woods where she used to come with her family to pick herbs and berries, to hunt and to trap. That spot is now a field of dust: small evergreens planted in neat rows by university students mark the spot where the forest used to be. (Because of pesticides in the saplings, planters are warned not to take the job if they’re planning on giving birth within the next few years.) No moose, or deer or even chipmunks are in sight. But it’s not just the wildlife that’s dying. Every year, it becomes more difficult for people from the surrounding community to live in the area. As the past is hacked away, those living on reservations are forced either to move away from their cultural communities to urban centres, or to risk dying off like the plants and animals that had once surrounded them. Judy finds it hard to step up to the podium, before the crowd of more than 200 people at Queen’s Park last Friday. She clings to her wobbly cane. Steve Fobister’s teeth have vanished. The Grassy Narrows Band Councilor responsible for forest issues, Steve jokes that he wants shark teeth as replacements. A cotton ball is taped to one of his arms and a yellow plastic hospital band dangles from the other. The after effects of mercury poisoning from pulp and paper mills are clearly visible from the marks on Steve’s skin. Judy says tests done on the lake sediment last year still show high levels of mercury from when the mills contaminated the rivers and lakes in the ’70s. The chemical gets passed on to Judy and Steve through the wild fish that they eat. The changes in their aging bodies are representative of a broader global devastation. Floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis were the big headlines in the last few summers. http://www.rabble.ca/news_full_story.shtml?x=62705

16) The forestry business’s achievements have been praised by no less a demanding critic as Green Party leader Elizabeth May as an example for business to follow. The moral of the story, said the Green Party’s Camille Labchuk (who spoke for May, who is recovering from hip-replacement surgery), is that “you can get there from here. It is not an impossible task, as is so often repeated.” But as good as all this is, it does not solve the woes besetting Canada’s pulp-and-paper business: The dollar at par represents a 54-per-cent jump in just five years; softwood shipments to the U.S. are subject to an export tax; lumber prices have dropped because of the housing and mortgage lending crises in the U.S.; the cost of cutting trees is higher than anywhere else in the world in this global industry; its highly regulated operations compete with illegal – and, therefore, much cheaper – logging in Brazil, Indonesia and Russia; Canadian taxes on investments are among the highest in the world; transportation costs – read CN – are excessive because the railroad is a quasi-monopoly; and – Lazar skated around this issue – political considerations, notably in Quebec where swing ridings are in outlying regions, make it practically impossible to shut down inefficient sawmills for fear of losing votes. It’s not all one-sided, though. As Lazar conceded, the industry also must take its knocks for clear-cutting old-growth forests, for instance, and for having lagged so badly and for so long on making new investments to improve its own competitiveness, notably against the Scandinavians, who grasped the coming green issues decades earlier. So is it time to pack it all in and bid farewell to one of Canada’s earliest industries? Hardly, Lazar said. In spite of it all, Canada remains “the most successful forest-product exporting nation in the world.” A little “give-and-take” from governments – ending the institutionalized inefficiency by penalizing shutdown of old sawmills would be one way – and others would do wonders. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=d5079e69-ca37-4dbe-be8c-0b7c
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Russia:

17) In July, as temperatures soared during a heat wave in eastern Siberia, scores of large fires flared through the region’s dense pine forests. For 500 kilometers along the Amur River northwest of Lake Baikal, thick smoke blanketed the wilderness. Officials with Russia’s famous airborne forest fire fighting service, Avialesookhrana, were tracking the wildfires at an airbase here in Kodinsk, a small city on the Amur. They were tense. To them it seemed bizarre that a team of international scientists had received permission to burn a patch of nearby forest. Even with every local helicopter and plane conscripted to serve their firefighting crews, millions of dollars’ worth of timber was going up in smoke in wildfires. “It’s not as though we don’t have enough to worry about already,” mused Oleg Mityagin, the overtaxed local Avialesookhrana boss. “We’re in no position to help them if they lose control.” Some Russians have complained of being arrested and undergoing harrowingly long interviews, says Anatoly Sukhinin, a remote-sensing expert who joined FIRE BEAR after a career in the Soviet military. “I still spend a fair amount of my time explaining our work to the police,” complained Sukhinin, sitting in his laboratory in Krasnoyarsk, which NASA helped equip to receive and interpret Siberian fire data beamed from American and Russian satellites. “It doesn’t help that we’re doing these experiments in a region which was until recently secret and still remains heavily militarized.” Despite the hassles, the partnership seems to be paying off. In recent years, says Amber Soja, a research scientist with the U.S. National Institute of Aerospace, currently resident in the Climate Dynamics branch of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, FIRE BEAR papers have widened knowledge of Siberian forest fires and their global atmospheric effects. A 2004 paper by Soja, along with McRae, Sukhinin, and Susan Conard of the USDA Forest Service, concluded that disparities in the amount of carbon stored in different forest types and the severity of fires within them can affect total direct carbon emissions by as much as 50%. This is why they need specific data on larch fires, which emit less carbon than pine. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/317/5846/1854

Mozambique:

17) Huge quantities of logs were exported on Monday from the central Mozambican port of Beira, on board a Chinese ship, in flagrant violation of government policy on the export of unprocessed wood. According to a report in Wednesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, some of the logs came from tree species the export of which is banned by law. The Chinese vessel, the “Huan Gian”, moored in Beira on 12 September and began loading its cargo two days later. When all the logs were on board, the ship left Beira, apparently to return to China, on Monday. This operation was authorised by the National Directorate of Land and Forests (DNTF), in a dispatch dated 14 September. This extended the period during which logs could be exported, at the request of some logging companies, and apparently on the proposal of the Sofala provincial government. A second Chinese ship has now arrived in Beira, and “Noticias” writes that it intends to pick up 5,854 logs, in an operation that appears to be completely illegal. A document from the DNTF reads that “taking into account that this measure (the ban) will restrict exports in the 2007 felling season and that some operators did not export all their producton from 2006, it becomes necessary to take some transitional measures under which all operators must declare all the stocks they had until 15 January 2007″. http://allafrica.com/stories/200709260854.html

Kenya:

18) For the past two weeks, Ngong Forest has been the site of an artistic rescue effort. Eighteen artists have gathered here for the second annual Art in the Forest workshop, secluding themselves amid the endangered woods for the sole purpose of creating whatever art they can from the materials provided by nature. The products of their imagination (all biodegradable) will be unveiled tomorrow for a free public show aimed at promoting the arts while raising awareness of the ecological damage taking place in Nairobi’s backyard. “It’s a way of showing that art isn’t just a white phenomenon confined to galleries and museums,” says Danda Jaroljmek, the event’s organiser who also runs the artists’ collective Kuona Trust. She notes that over 1,000 people came to see last year’s Art in the Forest, making it one of the most successful art shows in Kenya. This year she hopes even more people will make the trip down Cemetery Road for the rare chance to take in some world-class art while strolling through the forest. It’s equally an opportunity for the artists themselves to expand their creative horizons. “Workshops like these are happening all over the world,” Jaroljmek adds. “They give artists a chance to get out of their studios and mix creatively with colleagues from other countries.” This year’s group was recruited from Ethiopia, Sudan, South Africa, Lebanon and the UK, as well as well as a dozen prominent Kenyans. “I’m amazed at the sophistication and depth of experience I’ve seen in the Kenyans I’ve met here,” says Cape Town’s Janet Ranson, taking a break from the elephant she’s constructing from mud, grass and tree branches. “There’s a real sense of professionalism here.” The only materials the artists were allowed to bring in are some paints, a few strands of string and carving tools. But amid the diversity a common theme emerged this year, which nearly all the artists expressed in one form or another: concern over the rampant poaching of Ngong Forest’s trees, in particular the rare Silver Oak. “This year everybody seems to be in a morbid mood,” says Michael Soi, a local artist who helped to organise the event as well as contribute to the works in it. He says there has been a noticeable and distressing increasing in the number of fresh stumps in Ngong Forest since last year’s event.http://allafrica.com/stories/200709281180.html

19) At least 10,000 members of clans neighbouring a sacred hill are spoiling for a strange fight before the year ends. The eco-warriors have resolved to use a curse to drive out forces they claim are profaning Karima Hill. The members of four clans surrounding the hill have organised a cursing ceremony to save the forested hill in Othaya, Nyeri South District. Karima Hill, which is a water catchment area, boasts of two shrines, which have already been gazetted as a national monument. The two shrines were in the past used by community elders for worship. It is also at the shrines where they offered sacrifice to God. The envisaged cursing ceremony is expected to attract people from outside the country. Spiritualists who will conduct the ceremony are being sought outside Kenya. As part of preparations, the 10,000-plus residents have started contributing a shilling each to buy beads, shukas and other gifts for the spiritualists. A Nairobi-based lobby group on cultural and environmental issues – Porini Trust – which has been assisting the locals with resources, including indigenous trees, says it will ensure the extraordinary ceremony is successful. “We have sent out letters to our partners in Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique, asking them to help us identify the most powerful indigenous spiritualists who are capable of placing an extremely effective curse on a person or institution,” said Mr Kariuki Thuku, the Porini Trust coordinator. He added: “We want to deal with those whose past record of performing successful cursing rituals is totally unquestionable. It will be historical and we hope it will be of great importance to the locals.” At least 20 spiritualists, who will include some Kenyans from other parts of the country, are set to converge at the hill for the historic ceremony. The trust will cater for the entire cost and that of local elders who will witness the occasion. http://allafrica.com/stories/200709270096.html

Congo:

20) Democratic Republic of Congo has just agreed a loan for $5 billion – not much less than its average annual gross domestic product over the past few years. You may not be too surprised to hear the money’s being lent by China. Congo wants to use the cash to build some 6,400 kilometres of railways and roads, hospitals and health centres, two universities and government housing units, reports Howard French in the International Herald Tribune. Not to be sniffed at in a country with few decent roads, rampant tropical diseases and “no education system worthy of name”. If the Chinese move at their usual lightening pace, Congo will see more progress in three years – the time needed to complete most projects – than in 47 years of independence, French says. Naturally, China has an economic interest in trying to revive Congo. The country will pay off the loan by granting China mining concessions, as well as toll rights for the roads and railways constructed with the borrowed money. Besides extracting resources, China is also “redrawing the economic map in central and southern Africa”, French says. Congo’s southern copper region will be linked with the Atlantic and the rest of its mineral-rich areas with Chinese-built networks in Angola and Zambia. But for all China’s expertise in infrastructure and its business-like approach, French believes sustainable progress may not be possible in Africa without “big strides in political development” and stronger civil societies. “What is the good of a university without books, or hospitals without medicines?” he asks. If the Chinese projects succeed, it’s to be hoped they bring benefits for the Congolese people, unlike some existing arrangements with Western mining and logging companies, as John Vidal reports in Britain’s Guardian newspaper. http://www.alertnet.org/db/blogs/1265/2007/08/27-154102-1.htm

Senegal:

21) The Mt. Assirik study area is remarkable in that 55% of the habitat is open grassland, only about 37% being woodland of varying density and only 3% being more dense forest (the remaining area being made up of bamboo forest and isolated trees). Such open spaces allow some of the major Carnivora of Africa to live in close proximity to the chimpanzees; Lions (Panthera leo), Leopards (Panthera pardus), Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus), and Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) are all frequently seen in the area. As if having so many predators at their doorstep were not enough, the Mt. Assirik area seems to have fluctuations of food that aren’t correlated with seasonal changes, and in the dry season water is the most prized of any resource. The apes are not entirely helpless in the face of such pressures, however, and they’ve been behaviorally adapted in some very interesting ways. Given a choice, the Mt. Assirik chimpanzees prefer to spend their time in the denser areas of forest, but shifting food resources sometimes require them to move across large expanses of open grassland in order to find nourishment. Wandering out onto the open plains alone is so dangerous as to nearly be suicidal, and the apes form large mixed groups when they have to move across the plains. During this time they are at their most vulnerable, especially since they would be unlikely to outrun any of the major predators (especially those that hunt in packs), and they are extremely alert when undertaking such a journey. What is perhaps most striking of all, hearkening back to Raymond Dart’s “Savanna Hypothesis,” is the fact that the chimpanzees sometimes stand up to get a better look at their surroundings, potentially spotting predators before they get too close, although such an observation should not be taken as a sweeping vindication of Dart’s ideas of human evolution. The presence of just one tree or a few trees spaced far apart doesn’t help the chimpanzees much either; mothers with children and individuals spent much less time in the sparser woodland areas than in the forest, mixed groups seemingly having to issues with the woodlands. Why should this be so? Well, leopards can climb trees (and often do so to stash their kills), as well as lions, and so simply climbing a tree does not equal escape. Lone chimpanzees are far more comfortable in a habitat where they can climb a tree and move through the canopy out of reach of their assailants, something that is not possible in woodlands. http://laelaps.wordpress.com/2007/09/25/the-chimpanzees-of-mt-assirik/

Uganda:

22) Uganda, being a country of many lakes, rivers and streams; and heavy rains – always had floods. The same places where there are floods now, are the same areas I grew up around: Lango, Teso and Acholi. And even then, there were, many times, floods – some times even bigger than the one we are now witnessing there. Then, roads were flooded and villages and communities were cut off or separated – but, there was no hunger. And there wasn’t the kind of misery and deprivation, that seems to be there now. Many, will say it’s due to the increase in population, but then: …..experts point at El Nino and La Nina to explain the unusually heavy rainfall, deforestation and climate change have exacerbated the problem. Trees absorb the water and protect the soil from erosion. The mudslides in the Elgon region, which have already killed people and blocked roads, are a direct result of the careless felling of trees – for charcoal, wood, or to clear land for agriculture. Trees also absorb carbon dioxide emissions, released from industrial activities, vehicles and burning of bushes. The more deforestation, the more carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, causing global warming and erratic weather patterns.But there is more. Greenhouse gases also contribute to flooding, a study published by the journal Nature has found. Higher atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide reduce the ability of plants to suck water out of the ground and “breathe” out the excess. As a result, less water passes through the plant and into the air in the form of evaporation. http://omar-basawad.blogspot.com/2007/09/uganda-land-of-plenty.html

23) Uganda’s Minister of State for Defense says she is shocked by accusations that soldiers in the Ugandan army have been illegally logging valuable timber from southern Sudan, and taking it back to Uganda. The allegations were made earlier this week in a detailed report by the independent Swiss-based research group, Small Arms Survey. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu has the story from our East Africa Bureau, in Nairobi. Monday’s report by the Small Arms Survey is largely based on interviews with eyewitnesses, who say that Ugandan soldiers have been clearing teak forests in southern Sudan since they arrived in the area, in March 2003. The report says [that] army officers, described as being business-minded, are supervising the illegal logging. In one forest near Uganda’s border with Sudan, witnesses say, as many as 200 trees were cut down before local authorities could be notified. The trees, they say, have been hauled away by trucks to Uganda. Teak is durable wood, mainly used in shipbuilding and for manufacturing outdoor furniture. It is resistant to warping and to insect and water damage, making the wood valuable and highly prized around the world. The Ugandan soldiers are in southern Sudan taking part in Operation Iron Fist, a Sudan-approved military operation aimed at flushing out fighters from the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, who moved their bases from northern Uganda to southern Sudan in 1994. In an interview earlier in the week with Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper, an Ugandan intelligence officer, Colonel Charles Otema, acknowledged that the army has known about the allegations of illegal logging in Sudan for quite some time and even launched an internal investigation. Colonel Otema says [that] the investigation failed to prove any wrongdoing. http://platform.blogs.com/passionofthepresent/2007/09/ugandan-army-ac.html

Brazil:

24) Set in the middle of a largely unknown jungle, one that happens to produce lots of rubber trees, the waterfall is the centrepiece of Michelin’s Biodiversity Research Centre in this remote Brazilian area about 200 kilometres south of Salvador, near the Atlantic coast. When the waterfall wasn’t drowning out conversations, its misty fog soon soaked visitors who ventured out on a narrow observation dock to witness its power close up. The falls marked the spot where, in late 2003, Michelin went from being a rubber producer in the Bahia province, to a community builder of the area, one of the poorest in Brazil. That’s when Michelin embarked on its Ouro Verde co-operative, literally “green gold,” a project that encompassed developing new low-cost housing and medical facilities for the plantation’s workers and families, furthering advanced research into a unique type of rubber tree “cancer” that is globally feared outside its native South America, and promoting scientific study of the Atlantic rain forest, the virtually unknown southern neighbour of the famed Amazon rain forest. Three-thousand hectares of the Atlantic rain forest is a natural reserve that Michelin has protected with security forces from poachers, and opened up to study by scientists from all over the world. It promises new discoveries of plant life and even small mammals, as well as its own local ecological research efforts. The plantation also is organizing some leading-edge social development efforts for both Michelin employees and others contracted to local rubber producers, many of whom are now partners with Michelin, which supports them with loan guarantees and tree-farming research. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070927.WHMICHELINBRAZIL27/TPStory/Environment

Peru:

25) Earlier this month, the Latin Business Chronicle published an article titled, Peru Energy Project Saves Rainforest, which credits the Camisea Project with saving 1.5 million hectares of Peruvian rainforest. The article, written by the InterAmerican Development Bank’s Roger Hamilton, is reprinted from the IDB’s own IDBAmerica magazine. In the article, a wide-eyed development-bureaucrat-turned-rainforest-explorer, IDB’s Joseph Milewski, points to a map made by CEDIA (Center for Development of Indigenous Amazonians) showing the extensive network of reserves, protected areas, and indigenous territories that CEDIA, the local communities, and other non-governmental organizations fought for years to establish – and takes credit for it all. The inaccuracies of this article could be written off as lousy journalism if they were not so offensive to the many dedicated people who have literally protested the IDB and the Camisea companies in order to get any protection whatsoever for the Amazon. http://camiseaproject.blogspot.com/2007/09/department-of-propaganda-energy-project.html

Guyana:

26) The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) says the announcement on Tuesday by the Ministry of Agriculture of an internal probe by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) into under-pricing and false declarations of timber is an inadequate response to allegations of irregularities taking place in the sector. According to the human rights body in a press release yesterday, two minimum conditions for the credibility of the investigation are the temporary suspension of Forestry Commissioner James Singh and the appointment of independent investigators. In addition to under-pricing, the release said, the past decade has seen a catalogue of dubious and illegal mismanagement, including over-logging of prime species, ‘land-lording’ of concessions, non-payment of revenues, labour exploitation of indigenous people, reverse buy-outs disguising true ownership, preference for foreign over Guyanese labour, and destruction of national and Amerindian forest assets. The human rights body said that Singh has presided over a key statutory body over the period of years this catalogue of accusations has accumulated, while the announced probe is not the result of internal GFC zeal but external pressure from national and international agencies and activists “outraged by the plundering of Guyana’s forests.” http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_general_news?id=56529693

South Korea:

27) Tired of the hustle and bustle of busy urban life in South Korea? Ever feel disappointed by the grey color of all the same looking buildings and apartments in Seoul? Just want to get away from it all for even just a day? Then here is a good place for relaxation. In the remote, mountainous area in Uljin, South Korea is the forest of South Korea’s finest pine trees. It has a forest with Korea’s most famous pine tree: The Diamond Pine Tree. The pine tree forest in Sogwang-ri or Sogwang Village in Seo-myon is stretched as large as 1,610 hectare. One hectare equals 10,000 square meters, which is the same size as 4.8 million pyeong. One pyeong is tantamount to 3.3 square meters. There are about 200 species of pine trees in the world and they mostly live in the Northern Hemisphere. Among the scores of pine trees in Korea is the Diamond Pine Tree; the best of its kind in the nation. In Sogwang-ri the age of pine trees ranges from 10 to 520 years. The average age is 150 years. The stately Diamond Pines are as tall as 35 meters. The average height is 23 meters. Their average diameter is nearly 40 cm. Some are more than one meter in diameter. Diamond Pines are the stately and straight Korean pine trees found in Gwangwon Province, Uljin and Bongwha areas of North Gyeongsang Province. The quality of the Diamond Pine trees were so good that traditionally they were favored as the materials for building palaces or for the coffins of royal families. During Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula (1910-45), countless numbers of Diamond Pine trees in Sogwang-ri were cut down and shipped to Japan. It is regrettable that Korea’s Diamond Pine was introduced to the Western world as “Japanese Red Pine” during the colonial era. Its official name is “Pinus Densiflora Forerecta Uyeki” The pine tree is so loved by the Korean people that it represents the identity of the Korean folks.Traditionally Korean scholars and artists adored pine trees for their fortitude and integrity. Still Koreans make popular rice cake by using pine needles on the occasion of autumnal Chuseok (Full Moon) holiday. They survived by eating the inside of the pine tree skin during hard times.Folklore scholars argue “Korean culture is pine culture” by saying that Korean people are born under the pine trees, live with them and die under them.http://theseoultimes.com/ST/?url=/ST/db/read.php?idx=5697

Bangladesh:

28) After establishing themselves as locals in Naikkhangchhari, illegal Rohingya people are now setting up villages in the district town and sadar, Lama and Alikadam upazilas as administration remains oblivious of their presence. Local people alleged that due to insufficient administrative initiative to check employment of illegal foreigners, the size of Rohingya inhabitation has grown bigger day by day. Lack of administrative monitoring and easy employment have encouraged Rohingya settlement in the area. They are now infiltrating and living around the district and upazila headquarters, municipality areas, different markets and riversides, the locals said. They told The Daily Star that not less than 30 Rohingya villages have already sprouted in Lama and Alikadam upazilas and Lama municipality areas. “Employing Rohingyas has created an extra pressure on us while we are already facing unemployment,” a local said, adding that they are losing work to Rohingyas as they can be hired for lower wages. Sources said Rohingyas are very much interested in working in the reserve forest as woodchopper and timber merchants are employing them instead of local workers for long terms at lower payment. Random employing of the Rohingyas has resulted in massive felling of trees in the Toin and Matamuhuri reserve forests, which has caused deforestation in the region. Sources at the Forest Department told The Daily Star that a powerful racket of timber merchants has grown in the region with the help of terrorist groups. However, locals alleged that staffs of the upazila administration and the Forest Department are also directly involved with this deforestation activity. http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=5871

Nepal:

29) More than 80,000 hectares of forest area has been encroached in Nepal during the last 20 years. According to the Department of Forest Research and Survey (DFRS), 80,635 hectares of forest was occupied in two decades with 2,000 hectares of forest area was transferred to private ownership last year. The Department said that the encroachment had been increasing in the recent years. “The encroachment is continue. If it is not be checked soon, it will have a ominous impact on ecology,” Keshav Kanel, director general of DFRS said. The Department said that the forest in inner-Terai and Terai was the primary target of the encroachers. Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Kailai, Kanchanpur, Bara, Parsa, Chitwan, and Rautahat districts are in high risk, the source mentioned. “It is hard to control the encroachment of forestland. We retrieved 203 hectares of encroached forestland during the last year,” Kanel said. Prakash Jwala, member of parliamentary Natural Resource Committee, claimed powerful politicians were involved in deforestation in the name of rehabilitating the freed Kamaiyas and landless squatters. DFRS informed that it was going to set up four forest security posts in Kailali, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu and Rautahat districts for the conservation of forest and wild animals. The posts will be manned by forest guards and Armed Police Force (APF) personnel. “We have shortage of human resource and monetary means. We had demanded for Rs. 3.2 million, but the Ministry of Finance has not responded to our demand,” Kanel said. The government has set aside Rs. 2.31 billion for Forest Ministry in this fiscal year’s budget. “Due to indifference on part of the concerned agencies, both the money as well as the forest resource are going to waste,” Ghanshyam Pandey, president of Federation of Community Forest Consumers Nepal said. Different NGOs and INGOs are spending lots of money in the name of forest conservation. However, encroachment of forest and deforestation have not stopped. The figures show that 39.7 per cent of the total landmass in the country is covered with forest. Consumers groups, Nepal Army, Armed Police Force and other organisations are working to preserve forest. http://www.gorkhapatra.org.np/content.php?nid=27643

Malaysia:

30) A businessman was ordered by Magistrate’s Court here on Wednesday to pay the maximum fine of RM50,000 for being in possession of illegal logs last month. Tan Say Han 55, admitted before Magistrate Mohammad Nasruddin Mohammed to have in his custody 720 logs (1,434.40 square metres) without approval and non-payment of royalty to the Foresty Department. The offence is framed under Section 30(1)(g) of the Forest Enactment 1968, punishable under Section 30(2)(b) of the same Enactment which carries a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or six months jail on conviction. Prosecuting officer Peter Maurice Lidadun told the court that on Aug 21, this year a team of officers from the Forest Department’s office in Nabawan headed by Desmond Foo Kim See conducted an inspection in Mukim Sepulut Forest Resereve. He said the officers found 720 logs in an open space area of a land but inspection showed that there was no logging activities in the area. Further investigations revealed that there was no marking on the logs that royalty had been paid. Lidadun told the court that as there was no logging activities in the area and that the timber trees in the area were still young, the forest officers suspected that the 720 logs were felled from other areas. In mitigation, Tan pleaded for leniency saying that his business was now facing a slowdown. Lidadun, however, urged the court to impose a deterrent sentence as timber theft were now becoming rampant. In the same court, two other businessmen Chong Vun Vui, 41, and Stanley Joseph Sotiar, 45, were fined RM35,000 each for being in possession of 1,686 logs without approval and royalty not paid to the Forest Department. They admitted committing the offence on Aug 21, this year at the Mukim Sepulut Fotrest Reserve. http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=52953

31) The palm oil industry is thriving and oil palm monocultures now dominate the landscape of South-East Asia. But while it grows, the industry is becoming aware that it needs to prove its sustainability and curb destructive growth, such as cutting down biodiversity-rich forest to make way for plantations — which are poor at supporting biodiversity. In November, industry officials will meet to discuss voluntary schemes to minimise biodiversity loss. And a report to be presented at the meeting delivers a clear warning: unless deforestation due to palm oil expansion stops, further biodiversity will be lost. The study analyses biodiversity within and around palm oil plantations. In Sumatra, Indonesia, for example, less than ten per cent of birds and mammals native to the area survive where palm oil plantations are located. And the report highlights how proactive management can help reduce the problem by, for example, salvaging areas of native forest within plantations. http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm?fuseaction=readitem&rgwid=2&item=Features&itemid=651&
language=1

Indonesia:

32) Selective logging diminishes primary and old-growth forests’ carbon stores, ecosystems, and biodiversity; and has no place in proposed carbon market payments for rainforest and climate protection. http://www.savetheorangutan.co.uk/?p=666
33) We are writing with deep concern regarding your involvement or potential involvement in the newly launched Hong Kong-based Abax Global Capital hedge fund which – as one of its first actions – has announced a plan to provide US$225 million in support for the controversial US$1.2 billion United Fiber System/PT. Marga Buana Bumi Mulia pulp mill in Satui, South Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. There are overwhelming and amply documented environmental, social and financial risks associated with United Fiber System’s (UFS) Kalimantan projects, many of which are detailed in the memorandum and appendices accompanying this letter. According to the World Bank, as much as two-thirds of Indonesia’s timber harvest appears to be “undocumented” or illegally logged and there is already massive overcapacity in the forest industry sector.[i] Thus, new forest industry capacity is highly likely to involve illegal logging. A recently enacted Indonesian law has now defined illegal logging as a predicate offense for money-laundering charges, providing prosecutors with a new suite of tools for the scrutiny of financial backers of Indonesian timber industry operations.[ii] In addition to environmental concerns, the UFS suite of projects has triggered international attention due to the involvement of convicted felons, and Suharo-era Indonesian generals and former Indonesian first family members. It is to be expected that their participation would trigger heightened due diligence requirements under anti-money laundering laws. Public and private financial institutions including the World Bank Group, OECD bilateral export credit agencies such as Austria’s Oesterreichische Kontrollbank Aktiengesellschaft (OeKB), and private sector institutions including J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank[iii], have refused involvement in UFS projects or have pulled out of previous arrangements with UFS. http://www.times.org/abax/abax.html

World-wide:

34) For centuries it has been believed that native forest cover reduced the risk and severity of catastrophic flooding, but there has been strong scientific debate over the role of forests in flood mitigation. Forest loss is currently estimated at 13 million hectares each year, with 6 million hectares of that being primary forest previously untouched by human activities. These primary forests are considered the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet, but this realisation has not halted their immense rate of loss. A recent scientific paper published in the journal Global Change Biology and highlighted in Nature magazine has finally provided tangible evidence that there is a strong link between deforestation and flood risk. Using data from 56 developing nations in Central/South America, Africa and Asia, researchers from Charles Darwin University in Australia and the National University of Singapore, correlated information on flood frequency and severity with country-specific forest data. After controlling for differences in rainfall, elevation, soil moisture and degraded areas, flood risk was strongly correlated with increasing deforestation. The models constructed predicted a 4 – 28 % increase in flood frequency with only a 10% increase in deforestation. “An important additional finding was that only the amount of native forest was correlated with reductions in flood risk – plantation forests had the opposite effect” said lead investigator, Dr. Corey Bradshaw. “This has huge implications for governments of developing nations trying to save lives and reduce expenditures. Promoting native forest conservation also has the added benefits of slowing climate change by storing huge quantities of carbon, reducing wildfires, and conserving species.” The study also investigated how deforestation affects the severity of flooding. Dr. Bradshaw and his team examined flood duration as an index of damage potential, as well as direct measures such as the number of people killed and displaced by floods, and the total estimated damage measured in dollars caused by powerful flood waters. “Although the correlations were not as strong, we found real evidence that deforestation also leads to more intense and devastating floods that kill more people and damage more property”, Dr. Bradshaw explained. http://www.cdu.edu.au/newsroom/story.php?nID=2302

236 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 35 new articles about earth’s trees! (236th edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

–British Columbia: 1) FSC is a fraud, 2) Save the Englishman River, 3) BC and World Rivers Day, 4) Forest board pretends to care, 5) Western Forest Products biggest swindle, 6) Timber West Forest Corp. forces their contractors to ignore logging laws,
–Washington: 7) Olympic NF to log 2,000 acres around Mount Walker, 8) Long Island old growth, 9) Olympic log thief’s charged,
–Oregon: 10) Stop Salvage logging along the McKenzie river
–California: 11) SPI to log near Owl Creek Grove
–Montana: 12) Forest fire intensity higher then ever, 13) Too much salvage logging,
–Arizona: 13) Thinning not always the answer
–Wisconsin: 14) Logging the forest to pay for new forest education center
–Michigan: 15) USFS destroying Stonington Peninsula
–Minnesota: 16) National Farmers Union teaches landowners how to manage forests
–Louisiana: 17) $18 million to buy cypress groves for coastline protection
–Virginia: 18) Back Valley Timber Sale withdrawn
–Kentucky: 19) Opposition to Robinson logging, 20) Students oppose school logging,
–West Virginia: 21) Five square miles of land atop Kates Mountain fought over,
–Florida: 22) roads and trail planning in Apalachicola NF
–USA: 23) 52 of America’s most important and most threatened public lands
–UK: 24) A world court for environmental crimes
–France: 25) ‘Biofuels: Is the Cure Worse than the Disease’
–Nicaragua: 26) Hurricane damage: it’s no longer a rainforest but a tree cemetery
–Bolivia: 27) Humble and honest inhabitants,
–Brazil: 28) Giving 850 square miles to the industry, 29) Biofuel futures,
–Guyana: 30) Investigation into several logging companies –Papua New Guinea: 31) we need incentive to stop intensive logging
–Vietnam: 32) New species found in Annamites mounatain range
–Australia: 33) Pulp mill to lead to massive deforestation, 34) Tasmanian logging economy, 35) Logging suspended in Moira State Forest,

British Columbia:

1) FSC Certification is a fraudulent scam to allow people to continue marketing old growth forests around the world. Here in Clayoquot Sound, the whine of chainsaws and the falling of giant trees starts at daylight, even on Sundays, as people watch bears from tour boats in Fortune Channel of Clayoquot Sound. When camping there recently, the howls of wolves during the night and the sight of mother bears with twin cubs playing on the beaches near where the logging is taking place is a shocking reminder that it is business as usual here. With Ecotrust, Coulson, Iisaak, Mamouk and Triumph Logging all operating in Clayoquot Sound taking out old growth forests created over thousands of years, it is discouraging that in what is called a UNESCO Biosphere, old growth forests are falling daily and salmon are threatened with the largest number of fish farms on the west coast of North America. (Broughton Archipelago is on the inside of Van. Island and has more) With some of the most amazing forests left in the world, Ecotrust has rationalized the ongoing logging of the some of the wonders of this Earth. It seems that the message of over 1000 people being arrested here to STOP the logging of old growth forests has fallen on deaf ears and industry is back at it where the big trees are still standing and available. The names of the companies are Native but the people behind it are not, it is still industrial logging in whatever name you want and there will be no trees left other than a few culturally modified ones which contain the historical use of the land by Indigenous Peoples for big dugout canoes and totem poles or nests for marbled murrelets and un touched places for all the thousands of species other than humans that depend upon this ancient forest for food, habitat and protectioin as well as climate stability…have we gone mad? Ecotrust needs to divest itself of logging interests in Clayoquot Sound and anywhere else old growth forests are falling now. Sincerely, Susanne Hare – From: “Steve Lawson” councilfire@hotmail.com

2) River restoration, while logging the banks of the very same river, is similar to sticking a knife into your stomach and then trying to cover it over with band-aids rather than pulling out the knife and attending to the wound. In the case of Englishman River attempts have been made to recreate pools and safe refuge for small salmon fry that get washed away when the river gauges out straight wide expanses between ever widening banks. These projects involved massive excavators, dump trucks, blasted rock, steel cables, logs with rootballs purchased from logging companies, chainsaws, and of course manpower paid with provincial and federal tax dollars. For many years now the Englishman River has been considered one of the top most threatened rivers in BC according to the Outdoor Recreation Council of British Columbia, with a total of 120,000 members. (www.orcbc.ca) Englishman River is considered to be an example all of the rivers on the east coast of Vancouver Island, that flow into the Strait of Georgia Basin. All of these rivers are in a serious state of stress and decline. Today society struggles to strike a balance in watersheds that have been battered for the past 150 years by logging, development, gravel mining, and road building. Despite this, and the fact that water is a precious resource, the destruction continues. Logging companies, various developers, and private landowners all stake their claim to the land on the banks of the river. Who is looking after the interests of the river and watershed? Multinational logging companies, TimberWest and Island Timberlands, continue to destroy the banks of local rivers with tree removal and road building. The resulting landslides, land erosion, and surface disruptions lead to massive amounts of dirt and debris in the flow of water. Heavy rains flush silt, loosened by logging equipment and dragging of logs, into rivers. Buildup of silt is known to suffocate salmon eggs buried in gravel. Channeling of water results in higher floods, which further erode riverbanks and level out pools. The indicator species used by many biologists to determine the health of these rivers is the Steelhead Salmon, a species that returns to spawn many years in a lifetime. Snorkel teams counted 471 adults in February 1985, which was cause for alarm at the time since the returns once numbered in the thousands. By the year 2000 the winter count was 15, a count that went up to 43 in 2006. http://islandlens.blogspot.com

3) On BC and World Rivers Day Sunday, September 30 much attention will be directed at the new Top Bridge Crossing where the Regional District of Nanaimo will be kicking off the grand opening of the new Englishman River Regional Park. Having spent $500,000 on a steel suspension bridge you can be sure to find many politicians. Meanwhile a group of dedicated volunteers will be providing tours along the floodplain of the Little Qualicum River where Chinook Salmon are currently spawning. The largest Sitka Spruce on the east coast of Vancouver Island is hidden inside this jewel of a forest. Access is at the end of Kingkade Road just north of Qualicum along the Island Highway. http://islandlens.blogspot.com

4) The Forest Practices Board is recommending that the provincial government promptly finalize and implement an overall stewardship strategy for the coastal Douglas fir ecosystem (CDF) on Southeast Vancouver Island. The recommendation was made in a newly released board report, Woodlot Harvesting and Red-listed Plant Communities in the Coastal Douglas-fir Ecosystem of Vancouver Island. The report is the result of a public complaint about approval of timber harvesting on several woodlots in the CDF. “The most abundant red-listed plant community in the CDF is recognized by ecologists as globally imperiled, and assessment of the immediate danger to it and the many other red-listed CDF plant communities is crucial to their survival,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “Because the majority of the coastal Douglas fir ecosystem is located on private land, where government has limited control over logging practices, it is especially important that assessment and protection of these endangered plant communities occurs in a timely manner in what little coastal Douglas fir remains on Crown land.” When it approved the woodlot plans, the forest district relied on its own interpretation of the abundance of red-listed plant communities and their potential tolerance to forest practices, and weighed the apparent risks with those of the tenure holder’s harvesting rights. However, the board found that since there are no effective stewardship mechanisms in place for red-listed plant communities in the CDF, the appraisal of those risks is unreliable. Government agencies have done some landscape-level assessment of red-listed plant communities, are currently mapping the CDF ecologically, and are progressing toward an overall stewardship strategy. The board’s view is that a stewardship strategy is needed soon– one that encompasses the full range of red-listed plant communities and the habitats and species they support. In 2005, the Board recommended that no further logging approvals should be awarded in the CDF until site assessments for endangered plant communities were done. Subsequently, BC Timber Sales stopped selling wood in the CDF. However, today’s published report shows that the Ministry of Forests and Range continues to approve some timber harvesting in the CDF without the recommended site assessments. http://www.fpb.gov.bc.ca

5) It didn’t take Western Forest Products long to cash in on the big gift the government handed the company earlier this year. It wasn’t really from the government. Taxpayers and Vancouver Island communities actually paid for the present. Forests Minister Rich Coleman just wrapped it up and handed it over on your behalf. Western Forest Products has announced it plans to put 4,450 acres of great real estate on the market. The land includes waterfront property along the coast west of Victoria – the kind of real estate that will have people lining up, waving their chequebooks. That’s just the first step. All in, Western Forest Products has 70,000 acres available for sale, much of it with good development potential. Waterfront lots adjacent to some of the land are selling at $400,000 an acre. This time last year, the company couldn’t likely have sold a single acre. The land was part of the its Vancouver Island tree farm licence, That meant it was managed as if it was Crown land, with higher environmental and forest sustainability standards. Raw log exports were limited. And the tree farm licence required that the land stay in forestry, so there would be trees and jobs a hundred years from now. But in February, Coleman ordered the land removed from the tree-farm licence. The company needed help, he said. The government was willing to sacrifice the public interests protected by the tree farm licence to give a break to the shareholders. Western Forest Products was quick to take advantage of the chance. It has just put out “for sale” signs on 4,450 acres, including big stretches of the Pacific coast between Victoria and Jordan River, a popular surfing and camping spot. There’s a good argument that the highest-value use for the land is housing for rich retirees. Certainly that’s what’s WFP has decided. http://willcocks.blogspot.com/2007/09/another-big-gift-from-you-to-forest.html

6) The United Steel Workers has released video footage showing TimberWest Forest Corp. contractors falling trees into what the union says is a small, unnamed lake that ultimately feeds into the water supply of the Comox Valley. The union alleges TimberWest management overrode contractors’ concerns and ordered them to proceed with the falling, which it claims is illegal. Union officials produced a fax Wednesday from TimberWest to the unidentified logging contractor granting permission but warning not to allow the logs to float away. The company strongly rejected the allegations, suggesting they’re a union pressure tactic in a two-month-old forestry strike on the B.C. coast and claimed the so-called lake doesn’t even exist. The footage, which was recorded in June 2006 and recently given to the union, shows large cedar trees being dropped into the lake. The union says the lake doesn’t have fish, but the water flows into a fish-bearing creek, then into the Cruikshank River and finally into Comox Lake, the main water source for the Comox Valley. “It’s unheard of to fall trees into a water system and that’s why we brought it to your attention,” said Steve Hunt, the union’s western Canada director. “It’s just simply wrong.” Hunt said the practice is prohibited by legislation. “When we showed this to experienced loggers, they just couldn’t believe it,” he said. http://www.cbc.ca/cp/business/070926/b0926161A.html

Washington:

7) The U.S. Forest Service is gearing up for a decision regarding a project that could selectively log 2,000 acres around Mount Walker between Quilcene and Brinnon. Project proponents say that selective logging would speed the forest’s evolution to an old-growth stage; critics fear that selective logging would cost taxpayers money, and believe that additional road construction would lead to further violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The proposal – called the Jackson Thinning Project – involves cable yarding, ground-based yarding and helicopter yarding of smaller non-hardwood trees. The current alternatives (see sidebar, page A 13) range from 2,313 acres to 1,606 acres to an “as-is,” no-action approach. According to ranger district maps, some of the thinning could be on the Mt. Walker slope visible from Quilcene, while other thinning would be on the mountain along U.S. Highway 101. Other thinning would take place on ridges visible from Brinnon, Hood Canal and the Dosewallips River valley. Critics believe that the addition of 32 miles of roads will push the Forest Service to further violation of the Clean Water Act – not to mention cost taxpayers money. They also question whether the commercial thinning will actually enhance the forest’s health. Bonnie Phillips, executive director of the Olympic Forest Coalition, explained: “Take a look at the taxpayers’ involvement in this. All timber sales in Washington state are now considered what is ‘below cost.’ In other words, it costs the taxpayers money. The sale doesn’t take into account the effort of the USFS to put up the timber for sale.” She added: “Taxpayers are also going to have to pay money to put the watersheds in shape again. If work done on Forest Service land – logging and road building – basically creates downstream flooding, taxpayers are once again going to have to pay money to help landowners who are flooded out.” She noted that her organization’s opposition to the proposal is not fundamentally ideological. “We are not a no-logging organization. We recognize that logging will be happening, and we just want it to be mitigated as much as possible.” The public comment period ends Sept. 26. When the proposal was initially discussed two years ago, the U.S. Forest Service received 38 letters and emails as well as a petition in opposition with 144 signatures. http://www.ptleader.com/main.asp?SectionID=36&SubSectionID=55&ArticleID=18833&TM=56919.79

8) It’s a place where kayakers can paddle up to a waterfront campsite on Long Island. In the middle of the island is a 274-acre stand of remnant old-growth Western red cedars. It’s home to 13 species of amphibians, black bear, deer and elk. And it’s all less than three hours from Tacoma. Like any 5-year-old, Brooke Roberts was full of energy, questions and curiosity. Walking amid standing and fallen cedars, some nearly 1,000 years old, will bring out those traits in just about anyone. “I like them. My dad took a picture of me in one of the holes. It was like a cave,” she said with enthusiasm. Indeed, some of the holes at the bottom of these towering cedars would seem like a motel room to Bear Grylls of “Man vs. Wild” fame. Oh wait, he apparently did stay in motel rooms. Brooke and her father, Jake, were spending a day exploring the ancient cedar grove, one of the prime attractions on Long Island. The largest estuarine island on the West Coast, the island covers 5,400 acres. It is home to Sitka spruce and Western hemlock, black bears, elk and deer. From the landing at the south end, you walk along a grass-covered former logging road that leads nearly to the island’s northern tip. Side paths lead to the five campgrounds on the island. “I imagine it as a jewel sitting at the end of the bay. You go there and it’s a different world,” said Katherine Driscoll, president of Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. The Salmon Art Trail, the first of its kind in the nation, uses artwork by University of Washington students to tell the natural history of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. The art trail exists because Charlie Stenvall, who heads the refuge, admits he doesn’t read his own interpretive panels. “The idea was to tell a story through artwork,” Stenvall said. “The edict was ‘thou shalt not use words.’ I don’t know if we achieved that. But the second round hits closer to that mark.” Developed in 2003, the trail features 10 art projects along a boardwalk 0.2 miles long and along 0.6 miles of hiking trail. The artwork tells of the restoration of Headquarters Creek, a five-year project that led to a record return of chum salmon. http://www.thenewstribune.com/soundlife/story/165806.html

9) Three men were arrested Tuesday after being indicted for illegally harvesting cedar trees from the Olympic National Forest. Craig James, 46, of Aberdeen; Bruce Brown, 46, of Humptulips; and Floyd Stutesman, 47, of Hoquiam were charged with conspiracy, damaging government property and theft of government property, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. All three pleaded not guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. Agents from the U.S. Forest Service found more than 100 blocks of wood at Brown’s home in February 2006. Investigators determined the wood came from Olympic National Forest’s Cook Creek area, where large-scale tree theft had been occurring. Conspiracy is punishable by five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Damaging government property and theft of government property are punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as well as supervised release and a fine. James, Brown and Stutesman are expected to make a court appearance this afternoon in Tacoma. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003904302_webtimber26m.html

Oregon:

10) In December 2006, a windstorm blew down many ancient trees along a stretch of the McKenzie River just upstream of Trailbridge Reservoir. Piles of large trees blocked a popular stretch of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail for about a ½ mile. Many trees also fell into the river, adding natural structure to a part of the river and forest in need of such features. Trees blocking the trail have been cleared, but the Forest Service is now proposing to “salvage” 17 acres of the blown-down area. The McKenzie River corridor is special for many reasons. It has healthy fish populations (despite dams and other developments), it provides incredibly clean drinking water to about 200,000 people, and it offers high quality hiking and mountain biking in Eugene’s backyard. When the Upper McKenzie was designated as a Wild & Scenic River in 1988, its “outstandingly remarkable values” included recreation like hiking and boating, fisheries, and scenery. Many of the McKenzie’s special values would be degraded by the proposed “salvage” logging. Soil and vegetation would be disturbed by the logging, access to the popular recreation trail would be blocked, and some of the most interesting pieces of the forest scenery would be removed. Comment on the Forest Service’s plan to log along the popular McKenzie River Trail and the Wild & Scenic River. Customize the letter below (if you wish), enter your contact information, and send it! http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1780/t/430/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=13642

California:

11) There is a terrible logging plan near Owl Creek Grove on Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) land. Please alert anyone you can. The plan proposes to remove many large “decadent” Douglas Fir trees with large branches suitable for Marbled Murrelet nesting. Though the branches may be too exposed to safely hide a Murrelet nest now, in several decades more conifers could grow up around the taller firs and enclose the large branches in a denser canopy which would greatly improve the habitat for Murrelet nesting. The plan is near a protected Old Growth forest grove in Owl Creek where Murrlets are said to nest. Elsewhere, Marbled Murrelet habitat continues to be destroyed by industrial logging on Pacific Lumber land. The larger Marbled Murrelet nesting stands that are protected withtin Marbled Murrelet Conservation Areas (MMCAs) on PL land are only protected until shortly after the year 2040. It seems that in that time some of the stands in THP 07-021 could become suitable Murrelet habitat and the species could expand into it (if they have not already gone extinct by that point). Also the THP proposes road building and cable yarding on top of at least two large rock outcrops, Black Butte (in unit 11Ac and 11At) and another formation partially covered by logging unit “7A”. This will permanently degrade the recreational and scenic value of these sites. Have any consultations been made to assess the spiritual importance of these sites to local tribes? Is the logging plan a preparation for housing construction and development infrastructure? How can CDF approve such a proposal? The plan clearly states that subdivison and development “is likely”. hummingbird_lou@yahoo.com

Montana:

12) Last year’s Indian summer fires in Montana were so intense, so awesome in their fury, that they even spooked veteran fire fighters. Pilots dumping retardant on the Jungle Fire south east of Livingston reported flames jumping 500 feet above the tree line. Imagine a wall of flames leaping over the Washington monument. (If you’d like a front row seat for one of these shows, check out the Forest Service footage of the Cascade Complex Fire, on YouTube – but stand back.) Hotshots, hardened by a dozen seasons on the front lines, dropped their shovels and gaped. What they were seeing, as superdry fuel morphed into explosive gas, was a fundamental change taking place in the bio-chemistry of our forests. That was right about the time former senator from Montana, Conrad Burns accused a group of exhausted firefighters of being lazy good-for-nothing-layabouts. Turned out the layabouts were just catching some Z’s on the Billings airport tarmac after coming off a thirty-six hour stint on the fire line. What fun that was. Burn’s is gone. In the 2007 fire season, hotshots were busier than ever. My memory of that episode is very clear because I was simultaneously working on a story about cloud physics for Audubon Magazine. Climate modelers at NASA’s Goddard Institute told me that all of their predictions for climate change were accelerating. A couple of years ago the low end on the projected increase in global climate was 1.5 degrees centigrade. That window, a best case scenario in the climate models, is now closed. The bottom limb of the arc now shows a rise of 2 degrees centigrade. The physicists watching these models, as data pours in from reporting stations around the world, have their fingers crossed. The consensus among scientists is if we hit 3 degrees centigrade we need to start looking for another planet. http://www.latimes.com/

13) The Montana Department of Natural Resources has an aggressive schedule for timber salvage in several fire areas that collectively covered about 10,500 acres of state school trust lands in Western Montana. “We’ve got a lot of boots on the ground right now looking at and assessing those burned areas,” said David Groeschl, the state’s forest management bureau chief. In planning salvage operations, foresters are checking burn severity, accessibility and the potential for erosion and tree regeneration, among other considerations. Groeschl expects initial salvage proposals to come before the state Land Board at its October and November meetings. The initial proposals will focus on burned areas where there aren’t complications with threatened and endangered species or potential threats to nearby streams. “Most of them will be in areas where the issues tend to be pretty straightforward and we are able to develop mitigation for minor issues,” Groeschl said. More complicated salvage projects will involve environmental assessments that will take more time to develop, he said. On the Chippy Creek Fire north of Hot Springs, state foresters are estimating a potential salvage of 9 million to 12 million board-feet of timber. The fire burned almost 100,000 acres, including 2,638 acres of school trust lands with the rest on Lolo National Forest, Salish-Kootenai tribal and Plum Creek Timber Co. lands. Groeschl said the Tin Cup, Mile Marker 124, Black Cat and Jocko Lakes fires are expected to yield an additional 12 million to 13 million board-feet in timber salvage. About 9 million to 10 million will come off the Jocko Lakes burn alone. Tribal foresters have been sizing up timber salvage opportunities on the Chippy Creek Fire, which burned across 32,069 acres of tribal land. Foresters are expected to brief the tribal council and make initial salvage project recommendations on Thursday, tribal spokesman Rob McDonald said. http://www.dailyinterlake.com/articles/2007/09/26/news/news04.txt

Arizona:

13) Swetnam spoke of the need for managing forests to prevent massive “crown fires,” but he didn’t allow himself to get pinned down in the long-running battle between advocates and opponents of logging in the name of lowering forest fire potential. “I honestly don’t think we can thin our way out of this problem,” Swetnam said, referring to questions from some members of the committee about the practice of cutting smaller trees to prevent or diminish the severity of forest fires. The senators of the Committee on Energy & Natural Resources who spoke and questioned the witnesses were from New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho and Montana. And, although no specific mention was made of environmental groups’ legal intervention to stop logging small trees in federal forests, some of the questions were clearly loaded with implications. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, tried to get Swetnam to give a specific size of tree that he thought should be thinned to prevent or minimize the severity of forest fires. Swetnam — who had just said the government needed to “focus on smaller diameter trees” in some forests — replied that there was no specific size that needed to be cut and that thinning small trees wasn’t the answer for all forests. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, spoke at length about the severity of recent forest fires in his state and said “we here in Washington” had “tied the hands” of Forest Service officials. He said the justification for limits on clearing fuel in forests was “more political than scientific.” http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/202849

Wisconsin:

14) WYEVILLE — The Tomah School District will construct a new building on a 20-acre plot of school forest off North Glendale Avenue. Tomah School Board members Thursday approved a new $47,000 school forest center during their regular monthly meeting at Wyeville Elementary School. The school forest building, designated for outdoor and environmental education, will be constructed entirely with grants and logging revenues from the district’s four school forests. “It seems like a well-thought out plan,” board President Gene Baumgarten said. “For a lot of students, it’s their only exposure to nature.” The only remaining issue is whether to expand the main classroom. Superintendent Bob Fasbender was skeptical that 400 square feet was sufficient to house a classroom that could hold up to 25 students.Money for a bigger building exists; the amount of grants and timber harvest revenue exceeds the initial cost estimate by nearly $10,000. The building would go on the northeast corner of the lot, which is across the street from the Veterans Administration Medical Center on East Veterans Street. The building could also be open for community use. The building will have plumbing and rest room facilities, and will be constructed by the high school’s building trades class. http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2007/09/25/news/z03forest.txt

Michigan:

15) It seems as though the United States Forest Service is intent on destroying the beauty of our Stonington Peninsula. First with the horrible mess left by strong winds on the route to the lighthouse. Many huge trees had fallen into a tangled ugly mess and the USFS decided it was best left that way. They saw no need for anyone to cut the huge cedar and other species of fallen trees into lumber or pulp or firewood. Lets just leave the ugly mess there to rot and be an eyesore. Second, they fell a lot of trees on a path along side County Road 513 that ORVs were using, leaving another ugly mess. The ORVs weren’t hurting anything and there was no erosion from it. Now the ORVs are forced to use the county road to travel on. Many are locals and just putt along for pleasure. Now the latest destruction by the USFS is on the trail between Graal Shores and Sunset Beach. It is appalling to think that this is our tax dollars hard at work. I have personally had the pleasure of walking on that trail and many others in our beautiful forests. I wonder how long it will be before the taxpayers of this county will not be allowed to walk or ride on any of our public property, thanks to the USFS. http://www.dailypress.net/stories/articles.asp?articleID=13757

Minnesota:

16) Landowners need to manage their forested lands. They will make mistakes, but Mother Nature will cover up those mistakes, Sawinski said. “Forestry is not an exact science,” he said. Landowners can get help in identifying their tree species and setting up management plans from the Department of Natural Resources and industry specialists. “Your job as the landowner is to be informed,” Sawinski said. The DNR is a good first stop. The agency will try to steer landowners away from trouble spots, he said. Landowners should also get second and third opinions if they are going to sell trees. Trees are an agricultural commodity, said Terry Helbig, a forester with the DNR. They are also a renewable resource and may play a leading role in the nation’s emerging renewable energy market, said Jim Moser, director of economic and cooperative development for National Farmers Union. NFU sponsored the forestry event to bring people together to talk about the value of trees and ways to make money from wooded land, he said. Harvesting trees for lumber is perhaps the most common way to earn income from forested land. The ideal time for harvest is in the winter when the trees are dormant and the ground is frozen. The worst time to harvest trees is from spring to Aug. 1. “Yes, there is going to be damage,” Sawinski said. “If it’s done properly, damage can be minimized.” http://webstar.postbulletin.com/agrinews/289909776473691.bsp

Louisiana:

17) About $18 million dedicated to a state Department of Natural Resources initiative will be used to purchase land and conservation easements on critical properties across the coast. Although cypress gets a lot of attention, that’s just one forest type the state will be looking to acquire through the Coastal Forest Conservation Initiative, said Richard Raynie, coastal resources senior scientist and project manager for the initiative. “It’s a lot bigger than that,” Raynie said. The state will be looking for forests on natural ridges as well as bottomland hardwood, oak and other forest types and locations, he said. The initiative is one of many projects under development with funding from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, which gave Louisiana and other oil-producing coastal states a share of offshore oil revenues to improve areas damaged by oil and gas activity. In Louisiana, the overwhelming majority of projects waiting for approval through the U.S. Minerals Management Service are for coastal restoration and enhancement. As part of that, Louisiana set aside about $18 million toward the purchase of land or conservation easements in critical coastal forest habitat. The program is still under development, but DNR staff said they hope to start reviewing applications from property owners in about a year. The program could also include the state’s active pursuit of specific critical habitats, but those details are being worked out, said Kirk Rhinehart, administrator for DNR’s Coastal Restoration Division. The program will be voluntary, said Honora Buras, coastal resources scientist. “There’s nothing regulatory about this program,” she said. An environmental engineering firm in Baton Rouge is working with DNR researching how similar programs have been done elsewhere. http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/9951186.html

Virginia:

18) Dungannon – District Ranger Ron Bush of the Clinch Ranger District has decided to temporarily withdraw the controversial Back Valley Timber Sale while he revises the environmental assessment to address some discrepancies and other areas of concern. The proposed 371 acre sale, which is located on Dry Creek just outside of Dungannon in Scott County, brought about concern from most of the local residents immediately downstream when it was first announced last year. At a public hearing one year ago, citizens expressed their concerns about past flooding that had taken place in that watershed. After that public hearing, Dry Creek watershed resident Charlie Osborne said of the proposed cutting: “I can’t believe that anyone would even consider doing this in such a short period of time… At the town meeting I personally showed Mr. Bush the pictures of the devastation created by the last flood. Since he has been shown what can result and chooses to ignore the lessons of the past, then he should be held accountable for the results of his decisions.” Dick Austin, who lives less than two miles from the Back Valley project said in a formal statement prepared for the hearing: “It is now beyond reasonable doubt that Dry Creek is prone to flooding, particularly from heavy run-off across lands where timber has been removed. The notion that the Forest Service can remove timber from 400 additional acres* of this steep watershed, whether in one push or over 3 years, without significantly increasing the prospect of more flooding — that notion is absurd on the face.” (*the acreage of the original proposal, now only slightly reduced to 371 acre) Ron Bush, district ranger, stated in an August 2007 letter to concerned individuals: “I am hereby withdrawing my decision for the Back Valley project as documented in my Decision Notice of May 17, 2007. I will be revising the Environmental Assessment to address these discrepancies and other potential areas of concern.” http://www.virginiastar.net/articles2/ar07_0926/timbersalepulled.htm

Kentucky:

19) In 2004, UK’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a forest sustainability study that calls for logging 800 acres of UK-owned Robinson Forest in southeastern Kentucky. But it seems opposition to this move has reached its apex only recently as UK looks to start clearing the land over the next 12 months, according to a Kernel article yesterday. As part of the agreement when the forest was donated in 1923, UK must use the land “for the purpose of agricultural experimental work and teaching, and for the practical demonstration of reforestation.” Environmentalists are not so sure about the university’s reasoning and foresee permanent problems as a result of the cutting. This editorial board is not qualified to judge if there will be any long-term environmental consequence as a result of logging 800 acres of Robinson Forest. But with the recent rise of opposition to the cutting, we believe UK should prolong the start of the project until it publicly shows that it is listening to those protesting the decision and is addressing their concerns. Both sides of this conflict have valid points. Environmentalists are certainly right to be concerned about almost a tenth of Robinson Forest’s 15,000 acres being used to study the effects of logging. Some environmentalists are specifically concerned about how logging will hurt watersheds, areas that drain into larger water basins and eventually reach streams. Ann Phillippi, a biologist who graduated from UK and former president of Students to Save Robinson Forest, said in the article yesterday that the project shows how the steepness of some of the land will be affected. “The watersheds are much too steep to log without destroying that fine, high-quality, old-growth forest ecosystem and the streams that traverse it,” Phillippi said. http://media.www.kykernel.com/media/storage/paper305/news/2007/09/25/Opinions/Editorial.Delay
.Logging.Plan.To.Consider.New.Opposition-2988935.shtml

20) University of Kentucky students turned out last night, calling for the administration to abandon its plan to log a section of the E.O. Robinson forest in eastern Kentucky. More than 100 people gathered at the White Hall Classroom Building to discuss UK’s plan that the administration says will provide financial support for the Robinson Scholars Program. They say it will also provide an opportunity to study the ecological effects of logging. Opponents fear that the logging to begin next month will lead to the destruction of the forest and eventually to mining on the property that E.O. Robinson gave to UK in 1923. The logging’s effect on the forest’s waterways and biodiversity particularly worries them. The proposal calls for more than 800 acres of the 15,000-acre forest in Breathitt, Knott and Perry counties to be logged. An environmental student group sponsoring the discussion argued against the plan and said it sees no benefit from disturbing the land. Some of the members of UK Green Thumb also expressed displeasure with the university’s perceived unwillingness to consider dismissing or altering the plan. http://www.kentucky.com/471/story/186594.html

West Virginia:

21) WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — Five square miles of land atop Kates Mountain next to Greenbrier State Forest — land that has been open to public use for decades — is the subject of an inheritance dispute that could end in the land being logged and subdivided. The 3,445-acre parcel includes the summit of Kates Mountain, several small creeks, and a large shale barren — an expanse of ground covered with fractured shale that creates a desert-like microclimate supporting a variety of rare plant species. The land was bought in a 1928 tax auction by the grandparents of David Brooks Holland, a West Virginia native who grew up in Logan and moved to California in the 1950s to attend Stanford University. Holland, who became a stockbroker in Palo Alto, Calif., died in 1999, leaving his share of the tract to sons Craig and Peter Holland. The remaining heirs with a stake in the property are the Holland brothers’ aunt and grandmother, Katherine Holland Barics and Sarah Holland. All live in California. This spring, Katherine Holland Barics and Sarah Holland prevailed in a lawsuit filed in 2005 in Greenbrier Circuit Court to partition the tract’s standing marketable timber and real estate to allow the heirs to dispose of their shares of the property. Craig Holland, a student at Evergreen University in Olympia, Wash., has hired Charleston attorney John Kennedy Bailey to appeal the decision in state Supreme Court on behalf of himself and his brother. Should the circuit court partition order stand, Holland said, “There is a good chance that the land will be split up and subjected to a five- to 10-year logging contract which would remove 3 million to 6 million board feet of timber” from the property. If the partition can be set aside as a result of their Supreme Court challenge, Holland hopes to work out an alternative that would keep the bulk of the property intact, undisturbed and publicly owned. “If we can sell about one-fourth of the land to a private interest for home-site development on a section of the property farthest from Greenbrier State Forest, I think we would be able to sell the largest part of the land — about 2,500 acres — at a price that a conservation group or state or federal agency would consider reasonable,” he said. http://sundaygazettemail.com/section/News/2007092216

Florida:

22) The long awaited decision on a roads and trails system for the Apalachicola National Forest is anticipated in the next week. It will, no doubt, provoke controversy; but the decision will provide a balance between resource protection and recreational opportunities. Getting to this decision has been a long, often arduous, and frustrating process. Deciding where off-road vehicles should be allowed is one of the most controversial issues facing the Forest Service today, and the Apalachicola National Forest is no exception. The reality is that we cannot meet all the demands of the many groups who use and love the forest and still adequately protect the sensitive resources that are in our care. In the past decades, off-road riders enjoyed almost unlimited freedom in the forest. Their low numbers followed old logging roads and fire-plow lines that were designed for temporary use and left few impacts on the land. We allowed use of these features to foster recreational opportunities. Over the years, however, the number and kinds of off-road vehicles has skyrocketed, creating a latticework of trails that impact the health of the forest. Not just in Florida, either – public land managers everywhere are forced to leave behind the hands-off attitude of previous years and learn how to manage off-road recreation. In fact, the Forest Service adopted in 2005 a nationwide policy that mandated all National Forests designate exactly where motor vehicles will be allowed to go. http://www.wakulla.com/Community_Columnists/Various_Guest_Columnists/IN_MY_VIEW_(by_Marsha_Kear
ney,_Forest_Supervisor,_National_Forests_in_Florida)_200709243923/

USA:

23) A new report released by the Sierra Club today identifies 52 of America’s most important and most threatened public lands. The report was released in celebration of National Public Lands Day, which is this Saturday, September 29. The report, “America’s Wild Legacy,” presents the Sierra Club plan for protecting one wild place in each state, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, over the next 10 years. “When you look closely at a map of the United States, you can see that the vast majority of our public lands are already open for development of one kind or another. That makes it that much more important to protect the few wild places that remain,” said Sierra Club Lands Representative Myke Bybee, who authored the report. Oil and gas drilling, logging, irresponsible recreation, and global warming are eating away at the places Americans rely on for respite and recreation, the Sierra Club says. Many of the 52 places selected by the Sierra Club for protection are threatened by development. Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest, ideal for climbing, hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing, faces increasing attempts to log its old-growth trees, many older than the United States. Louisiana’s coastal cypress forests are disappearing as logging companies turn the trees into garden mulch. “As Americans, each one of us is part owner in our forests, mountains and deserts. We have a choice to make, between treating these irreplaceable lands as a giveaway to special interests, or as a gift to our children and grandchildren.” To read the report, or to view a threatened place up close on Google Earth, visit: http://www.sierraclub.org/52places

UK:

24) “It took ages for the creation of an international war crimes tribunal,” says one Third World diplomat, “and a world court for environmental crimes can take generations.” Satish Kumar, an avowed environmentalist and editor of the London-based environmental magazine Resurgence, is a strong advocate of such a court. “We have no right to make waste,” he argues. “And if I dump my waste on your house, it’s a crime. You can take me to court.” “But if we put our waste on nature, nature can’t take us to court? Nature should have a right to take us to court. And the United Nations should establish a nature court,” Kumar told IPS. He pointed out that environmental crimes — from the dumping of toxic wastes to the military destruction of natural resources — should be deemed “crimes against nature”. Dr. Franoise Burhenne-Guilmin, senior counsel at the Environmental Law Centre of the Switzerland-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), thinks the proposal may hit legal and logistical snags. “IUCN has never taken a formal position on this matter, but members of the Commission on Environmental Law (CEL) have discussed the issue in the past,” he told IPS. He pointed out that the idea of a specific international court for environmental crimes was not supported by the CEL on the basis that they thought it would not be feasible. “To establish such a court, people would need to agree on what constitutes an environmental crime,” Burhenne-Guilmin said. Even if such a court were established, the rules which would have to be put in place in order for it to function would be very difficult to agree on, he added. In recent years, some of the cases involving “environmental damages” have been tried in local courts because of the absence of an international judicial body. http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/09/25/4091/

France:

25) A new report for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has cast serious doubts about the prospects for certification of biofuels, pointing to the failures of timber certification. The report, entitled ‘Biofuels: Is the Cure Worse than the Disease’ http://www.oecd.org was presented to the OECD’s Round Table on Sustainable Development in Paris in September. It warns that timber certification has failed after many years to come up with credible Chain of Custody systems. The report also point out that certification doesn’t necessarily help to address the underlying problems of either non-sustainable timber or biofuel production because the problem simply gets displaced elsewhere. Although the OECD report does not specifically name the FSC, it is clear that its conclusions apply to the FSC as much as any other timber certification scheme. The chain of custody problem is one which FSC-Watch has raised before, and which FSC has yet to provide any convincing answers to. http://www.fsc-watch.org/archives/2007/09/26/OECD__timber_certification_sets_bad_example_for_b
iofuels__FSC_also_under_attack_from_Australia__Finland__Canada__US_

Nicaragua:

26) It is no longer a rainforest but a tree cemetery. As far as the eye can see there are uprooted, bare and broken trunks. The canopy, a roof of foliage so lush you could walk over it, is gone. The few remaining bits of green are no bigger than broccoli. This is the aftermath of Hurricane Felix along Nicaragua’s Mosquito Coast. A smell of decay shrouds the landscape. Crops and livestock have vanished into swamps. So much earth and debris have washed into rivers that they resemble caramel sludge. Downriver the destruction worsens. Houses built on stilts lean drunkenly and have gaping holes. Many have missing roofs and walls. When you reach the ocean you see they have been spun into the air, Wizard of Oz-style, before smashing and splintering. Three weeks ago the world watched the hurricane howl towards central America and braced for the worst. It was category five, a monster storm, and a cataclysm seemed inevitable. But the hurricane changed course and missed big population centres. Instead of cities and tourist resorts it hit this remote wilderness, home to a few fishing and farming communities. A few dozen casualties were reported. The story seemed to be over. The world’s gaze shifted elsewhere. A tour through the affected region last week however showed that for Miskito Indians, one of the most impoverished and isolated communities in the Americas, the story is just beginning. Up to 160,000 people are facing an ecological and humanitarian crisis – and it is getting worse. “It’s very possible the aftermath will kill more than the hurricane itself,” said Heriberto Cespedes, a surgeon at the main hospital in Puerto Cabezas. “I think in one or two weeks the avalanche of sickness will begin.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/naturaldisasters/story/0,,2177270,00.html

Bolivia:

Letter from President Evo Morales to the member representatives of the United Nations on the issue of the environment. Sister and brother Presidents and Heads of States of the United Nations: The world is suffering from a fever due to climate change, and the disease is the capitalist development model. Whilst over 10,000 years the variation in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on the planet was approximately 10%, during the last 200 years of industrial development, carbon emissions have increased by 30%. Since 1860, Europe and North America have contributed 70% of the emissions of CO2. 2005 was the hottest year in the last one thousand years on this planet. Faced with this situation, we – the indigenous peoples and humble and honest inhabitants of this planet – believe that the time has come to put a stop to this, in order to rediscover our roots, with respect for Mother Earth; with the Pachamama as we call it in the Andes. Today, the indigenous peoples of Latin America and the world have been called upon by history to convert ourselves into the vanguard of the struggle to defend nature and life. I am convinced that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recently approved after so many years of struggle, needs to pass from paper to reality so that our knowledge and our participation can help to construct a new future of hope for all. Who else but the indigenous people, can point out the path for humanity in order to preserve nature, natural resources and the territories that we have inhabited from ancient times. I know that change is not easy when an extremely powerful sector has to renounce their extraordinary profits for the planet to survive. In my own country I suffer, with my head held high, this permanent sabotage because we are ending privileges so that everyone can “Live Well” and not better than our counterparts. I know that change in the world is much more difficult than in my country, but I have absolute confidence in human beings, in their capacity to reason, to learn from mistakes, to recuperate their roots, and to change in order to forge a just, diverse, inclusive, equilibrated world in harmony with nature http://boliviarising.blogspot.com/

Brazil:

28) Brazil plans to turn over control of an 850-square mile national forest in the Amazon Basin to private companies, according to a story in Chinese state-run media. The Jamari National Forest is about half the size of Rhode Island, and sits in the northern portion of the country, in the Amazonian rainforest. As deforestation rates have increased there, the government has decided to turn over management of 350 square miles of the forest to private companies, after dividing it into three separate parcels. The companies will be allowed to explore and log the land — using “environmentally sustainable techniques,” as Brazil’s environment minister said — for 40 years. Private management of forests isn’t always a bad idea, but in this region where the carving up of the Amazon has grown into such a worldwide issue — particularly as concern over the loss of biodiversity has been compounded by concern about losing a huge reservoir for industrial carbon pollution — this deal should be scrutinized closely. http://www.thedailygreen.com/2007/09/22/brazil-will-privatize-amazonian-national-forest/7085/

29) One is a tousle-haired Brazilian diplomat turned entrepreneur, brimming with enthusiasm for what he calls “the most extraordinary business opportunity I have ever seen in my life”. The other is a close-cropped, blue-eyed Englishman, fond of quietly pertinent rhetorical questions. Sérgio Thompson-Flores is chief executive of Infinity Bio-Energy, a company that last year raised £270m ($543m) on London’s small-cap Aim market. Peter Thompson is chairman of Clean Energy Brazil (CEB), a partnership formed by Czarnikow, a London-based provider of sugar market services, Numis, a London-based investment bank, and Agrop, a Brazilian sugar industry service provider. It is also listed on Aim, and raised £100m in December 2006. Both aim to grab a share of the fast-growing ethanol industry in Brazil, a country that many say is poised to become the “green Saudi Arabia”. But there the similarities end. The start-ups diverge on how best to achieve a stake in a tough and crowded market. Their fortunes will be eagerly watched by other entrepreneurs. Perhaps the most striking difference between the companies is their vision of how the market will develop. Before Brazil can become the main global supplier of a new global fuel, the world’s big markets will have to introduce new laws and infrastructure – a massive undertaking. This divides investors into cautious, domestic ones and ambitious, international ones. Mr Thompson’s experience at Czarnikow makes him wary of “commodity dramas”. CEB’s focus, he says, is on domestic growth in Brazil. “You have to ask yourself very carefully what is the potential return on cash flow, and can we acquire assets in a way that captures their capital appreciation.” http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b493dd4e-6bc9-11dc-863b-0000779fd2ac.html

Guyana:

30) The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) is in the process of conducting an investigation into several logging companies after instances of under declaration of forest produce and false declarations as to the origin of those produce were unearthed. According to Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud yesterday, the GFC in a letter on Monday advised him that on the basis of monitoring activities and further investigation by the GFC’s Internal Audit Unit, there is preliminary evidence to suggest that several forest companies may be guilty of the breaches. The Minister in a statement said that the breaches, if verified by the investigation, will have implications for the GFC’s revenue, tax concessions issued to companies by the Government, and the GFC staff members at the locations. The GFC is expected to provide the Minister of Agriculture with an update on the status of the investigation by October 10. According to Commis-sioner of Forests James Singh, depending on the severity of the offences, the penalties may include revocation of licences, suspension or a fine. Persaud said that the maximum penalties will be applied upon the conclusion of the investigation. The Minister said too that the GFC has looked at about three months of evidence to arrive at its preliminary conclusions. The action by the regulatory body comes amid an intense campaign waged in the media by several civil society activists – in particular – Janette Bulkan over fairness in the forestry industry. Questions have been raised about whether there is transfer pricing in the export of logs from the country, whether there is over-logging of certain prime species, whether there is unauthorized `land-lording’ of concessions and whether all the revenue due to the state is being paid over. http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_general_news?id=56529634

Papua New Guinea:

31) Papua New Guinea’s US-based consultant on climate change, believes not enough is being offered as incentive to stop intensive logging in developing countries like PNG. Mr Conrad told a foreign media organisation that instead of providing positive incentives to tropical nations to conserve their rainforests and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the world indirectly gives “perverse incentives” to destroy them by demanding goods produced by intensive logging. Mr Conrad, a close friend of Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, was described in the article as “a leading environmental activist”. He said: “The Kyoto protocol does not give incentives to rainforest nations to protect their forests,” Mr Conrad, special envoy of the environment and climate change permanent mission of Papua New Guinea to the United Nations, told IPS. The Kyoto protocol is the international agreement that establishes how industrialised countries should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by an average of 5% relative to 1990 levels. The treaty does not assign targets to developing nations. One of the instruments of the Kyoto protocol was the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), an arrangement that allows industrialised countries with a GHG reduction commitment to invest in projects in developing countries that reduce emissions. This counts towards the countries’ domestic “clean” record. Conservation of rainforests was not included in such projects. The article said between 1989 and 1995, global emissions as a result of deforestation, amounted to 5,000 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, studies show. “Instead of giving us incentives to protect our forests, the world gives countries like mine (PNG) incentives to destroy them,” Mr Conrad said. http://www.thenational.com.pg/092407/nation3.htm

Vietnam:

32) Eleven new animal and plant species have been discovered in a remote area of central Vietnam, conservation group WWF announced Wednesday. Scientists have found a snake, five orchids, two butterflies and three other plants new to science and exclusive to tropical forests in the Annamites Mountain Range, known as the Green Corridor, in Thua Thien Hue Province, WWF said in a press release. The new snake, the white-lipped keelback, tends to live by streams where it feeds on frogs and other small animals, the WWF said, adding it can reach 80 centimetres (31 inches) in length and has a distinctive yellow-white stripe along its head and red dots covering its body. “Discoveries of so many new species are rare and occur only in very special places like the Green Corridor,” said Chris Dickinson, WWF’s chief conservation scientist there. “Several large mammal species were discovered in the 1990s in the same forests so these latest discoveries may be just the tip of the iceberg.” Of the five new orchid species, three are completely leafless — a very rare characteristic for an orchid. Like many fungal species, they contain no chlorophyll and live on decaying matter. WWF is also examining 10 other plant species, including four orchids, which also appear to be new species. “The area is extremely important for conservation and the province wants to protect the forests and their environmental services, as well as contribute to sustainable development,” said Hoang Ngoc Khanh, director of the Provincial Forest Protection Department. The Green Corridor is home to one of the world’s most endangered primates — the white-cheeked crested gibbon — and the best location in Vietnam to conserve the saola — a unique type of wild cattle discovered by scientists in 1992. The WWF said the Green Corridor’s significant population of threatened species is at risk from illegal logging, hunting, unsustainable extraction of natural resources and conflicting development interests, despite commitment for preservation by local authorities. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iNPZCQVYgaX18ei4K1OBeep5efrw

Australia:

33) Pulp mill in Tasmania to lead to massive deforestation: and 10 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions every year, Greens Senator says Christine Milne, Senator for Tasmania, Australian Greens Party, recorded in the Senate Hansard, Commonwealth of Australia, 11 September 2007 said the Gunns pulp mill in Tasmania has not been assessed for its greenhouse gas emissions. “We have a Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation who tried to mislead the parliament when I asked the question about the pulp mill by saying that the Australian Greenhouse Office measures carbon in forests and so on. I asked specifically about the pulp mill proposal. Under the RPDC process, the greenhouse gas emissions were to be assessed. Once that process was dumped by the Lennon government, there was no prospect of the greenhouse gas emissions being assessed”. http://waterweek.wordpress.com/2007/09/26/pulp-mill-in-tasmania-to-lead-to-massive-deforestati
on-and-10-million-tonnes-of-greenhouse-emissions-every-year-greens-senator-says/
34) There are about 2,000 forest contractors operating in Tasmania – some running small businesses, some operating individually. They run the trucks, chainsaws, bulldozers and mills that make the forest industry possible. Abetz has not targeted fuel pricing, resource access, predatory business practices, or even future carbon trading as areas of inquiry. Instead, he is most concerned about “reduced quotas, stemming in large part from a concerted attack internationally on Tasmanian forestry practices by extreme Green groups”. Brad Stansfield, spokesman for Senator Abetz, rejected questions regarding due process and transparency as “Green alarmism”. Asked to confirm that Poyry would look beyond environmental lobbying to consider the impact of Gunns’ business practices on independent forest contractors, he would only say that “they’re looking at all relevant factors”. It doesn’t seem to matter to the Minister’s office that Poyry is the consultant to Tasmania’s largest landholder, plantation owner, woodchip producer and potential pulp mill operator. Stansfield denied repeatedly that even the perception of a conflict of interest might therefore exist in having Poyry advise the government on the needs and issues facing Tasmania’s independent forest contractors. “If we had appointed Gunns to do this, I would accept your argument. We haven’t. We have appointed independent experts in the field to do it. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=6428

35) Logging has been suspended in the Moira State Forest in southwestern NSW as a protest against alleged illegal logging moves into its second day. One protester remains hanging in a tree canopy. He is accompanied by more than a dozen environmental activists on the ground. The protesters say Forests NSW is allowing the forests to be logged illegally, as it has not prepared an Environmental Impact Statement or a Species Impact Statement. A spokeswoman for the NSW Red Gum Forest Action group said today 15 environmental campaigners were continuing with the protest. The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), which includes Forests NSW, has denied there has been any clear felling in the Moira State Forest or that proper environmental checks were not done before the logging licence was granted. Today a DPI spokesman said wood harvesting operations had been suspended while talks continued. “Discussions are continuing with the protest group and we’re hopeful that there’ll be a resolution shortly,” he said. “Talks are being held at a local level.” The protest follows a challenge to Forests NSW by the National Parks Association of NSW, a non-government community group. The association has lodged the action in the Land and Environment Court, saying Forests NSW has not complied with legislation on planning and threatened species. The court action is continuing. http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22479365-5005961,00.html

235 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 34 new articles about earth’s trees! (235th edition)
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Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

–British Columbia: 1) Forest economy
–Washington: 2) Clearcutting park to make airport more safe
–Oregon: 3) ski expansion shut down, 4) New wood economy, 5) Sustainable forestry?
–California: 6) Bill for Air resources board to help protect trees, 7) Bristlecone Pine,
–UK: 8) Trees as movie stars
–Finland: 9) Elk eating tree farmer’s trees
–Ethiopia: 10) Sustainable Starbucks is good at sustaining genocide
–Tanzania: 11) Nou forest sustains 200,000 people
–Uganda: 12) Bombing gets people to plant trees for protection, 13) Chimps,Brazil
–Brazil: 13) What’s wrong with FSC?
–Guyana: 14) if destruction pays and conservation doesn’t…
–Chile: 15) 2.17 million hectares now biosphere preserve
–Uruguay: 16) 4 pulp mills set to destroy whole country
–India: 17) local involvement important, 18) stopping timber thieves, 19) Ayurvedic cultivation suffers from defrorestation, 20) Scandal in Kerala Assembly,
–China: 21) # 1 criminal in the business of illegal logging, 22) Magic tree worshiped,
–Burma: 23) Protest revolve around corrupt logging practices
–Cambodia: 24) Pursat province officials stealing logs
–Philippines: 25) Children of the forest make mini forests
–Malaysia: 26) Samling shut down to protect Penan, 27) Fines increased,
–Indonesia: 28) Forest Carbon Protection Facility
–Australia: 29) pulp baron scam, 30) Save Moira forest, 31) Save Karri forests,
–World-wide: 32) International Day Against Monoculture, 33) Extincition count, 34) FSC GE tree fraud,

British Columbia:

1) British Columbia’s economy was built on forestry, and while over the last 150 years the province’s economy has become more diversified, forestry remains a key economic driver. Forestry is responsible for 15 per cent of the province’s economic activity and directly employs about 80,000 British Columbians. Outside the Lower Mainland, forestry remains the largest or second-largest source of income for 77 per cent of B.C. communities. At around $14 billion per year, forestry accounts for about 40 per cent of the province’s exports. British Columbia remains one of the world’s leading exporters of forest products, including pulp and paper. In 2003, we introduced the Forestry Revitalization Act – the most significant update to forest policy in over 50 years. The changes were aimed at revitalizing the industry by allowing businesses to operate more competitively, and by opening up the door for greater diversification by new entrants and First Nations. Now, 49 communities have new or expanded community forest opportunities. Forestry is not without its challenges, which currently include a strong Canadian dollar, increased competition from low-cost jurisdictions and a slumping U.S. housing market. But, history has shown B.C.’s forestry’s industry is resilient and can overcome the cyclical nature of the business. http://www.gov.bc.ca

Washington:

2) So far, about 250 trees of a total of 350 trees have been felled. Cutting began the first week of September. During the park closure, temporary traffic barriers will be set up. The tree-clearing effort is part of a three-year project initiated by the Port of Port Angeles to remove trees from the approaches to William R. Fairchild International Airport, which is west of the park.The trees are being removed to comply with Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for runway glide slopes. The city of Port Angeles, which owns the park, will sell the trees for an estimated $50,000. An initial survey by the port identified 200 trees for removal. The 200 were located in the west part of Lincoln Park near the former campground. A follow-up survey by the city identified an additional 150 trees that were deemed diseased or dangerous, and that could be removed to create additional recreational space at the park. Those 150 trees were closer to Lauridsen Boulevard. Under FAA regulations, trees and any other obstructions must be removed from an area 10,000 feet beyond the end of the airport’s main runway and 5,000 feet beyond the end of the alternate north-south runway. http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070922/NEWS/70922001

Oregon:

3) The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the U.S. Forest Service in a lawsuit that challenged the merits of an expansion project to the Mt. Ashland Ski Area. The three-judge panel federal appeals court for the western United States ruled that the Forest Service “failed to properly evaluate” the impact the project would have on the Pacific fisher, a rare mink-like animal that lives in the Siskiyou Mountains, and didn’t “appropriately designate” riparian reserves in the expansion area. “The MASA (Mount Ashland Ski Area) expansion would result in eliminating habitat that may be vital to preservation of the fisher population in the project area,” the court wrote in its decision filed Monday morning. “Similarly, until the Riparian Reserves and Restricted Watershed lands are properly classified and subjected to additional scrutiny required by these classifications, the possibility of environmental harm to the ecological health of the region’s waterways remains.” The Mt. Ashland Association sent out a press release this afternoon that stated members of the board of directors and staff “will review the court decision with its legal counsel to determine its next course of action.” Ashland City Councilor Eric Navickas, who was a party to the lawsuit as an individual before the case was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, said, “I’m pretty ecstatic. We expected this after sitting through the court hearing but it feels a lot better to have a decision from the court. It really shows what a waste of time that whole process has been. Hopefully Mt. Ashland will accept that it lost and stop dumping money into this.” He said if the expansion plans are, in fact, over, he will end his ten-year boycott of the Mt. Ashland slopes and go skiing this winter. http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070925/NEWS/709250308

4) In 2006, 32,320 Oregonians worked in lumber and wood products manufacturing, compared to 64,764 in 1986 — a loss of more than 50 percent in 20 years, despite the state’s population doubling during the same time. “For sure, the percentage that manufacturing makes up of the total economy has declined,” said Steve Williams, the Oregon Employment Department’s regional economist for Central Oregon. Statewide, manufacturing has been growing as an industry. In the Portland area, for example, new companies produce semiconductors and microchips. In Crook County, on the other hand, wood products still constitute about 90 percent of all manufacturing jobs. In the last 10 years, manufacturing jobs in Oregon have grown by about 15 percent, Williams said. But the rest of the economy has grown by about 60 percent. So manufacturing is a smaller component of the overall economy than it was 10 years ago. Not everyone displaced by the changing economy has adopted careers as different as Gervais. Bob Otteni, of La Pine, for example, is still working in forestry. Sort of. To change with the times, he started a tree care company that transfers his forestry skills to the service industry. Otteni had a reforestation company in Eugene that came to Central Oregon in 1980 on a contract with the logging and mill company Brooks-Scanlon. Then he started winning local contracts with the U.S. Forest Service. After trees were cut down for timber, Otteni and his crew came through an area and replanted trees. In the winter, his crew helped thin overgrown stands of trees to allow the remaining trees to grow bigger faster. “We had enough work to stay busy year-round,” Otteni said. “We got up to where we had probably 40 or so employees during the (peak) season.” By the late 1980s, Otteni had bought some wood processing machinery. He ran a post and pole mill in the La Pine Industrial Park and a mechanized thinning operation, too. “You had to be changing all the time; it was such a dynamic industry,” he said. “You always had to be looking at where the industry was going. I saw it as a cyclical thing, with waves that would rise and fall. And you had to sort of position yourself so that you could ride the crest of the wave coming up and get off before (it crashed) because most of these cycles would end.” http://www.bendbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070923/BIZ0102/709230356/1001&nav_cate
gory=

5) We hear praise for sustainable forestry from the timber industry, politicians, and even among many environmental groups. While sustainability is an admirable goal, most of what I have seen touted as sustainable practices are far from ecologically sustainable, especially when compared to wild landscapes. In nearly all instances that I have observed, the so called “sustainable” logging, grazing, farming– fill in the blank– is only sustainable by externalizing most of the real costs (ecological impacts) of production. That doesn’t prevent people from trying to claim that they have achieved the Holy Grail and found a way to exploit nature and protect it too. Everyone wants to think they can take from nature and somehow not have to pay the full cost. It’s the free lunch syndrome. Sustainable forestry as practiced today is usually more of an economic definition than an ecological one. By sustainable, timber companies and their supporters in the “sustainable forestry” movement engage in practices that ensure a continual long term timber supply, not a sustainable forest. A couple of weeks ago I toured a highly ballyhooed sustainable forestry site in California. The company whose property we viewed was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as a sustainable forestry wood producer. Certification by FSC permits a company to sell its wood for a premium and supposedly gives consumers reassurance that the wood they are buying is environmentally benign or may even enhance ecosystem function. The company land was, by the standards of the industry, well managed. They did no clearcutting. They left buffers along streams. They didn’t cut any remaining patches of old growth. In short, they were a model timber operation. Their land still had trees, but did it still have a forest? For many the mere presence of trees is taken as proof that logging on the site was sustainable. But a continuous supply of trees for the mill doesn’t necessarily mean you are preserving or sustaining a forest ecosystem. The company owners and foresters who led the tour were proud of their efforts. I don’t want to denigrate their practices, which, on the whole, were much better than those followed by other timber companies. But that doesn’t mean their logging practices were perpetuating a forest ecosystem. http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/is_sustainable_forestry_sustainable/C38/L38/#comments

California:

6) Under AB 32, the Air Resources Board is charged with leading California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. A small but important component of this is expanding and financially crediting the role that forests — and forestry — can play in capturing and storing carbon dioxide. The ARB is scheduled to adopt the existing but flawed forestry protocols at its October meeting. If it takes this action, it will please “cut no tree” environmental types but greatly diminish the true potential for California forestry to help in achieving the goals of AB 32 by playing a vigorous role in the emerging marketplace for carbon credits. What’s wrong with the current protocols? Nothing, if you’re managing forest property as a park. Because environmentalists don’t like forestry, the protocols are skewed to reward landowners who grow trees but don’t harvest them. They have nothing to offer to traditional forestry interests who are in the business of planting, growing and cutting trees. http://www.sacbee.com/110/story/392606.html

7) Scattered on a remote mountainside of eastern California, these gnarled, twisted specimens are the oldest living organisms on Earth, the most senior among them some 4,700 years old. If the mere sight of trees that pre-date the ancient Pyramids of Giza is not enough to take the breath away, the hour-long trek to reach them is: these natural wonders are found at a rarified altitude of 3,300 meters. The bristlecone’s astounding durability is partly explained by the harsh climate that they have endured throughout the ages, according to Patti Wells, a US Forest Service naturalist, who has studied the trees for 37 years. In the summer, the trees bask in temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius, but in winter they are frozen in bone-chilling sub-zero temperatures that can reach minus 30 degrees. Roaring winds of 320 kph (200 mph) pummel the forest, which is also blanketed in snow up to three meters deep. Only the bristlecone is able to withstand such extreme conditions, botanists say. The reasons are partly to do with the tree’s unique make-up and unforgiving location. Because the trees grow slowly, they have developed an impervious resinous wood, protecting them from insect infestations and mushrooms. The high altitude of the forest also means that potentially devastating fires in the region don’t have as much oxygen to feed them, Wells said. At first glance bristlecone pines often appear to be dead. As the tree ages outer layers of bark die, leaving only a strip of connective tissue stretching from the roots to the few branches that remain alive. The deadwood of “Pinus Longevae” is so solid that it does not rot. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jbqPkeCraj9vmMDWjweCt0A6fKow

UK:

8) The most striking piece of trivia about the Queen beech, a gnarled, knotted old tree in an ancient Hertfordshire woodland, is that it was once a character in a Harry Potter film. The landmark at Frithsden Beeches, just outside London, took a turn as the sometimes violent Whomping Willow in The Prisoner of Azkaban. You can see why the film-makers were struck by it: it looks good for a 350-year-old. Regal limbs creep out from its centre; it has the grandeur of a seen-it-all veteran that has lived since before the Great Fire of London, and taken in plenty more besides. If one could pick the ideal companion with which to encounter this majestic and spooky scene, it would surely be Richard Mabey. Softly-spoken, intense and erudite, he is one of the “wild bunch” of lyrical writers currently riding a wave of interest in man’s relationship with the landscape. His drinking buddies include Crow Country scribe Mark Cocker and Cambridge University don Robert Macfarlane, author of the recent hit The Wild Places. Among his peers, Mabey’s name is uttered with a hushed reverence. In the world of the green-fingered literary gurus, he is king. The beech is Mabey’s favourite tree. He spent much of his childhood playing in the beech woods of the Chilterns, and once owned a beech wood himself. He admires the tree’s amazing ability to respond to catastrophe. Today, beech woods criss-cross southern England, from Burnham Beeches to the New Forest and the Chilterns. Unlike the high-profile oak, Mabey calls beeches the “workhorses of the forest”. They provide firewood and furniture, and epitomise nature’s capacity to respond to change. They also play host to many organisms, from hawks in their branches to toadstools on the ground. The Wild Wood in The Wind in the Willows is, inevitably, a beech wood. All this is chronicled in Mabey’s eagerly-awaited new book, Beechcombings, the Narratives of Trees. Released next month, it describes the beech’s characteristics, habitat and mythology, and explores what we, as humans, can learn from the world of trees. http://environment.independent.co.uk/wildlife/article2991254.ece

Finland:

9) “Yes, it really does get us pretty steamed up that each winter the elk come round and browse on the saplings. We’ve planted each and every one of them. Now they are around 150 centimetres high, and the elk are simply gobbling them up”, complains Piisilä. Roughly 30 per cent of the saplings on the piece of land have been badly damaged by the four-legged visitors. One method used to keep the elk away was pieces of soap hung on the saplings. It didn’t work. And there seems to be no guarantee that the spraying is going to be any more effective. “We have so far come to the decision that we will not be planting any more seedlings”, adds Piisilä. A total of 795 elk were shot last autumn in the municipality of Salla (which admittedly does cover an area of nearly 6,000 square kilometres). Five years ago the number was around 400. What happens when the crown of a small pine gets nibbled by a browsing elk is that a new crown springs up alongside it, causing the tree to grow crooked. In addition, the presence of herds of heavy-hoofed elk trampling through the sapling stands in the winter leaves a good many of them flattened. In the winter, young pine trees are the main diet of elk passing through the area. The damage done to the young trees does not kill them, but it does put a severe blight on their future value as sawn timber: the affected trees are good only for cellulose pulp production, where the return for the owner is appreciably less than if the trees were to go as logs. http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Forest-owners+fighting+a+losing+battle+against+hungry+elk+/113
5230568156

Ethiopia:

10) Tucked inside a fancy black box, the $26-a-pound Starbucks Black Apron Exclusives coffee promised to be more than just another bag of beans. Not only was the premium coffee from a remote plantation in Ethiopia “rare, exotic, cherished,” according to Starbucks advertising, it was grown in ways that were good for the environment — and for local people, too. Companies routinely boast about what they’re doing for the planet, in part because guilt-ridden consumers expect as much — and are willing to pay extra for it. But, in this case, Starbucks’ eco-friendly sales pitch does not begin to reflect the complex story of coffee in East Africa. Inside the front flap of Starbucks’ box are African arabica beans grown on a plantation in a threatened mountain rain forest. Behind the lofty phrases on the back label are coffee workers who make less than a dollar a day and a dispute between plantation officials and neighboring tribal people, who accuse the plantation of using their ancestral land and jeopardizing their way of life. “We used to hunt and fish in there, and also we used to have honeybee hives in trees,” one tribal member, Mikael Yatola, said through a translator. “But now we can’t do that. … When we were told to remove our beehives from there, we felt deep sorrow, deep sadness.” No coffee company claims to do more for the environment and Third World farmers than Starbucks either. In full-page ads in the New York Times, in brochures and on its Web page, Starbucks says that it pays premium prices for premium beans, protects tropical forests and enhances the lives of farmers by building schools, clinics and other projects.In places, Starbucks delivers on those promises, certainly more so than other multinational coffee companies. In parts of Latin America, for instance, its work has helped improve water quality, educate children and protect biodiversity. Inside many Starbucks outlets across America, the African décor is hard to miss. There are photographs and watercolors of quaint coffee-growing scenes from Ethiopia to Tanzania to Zimbabwe. Yet such images clash with the reality of African life. Since 1990, Ethiopia’s population has jumped from 52 million to about 80 million: two new Los Angeleses. The more people, the less there is to go around. Ethiopia’s per capita annual income is only $180, one of the lowest on Earth. The environment is hurting, too, as coffee and tea plantations — as well as peasant farmers — spread into once wild areas, raising concern about the demise of one of the country’s natural treasures: its biologically rich southwestern rain forest. http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/393917.html

Tanzania:

11) Tanzania’s Nou forest, in the Manyara region of the country’s temperate north-east, provides livelihood for over 200,000 people. They depend on it for food, water and a valued raw material – raffia, from the Raffia Palm (Raphia). Raffia is part of daily life in the forest, where an abundant water supply and fertile soils provide favourable growing conditions. The versatile palm has multiple uses: raffia culms (stems) are commonly used as supporting beams in buildings and the leaves make effective roof covering. There is also a long-standing tradition of raffia use in textiles – baskets, mats, hats and rope can be woven from the flexible fronds. These goods were produced primarily for use within the villages, but are now sold locally and abroad, generating much-needed income. Previously the situation was very different when a combination of rapid population growth and the need for productive agricultural land devastated large areas of the forest. In particular, unrestrained grazing, illegal logging and uncontrolled forest fires contributed to soil erosion, silting of the rivers and destruction of the area’s biodiversity. Over-harvesting and unsustainable methods of collecting raffia also contributed to the destruction of parts of the state-owned forest, threatening the village’s water supplies and depleting most of the raffia. Faced with a potential environmental catastrophe, the Tanzanian government banned the collection of raffia from the forest. With the help of two NGOs, the ban has been revoked and forest communities are now weaving their way to a brighter future. FARM-Africa Tanzania and SOS Sahel Ethiopia established the Nou Joint Forest Management (JFM) project, a participatory forest management (PFM) scheme, bringing villagers and the government together to manage the forest sustainably. http://africanagriculture.blogspot.com/2007/09/tanzanian-region-learns-sustainable.html

Uganda:

12) Bridget Andrio, who left Moyo while still a baby, recently returned after eight years to a whole new world of beautiful mother nature, different from what she was used to in Kampala. On arrival, Andrio fell in love with the trees, preferring to spend most of her time under the mango, neem and orange trees. Bridget is one of the people, who on visiting Moyo town, cannot resist appreciating the beautiful tall green trees in many homes. Fifteen years ago, Moyo was a dusty town, where all hopes of returning to normalcy were thwarted by the dry winds which echoed the approach of the Sahara Desert. However, all hopes dwindled with the incessant bombing raids by the Sudanese Air force. The name antonov became an abomination as at the sound of a plane, people would scamper out of their houses to take cover in the nearest ditches or under trees. When five people, including three of the same family were killed in a bombing raid near Moyo Technical Institute in 1993, President Yoweri Museveni visited the site and advised residents to plant trees to reduce the impact of the missiles. The result was instantaneous. People rushed to plant mangoes, guavas, oranges and cashew nuts in their compounds. Teak trees, commonly known as tikka, were used to demarcate land as neem trees were planted for medicine. No technology could save the residents as the antonovs flew beyond the range of UPDF anti-aircraft missiles. The only choice was to plant trees. http://allafrica.com/stories/200709240241.html

12) Today’s post is a lot more somber compared to last weeks, however the topic I am about to discuss is one that has been weighing on my mind a lot over the past week. I feel this is an important issue to discuss. Hopefully this post will give you all an idea of the situation the chimps and many other wildlife here are facing. The chimps that live in the forest around our site are living in a forest that has been heavily logged, and until just the past week I had no idea how heavily logged their territory really was. For the past week, Alex, Kennedy and I have not been able to find the chimps. While we have been hearing many vocalizations from them, and often very close by, we have been unsuccessful at actually seeing them. Sometimes their calls sound like they are directly beside us, unfortunately, since they are not fully habituated, as we move closer they also move, but farther away from us, making it impossible to actually capture a glimpse of them. This situation has been somewhat discouraging, but so goes field work…you have good days and bad days and some weeks are harder than others. I’m just thankful that I get to spend every day in the forest! Anyway, back to our issue at hand, logging. Alex, Kennedy and I have been walking through the forest a lot more over the past week in our search for the chimps, therefore becoming more familiar with the terrain and territory of our group. I have come to realize that their entire forest is actually many small patches of forest connected by grasslands and logged areas. Yesterday we came across 13 different logged sites, and 5 of these were all within several hundred meters of each other. If logging continues at the rate it has been, the forest will soon become smaller and smaller patches and the grasslands in between will widen, making it not only difficult, but also dangerous for the chimps to move among the forest patches. http://andreadurcik.blogspot.com/2007/09/sad-state-of-things.html

Brazil:

13) Jurua Forestal was first certified for FSC by the California-based Scientific Certification Systems Inc in April 2002. At the time of the certification, Jurua held 25,000 hectares of rainforest in the Brazilian state of Para, but was reported by SCS to be exploiting 2,000 hectares per year. The company was therefore known at the time of FSC certification to the operating on the shockingly unsustainable logging ‘cycle’ of 12.5 years. Even SCS were forced to note that “this farm will only have enough wood to supply the sawmill alone for a period of 10 to 15 years. JURUÁ is aware that it must find other areas to supply the sawmill so that it can maintain the 30-year harvest cycle on this area”. SCS nevertheless proceeded to issue the certificate, and there has been no report subsequently that Jurua has obtained other areas of forest – not that this would make much difference to the ‘sustainability’ of what has already happened. A further major flaw in the certification was whether the forest should or shouldn’t have been classified as ‘High Conservation Value Forest’. SCS reported that the area consisted of a patchwork of diverse lowland rainforest types on different soils. A study was also conducted into the primate diversity of the forest, revealing that no fewer than seven primate species were present. Despite this, SCS decided not to classify the area as HCVF, which would have led to tighter certification requirements. SCS did, however, insist on no fewer than 23 ‘conditions’ for the issuance of the certificate, along with 14 ‘recommendations’ (a full copy of SCS’s Public Summary Certification report, which also includes the results of subsequent annual audits, is available for download below). But although SCS were evidently aware of the multiple problems with Jurua Forestal’s operation from the outset, they nevertheless failed to use the standard FSC practice of defining Major or Minor ‘Corrective Action Requests’ for the company, which would enable FSC to keep a close check on whether Jurua was dealing with any issues which might conflict with their certification status. http://www.fsc-watch.org/archives/2007/09/22/SCS_certification_of_Jurua_Forestal__Brazil__FSC_
plumbs_new_depths_of_bad_practice
Guyana:

14) Senior Economist at CI Dr Richard Rice, who brought the concept to Guyana, said that the problem that conservationists face is that “if destruction pays and conservation doesn’t,” then the first will always win over the latter Conservation International (CI) Guyana since establishing the Upper Essequibo Conservation Concession (UECC) five years ago has reported strong partnerships with communities nearby and announced plans to seek an extension of the concession. Celebrating the fifth year anniversary at Cara Lodge on Friday night were Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, other government officials, members from CI Washington office and non-governmental organizations. On July 17, 2002, Conservation International signed a 30-year lease with the Guyana Forestry Commission for the management of the Upper Essequibo Conservation Concession – an area of approximately 200,000 acres of pristine rainforests in a watershed area within the forestry zone in the upper Essequibo River. According to Manager Eustace Alexander of Conservation Science at CI Guyana, within the next five years CI plans to implement new initiatives to leverage new sources of funding and petition the government for geographic expansion of the present conservation concession. They also plan to ask for the inclusion of the site into the legally protected area when the National Protected Areas System becomes enacted. In addition, CI also intends to explore a greater variety of
partnership arrangements, particularly with Guyana’s private sector and
multinational developmental agencies. Already a corporate sponsor is on board with the concession – Save Your World Corporation which makes personal care products in the United States. Save Your World President Scott Cecil was present to mark the
five-year anniversary. The communities closest to the site are Apoteri (50 miles away); Rewa (70 miles away) and CrashWater (100 miles away). These communities are dependent upon the forest and its resources for their livelihoods, noted Alexander, since the communities “would like to secure their forests from the perils of development (e.g. logging) and still achieve socio-economic development.” http://guyanaforestryblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/ci-to-seek-bigger-essequibo.html

Chile:

15) The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially incorporated more than 2.17 million hectares of Chilean temperate rainforest – along with 22 other sites around the world – into the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The move was made official at a meeting at the organization’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) Bureau in Paris last week. The area, now known as the “Southern Andes Temperate Rainforest Biosphere Reserve,” spans the area from the northern border of Chile’s Region X south along the Argentine border through to the Futaleufú National Reserve. “More than 1.5 million hectares of temperate rainforest are in this area,” said Luis Cárdenas, director of the region’s National Forestry Service (CONAF). The area is also known for its high mountain ecosystem and invaluable water resources. Conservation International has previously recognized this area as a conservation “hotspot”, while The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The World Resources Institute have classified it as a Global 200 eco-region that should be preserved for its unique contribution to global biodiversity. In fact, according to Antonio Lara – director of the Núcleo Milenio Forescos of Chile’s Universidad Austral – of the species that inhabit the temperate rainforests of South America, 35 percent of the trees and shrubs, 23 percent of reptiles, 30 percent of birds, 33 percent of mammals, 50 percent of fish, and 76 percent of amphibians are unique to this area. The new reserve is home to many of Chile’s most emblematic species, such as the alerce and araucaria trees – among the oldest trees in the world – as well as the monito del monte (“little forest monkey”), the huemul, the pudú (the world’s smallest deer), and the Magellanic woodpecker (second largest in the world). All of these species are endemic to these forests. According to MAB, Biosphere Reserves are areas that promote solutions to “reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use demonstrating integrated management of land, water and biodiversity.” They are nominated by their governments and remain under national jurisdiction, though they are internationally recognized. http://www.tcgnews.com/santiagotimes/index.php?nav=story&story_id=14735&topic_id=1

Uruguay:

16) The Botnia Orion plant originally from Finland and which demanded an investment in the range of 1.5 billion US dollars is undergoing trials and is scheduled to begin production in the coming weeks in spite of the Argentine government and pickets’ ongoing opposition. A second pulp mill is to be built by Spain’s ENCE, along the coast of the River Plate. Originally to be placed a few kilometers from Botnia-Orion on the river Uruguay, the plant was relocated following strong pressure from Argentina, but also for logistic reasons and a clean up process inside the company. Partly owned by the Spanish government Ence, according to the current Socialist administration, had too many cronies from the previous Conservative administration who committed several money loosing mistakes while waiting to be removed. Another project belongs to Sweden’s Stora-Enso and is planned to be built in the center of Uruguay along the Rio Negro, a waterway which cuts the country in half (East/west) and is already dammed in three locations generating an average 30% of the electricity consumed in Uruguay. Finally during the recent visit of Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez to Brussels, Spain and Portugal, the Lisbon seated company Portucel announced its interest in constructing a paper and pulp plant in Uruguay, somewhere in the east of the country and involving an investment in the range of one billion US dollars. The four projects underline the pro business atmosphere in Uruguay plus the natural conditions for such undertakings: abundance of water, trees and rainfall. However, in the last twenty years Uruguay promoted forestry as an option for the poorest soils and now an estimated 800.000 hectares have been planted mostly with eucalyptus (80%) and the rest coniferous. An ideal input for the pulp industry.According to industry sources Uruguay still has room for another 500.000 hectares of forests, which if completed would mean 9% of the country’s 16 million hectares of land will be dedicated to the new option for the country’s economy. With a GDP in the range of 18 to 20 billion US dollars, four investments of such magnitude anticipate a significant change for the country’s economy and development possibilities. http://www.mercopress.com/vernoticia.do?id=11438&formato=HTML

India:

17) The Principal Secretary to the Government, Department of Forest and Ecology, Abhijit Dasgupta, has said that a sustainable management of forests would remain incomplete without the active participation of local people. Mr. Dasgupta was delivering the presidential address at the inaugural session of a two-day conference of forest researchers and scientists working in southern States on “present research activities and future vision” here on Tuesday. In the past, the word management was synonymous with exploitation. With the passage of time, the term had come to denote regeneration of forests with sound techniques and technological support. Enhancing biomass production was vital in that context, he said. The research programmes should be evolved to meet the changing management objectives. This would enable researchers face the new challenges, including the data demands of the forest management effectively, he said. The departmental research wings in a majority of the States had been focussing mainly on “adaptive research agenda” such as regeneration technique, provenance trial, nursery techniques and plantation management. A huge information gap between the forest management and forestry research had not been addressed, Mr. Singh said. Minister for Forest and Ecology C. Chennigappa said the State forests had a repository of over 4,500 species of flowering plants, 600 species of birds, 800 species of fishes, 160 species of reptiles, 180 species of mammals and 70 species of amphibians. http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/19/stories/2007091953910400.htm

18) Governor Rameshwar Thakur has said that all the departments, including the police, in the southern States should be involved in establishing an effective coordinating machinery for checking the loot of forest wealth and trade in wild animals. Mr. Thakur was speaking after inaugurating a two-day conference of Forest Ministers of southern States here on Thursday. Stating that the efforts of people who had preserved and protected the forest wealth for thousands of years should not be allowed to go waste, Mr. Thakur suggested that the States should immediately make concerted efforts to arrest all kinds of illegal activity. Minister for Forests, Environment and Ecology, C. Chennigappa, said that protecting the flora and fauna in the forests would be difficult without well defined and effective coordination among the States concerned. A conference of this nature should provide a permanent forum for regular interaction among all States in conceiving and enforcing effective forest protection management strategies, he said. Tamil Nadu Minister for Forests, N. Selvaraj, said that areas on the inter-State border were vulnerable to illegal activities. The situation called for cooperation and coordination among the States concerned. The common problems were encroachments, ganja cultivation and smuggling of timber and forest wealth. http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/21/stories/2007092154370400.htm

19) VISAKHAPATNAM: A Chintaluru-based Ayurvedic firm (West Godavari) which cultivates rare medicinal plants in 20,000 acres in Orissa, Rampachodavaram and Maredumilli (East Godavari) and parts of Nalgonda district is finding it difficult to ensure continuous supply of raw materials with the depletion of reserve forests in the region. The disappearance of medicinal plants have also affected the herbal medicine industry. According to the Ayurvedic firm managing director D V Srirama Murthy, the shortage of raw material has necessitated cultivation of herbal plants on a large scale to meet the industry needs besides conserving medicinal plants. The company has entered into a contract with a 100 percent ‘buy back’ guarantee to the farmers. The ayurvedic company produces medicines for arthritis, asthma, diabetes and thyroid deficiencies. The 800-year-old hospital-cum-production unit has millions of customers abroad. http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEA20070924011907&Page=A&Headline=Depletion+of+fore
sts+hits+Ayurvedic+firm&Title=Southern+News+-+Andhra+Pradesh&Topic=0

20) Thiruvananthapuram: The Opposition walked out of the Kerala Assembly yesterday after the Speaker disallowed their demand for an adjournment motion over the alleged felling of trees in a plantation. The new scandal has hit the government of the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPM)-led Left Democratic Front at a time when it is already facing a series of allegations over controversial land deals leading to the resignation of a minister and demand for another’s exit. The Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front raised the issue of alleged felling of trees in the Harrison Plantation estate in violation of rules and suggesting the involvement of the Forest department Forest Minister Binoy Viswom. On the heels of the exit of Public Works Minister T.U. Kuruvilla over a land scandal, the opposition has been demanding Viswom’s expulsion from the ministry over his alleged role in the controversial sale of a portion of the Merchiston Estate in Ponmudi near here to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/07/09/19/10154671.html

China:

21) China is already the largest importer of illegally logged timber in the world: an estimated 50 percent of its timber imports are reportedly illegal. Illegal logging is especially damaging to the environment because it often targets rare old-growth forests, endangers biodiversity, and ignores sustainable forestry practices. In 2006, the government of Cambodia, for example, ignored its own laws and awarded China’s Wuzhishan LS Group a 99-year concession that was 20 times as large as the size permitted by Cambodian law. The company’s practices, including the spraying of large amounts of herbicides, have prompted repeated protests by local Cambodians. According to the international NGO Global Witness, Chinese companies have destroyed large parts of the forests along the Chinese-Myanmar border and are now moving deeper into Myanmar’s forests in their search for timber. In many instances, illicit logging activity takes place with the active support of corrupt local officials. Central government officials in Myanmar and Indonesia, countries where China’s loggers are active, have protested such arrangements to Beijing, but relief has been limited. These activities, along with those of Chinese mining and energy companies, raise serious environmental concerns for many local populations in the developing world. http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20070901faessay86503/elizabeth-c-economy/the-great-leap-backward.h
tml?mode=print

22) SINGAPORE – Buddha sat for years under one to find enlightenment, and scientist Isaac Newton had his epiphany in another’s shade. But for many Singaporeans, trees are useful for a more prosaic quest — lucky lottery numbers. The discovery of two “monkey heads” poking out of the bark of an otherwise non-descript African Mahogany tree have sparked a minor craze in the southeast Asian state, as devotees seek numbers from what they believe to be a god living in the tree. Bananas, peanuts and peaches have been left as offerings to please the monkey god, sacred in Chinese mythology and Hinduism. A wheel-like device which kneeling gamblers turn by hand in front of the tree to spit out numbered balls has helped fuel the mania. “Most people come for lottery numbers”, explained Madam Kang, who had traveled half way across the island to join a crowd of a hundred onlookers milling around the tree on a weekend afternoon. “There were three car accidents by the tree but no one was hurt, so people believe it was the monkey god protecting them.” Not long after the monkey god reportedly aided a series of wins, another three trees bearing gnarls that resemble gods were discovered along the same — now jammed — road. http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSSP16732320070924

Burma:

23) The protests in Rangoon are taking place against a backdrop of systematic abuse of Burma’s natural resources, writes Andrew Wasley The Burmese junta, responsible for the brutal crackdown on recent protests against the authorities’ decision to hike fuel prices at a time of worsening economic conditions, is bankrolling its regime by exploiting the country’s vast natural resources at the expense of the Burmese people and environment. Oil, gas, gold and timber – amongst other commodities – are being ruthlessly sought out for extraction, sale and export abroad, often with the help of complicit foreign companies. According to campaigners, the trade in these natural resources has been linked to serious human rights and environmental abuses, including killings, forced labour, deforestation, pollution, land grabbing and compulsory relocation. The trade in Burmese timber has been particularly responsible, say pressure groups, for a disturbing number of violations and, in some cases, accused of being directly to blame for perpetuating armed conflicts and insurgency inside the country. Much of the timber coming out of Burma is being exported to China and other Asian manufacturing hubs before finding its way onto the high streets of Europe and beyond. Campaigners argue that despite large profits being made by the Burmese junta, and timber suppliers, manufacturers and retailers, little or none of this wealth is filtering back to the Burmese people. They are calling on companies and governments to cease doing business with the Burmese regime to help severe the revenue gained from these unsustainable trades. Advocacy group Global Witness, which first raised the alarm about the role played by timber in perpetuating conflict – the group highlighted in 1995 how the Khmer Rouge were trading timber to fund its murderous regime in Cambodia – argues that the continued logging of Burmese forests jepoardises any chance of peace or sustainable development in the country. NHG Timber Ltd, based in Sanderstead, Surrey, offers Burmese hardwood for sale as planks, boards and logs; marine specialists Hawke House, based in Gosport, Hampshire, uses Burmese teak for decking destined for use in the manufacturer of luxury yachts; and the Oxfordshire-based Timbnet retails sawn teak amongst other hardwoods. Pressure groups say that furniture made from Burmese teak is frequently found for sale in both specialist and high street stories. http://www.indexonline.org/en/news/articles/2007/3/burma-the-environmental-pillage.shtml

Cambodia:

24) Officials claiming to be in charge of protecting the forests of remote Pursat province have been stealing logs from independent harvesters and selling them to private merchants, an official report and villagers say. Men claiming to be from a forestry protection agency stole logs from residents of Battambang province who had come to Pursat to cut down trees, according to a report issued by the Cambodian People’s Party in Battambang. Meas Soeum, a CPP commune council member in Mong Russei town, Battambang province, said villagers complained to him they had been robbed of logs they were hired to cut. The thieves sold all the wood from carts, but returned the cattle hauling those carts to the villagers, Meas Soeum said. “As for the carts, they sold them too,” he said. It was unclear whether the villagers were illegally cutting the trees themselves. The alleged thefts underscore the nature of forest depletion in Cambodia, which occurs when common people cut trees for household use or to be sold alongside the road as charcoal, or when illegal companies cut away large swaths of forest.Villagers said the logs may have been taken by people pretending to be from a forest protection organization, or from the government itself. “Actually, there are many problems, because the forestry administration officials are also corrupt,” one villager said, speaking on condition on anonymity. “They are supposed to control the logging, but instead they seize them from the people and sell them.” http://ki-media.blogspot.com/2007/09/pursat-big-thief-stealing-from-smaller.html

Philippines:

25) Eight-year-old Ramon Madrid has never set foot in a real forest. Nor has he felt cool winds in a mountain setting or seen streams gurgling with pristine waters. The sound of birds chirping and the sight of butterflies fluttering are scenes he hears — and sees — only on television, the movies or in books. Ramon lives in a condominium located in another jungle, one made of concrete and steel. That is why “Tsikiting Gubat (Children of the Forest),” an environmental project which aims to teach children the importance of having nature in their immediate surroundings, was recently launched. “It is never too young to start teaching children how to plant trees and care for the environment,” environmentalist Odette Alcantara, founder of the Mother Earth Foundation, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net) during the project launching at her house in Quezon City. A dozen children showed up for the event where each of them was given a 5-month-old seedling of a fire tree. Children as young as 3 years old were accompanied by parents who were more than happy to see their offsprings become environmentalists at such a young age. The aim of the activity, said Odette — “Lola O” to her colleagues — is to create “mini forests” in the city by planting as many trees as possible in available spaces. For starters, the kids were told to plant the seedlings in their own backyard. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/metro/view_article.php?article_id=90291

Malaysia:

26) The Malaysian authorities have told timber giant Samling that the company will lose its licence to log on the land of the nomadic Penan, stars of tonight’s BBC television show ‘Tribe’, unless it resolves its long-running conflict with the tribe. ‘The Penan have no rights to the forest’, said Samling executive James Ho in an interview recently broadcast on Swiss television. For more than 20 years the nomadic Penan of Sarawak have blockaded roads to stop loggers destroying their forest home. Their blockades have been repeatedly destroyed by police. The latest blockade was mounted in August to prevent a Samling subcontractor from entering the forest. Police destroyed a blockade in another area in June, only to see the local Penan erect another in July. Samling was awarded a certificate for ‘sustainable’ logging of the Penan’s land in 2005, sparking immediate protests by the tribe. The Penan of Long Benali community recently refused a ‘gift’ of water pipes from the company, whose logging activities have polluted their drinking water. Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘For too long the Malaysian government has taken the side of the logging companies against the Penan, in contravention of its own laws. Let’s hope that its warning to Samling is serious and that no further logging takes place against the Penan’s wishes.’ Malaysian and international law states that the Penan have rights to their land, and must be consulted before logging takes place. Malaysia also voted in favour of the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples, approved by the General Assembly on 13 September. http://www.survival-international.org/news/2506

27) Sabah has increased the fine against those convicted of having stolen timber by ten-fold. The state has followed the step taken by Sarawak in providing a fine of up to RM500,000 for those found in possession of illegally-felled logs. The state assembly passed an amendment to the Forestry Enactment on Monday. Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Datuk Nasrun Datu Mansor, who tabled the motion, said the previous penalty of RM50,000 was not enough to deter those involved in illegal logging activities. He said of the 281 illegal cases in Sabah between 2001 and August this year, 16 of those convicted faced the maximum fine of RM50,000. However, he said, the value of the logs involved was far greater than the penalty imposed. Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman has also directed the Forestry Department to suspend sawmills found to be keeping illegal logs. “The Government has to be more stern in its actions and in driving home the message that we will not let off these irresponsible people,” said Musa, adding that the effectiveness of this penalty would be monitored and tightened further, if necessary. Independent assemblyman for Kuala Penyu, Datuk John Ghani called for illegal loggers to be slapped with fines of up to RM5mil, saying that even a revised maximum penalty of RM500,000 may not be enough to deter them as it would only mean “a few logs” to the culprits. Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (BN – Sook) said there had been instances of offenders being tipped off ahead of raids against them. “Illegal loggers are getting creative. There are reports of them setting up sawmills in the middle of the jungle so that their illegal harvests could be taken out undetected,” he added. Recalling that Sabah once possessed large tracts of forests, he lamented that illegal loggers had since stripped much of this wealth. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/9/24/nation/20070924164455&sec=nation

Indonesia:

28) The president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, will announce the Forest Carbon Protection Facility after climate change talks with world leaders, including the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in New York today. The World Bank believes its $400 million fund will expand into a multibillion-dollar program to preserve forests and reduce global warning. More than 20 per cent of greenhouse gases result from deforestation. Pilot projects for the fund are to be detailed at the pivotal December climate change conference in Bali, which is to outline a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. World Bank sources believe the fund can be a central feature of a new agreement to combat global warming. Governments, forestry companies and local communities would be eligible for compensation for agreeing to abandon logging or protect forests. Under the Kyoto Protocol, a carbon credits scheme of financial incentives excludes forest protection. Only replanting is eligible for assistance. The facility would establish a carbon credit market to help companies meet their emissions targets by paying developing countries to halt logging. Large energy firms operating coal-fired power stations – a major source of greenhouse emissions – are understood to have expressed interest in the facility. The existing carbon credit market is worth billions. The value of forest protection payouts under the new fund could rise to between $7 billion and $18 billion a year, according to estimates in the Stern report on climate change. Dr Yudhoyono and Mr Zoellick will issue a statement supporting the facility today. Indonesia is likely to become the first pilot project for logging compensation. With Indonesia hosting the December climate change conference, Dr Yudhoyono is attempting to ensure deforestation is addressed. The conference is expected to endorse testing the forest protection facility for inclusion in an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol on its expiry in 2012. Indonesia is the world’s third-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions because of rampant forest-clearing. http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/foresters-paid-to-stop-logging/2007/09/24/1190486225992.
html#

Australia:

29) Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald says the forests department has been charging the South East Fibre Exports company up to $16 a tonne for logs taken from the Eden agreement area, which covers forests from near Cobargo to the Victorian border. Logs from north of Cobargo are paid for at the rate of just under $7 a tonne. The Minister’s spokesman, Bill Frew, says it is a fair return. “The whole aim with forestry is to get a return from all products of the forest,” he said. “We don’t want to leave marketable wood lying around in the forests and the pulp wood which is produced is a by-product of the sawlog recovery operation and so if we can sell that it all contributes to the bottom line and the overall return that ultimately the whole of NSW gets from the forest.” However, anti-logging groups say their court action forced the State Government to reveal the sale price of pulp logs to the Eden chipmill. Harriett Swift from the Chipstop group says the Department of Primary Industries initially refused a freedom of information request for the information, but this decision was overturned on appeal. She says that price is scandalous. “The prices are lower than they were 10 years ago which is pretty disgusting and compared to plantation prices for equivalent wood is one seventh for what Gunns or Great Southern plantations would pay,” she said. “They’re just under-pricing it to a degree that it’s quite scandalous and it’s no wonder they wouldn’t release the information before, they find it quite embarrassing.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/09/24/2041639.htm

30) Environmentalists are trying to stop red gum logging in a forest on the New South Wales side of the Murray River today. The New South Wales Red Gum Forest Action Group is protesting against logging in the Moira State Forest, which is the subject of a case in the state’s Land and Environment Court. The group’s Naomi Hodgeson says the 20 protesters plan to prevent logging until environmental studies are carried out. “There’s an activist suspended from a tree that’s connected by a cable to the logging machinery so the machinery can’t move while we’re here and we’re going to remain here until we get a commitment from the New South Wales Government that the compartments that are subject to the court case aren’t going to be logged in the meantime,” she said. http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/2007/s2041657.htm

31) A third of the State’s plant species face extinction and South-West karri forests could be reduced to small pockets even if international climate change targets are met, experts have warned. University of WA school of earth and geographical sciences researcher Ray Wills said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had recommended a 60 per cent reduction in greenhouse emissions in the hope that global warming could be limited to just 2C, but many SW species would not survive even that rise. “The majority of species on the planet live in less than a three-degree temperature band so if we increase the temperature by three degrees we put all those species at risk,” he said. “Eucalypts and close to two-thirds of vegetation and species in the SW live in a close to two-degree temperature band. In the recent history of the planet we’ve never warmed above the temperatures we’re at now during the past 40 to 50 million years and most of the species on the planet have evolved in the past 25 million years in the kind of temperatures we live in or lower, but not higher.” National Climate Centre figures show the annual mean temperature for WA has increased by a little more than 0.8C since 1910. Species of banksia, which Dr Wills called the “canary in the coalmine” have already begun dying on a large scale in the Mid-West. “With two degrees of warming my view is for the most part there probably won’t be any banksias left in the wild,” he said. “They live in a rainfall zone between 500mm and 900mm and if it falls below that we lose them and it will affect eucalypts which grow in that band as well. Certainly up to 3000 species could be at risk with a twodegree temperature increase and we’re talking about any species with less than a 300km range — which is most of the species we know in WA.” http://exitstageright.wordpress.com/2007/09/22/karri-forests-native-plants-face-extinction-clim
ate-experts-say/

World-wide:

32) In 2004, September 21st was declared as International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations by a number of organizations throughout the world. On this day, people in every continent carry out actions to generate awareness on the impacts of large scale tree monocultures on local communities and their environments. Be they eucalyptus, pines, acacias, gmelinas, oil palm or other types of monoculture tree plantations, they are all mostly aimed at feeding northern consumers with growing volumes of raw materials extracted in southern countries at a huge social and environmental cost. Wasteful consumption patterns in the north are displacing food production in countries where malnutrition and hunger are already a major problem for millions of people. Market-based export policies are leading to decreased food sovereignty in food producing countries. Local communities are displaced to give way to endless rows of identical trees that displace most life forms in the area. Water resources are depleted and polluted by the plantations while soils become degraded. Human rights violations are rife, ranging from the loss of livelihoods and displacement to repression and even cases of torture and death. While communities suffer as a whole, plantations result in differentiated gender impacts, where women are the most impacted. New threats are emerging that could increase even further the area occupied by these “green deserts”, as well as their social and environmental impacts. The looming disaster of climate change has resulted in the promotion of “solutions” that not only do not solve the problem but that create yet more suffering for local communities. So- called “carbon sink plantations” (carbon dumps), so-called “green fuels” (agrofuels) and so-called “improved trees” (genetically engineered) are examples of such “solutions”. The millions of hectares of land already occupied by pulpwood, timber and oil palm plantations could be dwarfed by yet more millions of hectares that are now being targeted for fast wood plantations to absorb the carbon emitted by the use of fossil fuels, for oil palm plantations to produce biodiesel for feeding cars, for frankentrees to absorb more carbon than natural trees or for producing ethanol for energy consumption. None of this is science fiction: it is already happening. We must stop it. But the only way for achieving this aim is to increase our support to communities that are in the frontline in the struggle against plantations and to force governments to change course. On this day we call on the peoples of the world, and particularly on northern citizens to join in and help to make things change http://www.globaljusticeecology.org

33) There are now 41,415 species on the IUCN Red List and 16,306 of them are threatened with extinction, up from 16,118 last year. The total number of extinct species has reached 785 and a further 65 are only found in captivity or in cultivation. One in four mammals, one in eight birds, one third of all amphibians and 70% of the world’s assessed plants on the 2007 IUCN Red List are in jeopardy. http://www.countdown2010.net/china/extinction-crisis-escalates-red-list-shows-apes-corals-vult
ures-dolphins-all-in-danger

34) Three years ago, in response to an article I wrote about the pulp industry’s involvement in research into genetically modified (GM) trees,[1] I received an email from the FSC Secretariat in Oaxaca, Mexico. “I assume you are aware,” read the email, “that the only forest certification scheme that has a clear position against GM trees is the FSC scheme, and that this issue is particularly relevant to large plantation companies that have the resources to invest in this kind of research and development.” Without FSC, the email continued, activists opposing the development of GM trees would be “left looking for some other practical way of heading off the use of GM trees.” But does FSC really have “a clear position against GM trees”?[2] Criterion 6.8 of FSC’s Principles and Criteria is clear: “Use of genetically modified organisms shall be prohibited.” Strictly interpreted this would mean that a company carrying out laboratory research into GM trees (and/or financing such research) should not be certified under the FSC system, because that would involve the use of genetically modified organisms. But rather than upholding this clear position on GM trees, FSC’s policies and standards weaken Criterion 6.8.[3] In June 1999, FSC’s General Assembly approved a motion to complete an FSC Policy on GMOs. “This policy should address among other things the Precautionary Principle. A draft of such clarification and policy should be submitted to the membership for review and comment within 6 months,” the motion stated.[4] In 2000, FSC duly produced an “Interpretation on GMOs”, which states that “The use of GMOs is prohibited in certified forests, and would normally constitute a major failure of Principle 6.”[5] But the Interpretation does not exclude GM trees planted by the company outside the area to be certified. And why does the word “normally” appear? Under what circumstances could the use of GMOs not constitute a major failure of Principle 6? FSC’s “Interpretation on GMOs” was approved by FSC’s Board in May 2000. Yet the interpretation includes the following statement: “This draft has been prepared by secretariat staff. It does not have official status as an FSC position. . . . Please send your comments to the secretariat.” http://chrislang.org/2007/09/25/clear-as-mud-fscs-position-on-gm-trees/

234 Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 37 new articles about earth’s trees! (234th edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

–British Columbia: 1) enabling bankrupt loggers, 2) New coastal stilldelayed,3)SaveStill creek, 4)Queen Charlotte cut level declines, –Washington: 5) Weyco can even clearcut along the roads,
–Oregon: 6) Army corps to cut 120 Birch Trees, 7) Industry doesn’t prevent fires,
–Idaho: 8) Limit home building to limit firefighting costs
–Montana: 9) State lands salvage logging is out of control
–Colorado: 10) Eagle Nest Wilderness
–Michigan: 11) Property owner in trouble for cutting 1,200 trees
–USA: 12) Battling an Industrial Strength Recreation agenda
–Canada: 13) The final logging plan
–Africa: 14) China takes Africa
–Algeria: 15) War ruins lives and forests
–Cameroon: 16) stopping illegal logging makes forests more profitable
–Tanzania: 17) Stopping a forest officer who was doing his job
–Uganda: 18) heavy rainfall and deforestation
–Zimbabwe: 19) 400 000 hectares of forest lost annually
–Namibia: 20) Family logging
–Guatemala: 21) Marlin mine –Nicaragua: 22) Father Andres Tamayo
–Brazil: 23) Logging, mining, ranches go bust in 20 years, 24) Kicking out envoros, 25) new lower middle class, 26) Hardwood farmers seek investers,
–Paraguay: 27) Wildfire destroys 2.47 million acres
–Tibet: 28) Planting 53,000 hectares of trees
–Southeast Asia: 29) Mekong river
–Philippines: 30) reforesting with mangroves
–Malaysia: 31) Burden of proof on loggers
–Indonesia: 32) Selling carbon credit conservation, 33) doubling palm oil production,
–Australia: 34) 128 scientists oppose Gunns, 35) Industry disgust at the VEAC,
–World-wide:36)How conservation strategies fail, 37)Heroes At the Portals of Initiation,

British Columbia:

1) Two years ago P&T was beginning to log mountain caribou habitat in Boyd Creek, a tributary of the Incomappleux. Protesters blocked the road. The Supreme Court ordered them to move, but before they could break camp, a massive, natural rock fall came down on a nearby bridge. As Pope & Talbot logging company thrashes in the last throes of bankruptcy, desperately seeking cash to pay off its creditors, the Ministry of Forests is suddenly working to open the only road into the Valley. There the company holds rights to log antique inland rainforest with trees up to 1,800 years old and four metres thick, as well as high-elevation forest needed by the endangered Central Selkirk mountain caribou. On September 14, the Valhalla Wilderness Society received word that Ministry of Forests is opening the road. The Incomappleux River is a very important tributary to the Columbia River system for spawning bull trout, a blue-listed species at risk. At this time the trout are fighting their way up the river to spawn. Due to the steepness of the canyon it is impossible to prevent debris from entering the river. Craig Pettitt, a director of the Valhalla Wilderness Society, inspected the area and found that the Ministry of Forests had felled trees into the river. “This is a big subsidy by the taxpayers to P & T and whatever mining interests have been lobbying for access. Are the last remaining big trees and the last remaining habitat for these endangered species going to be wantonly destroyed to pay off Pope & Talbot’s bills?” http://www.vws.org

2) “Minister Coleman told the legislature in March that he would release a new coastal forestry plan in May, and this followed a string of broken promises of earlier release dates for the plan. Now it’s September and we’re still waiting for a recovery plan for the coastal forest industry,” said Bob Simpson, the MLA for Cariboo North and the NDP’s forest critic, in a recent news release. Simpson came to Campbell River last May to speak at a United Steelworkers union meeting. At the time, he warned that workers needed to be ready to weather coming changes to the forestry industry. He pointed out how in the past, Campbell River has survived economic downturns and changes to the forestry industry while other communities have withered to almost nothing. But that could change. “Campbell River has been protected to some point from the transitions. I don’t think that’s going to continue much longer,” he said. He also told Steelworkers that the Elk Falls mill’s days were numbered. “Pulp – not to be crass – is on its last legs in B.C.,” he said. With 600 pulp and paper mill workers off the job since August 31, and no end in sight for the coastal forestry strike, his words could prove to be prophetic. Catalyst Paper is struggling to weather the strike, which has curtailed the mill’s supply of wood chips which it uses to make pulp and paper. Simpson says he is pressuring Coleman to reveal his plan in order to jump-start the coastal industry. “The coastal forest industry needs leadership, not excuses and delays. The release of the B.C. Liberal plan may act as a stimulus to help move the collective bargaining discussions along and can serve as a place to start a real debate about the future of the Coast industry,” Simpson said. http://www.campbellrivermirror.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=6&cat=23&id=1067061&more=0

3) Specific to the Still Creek watershed, the City of Burnaby did approve the integrated stormwater management plan for Still Creek, and this plan identifies ecologically sensitive areas such as Willingdon, which is prone to flooding every year. Trees absorb water. Asphalt and more cars do not absorb water. The Willingdon area of Still Creek is an ecologically sensitive area that is also home to many species of birds. It is difficult to comprehend that the City of Burnaby would approve the Still Creek integrated stormwater management plan; would spend civic dollars in meetings, PowerPoints and promotions of the river; write a new bylaw for trees and officially protest Highway 1 due to the adverse environmental impact. And yet, without qualm, it would fell 12 hectares of alder forest on the north side of Still Creek to turn it into a parking lot for more cars. This definitely sends mixed signals. Why the city isn’t making any demands on the developers to build Leeds gold and offset plant 12 hectares’ worth of size trees in the Still Creek watershed is indeed bewildering and inconsistent behavior that serves only to erode the public trust. To the City of Burnaby’s credit, there is a public hearing for the proposed car lot near Still Creek set for Oct. 23. For any who may want to comment on the damage, they will listen. To set the record straight, it wasn’t just the air quality and it’s more than just a tree. http://www.canada.com/burnabynow/news/opinion/story.html?id=d850a6af-d979-4cbb-94c8-c22cd880ac
fd&k=48346

4) Lands Minister Pat Bell has pledged that the land-use plan will assure a harvest of 800,000 cubic metres a year, down from the current allowable annual cut of 1.3 milli Queen Charlotte Islands — cubic metres. However, Guujaaw said that an independent report commissioned by the government on timber harvesting shows the 800,000 cubic-metre target is not economically feasible if agreed-to protected areas and special zones go ahead. “That report was done with the Ministry of Forests and it says it is physically possible to come up with 800,000 cubic metres but is it economic?” he said. Guujaaw said the Haida are standing behind the plan but are working toward an agreement that could allow 800,000 cubic metres initially. “We have agreed to that being an initial place to land for a while until we figure out what needs to be done to stabilize things here.” The forest industry is seeking over one million cubic metres a year, an objective companies say is possible if some of the details in the plan — such as the number of trees that must be left standing to protect a monumental cedar — are changed. The issue, said Hanif Karmally, chief financial officer at the Teal Jones Group, is that industry makes investments based on the assumption that annual harvests will be maintained. Teal Jones invested $40 million in a new small-log mill in Surrey on the basis that it would have access to its allowable annual cut from its licence in the Queen Charlottes. The Haida are concerned that licences are being treated as a commodity, being bought and sold by operators who log for a few years and then move on. Guujaaw said over the last eight years, the largest licence on the islands, held by Western Forest Products, has had four owners, beginning with the 1999 sale of MacMillan Bloedel to Weyerhaeuser. “Nobody is here for the long term. Everybody is hoping to make a buck in the short term,” he said. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=3b7d9491-9fb0-475f-a234-46cfef5
e533f

Washington:

5) Weyerhaeuser engineer Jim Hunt told the group how vital infrastructure – such as a state highway or the Pacific Power transmission line to Cannon Beach – sometimes forces timber companies to work with multiple agencies to re-arrange logging operations.
That was the case in a 33-acre clear-cut at its Mail Corner unit, which lies alongside Highway 26 southeast of Cannon Beach and has a fish-bearing creek and a power line criss-crossing through it. “This was definitely one of our most challenging sites,” said Hunt. “This unit did require a lot of input from a lot of agencies.” All logging in the state is subject to laws requiring companies to leave a buffer of trees standing alongside streams and major highways. But leaving scenic or stream buffers too close to the highway or power lines can present a hazard to drivers and neighboring towns, said Hunt, especially during winter storms that blow through the North Coast and knock down unprotected tree stands. Working with officials at the Oregon Department of Forestry, Pacific Power and Light, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Weyerhaeuser eventually worked out a way to cut more buffer trees to protect power lines and highway drivers. In exchange, the company removed a log culvert to improve fish passage on Mail Creek. Timber companies have teamed up with watershed councils and citizen volunteers on voluntary habitat restoration projects, said Glenn Ahrens, an Oregon State University extension forester and organizer of Thursday’s tour. http://www.dailyastorian.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=398&ArticleID=45258&TM=38092.3

Oregon:

6) PORTLAND – Work has begun to cut down more than 120 birch trees that the Army Corp of Engineers claims must be cut down to protect the levee. The trees are along Marine Drive in the Bridgeton neighborhood just east of Interstate 5. Officials say it will take four or five five weeks to cut them all down Residents are objecting, saying that recent scientific proof shows the trees actually protect the levee, and the drainage district does not have to cut them down. The neighborhood wants the district to wait until the Corps finishes another look at the scientific evidence on the issue. But the Corps says it can’t wait without taking more risks on the levee. http://www.koin.com/Global/story.asp?S=7102068

6) He ignores scientific research in favor of timber industry rhetoric by falsely asserting that intensively logging old trees will minimize wildfire and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the myths perpetuated in Dennison’s commentary: Myth 1: Managed forests don’t burn. Thinning and even clear-cutting of forests is no guarantee that a forest won’t burn. Thinning may reduce fire severity; however, poorly planned or executed thinning may actually increase the susceptibility of a forest to fire by increasing wind speeds and temperatures beneath the forest canopy. Myth 2: Wildfires are only raging in our unmanaged national forests. The majority of wildfires burning across the country have been in managed forests, and a preponderance of wildfires occur on private land. Myth 3: Forests “locked up” as wilderness, roadless or parks are more subject to catastrophic wildfires. Historically, intensively managed stands are the forests most likely to be characterized as overstocked (crowded) and therefore likely candidates for high severity wildfire. If we are going to get a grip on our problems, from global climate change to local forestry, we need facts and good data, not timber industry spin. — Rich Fairbanks, Jacksonville http://blogs.venturacountystar.com/vcs/letters/archives/2007/09/forest_fire_smo.html

Idaho:

8) This year, taxpayers will spend an estimated one billion dollars to protect homes from wildfires. A new report out Tuesday says the worst is yet to come. Unless policy makers and home builders decide to change the pattern of development. Correspondent Elizabeth Wynne Johnson reports. Lightning and wind may be beyond human control. But building in the likely path of wildfires isn’t. That’s the message behind a study by environmental research group Headwaters Economics. The study added up all the private land bordering on public forest land in 11 western states. It found only a small percentage has homes and cabins on it. Getting rural counties to restrict further building on the rest of it may be an uphill battle. But that’s exactly what Headwaters’ Montana-based executive director Ray Rasker hopes to do. Ray Rasker: “We’re allowing the permitting of homes next to the forest boundary without really understanding the true costs – both to firefighters, to taxes, and also in terms of how it ties up agencies’ budgets so they can’t do other things.” The report predicts that if just half of the available land alongside public forests were developed, annual firefighting costs could quadruple. http://headwaterseconomics.org/wildfire

Montana:

9) “Unfortunately, this is becoming pretty common for us now,” said Hayes, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Southwest Land Office’s area silviculturist. “We have to look at fire salvage sales almost every year now. It’s something you don’t necessarily want to get good at.” On Tuesday, Hayes and Sarah Pierce, DNRC’s Clearwater Unit management forester, were busy developing plans for harvesting dead and dying trees and to complete accompanying restoration work on a bit less than 2,000 acres of state lands burned by the 36,000-acre Jocko Lakes fire near Seeley Lake. They’re not alone. DNRC foresters are putting together similar plans for school trust lands burned this summer by the Chippy Creek, Black Cat, Mile Marker 124 and Tin Cup fires. “It was a tough season for us,” said David Groeschl, DNRC Forest Management Bureau chief. Wildfires burned through about 10,500 acres of state school trust lands this summer. Somewhere near 7,300 acres of that total was forested. Most of the major fires occurred north of Missoula in western Montana. “Last year, most of the large fires happened in eastern Montana,” Groeschl said. “We probably salvaged about 5 (million) to 6 million board feet.” This year, Groeschl expects the volume of salvage timber from state lands will be in the ballpark of 26 million to 28 million board feet. The bulk of the harvest will come from Jocko Lakes and Chippy Creek. The estimated harvest volume for Jocko Lakes is between 8 million and 11 million board feet. Chippy Creek could go as high as 12 million. To ensure the state captures as much value from the timber as possible, the salvage logging has to be completed quickly. Montana school trust lands are managed, in part, to raise revenue for state schools and other public beneficiaries. About 10 percent of the state’s share of elementary, middle and high school funding is provided through the management of 5.2 million acres of state lands through revenues generated from timber, agriculture, mining and other activities. “Our defined mission is to generate revenue over the long term,” Hayes said. “We want to be able to recover some value and do what we can to keep this land productive for future generations.” http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2007/09/19/news/top/news01.txt

Colorado:

10) If you’re in an area deemed “wilderness,” you’re in a really special place, said Chuck Ogilby, a longtime Vail resident. “It makes an area absolutely pristine, and that is such an incredibly rare thing in the world today,” he said. There’s plenty of wild land around Eagle County — 85 percent of the county is public land. But that land — including its wildlife and water — can still face threats, whether it’s logging, mining or snowmobiles.
Wilderness designation helps protect land from those threats. Three such areas are already in the county: The Eagles Nest Wilderness encompasses the Gore Range, the Holy Cross Wilderness covers more than 100,000 acres around Mount of the Holy Cross, and a small portion of the Flat Tops Wilderness is in the county. Wilderness areas ban snowmobiles and mountain bikes and limit mining and logging. Ogilby said he supports the creation of more “wilderness” around Eagle County, and a new campaign is trying to do just that. Three regional groups are eyeing 670,000 acres in the White River National Forest for the “wilderness area” designation. Much of that land is in Eagle County. http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20070921/NEWS/70920042

Michigan:

11) It’s been called the largest environmental disaster in West Bloomfield’s history: 1,200 trees and saplings leveled from a wooded five-acre residential parcel off Maple Road without the township’s knowledge or approval. Cut down roughly eight years ago by a homeowner who wanted to make room for his specialty hot air balloon collection, the missing trees on Flowerstone Drive in the Maple Place Villas Condominiums remains a contentious topic in West Bloomfield. The township sued the homeowner for violating its woodland regulations — both the woodlands and wetlands on the site are protected — and the township’s wetlands and woodlands boards have denied after-the-fact permits. But township officials now want to go even further — and that means restoring the property. At the direction of the township board, West Bloomfield’s environmental staff is developing a plan to completely reforest the site, which they’re hoping a judge will order the homeowner to do at the next court hearing on Oct. 16. “It’s time that this end,” said Stan Levine, one of dozens of Maple Place Villas residents who’ve followed the case closely for years. “If this man wants to build a barn, then buy some land in an industrial park. It does not belong in a residential area.” http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070919/METRO02/709190379/1009

USA:

12) During the past 10 years I wrote and distributed some 4000 updates detailing the progress of the Industrial Strength Recreation agenda. It was never my intention to be a chronicler of the loss of what had once made the National Forests and other public lands so special — though it often times feels as if that is what I am doing. It was my belief and expectation that through a combination of outreach, activism and education, the Industrial Strength Recreation agenda could be derailed. The Western Slope No-Fee Coalition (WSNFC) has carefully gone over the 18 or so RFAs that are so far available to the public, and in just these 18 forests, the agency’s proposals over the next five years will: **close 407 campgrounds (17% of sites in these 18 forests); **reduce capacity at 464 sites (20% of the total); **remove amenities (toilets, tables, trash cans, fire rings) at 243 sites (10% of total); **turn 225 sites over to concessionaires or partners (10% of total); **implement new fees at 136 sites (6%); **and increase fees at 170 sites (7%). We don’t have time to wait until all the RFAs are published to alert Congress to these threats to our publicly-owned recreation sites! In some cases, the US Forest Service has already gone and removed water systems, toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings, and completely closed campgrounds and other developed recreation sites without ANY public notice at all. PLEASE CONTACT CONGRESS! The RFA process was not authorized by Congress; the US Forest Service calls it an internal matter. It is up to you and me to bring the RFA-PPOWs to Congress’s attention, by requesting that the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hold oversight hearings on recreation policy, particularly on the RFAs and on the agencies’ implementation of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), the public lands recreation fee program.

http://www.wildwilderness.org

Canada:

13) The Geelong Environment Council has made the following submission to the 2007-08 Wood Utilisation Plan. The council presumes that this is the final logging plan and that logging for woodchips and saw logs will cease at the end of this logging season. Many in the community felt that a success had been achieved in protecting the Otways forests with the proclamation of the Great Otway National Park and adjoining Forest Park areas. However, we now see 1120ha proposed for logging from which a mere 3335cu/m of B+ grade saw logs will be obtained with 35,000 cu/m of C and D grade logs and a massive 10,565cu/m of woodchips. Sadly 75 per cent of Otway forests logged this summer will be used for woodchips. Once again it is: `The Otways, down to the sea in chips’. (With apologies to John Masefield). Some tourism and valuable biodiversity areas will be lost, in particular near Lavers Hill. This is unacceptable. Government must be urged to compulsorily buy out a portion of the Murnane licence to at least reduce the impact of this season of logging. Areas of harvesting for woodchip grade timber should be ceased. The community made its views perfectly clear regarding protection of the Otways in the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council process. There are several issues. It is unacceptable to have coupes which will have an adverse impact on tourism and the amenity of the forest areas which have been established for the whole community and for flora and fauna protection. Therefore the coupe of 70ha near Lavers Hill must not be logged at all. Carry-over coupes must not be logged. If the timber was not extracted in the year in which it was allocated this timber must be forgone. http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/article/2007/09/20/7020_opinion.html

Africa:

14) Nairobi Lawyer Francis Okello, who is also chairman of the board of directors of Barclays Bank this week presented a paper at the Commonwealth Law Association conference in Nairobi. At first sight, China’s appetite for natural resources has come as a blessing for Africa. Indeed, it has benefits; after all, China’s demand for raw commodities has contributed significantly to Africa’s exports.” In recent days, the Chinese have come out fighting, following the recall of a range of their goods in the Western markets because they were dangerous or shoddy. Chinese diplomats have said that’s just a jealousy-fuelled campaign by Western businesses, which are being beaten out of world markets by products from its red-hot economy. Like many people on the continent, Mr Okello also thinks this good for Africa. He says in the paper: “In order to fuel this surging demand for natural resources, the Chinese Government has concentrated on acquisition of natural resources from African countries. At first sight, China’s appetite for natural resources has come as a blessing for Africa. Indeed, it has benefits; after all, China’s demand for raw commodities has contributed significantly to Africa’s exports.” I guess because of his views, the Chinese Embassy cannot say he is a jealous competitor when he notes with a heavy tone of concern that despite its good works, China pays very scant attention, if at all, to such issues as sustainable development, democratic governance or human rights, and that: “This has been greatly debated recently in relation to China’s complicity in the Darfur conflict in Sudan.” “This opportunistic ambivalence also exists with regard to the practice of Chinese mining and logging companies abroad”. The paper notes, for example, that approximately 70 per cent of China’s timber import from sub-Saharan Africa is illegal. In Gabon and Cameroon, it is estimated that the Chinese evade taxes on 60 per cent of the area allocated as forest concessions. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chinese companies are reported to clear three times more trees than allowed. Then, they also don’t live up to the obligation to process a part of their exports in the country of origin. http://allafrica.com/stories/200709130048.html

Algeria:

15) During the height of the fighting in Algeria, many forests were burnt and trees cut down near main roads to prevent Islamists using them as cover to stage ambushes. Some 200,000 people have died in Algeria since Islamists took up arms in 1992 after the army cancelled an election an Islamist party had been poised to win. Violence has increased in recent months, with a wave of suicide attacks, claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb – the new name for one of the most radical Algerian Islamist groups. “Here are my boys who were ‘eaten’ by the fire,” says Ahmed Smail, holding photographs of his two boys, aged three and five. His wife also died when his village of Ath Smail in eastern Algeria was engulfed in flames during a forest fire, which some blame on the army’s campaign against Islamist fighters. “I was in the town of Tizi Ouzou when the fire reached the village. My wife called out for me, shouting and screaming. She was terrified, panicking,” Mr Smail said before collapsing in tears. “I saw their bodies – they were completely burnt. It was atrocious.” While they were the only human victims, huge areas of olive groves were destroyed – one of the region’s main sources of income. “After losing our olive and fruit trees, we cannot keep our animals, especially sheep, as there is nothing for them to graze on,” said Mohammed Seddik Smail. These are the “collateral victims” of Algeria’s fight against what it calls terrorists. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6989700.stm

Cameroon:

16) Illegal logging activities, it has been disclosed, hamper the sustainable management of the Cameroon forest and render the sector economically less performing, as about FCFA 50 billion is lost annually as a result of illegal logging. The minister explained that the government intends to carry out reforms which will enable the forest to contribute better to the national economy. To realize this objective, the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife Development has intensified control, the promotion of dialogue at the national and international levels, as well as the regular publication of disputes in the area of forest exploitation. He observed that some positive results have been obtained, though much still remains to be done. This was the reason behind the August 22 meeting, during which participants brainstormed on measures that could be put in place to improve on Cameroon’s forest governance. Participants examined issues such as timber exploitation, poaching, non timber forest products and community forest concessions. The meeting was concluded with the setting up of a six-man committee to explore present possibilities of intensifying strategies to fight against illegal logging and other destructive activities. http://www.leffortcamerounais.com/2007/09/illegal-logging.html

Tanzania:

17) “Jovin Sapora is a hard working forest officer. Kasulu District authorities have not treated him fairly by changing his place of work. We are struggling to bring him back to his former post.” Mr Bwanamdogo says that Kasulu District Council has not been fair in treating the case of Mr Sapora, who is one of forest officers in the district. Instead of being in the field to foresee forest conservation, Mr Sapora is now warming a chair at the district council, without any substantial thing to do. Mr Sapora feels that he has been mistreated because of his seriousness to fight tree felling in the district, done by senior officers including counsellors. “There have not been some reported cases of deforestation for disciplinary actions ever since the transfer of Mr Sapora and this indicates that all is not well,” says Mr Bwanamdogo. The councillors ordered Mr Sapora`s transfer to the DCs office recently where he was assigned normal duties because he was against the illegal cutting of trees and the burning of bushes. The DC says that some villagers in Kasulu district were promised by the constituency’s councillors that whoever voted for them would be permitted to use the reserved forests, adding that the promise made the villagers to be defiant in accusing Mr Sapora that he was corrupt. “I am against the transfer of Mr Sapora because he was determined in his work properly. He was also confident and a couple of cases were being reported when he was in the field,” says Mr Bwanamdogo. Mr Sapora was transferred in March last year from his working post at Kwaga/Kasangezi forest to Kasulu Town forestry office. “You are not allowed to execute any government duty without permission from the district forest office,” reads in part, a letter signed by the Kasulu district forest officer, Mr L A Sadick. http://www.dailynews-tsn.com/page.php?id=8612

Uganda:

18) In Uganda, 420,000 people have been directly affected by the floods. Six million in 22 districts are at risk of contracting water-borne diseases like dysentery and cholera, as water sources have been contaminated and latrines are overflowing. While experts point at El Nino and La Nina to explain the unusually heavy rainfall, deforestation and climate change have exacerbated the problem. Trees absorb the water and protect the soil from erosion. The mudslides in the Elgon region, which have already killed people and blocked roads, are a direct result of the careless felling of trees – for charcoal, wood, or to clear land for agriculture. Trees also absorb carbon dioxide emissions, released from industrial activities, vehicles and burning of bushes. The more deforestation, the more carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, causing global warming and erratic weather patterns. But there is more. Greenhouse gases also contribute to flooding, a study published by the journal Nature has found. Higher atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide reduce the ability of plants to suck water out of the ground and “breathe” out the excess. As a result, less water passes through the plant and into the air in the form of evaporation. And more water stays in the land, eventually running off into rivers when the soil becomes saturated, and causing flooding. http://allafrica.com/stories/200709180091.html

Zimbabwe:

19) The Forestry Company of Zimbabwe recently indicated that the country is losing large swathes of forestry, as much as 400 000 hectares annually as a result of the energy crisis. More and more people are turning to fuelwood as the energy crisis takes its toll in sub-Saharan Africa. Urban demand for fuelwood is accelerating the degradation of woody vegetation. In Zimbabwe, advanced deforestation and soil erosion in marginal areas with poor rainfall has forced many people to migrate to urban areas and in so doing increasing the demand for electricity. Deforestation is affecting many rural people, and is caused primarily by the need for fuelwood for the curing of tobacco and tea, by excessive felling of timber for domestic and export markets, by agricultural production, by urbanisation, by bushfires, and, more significantly, by demand for fuelwood by both rural and urban households. As more land around the towns and cities is further depleted of its remaining vegetation, a vicious cycle of soil erosion is set in motion. Not only is the energy crisis affecting the generation of power but the use of fossil fuel is also impoverishing the majority of Africans as more and more funds of the national budget go towards the importation of oil and other petroleum products. With world crude oil prices nearing US$80 a barrel, economies across Africa are suffering under soaring energy costs. http://allafrica.com/stories/200709180011.html

Namibia:

20) The old man lifts the axe and with it splits the hard wood with a powerful blow. Around him whole families, young children, teenagers and elderly women collect the logs and pack them into large bags. It’s a hot afternoon and the temperature hovers around 35 Celsius in the Na Jaqna Conservancy east of Grootfontein. Dozens of bags packed with logs from camelthorn trees wait along the gravel road between the Omatako Valley Rest Camp and the tiny Omatako village, 40 kilometres apart. A commercial farmer sends a truck once a week to collect the bags. They are exported to South Africa as firewood for barbecues and in winter for fireplaces in homes. “It is hard work, but since everybody helps and lends a hand, we manage,” says the old man. Only wood from dead trees is taken and the annual quota is around 300 tonnes. The farmer, Dawie Kok, pays some 150 San casual workers living in the conservancy, each supporting a family, so over 1 000 people benefit. Kok works in close co-operation with the Directorate of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture and the German Development Service (DED). “We started on a small scale but it grew as word got round and the community forest projects came off the ground,” Kok told The Namibian this week. “We are now looking at sending firewood to Portugal during the European winter, as camelthorn wood is very popular for use in fireplaces in Portuguese homes,” he added. He provides the bags, the tractor, some equipment and obtains the logging permits. He has another quota further east in the M’Kata community forest. Kok also helps with food supplies and gives workers a ride on the truck into Grootfontein so that they can stock up on maize meal, tea, tobacco and sugar. “Workers get paid per tonne of wood and on average each one earns around N$1000 per month.” http://allafrica.com/stories/200709140448.html

Guatemala:

21) The Marlin mine is in the highlands of western Guatemala and it’s almost 100 percent indigenous there. When the company- it was a Canadian company- came in around 2003, they offered to buy homes. These people are very poor, many of them sold their land. But nobody knew what open pit mining was and they got a rude awakening when the development started. They were blasting entire sides of mountains. I visited homes that were literally cracked in half because the blasting was happening too close to villages. They took me down to their farming plots and showed me where their sheep and cattle had died because they said they had drank contaminated water. And this is a huge mining operation. It just literally has sheered off entire sides of a mountain. http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.htm?programID=07-P13-00038&segmentID=7

Nicaragua:

22) When I was in Honduras I went to the Department of Olancho. And there a priest named Father Andres Tamayo lives and works. He founded an environmental organization some years ago to try and protect the forest in his region from both illegal logging and logging that is legal but is fairly rapacious because there’s very little oversight. And when Father Tamayo took me out into the forest to show me what was going on—it was pretty depressing. The loggers basically use bulldozers to push down anything in their way. Trees are taken from right from the edge of creeks, which contributes to the erosion that causes problems during heavy rains. There’s nothing left on the ground. It’s so parched because there’s no more canopy that very little can grow. Father Tamayo works with communities, with local people, to organize, sometimes get in the street, on the highways, and block these logging trucks. It’s very, very dangerous work. He also works in association with other Catholic groups around the country to—right now they’re trying to reform the forestry law. And Father Tamayo said he was hoping for some kind of reform within a year. I got there and he was conducting a wedding ceremony in a very tiny cinderblock church in one of the villages he presides over. He was clearly a very popular man, quite jovial, and when he came out of the church he changed into an Amnesty International t-shirt. He’s on their watch list actually. And just said, “let’s go see what they’ve done to the forest.” So he got in his truck with three of his military bodyguards and he went out ahead and I followed him in another truck and we went out to the forest and fortunately he didn’t tell me until after we came back that last year this was where snipers had tried to kill him and instead killed a colleague that was next to him in the car. He told me that everyday he expected it would be his last. But he didn’t have a choice. This is what he felt that he had to do. http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.htm?programID=07-P13-00038&segmentID=7

Brazil:

23) In the past three decades, 700,000 square kilometres of jungle have been consumed, 17 percent of the original forested area. Logging produces an initial boom of prosperity, because the extraction of timber, in most cases illegal, is very lucrative. Then come the farmers and ranchers. But the wealth lasts, at most, 20 years. Because of the Amazon’s abundant rainfall, farming is complicated. When the timber runs out, there is a tendency of the local economy to collapse. Only a few, mostly those working in mining, escape this pattern. This dynamic was revealed by researchers Adalberto Veríssimo and Danielle Celentano, of Imazon (Institute of Man and Environment of the Amazon) in a study published in August, “The Advance of the Frontier in the Amazon: From Boom to Collapse”, which analyses the region’s economic, social and environmental indicators. Celentano describes the deforestation as a wave that cultivates jobs and income through the exploitation of timber. But it also cultivates violence and degradation of natural resources. After the wave passes, “the conflicts diminish, as do the benefits of logging, which is especially predatory, given that agriculture cannot absorb the same amount of labour or generate the same income,” said Celentano in an interview. The experts divided the 770 Amazonian municipalities into four zones: the non-forest, which covers 24 percent of the area of sites in transition between the savannahs of the Cerrado and the jungle; areas currently being exploited (14 percent, with 26 municipalities); the already deforested (10 percent, with 218 municipalities); and the forested (52 percent of the region, with logging at five percent). Their research shows that the destruction of the forest has produced more harm than wealth in the local economy — a debt that the entire planet ends up paying. The Amazon contributes just over eight percent of Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP), but its deforestation is responsible for nearly 70 percent of the country’s climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions. Rural Amazon producers argue that if Europe and the United States logged their forests in order to grow, “we can do it too.” http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39328

24) On Aug. 20 in Juína, a municipality of northwestern Mato Grosso, dozens of farmers, with the support of Mayor Hilton Campos, expelled two French journalists and seven Greenpeace and indigenous rights activists who tried to visit a recently logged area in Rio Preto, which the Enawene-nawe people claim as their ancestral territory. “The cities along the agricultural frontiers in the Amazon are lawless lands. The reaction of the rural producers here is normal. For them, our objective is to block their agricultural and ranch projects,” Marcelo Marquesina, forestry engineer and Greenpeace campaigner for the Amazon, said in an interview. In late August, a federal court suspended 99 projects for rural settlement created since 2005 by the National Institute of Colonisation and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) in the west of Pará state. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by Greenpeace. The complaint argued that INCRA accelerated the creation of settlements in biologically rich areas of the jungle in order to benefit lumber interests. (*This story is part of a series of features on sustainable development by IPS-Inter Press Service and IFEJ-International Federation of Environmental Journalists.) http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39328

25) The Economist magazine recently identified what it described as a new lower middle class “emerging almost overnight” in Brazil and Latin America – millions of people who are “the main beneficiaries of the region’s hard-won economic stability”. Credit must go to Brazil’s president, who as a child worked as a shoe shine boy and peanut seller and only learned to read when he was 10-years-old, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. However, could the protest actions of global environmentalists threaten this booming country’s new feeling of security? They are incensed at Brazil’s importation of rainforest wood and successfully forced officials in one American seaside resort to reconsider its decision to buy $1.1 million wood from Brazilian rainforests to repair their boardwalk. In an astonishingly successful online campaign, nearly 50,000 e-mails flooded the mayor’s in-box in Ocean City, New Jersey from as far away as Australia, the Philippines, South Africa and New Zealand. However, the Mayor is worried that scrapping the deal could lead to in a lawsuit. However, this could be the start of similar campaigns which will force government leaders and other authorities to place the needs of the environment first. Ten years ago, Ocean City voted never to use tropical rainforest wood again for its 2.5-mile-long boardwalk that is a mixture of ipe and domestic yellow pine, citing the damage that logging operations are doing to the Amazon. But in January, it decided that it could use wood certified as having been harvested responsibly. Ipe is a flowering tree that towers over others in the forest canopy and can grow to 100 feet. It is Brazil’s largest timber export, 50 percent of which is sold to customers in the United States. Ipe has been used in boardwalk projects from coast to coast, including Atlantic City, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Miami Beach and Long Beach and Santa Monica, California. It is obviously big business for Brazil. But not as big as biofuels. Brazil is determined to continue its global domination as the world’s leading producer of biofuel, it wants to produce enough biofuels to power the world’s cars. However, in order to succeed, it is crucial it proves that its rainforests are not endangered as a result, that they will not be hacked down and replaced by sugar cane plantations. http://elleeseymour.com/2007/09/18/will-environmentalists-scupper-brazils-success/

26) Fazenda Vallas, a Brazilian tropical tree plantation located in western Bahia, is looking for a limited number of investment partners to join them in a project to plant tropical hardwood trees. For as little as $84,900 you can buy a 25-acre plot of land, adjacent to a federal highway, with electricity access, and planted with up to 15,000 Guanandi trees. Each parcel is expected to generate over US$3 million in revenue over 20 years (starting in year six) using today’s hardwood prices. A detailed harvest plan outlining the annual projected cash flow is available upon request. Title insurance is offered and the land can be purchased through a self-directed IRA.
These treed parcels are a hands free investment. The purchase price includes the land, closing costs, site preparation, planting and fertilizing, seedlings, 3 year guarantee on the trees planted and 5 years of real estate management. There are no extra fees or restrictions on the owners. Demand for this wood is great. Only about 1% of tropical hardwoods currently come from tree plantations and not enough new plantations are being started. Natural sources for this tree are expected to dry up within 20 years and government restrictions on harvesting Guanandi trees from Brazilian forests are about to be implemented. The expectation is for prices to soar. http://www.gringoes.com/articles.asp?ID_Noticia=1945

Paraguay:

27) Asuncion — Wildfires have destroyed 2.47 million acres in Paraguay, causing irreparable harm to the parched South American country’s biodiversity, it was reported Monday. Samuel Jara, a supervision department director for SEAM, the nation’s environmental agency, said San Pedro, the nation’s poorest region, has been the hardest hit, Prensa Latina reported Monday. He said forests and crops have been devastated and it will take years for the soil to recover so it can again be cultivated, the newspaper reported. The SEAM official said homes of indigenous people and farmers have been destroyed, and farm livestock and wild animals have been killed by the uncontrolled fires. http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2007/09/17/paraguays_forests_burn_unabated/7192/

Tibet:

28) Lhasa – With a total investment of 600 million yuan (79 million U.S. dollars), more than 53,000 hectares of trees will be planted by 2010 around major towns, alongside trunk roads, airports, scenic spots and border ports in 53 counties of seven cities. The efforts target at increasing the region’s forest coverage rate by 0.04 percent to 11.35 percent, according to the Tibet financial bureau. The new forests will help to preserve 1.86 million tons of soil and release 1.59 million tons of oxygen, as well as improve the quality of surface and underground water. In Tibet, 217,000 square kilometers — about 18 percent of China’s territory — are classified as desert and almost 400 square kilometers of land is affected by desertification every year, official statistics show. The project will also provide nearly 7,000 jobs for farmers and herdsmen. Measures were taken to preserve virgin forests, and to transform farmland and pastures to forests and grassland in Tibet during the national 10th five-year plan period between 2001 to 2005. The region, accounting for 12.5 percent of China’s total territory, will focus on forest and grass plantation to build barriers against wind and sandstorms to consolidate soil preservation. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-09/19/content_6754752.htm

Southeast Asia:

29) As it makes its journey from the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea, the Mekong River is a changing kaleidoscope of cultures, geography and plant and animal life. From a small trickle in Tibet, the river quickly gathers steam and carves magnificent gorges through Yunnan Province of China. It then turns into what it remains for most of the rest of its journey: a fast-flowing, meandering waterway that forms the heart and soul of mainland Southeast Asia. During its passage through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the Mekong bursts with color and life. One hundred different ethnic groups live in the Mekong Basin and their livelihoods and cultures are intimately connected with the river’s natural cycles. The river boasts one of the world’s most diverse and productive inland fisheries, supplying the people of the region with about 80% of their protein needs. Whether it’s the Great Lake of Cambodia (the country’s fish basket) or the tropical wetlands of the Mekong Delta (the rice bowl of Vietnam), the river sustains the people and ecosystems of the region. Yet this beautiful, dynamic and thriving river system is under threat. While the people living along the banks of the river see the Mekong as a resource to be nourished and sustained for future generations, governments and powerful foreign interests are greedily eyeing the Mekong’s vast development potential. Where the people see a free-flowing river of life, governments and dam-builders see a cascade of hydroelectric dams to power the cities of Thailand and Vietnam. The next decade is critical for the future of the Mekong. The region is riddled with undemocratic and corrupt governments who seem intent on pushing forward scores of dams on the Mekong mainstream and tributaries. China is building a cascade of eight dams on the Upper Mekong in Yunnan Province. Two of these projects have already been completed, and at least three more are under construction. The projects are already having an impact on water levels and fisheries in Northern Thailand and Laos, where people are reporting a 50% decline in fish catch since the second project, Dachaoshan, was completed in 2003. Once the bigger projects in the cascade are operational, we can expect to see far-reaching downstream impacts. http://www.irn.org/pubs/wrr/issues/WRR.V22.N2.pdf

Philippines:

30) Conservationists urged government to help stem the alarming depletion of mangroves by converting idle fishponds into mangrove forests. In a resolution issued after a pond-mangrove rehabilitation workshop in Iloilo City last week, fisheries experts and other participants urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to implement their joint memorandum on the reversion of abandoned, undeveloped and under utilized areas covered by fishpond lease agreements (FLAs) to mangrove forests. An FLA is a privilege granted by the government to a person or group to occupy and rent public lands for the raising of fish and other aquatic products. The participants, including representatives from academe, mangrove and fisheries associations, local government units and non-government organizations said laws and guidelines on mangrove rehabilitation should be implemented to help address depletion. They pointed out that mangroves are among the most important and productive habitats in the coastal zone as these protect the coastline from typhoons and tsunamis, soil erosion and flooding. Mangroves also serve as shelter and feeding grounds to many commercially important marine and brackish water species, provide food and livelihood to coastal communities, and contribute to sustainable aquaculture. However, areas hosting mangroves have dropped from an estimated 450,000 hectares in 1918 to only 120,000 hectares “due to unsustainable utilization and continued conversion to fishponds.” One of the major causes of the depletion is the failure to revert idle fishponds into mangrove rehabilitation areas as provided by laws and policies like the DA-DENR Joint Memorandum Order No. 3 Series of 1991. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view_article.php?article_id=89950

Malaysia:

31) Laws will soon be changed to place the burden of proof on those found in possession of logs instead of the authorities having to prove that the logs were obtained illegally. The amendment to the National Forestry Act, to be made within the next few months, will see those suspected for carrying out illegal logging, having to prove the commodity was obtained from legal sources. Failing which, they will be deemed to have obtained the logs through illegal means. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the new law would enable better prosecution of those involved in illegal logging, which does not only cause damage to the environment but also tarnishes Malaysia’s image in the eyes of the world. Najib admitted that prosecuting those who log illegally was currently difficult and even though cases were brought to court, the level of success was small. “This is because the need for burden of proof is high. We will fare better with this fundamental shift in the law, which we believe will be a sufficient deterrent. “We will also be using new technologies, including remote sensing to detect areas where such activities take place,” he said, after chairing the National Forestry Council’s 21st meeting on Tuesday. He said illegal logging was a multi-dimensional issue as apart from it affecting the Government’s policy in providing sustainable management to the environment, it also gave Malaysia a bad image. “The country’s wood industry is worth RM23bil a year and if developed countries take action against us for illegal logging activities, it will affect the economy. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/9/18/nation/20070918142325&sec=nation

Indonesia:

32) Carbon credits through forest conservation will play an important role in Aceh’s recovery from decades of civil strife and the devastating 2004 tsunami, which left more than 167,000 people dead and 500,000 homeless in the Indonesia province, said Aceh governor Irwandi Jusuf in meeting in San Francisco. “The world needs more forests to store carbon,” he said. “Aceh can give you these forests. This is my obsession — the forests of Aceh need to be kept well.” In one of his first moves as governor, Irwandi in March declared a moratorium on all logging in the province, which had seen an up tick in timber cutting for tsunami reconstruction efforts. The move — met with derision by some in the Indonesian forestry sector — was welcomed by environmentalists and appears to have diminished legal and illegal logging, which is rampant in other parts of the country. Aceh Governor Irwandi Jusuf, a former rebel who was one of only 40 survivors after the December 2004 tsunami struck the prison where he was incarcerated, is now one of Indonesia’s leading supporters of forest conservation funded through carbon credits. Indonesia is currently the second largest producer of palm oil after Malaysia, and soon to be number one. Irwandi says that protecting Aceh’s forests — which are some of the largest blocks of rainforest remaining on the island of Sumatra — is his top priority for rebuilding the economy. The next step, he says, is to promote economic growth through sustainable development and reforestation. “We can provide a lot of employment through a reforestation program,” said Irwandi. “People who used to be paid to cut forests can now be paid to reforest. Aceh has 3 million hectares (7.5 million acres) of degraded land that can be used for reforestation and agricultural expansion. I see three areas. Areas of no harvest which are preserved for wildlife, carbon, and other services; community forestry areas where degraded lands are replanted with fruit and timber trees that are then sustainably managed; and the remaining land for oil palm and rubber plantations. Irwandi says that Aceh needs money to start the program and believes that funds could come from carbon credits through avoided deforestation. “I think within six years we could have the world’s biggest forest carbon offset program,” he said. http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0918-aceh.html

33) Recently Indonesia revealed its plans to double crude palm oil (CPO) production by 2025, a goal that requires a two-fold increase in the oil palm yield. Under one major investment proposal Indonesia would develop about 1.8 million hectares of plantations in the border region in northern Kalimantan. Palm oil has also attracted new interests among investors partly due to its prospect to becoming the main ingredient for producing biodiesel to substitute traditional fossil fuel. Europe is at present the most aggressive region and market for biofuels which include biodiesel and bioethanol. The use of biofuels in the long run may reduce carbon emissions because during the process of growing biofuel producing plants, carbons from the atmosphere are actually stored in the plants. Contrary to the burning of fossil fuel which simply releases the carbon previously stored underground, the biofuel production-and-use can in itself create a net carbon sink. However, growing large scale oil palm plantations by converting natural forests is shrinking the carbon sink because plantations do not store carbons as much as natural forests. Additionally, for every drop of increase in palm oil production additional lands need to be occupied, unlike in the fossil oil production operation where only limited drilling sites are used. http://www.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp

Australia:

34) Scientists’ fears about environmental approval for the Gunns pulp mill are growing, along with concerns about the Tasmanian Government’s strengthening links with the forest industry. A statement signed by 128 scientists demands a new assessment of the $1.7 billion mill, which they say poses a high risk to the environment. Federal Government Chief Scientist Jim Peacock took evidence yesterday from project critics ahead of his report to federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull, which could be completed within a week. Concerns focus on the impact on Bass Strait of 64,000 tonnes of effluent being dumped each day. Oceanographer Stuart Godfrey and two other scientists told Dr Peacock’s committee that toxic effluent would wash ashore. Dr Godfrey also signed the statement, which said Gunns and the Tasmanian Government had failed to properly assess the impact of the pulp mill’s effluent on the marine environment and the Tamar estuary. Among the 128 signatories are scientists across a range of disciplines, including Dr Keith Sainsbury, who in 2004 won the Japan Prize, the world’s highest honour for ecology and sustainability research. A specialist on Tamar fish, Francisco Neira, said: “Impacts of the pulp mill’s requirement for 4½ million tonnes of wood per annum have not been assessed. Resultant impacts on biodiversity and water are therefore unknown.” The call to Mr Turnbull for a new assessment has been made despite approval of the project by the Tasmanian Parliament last month, when it accepted Premier Paul Lennon’s advice that the mill was environmentally safe. Mr Turnbull is expected to make a decision by October 11. Gunns claims the appeal by the scientists is little more than another delaying tactic. “Are they seeking additional research grants?” it said in a statement. Meanwhile, the Premier yesterday announced that the state’s new top public servant would be a former chief of Forestry Tasmania, Evan Rolley. Greens leader Bob Brown said: “This is a … pro-pulp mill appointment.” http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/128-scientists-voice-mill-fears/2007/09/17/118988143512
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35) A large contingent representing the timber industry assembled outside the All Seasons Resort in Bendigo to voice their disgust at the Victorian Environment Assessment Council’s proposed draft. The draft proposal paper contains recommendations for public land use in a 1600-kilometre corridor of land along the Murray River in northern Victoria. Its recommendations would see national parks increase by about 100,000 hectares, while the river red gum forests would be reduced from 106,910ha to 12,205ha. Domestic stock grazing, camping, timber harvesting, firewood collections, camp fires will be banned or regulated if the proposed Gunbower, Barmah and other national park proposals get the go-ahead. The proposed draft shows towns such as Cohuna, Koondrook, Nathalia and Picola face job losses and potential population losses. Timber Communities Australia secretary Faye Ashwin said the plan appalled the timber industry. The people’s sense of self and community are being damaged, we don’t believe this is fair and it’s not just.” Picola resident and sawmiller Kevin Swan said he and his wife discussed leaving the town. “It would mean I would no longer have access to the resources (from Barmah State Forest) that I use to conduct my business.” National conservation groups want the entire Gunbower State Forest made a national park to help protect threatened species. http://bendigo.yourguide.com.au/detail.asp?class=news&subclass=general&story_id=1057150&categor
y=general

World-wide:

36) Indiana University political scientist Elinor Ostrom noted many modern conservation strategies have ended in stark failures, including the catastrophic loss of Guatemalan forests and the economy-crippling Klamath River salmon kill in 2006. She argued many basic strategies are applied too generally as an inflexible, regulatory “blueprint” that foolishly ignores local customs, economics and politics. “We now ridicule the doctors who long ago used to tell us, ‘Take two aspirin and call me in the morning’ as a treatment for every single illness,” said Ostrom. “Resource management is just as complex as the human body. It needs to be approached differently in different situations. “What we are learning is that you shouldn’t ignore what’s going on at the local level,” Ostrom said. “It may even be beneficial to work with local people, including the resource exploiters, to create effective regulation.” Ostrom proposed a flexible framework for determining what factors will influence resource management, whatever the resource. She detailed her views in a special online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/index.php?feed=Science&article=UPI-1-20070918-15371900-bc-us-co
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37) The Hero At The Portals of Initiation: The center does not hold.. Oil and the resources of the earth such as soil and forests are exhausting as the mass swells. Can the hero make it through the disintegration? Can small land based, self-sufficient communities make it through, some of them? Can they carry the universal value of life through with their culture? Can they create a culture that will spread in the future that focuses on the highest development of each human as a person rather than the highest rung up the ladder of empire? This is what is being asked of the hero for initiation into human species maturity – nothing less than courage, the adherence to the culture of life over long periods of time and transformation: The total drylands of the planet are 7.9 billion acres of which 61% are desertified, that is, driven by human abuse toward uselessness. Globally, 23% of all arable crop lands have been lost since 1945 through human use and experts say that all arable land on the planet will be ruined in 200 years. It is estimated that prior to the human culture that we term civilization, one third of the planet was covered with closed canopy forest. Now forests cover 10% of the earth. Coral reefs and mangrove swamps which are considered the “incubators” of sea life are dwindling precipitously. Soil is the basis of the planetary terrestrial life. In the best of circumstances such as old growth forests and prairies, soil builds at the rate of one inch each three hundred to a thousand years. It is being exhausted and is eroding away. The way that the industrial system has continued to increase the food supply is by trading off soil fertility for fossil fuel energy through artificial fertilizers. We do not need to continue filling in the details. Our intellect can draw the conclusion for us. An exponentially exploding world population with increasing material consumption, based on dwindling resources and a dying planet, won’t work! http://www.Rainbowbody.net/Finalempire

233 Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 36 new articles about earth’s trees! (233rd edition)
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–British Columbia: 1) Climbing giant trees, 2) Western to sell 1,800 hectares, –Washington: 3) Tree climbing dog becomes celebrity, 4) 86 Vashon acres for wildlife,
–Oregon: 5) BLM’s puffs up wood growth on paper, not in the forest
–California: 6) Remembering Gypsy, 7) Logging a forest to pay for it, 8) Logging along streams again in Tahoe, 9) Oaks make masts? 10) FS Fires her for not lying enough, 11) Pacific Lumber doesn’t log old trees? 12) Spooner treesit,
–Michigan: 13) Overstocked condition abound for those who want to log on DNR land
–Kentucky: 14) More on logging of Robinson forest
–New Jersey: 15) The first major blow to FSC
–USA: 16) Our tree planting binge gets us nowhere
–Canada: 17) Pulp ship blockaded, 18) future of Acadian forests,
–UK: 19) Restoring woodlands,
–Hungary: 20) Vatican to reforest part of Tisza river
–Mexico: 21) Women’s Environmentalist Organization of the Sierra of Petatlan
–Costa Rica: 22) One of the first countries to curb deforestation still failing
–Brazil: 23) Veracel might get FSC? 24) Enron exec to develop biofuels, 25) Cattle ranching threatens 2/5th of the Amazon, 26) Biofuels a threat to diversity,
–Vietnam: 27) Reforestation and how Agent Orange still lingers
–Madagascar: 28) Earthwatch volunteers help scientists save Lemurs
–Taiwan: 29) GE trees made that take up triple the CO2
–Philippines: 30) 8.8 million hectares for biofuels? 31) Logging indigenous lands,
–Papua New Guinea: 32) ANZ Banking Group destroying forest
–Australia: 33) Gathering of enviros for forests, 34) Queensland purchases further north,
–Tropical Forests: 35) Friends of the Earth’s: Life after Logging, 36) Forests and Coffee,

British Columbia:

1) They hook my harness up to a rope while another climber, who has climbed up the tree beforehand, is attached to the middle of the same rope. A pulley allows him to act as my counterweight and a ground crew uses the rope to pull him down to the ground. I am lifted gently up into the crown of the tree. Moving up along the massive trunk of this fir tree reveals deep grooves woven randomly in the bark, some as deep as six inches. Many species of lichen adorn the brown/grey bark with bright splashes of white, green and yellow. I float by the remains of a nest made by a tiny bird, perhaps a winter wren, fitted snuggly in a hole bored by a woodpecker. At about 100 feet a lush aerial garden is wedged into the crotch where the first branch juts out from the trunk. Licorice ferns pock out of the moss and lichens clinging to the top of this massive bough. The bright red dots of huckleberries contrast with the various shades of green and yellow moss. The Red Creek Fir is a world champion tree with the greatest volume of its species in the world. This is according to the Big Tree Registry of British Columbia, which lists the top 10 trees of every species http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bigtree For some reason this fir was allowed to stand while the forest around it was completely leveled by clear-cut logging, in fact the old logging road runs past the base of this incredible tree. This giant is 13.28 m (43’7”) in circumference, 73.80 m (242’) tall, with a crown spread of 22.80 m (75’). I continued up the elevator to approximately 150 feet where the view of the San Juan Valley is incredible. Unfortunately gaping holes in the forest below reveal recent clear-cut logging in second growth forest. The entire valley has been logged and now Western Forest Products (WFP) is logging the area for the second time, faster, with larger machinery and fewer workers. We then moved to the other side of the valley where the San Juan Sitka Spruce grows. This is the largest Spruce in Canada, with an 11.66 m (31’5”) circumference, height 62.50 m (205’) and 23 m (75’) crown spread. The massive trunk branches into several adjacent trunks, which are larger than many large trees. Once the ropes were rigged I had to do some work and climbed a rope 200 feet to the top of this tree. Along the way I stopped frequently to admire the many aerial gardens along the way. Many large branches protrude from the trunks of this tree, providing platforms of moss, ferns, and small bushes. These platforms are ideal habitat for Marbled Murrelet, a red listed endangered sea bird which nests only in old growth forests. http://www.pqbnews.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=50&cat=46&id=1064872&more=0

2) Western Forest Products is selling more than 1,800 hectares of its Vancouver Island property, less than two months after saying that changes to its land would come slowly, raising concerns among everyone from timber workers to surfers. After witnessing decades of change, he said the sale of Western’s land will be “the biggest change that’s ever happened to this place.” He expects there will be job losses because of all the timber being sold with the land. Western employees won’t have a hand in the harvest. “The quota will take a considerable drop. The cutting season will be quite a bit shorter,” he said. The 31 parcels are located about 70 kilometres west of Victoria in the communities between Shirley and Jordan River, and include 734,000 cubic metres of timber that can be logged and sold before development. Western’s chief operating officer Duncan Kerr said the company evaluated its Vancouver Island holdings and decided that the land being sold is better suited to development than to tree farming. “We’re not unaware of the fact that people who have expressed interest have some form of development in mind,” he said from Western’s head office in Duncan. One particularly choice piece is four km of waterfront property in Jordan River, which Colliers International, Western’s selling agent, describes as “one of the single greatest opportunities on Vancouver Island to acquire a prominent stretch of predominantly undeveloped coastline.” The 25-member West Coast Surfing Associates use that coastline, and the group’s so-called Clubbies are worried. In 1975, they built a clubhouse at the Jordan River campground owned by Western. In the mid-’80s, a sauna was added. From October to April, the spot draws surfers from around the world who catch waves that rival those in California or Australia. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070918.BCWESTERN18/TPStory/Environment

Washington:

3) …it’s about a dog from Washington that can climb 40-foot tall trees. Kodi’s owner was hoping for some national attention. But in less than a week he got CNN, ABC’s Good Morning America and dozens of other news outlets across the country. Owner Pat Tully says a crew from Inside Edition is coming by next week, too. Tully says the best part of all this recent fame is that Kodi made it to ESPN. “ESPN- I have to say was the pinnacle. To be on the top 10 plays of the day it was just– it doesn’t get any better for sports guys,” Tully said.”I’ve had to slap myself more than once to make sure I’m not dreaming. It’s been wonderful.” Tully says although he and his family are excited, Kodi has no idea what commotion she’s caused. He says she just continues to climb trees and bring people joy. http://dogblog.dogster.com/2007/09/16/illinois-bird-dog-kodi-climbs-really-big-trees/

4) A Vashon Island forest that is home to a diverse wildlife population and helps protect the headwaters of a salmon-bearing stream is being placed into protective status through King County. The 86 acres were split from a larger parcel that contains the old landfill and the current transfer station. The Solid Waste Division was interested in having the land protected because the forest provides a buffer between the transfer station and neighboring homes. This mature second-growth forest has been added to Island Center Forest, which at 366 acres is the largest preserve on Vashon-Maury Islands. The forest is owned by King County and managed by the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, in collaboration with the Vashon-Maury Island community. “The preserve offers the Island’s best set of trails for hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders and wildlife-viewing enthusiasts, and adding this property to the preserve will benefit recreational users as well as wildlife,” said King County Executive Ron Sims. The forest contains the uppermost headwaters of Judd Creek, where the stream begins to flow year-round. The diverse forest supports a wide range of wildlife, and provides trail linkage from Westside Highway through Island Center Forest to Mukai Pond and Meadowlake. More than half of the parcel contains soils that provide the highest level of water recharge into the Vashon aquifer. “This property transfer will preserve another section of Vashon Island’s largest public open space, while conserving key salmon habitat and increasing recreational opportunities for Island residents and visitors,” said King County Councilmember Dow Constantine. “Keeping this land as open space also protects the Island’s sole source aquifer.” The area was included in the 2006 Site Management Guidelines for Island Center Forest. The guidelines call for some sustainable timber harvest using modern logging techniques. Timber harvests will be done in a way that preserve forest soils and improve habitat for the benefit of birds and other wildlife, while generating some revenue for the management of the site and other natural areas on Vashon-Maury Island. http://dnr.metrokc.gov/dnrp/press/2007/0913VashonCenterForest.htm

Oregon:

5) The public relations pitch offered by timber industry and friends for increasing BLM logging is that the new plan will cut less timber than what is grown. This definition of sustainability… so-called “sustained yield”, where tree growth equals or exceeds timber harvest is, as they know, mandated on federal forestlands. Oregon’s old forests have been methodically liquidated to the twisted tune of this mythical mantra, one that justifies logging slow growing old trees by “balancing” growth against rapidly growing young ones. Any unbiased forester would question how biomass growth in cubic feet fairly compares to mature timber growth in board feet. Will seedlings replace 200 year old trees in 60 years or even three times as long? In this “sustained yield” ploy, projected growth of “replacement” trees is typically computer modeled rather than measured against actual performance, resulting in huge overestimates. As example, predicted North Coast tree growth failed to materialize due to unforeseen predation by Swiss Needle Cast, an endemic fungus rampaging through Doug-fir monocultures at epidemic levels. Bloated future growth predictions justified logging too much mature timber in the present, which is how the North Coast was shamelessly overcut. Federal sustained yield models for logging old growth forests are also skewed by overestimating old growth acres or relaxing definitions to include maturing timber stands of suitable size but lacking classic age, density, and structure. By puffing up the total volume, more volume can be “sustainably” extracted. Have BLM’s “old growth” acres been field checked by unbiased foresters? Do agency yield models consider climate warming, increased fires and pathogens due to drought and slash, or soil productivity losses? roykeene@comcast.net

California:

6) Today marks nine years since the death of David Nathan Chain, known to fellow forest defenders as Gypsy. He died on a steep, forested mountain side during an attempt by 9 forest activists to non-violently stop logging in an area where illegal operations were occuring. Once he had been informed by the activists that the logging plan was being cut illegally and that a government inspector was on his way he became enraged. The logger screamed threats and chased everyone, the went back and fell several trees in the direction of the people he had repeatedly chased. One of the comments screamed by the logger was, “F–k I wish I had my f–king pistol!”. Not long after he cut a tree that hit Gypsy, killing him instantly. Earth First!ers blockaded the logging road to the site to protect the crime scene which may have been destroyed the next day. No criminal charges were ever filed against the logger but the investigator, Juan Freeman, considered pressing charges against the activists who were in the woods with Gypsy that day. Gypsy’s mother, Cindy Alsbrooks, convinced Juan Freeman that this was the wrong thing to do. Cindy Alsbrooks later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Pacific Lumber which resulted in a out of court settlement. Among other things the settlement included a memorial plaque at the foot of the mountain where he was killed, near Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park. http://rivendell.fortunecity.com/crisis/359/gypsy.html

7) While he talks, a forester named Scott Kelly, who is running a logging operation here, and I have our eyes peeled out the windows for a more immediate peril: A redwood tree that a logger, somewhere up the hill, is about to drop in our direction. There’s a final snarl of the chainsaw, followed by the butt-puckering sound of the tree’s heartwood cracking and the redwood beginning its fall toward whatever lies below. Chris snaps out of his reverie and hits the accelerator. Scott, who’s spent two decades in the woods, softly chides, “That never works.” “You run right into it?” Chris asks. “Yeah.” Chris Kelly has a lot on his mind. The Conservation Fund has recently become the proud owner of some 40,000 acres of forest in Mendocino County. Now, Chris’ job is to log it. It’s a counterintuitive proposition, but also one that is helping to leverage scarce conservation money to protect the area’s redwood and Douglas fir forests. Each redwood that Kelly cuts, many of them the younger, smaller trees, will fetch an average of $105 at the lumber mill. Kelly can then use that money to restore streams where endangered salmon spawn, repair forest roads – and pay down the millions of dollars in loans that he used to buy the forests. Scott Kelly, no relation to Chris, says, “We’re gonna let it grow as much as we can and log a little bit – just enough to pay the bills.” Earlier that day, the three of us waded through a tangle of logging slash to watch a sawyer administer the coup de grace to another towering redwood. The tree hit the ground with a mighty whumpf, and the moment felt a little like a scene from an old Budweiser commercial. http://www.hcn.org/servlets/hcn.Article?article_id=17231

8) The U.S. Forest Service has started a test project to thin thick stands of trees near a Lake Tahoe stream, a move some hope will precede much wider efforts to reduce fire danger at the alpine lake. Work will involve use of specially-designed logging equipment to remove trees from 23 acres of South Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Creek. Logging activity near streams has been strictly regulated to prevent sediment from flowing into Lake Tahoe and clouding its waters. Any activity permitted has been restricted to the use of hand crews, with no heavy machinery allowed. Overgrown stream areas pose an especially high danger for fire, officials said. The Angora Fire in June, Lake Tahoe’s worst, demonstrated the potential danger, destroying 254 homes the first day and 75 other structures after exploding from a wooded stream area. “We have significant interest in having this be successful,” said Rex Norman, spokesman for the Forest Service at Lake Tahoe unit. Citing extreme fire danger, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in 2004 relaxed its rules to allow mechanical fuels treatment, or logging, in stream areas. The project is the first allowing such treatment in a stream area during the summer. “Minimal” fuel treatment near streams using heavy equipment has occurred over-the-snow during winter, Norman said. The project will involve big-wheeled vehicles that should be able to enter the stream area and log it without compacting the soil or causing other environmental damage, Norman said. “We’re pretty confident this will show we can bring mechanized equipment in and use it in stream zones to treat the ones that have a fuels problem,” Norman said. http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070917/NEWS10/709170344/1321/NEWS

9) It never ceases to surprise me in the way simple words can have multiple and complex meanings. Here’s a good one to know at this time of year: mast. Not the tall vertical spar that rises from the deck of a sailing ship, and not a captain’s mast (a naval disciplinary hearing), the American Heritage College Dictionary defines it as “the nuts of forest trees accumulated on the ground, used especially as food for swine.” Why “mast”? As far as I can tell it has something to do with “masticate,” to chew, and there are plenty of animals that chew on acorns. The oaks are being generous again this year. I’ve been walking in areas where the ground is thickly littered with acorns from valley oaks, and live oak branches are heavily laden and sagging with the weight of them. Some say that oak trees do this in advance of a cold winter. Personally, I have no idea how a tree could anticipate the future, but I have seen that oaks bear light crops of acorns in some years, often alternating with heavy crops in subsequent years. And some oaks require two years to set and ripen one crop of acorns. Generous crops of acorns rarely serve as mast for swine in these parts. The woodpeckers and blue jays have more than their fill. For the trees, copious seed and the genetic diversity it generates serves the long-term survival of oak species. In “Oak, The Frame of Civilization” author and arborist Bill Logan presents the idea that oaks may thrive throughout the temperate zones around the world, not because they are specialized for an ecological niche, but because they are flexible, adaptable and diverse. In “Circus of Quercus” by David Cavagnaro, oaks are shown to hybridize, producing leaf forms that defy identification because they show a broad range of variation. This can be quite puzzling to homeowners and arborists, when the leaf shape and color is somewhere halfway between a blue oak and a valley oak, for example, or a black oak and a coast live oak. That last example represents an actual species, the oracle oak Quercus X morehus. http://www.napavalleyregister.com/articles/2007/09/16/columnists/features/doc46eb727dde2d086719
3275.txt

10) Wenstrom claims that in April 2006, National Forest officials were told not to request budgetary augmentation funds, known as “severity dollars,” that they had sought and received in the past. As a result, they would have to cut the number of fire engines staffed in the forest, she said. She was told to draft talking points to address the public’s concerns about having fewer firefighters and engines in the nation’s most urbanized forest, filled with millions of dead trees and drought-dried brush. When she described the reduced funding as “a problem,” she said, her supervisor told her the talking points should say that “everything is fine out there in the forest, and there is no need for additional funds.” She refused and was quickly removed from her public-relations job, Wenstrom claims. Her boss, Matt Mathes, the Forest Service’s regional press officer based in Vallejo, was upbeat the next month about Forest Service strategy, despite announced plans to cut the number of staffed engines from 25 seven days a week to 15 on weekdays and 20 on weekends, with as few as 12 engines staffed at times. “Oh, they’re in great shape,” Mathes said in May 2006. “I think they’re in a situation where there’s one of two less fire engines in a certain location, but they’ll be moving resources around. We’ll be able to bring in more engines when there’s a need.” But Gene Zimmerman, San Bernardino National Forest’s former supervisor, dismissed that rosy viewpoint at the time. “They can say what they want about moving resources, but they won’t be here in initial attack,” he said. “We need the resources here before the fires start. … This says we didn’t learn very much in the fall of `03,” when the deadly Old Fire and Grand Prix Fire raged across local slopes. “Local Forest Service officials are really under the gun to talk the party line,” Zimmerman said then. Differences of opinion on levels of danger and preparedness are to be expected. What is not acceptable is any official whitewashing of reduced firefighting capacity and lessened protection for the public. http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/opinions/ci_6897244

11) On August 5th, 2007, NCEF! activist and organizer Shunka Wakan did an hour-long presentation to a group of 23 eleventh-graders from Maine, who were taking part in an Americorps Vista Trekkers program. The talk was well-received by the students, followed by a question and answer session at the end, and a howling picture to memorialize the event. The next day, the students toured the Pacific Lumber Co., during which time they were told that PL had decided to stop logging Old Growth! The Americorps director e- mailed a question regarding the comments back to NCEF!, saying that, “The man they spoke with said PALCO had decided not to cut down any old growth trees. He later said that they would cut down 100 year old trees but not 500-1000 year old trees.” These facts have been forwarded to some local media outlets, and we hope to get a public response from Maxxam/Pacific Lumber Co. soon. Either Maxxam/PL has decided to stop logging Old Growth and didn’t bother to make a public announcement about it, or we’ve caught them lying to the youth! We’ll keep you posted. http://www.northcoastearthfirst.org

12) Near the beginning of this month, activists from the Nanning Creek/Spooner affinity group discovered that Pacific Lumber Co. had hired their extraction climbers to remove platforms and gear from the tree-village. Two people were cited and released, after being detained by Pacific Lumber Co. management, in the first few days of September. Activists are bracing for a potential attack on the tree-sits, and logging in the area, once the end of marbled murrelet season has passed, on September 15th. The “Spooner” tree is 298 feet tall and 14 feet in diameter at breast height. Your help is needed to save Spooner and the grove surrounding this magnificent Old Growth Redwood tree. http://www.northcoastearthfirst.org

Michigan:

13) Colored shapes on maps spread on tables in the basement of the Michigan Department of Natural delineated stands of different species of trees. Aerial photographs showed what the forests looked like from above. Four or five commercial foresters perused these Tuesday afternoon as the DNR held an annual open house to share information and gather comments on its proposed forest management program for 2009. The tree species delineations were not easily arrived at, as it requires DNR foresters to identify the trees from the ground, up close and personal. “Most of it is done in the winter, so they have to be pretty adept with snowmobiles — going cross country, not so much on trails,” DNR Baraga Unit Manager Don Mankee said. “The vast majority of what we do is selective harvest on northern hardwoods,” Mankee said. David Harju, a forester for Northern Hardwoods, would like to see more red cross-hatch over the hardwood stands. “We would wish that they would offer more volume of the saw timber type sales, hardwood saw timber,” Harju said. But he said his company works with the DNR often. “We always like to bid on the state timber sales,” Harju said. “They’re well-set-up sales.” DNR foresters, or foresters working under contract with the agency, mark which trees the timber companies can harvest. Harju said he has cruised a lot of the land that will go under management in 2009 and saw good stands of hardwood. “We have a high percentage of high-quality northern hardwood saw timber stands,” Mankee said. “That’s one thing we’re blessed with on this side of the U.P.” He said that wasn’t the case 30 years ago, when the DNR would girdle trees to allow more light into the forest and encourage trees left standing to grow from pole timber into potential saw logs. Now, Mankee said, the DNR is able to selectively harvest from surplus timber in the state forests. “We’re always bringing it from an overstocked condition down to a stocked condition,” Mankee said. http://www.mininggazette.com/stories/articles.asp?articleID=8574

Kentucky:

14) Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council, an environmental group, said that regardless of how much vegetation is removed, the project still would disturb 1,000 acres in a 3,800-acre watershed that is so pristine it is used as the gold standard in studies on clean streams. “They are going to take one-tenth of the forest to study one issue and in the process take out decades of baseline data,” he said. The controversy is the latest chapter in an ongoing battle to preserve the state’s largest contiguous tract of forest from being mined for the estimated 100 million tons of coal underneath it. Some environmentalists believe that eventually would happen if the timber is harvested. “Unfortunately for the research forest, there’s coal under it,” FitzGerald said. The state declared in 1991 that the main tract of the forest, which consists of about 10,000 acres and is where the timber project is proposed, is unsuitable for mining. The following year, UK leased the mining rights on some outer tracts, generating about $37 million, a portion of which went to the Robinson Scholars program to help students from the mountains. In 2002, Todd suggested mining the coal in the main tract to raise money for the struggling scholarship program, but later backed down. Smith said he could only speak for himself when he said he is “categorically opposed to mining the main block of the forest.” When asked for comment from Todd, UK spokesman Jay Blanton said Smith speaks for the president on this issue. The proposed project also has opened a new debate over the intentions of logging magnate E.O. Robinson when he deeded the land to UK in 1923 and 1930. Robinson gave the land that he had clear-cut on the condition that it be used for agricultural research and reforestation. And, if money was made off the land, it should go to the “betterment of the people of the mountain region.”

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070911/NEWS01/709110369/1008/NEWS01

New Jersey:

15) New Jersey based Friends of the Rainforest and Ecological Internet’s campaign to stop the use of ancient rainforest timbers for boardwalk repairs is progressing nicely — garnering media attention and already changing the city council’s vote. An important precedent is being set that ancient rainforest timbers belong in rainforest canopies, not in construction projects and consumer products. The crusade to keep ipê out of Ocean City’s boardwalk reconstruction is a rejection of Forest Stewardship Council and big greens’ efforts to certify and greenwash industrial ancient forest logging as being responsible, while falsely implying sustainability. First time logging of primary rainforests — selective, certified, ecosystem based or otherwise — results in an immediate huge release of carbon, permanent reductions in future carbon sink potential, and reductions in species numbers and diversity. One of the gravest obstacles to mitigating climate change, conserving ancient forests and achieving global ecological sustainability is the pernicious myth that selectively logging ancient forests (certified or not) is environmentally beneficial. It is NOT. You can still take action at: http://www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=jersey_boardwalk

USA:

16) Americans are on a tree-planting binge, on the premise that jamming seedlings into the ground can offset carbon pollution. In truth, they’re causing a lot of harm. The public doesn’t understand that forests and trees are not the same thing. Forests are comprised of many organisms, only a few of which are trees. Planting monocultures of alien trees or even native trees doesn’t restore forests; it prevents them. This is why naturalists find recurring pledges to plant, say, a “billion trees” so terrifying. Having engaged such formidable labor as the Boy Scouts, the United Nations’ Plant for the Planet campaign now vows to cluster-bomb the globe with “a billion trees”—all in 2007. As part of this effort it encourages faux-forest monocultures, or “sustainably managed plantations,” as it prefers to call them. But few plantations are “sustainable,” and most deplete water and require massive chemical fixes of fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides. Plant for the Planet partners include the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes, both of which promote sprawling, unsustainable monocultures. http://www.libertypundit.com/2007/09/17/audubon-planting-trees-to-curb-global-warming-is-bs-it-
actually-heats-the-earth/

Canada:

17) Greenpeace activists attempted to block the departure of a Europe-bound freighter carrying pulp from SFK Pulp’s Saint-Felicien mill on the Saguenay River Friday as part of a campaign to draw attention to the logging of the Boreal forest. The blockade, which began around 6:30 a.m., was set up in the port of Grande Anse near Chicoutimi, north of Quebec City. It involved about 15 activists from Quebec, Ontario and Greenpeace’s international offices who surrounded the ship Jaeger Arrow with a life raft and four inflatable Zodiac vessels. Some hung off the ship’s mooring lines displaying banners urging SFK Pulp to protect the Boreal forest while others used white paint to write Save the Boreal Forest on the side of the 170-metre long ship. Additional activists monitored the blockade from the deck of the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise, an icebreaker and former sealing ship used in many Greenpeace campaigns. The environmental group wants SFK Pulp to put pressure on its wood chip supplier and former parent company Abitibi-Consolidated to stop logging in critical wildlife habitat and intact areas of the Boreal forest and agree to change its practices to comply with the stricter forestry certification standards advocated by the Forest Stewardship Council. Most of SFK Pulp’s shipment of 8,000 tonnes of pulp is destined for paper mills in France and Germany owned by Stora Enso, a Finish forest products company that will turn it into magazine and catalogue paper, the group said. Similar shipments leave Grande Ames port about once a month, Greenpeace said. The stunt was part of a wider campaign targeting the various companies that buy and process the wood logged by large companies such as Abitibi-Consolidated, Kruger and Bowater. http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=5e81c1a8-0f32-4e37-9005-720eb5021428

18) “It is we who must adjust to the forest, not the forest to us. If you want the trees to stand, you have to stand with the trees.” Anyone who looks around at the forests in the Maritimes sees an ongoing deterioration at the hand of industrial forestry. The priorities of industrial capitalist forestry — pulp and paper mills and large saw mills — determine the forest priorities set by provincial and federal governments, hence how the forests are utilized. Industrial forestry interests want to maximize, not minimize, wood consumption. Such priorities, for an Acadian conservation strategy, can either be accepted or repudiated. We believe they must be totally repudiated. The biodiversity and the forest canopy of the Acadian forest must be kept. Clearcutting, herbicide and insecticide spraying and the use of capital intensive destructive machinery, which degrades the forest and also eliminates the jobs of forest workers, must be opposed. Those who destroy the forests, whatever their scale of operation, should suffer definite social and criminal sanctions. This should apply to pulp and paper mills, sawmills, and also to those who do this among the ‘owners’ of the approximately 30,000 woodlots in Nova Scotia, 16,000 in Prince Edward Island and 35,000 in New Brunswick. Industrial forestry orients to a world market, so there can never be enough wood supply. Such forestry is part of a larger “grow or die” overall industrial ideology. Any existing “protected areas” eventually become coveted for their trees. Crown (public) land is basically “spoken for” with this industrial model, another reason that the model itself has to be repudiated. Unionized forestry workers — e.g. those working in pulp and paper mills, with their relatively high wages, come to have an economic stake in the existing industrial forestry model.

http://home.ca.inter.net/~greenweb/AcadianForest.html

UK:

19) National Forest Company chairman Dinah Nichols said: “The map of the Forest now shows a pattern of high landscape change with woodlands becoming increasingly interconnected. The national Forest is on course to provide woodland over about a third of its 200 square mile area, a new report has revealed. Its annual report – published this week for the year ending March 31, 2007 – shows 17.5 per cent woodland cover across Burton, South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire.”This brings twofold benefits – visitors to the forest have an increasing range and variety of walks to enjoy but, thanks to careful design, biodiversity is also improving.” Bosses at the company say providing woodland cover is becoming ever more challenging due to a steady rise in land prices. Despite this, work is due to be finished soon on an eagerly anticipated £3.2 million youth hostel and holiday park in Bath Lane, Moira. Bosses hope the facility, which is expected to attract up to 12,000 visitors a year, will bring millions of pounds of revenue to the area. The Youth Hostel Association (YHA) and the Camping and Caravanning Club have signed up to run the centre, which has been mainly funded by the National Forest Company, East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) and the Leicestershire Economic Partnership. National Forest bosses hope the new attraction will make it easier for families and people on a budget to stay overnight and spend more time – and money – in The National Forest. http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/burtonmail-news/displayarticle.asp?id=136726

Hungary:

20) This summer the cardinals at the Vatican accepted an unusual donation from a Hungarian start-up called Klimafa: The company said it would plant trees to restore an ancient forest on a denuded stretch of land by the Tisza River to offset the Vatican’s carbon emissions. The trees, on a 37-acre tract of land that will be renamed the Vatican climate forest, will in theory absorb as much carbon dioxide as the Vatican will produce in 2007: driving cars, heating offices, lighting St. Peter’s Basilica at night. In so doing, the Vatican announced, it would become the world’s first carbon-neutral state. “As the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, recently stated, the international community needs to respect and encourage a ‘green culture,’ ” said Cardinal Paul Poupard, leader of the Pontifical Council for Culture, who took part in a ceremony marking the event at the Vatican. “The Book of Genesis tells us of a beginning in which God placed man as guardian over the earth to make it fruitful.” In many respects, the program seems like a win-win-win proposition. The Vatican, which has recently made an effort to go green on its own by installing solar panels, sought to set an example by offsetting its carbon emissions. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/17/world/europe/17carbon.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin

Mexico:

21) Celsa Valdovinos knew there was a serious problem when only about an inch of water trickled from the irrigation hose. In the mountains of southern Guerrero state where Valdovinos and her husband Felipe Arreaga lived during the 1990s, the small farmers were becoming increasingly alarmed about water supplies. “This was in January and by the next year it was gone,” Valdovinos recalls. As the rainfall diminished so did the prospects of the mountain residents. Animals died, crops withered, and the social fabric unraveled. Valdovinos and her neighbors connected the environmental changes they were witnessing to deforestation. More and more forest cover was disappearing every year as farmers burned hillsides for corn patches and pastures, drug growers torched forest cover to plant their illicit crops, and contractors felled trees for a Boise Cascade Corporation mill that operated on the Pacific Coast at the time. Long before climate change became a trendy cause, the Campesino Environmentalist Organization of the Sierra of Petatlan and Coyuca de Catatlan (OCESP), emerged as a grassroots group dedicated to saving Guerrero’s forests. Soon, however, the movement faced repression from loggers and the Mexican army. In 2001, jailed OCESP leader Rodolfo Montiel and his friend Teodoro Cabrera were released by Mexican President Vicente Fox after an international campaign was waged on their behalf by environmentalists and human rights activists. Mikhail Gorbachev and Hillary Rodham Clinton were among world leaders who raised their voices for Montiel and Cabrera. Other OCESP supporters were killed, arrested, or disappeared. Many like Valdovinos and Arreaga were forced into temporary hiding in the mountains. Now, 10 years after the OCEP burst onto the world stage, Valdovinos and a growing cadre of poor rural women quietly carry on the work of defending and restoring Guerrero’s forests, and are even taking the struggle to new levels. Once in the background, women are now in the forefront of the movement. Founded in 2001, the Women’s Environmentalist Organization of the Sierra of Petatlan (OMESP) promotes sustainable and organic agriculture, forest fire prevention, reforestation, water and soil conservation, and recycling. The group has grown from 12 to 90 members, and Valdovinos serves as the president. Infused with a strong self-help ethos, the women largely carry on their work with little more than a great love for the land. http://americas.irc-online.org/am/4544

Costa Rica:

22) While Costa Rica is now known as a world leader for conversation policies and ecotourism, the Central American country had some of the world’s highest deforestation rates prior to establishing its reputation. Clearing for cattle pasture and agriculture destroyed much of the country’s biodiverse rainforests in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1990s Costa Rica set a new course; one that sought to unlock the value of its ecosystems. While ecotourism was the most obvious path, Costa Rica also pioneered the development of payments for environmental services (“PSA” or pagos por servicios ambientales). In 1996 the country established a program to compensate landowners for keeping forests intact and reforesting degraded areas. A new study, published in Conservation Biology, examines these efforts and concludes concludes that while the program pioneered the institutionalization of a policy that can and likely will create meaningful incentives, to this point in Costa Rica, given other policies, it appears to have had little impact on deforestation. While the results show little impact on deforestation rates up to this point, a careful consideration of this case provides insight on how that could have happened and how impact could be increased, at a time when ecosystem payments are increasingly on the minds of policymakers, with the world’s tropical countries seeking compensation in the form of carbon credits for protecting their forests. http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0917-cr.html

Brazil:

23) The wood-pulp producing company Veracel has applied for FSC certification of its tree plantations in the Brazilian state of Bahia and the evaluation process is being carried out by the international certification firm SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance. A large number of Brazilian and international organizations are opposing this certification, on the grounds that these plantations have resulted in widespread negative social and environmental impacts -including occupation of indigenous and local communities’ lands, rural migration, unemployment, water depletion and pollution, ecosystem destruction, biodiversity loss – which clearly make them uncertifiable. Those and other impacts have been well documented and both the certifying body and the FSC Board have been made aware of the situation. “The German consumers expect the FSC-certifiers to endorse sustainable forest operations, not thousands of hectares of Eucalyptus monocultures sprayed with agrochemicals like in the case of Veracel”, emphasizes Peter Gerhardt, from the German organization Robin Wood. The FSC has been going through a two-year review of its plantations policy as a response to widespread criticism about the issuance of FSC certificates to large-scale monoculture plantations. The Board of Directors adopted the final report of the FSC plantation policy review in February 2007. The policy review recommends that FSC invest more in preventing things going wrong, rather than trying to ‘undo’ damage once it has been done. Continuing the certification assessment despite the significant shortcomings already documented by local communities affected by Veracel’s plantations will be in clear violation of these plantation policy review recommendations. Jutta Kill, from FERN, stresses that “Whilst the FSC plantations review is still ongoing, it is incomprehensible that an accredited FSC certifier would be willing to jeopardize the trust many FSC Environmental Chamber members have put into this process by considering the certification of one of the most controversial plantations operations in the world.” –Jutta Kill, FERN – jutta@fern.org

24) A former Enron executive is tapping investors for $150m (£75m) to help Brazil produce enough biofuels to power the world’s cars. Vehicles running on ethanol made from Brazilian sugar cane emit up to 95 per cent less in carbon emissions compared with conventional gasoline. But US and European corn-based ethanol – which is heavily subsidised – cuts emissions by as little as 5 per cent and is much less energy efficient. Last week, a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) criticised the distorting effect of subsidies in promoting the least-efficient biofuels. It also warned that government targets on biofuels use were hastening deforestation and pushing up food prices. Diomedes Christodoulou, the former boss of Enron South America, claims that planting 37 million hectares of land in Brazil with sugar cane would produce enough ethanol to power the world’s fleet of cars with a high biofuel blend by 2030. Currently, some 65 million hectares of land in total are under cultivation in Brazil. Mr Christodoulou’s firm, Gordian Energy Partners, which is being advised by investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort, is looking for $150m from US and European investors to fund sugar cane plantations and refineries in Brazil. http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article2966845.ece

25) Cattle ranching, if it keeps expanding in the Amazon, threatens two-fifths of the world’s remaining rainforest. This is not just the most diverse ecosystem, but also the biggest reserve of standing carbon. Its clearance could provoke a hydrological disaster in South America, as rainfall is reduced as the trees come down. Next time you see footage of the forest burning, remember that you might have paid for it. Many Brazilians, especially those whose land is being grabbed by the cattlemen, are trying to stop the destruction. The ranchers have an effective argument: when people complain, they kill them. In February we heard an echo of the massacre which has so far claimed 1200 lives, when the American nun Dorothy Stang was murdered – almost certainly by beef producers. The ranchers believed to have killed her were, like cattlemen throughout the Amazon, protected by the police. For the same reason, and despite the best efforts of President Lula, the ranchers are now employing some 25,000 slaves on their estates. These are people who are transported thousands of miles from their home states, then – forced to buy their provisions from the ranch shop at inflated prices – kept in permanent debt. Because of the expansion of beef production in the Amazon, slavery in Brazil has quintupled in ten years. http://www.celsias.com/2007/09/14/are-you-paying-to-burn-the-rainforest/

26) We are at the beginning of a biofuel boom that will reshape the world’s energy map. The U.S. and Brazil are the world’s two biggest producers of ethanol, having contributed 4.9 and 4.5 billion gallons, respectively, in 2006. Total world production was 13.5 billion gallons . A gallon of ethanol is equivalent to about two-thirds a gallon of gasoline in terms of energy content (some say 70%). A few years from now, your commute may be powered by ethanol from sugar cane grown in Brazil’s cerrado, a biodiversity hotspot that is the largest savanna in South America and disappearing at a faster rate than the Amazon. You may be hastening the demise of the world’s largest rain forest as well. And you won’t be alone: AOL founder Steve Case, film producer Steven Bing, supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, global financier George Soros, and other well-known investors (see below) could end up playing leading roles in Brazilian deforestation. Case and his colleagues are banking on Brazilian biofuel. They may be hoping to make a green investment that will help save the world, or they may just want to get a piece of the next gold rush. But they probably don’t understand the importance of the cerrado, or the possible environmental consequences of their actions. Brazil’s president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and some biofuel boosters claim that Brazilian ethanol production will not affect the Amazon (it will, mostly indirectly). Some also say that the Amazon’s deforestation rate has slowed dramatically (true, if you’ve got a short attention span). Actually, the Amazon is still in grave danger. Ethanol advocates in Brazil assert that millions of hectares are available for growing sugar cane outside of the Amazon rain forest in “grasslands,” “scrublands” or “degraded pasturelands,” by which they refer to land in the cerrado or in Brazil’s Southeast. The cerrado is treated as a sort of under-utilized wasteland, rather than the species-rich biome that it is. Referring to it only as “grasslands” is like using that word alone to denote the famed savanna that is East Africa’s Serengeti. The cerrado is important as more than just potential pasture or cane acreage, and it is also under siege. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-mcgowan/biofuel-could-eat-brazil_b_64466.html

Vietnam:

27) A botanist by training, Mr. Boi’s initial goal was to reforest the denuded land. But he soon realized the forest ecosystem was not the only thing struggling to recover from Agent Orange. The Pako, Ta Oi, Catu and Kinh people of A Luoi valley (called A Shau during the war) eke out a meager existence in a region with one of Vietnam’s shortest growing seasons. (This reporter visited the valley on a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.) These tribal groups, who live in one-room huts with dirt floors and no indoor plumbing, depend on forest products to survive, and Mr. Boi came to recognize that his work was as vital to them as to the tigers and elephants whose habitat he was working to restore. Mr. Boi enlisted the help of the Australian acacia tree. The acacia grows up to six and a half feet per year and, after five years, can be harvested to make paper and furniture. The tree also improves the soil and quickly provides the canopy that trees need to take root. “It’s a good model for forest restoration,” said Chris Dickinson, a conservation biologist and technical adviser with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature in Hue, Vietnam, adding that the acacia “grows on poor nutrients and can shade out the grasses.” The trees also provide residents with a cash crop. “The demand for acacia is seemingly insatiable,” Dr. Dickinson said. “Ikea uses it for garden furniture.” Mr. Boi has used this humble acacia tree to reforest thousands of hectares in central Vietnam. Emboldened by these successes, he has applied his botanical model of remediation to tackle a far more difficult problem. Though dioxin has dropped to relatively low levels in areas that were aerially sprayed during the war, studies by Canadian scientists have shown that numerous highly contaminated spots remain at certain places where American forces stored Agent Orange. The cow that caught Mr. Boi’s attention grazes on one such “hot spot,” the former A So air base in Dong Son, where scientists from Hatfield Consultants in Vancouver, British Columbia, have measured soil levels of TCDD, the dioxin in Agent Orange, more than 200 times greater than the residential standard set forth by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Dioxin takes decades to break down. Remediating this site would require millions of dollars, and when it comes to financing, the more heavily populated hot spots in Danang and Bien Hoa take precedence. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/science/18prof.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Madagascar:

28) “I thought Madagascar would be all lush and green and glowing with wildlife, but that’s not what it was like at all. It’s a third world country and it’s all brown. I was like, ‘Where is the rainforest?’ I was expecting all this green and the rainforest is pretty much all gone. I’ve heard ‘Save the rainforest!’ but I never really registered it.” Expanses of lush forests and masses of furry lemurs once dominated the island of Madagascar. Now, however, 90 percent of those forests lay destroyed and the lemur population faces extinction. This summer, juniors Alex Berg and Sarah Schmidt traveled to the only existing native lemur habitat to help save lemurs from extinction. Berg and Schmidt participated with eight other volunteers and scientists from around the world on a 16-day program sponsored by Earthwatch, a group that leads volunteer expeditions to over 150 countries. Observations made by Earthwatch volunteers help the scientists in their goal to protect the lemur population from extinction. “He [the scientist] was going to take all of it from the past 16 days and he’d find things like how the lemurs were living there and what he can do based on the data to get the lemur population higher,” Schmidt says. Scientists try to inform the people of Madagascar, the Malagasy, on how to conserve the country’s forests in order to save the lemurs, Berg says. “Scientists are working on a strategy to get the people of Madagascar involved in the conservation of their country. Some species of lemurs have already gone extinct, and many are on the verge of extinction. If the people of Madagascar do not stop cutting down the forests, the lemurs may be wiped out in ten years.” http://www.blackandwhiteonline.net/DesktopArticle.aspx?x=hNgRYNdKa1gOpGjSzmKHVxRLrnUWpN%2Bb11z
fgmGjwHBEFsFmJWkL3Wb3lvIQu4zdd3MpV%2BWnBdGRTIjcxxPS%2BSOHta1W2WKDXBavG9NNcSeBe%2FPvLgMua34Amnw6
q%2BIUWi4uMMPJymE%3D

Taiwan:

29) A team of Taiwanese and U.S. scientists has succeeded in developing eucalyptus trees capable of ingesting up to three times more carbon dioxide than normal strains, indicating a new path to reducing greenhouse gases and global warming. The new trees also have properties that make them more suitable for the production of cellulosic ethanol. In this sense, they can be seen as part of third-generation biofuels. This generation is based on crops modified in such a way that they allow the application of a particular bioconversion technology (previous post). Analyses show that there is a very large potential for the production of sustainable biomass from Eucalyptus in Central Africa and South America. Under the auspices of Taiwan’s National Science Council, staff members at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute (TFRI) under the cabinet-level Council of Agriculture and North Carolina State University in the United States carried out the gene modification project that not only creates eucalyptus with a higher than normal CO2 absorptive capacity, but also causes them to produce less lignin and more cellulose. http://biopact.com/2007/09/scientists-develop-low-lignin.html

Philippines:

30) Up to 8.8m hectares (33, 980 square miles) of the Philippines could be turned into biofuel plantations under an agreement between the Phillippine and Chinese governments, according to IBON, a Philippine consultancy quoted on ABS-CBN interactive. Last week, the Department of Agrarian Reform had announced it was looking at 400,000 to 500,000 hectares of land for agribusiness development under a memorandum of agreement with China signed January 2007. But the deals could ultimately cover as much as 8.8 million hectares of “idle alienable and disposable lands and forest lands. “The RP-China farm deals may also threaten the country’s food security as more and more lands are shifted from food staples such as rice, to production of crops for biofuels. Since the mid-1990s, the country is already completely a net food importer from being a net food exporter in earlier years,” IBON said in a statement. THE PATSADA KARAJAW NATION blog says: “expect more agricultural lands be converted to growing “hybrids” for China and jathropa for bioethanol than our staple food, thereby threatening our country’s food security.” Food security comes in a number of guises, growing your own or being able to afford to buy food from other countries. If the market for biofules takes off and if the contracts are written so that prices reflect world prices and if the people who work on the plantations are properly paid, then that would produce a kind of food security too. http://www.icis.com/blogs/biofuels/archives/2007/09/china-philippine-deal-could-le.html

31) The Tribal Professionals’ Association of the Mandaya tribe in Caraga, Davao Oriental is protesting the entry of logging operations in its claimed ancestral domain. Nora Cahiyang, the group’s secretary briefed reporters on the situation in upland Caraga town where a logging company has applied for an Industrial Forest Plantation Management Agreement (IFMA) over at least 2,000 hectares. The group accused the logging company, Asia Evergreen Development Corporation of allegedly encroaching into their tribal leadership traditions by allegedly orchestrating the reorganization of their tribal council. The tribal council has strongly opposed entry of logging firms into their claimed ancestral domain. MindaNews sought the firm’s officials for comment but they could not be reached. Cahiyang accused Pantuyan barangay chair Lourdes Basta of allegedly conniving with the company to “manipulate” the organization of a new tribal council that would decide in favor of logging in Mt. Maglahos. Pantuyan has around 4,000 registered voters, majority of whom are Mandayas. She said they have received no support from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). She said a local DENR official allegedly told them opposing the entry of the firm would be useless because they will be able to operate anyway. She also lashed out at the NCIP for allegedly facilitating the election of a new tribal council, now led by Basta, unilaterally. She said they went through a questionable process of reorganization when the original council still has all the tribal elders. Forester Jose Camerino, chief of utilization and protection at the Davao Oriental Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office told MindaNews in a telephone interview that Asia Evergreen Development Corporation has an IFMA in the area so this means a group of Mandayas had given consent. At present, the Mandayas are divided on the issue, with many of them forced to cut logs to survive. But she said majority of their members are against the logging. A log ban was imposed nationwide in December 2005 following the floods that killed thousands of persons in Luzon. The ban, however, was lifted in March 2005 in three Mindanao regions, including Southeastern Mindanao. http://www.mindanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3184&Itemid=50

Papua New Guinea:

32) The ANZ Banking Group needs to have a hard look at a new report from the World Conservation Union to see the consequences of ANZ’s backing a huge logging company, Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman says. A “Red List” of endangered species, just released by the World Conservation Union shows that PNG has more than 60 forest species listed as endangered or vulnerable. The list comes at the start of New Zealand’s outdoor furniture “season”. This country takes some 10 percent of PNG’s sawn kwila, a tropical timber used for decking and picnic tables. “Papua New Guinea is a hotspot of biodiversity with some extraordinary forest species listed as critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable, including tree kangaroos, birds of paradise, cassowaries, frogs and bats,” says Dr Russel Norman, Green Party Co-Leader. “Habitat loss due to logging is the major threat to these species. “The most recent report commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry* states that around 75% of all logging in PNG is suspected of being illegal, and most of it unsustainable. “The biggest logging company in PNG is Rimbunan Hijau, which accounts for more than half of all logs processed, occupies a monopolistic position in the economy and has ‘undue influence’ on the PNG Government according to the MAF report. “ANZ provides financial support to Rimbunan Hijau in PNG in the form of financial guarantees and foreign exchange services, and hence is facilitating the destruction of the forests that provide the habitat for these 60 vulnerable and endangered species. Greenpeace has called Rimbunan Hijau one of the most destructive companies operating in Papua New Guinea, yet ANZ are continuing to provide Rimbunan with financial support. “ANZ should stop their financial support to Rimbunan, and stand with the people of PNG who are risking life and limb in an attempt to stop the illegal logging of their ancient forests. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0709/S00278.htm

Australia:

33) Environmentalists from around the country have met in Sydney to discuss the future protection of Australia’s forests. The executive director of the Nature Conservation Council in New South Wales, Cate Faehrmann, says yesterday’s meeting was a great success, but said several major issues, including Tasmania’s old-growth forests, need more attention. Ms Faehrmann says if the Gunns pulp mill in Tasmania goes ahead, it could contribute 2 per cent of all Australia’s collective greenhouse emissions. “The conference yesterday was all about how much native forests can contribute towards reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and how crazy it is that we are still seeing old-growth forests being logged in this country, when we have to deal with climate change,” she said. http://abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/09/16/2033974.htm?section=justin

34) Three companies have taken a great leap northwards and bought land around Tully, Ingham and Innisfail in far north Queensland, offering managed investment schemes for retail investors, and other vehicles for institutions and wealthy individuals seeking long-term investments. Great Southern Plantations and Integrated Tree Cropping have bought at least 5300ha between them in far north Queensland and the Rewards Group has bought 25 properties there since 2002, bringing its holdings to 3030ha. That works out at about $66.5 million so far. And what has sparked the move north and into these kinds of timbers? Rick Carr at Herron Todd White valuers in Cairns says the world’s tropical hardwood timber market is supplied almost entirely from Asia but much of that is of uncertain provenance, and probably logged illegally. A growing insistence that old growth rainforests be preserved has created a need — and a niche — for plantations that grow and harvest timbers legally to meet the demand. Doug Parsonson at Poyry Forestry Industry Consulting, an engineering and consulting company, agrees that the economics are right for these kinds of long-term investments. “The demand side will continue to be strong, but the supply side we see as constrained for these kinds of high-value products,” Parsonson says. “There has been over-cutting in Asia.” Although the companies will buy cane farms, it is soil type and climate that spark their interest: appropriate grazing land is equally attractive and tends to come at about the same price, says Jim Cooper, real estate manager at Landmark Tully. Danny Glasson at valuer Herron Todd White in Cairns says the Rewards Group has mainly bought cane farms for between $8000 and $10,000 a hectare of arable land. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22383587-25658,00.html

Tropical Forests:

35) This report, which is a follow-up to Friends of the Earth’s Life after Logging published in 1992, provides the latest research on the impacts of logging on a rainforest’s structure, its physical functions, its wildlife and its people. The methods of ‘reduced impact logging’ are also examined and the question of whether sustainable forest management in tropical rainforests is actually possible is explored. Providing examples from tropical forests all over the world, this report sends a sobering message to the timber industry, governments and international institutions that many factors have to be taken into account before deciding whether a logging operation is truly ‘sustainable.’ This report concludes with the need for more research into so-called ‘reduced impact logging’ and above all for the precautionary principal to be reflected upon and implemented throughout all forest policies. http://www.environmentaldefense.org/documents/1338_LifeafterLogging.htm

36) The relationships between coffee, poverty, migration, deforestation, and UN, FAO, and World Banks have on the rural farmers in mountainous tropical forested areas is significant and the role of Westerners and their coffee purchases indirectly benefits or causes harm to many of these things… I will try and explain a simple formula using organic Mexican coffee as an example…. 1) When world coffee and corn prices are low: Many latin Americans migrate to the US in search of work, without subsidies their cost of production without mechanization is more than what we pay for their coffee or corn.. The ones that stay cut more forests down to plant corn for their own consumption and stop picking coffee and return to unsustainable subsitence farming. 2) When corn or coffee prices are high: Their farmers expand their knowledge and investments in better production practices to increase yield and quality as they have potential to make money. When buyers want alot of cheap coffee (FOLGERS) the farmers cut all their trees down to let more sun in and begin fertilizing…. RESULT— Deforestation, flooding, desertification. http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977119183

231 Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 37 new articles about earth’s trees! (232st edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

–Alaska: 1) Save the Tongass
–British Columbia: 2) FSC destroying ancient forests, 3) Beetle stats, 4) Owl debacle,
–Washington: 5) Roads to ruin need to be repaired,
–California: 6) Old growth redwood logging, 7) Spooner treesit, 8) Berkeley treesit,
–Montana: 9) Support WildWest
–Pennsylvania: 10) State owned forests to be taken over by oil and gas
–New Jersey: 11) FSC finally proven wrong
–USA: 12) Old growth is growing faster these days
–Canada: 13) Flooding 135 sq. miles of wilderness, 14) Logging Jasper National Park,
–UK: 15) Green Billboards, 16) Boston Woods Trust,
–Czechoslovakia: 17) Running out of wood
–Bulgaria: 18) Balkani Wildlife Society proposes 40% forests for protection,
–Mexico: 19) Tree planting, 20) Dead and dying forest defenders,
–Honduras: 21) New Forest and Wildlife Law
–Argentina: 22) Treesit moves beyond 6 days
–Brazil: 23) Selling soybeans, 24) forest collapse in less than 75 years,
–Paraguay: 25) Last uncontacted Indians
–Peru: 26) Deforestation and disease
–Guyana: 27) Banning Bai Shan Lin
–Bolivia: 28) Birds: Save two forest specialists
–China: 29) Biofuels drive up food prices and halts farmland reforestation
–India: 30) Jammu and Kashmir now importing wood, 31) Forest Department concern,
–Bangladesh: 32) Brick makers destroying forests,
–Philippines: 33) Toyota helps fight deforestation,
–Malaysia: 34) Selling Palm Oil,
–Australia: 35) Industry plans to sustain it logging
–Boreal Forests: 36) Forests limit melting of permafrost
–Tropical Forests: 37) Forests NOW Declaration

Alaska:

1) One hundred years ago today, President Theodore Roosevelt established the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska. The Tongass is the biggest, wettest, and wildest place in the national forest system. Setting aside the Tongass was one of Roosevelt’s many conservation achievements. Far ahead of his time, TR conceptualized conservation as the centerpiece of a strategy to keep America strong and prosperous long into the future.The Tongass, one of 150 national forests that TR established during his presidency, is one-third of the world’s remaining temperate rainforests, a comparatively rare ecosystem. It is an outdoorsman’s paradise of superlatives: Big bears, big salmon, big rivers, big trees, big ice. Everything about the Tongass is big — except for the federal government’s vision for the forest, which over the past half-century or so has been as small as TR’s was large. The Tongass is a showcase of how badly the federal government can mismanage the great commons of America’s public lands. Peruse the history of the Tongass, and one could be forgiven for wondering whether Russia actually sold Alaska to the U.S. Cutting quotas, road-building subsidies, timber sales that have no takers — it’s all reminiscent of the Soviet model of state socialism. Turning thousand-year-old Sitka spruce trees into pulp was just the sort of value-destroying enterprise that would have made the old commissars feel right at home. Seeing the hash that was made of Prince of Wales Island’s forests during the heyday of Tongass logging can give rise to tempting thoughts that perhaps libertarians are right when they assert that land is better off under private management. But privatization wouldn’t cure the baleful combination of pork-barrel politics and short-term expedience that has ailed the Tongass and flies in the face of everything that TR stood for. What would set matters straight is a broader vision of the Tongass’ true worth. Timber has a future in the Tongass, but not the high-volume production model that has wasted so much taxpayers’ money and degraded so much habitat. Alaska is too far from markets and its production costs are too high for massive pulp and saw timber industries to be competitive. http://www.thedailygreen.com/2007/09/09/logging-make-pulp-of-roosevelts-vision-for-tongass/6358/

British Columbia:

2) FSC Old Growth Forest from Clayoquot Sound is coming down rapidly as roads and chain saws screech away on the hills and valleys of this Biosphere Reserve…it is business as usual with two logging companies busy falling and road building. Two logging companies, supposedly owned by First Nations…Makoah Logging (in conjunction with Coulson Logging Co. in Pt. Alberni, known as ruthless and fastest logging on the coast) and Issaak Logging (which is in conjunction with Triumph Logging from Campbell River and Ecotrust) are hard at it here. Helicopters are flying over checking out new road areas to access Clayoquot from remote areas nearer to Pt. Alberni and old growth cedars and other giant trees are crashing down daily. Please urge people to purchase only old growth free forests as FSC certification here is a farce. Thank you, Susanne Hare

3) The Mountain Pine beetle has now impacted 12 million hectares of forest in B.C. That is 120 thousand square kilometres. Need a better idea of how much forest is now dead, or dying? Look at the map shown above, imagine a forest the size of Vancouver Island, now multiply that by nearly 4 times. Now you have a visual idea of just how much damage has been, or is being done to the forest industry in British Columbia. Still, Chief Forester for B.C. Jim Snetsinger, is optimistic. Repeating a quote from Einstein, Snetsinger says “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” In this case, the opportunities may be: 1) Taking better care of the understory in the forest when harvesting the dead wood. 2) Development of new technology on ways to mill the wood to ensure the best value is recuperated given the knowledge the wood has a “best before” shelf life of no less than 5 years. 3) New efforts to showcase our wood products, and one of the most impressive will be the Speed Skating oval in Richmond for the 2010 Olympics. It will use one million board feet of beetle kill wood for the 6.5 acre roof on that facility. 4) Heightened interest in bio energy – The most important opportunity says Snetsinger is the move to ensure all forest practices and policies are developed with climate change in mind. That could mean planting species that are more tolerant of a changing climate “zone” or more plantings of multiple species. “There are some lodgepole pine that have survived this epidemic” says Snetsinger “It will be important to examine the genetics of those trees. While it won’t help us with this epidemic, it may be the key in helping to make future trees more resilient.” He will review the Prince George District Timber Supply in late 2008 and will take into account the rate of harvest, the progress in dealing with the mountain pine beetle wood , the shelf life of the wood that is standing “All of these things will come into play when I make the decision on what the next annual allowable cut will be.” http://www.opinion250.com/blog/author/13/1/250+news

4) The e-mails contain complaints the B.C. government is using misleading figures to support its recovery plan for the owl, reveal intergovernmental squabbling over management, and assert the province is catering to the logging industry at the expense of the species’ future. Much of the criticism stems from biologists in the Ministry of Environment frustrated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, which has jurisdiction. But one of the strongest indictments comes from David Cunnington, senior species-at-risk biologist for Environment Canada in Delta, who lambastes the province for its policy of augmenting spotted owls through measures such as captive breeding while failing to protect sufficient old-growth habitat. “This kind of approach can be characterized as halfway technology, putting a Band-Aid on a heart attack, or treating the symptom instead of the disease, and is a great example of fiscal inefficiency,” Cunnington writes. He also notes that of 363,000 hectares designated for spotted owls, only 48 per cent is suitable habitat and even then contains large parts in which owls have never been located. Harvesting has occurred in valley bottoms leaving “disconnected sub-optimal habitat for owls on valley sides,” he writes. Myke Chutter, the province’s bird specialist, said in an e-mail provincial efforts amount to a “cop-out” and “a recipe [for] extirpation over time.” Chutter worries that discussions over owl recovery have “centred on what [timber] licensees may or may not be willing to do rather than what the owl needed.” Just 17 spotted owls, including five pairs, are known to exist in the wild in 12 locations in southwest B.C., the northern end of a range that extends south to California. The spotted owl is also endangered in the U.S. Bell used the 363,000-hectare figure in April 2006 when announcing a five-year, $3.4 million recovery strategy for the spotted owl. Of the 363,000 hectares, 182,000 are within parks and protected areas, and 181,000 are managed to retain 67-per-cent suitable habitat for spotted owls, according to the Species at Risk Coordination Office. The strategy calls for measures such as captive breeding and release, moving spotted owls to new locations, increasing food sources and managing competing species, along with protecting nine Wildlife Habitat Areas in which surveys in 2005 detected spotted owls. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=3fa642dc-7803-407c-a499-77c8bb5fb5ea

Washington:

5) There’s an old saying that when you find yourself in a hole, you stop digging. Right now, our federal government is in a hole and is still digging. In doing so, it is turning its back on an agreement with Washington state to maintain and restore thousands of miles of decades-old, deteriorating logging roads in our national forests. Muddy water harms the gills of salmon and trout. Silt smothers their eggs when it settles into clean gravel beds. Muddy runoff also contributes to making streams wider, shallower and more susceptible to warming by the sun. Warm streams further threaten salmon and trout that need cold, clean water to survive. Rivers and streams with headwaters in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and the Olympic national forests flow into an already sick Puget Sound. If we are serious about saving Puget Sound, we must pay attention to the top of the watersheds that feed it. Right now, the federal government lags behind large private and state forest landowners in maintaining the 22,000 miles of national forest roads it manages in Washington. Private and state timber landowners are on target to comply with the road-maintenance requirements in Washington’s forest-practice rules by 2016. In an interagency agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology, the U.S. Forest Service agreed to bring our state’s national forest roads into compliance with Washington’s forest-practice rules — which include road-maintenance requirements designed to protect water quality and fish habitat — by this same 2016 deadline. It is clear that the federal government will miss this deadline; the only remaining question is by how much. Washington has long partnered with the Forest Service, which is doing the best it can with the funding it receives. Our beef isn’t with the Forest Service; it’s with the current administration, which has chosen not to seek funding necessary to meet its road maintenance commitments. It’s high time for the federal government to live up to its commitment to restore and maintain its failing logging roads. Puget Sound restoration, salmon recovery and the health of our rivers will suffer if it does not. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2003881567_jaymanning13.html

California:

6) The Blue Label Timber Harvest Plan (THP)is a 335 acre THP is in Lower Larabee Creek and is not approved yet. The THP includes the removal of late seral and old growth forest which is habitat for several kinds of sensitive forest species that are protected. Time is running critically short for submitting comments on this THP. The forest in this THP is considered occupied by marbled murrelets, and the USFWS signed off on several units of marbled murrelet habitat under the Habitat Conservation Plan. The prescription includes clearcutting, select cutting, shelterwood preparatory step, shelterwood removal step and two other silvicultural methods. The Erosion Hazard Rating for this THP is high. Marbled murrelets, an endangered species, continue to decline as over 94% of their nesting habitat along the coast has been destroyed. Combined with the fact that the ecosystem protections of the Northwest Forest Plan have been shown to be inadequate to protect marbled murrelet populations, this species is on a downward spiral towards extinction. Please submit comments by 17 September 2007 to: CDF Northern Region Headquarters, 135 Ridgeway Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401. For more information about the THP please look at California Dept of Forestry’s FTP site for original THP documents. noel@wildcalifornia.org ftp://thp.fire.ca.gov/THPLibrary/North_Coast_Region/THPs2007/

7) Eric Shatz was one of the raiders cutting down platforms, traverses and living spaces with gas powered chainsaws in Marbled Murrlete habitat during Murrlete protection season. This has been verified by experienced activists. No (loud)work should be done by PL during this protection season. Not only did they disturb the wildlife, they also dumped our contained food stores all over the forest floor. This is a BIG taboo for sitters, we compost all food scraps, we avoid feeding wildlife because corvids such as Grey Jays and Crows attack nesting birds. Corvids are attracted by garbage and human scraps. The raiders also left the equipment they did not steal such as sleeping bags, blankets, ropes and other non-biodegradable items scattered throughout the woods.Forest defenders were away from Nanning this summer for a number of reasons. We felt that the grove was safe due to the Murrlete restrictions. We felt that our presence, even at a bare minimun, was not ethical. If we were in the canopy during the summer, we may have discouraged nesting Murrletes…contradicting our hard work to protect this habitat. We run a tight ship in regards to “leaving only footprints” in the woods. Yes, it is more than obvious who’s property we are on. However, we were really surprized at the lack of respect that Eric Shatz and his crew has for the forest and wildlife. We hope that you will answer the call to help us, to hold PL accountable for their actions, and to support the effort to protect Nanning Creek. As of Wednesday, September 12th, PL continues to harass sitters from the ground, as well as maintain a security presence at entrances to the Nanning sit. Please use caution if you attempt to enter the sit. Call Humboldt Forest Defense for more information. http://humboldtforestdefense.blogspot.com/2007/09/nanning-raid-updatepl-violations-of.html

8) Protesters living in an oak grove in front of Memorial Stadium secured a small victory Wednesday as an Alameda County Superior Court Judge refused to immediately order them down from their growing perch. Saying he saw no immediate emergency, Judge Richard Keller denied a University of California, Berkeley request to order an immediate end to the 10-month long protest. Instead, Keller said he wanted to wait for a full hearing next month before making a decision on whether the tree sitters have a First Amendment right to live in the grove. “I am going to maintain the status quo,” Keller said. “There is no reason to believe that the situation is going to continue to grow.” University officials sued the tree sitters Monday, asking a judge to order the removal of the group because they posed a danger to themselves and the surrounding neighborhood. With that suit, the university asked for a temporary restraining order demanding the tree sitters leave the area until a hearing is held. The university claimed the protesters are posing fire, health and safety risks by creating a tree-top village using a series of wooden platforms connected by a complex system of ropes and pulleys. Protesters set up camp in the trees in December in hopes of preventing the university from moving ahead with plans to build an athletic training complex at the site. Cal wants to build a $125 facility at the steps of Memorial Stadium, in part to attract student. athletes. Since December, however, the protest has grown. Tree sitters have brought propane tanks to the site and have cooked with open-flame camping stoves, the university said. Urine and feces has fallen from the trees and, at least once, a protester reportedly threw a firecracker at a police officer. The pyrotechnic ignited the ground at the base of the trees, the university said. “I don’t understand why the university can’t control its own property,” Keller said. “What prevents the university from securing the area and not letting people in?” Goldstein responded that the university does not want to cordon off the area because of safety concerns. “We don’t believe we can do that safely,” he said. http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_6882974?nclick_check=1
Montana:

9) As the hottest summer on record in the northern Rockies comes to a close, I am especially thankful for our public national forest lands. Not only do these lands help regulate our climate and provide habitat for countless species, but I can’t think of a better way to beat the heat than visiting our national forest lands! Whether it’s a high alpine lake, a clear flowing stream or the coolness of a pristine, old-growth forest, we are truly blessed to live surrounded by some of the most beautiful public lands in America. TheWildWest Institute continues to successfully work to protect and restore these lands – your public forests, wildlands and watersheds here in the Northern Rockies. Please take a moment to learn about our recent successes and then consider joining the WildWest Institute as a member with a tax-deductible contribution today. The past year saw us continuing to work together with diverse interests to help establish a new, sustainable restoration economy in our region that will benefit our forests, wildlife, watersheds and communities. During the 2007 Montana legislative session, we helped to form and worked together with a Restore Montana partnership that worked to acquire $6 million in new money for restoration work in Montana. One of the most exciting aspects of that funding is the establishment of a state-wide Restoration Office, to be housed in the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Recently, WildWest helped form FireSafe Montana, which serves as a clearinghouse for homeowners seeking information, resources and assistance on community wildfire protection. Also, One of our successful cases from 2007 issued a major blow to the Bush Administration’s attempts to illegally rewrite the rules for managing our national forests. Together with fourteen other conservation groups, our lawsuit will have a lasting, positive impact on the overall management of 192 million acres of federally owned forests and grasslands. Another positive result of a successful WildWest lawsuit, which made it all the way to the US Supreme Court earlier in the year, has been the Forest Service finally being forced to monitor past and current management activities to ensure the long-term viability of birds and animals dependent on old-growth forest habitat throughout the Northern Rockies. https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1537/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=1544

Pennsylvania:

10) Spurred by rising oil and gas prices, the industry wants to reopen exploration and development on the 2.1 million acres of state-owned forest land. More than a dozen companies have already asked for permits on a total of 4.5 million acres of state forest land. State Sen. Mary Jo White, R-Venango, who represents one of the state’s oil and gas areas, said this week she plans to introduce legislation soon that would require DCNR to auction oil and gas leases for any state forest property where more than one company wants to drill. In a news release, Ms. White, who is chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, criticized the Rendell administration for not granting leases at the same time it had made “energy independence” a central theme of its energy program. But Jeff Schmidt, the Harrisburg lobbyist for the Sierra Club, said it is opposed to reopening the state forests for drilling because of the same biological concerns that led the state to impose the moratorium in the first place. “The science hasn’t changed,” Mr. Schmidt said, “but the political pressure has resulted in this choice to remove the moratorium.” Frank Feldbaum, president of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey, said oil and gas development on state lands could further fragment the forest, disrupt sensitive habitat and create openings for invasive plant species. “Invasives are eating Pennsylvania alive and everywhere they cut a road in for an oil or gas well opens the door for whatever seeds are on that dozer’s blade or tracks,” Mr. Feldbaum said. “As for fragmentation, you can see what’s been done with all the drilling going on in the Allegheny National Forest, and now that will bump right into the state forests.” http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07257/817427-113.stm

New Jersey:

11) New Jersey based Friends of the Rainforest and Ecological Internet’s campaign to stop the use of ancient rainforest timbers for boardwalk repairs is progressing nicely — garnering media attention and already changing the city council’s vote. An important precedent is being set that ancient rainforest timbers belong in rainforest canopies, not in construction projects and consumer products. You can still take action — we are making a difference with every protest email we send and every new protest network participant we recruite. The crusade to keep ipê out of Ocean City’s boardwalk reconstruction is a rejection of Forest Stewardship Council and big greens’ efforts to certify and greenwash industrial ancient forest logging as being responsible, while falsely implying sustainability. First time logging of primary rainforests — selective, certified, ecosystem based or otherwise — results in an immediate huge release of carbon, permanent reductions in future carbon sink potential, and reductions in species numbers and diversity. One of the gravest obstacles to mitigating climate change, conserving ancient forests and achieving global ecological sustainability is the pernicious myth that selectively logging ancient forests (certified or not) is environmentally beneficial. It is NOT. With just over 15% of the world’s ancient forest existing in large, intact blocks; areas that are critical for continued functioning of ecosystems and the biosphere, what remains MUST be protected in an intact state that is free from all industrial activities. Ensuring the Earth’s continued capacity to provide humanity and our sister species our habitat; including addressing climate change, ending the extinction crisis and maintaining freshwater resources, depends critically upon ending ancient forest logging and finding methods to compensate local peoples and governments for avoiding deforestation AND forest diminishment such as that wrought by “certified” logging.

USA:

12) Clues found in old-growth tree rings from Michigan to Maine show an increasing growth spurt during the last century, possibly from global climate change, according to Neil Pederson, an assistant professor at Eastern Kentucky University. Normally, trees, like people, slow growth as they age, said Pederson. But ring patterns in oaks, poplars and cedars — some up to 400 years old — instead show trees started growing faster in recent decades. “It is like my grandmother suddenly growing taller and dunking a basketball or playing football,” said Pederson. “It’s not supposed to happen.” He said it is likely that global warming is behind the change. “The most important factor to limit growth in trees is low winter temperature,” he said. Since starting his research while at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in New York City, Pederson has collected more than 1,600 tree ring samples. In New York state, some specimens came from Fred Breglia, horticulture and operations director of Landis Arboretum in Esperance. Winter has been gradually retreating from New York and neighboring states for four decades, according to research by Cameron Wake, a professor at the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. In the 1970s, there was an average of 87 days with snow on the ground — two weeks longer than now. Average winter temperatures have climbed 4.5 degrees. Warmer weather also means more rain to fuel tree growth. Snow now accounts for about 70 percent of winter precipitation, down from 80 percent, according to Wake. In looking at rings from 230 Atlantic white cedars from Maine to North Carolina, he found trees from New Jersey and north showed accelerated growth rates for the last 80 years, while trees south of that were unchanged. Breglia agreed with Pederson’s view. He said he has also seen similar growth spurt patterns in 600-year-old black gums that he sampled in Saratoga County, N.Y., which is the northernmost edge of the species range. http://www.startribune.com/389/story/1420201.html

Canada:

13) American environmental groups today announced their support for Canadian environmental groups and three Cree Indian communities fighting Hydro-Quebec’s most recent assault on the James Bay wilderness in Quebec, Canada. Hydro-Québec’s primary purpose for damming and diverting the Rupert River – one of the last undammed major river in Northern Quebec – and creating a massive reservoir equivalent in size to flooding two-thirds of Montreal, or half of New York or New Orleans, is to generate new power capacity to sell to the northeastern United States. “This massive, non-sustainable energy project has been cloaked in secrecy and preliminary work has started with almost no public scrutiny,” said Doris Delaney of PROTECT, adding that it is never too late to re-examine the Rupert diversion. “We seek a construction moratorium, to allow time for impartial and complete review of the project’s environmental and social impacts, and of the very attractive wind power alternative, which Hydro-Quebec appears to have deliberately concealed,” said Delaney. On average, 71% of the river’s annual flow will be diverted by 2009 to new reservoirs flooding 135 square miles of land, leaving a trickle of the original flow. The water will be funneled to Hydro-Québec’s La Grande hydropower system further north on James Bay. http://www.savetherupert.org

14) Jasper National Park staff are hoping Mother Nature gives them enough time to reshape their forests, before a massive invasion of mountain pine beetles devastates their trees. The deadly insects have only made small inroads into Jasper so far, but that could change quickly, says Warden Dave Smith, who runs both the park’s wildlife and pine beetle prevention programs. “They only fly during a two-week period each year. Quite literally, if the winds are blowing in our direction at the time of the next flite we could be the next place where the mountain pine beetle hits in a big way,” Smith says. The day before the interview he spent seven hours in a helicopter looking for signs of mountain pine beetles in various areas of the park. Smith found about 200 infested trees in the northwest corner of the park, near the Wilmore Wilderness area, and about another 100 in other locations. In the past they have usually found about 30 infested trees in the northwest so there’s no doubt the problem is growing. “For us that’s a heck of a lot but when you compare it with some other areas, such as B.C. it’s sill very minor, comparatively speaking,” Smith says. The answer to all this is fire. The only way to regain the biodiversity the park thrives on and to protect it from mountain pine beetles is to allow more fires within the park, so that there is a mix of trees of different ages rather than an overabundance of older ones. “What fire does is kill the trees above ground, but below the surface it stimulates new growth, so new shoots will pop up,” Smith explains. “Fire is the perfect gardening tool on a large scale to create ecological restoration.” In addition, creating fires around the areas of mountain pine beetle infestation effectively creates a blockade, preventing the beetles from easily spreading to nearby trees. “When we find mountain pine beetle we cut those trees down and burn them, but we know that is just a finger in the dyke maneuver,” Smith says. “So what we’re doing is we’re trying to use the natural process of fire to slow or stop the mountain pine beetle from going 7through Jasper National Park.” Sounds simple, but in practice is it a very complex proposition. Starting a fire is easy enough, controlling it is a whole other issue, Smith says. http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=69705878-f2ad-4ea9-936a-15efb7db7706

UK:

15) Communications agency Creative Concern has created a ‘green’ billboard that replaces carbon-intensive materials with a living hedge of native willow trees. The Green Billboard is an advertising medium made entirely from willow trees which the agency believes offers a superior range of benefits to traditional hoardings including reduction of noise pollution, increase in tree coverage and a natural screen for unsightly developments. The initiative has been developed by Manchester agency Creative Concern, Cheviot Trees of Berwick upon Tweed and fellow Manchester design agency, Modern Designers. The first installation of the willow billboard has been sited on a new woodland development in Merseyside at Bidston Moss adjacent to the M53. and follows months of meticulous planning by the ethical agency in partnership with Cheviot Trees and fellow design agency, Modern Designers. The hoarding, which measures 30 metres by 2.5 metres, was delivered on behalf of the NWDA and the Forestry Commission and displays the partnership’s message ‘ One Tree Is Planted Every Ten Seconds In This Region’. http://www.how-do.co.uk/north-west-media-news/other-media/creative-concern-claims-launch-of-wo
rld%92s-first-%E2%80%98living-advert%92-20070913927/

16) As revealed in The Standard earlier this summer, the Boston Woods Trust is hoping to almost double the amount of woodland it currently manages with the purchase of a further 27.5 acres off Wyberton West End Road – on the town side of the existing Westgate Wood – and 15.5 acres in Fenside. The larger piece of land will be used to create the first part of the Sir Joseph Banks Country Park and Arboretum, while the stretch in Fenside will become an extension of the trust’s neighbouring Beech Wood, and will include a pond and walnut grove. Boston Borough Council chief executive Mick Gallagher has this week recommended to councillors they support the trust’s scheme with a £50,000 contribution. He said the scheme would bring the following benefits to the Boston community: 1) Give the public the chance to adopt healthier lifestyles through new walking and cycling facilities. 2) Enhance the appearance of the borough, making it more attractive to investors and tourists. 3) Help to address climate change through the planting of more trees. 4) Provide extra recreation space within the borough. 5) Increase the biodiversity of Boston’s wildlife. 6) Provide opportunities for new eco-tourism/forestry jobs, wildlife education and volunteer work. – The total cost of the two projects is expected to run to around £230,000, including the land purchase, landscaping work and the provision of all-weather pathways. The Woods Trust is able to contribute £45,000 of its own funds, and hopes to secure a further £100,000 from private and business sponsorship. http://www.bostonstandard.co.uk/news/50000-council-cash-for-woods.3196633.jp

Czechoslovakia:

17) The Czech Republic has a record-high supply of wood that increases by three million cubic metres every year, but despite that the country may face a shortage of wood in 30 years owing to the constantly growing demand, an executive said. Czech wood stock has risen by 70 million cubic metres over the past ten years, and forest area in the country grows by 1,000 hectares a year, Jan Rezac, head of the foundation Drevo pro zivot (Wood for Life), told CTK at the Wood-Tec fair that opened in Brno today. He added, however, that the most productive forests were founded after the World War I and have not been renewed sufficiently. The current wood supply in Czech forests is estimated at 668 million cubic metres. According to Czech Statistical Office (CSU) data, a total of 17.68 million cubic metres of wood was extracted in 2006, up 14 percent against the previous year. Demand for wood grows steadily in the Czech Republic, especially in construction. “The share of buildings based on wood is now at five percent, while still two years ago it was less than one percent,” Rezac said. In contrast, the share reaches ten percent in Germany, 15 percent in Austria and more than 60 percent in Scandinavian countries. Demand for wood will grow in future also because of the Czech Republic’s pledge to produce twenty percent of energy from renewable resources by 2020, said Rezac. http://www.praguemonitor.com/en/168/czech_business/12015/

Bulgaria:

18) Balkani Wildlife Society proposes that 40% of the forests in Bulgaria should be included in NATURA 2000, Andrey Kovachev from the Society, told Focus News Agency. He expressed flat disagreement with the statement of the National Agency for Forestry that 33% of Bulgaria’s forests should be included in the ecological network. Kovachev participates as an expert in Thursday’s session of the National Council on Biodiversity. He regards the decision as completely unacceptable because it cuts Bulgaria’s most valuable sites where the nature is preserved. “Minister of Environment and Water Dzhevdet Chakarov pledged to work jointly with our experts on the Black Sea coast problems. So far he has not kept his promise,” he added. http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n121938

Mexico:

19) Earlier this summer Mexican President Felipe Calderón unveiled his government’s National Climate Change Strategy, a plan with specific targets for reducing as much as 25 billion tons of CO2. The plan isn’t pegged to any particular year’s levels, but lists opportunities for emissions reduction and carbon capture by 2014. The comprehensive carbon-sequestration section features a call to plant 250 million trees in 2007, the development of wood-based biofuels in forest communities and restoration of agricultural lands. While the tree-planting goal is obviously quite ambitious, the Distrito Federal, or Federal District, which encompasses much of Mexico City, has made a solid contribution to the goal by planting three million trees in 25 communities over 49,000 acres (20,000 hectares) in the district’s rural southern zone. According to the National Forest Commission (Spanish link), as of mid August, 50 million tree seedlings had been distributed around the country, which means they may reach the goal of 250 million trees by year’s end. The Distrito Federal loses on average 1,000 acres (400 hectares) of natural areas per year, and while the state has set aside 200,000 acres (80,000 hectares) for conservation purposes, only 158,000 acres (64,000 hectares) remain due to illegal logging and squatting. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/09/three_million_trees.php

20) Much of Mexico’s forestland is owned by 500 mostly-indigenous ejidos — shared community land — but indigenous ownership does not guarantee that the forests will be defended and conserved. Mexico’s lush forestland covers a quarter of its national territory and accounts for 1.3 percent of the world’s forest resources, but this land is becoming increasingly littered with the corpses of dead forest defenders. Mexican forests are a violent battleground between drug gangs clearing land for illicit cultivation, guerilla groups encamped under the canopy, heavily-armed wood poachers who steal 2,000,000 board feet of timber each year, and those who seek to defend the trees. In recent years, Mexico’s forests have become a killing floor every bit as lethal as Brazil where such environmental martyrs as Chico Méndez, Sister Dorothy Stang (LP, March 9, 2005) and young Dionicio Ribieras were allegedly by the pistoleros of ruthless landowners. The list of the dead is horrific. In the state of Mexico, 30 forest inspectors, a third of the state force, have been murdered since 1991 according to a count kept by Héctor Magallanes, Greenpeace Mexico forest action coordinator. While many ejidos zealously protect their forests which are held in common and represent the communities’ most valued resource, other indigenous groups such as the Lacandon, who occupy the forest of the same name lease out their timber rights to millions of meters of precious mahogany and cedar, stands to corporate loggers. On the other side of the ledger, Zapatista Mayan indigenous rebels who share the rain forest with the Lacandones, enforce timber cutting strictures in their communities and set up roadblocks at key chokepoints in the jungle and the surrounding canyons to keep the wood poachers from moving their loads to clandestine sawmills in the municipality of Ocosingo. Clashes at the roadblocks have resulted in casualties on both sides. “The earth is our mother,” explained Omar, a Zapatista forest defender on the Ejido Morelia, a recent forum in the Lacandon jungle. “We are prepared to die to defend her.” http://www.latinamericapress.org/article.asp?lanCode=1&artCode=5292

Honduras:

21) Next month Honduras will have a new Forest and Wildlife Law, approved by National Congress and setting up to 15 years in prison for wood smuggling. COHDEFOR Former Manager Rigoberto Sandoval indicated that no law has been so widely discussed as this one, from which came more than 15 different versions and at least five reports over eight years. The new Institute of Forest Sciences will replace the Honduran Forest Development Corporation (COHDEFOR). Congress President Roberto Micheletti celebrated the consensus reached and said all the country will benefit from this. http://www.plenglish.com/article.asp?ID=%7BAAFDE977-4BF7-4BDA-AC37-B857F9E56E2C%7D&language=EN

Argentina:

22) For six days now, the activists have continuously occupied trees inside a part of the Yungas forest that’s a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. They’ll stay there until “la Ley de Bosques” [the Forest Law], legislation to protect Argentina’s remaining forests, is agreed by the Argentinean congress. Greenpeace Argentina is calling for 1 million signatures to help get the law passed, and has already collected over 600,000. If you are Argentinean and have not yet signed, please help by signing now. While support from all is welcome, we need signatures from Argentineans to get this law through. The trees the activists are living in are up to 25 metres high. A ‘land team’, camping on the forest floor, supports the activists in the trees, and all of them are trained in jungle survival techniques. Argentina’s forests are in crisis. Forests are being chopped down at a rate 8 times faster than the world average, clear cutting a massive 300,000 hectares a year. To put that figure into context – Argentina destroys an area of forest the size of 40 football fields, every hour. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/jaguar-tree-camp070913

Brazil:

23) Brazil, soon to be the world’s largest producer of soybeans, recently formed the Global Roundtable on Responsible Soy Association as concerns grow that global demand for biofuels will level the Amazon rainforest. Environmentalists say demand from China is playing an important role in surging soybean production in the region. According to Reuters, the Brazilian Oils and Fats Industry Association (Abiove), a member of the Brazilian Roundtable, and Brazil’s National Grain Exporters Association recently said they would not to trade soy that originates from the Amazon. Last year, after an investigation by Greenpeace linked Amazon soy to chicken feed used to supply McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants in Europe, a consortium of Brazil’s largest soy crushers announced a two-year moratorium on trading soybeans grown on newly deforested lands in the Amazon basin. During that time the agricultural sector will work with the Brazilian government to prepare an effective mapping and monitoring system for the Amazon biome, develop strategies to encourage soy producers to comply with the Brazilian forestry laws, and work with other groups to layout rules on how to conduct operations in the region. The industry-driven trend is a hopeful sign that sustainability is gaining traction in the Amazon. Aliança da Terra, an organization founded by a Texas rancher named John Cain Carter and his wife Kika, is working on a certification platform for Brazilian cattle ranchers — the largest drivers of deforestation in the Amazon. Carter believes that by giving producers incentives to reduce their impact on the environment, the market can succeed where conservation efforts have failed. “We’re setting up an accrediting mechanism that will help responsible landowners gain access to markets and get the best price for their products,” Carter told mongabay.com.

24) Because evaporation from the forest itself creates the conditions necessary to sustain a rain forest, the entire forest need not be logged for the system to collapse. The 1.2 billion acre Amazon basin is located in five nations — Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana — with Brazil holding 60%. The forest accounts for about half the world’s remaining intact rainforest. Deforestation has increased in recent decades, as the government and private interests have built roads into and through the forest, individuals and conglomerates have cleared land for ranching, and other interests eye the forest for short-term gain. Brazil has recently celebrated its success at slowing the rate of deforestation, conservation groups have long been active in the region and the world’s industrialized nations are increasingly interested in schemes that might protect the forest as a way to offset their carbon emissions. Like other large forests, the Amazon holds carbon that — if trees are logged or burned — would be released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. If logging of the Amazon Rainforest doesn’t stop, the forest could be destroyed in less than 75 years, Brazilian environmentalist Philip Martin Fernside told TASS. http://www.thedailygreen.com/2007/09/10/amazon-rainforest-could-disappear-by-2080/6366/

Paraguay:

25) Signs of the last uncontacted Indians south of the Amazon basin have been spotted by other members of their tribe in Paraguay. Footprints and a still-burning campfire were seen by members of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe last week in the western half of their territorial heartland. The news has alarmed the Indians’ supporters, as the area is the scene of rapidly increasing deforestation. The Ayoreo-Totobiegosode have been trying to protect the last substantial part of their ancestral forest since 1993. Many of their relatives still live in this area, resisting all contact with outsiders. All members of the tribe, including those who have had contact with outsiders for many years, depend on this forest for their livelihood. Although Paraguay’s government is legally obliged to title this area to the Ayoreo, only a small part has so far been handed back to the Indians, and now illegal deforestation is rampant. Last month Survival handed to the Paraguayan authorities a 57,000-signature petition calling on the Ayoreo’s land to be titled to them without delay. Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘We know that the still-uncontacted Ayoreo Indians are being forced to live on the run as their forest is cut down all around them. On the day the UN is expected finally to approve a declaration on indigenous peoples’ rights, the shameful saga of the Ayoreo shows the vast gulf for many tribal people between the reality on the ground and the aspirations of the UN declaration.’ For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email mr@survival-international.org http://www.survival-international.org/news/2500

Peru:

26) Three years ago today I was dripping wet and happily exhausted, having just hiked from 10,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes down into the Amazon lowlands. A colleague and I were collecting soil samples to study the diversity of tropical microbes. A Wake Forest University friend was using the different elevations to understand how climate change might affect rainforest diversity. A writer for Smithsonian Magazine interested in deforestation was trying to keep his camera and notebooks dry. As we hiked through the jungle, I was struck by the changes we saw, including clear-cutting, forest fragmentation and soil erosion, and by the far-reaching impacts those changes might have. From diversity to deforestation, the environment and human health are inseparable. The environment gives us food, shelter and an abundant source of medicines. The changing environment is what I’d like to focus on here-how issues such as climate change, deforestation and the quest for clean water affect human health today. Tackle these problems and we’ll save lives; ignore them, and health crises are possible. The World Health Organization recently estimated that climate change is already claiming 150,000 lives a year through the spread of diseases, heat waves and other factors. Warming temperatures allow the mosquitoes that spread malaria and dengue fever to expand their ranges. Cases of food poisoning from salmonella and other pathogens increase with higher temperatures. http://media.www.dukechronicle.com/media/storage/paper884/news/2007/09/13/Columns/The-Changing
.Environment-2966880.shtml

Guyana:

27) A few months ago, Bai Shan Lin had been banned from exporting logs because of its failure to live up to investment timetables. Earlier this year, this newspaper had reported that Bai Shan Lin Inc had secured the rights to 400,000 hectares of forest for a period of 20 years, according to the company’s website. The website said the company would be processing logs harvested from the Jaling concession. CEO of DTL S.K. Chan had said in a letter to Stabroek News that in line with government’s policy of further downstream processing of timber products, the company had embarked on a technical assistance management agreement with Bai Shan Lin “to secure the market linkages in China…”
It did not provide any further details on this agreement. Earl Julien, Site Manager at Bai Shan Lin’s Coomacka operations in Region Ten, had earlier told Stabroek News that his company was in the process of “taking over the operations” at DTL’s Mabura location. This was confirmed by Bai Shan Lin’s Administrative Manager Karen Canterbury. However, Chan’s letter said the arrangement with the Chinese-owned company would add processing equipment to its existing mills at Mabura to produce a wider range of value added timber products. He said too that DTL only deals in logs it harvests itself in its licenced areas of operation under the Forest Management Plan and Annual Operations Plan as approved by the GFC. http://guyanaforestryblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/govt-assured-no-assets-shares-moved.html

Bolivia:

28) Assessment of habitat use for species of conservation concern can lead to important measures for habitat conservation. In high-Andean Polylepis forests (3000–5000 m), two such species are the Giant Conebill (Oreomanes fraseri) and the Tawny Tit Spinetail (Leptasthenura yanacensis), two forest specialists confronted with the loss and fragmentation of their habitat. The high degree of habitat specialization with strong confinement to Polylepis forest patches predisposes them to a much lower threshold to habitat fragmentation than more generalist species. In this study, we examined their habitat use. Through the use of principal component analysis and generalized linear models considering the vegetation structure, tree density, ground cover and interior and edge plots, we found micro-habitat use only for O. fraseri. This species was more abundant (foraging and perching) in plots with high presence of mature trees. Also, both species showed strong edge avoidance, regardless of fragment size or vegetation characteristics. Adverse microclimate conditions, such as extreme temperatures during warm or cold periods at edges may be the most probable cause of edge avoidance. The reduction of edge:interior ratio within Polylepis fragments and management measures against mature tree cutting is suggested for the conservation of these two near threatened Andean birds. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V5X-4PMT5T3-1&_user=10&_coverDate=0
9%2F11%2F2007&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=
0&_userid=10&md5=4e6417608c60d6e715932fbe5f60366a

China:

29) China has suspended a plan to plant millions of trees across the country amid worries that they would have taken up increasingly scarce farmland, state media reported on Wednesday. China had planned to reforest 1.3 million hectares (3.2 million acres) of farmland as part of a five-year project due to end in 2010, the China Daily newspaper said. But the the project has been halted to maintain the minimum 120 million hectares of farmland deemed necessary to feed the country’s people, the paper said, citing an order from the State Council, China’s cabinet. The suspension will affect 1.07 million hectares, with the other land already planted with trees, it said. The move comes amid official concern over the increasing use of land to grow corn and other grains for use as biofuels rather than food. It also follows Tuesday’s announcement that August saw the highest inflation rate in nearly 11 years, fuelled in large part by skyrocketing food prices. Reforestation and urbanisation has reduced China’s arable land to 122.07 million hectares, the paper said, just above the government-set “red line.” However, it quoted officials from the State Forestry Administration as calling the suspension a “pause.” “We will continue to implement the project in the coming years,” said Liu Qing, an official with the forestation project. It said more than 24 million hectares of farmland have been reforested since 2000. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hccflDh4j5cWCyvyTjQCeSIs4rqQ

India:

30) The forest-rich state of Jammu and Kashmir is now importing timber from Canada, Malaysia, Russia, Indonesia and other countries for construction purposes. The imported timber costs 40 percent less than local logs, which are now rarely found in the market due to heavy inundation of forests over the past two decades. Timber merchant Wajahat Ahmed says he alone procured 30,000 cubic feet of timber last year from Gujarat. Wajahat and other Srinagar-based merchants procured a quarter of a million cubic feet of timber from Canada last year. The exploitation of forests has now left only 20,230 sq km of forest in the state known for its pastures and lush green forests. Official records say that 14,372 hectares had been encroached upon. A huge forest track had been allotted to the Mata Vaishnau Devi Trust to construct facilities for pilgrims and a grand university in the Jammu region. Similarly, forest tracks have been procured by the Amarnath Shrine Board to develop tracks and facilities for the Amarnath-bound pilgrims. Kashmir has seen an increasing man-animal conflict over the past few years. Environment Minister Qazi Mohammad Afzal told the state legislature recently that over 30 people had been killed and hundreds injured in such conflicts over the past two years. The minister said the reason for the rise in such incidents was the shrinking habitat of the wild animals, spread of human settlements and deforestation. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C09%5C14%5Cstory_14-9-2007_pg7_44

31) Kashmir – Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Legislative Assembly has expressed concern over the functioning of Forest Department and State Forest Corporation (SFC) regarding inordinate delay in realizing the arrears from various departments on account of forestland that has been handed over to them. The Committee has directed the Department and Corporation to take immediate steps to realize the arrears from the concerned departments and also settle the pending issue of fixing the rates of royalty on timber and clear the liabilities at the earliest possible time. The PAC that met here Wednesday under the chairmanship of MLA Mian Altaf Ahmed reviewed the functioning of these organizations and held detailed discussion on the audit paras of CAG’s Report for the year 2001-02 pertaining to these departments. The Committee directed the officers to ensure plantation of required number of plants in lieu of the fallen trees from the forestland that has been used by the other departments for other purposes so as to maintain the prescribed ratio of cutting trees and plantation of new trees, the Committee maintained. http://www.greaterkashmir.com/full_story.asp?Date=13_9_2007&ItemID=49&cat=21

Bangladesh:

32) As trees fall and forests are thinned, wildlife disappears. The total number of Hoolock Gibbon our only ape species will soon be in double digits in the wild. Flagship species such as the Asian Elephant and the Bengal Tiger are in similar states of crisis, as are hundreds of lesser known species of cats, birds, butterflies and plants, to name a few. How has this neglect of our once pristine Protected Areas and the consequent loss of biodiversity come to pass? The Forest Department has faced a number of challenges. The Wildlife Act allows for little involvement of local communities in conservation of Protected Areas, leaving Forest staff to conclude that their principal role is to keep everyone out of the Areas, and to arrest and or prosecute those who do enter. Because there is no plantation work to be done in a Protected Area, budgets for management of the areas have been much smaller than other Reserve Forests. In the absence of any Protected Area Management Plans or any systematic wildlife management training — local Forest staff have focused almost exclusively on the goal of “keeping people out”. In those Protected Areas where staff and other local or national powerful interests have been less than honest, Protected Areas have provided an ideal venue for theft of logs, fuel wood, and establishment of brick fields or other encroachment of lands. Consider the challenges of managing the forest impact of the brick burning sector alone. A single brick field makes on average 2.4 million bricks a year, and this requires 1,000 tons of fuel wood, or the equivalent of 40,000 head loads of wood from the forest. Although the Brick Burning Control Act explicitly prohibits brick fields within 3 km of any Protected Area or Reserve Forest, many brick fields have situated themselves directly adjacent to Protected Areas because they can extract “free” wood fuel and clay. At one Protected Area in the south of the country, 15 brick fields have situated themselves either directly inside or immediately adjacent to the forest. http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=3882

Philippines:

33) Efforts to protect Philippine rain forests from illegal logging received a boost from a US$1.5 million (€1 million) corporate donation for a reforestation project, an environmental group said Thursday. Conservation International said its partnership with Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp., which will provide the funds over the next three years, will help restore northeastern forests in an area larger than Switzerland. Plans also include offering jobs to indigenous people to prevent illegal logging. The initiative between the corporate and environmental communities “will demonstrate how forest protection efforts benefit both biodiversity and community development,” the group said in a statement. Conservation International said deforestation is responsible for almost a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions — more than double the amount from the world’s cars and trucks. It said the Philippines is one of the most threatened of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots — regions where 75 percent of the planet’s most-threatened mammals, birds and amphibians live within just 2.3 percent of the earth’s surface. Those locations have already lost at least 70 percent of their vegetation, it said. The Penablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape, which is linked with the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park on the main northern island of Luzon, includes several threatened vertebrate species, such as the Philippine crocodile, the northern Luzon shrew rat and the country’s national bird, the Philippine eagle. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/09/13/asia/AS-GEN-Philippines-Rain-Forests.php

Malaysia:

34) A canary-yellow machine lumbers onto a fallow oil palm field and, with a roar of its motor, rips into a pile of fronds and shavings of dead trunks. As plantation operators and scientists observe the mulching process, their guide, Cheriachangel Mathews, a senior manager at United Plantations’Jendarata Estate, warns that the group has been infiltrated. “We have a journalist with us,” he says. “I want him and all of you to know that nothing here—nothing—is wasted.” Mathews has good reason to be concerned about the take-home message. With prices soaring, palm oil, Malaysia’s number one crop, has recently surpassed soybean as the top-selling vegetable oil in the world. Oil squeezed from palm fruit bunches is an ingredient in myriad products, from ice cream to soap, and it is being touted as a biofuel that can stem reliance on fossil fuels. But the industry has been taking a mulching in the press. Environmental groups have accused plantations of razing forests to plant the lucrative crop and slaughtering orangutans that pilfer and eat the fruit. Hoping to turn over a new frond, the oil palm industry is now endeavoring to demon- strate its sustainability. It faces an uphill battle. A just completed review by three dozen academics details species declines pinned on the oil palm, a native of West Africa that has become a dominant feature of Southeast Asia’s landscape. It is an “unavoidable fact that the replacement of diverse tropical forest with an exotic monoculture significantly impacts biodiversity,” states the Biodiversity and Oil Palm Briefing Document. It will be presented at a gathering in November of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), in which industry officials, scientists, and other parties are hammering out a voluntary certification scheme for minimizing harm to the environment. Scientists and like-minded industry insiders hoping to curb destructive growth may get help from the market. Rising palm oil prices are strangling demand for palm as a biofuel, Edgare Kerkwijk, managing director of the BioX Group, a renewable-energy company in Singapore, told the International Palm Oil Congress in Kuala Lumpur late last month. That’s bitter news for companies in Southeast Asia that have been racing to ramp up capacity to process palm into biodiesel. With crude palm oil now topping $700 per ton, “we believe that palm oil is not a long-term bio-fuel,” Kerkwijk said. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/317/5844/1491

Australia:

35) Greens Leader, Peg Putt, says the report is an attempt to justify bad forestry practices. “This report says we can keep killing the forests for a long time. That’s what we mean by sustainable,” Ms Putt said. “It doesn’t talk about the ecological sustaiinability of what’s happening,” she said. Hans Drielsma from Forestry Tasmania says the report shows that in 90 years, the volume of eucalypt wood managed by the company will be substantially higher. He also says the average age of the forest will be roughly the same. Mr Drielsma says the report assumes future production levels will remain the same. “There’ve been some recent suggestions for instance that in the context of this new pulp mill, there’s going to be a dramatic increase – a doubling I think I heard yesterday of production from our forests,” Mr Drielsma said. “Well, I’m not sure where that’s going to come from, because it’s certainly not coming from the state forests that we’re managing,” he said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/09/15/2033651.htm

Boreal forests:

36) “There is no doubt that northern regions are warming and permafrost is melting as shown by numerous observations and modeling studies,” says Altaf Arain, co-author of the study and associate professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences. “However, there is large uncertainty about the rate and magnitude of permafrost degradation and thaw depth.” Previous studies using the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate Model suggest that global warming is rapidly melting permafrost in the North regions. According to those studies, only a million square kilometres of the currently estimated 10.5-million square kilometres of permafrost would remain by the end of this century. However, Arain says these studies failed to consider the impact of peat and vegetation cover. “A layer of peat above the permafrost acts as insulation by trapping air pockets, which reduce heat transfer and helps permafrost retention,” he says. “Vegetation can also help slow the rate at which permafrost melts because it shades the ground. Forest cover provided more protection than shrubs or bare ground, and thick layers of peat were such effective insulators that permafrost showed only minimal decline even by 2100. On the other hand, Arain adds, disturbance of the ground cover on a local scale or fires in the boreal forest and tundra can lead to accelerated permafrost thaw. Forest fires in permafrost regions, which may become more prevalent in the future, can reduce surface organic layer, and this can affect ground thaw on both local and regional scales. Preservation of peat layer and forests may help in maintaining permafrost in northern regions. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070913132927.htm

Tropical forests:

37) The Forests NOW Declaration, which is backed by charities such as Friends of the Earth and Care International, is being unveiled in London today. It demands governments take steps to protect tropical and subtropical forests to combat climate change, preserve biodiversity and sustain the livelihoods of 1.4 billion of the world’s poor. The campaigners want to see: the protection of forests included in carbon trading schemes; assistance to developing nations to participate in carbon markets; incentives for regeneration of degraded land, and; the removal of incentives which encourage forest destruction. The declaration was signed in the Brazilian rainforest canopy by Amazonas state environment secretary Virgilio Viana along with science leaders and aid agencies, and will make its way across the world before arriving in Bali for the UN climate change conference in December. It is also endorsed by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, famed botanist Edward O Wilson, the Bishop of Liverpool the Rt Rev James Jones, and executive director of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations Kevin Conrad. The declaration’s journey to Bali, where the successor to the Kyoto Protocol will be discussed, is being co-ordinated by the Global Canopy Programme. Mr Conrad said: “Global markets for cows and coffee have been driving deforestation. “The measures called for in this declaration offer and opportunity to compete head to head with the money a country can make elsewhere – while protecting forests. “We absolutely must do this if we are serious about climate stability.” http://www.breakingnews.ie/business/?jp=MHCWQLEYMHMH&rss=rss2

231 Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 34 new articles about earth’s trees! (231st edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

–British Columbia: 1) Harper gets harped on by Aussies green, 2) Loggers come home to roost, 3) Save owl habitat please!
–Washington: 4) Clearcut a park so loggers have a place to stash dirt, create usable space
–Oregon: 6) Homebuilders to thwart logger, 7) Cooper Salmon and Mt Hood wilderness bills, 8) Post-fire loging affects some birds,
–California: 9) Pacific Lumber Maxxam sells town, 10) Thinnings don’t stop fires,
–Montana: 12) Fires about weather not firefighting or fuel reduction, 13) Save the Fisher
–Wyoming: 14) Rockefellers give the ranch up for conservation
–Texas: 15) Save the coast live oaks,
–Indiana: 16) Snags are giant batteries that power ecology
–Massachusetts: 17) Grim news from bird counts
–Louisiana: 18) Cypress Deenders
–USA: 19) Forest Service Chief preaches biofuel foolery
–UK: 20) Lesson learned from ’87 hurricane
–Finland: 21) Save Northern Finland Forests
–Palestine: 22) Isreal Terrorists’ are cowardly killers of Olive trees
–Kenya: 23) Farms vs. Forests, 24) Kenyan coast forest hosts Pipit,
–Uganda: 25) 80% of Kibaale forest is gone
–Brazil: 26) Slash-and-burn agriculture
–Argentina: 27) New Treesit in Yungas forest
–Pakistan: 28) Government plans to stop logging by making it less illegal
–India: 29) Once thought extinct 20 Siberian tigers found in Maharashtra
–Sri Lanka: 30) Deforestation and efforts to reforest
–Indonesia: 31) Orchid forest, 32) Politicians claim say Save the Kalimantan,
–Australia: 33) Privatization bonanza, 34) Queenslander Highrise to be built in rainforest,

British Columbia:

1) Mr Harper became the first Canadian prime minister to address Australia’s parliament. Senator Brown used the opportunity to hand a wedge-tailed eagle brooch to Mr Harper in the House of Representatives Chamber in Canberra. He said the threatened giant eagle was a symbol of the campaign to save Tasmania’s wild forests from the Gunns Ltd pulp mill earmarked for the Tamar Valley, north of Launceston. The project has been approved by state parliament and is waiting on a federal environment report for final approval. He called on Mr Harper to end the destruction of British Columbia’s ancient forests. Mr Harper said Canada had protected some of the forests but Senator Brown, a colleague of Canadian Greens Leader Elizabeth May, told Mr Harper he had not completed the job of saving the forests. Australia and Canada have both agreed to aim for the end of forest destruction to help halt climate change. Both nations need to get their own backyard in order first, Senator Brown said. http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Brown-lobbies-Canada-PM-to-save-forests/2007/09/11/1189
276704915.html

2) Wayne Crowley is proud to call himself a logger, but when he looks at the logged slope immediately above his Beaver Creek homestead, he can’t contain his anger. The mountainside, part of the Beaufort range that hems the eastern side of Alberni Valley, was logged in 2005 by TimberWest Forest, which owns the land. The logging was done by a contractor, and the timber was mostly exported. Winter rains have since sent six debris flows down the mountainside, spreading destruction over the eastern portion of his 66-hectare homestead site, says Crowley, a contract logger. From his home, a washed-out stream bed halfway up the logged slope is plainly visible. There is no sign of a riparian zone of trees to protect the stream. Logging in the Beauforts has put sharp focus on an issue in this resource town that many residents see as the direct result of the seismic changes that have shaken the coastal forest industry. The clearcut slopes offer a visible reminder of just how much control over their own lives they have lost. The forests around Port Alberni, both private and public, were at one time dedicated to manufacturing pulp, paper and lumber at plants in the central Vancouver Island town. Today, those forests are fragmented by lines drawn on maps, and timber that once all flowed to a central point now travels outside the valley, leaving unemployment in its wake. Different regulations are in place on the private lands, creating a perception in the community that public interests are not being protected, according to a report by Macauley and Associates commissioned by the government and released last June. “The concern is that standards prescribed are not sufficiently developed to permit effective enforcement,” says the report. It takes no side on whether the perceptions are accurate.

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=11071298-fa83-4360-b4b8-3688175

97dc1&p=2

3) Local governments can order halts to logging in nearby watersheds in B.C. if they believe there is a health hazard to downstream communities, according to a court filing by the office of the attorney-general. Lawyer Edward Gouge filed the statement in a last-minute intervention in the high-profile legal battle that begins today between the Sunshine Coast Regional District and Western Forest Products over who can regulate logging in watersheds used by communities for their water supply. The forest company has asked the B.C. Supreme Court to decide whether the district was acting within its authority when it used a little-known portion of the Health Act to stop logging in the Chapman Creek watershed. Observers are watching the case closely because it could set a precedent by empowering local governments to protect their water supplies at the expense of the provincially-regulated forestry industry. “The Health Act confirms that local boards may act on a risk even absent proof that the risk probably exists,” wrote Gouge in a submission filed Friday. But if a “sober second look” determines that there is no real substance to that belief, the court should quash the order and let logging continue, he wrote. “It would therefore make sense to permit the board to make decisions on a precautionary basis, then subject those decisions to a ‘sober second look’ by the courts,” he said. On Aug. 12, the regional district labelled logging done on steep slopes in the Chapman Creek watershed a “health hazard” — a first in B.C. The district’s $7-million water treatment plant, which was opened in 2004, has had frequent problems from turbidity that it claims can be traced back to the silt dislodged when steep slopes are logged. Acting as a local board of health under the Health Act, the district ordered logging stopped on slopes of 60 per cent or greater — some 47 acres in the 7,000-acre Chapman Creek watershed. Some 23,000 people live in the communities, including Langdale and Earl’s Cove, that use the water. Some $2-million worth of timber is at stake for WFP; the regional district has warned it has a $1-million war chest for the legal battle. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=71c537ed-4cd9-4d97-a438-c11
8148b6e76&k=6471

4) During a routine investigation of one of BCs last few remaining Spotted Owl sites at S&M Creek near Pemberton, BC, Wilderness Committee staff scientist Andy Miller discovered an ongoing logging operation. The first of 14 BC government-approved cutblocks at S&M Creek has recently been felled and a network of new logging roads have been built through critical spotted owl habitat. All of the logging is within a BC government designated Spotted Owl Management Zone. As a result of the violation, today the Wilderness Committee has established a research camp along the Green River logging road, in a small meadow directly adjacent to the owls forest home. “We are setting up the research camp to attract public attention to this BC government-approved logging operation which is damaging this endangered species site. We will also be photographing and documenting on video the destruction caused by the road construction and tree felling, and each one of the planned cutblocks so we can show the world the spotted owl habitat that is at risk. Our aim is to get this logging stopped,” said Miller. In May, the Wilderness Committee learned of the BC governments intention to capture at least half and perhaps all of Canadas remaining spotted owls for an experimental captive-breeding program. A Freedom Of Information request obtained by the Vancouver Sun also confirmed that the government would not reduce logging to preserve habitat for the owl, therefore jeopardizing their recovery chances. S&M Creek is no ordinary spotted owl site. When the BC government first began studying this endangered species back in the 1980s they identified 40 spotted owl sites to monitor. These owls were visited annually, and they were given a degree of habitat protection. The S&M Creek site is one of the last of those original 40 sites that is still occupied by a spotted owl. Most of the rest of the sites have seen owls disappear as a result of habitat fragmentation caused by BC government-approved logging.

http://media.wildernesscommittee.org/news/2007/09/12438.php

Washington:

5) To Issaquah city administrators, the 600 trees in Central Park were never meant to be permanently saved. But to some residents living near the wooded area in the Issaquah Highlands, cutting them down has sparked one primary emotion: anger. Which side will come out on top remains to be seen. After a city land-use committee meeting listens to more public comment today, the ultimate decision rests with the City Council, which could vote as early as its next meeting on Sept. 17. The controversy has been brewing since midsummer, when the city recommended removing the trees as part of a park-improvement partnership with Port Blakely Communities, developer of the Issaquah Highlands. In the past several weeks, residents, most of whom live along 24th Avenue Northeast, have met with city officials, development-review teams and the parks board. They circulated a petition “against the destruction of the forest” and argued that cutting down the trees would destroy habitat and the scenic beauty that drew them to the neighborhood. Last week, city administrators held their ground. An executive summary of their recommendations — made public on the city Web site Monday — states that the city should move forward with the tree removal, because that area “was never envisioned to remain permanently forested.” The issue first came to the council’s attention in late June, Mayor Ava Frisinger said. Port Blakely had previously met with city officials to talk about a need for space to dump 250,000 cubic yards of excavation dirt, she said. By clearing the forest, a mix of evergreens and deciduous trees, the developer would save hauling costs associated with trucking the dirt to South King County, Frisinger said. In exchange, Port Blakely would pay for about $600,000 in park improvements, such as improving drainage on the lower-level sports fields, paving and adding parking, and replanting 500 trees, city documents state. The area to be cleared is 1.7 acres of the more than 40-acre park. Removing the trees would add 1.3 acres of usable park space, said Frisinger http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003878749_centralpark11e.html

Oregon:

6) It’s not the threat of wildfires, or a beetle infestation or even swings in worldwide demand for lumber. Rather, it’s a proposal by a homebuilder to develop land across from his property with dozens of home sites. LeTourneux envisions conflicts with neighbors upset by the sight of clearcuts, the aerial spraying of herbicides and the noise generated by a tree farm. “Logging operations and residential areas just make for a bad mix,” he says, standing on a 1,000-foot rise on his land, and scanning the rolling hills of Yamhill County, in the lush Willamette Valley. Yamhill County is the center of Oregon’s wine country, which annually draws thousands of visitors to sample its rural delights, and, increasingly, more people wanting to move to the country. But longtime landowner Mary Holtan worries that she’s going to be thwarted by government in her effort to subdivide 120 acres she co-owns east of Newberg. Holtan, 65, whose husband died three years ago, still is commuting daily to her job at a Portland insurance company but hopes to retire someday with income from subdividing her property — which is zoned as farm land — into 15 home sites and selling them. “I’m tired. I would like to quit commuting and have a decent retirement income,” she says. LeTourneux, Holtan and others like them will have a lot riding on the outcome of the Nov. 6 special election, when Oregon voters will be asked to scale back a property rights law they passed three years ago. http://www.dailytidings.com/2007/0910/stories/0910_valley_property.php

7) Twin bills introduced in Congress on Monday would put 13,700 acres of coastal forest filled with centuries-old trees and rushing salmon streams off-limits to roads, logging and other development, creating Oregon’s newest wilderness area. The proposed Copper Salmon Wilderness, encompassing the headwaters of the Elk River near Port Orford, has been on the wish list of local communities and environmental groups for nearly a decade. But Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Peter DeFazio, Oregon Democrats who introduced companion bills in the Senate and House to create the wilderness, think this is the year the wish may finally come true. “Now that the Republicans no longer control the Congress, there’s a possibility of doing a meritorious wilderness bill,” DeFazio said Monday. He said former Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., who was the gatekeeper for wilderness bills before he lost re-election last year, “hated wilderness with a passion.” Wyden chairs the Senate committee that will consider the bill. DeFazio also predicted a strong chance the bill for the Copper Salmon Wilderness will be combined with another Senate bill protecting 125,000 acres around Mount Hood as new wilderness, creating an all-encompassing Oregon wilderness bill. The Copper Salmon region is part of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and its centerpiece, the Elk River, is considered one of the healthiest and most productive salmon streams in the Northwest. It has generally escaped logging and development, and its protection is vital to maintaining a healthy fishing and tourism industry on Oregon’s south coast, Port Orford Mayor Jim Auborn said. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1189477534271130.xml&coll=7

8) Previous research examining the influences of post-fire salvage logging on abundances of birds has focused primarily on the response of cavity-nesting species. There is limited research in regard to the impact of salvage logging on a broader range of bird species. In addition, little is known about how different intensities of salvage logging influence bird abundances. I compared densities and relative abundances of bird species among two different intensities of salvage logging and an unsalvaged treatment in a post-fi re forest of mixed conifers at Davis Lake, Oregon. I also examined the potential of vegetation variables that describe habitat structure to predict densities of birds and the use of snags for foraging by two species of woodpeckers. Salvage logging influenced the density or relative abundance of seven species of birds, though the pattern of the influence varied. Five species (black-backed woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, western wood-pewee, brown creeper, and yellow-rumped warbler) had greater densities or relative abundances in the unsalvaged treatment than in either treatment of salvage logging. Two species (dark-eyed junco and fox sparrow) had greater densities in salvaged treatments than in the unsalvaged treatment. Salvage logging did not significantly influence density or relative abundance of eight species (red-breasted nuthatch, white-breasted nuthatch, dusky flycatcher, house wren, American robin, western tanager and chipping sparrow) and one genus of swallows (Tachycineta). Densities of yellow-rumped warblers increased with increasing density of snags. Densities of fox sparrows and dark-eyed juncos increased with increasing volume of shrubs. Vegetation variables did not strongly predict densities or relative abundances for twelve species and one genus of birds. Diameter of snags selected for foraging by black-backed and hairy woodpeckers did not differ between species of woodpecker or among treatments of salvage logging. Both species of woodpeckers selected snags for foraging with larger diameters than the mean diameter of snags in both unsalvaged and salvage treatments. Salvage logging influenced densities or relative abundances of some noncavity nesting birds and cavity-nesting birds. Maintaining unsalvaged areas in burned forests will provide habitat for species of birds negatively influenced by salvage logging. Retaining large snags after salvage logging will provide foraging habitat for woodpeckers. http://www.fsl.orst.edu/cfer/pdfs/Vol7_2.pdf

California:

9) Maxxam, a Houston-based corporation, bought PALCO in 1986, then fought environmentalists in the 1990s over plans to trim debt by harvesting thousands of acres of old-growth redwoods. In 1999, PALCO signed a landmark deal that protected most of that timber. The company remains mired in debt, despite state-of-the art retooling of its mill and downsizing from 1,200 workers here to fewer than 500. The market for its Douglas fir lumber collapsed in the recent housing slide, says PALCO Vice President Pierce Baymiller. What’s happening here in the world’s premier redwood region has happened over the decades to Appalachian coal towns, California citrus towns, Hawaiian pineapple towns, Carolina chicken towns and New England mill towns. Company towns faded as the culture changed, not least of which was workers who could afford cars to commute and not have to live next door to the boss. A lot of towns dried up in the upheaval of the Great Depression and post-World War II years. Sometimes a town’s reason to exist — timber, gold, silver — played out. Towns such as Richland and Grand Coulee, Wash.; Brookings, Ore.; and Potlatch, Idaho, lost their company identities but adapted and survived. Scotia’s likely fate — sold off by PALCO — has been the fate of other towns, says Linda Carlson, a Seattle consultant and author of Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest. But with some mill towns especially, companies sometimes simply picked them up and moved them on rails to new forests to harvest. Many towns weren’t built to last more than a decade or two. They had cesspools instead of sewers, no foundations under the houses, crude street infrastructures. “When environmental controls became a big issue, it was easier to shut a lot of them down,” Carlson says. She thinks a handful still operate on the traditional formula with a church or two, a school, company stores, maybe a post office and Boy Scout troop. “Very few were incorporated,” she says. “It might literally have been a stretch along a river.” http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20070911/a_companytown11.art.htm

10) Much debate has centered around the effectiveness of thinning as a tool to reduce fire severity. However, thinning prescriptions vary substantially and in practice on public lands often involve relatively intensive mechanical thinning. For example, this is currently the standard prescription on national forests of the Sierra Nevada. Recent research has indicated that low thinning, in which small trees less than 20-25 cm in diameter at breast height (dbh) are cut, can reduce fire severity (Omi and Martinson 2002, Perry et al. 2004). Conversely, evidence from the Biscuit Fire in Oregon indicates that more intensive mechanical thinning, which involves removing many young and mature trees, can increase fire severity (Raymond and Peterson 2005). Potential causes of increased severity include fine-fuel loading from slash debris, faster wind speeds due to a reduction in the buffering effect of mature trees, accelerated brush growth from increased sun exposure, and desiccation and heating of surface fuels due to insolation (Raymond and Peterson 2005, Rothermel 1991). Other authors have reported reductions in fire severity following mechanical thinning in modeled simulations of wildland fire, and in a circumstance in which a wildland fire burned through plots of a silvicultural study on the Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest in the northern Sierra Nevada (Skinner et al. 2005, unpublished data). However, localized experimental conditions may not reflect actual or feasible management practices on federal lands, and the effects of wildland fires may differ from modeling assumptions, especially after several years of post-thinning brush growth. The hypothesis of this study was that mechanically thinned areas on national forests would not differ in mortality from unthinned areas. (Hanson, C.T., Odion, D.C. 2006. Fire Severity in mechanically thinned versus unthinned)

Montana:

11) As heroic and skilled as our fire fighters are, it is almost always weather that determines how bad a fire season is going to be and when the fires will be successfully contained. A record series of 100 degree-plus days, near zero rain fall, lightning storms, and winds are what kicked off the fires of 2007 and allowed them to run. In those conditions, our fire fighters were largely able to protect structures, but not to stop the expansion of the fires. Nature controlled that. Many of the fires will not go out until the cold, rain, and snow of fall finally smother them. The caustic and gagging smoke that settled over the valleys of Western Montana this last month with grimy layers of ash settling out on everything reminded me of the aftermath of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption. The distressing difference is that a volcanic eruption is not expected every year, but there is the very real possibility that late summer in Western Montana may well be regularly smoky, as widespread wild fires become a summer fact of life. From the 1930s to the 1980s our summers were cooler and wetter than the long-term weather history suggests was typical. Add in trends in global warming, and it is clear we face future summers that will be different from the summers most of us remember. The lazy or vigorous enjoyment of our mountains, streams, and lakes under blue bird skies may become the exception rather than the expectation. We may find our selves planning to flee to less flammable landscapes in the summer just as residents of our large urban centers regularly flee to cooler climes in the heat of summer. There are some who still cling to the belief that all of this wildfire is avoidable if we would just let our timber industry back into our forests to remove a good number of the trees before they catch fire and burn. That, they argue, would reduce the fuels that are feeding the fires that threaten our homes and choke our valleys with suffocating smoke. The foolishness of that position can be seen in some of the largest and most threatening fires in Western Montana. Consider the Jocko Lakes fire that periodically has threatened hundreds of homes in the Placid and Seeley Lakes areas. That fire has been ripping through some of the most heavily logged and roaded Plum Creek and US Forest Service lands in all of western Montana. The landscape has a scalped look and is honey combed with logging roads. That has not kept the fire from sweeping towards hundreds of homes and forcing repeated evacuations. http://www.mtpr.net/commentaries/434

12) It is Martes pennanti, the fisher. Montana and Idaho may hold several hundred in scattered mountain settings. Then again, they may not. As part of his graduate studies, Vinkey collected records from Montana sites where fishers were reported and was unable to find evidence of a major population stronghold. Only a single enclave-in the northern end of the Bitterroot Range, whose crest defines the Idaho/Montana border-seemed to harbor enough individuals to have a good chance of sustaining itself over time. Elsewhere in the region, Oregon has an estimated 100 fishers and California has fewer than 500. That’s about it, making the fisher not only perhaps the rarest forest carnivore in the Rockies south of Canada but also one of the rarest and most vulnerable creatures in the entire western half of the nation. Female fishers weigh 5 to 8 pounds and males at least twice as much. Some approach 20 pounds and stretch more than three feet from their nose to the tip of their bushy tail. More active at night than during the day, they hunt among the tangles and crannies on the forest floor and up among the branches. As Vinkey puts it, “This is an animal that makes its living poking its nose in holes.” For her den, a female will generally choose a cavity fairly high in a tree. As the young begin exploring, they take full advantage of the species’ special ability to swivel its hind feet 180 degrees and descend tree trunks head-first, anchored by their backward-pointing claws. Logging of old-growth forests in the West has significantly degraded and fragmented the places that fishers call home. As the years passed, trappers began to call for the return of this valuable furbearer. Timber companies wanted fishers back as well because their absence appeared linked to an upsurge in porcupines, which in turn girdled and killed young trees.”We call this the Cathedral Trap,” Schwartz says. “We’ve caught more fishers here and at a similar site than anywhere else.” The fisher hotspots we move on to explore prove to be more stands of big, old conifers. Yet it isn’t strictly the size or age of the trees that counts so much as it is the structure of mature forests: fallen trunks, broken stumps and accumulations of branches and other woody litter on the ground, together with plenty of interlacing branches and hollow snags overhead. They all add up to more holes for fishers to search for food in or to hide from predators, including hawks and owls. http://newsblaze.com/story/20070908061226tsop.nb/newsblaze/TOPSTORY/Top-Stories.html

Wyoming:

“There are seven different natural environments on the ranch,” James enthuses, “from open meadows to lakefront to woodland. It’s rich with huckleberries and hawthorns. Elk migrate through here. You can see moose, eagles, coyotes, black bears. There are grizzlies in the area.” In fact, nature seems to have orchestrated my visit for maximum effect. It is a classic summer’s morning in this part of Wyoming, crisp and clear and, as the trail rises, the trees suddenly part to reveal Phelps Lake, glassy green and framed by sheer granite cliffs. Crystal water ripples over pebbles as smooth and pale as eggs; an osprey cruises high overhead. We pause at an overlook where lurid purple wildflowers are bursting between bare rocks. “This is where the main lodge building once stood,” explains James. “The Rockefellers’ guests would gather here before dinner to enjoy the view.” The donation of the JY Ranch is a poignant coda to the family’s involvement in Jackson Hole since the millionaire John D.Rockefeller Jr, then America’s richest man, first visited in 1926. It’s a largely forgotten saga that is inseparable from the creation of the present-day Grand Teton National Park in 1950. (John Jr was the son of the “robber baron” John Rockefeller, a Baptist from Cleveland who rose from poverty to found Standard Oil.) The JY Ranch was the only land the magnate held on to when he donated more than 13,350ha to the US government, ending decades of local wrangling and establishing the park as we know it today. Just over 50 years later, in 2001, the magnate’s son, Laurance, then aged 90, announced that this last piece of land would also be given to the park. This final gift includes a state-of-the-art, 605 sqm visitors’ centre crafted from recycled douglas fir and a 7km loop trail to Phelps Lake. What visitors won’t see are the 30 log buildings that once made up the JY. Even before the Rockefellers bought it, the property had operated as a working ranch. The buildings were carefully removed in 2005, along with 11km of asphalt roads and 1500 tonnes of building materials, to return the lake to its pristine natural state. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22375323-5002031,00.html

Texas:

15) The dense live oak forest that envelops Rockport is one of the bustling coastal town’s big draws. Of course, to make room for new people, builders need land. And that land often is covered by the trees, presenting a bit of a dilemma. “The thing that’s particularly distinctive about the trees that grow down to the waterline here, (is) the windswept oaks,” Mayor Todd Pearson said during a drive around the seaside town. “The salt spray and prevailing winds have affected those trees, and they lean, with vegetation on one side stunted and gnarled.” A year ago, Rockport enacted an ordinance protecting the trees, some of which are hundreds of years old. It requires a permit to remove trees, along with a plan to preserve as many as possible and replace those that are cut. Pearson said the city is especially protective of its signature windswept oaks, which largely sit within a block of the waterfront. He expects developers to have a very good excuse for cutting any down. But all the protections in the world could be moot if the dreaded tree disease known as live oak decline gets a foothold here. That’s why the city also encourages planting of other species in the mix, just in case a natural die-off ever occurs along the 3-mile-wide greenbelt that crosses the aptly named Live Oak Peninsula. Pearson also encourages land reuse, such as an abandoned downtown supermarket site that will be replaced by a mixed-use development. The more that new construction takes place on top of old, his reasoning goes, the less need there will be to topple trees in a city that sets new building permit records every year. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/metro/5121288.html

Indiana:

16) The most fire proof trees in any forest are the older more mature trees that have thicker bark and less lower branches that can carry a fire from ground-level to the canopy. Older more mature trees, especially dead ones, are like the batteries that drive the whole forest machine. Standing dead trees rot and that rot holds lots of moisture as well as ideal habitat for fungi and bugs that fuels healthy soil which in turn grows healthier stronger disease-resistant trees. Additionally dead trees offer birds and bats and other cavity nesters a place to live, and these creatures, if they have plenty of homes, will eat many of the bugs that too often kill trees in areas where there is little habitat for cavity nesters. Forest ecosystems are enormously complex and for centuries foolish simplistic ignorant people who primarily care about making money have turned our landscape into baby trees and bare ground that dries out quickly and burns completely when a fire comes along. Relative humidity and wind are the primary driver of catastrophic wildfires. The older a stand of trees, the higher the systems humidity and insulation from wind are. Thus those who advocate removal of older more mature trees are much like the Christmas grinch who takes the batteries out of child’s toys so the child has no idea of what the toy is, or what it is supposed to do! http://www.topix.com/forum/source/indianapolis-star/T9H1NHAFMEELK247M/p6#lastPost

Massachusetts:

17) This year, the U.S. Geological Survey’s annual Breeding Bird Survey and the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count both indicated a decline in bird numbers… According to a 2003 Mass Audubon report, development in the state ate up 40 acres of land per day between 1985 and 1999. That’s 31 acres of forest, seven acres of agricultural land and two acres of open space developed each day during that period. And the pace isn’t exactly slowing down. The results are widespread. Forest becomes fragmented — pockets of trees rather than extensive contiguous ecosystems. There are more roads. Bird predators like house cats, raccoons and skunks tend to thrive in proximity to human beings. But Petersen [Wayne R. Petersen, the director of Massachusetts Important Bird Areas Program] cautions against drawing simplistic conclusions from that kind of data. Fragmentation, for example, doesn’t harm all birds and can even encourage some. One of the species that has profited from forest fragmentation is the brown-headed cowbird. Formerly denizens of the prairies, cowbirds can now be observed practically throughout the United States. They’re brood parasites — the female lays her eggs in the nests of other birds… Cowbirds are historically predisposed to open spaces, and forest fragmentation has enabled them to thrive in New England forests and gain access to the many songbirds that live there. “This has had a highly pernicious effect on songbird populations,” says Petersen… “The more involved that we get, the more likely we are to put information out there about issues like conservation and protection,” says [birdwatcher Betsy] Higgins. http://northassoc.org/2007/09/08/hampshire-life-development-of-forests-and-open-fields-impacts-
birds.aspx

Louisiana:

18) As a swamp tour guide and professional environmental activist, Dean Wilson spends a lot of time observing Louisiana’s iconic coastal forests and bayous up close. On a recent hot, muggy August morning, he was staring down at wetland forests in Ascension and Livingston parishes near Lake Maurepas from more than 800 feet in the air, looking for illegal logging of cypress trees. “If you see a clear cut on a bayou, let me know,” Wilson says to Dan Luke, who is piloting the Cessna Skylane while Wilson takes digital photos from the passenger side. Wilson spots what looks like an instance of “mat logging,” a process by which trees are felled to make a path for machinery that cuts down trees on either side of the path, after which the mat logs are typically removed. Mat logging has recently come under scrutiny from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, although the logging industry defends the practice. “That’s a violation. We got them here,” says Wilson, as Luke lowers the plane in concentric circles to get a better look. Wilson gave the coordinates to the Corps, and he says the Corps is interested in the site but has not yet determined its owner. Still, there didn’t seem to be much cypress logging going on, legal or not, which Wilson attributes to ongoing efforts to discourage the sale of cypress mulch commonly used by gardeners. Wal-Mart recently announced that it will no longer buy mulch from Louisiana starting Jan. 1, and activists like the Save Our Cypress Coalition are pressing other retailers to follow suit. Lowe’s has declared a moratorium on buying mulch harvested south of the interstates 10/12 corridor, but Save Our Cypress says a statewide ban would be easier to enforce, claiming suppliers have lied about their sources in the past. Jim Chambers, a forestry professor at LSU’s School of Renewable Natural Resources, chaired the Governor’s Science Working Group on Coastal Wetland and Forest Conservation and Use, which came up with 14 recommendations in 2005 that were not adopted. He says loggers should be required to have written forest management plans that deal with sustainability and that the state needs to regulate lands where regeneration is almost impossible, or at least ask for voluntary non-harvesting in those areas. http://www.businessreport.com/news/2007/sep/10/logging/

USA:

19) The U.S. Forest Service chief Abigail Kimbell is proposing replacing 15 percent of the United States’ gasoline with ethanol made from wood obtained from thinning unhealthy forests, while doubling the amount of carbon dioxide emissions absorbed by public and private forests. Kimbell presented the proposal in a speech before the Society of Environmental Journalists in San Francisco. These are ambitious goals, and they would take a concerted national effort to reach. According to Kimbell, with the technologies now becoming available, the U.S. could replace as much as 15 percent of its current gasoline consumption with ethanol from wood — and not just any wood, but ‘unhealthy’ wood that is not being used for other purposes and that must be removed from forests to prevent wildfires. Second-generation biofuel technologies capable of converting this type of woody biomass consist of biochemical and thermochemical conversion techniques. Of these technologies, the thermochemical pathway known as pyrolysis is most advanced and cost-effective. But biochemical conversion techniques, based on enzymes that succeed in breaking down lignocellulosic biomass, are receiving a great deal of research and investment. Alternative routes consist of gasifying wood and converting the syngas via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis into ultra-clean synthetic biofuels. The wood for ethanol would come mainly from undergrowth that the ‘healthy forests’ law now requires to be removed to prevent wildfires. The Healthy Forests Initiative contains a variety of provisions to speed up such hazardous-fuel reduction and forest-restoration projects on specific types of Federal land that are at risk of wildland fire and of insect and disease epidemics. http://biopact.com/2007/09/us-forest-service-ethanol-from-forests.html

UK:

20) On the evening of October 15, 1987, I’d driven south along the Old Kent Road towards a lurid sky of angry, tropical purple. The lank air twitched like an assassin’s finger teasing the trigger. Dust hissed in the gutter. Through an unsleepable night of pulsing fear, wind speeds reached 94mph in London and 110mph in Kent. Our sturdy Victorian house, anchored deep in the south London clay, groaned like a galleon. Death and destruction did not end with the storm. From every direction into the devastated southeast came a mercenary rabble armed with chainsaws. There was money to be made from clearing the debris, and more to be made from the timber. Traumatized forestry professionals watched in horror as the cowboys went to work. Damaged trees were clumsily lopped; undamaged ones killed by the assault on their fallen neighbors; ground compressed and trampled by lorries and bulldozers. From out of disorder came chaos. Some of the mercenaries paid a horrible price. In the hands of novices, chainsaws do not cream smoothly through yielding timber; they buck and twist like cats. The accidents were horrific. Untrained men would hack at the upper branches of bent or leaning trees, oblivious to the laws of physics. “There is a huge tension when a tree falls,” says Ray Hawes. The important thing to remember is that order in nature is not the same as order in the human mind, which has an exaggerated respect for tidiness. At Box Hill, for example, the blitzed areas were replanted with beech and oak, but you now have to look very hard to see them. Squirrels are a particular problem. For them, young beeches are irresistible fast-food joints, where they strip off the bark to reach the sugars in the sap. At best this cripples the trees; often it kills them. The very worst enemies, however, are other trees. “Most of the planting that was done,” says Peter Creasey, “has been overwhelmed by trees just seeding themselves naturally.” It is this process of force majeure that has brought the change of policy — in effect, a willing surrender to a needless enemy. Instead of nurturing the planted beeches, says Creasey, “we decided to let natural succession take place. It happens in a natural sequence. First you get pioneer trees like birch and, to a certain extent, ash. The birch will last for about 60-odd years and then will be overtopped by the longer-lived trees like oak and beech. Eventually you get a natural broad-leaved mixed woodland, but it does take time and patience.” That was Lesson One. If you want a natural outcome, then the best architect is nature itself. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article2393102.ece

Finland:

21) The Finnish government is destroying the largest unprotected ancient forests despite strong national support for their protection and despite several international biodiversity declarations signed by Finland. The state owned logging company Metsähallitus started huge loggings in old-growth forests of Northern Finland in November 2006. These unique ancient forests with up to 500 year old pine trees are being logged mainly for pulp and paper. The mills that use the ancient forests are Stora Enso pulp mill in Kemijärvi, Stora Enso paper mill in Veitsiluoto and Botnia pulp mill in Kemi. Logging and road construction has already started or is being planned in at least six areas. These loggings would permanently destroy unique natural values. The possibilities for reindeer herding and nature tourism in these areas would also be severely damaged. As the forests are situated in relatively high altitude in northern taiga the regeneration of the forests is also in doubt. All of these loggings are not even economically sustainable. Only 4,4 percent of finnish forests are classified old-growth forests. Still only about half of them are protected. More information and photos

http://www.forestinfo.fi/forestlapland

Palestine

22) Throughout the centuries, Palestinian farmers have made their living from olive cultivation and olive oil production; 80 percent of cultivated land in the West Bank and Gaza is planted with olive trees. In the West Bank alone, some 100,000 families are dependent on olive sales. Today, the olive harvest provides Palestinian farmers with anywhere between 25 to 50 percent of their annual income, and as the economic crisis deepens, the harvest provides for many their basic means of survival. But despite the hardships, it is the festivities and traditions that accompany the weeks of harvesting that have held Palestinian communities together and are, in fact, a demonstration of their ownership of the land that no occupation can extinguish except by the annihilation of Palestinian society itself. Since 1967, the Israeli military and illegal settlers have destroyed more than one million olive trees claiming that stone throwers and gunmen hide behind them to attack the settlers. This is a specious argument because these trees grow deep inside Palestinian territory where no Israeli settler or soldier should be in any case. But, Israel is intent on appropriating even the last vestiges of land left to the Palestinians and so turns a blind eye to any methods used by settlers and soldiers alike to terrorize the farmers away from their farms and crops, even if that means razing their land. Farmers are constantly under threat of being beaten and shot at, having their water supplies contaminated (already scarce because 85 percent of renewable water resources go to the settlers and Israel), their olive groves torched and their olive trees uprooted. On a larger scale, the Israeli military brings in the bulldozers to uproot trees in the way of the “security” wall’s route and where they impede the development of infrastructure necessary to service the illegal settlements. Some of these threatened trees are 700 to 1,000 years old and are still producing olives. These precious trees are being replaced by roads, sewerage, electricity, running water and telecommunications networks, Israeli military barracks, training areas, industrial estates and factories leading to massive despoliation of the environment. Their willful destruction has so threatened Palestinian culture, heritage and identity that the olive tree has now become the symbol of Palestinian steadfastness beca