047OEC’s This Week in Trees

This week we have 41 news items from: British Columbia, California, Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, New Mexico, Michigan, Louisiana, New York, Florida, USA, Canada, Congo, Mexico, Brazil, India, Japan, Burma, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, and World-wide.

British Columbia:

1) The B.C. Liberals are facing the first major challenge in their new relationship with aboriginal people, deciding how far to go in negotiating forestry agreements. The controversy involves Forest and Range Agreements, which set out procedures for resource use and management on land held by the crown and claimed by first nations. The Liberals negotiated more than 50 agreements during their first term of office. More than words, they provided natives with $100 million in shared revenues and access to nine million cubic metres of timber. But some first nations refused to participate, deploring the government’s “take-it-or-leave it” approach. Others challenged the agreements, arguing they did not go far enough in recognizing aboriginal interests. They were trying to find an alternative to the frustrations of the courts and the treaty table. The hope was to manage land, resources and revenues in a way that would benefit first nations and the province in the here-and-now. The talks stretched through the summer and into the fall, bogging down over concerns, mainly on the government side, about legal and financial implications. The key point of contention involves the wording of a single sentence in a dozen pages of text. The passage would commit the province to recognizing that a particular first nation [the one signing the agreement] “has aboriginal rights and/or title within its traditional territory.” That may not seem like a big deal because Premier Campbell has regularly spoken of the need to recognize aboriginal rights and title. But it is one thing to say so in general terms, referring to the whole province; quite another to concede ownership within the narrow confines of a specific agreement covering a particular native band’s traditional territory. http://www.seas.ca

2) The Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Mid Island Chapter is pleased to announce that a two-year fish habitat assessment for Cathedral Grove’s Cameron River Floodplain has been completed this week. The independent study was undertaken due to the public’s objections to build a mall-sized parking lot on sensitive fish and elk habitat, leaving the world-famous forest subject to further blowdown. “Several volunteers and concerned citizens in the community spent hundreds of hours documenting and measuring the area to complete only one of the many environmental impact assessment studies that BC Parks says it does not have the time or the resources, or the direction to complete,” explains Annette Tanner, WCWC Mid Island spokesperson. “Our October letter, requesting to meet with the Minister to bring him up to date with new data, as well as the technical and cultural features of the park since it was enlarged, has gone unanswered,” explains Tanner. “We wanted to address the changes to the park with the new Minister by requesting he consider the need for a New Park Master Plan to address the park’s size, boundaries, adjacency issues, proposed de-activation of the old access to the “Big Tree”, as well as the increase in visitors which has grown from 300,000 per year to 1,000,000 per year,” continues Tanner. MacMillan Park has more than doubled in size since the last Park Master Plan done in 1992,” adds Tanner. “A New Park Master Plan would provide the context for a public input process that would address all values of the park in determining a proposed location for more parking. I was told the Minister is busy until the middle of January, yet the deadline for public input is December 9,” Tanner concludes. “The Minister needs to see this Fisheries Report.” email: wcwcqb@shaw.ca

3) Logging has begun in area proposed for conservation in OCP A Texada Island resident is suggesting a day of public mourning for the loss of a forest just outside of Van Anda behind the Marble Bay Lagoon. “It is totally obvious that the lovely mature forest on Crown land in the Marble Bay/Lagoon/Eagle Cove area should be fully protected; including from the end of the lagoon to the new yellow gate by the highway,” John Wood wrote in a letter to The Peak. “The cutting down of these trees has already started. Wear something black on December 14.” Ministry of forests approved the forest development plan for the logging a number of years ago. At first Van Anda Logging Company Limited had a timber sale major, which was converted into a forest licence. Rick Jones is the president of the company. “It meets all the criteria that had to be done,” Jones said. “We’ve done everything we were supposed to do.” The total area in the cut block is 29.4 hectares, but of that 22.8 hectares will be logged with 10,015 cubic metres of timber coming out. The company has set aside a 2.9-hectare reserve area for biodiversity and wildlife and is retaining 50 stems per hectare. A group of Texada Island residents proposed the creation of a North Texada conservation area, which would have encompassed the cut block. http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1998&dept_id=499599&newsid=15669225&PAG=461&rfi=9

Washington:

4) Temperate Rainforests on Vancouver Island are in trouble: 1) 75% have been converted to clearcuts, tree-plantations, agriculture, and urban settlements, 2) Only five primary valleys over 5000 hectares remain unroaded and unlogged, 3) Raw log exports are costing thousands of local milling jobs. Join local activists on Thursday, December 8th, at 10:45 AM to deliver a letter of protest to the Canadian Consulate in downtown Seattle. We will be joining World Temperate Rainforest Network in 13 cities around the world, from Tokyo to Melbourne, Paris and Santiago, Chile. LOCATION: Consulate General of Canada, 412 Plaza 600 Building, Sixth Avenue and Stewart St –Seattle Rainforest Action Group. searag@lists.riseup.net

5) Tacoma — A Rochester man was sentenced Friday in federal court to 30 months in prison and a $12,430 fine for the theft of trees — mostly high-elevation native trees — worth more than $60,000. Greg A. Gray, who pleaded guilty in August to one count of theft of government property and one count of money laundering, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton. The fine represents the amount of money Gray would have paid had he obtained Forest Service permits for the trees taken between August 2000 and July 2003. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002661536_trees03m.html

6) Purpose: Just as doctors couldn’t begin to understand human health just by looking at the lower third of patients’ bodies, scientists can’t understand what makes forests thrive unless they can examine whole trees. From the Wind River canopy crane’s gondola, scientists can gather samples, install instruments and conduct experiments in the canopies of trees as tall as 220 feet. It’s the tops of trees and tips of branches where most budding, branching and photosynthesis occur. It’s here, where the forest meets the sky, that scientists want to study how trees absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and how moisture evaporating from the forest helps cool the planet. What is learned can be used to manage forests of many ages including timber lands. Three partners: The University of Washington and two arms of the U.S. Forest Service, the Pacific Northwest Research Station and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, erected the 250-foot crane in 1995. (Operation of the crane would not be possible without the support and cooperation of all three partners. All three should be included in stories about the crane.) Location: The Wind River Canopy Crane Research Facility is in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Southwest Washington. It is about 90 minutes from Portland, Ore., and four and a half hours from Seattle, Wash. Centerpiece of research facility: The Wind River crane is just like those looming over construction sites in many major cities. The crane’s gondola can be lowered in a 550-foot circle, giving researchers access to nearly six acres of old-growth canopy. Largest in the world: The Wind River crane is 250 feet tall (about 22 stories) and is the largest canopy crane in the world. It’s the only one located in a temperate forest. Most of the world’s people — in North America, Europe, most of China and large portions of Russia — live near temperate forests. Learning the best ways to manage them is important the world over. http://www.uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=3478

7) Jerry Franklin was one of the first ecosystem scientists to visit Mount St. Helens after the eruption 20 years ago this May 18. Appearing particularly stark to the University of Washington researcher was the 125,000-acre blast zone, which looked like a moonscape, uniformly gray and, from initial appearances, sterile. Investigations would, however, reveal that even in desolate-looking areas there were often what Franklin began to call “biological legacies” – whole plants protected by snow, seeds, spores, root balls from which new plants could sprout, even downed trees as well as debris that offered footholds for other plants to take hold. The importance of these remnants, the varied ways survivors and invading plants have both competed and depended on each other and the role happenstance can play revealed that classical studies of plant establishment were often too simple for what happens after major disturbances. Work at Mount St. Helens came at an important turning point in thinking about vegetation both for scientists interested in natural processes and for those interested in new ways of managing landscapes disturbed by human activities such as logging. http://www.uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=1901

8) PROTEST INTERFOR’S OLD GROWTH LOGGING – Friday, Dec. 2, 1 PM:
Interfor Pacific US Headquarters 2211 Rimland Drive – Bellingham, WA in the Skagit, in Oregon and Clayoquot Sound.. Interfor is the notorius Canadian logging company whose clearcut logging has devastated pristine valleys in the temperate rainforest of Clayoquot Sound and the Great Bear Rainforest. In 2004, Interfor invaded US forests, purchasing three mills, in Marysville and Port Angeles, and Gilchrist, OR. To feed these mills, Interfor is logging old growth on the Deschutes National Forest in eastern Oregon. The Skagit River watershed is now threatened by Interfor as well. And, in Clayoquot Sound, Interfor has released ominous new logging plans for its Tree Farm License 54. In the draft plan, Interfor proposes to single-handedly downgrade several of “Science Panel” recommendations for the Clayoquot Biosphere Reserve. The company is even upfront about the rationale for the proposed changes. They’re designed to enable Interfor to squeeze out a higher volume of cut to make the Tree Farm License economically viable. Interfor purchased and began logging two B&B salvage timber sales in Central Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest despite being forewarned that the sales are in violation of federal environmental policy laws, were likely started by felony arson, and are subject to an ongoing federal court lawsuit. Interfor has been particularly greedy, refusing to begin its logging in non-old growth units pending court resolution. Instead Interfor began logging one of the most ecologically important sale units first, followed by two more old growth units before hearings on an injunction could be held. http://www.wtrc.org

Oregon:

9) Gov. Ted Kulongoski and a Bureau of Land Management official signed a deal intended to give Oregon more say in how federal lands in the state are managed. It is called the first agreement of its kind between a state and the BLM, which owns millions of acres of Western forest and range lands. Kulongoski has been trying to get Oregon a stronger role in management of federal lands, which make up more than half of Oregon’s forest acreage. “I wanted to be at the table when the decisions are made, and I think we’re getting to that position,” Kulongoski said. BLM Regional Director Elaine Brong, who also signed the agreement, said it could set a precedent for similar deals elsewhere. The BLM is revising its resource management plans in Western Oregon, which determine how much logging, recreational use and preservation is allowed on those lands.Under Thursday’s agreement the Oregon Department of Forestry will represent the state in those plans, said Dan Postrel, agency affairs director. http://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-13/113354154842320.xml&storylist=orlocal

10) “Wouldn’t it be nice,” she thought, “if there were a tree for each one of my friends? A whole row of friends!” And then, as she has done many times in an eventful life, Harris asked herself, “Well, why not?” Harris started letting friends know of her plan. Each of them, she wrote in a letter, was being honored on her farm with a tree of their own. Each would have a tag and a name and each friend was welcome to come to the farm to help plant his or her tree. “Everybody,” Harris said, “seemed really excited about the idea of having their own tree.” So last April, out in front of the farmhouse where Harris spent most of her childhood, there appeared 61 holes for 61 trees. And that, she figured, was just a start. “Every tree has a personality, a story,” Harris said. “When I go out in the morning, I sometimes even talk to my trees. I say, ‘Well, hello Bob, it looks like your leaves are coming along just fine.” There is an oak for Su Ren, the young man she befriended in China who now considers Harris his second mother. “I never thought that one day something would be named for me,” he wrote her in an e-mail from China. “But now there is, a tree with my name on it on my American mother’s farm.” There is an apple tree named for Simcha Brudnow, a survivor of Auschwitz, who is a friend and teacher of Harris’ daughter. There are trees for other friends from Africa, California and Virginia. In October, Harris hosted a party and a bonfire for all the friends for whom she had planted trees. She invited them to come tend to their trees and enjoy an evening together. Harris knows she will not be around to see the long double row of trees grow into a stately grove. But she finds great comfort in knowing that the trees will be there, standing always for the friendships of a good life. “I know we all won’t live to see them grow big,” Harris said. “But we will be there, really. We’ll always all be there together.” http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local/index.php?ntid=63646&ntpid=3

11) While the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continues to claim that they are concerned with “forest health,” they recently proposed a timber sale that would log over 1,360 acres of native forests in the Galls Creek Watershed just south of Gold Hill. This timber sale calls for extremely destructive practices such as 545 acres of tractor yarding, 556 acres of old-growth “regeneration” logging and the construction of 3.2 miles of new logging roads in this heavily degraded watershed. When in Medford in August of 2002, BLM Director Kathleen Clarke stated to the Medford Mail Tribune that, “The projects I’ve been out on, they are leaving all the big trees and going in for the smaller ones – that is standard practice out there now.” Unfortunately this statement was simply rhetoric, and the Medford BLM continues to target fire-resistant old-growth trees for “regeneration.”
http://www.kswild.org/KSNews/gallscreek

California:

12) The development is proposed for the western side of Tejon Ranch near Lebec. Tejon Ranch, which lies in the Tehachapi Mountains at the
southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, is an important ecological
corridor connecting the southern Sierra Nevada to the Transverse
Ranges of the coastal mountains. TRC wants to build 3,450 residential
units, 750 hotel units, four golf courses and 160,000 square feet of
commercial space on 28,250 acres, including areas designated as
critical habitat for the California condor. The Tejon Mountain Village development is one of several proposed for the 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch, a hotspot for biological diversity and haven for rare and endemic species, ancient oak trees, condors, rare native plant communities, intact watersheds and streams, and wildflower fields. Although no comprehensive land use plan has ever been prepared, Tejon Ranch recently proposed the 11,600-acre Centennial Development, at 23,000 homes one of the largest single development projects ever considered in California.
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/programs/sprawl/tejon/index.html

13) Carlton Yee, whose Sunday op-ed trumpeted the benefits of logging to salmon, represents profit-oriented industry arguments, not good public policy. Logging does not benefit salmon. It is true, as he says, that forested lands provide essential ecosystem services. But Yee means cutting those forests down when he says managing. To be fair, managing a forest can be less destructive if done right, with selective logging or helicopter logging. But these techniques are not the norm. Yee’s argument that it is more important to have good ocean conditions than inland conditions is inaccurate. It is equally important. Part of a salmon’s life is in the ocean, part is in local watersheds. The most vulnerable moments, as young fry and then enduring the stress of mating, occur in the inland watersheds. Yee says laws from 1972 relate to logging. He actually means the Clean Water Act, which he does not specify because it would only endorse the correlation between logging and poor water quality, which is what the CWA regulates. Finally, Yee cites a study that indicates logging is good for salmon populations by a logging lobbyist group, which is not peer-reviewed. He says it claims that populations of fish in logged and unlogged watersheds are the same, like it’s a good thing. The problem is, most watersheds in California are suffering an unprecedented decline in salmon populations. http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2005/December/04/edit/stories/06edit.htm

Montana:

14) A project crafted to lessen the possibility of a catastrophic wildfire on U.S. Forest Service lands east of Townsend is of concern to a local environmental group, which is worried about the cumulative impacts of logging in the Deep Creek drainage. Last year, Townsend District Ranger Mike Cole had proposed logging about 1,500 acres in the Ray Creek and North Fork Deep Creek drainages, but downsized that to a 450-acre project based on concerns over cumulative effects from other projects in the Deep Creek drainage. While the ranger district is now seeking comments on the 450-acre proposal — known as the Edith Holloway Hazardous Fuels Reduction — it’s also moving forward with a proposal to log trees from another 3,900 acres nearby as part of the Cabin Gulch project. “It’s within the same area and includes some of the same acreages that I dropped from the original proposal,” Cole said on Wednesday. “(The Holloway project) is more of an immediate need, to take care of hazardous fuels to protect private lands. The other is part of a long-term need to address issues from beetle kill.” But Michael Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, said he has the same concerns with the Holloway project as a 450-acre proposal that he had when it was first under consideration. “It’s near where the Maudlow/Toston fires burned (88,000 acres in 2000) and they’ve already been doing a lot of logging there,” Garrity said. “This is an important corridor for wildlife, and Deep Creek is an important fishery. So we think they need to look at the cumulative affects of all this logging.” However, Cole plans to move forward with the Hollow project as a “categorical exclusion,” which doesn’t involve the more in-depth studies typically involved in logging projects. http://www.helenair.com/articles/2005/12/02/helena/a01120205_04.txt

New Mexico:

15) The U.S. Forest Service proposed Tajique Watershed Restoration Project is out of sync with local concerns as official objections were filed at the regional offices of the Forest Service in Albuquerque last week. The project calls for thinning, logging and burning across 17,000 acres for 10 years in the Manzano Mountains above the villages of Tajique and Torreon. A number of local residents have filed written objections to the project, and more than 90 percent of the landowners and residents from the in-holder community of Forest Valley signed onto a nearly 100-page objection co-written with New Mexico’s Forest Guardians. Forest Valley sits in the middle of the proposed project area and would be most directly impacted by the project. The USFS has failed to convince these landowners that the assumed benefits outweigh the real damages associated with this project, and has turned to misrepresentation, intimidation and the manipulation of public anxieties about fire and water resources. A closer scrutiny of the Forest Service documents brings down this house of cards. First, the Forest Service has failed to meet the intentions of the new Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA). Congress directed the USFS to help communities develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan prior to proposing any HFRA project. Congress wanted effective actions that were agreed upon by both the community at risk and the USFS. In this case, the USFS failed to include the public in the project-planning phase, so the community of Forest Valley took it upon themselves to develop their own detailed Citizen’s Alternative to the USFS proposal. This alternative was dismissed outright by the Forest Service, who refused to analyze the alternative in its recent Final Environmental Impact Statement, resulting in a string of citizen objections. http://www.mvtelegraph.com/mountain/opinion/412659mtnoped12-01-05.htm

16) Soil-scorching droughts are nothing new to the U.S. Southwest. But the one that hit the region in 1999—and still persists—has been different from past droughts: It has been hotter. It has also caused what is arguably the most extensive die-off of trees ever documented by modern science. Upward of 45 million piñon pine trees have died in New Mexico in the last three years, according to the U.S. Forest Service. New Mexico, which claims the short, nut-bearing piñon as its state tree, has been hardest hit by the drought. New research suggests that it was higher-than-normal temperatures and not just the lack of water that produced the large-scale die-off. David Breshears, a natural resources professor at the University of Arizona, said the piñon mortality in the Southwest should be a warning to the rest of the world: What is happening here can happen anywhere global warming is making itself felt. “What we have here is a clearly documented case about how big and how fast die-offs can be in response to climate change,” Breshears said. The early signs of climate-induced die-offs may already be happening, said Neil Cobb, an ecologist at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. “It has been predicted that the drought will extend to at least 2010 and possibly 2030,” said Terry Rogers, an entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service in Albuquerque. “A lot of what happens will depend on the snow this winter. But the fall was warm, and there has been very little snow so far.” The piñon deaths are subsiding, Rogers noted, but only because so much of the forest is already dead. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/12/1205_051205_drought_forest.html

Michigan:

17) By the early 20th century, loggers had harvested more than 90 percent of the forests covering the upper Great Lakes region. The legacy of that destruction continues to have a substantial impact on the environment, researchers say. Although many of these harvested areas have regrown, poor forest management practices at the turn of the 20th century have reduced by half the amount of carbon that modern forests can store, said Christopher Gough, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State University. “It’s remarkable that there is still this huge reduction in forest productivity,” Gough said. The more carbon that a forest can store, the more productive that forest is thought to be. Scientists estimate that forests in North America today store about 10 to 12 percent of the total amount of carbon emitted by sources such as industry and automobiles in the United States and Canada. “We’re living with the consequences of bad management practices from a hundred years ago,” said Peter Curtis, a study co-author and a professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State. “This legacy is actually reducing the potential carbon storage capabilities of today’s forests.” Gough, Curtis and their colleagues presented the findings December 8 in San Francisco at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union. http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/516591/

Louisiana:

18) Those who have resided in Beauregard Parish for a number of years find it hard to visualize that over a century ago we had no forests. Over the large territory between the rivers bordering the neutral strip was a rolling prairie that extended into the region of the north. However, over this large territory birds and squirrels scattered seeds of cypress, oak, and pine, from which grew a dense forest that ultimately provided an excellent source of wealth for the white men. At first the lumber industry consisted merely of cutting logs, which were floated down the river to sawmills in other places. After the logs were rolled out of the river, they were scaled and laid across a ditch deep enough to permit a man to manipulate one end of a crosscut saw. When the Jasper and Eastern (Santa Fe Railroad) arrived from Kirbyville, Texas, sawmills sprang up not only in Merryville but in mill town neighbors of Neale, Pujo, Sheam, and Grabow. By 1907, Merryville was on a boom with hundreds rushing there. The principal sawmills at Merryville were The American Lumber Co, capacity 135,000 feet daily; C. L. Smith mill, capacity 50,000 feet daily; Baxter mill, 15,000 feet; J. E. Hennigan combination mill, 15,000 feet; and Sabine River mill, 30,000 feet daily. The Smith mill was quite large with 125 employees. The mill owned six miles of tram track to its “log front.” One locomotive and ten log cars hauled four train loads of logs daily to the log pond. The pond was a dammed-up creek, three acres in size, that could hold 600,000 feet of saw logs. http://www.deridderdailynews.com/articles/2005/12/04/news/news6.txt

19) If the estimated 2 million trees toppled across Southeast Texas by Hurricane Rita could talk, who knows what they might say? They could tell of hurricanes from decades ago and surviving the heat of raging forest fires. Hidden under their bark exterior might be tales of tornadoes coinciding with the birth of Texas or drought that tested Big Thicket pines and the ragtag settlers scrounging a life among them. Turns out those trees can talk — to those who know their language. Forests of destruction caused by Hurricane Rita more than two months ago have caught the attention of some scientists around the country who specialize in the study of tree rings, a field known as dendrochronology. Jim Jordan, chair of the department of earth and space sciences at Lamar University, pointed out what he saw as a “gold mine for tree-ring research” on a computer listserv and received inquiries from several specialists interested in visiting the area for field study. http://www.southeasttexaslive.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=15689972&BRD=2287&PAG=461&dept_id=512588&rfi=6

New York:

20) Before the sun comes up on Monday, December 5th, “hunters” will be traveling in the darkness of night to take their hidden positions in the woodlands of New Jersey. New Jersey’s black bears have been protected for many years, with the exception of 2003, when at least 328 bears were killed in the only NJ state sanctioned slaughter of bears in 35 years. We should call these people what they really are. They are not hunters, they are assassins. They are not fierce warriors, they are cowards…..hiding and waiting for an unsuspecting bear to happen along for the bait that they have been setting out most likely for weeks now. The cold hard reality is that most of
these bears will be shot in the back from tree stands while they munch on jelly donuts and BBQ grease that has been left in the woods in order to create an easy target for these murderous scum. There is nothing sportsmanlike about bear hunting. http://war.arforum.org/

Florida:

21) In 1955, the federal government handed Florida the Blackwater River Forest — 190,000 acres of bucolic streams, lakes and Panhandle cotton and slash pine plantations. In exchange, the state pledged that the land would be used for the public good. Now, with development encroaching on all sides, the gift-forest straddling Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties offers a perplexing dilemma. The Florida Division of Forestry has discovered the forest’s boundary lines weren’t correctly marked when the state took ownership, and dozens of homeowners and farmers who have worked the lands for generations have been told they’re on state property. In recent months, state-hired surveyors have found Blackwater’s true contours cut through people’s bedrooms and front porches, over gravestones in a church cemetery and across cotton fields. “What we’ve found is not real good,” said John Browne, whose office in the Florida Bureau of Forest Management is charged with cataloging all state-owned forests. “And we’re really just beginning.” Florida foresters insist they’re not interested in moving houses or graves. But the problem has so far defied an easy remedy. The deed spells out that if the land isn’t used for public purposes, Blackwater “shall immediately revert to and become revested” in the U.S. government. http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051205/NEWS01/512050330/1006

USA:

22) The House Agriculture committee is planning on holding a hearing on the Walden Logging bill (HR 4200), this Wednesday December 7, 2005. Calls are needed to key Members of the House Agriculture Committee educating them about why they should not support the Walden logging bill. Walden’s logging bill (the “Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act”) sweeps aside protections for forests, fish and wildlife in order to rush logging and roadbuilding after normal, natural events that occur in National Forests, such as fires and windstorms. The bill specifically waives the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for post-natural disturbance logging and cuts Americans out of decisions that would impact the public’s forests. TAKE ACTION: Please call key Congressional leaders on the Agriculture Committee (phone numbers below) and tell them to oppose the Walden logging bill (HR 4200). When you call the office ask for the staff that works on National Forest issues. When you talk (or leave a message with the staff) be sure to tell them why they should oppose the bill. http://www.americanlands.org/issues.php?subsubNo=1132179094&article=1132156526

23) If anti-environmental Congressman Richard Pombo (R-CA) has his way, millions of acres of public lands throughout the West would be sold to developers for a pittance.
While we were cheering the last-minute removal of a provision allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Pombo quietly attached a provision on the House budget reconciliation bill that would literally allow condominium complexes not only on National Forests and BLM land but also in some National Parks, Wilderness Areas, and Wildlife Refuges. The amendment resurrects an outdated clause of the 1872 mining law that allows the Interior Department to sell millions of acres of public land in the American West to mining companies, oil and gas developers, and just about anyone else who’s interested. This includes more than just ownership of the mineral rights. It also removes a requirement that mining claims be profitable. Title to “mining” parcels would be permanently transferred to the purchaser, with no restrictions. If passed, this amendment would be the biggest land grab in modern U.S. history. Every county in the Klamath-Siskiyou region has existing claims that mining companies and developers could take advantage of under this amendment. Oregon has 191,391 acres of current mining claims on public land, while California has 635,255 acres of claims. Much of the West’s 250 million acres of public lands could also be up for grabs. (source Environmental Working Group http://www.ewg.org

Canada:

24) A Meadow Lake logging company has set its sights on the Bronson Forest.
This past Thursday representatives from Meadow Lake OSB Ltd. hosted an open house in Paradise Hill to provide local landowners and the general public with an opportunity to learn about the company’s plans to harvest select forested areas near Bronson Lake beginning next summer. A number of interested locals attended the meeting, including Little Fishing Lake resident Wayne Brown who owns and operates Lakeview Bed and Breakfast. “With their maps and stuff it’s really tough to decipher what the hell it is,” Brown said. “It’s absolutely amazing how they go about things so that you don’t have a hope in hell of understanding it.” Brown said his primary concern with Meadow Lake OSB’s logging plans are not with the removal of trees, but for the rural roads and highways which he expects will deteriorate rapidly under the weight of heavy logging trucks and machinery. “If anybody comes forwards and lets us know about a particular sight we’ll map that as well,” Irwin said. “We know of certain sites within that area that we’re staying away from, but we haven’t had any show-stoppers yet. We’ve never had anyone come up and say ‘You logged on our graveyard,’ which is good. We’d never want to encounter that.” Irwin said the feedback from the Paradise Hill open house was primarily positive, although the issue of road wear and tear did arise. http://www.meridianbooster.com/story.php?id=200117

Congo:

25) The World Bank is moving forward with plans to subsidize ancient rainforest logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) mighty ancient rainforests. On Thursday December 8th, the Board of the World Bank will consider whether to approve more than $200 million in new funding for the government of DRC, some of it linked to ‘development’ of the country’s rainforests. The World Bank is laying the basis for the destruction of Congo’s rainforests, and it has breached many of its own internal safeguard policies in the process. Under the World Bank plan some 600,000 square kilometers of Congo’s precious rainforest could eventually be handed over to logging companies. Forests are being zoned into areas for timber felling against the wishes of many local communities. On the eve of this important decision by the Bank’s Board, twelve organizations representing the various indigenous ‘Pygmy’ peoples of the Congo have submitted a formal complaint to the World Bank Inspection Panel, an official independent watchdog, stating the Bank has failed to take into account the impact that its plans would have on people depending on the forest for their survival. The World Bank Board must urgently be called upon to suspend any further funding for forestry and mining in DRC until there has been a thorough review of the Bank’s activities in DRC’s forests to date, and until the Inspection Panel has conducted an investigation. Please take action now at http://forests.org/action/alert.asp?id=world_bank_congo

Mexico:

26) SIERRA CHINCUA SANCTUARY, Mexico — Dressed in black like commandos, assault rifles over their backs, the officers revved up their new all-terrain vehicles and roared into the woods in search of illegal loggers. “There are well-armed mafias out there,” said Elias Martinez, 22, as he bounced over the gravel road. “But since we’ve been patrolling, we haven’t seen any of that activity.” These are the butterfly police, Mexico’s latest effort to protect the forest sanctuaries where millions of monarch butterflies are arriving again after a wondrous and little-understood annual migration across thousands of miles from southern Canada. With deterrents like the new patrols, the government says it has nearly eradicated the logging that denudes hillsides where the butterflies nest. But critics insist the logging continues unabated, and leaders of a key village threaten to start cutting again this year if the government does not come through with alternative sources of income. When Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve was created 19 years ago, about 10,000 villagers were asked to give up logging in exchange for tourist-related jobs and a special compensation fund. But some complain that the money runs out soon after the last of the butterflies and tourists visit between November and March. “You can’t eat butterflies,” said Abel Cruz, 44, leader of Rosario village, which is host to the most monarchs and monarch watchers every year. “If the government doesn’t comply with what they promised, we are not going to comply either.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0512010137dec01,1,2646652.story?coll=chi-newsnationworl
d-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

Brazil:

27) AO PAULO, Brazil – An international group that promotes a balance between logging and conservation gathers this week in the capital’s of Brazil’s Amazon region, which holds the world’s largest tropical rain forest. The Forest Stewardship Council’s general assembly, which meets every three years, gathers Wednesday through Friday in Manaus, some 2,700 kilometers (1,700 miles) northwest of Sao Paulo, to discuss ways of promoting sustainable forestry around the world. The council, based in Bonn, Germany, has members in 65 countries and certifies that forest products are harvested in accordance with environmental policies established by its members. Brazil’s rain forest sprawls over 4.1 million square kilometers (1.6 million square miles), the size of western Europe. Experts say as much as 20 percent of the forest has been destroyed by development, logging and farming. Last year the forest lost a near-record 26,130 square kilometers (10,000 square miles). About 12,000 square kilometers (4,600 sq. miles) of Brazilian rain forest are certified by the council and another 25,000 square kilometers (10,000 sq. miles) of planted forests throughout Brazil are also certified by the council. Worldwide, 670,000 square kilometers (260,000 sq. miles) of forests are certified by the council, with half of this area in Europe. http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/35924.html

India:

28) Javvadhu Hills in Tiruvannamalai, known for high quality sandalwood till recently, is now bereft of the trees that brought it fame. The significant absence of sandalwood trees disappoints tourists and forest lovers too. As of now, only sandal wood tree saplings are available on Javvadhu Hills and that too in inaccessible forest areas. Even a three-km walk by this reporter in the interior forest, went in vain. Official sources blame it all on anti-social elements who had fell and stolen the trees. Currently, tourists get to see only some sample sandalwood trees that are grown in forest offices or in some prohibited areas. Forest officials said even the possibility of ‘regeneration’ of sandalwood trees is uncertain. ‘‘The saplings will come on official record only after they cross 15 cm of width. But it is not being allowed to grow…Nowadays, many tribal people sell them illegally. Earlier, they did not know the value of sandal wood but now they know it as it can be sold for Rs 1,500 a kg,’’ a forest official said. http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IE920051205093800&Page=T&Title=Southern+News+-+Tamil+Nadu&Topic
=0

29) Trying to cure a broken heart, Ruth Padel set off on a trip to India. But instead she gets on to the tiger trail and follows it through India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Russia, China, Korea, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar. Elephant rides, treks through insect-ridden jungles, boat rides despite being “a wimp about water”, inspecting animal faeces across varied landscapes, eating leeches… Padel’s quest is as much about the human as about the tiger. About people who live in and around reserved forests competing for the same resources; the band of dedicated fire-fighters trying to douse the conflagration that threatens not just the tiger but also the forest it depends on; government officials who seem to sound the same no matter how far apart they may be geographically. Padel’s prose is lyrical and full of word pictures. A travel book of this nature usually has photographs but this one doesn’t. And you realise why — they are not needed. Padel’s words conjure up the dry forests of Rajasthan reeling under a drought; the harshness of the Amur winter, the richness of Sumatran tropical forest. Talking of what the tiger stands for in various countries, Padel writes: “Every country has betrayed that magic in different ways and struggles differently to keep it alive.” As can be expected, a large part of the book is devoted to the issues confronting the survival of species — habitat destruction, less prey, humans and their needs, logging, roads in forests … the list seems endless. http://www.hindu.com/lr/2005/12/04/stories/2005120400140300.htm

Japan:

30) In the August 6 issue of New Scientist, Joan Maloof, a biology professor at Salisbury University in Maryland, describes how the Japanese have a word to describe the particular air of a forest. They call it shinrin-yoku: “wood-air bathing.” Maloof writes: “Japanese researchers have discovered that when diabetic patients walk through
the forest, their blood sugar drops to healthier levels. Entire symposiums have been held on the benefits of wood-air bathing and walking.” I’m able to enjoy shinrin-yoku all the time, but for those who live in concrete canyons, amidst a soundscape of car alarms and sirens, instead of the croak of frogs and the wind, it has become a distant experience. In Emily White’s article Greening the Blues, published in the October issue of The Ecologist, White writes about depression and the aspiration of drug companies and their medical colleagues to turn it into a clinical illness that should be treated with drugs. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, depression will be second only to heart disease as a cause of disability. http://www.bcsea.org

Burma:

31) “Leave the forests alone,” says Mr. Nai Htaw Ong, a young environmentalist from central Mon State to Kaowao recently. “Destroying our environment will destroy our home.” The clear cutting of tropical rainforest in lower Burma has occurred for many centuries, but it is only in the past ten years that logging has increased dramatically for short-term profit to finance war and violence. Ceasefire groups and the State Peace Development Council use money from logging to finance their military expenditures. Ripping down forests to search for rebel groups has been another reason for the destruction of the forests, but logging forms the most important direct threat to Burma’s forests. Former SPDC forestry department workers and some local people worry that deforestation on such a scale will have negative effects on the environment, in particular, soil erosion and sedimentation that will affect living conditions and agriculture production. The activists are not able to voice their concerns to the SPDC and the companies who make a profit, says Mr. Nai RoTha, a former township agriculture worker from central Mon State to a Kaowao reporter. There is no sustainable forest/land policy in cutting timber and no wildlife protection to enforce the rules. In the deep forest of eastern Ye Township, heavy deforestation has been considerable; the forest in Mon State has been nearly wiped out over the past decade because of the ceasefire. Many local people worry that deforestation has dried up mountain streams in which soil, no longer held in place by tree roots, are clogging up the streams beds. For the construction of a new military offensive road from Ye township to the border crossing in 2001, the dense forest for 60 miles was ripped down by the SPDC to prevent rebels from hiding and launching a surprise attack.

Malaysia:

32) Concerned about biodiversity conservation, Angela has collected hundreds of indigenous plant species in the last 10 years when she decided to turn her fruit orchard into a garden where fruit trees, herbs, spices, forest trees and vegetables are grown. “Growing native plants generates a sense of place and gives a real feel of being in Malaysia,” says Angela who writes for the Malaysian Nature Society’s Malaysian Naturalist magazine on contemporary landscape, gardening and conservation. Her garden has attracted some wildlife too such as civets, wild boars, the long-tailed macaque and leaf monkey, bats, large monitor lizards, squirrels and birds. Visitors claimed to have seen the musang and otters. Besides conserving plants, Angela and her husband support visual artists by providing them a couple of months’ or a year’s free stay and arranging exhibitions for them. In return, the couple get some art pieces, which are then displayed in the art gallery. Her efforts on conservation do not end in her garden. Angela says next year, MNS in coalition with other NGOs, will embark on the Temenggor Campaign. Angela is chairman of the campaign to protect the Temenggor forest reserve in Perak. Temenggor, the forest reserve near the Thai border and adjacent to Belum, is one of the last large stretches of forest that is still untouched but is now progressively being logged. “We would like to see the Temenggor forest left as an area of migration of species between Temenggor and Belum and Taman Negara, and as a connection to the forest reserve in Southern Thailand,” says Angela. While Belum is protected by the Perak state government and now called the Royal Belum, Temenggor is not. The corridor of protected area between Temenggor and Taman Negara has large animal species that need a huge range of forest area and wild boars, which are a keystone species for big predators to depend on for food, says Angela. http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2005/12/2/lifefocus/12678972&sec=lifefocus

33) Indigenous people in Malaysia used last week’s International Media and Environmental Summit, which was held in Kuching Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo to protest against what they said was the unsustainable clear felling of trees. The event began on Wednesday with delegates from over 30 countries. It is the first in a series of summits to examine how the media could better report on environmental and sustainable development issues and will also be held in 2006 and 2007 in Malaysia. During the proceedings on Friday, the closing day of the summit, a group “from the indigenous communities launched a demonstration at the Hilton Kuching, the summit venue, calling for the delegates to go to their communities and see the degradation that the timber harvesting and oil palm cultivation caused. The group issued a statement which said that contrary to what the Chief Minister of Sarawak said, there was no longer 11 million hectares or 88% of the state’s land mass still forested or planted over. The group said there was no longer any natural forest left standing. Calling itself the TAHABAS Sarawak Native Customary Right Land Network, the group said even those areas that have been converted to wildlife reserves have been previously exploited for their natural timbers. The men, whose faces were covered in Orang-utan masks, said most of the living areas have been given over to forest concessionaires and the negative impacts are affecting them.The group’s statement is calling on the Sarawak State Government to protect its peoples’ customary rights to land, the forest and the environment, and to declare to the public the actual size of logging concessions in the state and the names of the persons who owned these concessions. http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_daily_features?id=37925062

Philippines:

34) DAVAO CITY — Congresswoman Corazon N. Malanyaon and Governor Maria Elena Palma Gil have supported the lumads (tribes) in Caraga, Davao Oriental against the return of massive logging operation in their town. Mandaya tribal chieftain Copertino “Copper” M. Banugan, head of the Tribal Council of Elders (Mangkatadong) in Caraga town said the two officials have given their support to their cause. Banugan and 67 other leaders of the Mandaya tribe in Caraga had signed a petition strongly opposing the lifting of the 19-year suspension of the timber license agreement of Matuguina Wood Products, Inc. (MIWPI), a logging company owned by Davao logger Henry Wee, which has been taken over by a group of loggers based in Isabela. Banugan said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has illegally lifted the suspension of the TLA since it was done without consulting the tribal people in the affected area as provided for by law. http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/net/2005/12/04/lawmaker.guv.back.tribes.in.opposing.logging.in.davor.html

35) “The people should now all lay down in the streets to prevent the passage of cargo trucks loaded with timber,” Tirona said. Quezon Rep. Rafael Nantes also expressed strong opposition to the restoration of the TFPI forest contract. “The government should now seriously protect Sierra Madre. It’s now the country’s last forest frontier. Any form of logging in Sierra Madre is abominable,” the lawmaker said. The 25-year Ifma covering 36,660 hectares in the Sierra Madre portion of Quezon province was granted to Bulacan logger Wilson Ng on Nov. 12, 2002, during the term of former Environment Secretary Heherson Alvarez. However, Alvarez’s successor, Elisea Gozun, revoked the Ifma on Jan. 13 last year. The Social Action Center of the Prelature of Infanta has launched a massive signature campaign not only against the Ifma of the TFPI but also against the continuous logging operation of Green Circle. Lawyer Romeo Roxas reportedly owns Green Circle, which was allowed to cut hardwood trees. The report on the reinstatement of Ng’s Ifma has long been kept secret by DENR officials in Quezon. It came out in the open through the Inquirer in a report last month. http://news.inq7.net/regions/index.php?index=1&story_id=58762

Australia:

36) For the first time the Tasmanian Indigenous community has expressed its opposition to the proposed Bell Bay pulp mill in the state’s north. About 2,500 people packed into Launceston’s Albert Hall yesterday to protest against the development. The rally heard the north-east forests will be ruined in an effort to feed the proposed Bell Bay mill. The Wilderness Society’s Vica Bayley says yesterday’s turnout is a clear indication the community is concerned. “It’s a clear message to both Gunns and the state government that the community do not support this native forest feed polluting pulp mill,” she said. Trudy Maluga from the Tasmania Aboriginal Centre says the Indigenous community is worried about possible damage to Middens, as past industrial developments in the area have been a problem.”We can learn from those mistakes and we can do something about it now,” she said.The state government has accused the Wilderness Society of spreading misinformation about the pulp mill development. http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200512/s1523020.htm

37) The Federal Court judge hearing a legal challenge to logging in the Weilangta Forest on Tasmania’s east coast will visit the area today. Greens Senator Bob Brown instigated the case against Forestry Tasmania, challenging its exemption from laws protecting threatened species. His lawyers say Forestry Tasmania’s management practices do nothing to ease the threats to endangered species, including the wedge-tailed eagle, swift parrot and weilangta stag beetle. The executive general manager of Forestry Tasmania, Hans Drielsma, says the forest practices code has extensive provision for the protection of threatened species. “I mean our view on the whole case is having applied the very best science to our forest operations we’re now involved in a very extensive and lengthy court proceedings as a result of Senator Brown’s actions,” he said. “Now that they’re in the court we’re obviously very keen to hear the Federal Court’s opinions on the matters.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200512/s1524397.htm

38) AN environmentalist rally in Tasmania’s logging heartland today showed the extent of opposition against a proposed $1.5 billion pulp mill, conservationists said. More than 2500 people filled Launceston’s Albert Hall in Tasmania’s north, to protest against the Gunns Limited project. The threat of rain drove the rally, initially an outdoor event, inside and Wilderness Society spokesman Vica Bayley said there were fears it could have impacted on numbers. “As it was more than 2500 turned up. There was standing room only people had to be turned away,” Mr Bayley said. “This is traditionally a very conservative area, a logging heartland and one of the hardest areas to break into in terms of conservation campaigns. “To have so many people turn out today shows the level of community support.” The rally was told the project, which includes a new deepwater port and a 50,000 tonne pulp bale storage facility, would drive ongoing forest destruction. University of Tasmania senior lecturer Tony McCall said as well as its impact on the environment the investment would place Tasmania at the mercy of the volatile bulk commodity market. Gunns is yet to complete an integrated impact study for the proposal. The study must meet guidelines being prepared by Tasmania’s Resource Planning and Development Commission. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17449786%255E29277,00.html

39) The Wilderness Society is welcoming news that the Victorian Government will start an environmental investigation into East Gippsland’s Goolengook forest in the state’s south-east. The Goolengook block was the site of the longest running forest blockade in Australia’s history and a violent raid by logging interests. A moratorium was placed on logging at Goolengook three years ago. Megan Clinton says the investigation sets an example for other old growth forest across the country. “The announcement of the terms of reference for Goolengook is good news, it is protecting some of the old growth forest in eastern Victoria – it’s good to know that there are enough plantations to create a number of sustainable jobs for workers in that area as well,” she said. Environment Minister John Thwaites says other areas of forest in East Gippsland will be opened up for logging if Goolengook is given national park status. “The terms of reference for the inquiry will mean that VEAC [Victorian Environmental Assessment Council] will be asked to identify other sources of timber within that area which could replace the timber in the Goolengook block,” he said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200512/s1521300.htm

World-Wide:

40) Montreal – Forest preservation should be the new front in the fight against global warming with Third World nations earning cash for protecting trees, tropical countries told a United Nations climate conference on Wednesday. “The present state of affairs is untenable,” Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica wrote in a proposal backed by seven other developing nations, complaining that they lacked incentives to slow logging or forest clearance for farming. “Globally… tropical deforestation is the second leading cause of climate change behind fossil fuel combustion,” they said in the report to a 190-country climate meeting in Montreal from November 28 to December 9. http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=143&art_id=qw1133460901514B251

41) Facing lost revenues of some $5 billion annually as a result of illegal logging, governments are becoming increasingly innovative – and effective – in tackling the problem, according to a new United Nations report. “By focusing on success stories it is really the first study of its kind to outline remedial actions instead of just dwelling on the problem of illegal logging,” UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forest expert Eva Muller said. Best Practices for Improving Law Compliance in the Forest Sector, a joint report of FAO and the UN-sponsored International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), highlights successful efforts to combat illegal logging in 11 countries: Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Ecuador, Honduras, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Peru. Measures include the enrolment in Ecuador of independent professional foresters to ensure that operators are complying with laws and regulations, the promotion in Cambodia of a system in which local communities own and manage forests, helping to limit forest crime, and Gambia’s streamlining of harvesting guidelines, making it easier for small-scale forest operators to comply with regulations and abide by the law. According to World Bank estimates, governments lose revenues totalling around $5 billion annually as a result of illegal logging; overall losses to national economies of timber producing countries add up to an additional $10 billion per year. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=16770&Cr=forest&Cr1=

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