052OEC’s This Week in Trees

This week we have 36 articles from: British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Michigan, Texas, Arkansas, Maryland, Virginia, Vermont, Cameroon, Lebanon, Mexico, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, and World-wide.

British Columbia:

1) B.C.’s famous environmental great-grandmother, 77-year-old Betty Krawczyk, is taking her fight to Ottawa. Krawczyk announced yesterday she’s thrown her hat into the federal election ring to run as an independent against Stephen Owen in the Vancouver-Quadra riding. “Politics is not rocket science,” she said. “It’s the push and pull of social and economic needs and desires, and right now there isn’t enough balance.” The activist said she’ll run on a platform of environmental issues and hopes to gain support from youth and adults who have become frustrated with candidates towing the party line. http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/News/2005/12/15/1353569-sun.html

2) It’s no secret – not that it ever was- the Mountain Pine Beetle is the top economic issue facing B.C. according to people in the Cariboo-Chilcotin – it’s the No. 1 issue with 19% of Cariboo- Chilcotin residents surveyed. However, the pine beetle ranks No. 6, with the B.C. public in general, behind healthcare, softwood, unemployment, education and labour issues. An even larger sample of Cariboo-Chilcotin residents (32%) named the pine beetle as the greatest economic issue facing their region. But overall, the vast majority of the B.C. public sees the pine beetle as a very serious issue. The poll, conducted for the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition. http://www.ecobc.org/news/2005/12/newsrelease1732/index.cfm


3) EATONVILLE – Tom Pauly is a city-dwelling software designer and admitted science geek who’s learning how to take care of a forest. This is no career move – he bought the forest. Pauly and his wife, Gracie, have joined a growing number of investors and expectant second-home builders buying small plots of timberland spun off from large commercial holdings across the United States. Growth and economics are driving the trend where privately owned forests are widespread in the Pacific Northwest, the upper Midwest and the Southeast. Suburban sprawl to the forest edge makes timberland more valuable for housing than for wood commodities. Affluent baby boomers looking for getaways and retirement homes are drawn to secluded, outdoor lifestyles. “It’s like a little paradise on Earth,” says Gracie Pauly of the 75-year-old Douglas fir trees and stunning views of snow-covered Mount Rainier on the couple’s 20 acres. “I can see myself growing old, looking out the window at that gorgeous mountain.” Even though sales like the Paulys keep trees on the land, some conservationists are worried about the long-term loss of forest land. Accelerating the sell-off of private forest property is the timber industry’s increasing globalization. Foreign competition has squeezed profits in paper, pulp and other products, particularly for smaller, family-owned operations. Large companies have found they can make more money per acre in real estate, marketing some of their land in small chunks. Timber companies have always bought and sold land. It’s part of the business. What’s different now is that more of it is being carved off for development, including communities like the Paulys’. International Paper, one of the nation’s largest forest owners, put all its land – 6.4 million acres – up for sale in July to refocus its business on paper and packaging manufacturing. http://www.bellinghamherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051224/NEWS05/512240316/1005/BUSINESS

4) First there was a whizz. Saws zipping past. Then the thud of a giant log hitting the chain-like treadmill. Steam and pressure whining out of the gears. Chug-chug-chug. Zip! Whoosh! A deafening hiss. And then there was silence. Shortly before noon Thursday, the last log went through Weyerhaeuser’s historic large-log sawmill along the Chehalis River at Aberdeen. And with that last log went 83 jobs, including everyone hired since 2001. Later that afternoon, and into the late evening hours, past and present Weyerhaeuser workers held a wake at the Northwest Passage tavern across the street. “When you think about it, there have been people running logs through here for more than 80 years,” said Brad Pierog, a cutoff saw operator who will become an oiler in the mill’s auto shop next week. The small-log operation in the same complex isn’t closing. “My grandpa was a filer when this was a Schafer mill. And now today it’s gone.” “It’s being dismantled right now this second,” said Randy Dawson who has overseen repair of the large-log mill’s saw blades for a good chunk of his 29-year career. “It started today. We’re not even stepping out the door yet and it’s being dismantled.” Weyerhaeuser’s property investment division is overseeing the work. “I have an empty feeling because I’ve been working up here for 18 years,” Dawson said. “I put one of these quad (saws) in myself.” “Whatever they do to them to hurt them (the blades), I fix them. If they’re cracked, I weld ’em. If they’re twisted, I clean them up. Whatever they do, we fix ’em.” Dawson, born and raised in Aberdeen, the son of a pulp mill worker, grew up believing that the forest products industry is not just a way of life but the birthright of a Harborite. He will continue fixing broken saws, but come next week, he’ll be working at the small-log mill, working the night shift. Instead of starting work at 3 a.m., he’ll start at 3 p.m. http://www.thedailyworld.com/articles/2005/12/23/local_news/01news.txt


5) BEND — A group in Bend is working to buy what could become the first community forest in Oregon. The Deschutes Basin Land Trust is hoping to take advantage of a new state law that allows local governments to set up special bonding authorities to help buy private forests that would be managed for the public through a combination of logging and recreation. The idea has brought together local conservationists, government leaders and timber companies — all interested in preserving forestland in fast-growing Central Oregon, where developers have converted thousands of acres into housing complexes and resorts. The parcel in question is the nearly 33,000-acre Bull Springs tree farm, a vast pine forest between Bend and Sisters in the Cascade foothills. In addition to serving as winter range for thousands of mule deer, the area has provided saw logs for about 80 years, most recently under the ownership of Crown Pacific. The Portland-based wood products company filed for bankruptcy in 2003, and its creditors set up a concern called Cascade Timberlands to take over Crown Pacific’s 522,000 acres of timberland. The land trust expects Cascade to sell 293,000 acres between Bend and Klamath Falls, including Bull Springs, in the spring. The holding company last month sold 82,000 acres of former Crown timberlands on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula to about a half-dozen different buyers. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1135407326116690.xml&coll=7

6) In the continuing effort to add value to forestry operations and improve efficiency, one of the latest ideas is to use “aroma tagging” of logs to track their movement from the forest to the mill and possibly even the finished product – a feat that might make a bloodhound envious. Forestry researchers at Oregon State University have done some of the earliest work in this emerging field of study and outlined the challenges, which are many. But with improved technology scientists may be able to apply various scents to trees and effectively track the movement of wood, in a competitive industry where every bit of information can add to a product’s value. Around the world, 5 billion logs a year are harvested and moved. They are not easy to track. “We’re trying to create a ‘wood hound,’ something that can track a tree by its smell,” said Glen Murphy, a professor of forest engineering in the OSU College of Forestry. If you could track a log through the maze of the timber production system, Murphy said, there might be key advantages in marketing – the certification of “green” forest products, for instance, requires careful chain-of-custody monitoring. Measurements of a log made in the field could find immediate application in the timber mill, increasing production efficiency. If the wood quality from a certain area or type of forest stand was desirable, operators would be able to track where the wood came from and what forest management techniques were used to produce it. The spray-on technology is already available, but improvements need to be made in the chemicals and electronic nose used for this concept, which are based on sophisticated sensing and pattern recognition systems. The ideal chemical tag would have to withstand harsh climatic conditions, be dragged over dirty ground, sit for weeks in the hold of a ship, or undergo processing with heat or preservatives. http://www.medfordnews.com/articles/index.cfm?artOID=323750&cp=10996


7) “Without these funds, we’re in the same shape as New Orleans as far as I’m concerned,” said Jim French, Tehama County superintendent of schools. The funds compensate for lost logging revenue after large portions of old-growth forests were closed to timber harvest when the Northern Spotted Owl was listed as a federally protected species in 1990. If the bill expires, road maintenance crews in rural counties like Modoc, Trinity and Siskiyou would face layoffs. Many services like plowing and road repair could be cut to make up for the loss. County offices of education and school districts across the north state would lose millions of discretionary budget dollars that go toward libraries, nurses, computer labs and other student- enrichment programs. A group of educators and county officials have joined forces to ensure that what’s known in many areas as “owl money” doesn’t fly away. …the bill allots close to $67 million to California’s forested counties each year in the form of Forest Reserve payments. The payments, split between schools and roads, are based on timber sale averages between 1986 and 1999. “Why do the counties feel like they deserve this money,” O’Toole asked. “If I get a heroin addiction, does society owe me heroine everyday?” O’Toole said rural counties in the West have a tradition of dependency. First it was mining. When that dried up, cattle ranching took its place. Next came logging. He said the new boom is in tourism. “Times change,” he said. “They should figure out how to make money from tourists.” http://www.redding.com/redd/nw_local/article/0,2232,REDD_17533_4340864,00.html

8) Mt. Shasta – Process is everything in the current political atmosphere: becoming informed, giving input, talking to each other, requesting forums, thinking outside the box to the real values at stake, and being committed for the long haul from beginning to end. For the Mountain Thin project on Mount Shasta, this has meant over four years of involvement at every stage in the process, from the first public scoping meetings, comment periods, appealing the project, and now on the ground…. In attempting to negotiate a solution to the appeal with District Ranger Mike Hupp, we were assured that though promises couldn’t be made in the environmental documents (due to fear of setting precedents), the Forest Service is aware and committed to the protection of the qualities we all value on Mount Shasta. We wanted to see them on paper and lost the appeal. Earlier this fall the time came to test the Forest Service’s promises on the ground. Together with a handful of local folks we visited a number of the marked units. These included higher elevation units, units near riparian areas, those in critical habitat, and lower ones within the plantations that have pockets of diverse species. We also visited the Wagon Thin area, a similar thinning project from eight years ago. I’m pleased to say that we liked what we saw in most instances. The big trees are being spared, the owls will have adequate canopy, and shade will grace the creek banks. Of course, we’ll continue our vigilance in monitoring of the project in late spring after the snows melt. http://www.mountshastaecology.org/WINTER%202005%20NEWSLETTER.pdf

9) Mt. Shasta – We continue to have our eye on this project at the southern base of Mount Shasta, involving thinning, fuel treatment, and near obliteration of areas said to be infested by pine beetle, while selling a huge volume, up to 30 million board feet, of timber. Waiting on better weather for a field trip promised by District Ranger Mike Hupp, we again invite interested people to join us in the field to learn more about
the forest. Please call us (again) at (530) 926-5655 if you wish to be informed of the field date or want to help with monitoring. http://www.mountshastaecology.org/WINTER%202005%20NEWSLETTER.pdf


10) Three environmental groups are vowing to fight a judge’s order to put up a $100,000 bond on a Butte-area timber sale they want to stop, saying it could have a chilling effect on citizens’ efforts to challenge illegal logging. But leaders of Montana’s timber industry say it’s about time the groups are held accountable for frivolous lawsuits that endanger people’s livelihoods. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy ruled earlier this week that the Missoula-based Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Ecology Center, as well as the Native Ecosystems Council, must post a $100,000 bond to cover the potential costs of delaying the Basin Creek timber sale. The sale in Butte’s watershed, where thousands of acres have been killed by mountain pine beetles, has been an on-again, off-again affair. In August, Molloy agreed to a temporary restraining order while he pondered a suit filed by the environmental groups. In October, he ruled in favor of the Forest Service, citing the risks associated with doing nothing in the area. “Our attorney says it’s unprecedented … if it were to stand it would have a chilling effect on citizens’ efforts to challenge illegal logging,” Garrity said Thursday. The judge’s order could be a double-edged sword for the Forest Service and timber companies. Garrity said if it stands, the agency and timber companies could be required to pay for the costs of restoring old-growth forests that have been cut illegally. “We’re winning more cases than we’re losing,” Garrity said. “The Forest Service should be careful at what they ask for.” http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2005/12/23/news/local/news02.txt

11) The goal of the Cabin Gulch project is to increase the resistance of the Deep Creek drainage to wildfires and to salvage dead trees while maintaining old growth stands. Forest officials also hope the Cabin Gulch vegetation treatment plan will promote whitebark pine and aspen stands, as well as reclaim grasslands and shrublands and provide better lynx habitat. “Given a combination of factors, we feel that action needs to be taken to improve the forest health of this area,” said Sharon Scott, the project team leader for the Forest Service. “If you’ve been in these areas recently, you’ve probably noticed that many of the evergreens are not green. … Insects and disease are infesting the southern end of the mountain range. Drought has made many trees weak and susceptible to these insects. Bark beetle and budworm populations have grown in response to increased availability of food and warmer winters.” Information on the Cabin Gulch project will be available at a meeting is slated for Jan. 19 from 4 to 7 p.m. Detailed information about the proposed action and treatment methods, as well as maps and pictures of the project area, are available on the Helena National Forest’s Web site at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/helena/projects/cabin_gulch . Send written comments to the Townsend Ranger District, 415 South Front Street, Townsend, Mont., 59644. Comments also may be sent via email through the Forest Service webpage. For more information, contact project team leader Sharon Scott at 495-3943 or visit the Forest Web site. http://www.helenair.com/articles/2005/12/23/montana/c01122305_02.txt

12) Jefferson County commissioners are demanding that state and federal land managers reopen all routes closed to motorized travel and relinquish all roads through public land to the county. In a letter written to Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest Supervisor Bruce Ramsey, commissioners said the Forest Service has been illegally shutting down roads for years without consulting the county, which has the sole authority to control all roads. “We’re saying the Forest Service doesn’t own any roads in this county,” Commissioner Chuck Notbohm said this week. “While it may be their land, the roads are ours.” But the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest hasn’t closed any roads in Jefferson County in the past five years, spokesman Jack de Golia said this week. And the forest has a total of six barricades on roads in the county that are closed during hunting season to protect wildlife security. “We don’t have any recently closed roads that I can think of that are the source of the concern,” de Golia said. “We’ve suggested we have a meeting in January with them to discuss what’s really bothering them.” The letter confuses a number of issues, including Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s recent visits to counties to discuss how roadless areas of national forests should be managed, said David Cronenwett of the Montana Wilderness Association. He said commissioners’ request to reopen all roads and hand over control of the roads is neither reasonable nor legal. “These lands are national lands, and they’re managed by these agencies for a reason,” he said. “I’m really not sure what this letter is about. It really seems like a philosophical statement, rather than a real proposal.” http://www.billingsgazette.com/index.php?id=1&display=rednews/2005/12/24/build/state/75-open-roads.inc


13) A partnership between Houghton and Michigan Technological University will help to create better woodlands in the city. The nearly sixty acres of land around the Cooper Country Humane Society is already being used for recreational use. But foresters at Michigan Tech note that the ski trails being used are surrounded by hazardous trees. So their Environmental Resource Management class has developed a plan to improve the area. It includes harvesting fourteen acres of old aspen and birch tress. The logging should be finished in the next few weeks, meaning the improved sledding hills and wider ski trails could be open by mid-January. http://www.wluctv6.com/Global/story.asp?S=4282075&nav=81AX

14) The target is the larvae of emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle that has been 100 percent fatal to North American ash trees since its arrival about 10 years ago, likely in a shipping pallet. The beetle, first noticed in 2002, has blanketed most of lower Michigan and appeared in Ohio, Indiana and southern Ontario. Worried that the bug cannot be stopped, researchers are trying to figure out how to help the ash tree survive an infestation. Scientists are studying borer-killing wasps, insecticide use, crossbreeding and the possibility of breeding a tree that makes its own insecticide. The Asian ash tree lives alongside the beetle, but scientists there haven’t studied why, so researchers here are starting from scratch. The U.S. and Canadian governments are sticking with a strategy of cutting down swaths of trees to keep the beetle from spreading, but in the past year agreement has grown that the approach will at best slow the insect. It spreads about a half mile a year, but in laboratory conditions has been shown to fly six miles without stopping. More and more researchers say that flying ability, plus the impossibility of stopping campers from moving infested firewood, mean the spread is likely to continue, devastating dense stands of ash in forests from the Dakotas to Maine. Already it has killed about 15 million of some 700 million ash trees in Michigan. Ohio has fared better, with some 250,000 trees cut and chipped to try to stop the spread from the largely agricultural northwest to 5 billion ash tree. http://www.forbes.com/business/feeds/ap/2005/12/24/ap2413891.html


15) Dying but still-stubborn leaves clinging on the cypress trees surrounding Gaylor Lake glowed incandescent red when illuminated by the rising sun on a recent cold, crystalline late-autumn morning. The lake itself remained in shadow, dark and mysterious, its black surface made even more enigmatic by tendrils of fog rising and evaporating from its glassy surface. This place in the Trinity River bottoms north of Liberty had an other-worldly aura about it. It may well have looked much the same on a morning in November 1904, when Vernon Bailey walked here. Bailey was a scientist — chief field naturalist for the nascent Biological Survey arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — in the middle of a multi-year expedition to chronicle Texas’ fauna and their world. Bailey had been visiting with Absolom Carter, a farmer who lived at nearby Tarkington Prairie. Ab Carter was a bear hunter — at least he had been. In the 1880s, Carter and a partner haunted the Trinity River bottomlands, hunting bears. They found plenty of them. The men and their hounds would burrow into the jungle-like tangle of the river bottom — a place where dry ground was rare, where huge oaks, tupelo, cypress and other hardwoods created a high canopy that shut out most of the light, where some areas were swathed in acres of near-impenetrable stands of giant cane. This is where the bears lived — and also were Carter’s hogs roamed, living on the same fruits and mast that fed the bears. In two years, 1883-85, Carter killed 182 black bears in the Trinity River bottomlands, he told Bailey. The bears had to go, Carter said, because they preyed upon the hogs. And the bears did go, as did much of the wildlife and forests in the Trinity bottoms. The forest, too, was fast disappearing as timber cutters first downed the huge cypresses growing along the shores of the rivers and oxbow lakes, then plundered the throve of oaks and hickories and other hardwoods in the harder-to-reach interior. But on that November morning a century ago, patches of untouched river bottom hardwood forest — the most diverse ecosystems on the continent — remained here and there along the lower Trinity. Gaylor Lake sat in one of them http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/3541322.html


16) The drive can be made in a little more than an hour, but the USDA Forest Service recommends taking a more leisurely pace along the 55-mile stretch of sylvan stillness from Talihina, Okla., to Mena, Ark., through mountains that are millions of years old. “It’s a mix of pine and hardwood trees, so we have color all year-round. It’s just an incredible visual experience,” Forest Service spokeswoman C.J. Norvell said after the agency officially dedicated the byway at a ceremony at Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Arkansas on Nov. 18. The Ouachita National Forest is the South’s oldest and largest national forest, with more than 1.7 million acres. The drive bends along Winding Stair Mountain in Oklahoma and reaches its highest point at 2,530 feet on Rich Mountain in Arkansas, “where you can just see miles and miles and miles around,” Norvell said. http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/travel/articles/1225byway1225.html


17) Maryland lacks natural lakes, and the beds of its manmade lakes are bare, leaving small fish exposed to predators. “It looks like a desert down there,” said Alan Klotz, western regional fisheries manager for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, describing the Savage River Reservoir in Garrett County. To make the lakes more hospitable, Christmas trees are anchored in cement or cinder block, bundled in clusters and tossed into the water. Trees also can be placed on a frozen lake and left to sink to the bottom with the spring thaw. The trees degrade rapidly, but each winter brings a new underwater forest. “It’s making use of a material that is readily available and at no cost,” said Ed Enamite, a fish biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, adding that the creation of these underwater brush piles are “more important in bodies of water that function as bathtubs,” or artificially created lakes lacking tributaries. The trees offer multiple benefits. Most important, they create shelter and habitat for small fish, which in turn attract larger fish to a lake. Klotz and Sewell said fishermen can buy maps for Garrett County’s Deep Creek Lake that indicate where the trees have been dropped. Sewell, a fisherman, said that he and fellow anglers often secretly drop trees before fishing competitions in the hopes of landing a large fish. While he’s never caught “the big one” this way, Sewell said, “I knew people who’ve won tournaments for brush piles they’ve created.” http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.trees27dec27,1,2879012.story?coll=bal-local-headlines&ctrack


18) WINHALL — The U.S. Forest Service is considering a plan to increase open space in parts of the Green Mountain National Forest as a way to diversify wildlife habitat. The project would open up 12,135 acres, almost half of which is privately owned, of forest and give visitors a chance to explore long-abandoned farmsteads that have been reclaimed by forest. Forest openings, in wetlands and upland meadows, provide a habitat for tree bats, ruffed grouse, bluebirds, eastern kingbirds, raptors, deer, bear and moose, the Forest Service said in a report. The Forest Service wants to clear some of these forest openings, often located in old farm meadows. “Throughout the area you will find foundations and wells and maple trees that were planted by people living in what’s now a forest,” said project manager Joseph Torres. By clearing land around the old farmsteads the project encourages the growth of wild apple orchards, which many animals depend on for their food, he said. “We need to cut other trees around the apple trees, and prune the apple trees themselves,” Torres said. “Without help, these trees will die.” The project area includes land in the towns of Peru, Landgrove, Winhall and Londonderry, south of Route 11, and east of Route 30. Much of the project area is covered with pine and Norway spruce trees that were planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Richard Andrews, a representative of Forest Watch, which usually opposes clear cutting, said that the pine trees which the Forest Service wants to remove are not native to the area. http://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont/articles/2005/12/27/green_mountain_national_forest_plan_would_inc


19) Gov. Mark R. Warner yesterday moved to reinstate protection on some of the most pristine areas of the state’s national forests. Warner petitioned the federal government — which manages the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests in Virginia — to issue rules that would restrict road construction and timber harvesting on the forests that are designated roadless areas. Roadless areas provide some of the state’s premier wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation and harbor headwaters for many rivers. In July, the Bush administration lifted federal protection on roadless areas within national forests across the country, setting aside a Clinton administration rule that prohibited development on more than 60 million acres of national forests. Instead, the Bush administration called for a process in which individual governors must petition for greater or less protection than is called for under existing forest management plans. http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid


20) Allegheny National Forest officials answered questions about the drafting of a forest plan Wednesday morning at an economic development meeting. “Budgets really drive what we do,” Blashock said. Blashock and Morse also said they do not disagree with claims by people within the logging industry that the forest is deteriorating, and noted the insights of trained foresters Ed Kocjancic and Robert Leslie. Morse described input from the logging industry as “extremely valuable.” Morse said the U.S. Forest Service expects to have a draft of the next forest plan ready in May, which will be followed with a 90-day public comment period. “The intense period will come in May, June, July, and August,” Morse said.” Forest planning is all about trade-offs.” …“We’re never going to make everyone happy,” Blashock said. http://www.ridgwayrecord.com/articles/2005/12/22/news/news03.txt


21) Kribi, Cameroon – Traffic creeps along the coastal road to Douala, backed up behind a truck with five huge tree trunks slowly climbing the incline. The timber the truck is carrying comes from the world’s second biggest contiguous rainforest that stretches across several central African states. In a few weeks, it will be sold on the European market – possibly in the form of a cupboard. Cameroon on the west coast of Africa relies heavily on its trade in tropical wood. No one knows for sure exactly how much it makes from these exports. But according to estimates, about half is from trees illegally felled. Environmental activists have been protesting for years against such tropical rainforest logging. The UN estimates rainforests are decreasing by about six million hectares a year. ‘The rainforest in Cameroon is not just shrinking because trees are being cut down for export, but also because of agriculture clearing,’ says Emmanuel Heuse of the Worldwide Fund for Nature. ‘An increasing number of farmers are burning down forest to get land to feed their families,’ he explains. The biggest problem is corruption,’ says Klaus Schmidt-Corsitto, forestry expert with the German development organization GTZ. ‘Cameroon’s forestry management has thrown away millions and the money has landed in the pockets of a few politicians,’ he says. It is not difficult to get the right documents for timber that has been illegally cut down, as long as you know the right people to bribe. http://science.monstersandcritics.com/news/article_1071315.php/Forests_under_threat_from_illegal_logging_in


22) Replanted almost 10 years ago with a large contribution from Isle de France after most of its trees were burnt down during the 1975-1990 war (only 300 survived after the Israeli invasion), the 300,000,000-square-meter Horsh remains closed most week days due to a lack of security. The forest consists of 40,000 trees and contributes to the preservation of Lebanon’s biodiversity. However, the grove is already suffering from the disappearance of 130 species, according to George Tohme, a retired environmentalist and biologist. “There are some plants in Lebanon that only grow in the Horsh and I have worked in previous years with municipalities on planting seeds inside Horsh Beirut to preserve them as they are on their way to extinction,” said Tohme. Roula Ajouz, the head of the public parks committee at the Beirut municipality explained that a 500-meter-long passage inside the forest is open to the public every day, while the rest of the forest opens only once a week. Ajouz estimated approximately $2 million is needed to rehabilitate the forest. For many Lebanese, the forest is associated with joyful childhood memories. Sirine Basma, a 46-year-old mother of three, said that as a young girl going to Horsh Beirut was one of her favorite outings. “We used to go to the Horsh on the Fitr and the Adha holidays and spend our day playing, running and laughing. The memories of the Horsh are my most valued ones.” “The Horsh is fading slowly and no one cares enough about it,” said Basma. Echoing here words, Tarek Salam, 27, said even though he has lived near the forest all his life, he has never visited it. “I never imagined myself having any fun there, so I never bothered to walk in.” http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=21074


23) Deforestation is a major problem all over Mexico, mostly due to illegal logging, forest fires, and agricultural expansion. To combat this problem, Pérez encourages his students to help reforest by dispersing pellets of pine seeds, called “spheroids,” in the places where the class visits. Additionally, these spheroids can be bought for a peso apiece at El Séptimo Grado, a Condesa-based mountaineering equipment store. Park officials at Izta-Popo, however, do not approve of hikers reforesting independently in the park without official supervision or permission. Park employee Augustín Tagle cites concerns such as the risk that hikers will plant the wrong species of tree, or will toss the spheroids along the path, therefore creating too dense of a forest near the path. Working together, El Séptimo Grado and Cultura Integral Forestal are currently planning with Izta-Popo park officials for a day of reforestation at the park that will be open to public participation in June of 2006. Participants will be able to spend a day planting spheroids in areas designated by park officials in accordance with park rules. The National Forest Commission, CONAFOR, still relies on the nursery-transplant method for reforestation over aerial seed drops. For the past three years, CONAFOR has been testing aerial reforestation using its own version of seed pellets. According to Oscar Estrada, the coordinator of reforestation and conservation efforts at CONAFOR, more tests are required before the commission will consider using the technique in its projects. http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/miami/16388.html


24) BELEM- Journalist Lucio Flavio Pinto’s crusade against the destroyers of the Amazonian rain forest has earned him an International Press Freedom Award – along with death threats and some 32 lawsuits aimed at keeping him silent. He was too busy working on his legal defense to fly to New York to accept the press award last month. “In the 1960s, deforestation represented less than 1 percent of Amazonia,” Pinto wrote in an acceptance speech read by his daughter Juliana da Cunha Pinto at the awards ceremony. “Today it is about 20 percent. It is a criminal loss of natural resources.” Over his 38-year career, Pinto has covered the Amazon for some of Brazil’s most prestigious newspapers and magazines. The more he learned, the more he believed it was possible to develop the Amazon while preserving the forest and benefiting its poor residents. Those who destroy the forest to exploit its riches became his targets and have sued him in turn. Thirteen of these lawsuits are still pending, and several could see him sentenced to as many as three years in prison. “These days, I spend about 80 percent of time on lawsuits and 20 percent on the paper,” Pinto, 54, told The Associated Press in an interview. “I’ve probably become Brazil’s foremost expert on the press law.” http://www.columbiatribune.com/2005/Dec/20051225News007.asp

25) SANTARÉM, Brazil — Along hundreds of miles of the north-south highway that bisects the Brazilian Amazon, the canopy of rain forests has been wiped out. Where the road is paved, loggers, ranchers, and commercial farmers have razed the landscape, removing valuable hardwoods and clearing fields for cattle and soybeans as far as the eye can see. The half-finished 1,100-mile highway known as BR-163 is ground zero in a bitter conflict that has cost lives, jobs, and big money. Last week, the Brazilian environmental agency granted a provisional license for paving the road. When it is completed, the highway will connect the farms and ranches of southern Brazil to overseas markets via Santarém, a northern, deep-water Amazon River port that feeds into the Atlantic. Journeys that now take weeks on a 600-mile stretch of muddy, potholed track that is virtually impassable during the half-year rainy season will be cut to days or hours. The highway would save hundreds of millions of dollars in the cost of trucking commodities south to the Atlantic, spurring growth for Latin America’s biggest economy in its most significant export sector. But those opportunities come at a price. http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2005/12/27/amazon_highway_is_route_to_strife_in_braz

26) International — How do you get a shipment of illegal logs out of the Amazon and to market in São Paolo? A team of Greenpeace activists risked their lives to go undercover to show — for the first time — exactly how it’s done. The head of Brazil’s own Environmental Agency, IBAMA, estimates that up to 90 percent of all Amazon timber is illegally produced. What normally makes headlines is deforestation — the wholesale clearing of land for agriculture and roads. But less attention has been paid to selective logging, the process by which pirate loggers go into the forest for only specific trees with a high commercial value. New evidence from satellite imagery shows that extractive logging is destroying just as much forest — and perhaps more — as deforestation operations. We found out how this timber gets to market. And to dramatically expose the loopholes and illegalities which allow this crime to continue, we went undercover and brought along a television crew to document the precise route by which we were able to buy 40 cubic meters (1400 cubic feet) of timber, turn it into 29 cubic meters of squared stock, and transport it halfway across Brazil disguised as legally cut wood. A man who identified himself as Vandinho offered the team 40 cubic meters of Angelim (Dinizia excelsa) logs. Angelim is used in finishing work — door frames, floors, and ceilings. Once cut, the market price for this particular timber would be between 15,000 – 38,000 Euros (US$ 18,000-45,000). We paid the equivalent of 1,600 Euros — in cash — for it at the log yard. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/greenpeace-sting-exposes-122105

27) In theory Bacanga State Park designation restricted even further human intervention in the area; it had been a Water Protection Area since1944. Much of the city’s drinking water comes from reservoirs inside the park. In the late 1980s, researchers stuck mostly to a section of the park called the Sacavém forest reserve, but each time they returned, scientists observed new signs of human encroachment. “You could see the degradation and the growing population in the vicinity,” recalls Drummond. Professors and students protested to administrators at Maranhão Federal University. The dean called their leadership aside and promised to give them an area near the campus to conduct research if they’d cool it about the park. “He was trying to keep us quiet,” said Drummond. Drummond and his colleagues answered by founding an environmental group called Amavida to continue their activist work outside the confines of academia. Need to protest environmental damage caused by a shipwrecked tanker? Call Amavida. Need somebody to help implement a neighborhood tree-planting scheme? Amavida to the rescue. Need input to help write the state environmental code? Amavida would supply the experts. Behind the cramped barracks, Amavida has established a bee raising station similar to ones it helps locals operate in small communities in the semi-arid northeastern section of the state. With the sponsorship of a local company, Amavida provides beekeepers with native species and technical and marketing assistance. The project has won awards from the Brazilian-German Chamber of Commerce and the Ford Foundation. The bee-raising scheme represents an important pro-active step for Amavida. Perhaps because there were so few environmental groups around when Amavida was founded in 1990, it began by running around putting out fires. http://www.brazilmax.com/news2.cfm/tborigem/pl_citylife/id/1

28) São Luís, Maranhão – In 1980 the 3,200 hectares that surround us were set aside as Bacanga State Park. To get a bird’s eye view of the park, we have to compete with the vultures that alight amid plastic sacks in the makeshift neighborhood dump. Young men loiter across the way in front of a dilapidated shack that passes for the corner bar. Down the steep grade of a dirt road, past an old convent and to the left, we reach the headquarters of the Maranhão state environmental police. With 70 men and two four-wheel drive vehicles, this office tries to enforce environmental law for the entire state – over 333,000 square kilometers, an area just slightly smaller than the entire country of Germany. Two officers decide to accompany us on our visit to Bacanga State Park, and we load into their jeep. Soon, on our left, I spot a half-dozen grazing cattle. Economic activity like grazing is formally prohibited inside park limits, but these cows aren’t alone. A truck loaded with empty chicken coops whizzes past, hardly taking notice of us. On the right a partially unfinished luxury home stands behind a security gate. A judge issued an embargo on further construction, according to the officers, but somehow the structure continues to creep to completion. Adds one of the cops: “There are soccer fields all over the place back here.” The state set itself up for land disputes by going only half way when it established the park. It used the principle of eminent domain to claim ownership of private property but failed to compensate the former owners. An asphalt plant occupies a large swath of another section of the park. Soon, on our right, we approach a parched area dotted with seedlings, most about waste high. Here’s evidence of the first round of Amavida’s reforestation program. With the help of community volunteers, Amavida planted 15,000 seedlings of eight different species of native trees, including Ipê and Acácia. School children did most of the honors, though evidence remains of the volunteers from a local mental hospital who built a little rock fence around their seedlings. http://www.brazilmax.com/news2.cfm/tborigem/pl_citylife/id/1


29) The Additional Principal Conservator of Forests today appeared in the Madurai Bench of the High Court to explain alleged illegal felling of trees in the Sirumalai hills. A Division bench, comprising Justice P.K.Mishra Justice and A.R.RAmalingam while appreciating the steps taken by the government, said the question now was not what action had been initiated, but how to prevent recurrence of such incidents in future and posted the case for further hearing on January 19. The joint secretary of the Green Peace movement, Jayachandran, submitted that a forest mafia was felling the trees, using a novel method to dispose of the stumps including burning them, and pouring sugar juice over them to attract ants and moths which would eat them and make them appear that they fell on their own. The petitioner wanted 200 trees felled by the mafia in September this year to be taken possession of and kept in safe custody till the experts decided on whether they were felled or got uprooted on their own. He also demanded a CBI inquiry into the activities of the forest mafia, who, he alleged, operated in collusion with the political bigwigs and corrupt officials. http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/newsitem.asp?NEWSID=%7B2A5077FF-6FE3-4C65-AAA1-E765A4D39C4A%7D&CATEGO

30) The Forest Minister Mr. Tariq Hameed Karra after conclusion of the function organized by the Horticulture department in collaboration with Urban Forestry division said that he will constitute task forces at different levels in forest department for identification of waste forest lands and other available lands for massive plantation in Zabarwan lands and other hill ranges of the State. He said that colossal loss to forests can be recouped by launching massive campaign for vigorous plantation. The forest Minister said that with the massive cutting of forest trees during early period of turmoil has rendered many areas barren and plantation drive is the only solution to rehabilitate these degraded forests. He said he has already given instructions to protect each forestry. However, for further plantation he will mobilize all the sections of forest ministry for rehabilitation of forests. He said it is the need of the hour to educate general messes about utility of our forests. He remembered that quotation of Sheik Noor-ud-Din Wali (RA) that food is subservient to forest. He said all environmentalists scientists and other experts have reached conclusion that rich forests help in balancing the weather and in good growth of food grains. He therefore, said that all social, environmental and other voluntary organizations should come forward for massive plantation drive particularly in barren forest areas. He advised all forest officers to submit the report of waste forestlands for identifying them for such plantation. http://webjk.nic.in/newsline/news_item.asp?NewsID=13292


31) Sumbanese winner of the Kalpataru award, Katrina Koni Kii, has more than seven small green hills surrounding her modest house in North Wejewa, West Sumba, where she grows various crops and plants, including thousands of sandalwood trees. Her sandalwood forest brought her to the presidential palace to receive the award from the President himself earlier this year. In the rural area in which she lives, where people live far away from each other, smallholders cultivate small plantations near their homes. However, nobody has title documents for their plantations. Meanwhile, data from the Ministry of Forestry far away in the shows that the state owns 120 million hectares of forest land. Some of this in reality, however, consists of private plantations and forests, like those owned by Katrina. The differing interpretations often spark conflict and land disputes, which in turn can lead to increasing deforestation. http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailfeatures.asp?fileid=20051227.G02&irec=1

32) Arnoldo Contreras-Hermosilla from the Washington D.C.-based Forest Trends and Chip Fay from ICRAF, have proposed land tenure reform to specifically determine who is responsible for particular forest areas. The study, written in English and published in a thin folio-sized book titled “Strengthening Forest Management in Indonesia through Land Tenure Reform: Issues and Framework for Action”, shows that of the total 120 million hectares of forest land claimed by the state, only 12 million hectares have actually been confirmed as being legally owned by the government. The study was launched and discussed during an event at the Ministry of Forestry in Central Jakarta on Dec. 19. It also reveals that a staggering 33 million hectares of the claimed forest areas are in reality not forests. They have either been denuded, or are given over to settlements, grassland or agricultural use, the study says. “The diminishing forests are due to massive logging both by large companies or by small-scale logging investors. Some of the forest loss is also due to the activities of villagers,” said Martua Sirait, an activist with ICRAF, during the discussion, which also involved a number of ministry officials. “In many areas, we find that farmers who grow export crops, like cocoa or coffee, between the trees in their forests are more concerned with preserving the environment compared to others,” Sirait said. He said that they preserved the environment because it represented their livelihoods. “In Papua, for example, many tribal communities depend on their forests for hunting. Of course they preserve their forests. Therefore, the government should give these local communities security of tenure over their forests,” Sirait said. However, he admitted that this would give rise to the possibility of communities selling their forests to logging investors for cash. http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailfeatures.asp?fileid=20051227.G02&irec=1


33) The satellite image shows the boundary between two concessions of Samling Plywood in the Upper Baram area of Sarawak. Both Samling concessions were part of the so-called Forest Management Information System Sarawak project, a pilot project which ought to have shown, in its own words, the “commitment of the state of Sarawak to achieve sustainable forest management by the year 2000”. Even for untrained eyes, looking at the satellite image, it is obvious that the kind of logging practiced by Samling in the area is anything but sustainable and is the cause of severe damage to the local communities and the environment. The Fomiss project came to an end in 2001 after the co-funding German government pulled out due to the ongoing protests by the Penan against logging activities in the area. Now, part of the two Samling Fomiss concessions – the very last virgin rainforest in the area – has been certified by the Malaysian Timber Certification Council MTCC. The MTCC certificate was granted despite the ongoing Penan blockade and a pending land rights claim against Samling and the Sarawak government which had been filed in 1998. We wonder how the MTCC label could be credible in Europe considering the Samling group’s record of deception, disregard of Native Customary Rights claims and destruction of the environment, even in areas where it claims to have practiced “sustainable” logging in the past. http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/45023


34) The Wilderness Society has accused Forestry Tasmania of breaching its certification obligations by not releasing its latest three-year logging plan. The society says Forestry is withholding the plan, which is normally released in August. National forest campaigner Sean Cadman says the society has been unable to obtain a copy, despite repeated requests to Forestry since September. “There’s a massive push on land clearing going on, probably the biggest push to land clearing we’ve seen since 1998, and essentially, Forestry Tasmania doesn’t want to let the Tasmanian community know where that activity is occurring,” Mr Cadman said. Forestry has denied the Wilderness Society’s claims and says the delay is due to modifications to the plan to incorporate the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement. It says both the old and new plan will be made available to the Wilderness Society. But Mr Cadman says that is not good enough. “Those changes are being enacted on the ground, while we speak, in the form of logging coupes,” he said. “Forestry Tasmania has a remedy that they could use and that’s to put all of the changes that they’re making to that plan available on the Internet, which has been the normal practice that they’ve been using for the last three years.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200512/s1537520.htm

35) Launching the policy, Latham pledged to protect “the overwhelming majority” of Tasmania’s old growth forests from logging if elected. At the same time he also promised no one in the timber industry need lose their job. He said the plan proved Labor was “the party of the environment” and repeated Labor’s commitment to ratifying the Kyoto treaty and saving the Murray-Darling river. Australian Greens leader Bob Brown welcomed the policy as a “great breakthrough”. Wrong. Howard snookered Latham with a markedly more modest plan for protecting old-growth forests. Two thousand timber workers cheered Howard in the streets. It was in stark contrast to the reception for Latham 48 hours earlier. He had to be stealthily spirited out of the venue where he delivered his policy, to avoid the ire of loggers. In terms of the election, it was the end of the line for Latham and Labor. A year on and there is a concerted push inside the federal ALP caucus to re-establish connections with its blue-collar base in Tasmania. It points to next year being one of considerable tension between Labor and the Greens, parties that have traditionally swapped preferences at elections. The push, being led by Labor’s resources and forestry spokesman Martin Ferguson, could see an end to the Labor-Greens relationship first established in the Hawke years by the then environment minister, Graham Richardson. If Ferguson succeeds in pushing Labor in this direction, it would mean a fundamental realignment of the political landscape and a repudiation of the party’s inner-city environmental constituency. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17660607%255E7583,00.html


36) What’s wrong with plantation forestry? “I think carbon sequestration with trees will work, at least for a few decades,” said Robert Jackson, a professor in Duke’s Department of Biology and Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences who was the paper’s first author. “But I think we’re asking the wrong question. “The question isn’t just ‘Can we store carbon in trees and how much do we gain from that?’ The question is also ‘What are the other gains and losses for the environment?’ We have to be smart about our sequestration policies.” Originating in a series of meetings at the Center on Global Change, which Jackson directs, the study sought to identity those tradeoffs and benefits at locations worldwide thought likely as places where land would be converted from other uses to tree plantations for carbon sequestration. Assessing the impact of existing conversions, the study showed that the larger water demands of growing trees rather than crops or pastures “dramatically decreased stream flow within a few years of planting,” the authors wrote. Water use within existing tree plantations of all ages resulted in average stream flow reductions of 38 percent, with losses increasing as the trees aged. Moreover, “13 percent of streams dried up completely for at least one year,” the study said. “Plantations not only have greater water demands than grasslands, shrublands or croplands,” the study added. “They typically have increased nutrient demands as well.”

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