076OEC’s This Week in Trees

This week we have 37 news items from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Michigan, Massachusetts, USA, Canada, North America, Congo, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, India, Madagascar, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Australia.

British Columbia:

1) At the end of 2005, a coalition of environmental groups stepped in to request federal intervention…”We have a biodiversity crisis here,” asserts Joe Foy of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. “We have to cease, and get the ecosystem stabilized.” Now, I have a favour to ask of you. Can you please drop Premier Campbell an email about the need to cease logging in spotted owl habitat? About 300,000 hectares of older forests in southwest BC needs to be put off-limits to logging to protect the spotted owl. The BC government is set to make public a recovery plan for the spotted owl this Spring and we want to make sure that the Premier knows that protection of the owl’s forest habitat must be central to any recovery plan. Premier Campbell’s email is: premier@gov.bc.ca Please cc me your email and the premier’s response My email is: joe@wildernesscommittee.org

2) About 93 per cent of TFL 54, currently controlled by Interfor, is located within the area covered by the 1993 Clayoquot Sound Land Use Decision. Its total area is 60,986 hectares and is dominated by western red cedar, western hemlock and amabilis fir. Slaco said while the average allowable cut is some 67,000 cubic metres, the company has harvested nothing in the past year. The AAC is so small, he said, the company only harvested periodically. “For Interfor it was a small tenure and an isolated tenure.” What the public is likely seeing, said Slaco, is a move towards what people have demanded: more local control. Interfor closed its Ucluelet operations about a year ago.
Don McMillan, who recently managed the operations for Interfor, recently moved on and started his own consulting business.The TFL is now managed by Interfor’s Campbell River woodlands and area manager Gerhard Pokrandt, said Slaco. The community won’t have to wait too long to learn of Interfor’s plans for the TFL. “I would expect we would have a decision on that this year,” he said.


3) Logging in Kittitas County was once a major driver of the local economy, employing at its peak in the 1980s perhaps 600 or more people and generating more than $30 million a year in timber harvest job-work in the woods. Former foresters, loggers, and others still in the industry, say that amount doesn’t count the hundreds of county businesses supported by logging industry employees and their families, everything from from grocery stores to auto dealers. Some estimate that for every $1 in timber harvest-related work another $3 to $5 is generated in associated business activity in the community. “Logging was a good-paying job compared to many others in the area,” said David Browitt of Roslyn, a 38-year veteran of working with Boise Cascade. “It was a big part of the makeup and heritage of our community. “This county was really founded on natural resources — agriculture, mining and logging,” Jones said. “Today, it would be very hard to say there is a viable wood products industry in Kittitas County,” Hess said. According to the state Department of Revenue, which watches timber harvests closely for taxation purposes, 48.2 million board feet was cut on private and public lands in 2005 in Kittitas County and 51.5 million in 2004. Plum Creek estimates that 9 million board feet may come from its lands in Kittitas County this year. “At this time, I would guess only 20 to 25 percent of the volume of the peak years is being produced,” Vatheuer said. “The greatest decline has come from the largest landowner, the U.S. Forest Service, and productive private forest land has been sold to developers.” Hess said much of the private forests in the county now have a higher worth for their recreational value and value as rural homesites and resorts. “We’ll never go back, I believe, to forests in this area really focusing on timber production,” Hess said. http://www.kvnews.com/articles/2006/03/18/news/news02.txt


4) Unless you’re a keen observer of the forest products business, you might have been surprised this month to see that the bidders for Longview Fibre Co. and its 587,000 acres of timberland were two obscure Portland investment companies. Who are these guys with their $1.72 billion offer? Turns out that The Campbell Group, which wants Longview’s trees, is one of the largest private timberland owners in the country. And its partner in the Longview bid, Obsidian Finance Group, is led by a coterie of lawyers who once cut deals for now-defunct Willamette Industries. The forest products industry is changing quickly, if quietly, and several Portland companies are in the thick of it. “Just as oil and gas fund managers are concentrated in Dallas, Houston and Denver, and high-tech fund managers are concentrated in Silicon Valley, Portland is a natural location for timberland fund managers,” said Matt Donegan, who, as co-president of Forest Capital Partners, is among those fund managers. Historically, old-school timber giants such as International Paper Co. and Louisiana-Pacific Corp. managed vast empires that included both mills and forestland. But tax and business changes over the past decade encouraged specialization, and companies increasingly split ownership of the trees from production in the mills. Enter privately held timber-investment management organizations, or TIMOs, which are quickly overtaking traditional publicly traded companies as owners of the nation’s timberland. At their peak, International Paper, Louisiana-Pacific, Georgia-Pacific Corp. and Boise Cascade Corp. owned more than 25 million acres. TIMOs and other nonmanufacturing firms now own nearly all of those lands, with the exception of International Paper’s holdings, which are being auctioned off. TIMOs are expected to be among the highest bidders. Pension funds are the biggest investors in TIMOs nationwide, as they seek a hard asset that seems less volatile than stocks and that works well as a long-term investment. Federal tax rulings in recent years have allowed nonprofit endowments to invest in TIMOs with the same favorable tax treatment they have with stock-market investments, adding to the investors seeking timberland. “So the timber companies have worked for hundreds of years to build these tree farms in Oregon and Washington,” Atterbury said. “Now, that is being broken up. . . . Is it going to get the same treatment? It’s a question.” http://www.oregonlive.com/business/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/business/1142479533310000.xml&coll=7

5) Douglas County plans to take a direct role in helping the Bureau of Land Management develop new management policies for forest lands in Western Oregon. The county has commissioned the College of Forestry at Oregon State University — at a cost of $105,000 — to formulate a harvest scheduling model using geographic information systems, vegetation data and harvesting prescriptions developed by the BLM. The model would be used to evaluate different management strategies for reducing fire hazards in BLM forests, including more than 600,000 acres of Oregon & California Railroad trust lands managed by the agency in Douglas County. The approach will give the county a much stronger voice than it has had in the past on a major policy decision, Douglas County Commissioner Doug Robertson said. It resulted from agreements signed with both the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service giving the county cooperator status. The O&C lands included all odd-numbered sections of land, not including those with mineral deposits, within 20 miles of each side of the proposed rail line. The land grant was provided to give the railroad the cash to build its line by selling individual parcels. The unsold parcels were later reclaimed by the federal government after the O&C Railroad and later Southern Pacific violated terms of the land grant. Active federal management of the properties began with the passage of the O&C Act. Douglas County contains the largest acreage of O&C lands — 618,000 acres. Jackson County has 390,00 acres, followed by Josephine County with 259,000 acres. The OSU team will be led by John Sessions, the author of the Douglas County-commissioned report on the aftermath of the 2002 Biscuit Fire in southern Oregon. Sessions was criticized recently for trying to quash an article by an OSU graduate student before it appeared in Science magazine. Daniel Donato, a student in the School of Forestry, suggested that commercial logging harms forest recovery in the first years after a fire because young seedlings get trampled. Commissioner Dan Van Slyke said he was very satisfied with Sessions’ work on the Biscuit study and said the county will benefit by having his crew work on the current project. http://www.newsreview.info/article/20060317/NEWS/60317010

6) The report, released by U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., placed the value of the timber that could be legally and profitably cut immediately after the fire at about $171.8 million. It said about $32.3 million of that has been recovered to date. The report said information “shows clearly that 42 percent of the volume per acre has been lost since late 2002,” largely from decay. However, the thought of logging the area is anathema to many scientists and environmentalists who say the best way to help the area recover is to leave it alone. Rolf Skar, with the Cave Junction-based Siskiyou Project conservation group, disagreed. “There has never been a single injunction on a single roadless area in Biscuit,” he said. He said the report is top-heavy with economic concerns and does not address such costs as maintaining replanted areas, fire risk and recreation loss. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1142565911265060.xml&coll=7


7) Yreka, Calif. – The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild), and Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed suit today against the California Departments of Forestry and Fish and Game for approving logging of crucial habitat for the newly discovered Scott Bar salamander. The species was first described in May 2005 and has one of the smallest ranges of any salamander. The Scott Bar salamander was previously considered the same species as the Siskiyou Mountains salamander, but was recently discovered to be a separate species by researchers who published their findings last May in the journal Herpetologica. The Siskiyou Mountains salamander is listed as “threatened” under California’s Endangered Species Act, giving it a measure of protection from logging. Upon learning of the new species, the California Department of Fish and Game informed industrial timber companies that because the Scott Bar salamander is a new species, protections afforded to the rare salamanders would cease. The California Department of Forestry has since approved amendments to at least four timber harvest plans (THPs) allowing logging of Scott Bar salamander habitat. Amendments to the THPs were approved without public notice or comment. “Rather than heralding the discovery of a new species in California, the California Department of Forestry is rushing to wipe out the rare critters’ habitat,” said Joseph Vaile, campaign director of KS Wild. “In approving logging plans, the state agencies left the public in the dark, violating public trust and ignoring their responsibilities to protect California’s natural heritage for future generations.” Paraphrasing Shakespeare, EPIC’s timber harvest monitor Lindsey Holm quipped, “a rare species by any other name is still threatened with extinction.” Conservation organizations petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list both the Siskiyou Mountains and Scott Bar salamanders under the federal Endangered Species Act in June 2005, and expect an initial decision on this petition by the end of April. At the same time, California Department of Fish and Game is moving to delist the Siskiyou Mountains salamander under the state Endangered Species Act. This move has been sharply criticized by the primary experts on the biology of these salamanders. Forest Service scientist Dr. Hartwell Welsh, for example, concluded that “interpretation of the science” used by the state game agency to support delisting was “seriously flawed” (letter available upon request). http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/press/scott-bar-salamander-03-16-2006.html

7) “This is an industry where individuals come together to support one another to reach a common goal,” said RRLC president John Iversen of the conference theme. “Companies of all aspects of the industry are often family run and the trade is often passed on from generation to generation.” Logging equipment from vendors across the country will be on display all three days, showcasing the latest in tools for all types of logging operators. Elsewhere, the tools from the early days of logging were on display. Thursday was Education Day at the conference. Over 1,500 local school children were in attendance to see the lumberjack show, chainsaw carving, resource exhibits and hear presentations from volunteers like former Fish and Game employee Ted Wooster who was there to show students the many animal bones, nests and other items that he collected during a 39-year career working in the forest. “I like to show them examples of what wildlife uses in the woods,” Wooster said. “Unfortunately, every year I collect more stuff.” Wooster also played the students recordings of the spotted owls that he spent 10 years following and tagging. Caryl Mastros, a third-grade teacher at Yokayo Elementary School, has been bringing her students to the conference’s education day for 10 years. “It’s a great experience,” Mastros said. “They get to learn about animals and working in the woods.” http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/Stories/0,1413,91~3089~3270467,00.html

8) For several years a particularly devastating plan to log hundreds of acres of oldgrowth Douglas Fir forest has been awaiting approval.On April 1st Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) 538 acre timber harvest plan will likely be approved. Logging could begin that day or the next. It has been estimated that 70% of the acreage is Oldgrowth forest, nearly all of the last remaining patches of Oldgrowth Forest in Davis Creek.This plan has been undergoing review since 2003 by the California Dept. of Forestry and other agencies and the decision keeps getting postponed. The units are scattered across the Davis Creek and South Fork Bear River drainages. This area has been ravaged by logging. This area was sold to SPI in the 70s’ by the BLM. At the time, the Davis Creek drainage was blanketed in a lush, coastal Oldgrowth Douglas Fir forest. It has since been ravaged. Aerial photos of the watershed show where the steep hillsides were stripped bald from the ridge all the way down to the creek, triggering landslides that have gone into the creek. Click here to check out the sattelie photo program Google Earth. There is a very rare mammal that lives in this area. It is known as the Mountain Beaver but is actually an older form of rodent (Aplodontia rufa). It is unknown which of the three subspecies of Aplodontia occupies this area. One subspecies, the Point Arena Mountain Beaver is Federally listed as endangered. Fish and Game said that SPI shouldn’t be required to identify them because logging their habitat wouldn’t negativly affect them. The Mountain Beavers live in underbrush near wet places. They need soft, wet soil for burrowing in and to provide lush vegetation for food. The company has permission to clear-cut the trees in and around the two known locations occupied by Mountain Beavers and then drag the logs up the hill with Cable Yarders. After that they will probably spray herbicides to kill the remaining brush. This kind of logging results in a dead zone of smashed limbs, logs and dead brush, all of which are tinder dry in the summer. Another option they have is to burn what remains. On slopes that are greater than 60% they will “broadcast burn” a.k.a. napalm the hillside. On slopes less than 60% they will do “mechanical pile and burning of the piles”, what some have dubbed “tractor derbys”. The one protection the Mountain Beavers are given in the plan is that SPI cannot drive tractors over their colonies. If any Mountain Beavers do survive this, the loss of the trees brings a new threat of predators like Red Tail Hawks and Golden Eagles. http://www.indybay.org/news/2006/03/1808790.php

9) Humboldt County is already using far more renewable power per capita than most of California. This is because we get about 30 percent of our electricity from the first renewable energy source ever used by humans: wood. ere, two local biomass power producers — Fairhaven Power and Pacific Lumber Co. — generate electricity by burning the bark and other wood waste from area sawmills. A third plant, Ultrapower in Blue Lake, has been off-line since 1999, but could be restarted. With large forest-thinning projects underway on federal lands to reduce fire danger, the Forest Service and local tribes are studying the prospects for using biomass generators to burn the logged trees to produce power. But due to the cost of transporting and handling small-diameter logs, these new biomass projects would probably only be cost-effective with subsidies that are not currently available, according to the Technical Report. The report analyzes North Coast lumber data and finds that timber companies are growing trees twice as fast as they’re cutting them. So the local lumber supply is sustainable, at least in production terms, which bodes well for the future of wood-fired generation. http://www.northcoastjournal.com/110305/cover1103.html

10) PL’s witnesses–Security Chief Carl Anderson, land manger Richard Bettis, and Scotia Fire Chief Broadstalk–all testified they were afraid of a possible “eco-terrorist attack” because they saw “smoke, steam, and liquid ” pouring out from under the car’s hood. But the Sheriffs’ video showed no steam, smoke or liquids. Defendant Starr introduced another videotape taken by activists at the scene showing the event from a fuller perspective. No steam, smoke or liquids were visible in that tape, either. Both videos showed protestors dialoguing in a relaxed manner with PL officials, law enforcement and bystanders with the exception of one Scotia resident who cursed the activists. The prosecution’s witnesses were forced to amend some of their testimony after reviewing the videos during cross-examination on Friday. Early this week, Ms. Starr brought defense witnesses who had taken part in the Aug. 2002 protest to testify under oath as to the nonviolent nature of the protest. They reiterated that they had chosen the location (PL headquarters) as the most appropriate for the protest because PL President Robert Manne had refused to meet with them to discuss their concerns after inviting the public to do just that in a series of press statements at the time. This SLAPP suit is one of three suits filed by the timber company against those opposed to their liquidation logging practices in the Mattole and Freshwater watersheds. The others are set to go to trial later this spring.

11) The Dunsmuir High School District board is continuing to study the feasibility of a timber management plan on the district’s hillside property west of the school grounds. That was the report given by the board after hearing from Andrea Herr, a parent who said she and her husband, David Clarno, would like to see the board do some more study on such a plan prior to its implementation. Board president Jan Garrigus assured Herr that the board was thoroughly investigating all options and that the district was definitely not going to rush into such a plan. Trustee Judy Welcome agreed that “this is a slow, but steady process,” but added that it could provide an educational opportunity for students in the future. “We are one of the only districts in the state that are fortunate enough to own our own forest,” Welcome said. The assurance by the board that it is not rushing into any type of plan before its feasibility is thoroughly investigated, came after a presentation by Herr. Dustin Lindler, a consulting forester with Berryman and Associates, attended the board’s January 10th meeting to discuss a non-industrial timber harvest plan for the hillside property. Discussion centered around the additional source of income to the district, which Lindler said would be roughly a net of $70 to $80,000, as well as potential educational opportunities for students. Lindler had said that before any timber harvest of the property was considered, there would be the need for infrastructure work, which he estimated would be about $60,000. http://www.mtshastanews.com/articles/2006/03/15/news/school_news/school03.txt


12) RAWLINS — A conservation group has appealed the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to permit logging as a way to minimize the spread of bark beetles in the Medicine Bow National Forest. Medicine Bow Supervisor Mary Peterson has 45 days to respond to the appeal filed by Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance. The Forest Service decided in January to allow cutting 2,648 acres of trees in order to protect potential habitat for lynx and boreal toad populations. The logging plan includes removing mature spruce in the Silver Lake Campground, which has been closed for two years because of heavy beetle infestation, if the trees are found to be at high risk of infestation or infirmity. Salvage cuts are also planned around the Brush Creek Visitors Center and campground. Jeremy Nichols, a representative of the conservation group, said Biodiversity appealed the decision because the Forest Service would violate its own standards for how much clear-cut logging should occur in the North Fork of the French Creek drainage if the project proceeds. http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/03/16/news/wyoming/27-bark-beetles.txt


13) As the loggers and the pulp mills dwindle, it will become more difficult for a landowner to manage their property for timber. The removal of pulp wood from a landowner’s property is a large component of proper forest management. Otsego County has a large component of hardwood. The majority of the hardwood in the county needs a TSI cut (timber stand improvement cut). This consists of removing mostly pulp wood trees. With the closing of the mills and logging companies, it will become more difficult to move the low quality timber off of a landowner’s property. Without being able to remove the low quality timber, it will become more difficult to producer higher value timber thus reducing the income of the private landowner. The closing of three of six pulp mill will have a larger impact than anyone can imagine. I hope that we, the forest industry, learn to adapt to the 21st century’s global market before it is too late. http://www.gaylordheraldtimes.com/articles/2006/03/15/news/opinion/opinion03.txt


14) To suggest that the trees and their accompanying wildlife be moved to the old skating rink surrounded by Route 2 and its frontage roads is simply absurd. Conservation ecologists warn that habitat fragmentation is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the world today. We in Belmont and its surrounding communities have a chance to prevent further habitat fragmentation in a local, very unique wetlands area. We could even work to provide better corridor connections for wildlife and actually expand the habitat along Alewife Brook to Mystic River. I encourage citizens to walk the trails of the remaining DCR property in the Alewife Reservation and to celebrate and protect what remains of this section of Olmstead’s original greater metropolitan Boston parkland. –Don Bockler http://www2.townonline.com/belmont/opinion/view.bg?articleid=449547


15) The bill seeks to rely on science, but it is distressingly far behind the curve. The bill fails to acknowledge that scientists are learning more about the healthy role of fire in Western forests. The two members had a fit when a study in Oregon seemed to question some of their effort. Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee had a much more measured response, standing up for funding studies that offer divergent views. Baird’s and Walden’s overreaction suggests the unstudied nature of the proposal. Some environmentalists believe that existing rules have allowed better collaboration among themselves, timber companies and national forest managers. The House should drop the bill or at least look more carefully at preserving environmental safeguards. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/262934_logged.asp

16) Yesterday, 169 of the nation’s top scientists sent a letter to members of Congress calling for the defeat of legislative efforts to expedite logging in areas recovering from fires and other natural disturbances. The letter was released before today’s scheduled mark-up in Chairman Richard Pombo’s House Resources Committee of the so-called Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act [HR 4200]. “No substantive evidence supports the idea that fire-adapted forests might be improved by logging after a fire. In fact, many carefully conducted studies have concluded just the opposite. Most plants and animals in these forests are adapted to periodic fires and other natural disturbances. They have a remarkable way of recovering – literally rising from the ashes – because they have evolved with and even depend upon fire,” said Dr. Reed Noss, professor of Conservation Biology for the University of Central Florida. http://www.newwest.net/index.php/main/article/6987/

17) NEW YORK (FORTUNE Magazine) – In this season of annual reports, Corporate America is putting on a green face. Home Depot (Research), Johnson & Johnson (Research), JP Morgan Chase (Research), McDonald’s (Research), Lowe’s (Research) and Wal-Mart (Research) will print their reports on paper that meets the exacting standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, an alliance of nonprofits and paper companies aimed at promoting sustainable forestry. Meanwhile, 11 big companies that buy tons and tons of paper, including Bank of America (Research), Hewlett Packard (Research), Staples (Research), Toyota (Research) and the Time Inc. division of Time Warner (Research) (publisher of CNNMoney.com and FORTUNE) have formed the Paper Working Group, a coalition aimed at using their purchasing power to make “environmentally preferable paper” more available and affordable. This is good public relations for now and good business in the long run, since no big company wants to see deforestation, destruction of wildlife habitats and unpredictable climate change. (Forests help slow down global warming.) The question is, are these corporate initiatives making a significant difference? About 68 million hectares have been certified by FSC. A competing standard called the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, backed by big U.S. firms like Weyerhauser and International Paper, has certified even more land. Somewhere between 6 and 10 percent of the world’s harvestable forests are certified as sustainably managed. The standards are only about 10 years old, so that’s progress. http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/14/news/international/pluggedin_fortune/


18) When it comes to paper, students waste a lot. We all go to lectures and attempt to take notes, only to realize that the material will not be covered on the final exam, or we misspell the title and begin a fresh sheet. Whatever the case, for us, paper is so plentiful that we take it for granted. Does anybody ever stop and think that the sheet they are writing on was once part of a 300-year-old tree in Clayoquot Sound, or that the Kleenex we blew our nose on originated from hundreds of miles away in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia? I think not. Our disconnect from these resources allows us to feel no guilt for wasting them. Paper is all around us and comes at an almost free price that we assume we can use as much as we want. Even I am guilty of reading the free Toronto Star in the morning (if I can get one) and then leaving it at a table and collecting a fresh one to take with me on my daily journey, just because I did not feel like folding up the original one. We live in a culture where consuming excessively is the norm. Recycling is essential to support our current usage because the sources will only last so long. Despite claims by logging companies and forestry management officials that for every one tree cut, three new trees are planted, it is also a known fact that tree growth rates do not even compare with the amount of time it takes to cut down one fully grown tree. Even with environmental organizations working to protect forest land, I was startled to discover that the land they claim to have protected was never going to be used for commercial forestry in the first place because it is on rocky cliffs or mountainous ranges where it is too difficult to log. It seems efforts such as these have become useless in the present age. Our forestry management plan needs not to start with governments and organizations halfway across Canada, but with the students at York, who can make a conscious effort to think about where the paper you are disposing of has come from and try to understand what implications its use has on the natural resources and pristine forest lands of our country. Only when the last tree is gone will we realize that our actions today will eventually cause us to pay the price in the future. http://www.excal.on.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1602&Itemid=2

North America:

19) ForestEthics is launching a national day of action against OfficeMax on March 23. OfficeMax is the third-largest retailer of paper in the world and sells paper made from endangered forests in the Canadian Boreal and Cumberland Plateau of the Southeastern United States. These forests are hotspots for biodiversity, clean water, wilderness, and carbon sequestration. Through its campaign against OfficeMax, ForestEthics hopes to improve the global paper industry’s environmentally-destructive practices. With the help of activists from local groups across the country Staples and Office Depot have been persuaded to change their paper practices. http://www.forestethics.org/article.php?list=type&type=20 contact Perrin de Jong, ForestEthics, perrin@forestethics.org, 773-203-1871.


20) Considered Earth’s other ecological lung after the Amazon rainforest, the Congo River Basin – whose forests cover 200 million ha of the basin’s total 520 million ha – may not be spared from the threat of desertification, according to a top United Nations official. “Desertification is not the advancing of deserts, but the eroding of soils due to three factors: agricultural practices, overgrazing and deforestation for heating and cooking purposes,” Hama Arba Diallo, the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention Against Desertification, said. The basin is a marine and forest ecosystem engulfing Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo (ROC). Since February 2005, it has been extended to include areas in Burundi, Chad, Rwanda, and Sao Tome e Principe. The basin alone represents 30 percent of Africa’s vegetation coverage and 19 percent of the world’s tropical forests. According to the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC), around 100 million people – 50 percent of them from DRC – live in the basin. The tropical forest is a source of energy and food for its inhabitants, and 65 percent of the basin’s residents owe their survival to forest products, COMIFAC said. The forest supplies them charcoal for cooking, bark, vegetables, fruits, honey, resins, game meat and medicinal plants. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 14 million ha of forest is lost worldwide each year, 934,000 ha of which is from the Congo Basin. http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=52218&SelectRegion=Great_Lakes&SelectCountry=CENTRAL%20AFRICA


21) SAO PAULO – Brazil’s plans to dam two rivers in the Amazon basin to generate power threaten a treasure trove of animals and plants in a region with one of the world’s richest arrays of wildlife, environmentalists say. The government wants to harness the vast hydroelectric potential of the Madeira and Xingu rivers in multibillion dollar projects meant to boost electricity supply and ward off a repeat of a power crisis that crippled growth in 2001. Brazil’s plans include two dams on the Madeira, a main tributary to the Amazon, at a cost of $9 billion to produce 6,400 MW of electricity. The project, in Rondonia, will flood 550 sq km (210 sq mile) of forest. International Rivers Network said the dams would threaten the survival of several species of large catfish that migrate some 4,500 km (2,800 miles) to breed in the upper Madeira. Thirty-three endangered mammal species live in the region to be flooded, including the spotted jaguar, the giant anteater, the giant armadillo, giant otter and several species of birds. The massive 11,000 MW Belo Monte Hydroelectric Complex would flood the Xingu river basin and cost close to $7 billion. Belo Monte was first proposed years ago and shelved because of public anger over the environmental and economic costs. The government is trying to get a revised version approved for 2007. There is a plan to build a massive reservoir called Altamira, about four years after Belo Monte is completed. This would flood 6,100 square km (2,355 sq mile) of dense forest, a good portion of which is part of the Xingu Indian reservation. “Altamira is the albatross around Belo Monte’s neck,” said energy specialist Allen Poole, adding that plans to reduce the cost of transmission lines for Belo Monte by redirecting them through environmentally sensitive areas would likely have as negative a social impact as the dam itself. “This would not be the first example of hubris on the part of the Brazilian government in grand public works,” Sales said. He cited Brazil’s Transamazonica highway and the Balbina hydroelectric dam as classic examples of a combination of “irresponsible megalomania and disrespect for public coffers.” The highway consumed $12 billion but cars and trucks can only travel on 150 km (93 miles) of the 5,000 km (3,100 miles) route. The Balbina flooded 2,360 square km (911 sq miles) and only generates one MW for every 9.4 square km (3.6 square mile). http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N13298079.htm


22) Roadblocks on the international bridges connecting Argentina and Uruguay, carried out by the Argentine environmental movement to protest the construction of two large cellulose factories, demonstrates the social limitations of the neoliberal model and is jeopardizing the regional alliance between two governments that possess, fundamentally, the same political and ideological orientations. “As long as we have people to take part, we will continue blocking the bridges,” said one of the members of the Environmental Assembly of Gualeguaychú midway through January. On that day, roadblocks on the three bridges linking Argentina to Uruguay—some of them lasting up to 24 hours—had managed to cripple the flow of goods and tourists, but above all, had created a climate of “war” between the governments of Tabaré Vázquez and Néstor Kirchner. Raúl Zibechi, a member of the editorial board of the weekly Brecha de Montevideo, is a professor and researcher on social movements at the Multiversidad Franciscana de América Latina and adviser to several grassroots organizations. He is a monthly contributor to the IRC Americas Program http://www.americaspolicy.org – http://www.themercury.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,18483799%255E3462,00.html


23) More than 600 bird species have been recorded here, as have some 188 mammals including agile titi monkeys and jaguars. Invertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles are also abundant and diverse. Traditionally, the indigenous Shipibo-Konibo people living along the Ucayali River in the Peruvian Amazon watershed grew corn, beans, yucca and plantains on the river’s banks and hunted in the surrounding dense forests. But, their subsistence economy was always precarious — a poor year for crops or fishing meant they went hungry — and they were losing young people, who migrated to cities to find work. Today, through the efforts of WWF and a Peruvian non-governmental organization, the Association for Integral Research and Development (Asociación para la Investigación y el Desarrollo Integral-AIDER), five Shipibo-Konibo communities are now managing their own forests, harvesting the trees, and marketing the lumber following a long-term plan that will sustain the forest and benefit the community. In a considerable achievement for a people with no previous business or forest management experience, 35,000ha of rainforest belonging to these communities are close to obtaining Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. When that happens, it will be one of the first rainforests in Peru to achieve the exacting FSC label that certifies the use of strict environmental and social standards. “We focused on forest management from the start because we saw that commercializing the forests would be the best means of economic development in these communities,” said Jaime Nalvarte, a forester who is president of AIDER. “When a tree brought 1,000 soles instead of 20, this wasn’t just talk, this was business.” At the top of the muddy bank leading to Calleria, eight young people and an older man, Hernan Mori, danced and sang a traditional greeting song. Mori said that the pride the Shipibo-Konibo people have gained from managing their forests and competing in the market has produced new interest in old traditions. In 2004, the community sold 45,000 board feet of lumber, worth approximately US $13,200. Of each year’s total sales, the net proceeds from 18,000 board feet (US $3,000 a month for the six-month logging season) go to the community. http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/index.cfm?uNewsID=62560


24) TUMKUR: Kunigal police on Wednesday arrested four members of the timber mafia who had allegedly killed a forest guard when he tried to stop their tractor at Elegalavadi village under Kunigal police limits. They drove their vehicle over the guard and escaped in the dark leaving behind the vehicle. The victim was Rajashekar, a native of Kyathasandra area here. The gangsters had cut eucalyptus and sandal trees from the Huliyurudurga reserve forests and were transporting the logs to their den. On a tip-off, a team of forest guards of Kunigal range comprising H L Kumar, Rajashekar, Nagaraj and Jayaram went to the spot in a jeep and chased the tractor. When they intercepted the tractor and stood in front of it, the gangsters drove the tractor over them. Three of the guards escaped but Rajashekar was run over. Two of the prime accused are still at large. http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEK20060317005719&Page=K&Title=Southern+News+-+Karnataka&Topic=

25) Deramakot Assistant District Officer, Peter Lagan, said this way, the logged off forest area would be managed to protect its natural habitats – flora and fauna – and at the same time the forest productivity in terms of supplying high quality and good priced timbers would continue. It means that the commercial forest reserve will be managed in a way that mimics natural processes for production of low volume, high quality, high priced timber products but the balance of nutrient cycles, forest structure, biodiversity, forest function and socio-economic needs are maintained. “The Deramakot Forest Reserve is covering an area of about 55,083 hectares. The area is divided into 135 compartments with the size ranging from 400 hectares to 600 hectares. Production area is 51,642 hectares, protection area is 3,423 hectares while 18 hectares are reserved for the community living in the area. “Our major activities here are harvesting, silviculturing, rehabilitation and road construction,” Lagan said during a briefing session to the 12-member delegation comprising members from non-government organisations (NGOs), government agencies and the media. “Only trees with 60 cm in diameter and above are allowed to be felled. It is marked with white colour. Trees marked with red colour are strictly not be damaged. If they fell the red-marked tree, penalty would be enforced on them,” Lagan added. “We need at least four sets of Skyline to make this environmentally friendly harvesting approach profitable. It’s too costly. So we cannot rely on Skyline alone. We need the tractor trail approach too,” Lagan added. The Deramakot Forest Reserve management is also conducting silviculture activities whereby all potential crop trees are marked while the competing vegetation such as non-commercial trees and climbing bamboo are removed or cut. http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=40835

26) NEW DELHI: A huge wall of trees is being planned along the railway line near the proposed Commonwealth Games Village here on National Highway 24 as an answer to the problem of noise pollution from the high-density rail corridor. Under the plan, rows of Paulonia trees would be planted along a drain near the tracks. According to Director of Horticulture (North) Satya Vir Singh, the tree — which grows very fast — has leaves which are wider than those of peepul and banyan. As such it provides thick foliage. A native species of China, the Paulonia is grown through tissue culture and attains a height of around 20 feet in two years and 30 feet in four years which makes is very suitable for the plantation drive being taken ahead of the Commonwealth Games due to be held in 2010. http://www.hindu.com/2006/03/16/stories/2006031615630400.htm

27) IT is perhaps the only wildlife sanctuary in the world that owes its name to a tree. The Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, nestled in the Western Ghats of Kollam district in Kerala, takes its name from the Chengurinji (Gluta travancorica), a towering hardwood tree endemic to the sanctuary. The overwhelming silence even after three hours of trekking makes one wonder whether the sanctuary is devoid of animal life. But they are there everywhere. It’s just that, to locate them, one needs to be vigilant. That art can be learnt pretty fast by watching the guides. And soon there are hornbills, giant squirrels, spotted deer, sambar, emerald doves, jungle fowls and quite surprisingly even the highly endangered lion-tailed macaques. The Shendurney sanctuary has 32 species of trees bearing fruits or leaves that are on the menu of these monkeys. That’s why they are here, the guides explain. Beware of the sound of branches breaking. It is the signal that wild elephants are somewhere close by. Reed bushes are a favourite haunt for elephant herds and the Shendurney sanctuary is rich with reeds. Tender reed shoots are a delicacy for the elephants. As they start feeding, they are least bothered about being watched, provided they are not disturbed. “You leave them alone and they leave you alone”, says the guide. “Disturbance” can mean a slight human noise unpleasant to elephant ears or even the smell of some perfume brands. One of the jungle codes of conduct is to avoid wearing perfumes while going into the territory of wild animals. The amazing attraction of the sanctuary is the towering trees and topping the list is the Chengurinji. It is said that this tree grows nowhere else. Even inside the sanctuary, it grows only at certain altitudes where thick mist lingers. Its wood is maroon in colour. It is also called the royal tree since in the past its wood was the prerogative of the royal family of the erstwhile Travancore Kingdom. The myth around the tree is that using furniture made out of Chengurinji wood not only keeps at bay at least four diseases, including blood pressure and diabetes, but a cot made from this wood has aphrodisiac properties too. The Forest Department dismisses them as totally baseless. The Chengurinji is now declared a highly endangered tree species and is today protected by law. Projects have also been undertaken to propagate the tree in the area. http://www.hindu.com/mag/2006/03/19/stories/2006031900390800.htm


28) The greater bamboo lemur (Hapalemur simus) is one of the rarest primates in the world; researchers believe there are fewer than 1,000 left. This critically endangered species was even believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered only a few years ago. Never mind the loo — I rushed out, hoping for a quick look. The lemurs had teddy-bear-like faces, round chestnut-colored eyes and fluffy, pale gray ear tufts that made them look like little Yodas. Several came right down to eye level and sat only an arm’s length away, watching us nonchalantly as they broke giant bamboo stalks, stripping off the tough outer layers and munching the inner pith. Greater bamboo lemurs have adapted to process cyanide-laced bamboo, and thus occupy a rare and peculiar ecological niche. I was in Madagascar with a group of Earthwatchers who had volunteered to help primatologist Patricia Wright collect field data for a study of Propithecus diadema edwardsi at Ranomafana National Park. Perhaps you know Propithecus by its common name, the Milne-Edwards’ sifaka. Surely you’re familiar with lemurs, those monkey-like prosimians found only in Madagascar. Like almost all plants and animals there, lemurs are in danger of extinction; conservation efforts during the next few years will be critical for their survival. Madagascar can’t wait. The land is starving, dying. The people of Madagascar have traditionally subsisted with slash-and-burn farming: cultivating a piece of land for a few seasons until the soil’s fertility is exhausted, then abandoning that plot, moving on, allowing the earth to regenerate. But the people have run out of land, and the land has run out of time. Whole ecosystems are dying, and species are becoming extinct. The little rainforest that remains is under tremendous pressure, because the rapidly growing Malagasy population needs land to produce food. The lemurs we followed are almost totally arboreal, eating, sleeping and traveling in the treetops. If trees are removed — either by selective logging or clear cutting — resulting gaps in the forest canopy restrict the lemurs’ territory, and their movement within their territory. Most of the island’s wide range of plants and animals — more than 200,000 species — have evolved in isolation from the rest of the world. Madagascar’s evolutionary history is complicated and paradoxical. How can it be that this island, only 270 miles off the eastern coast of Africa, shares none of the continent’s large mammals, such as elephants, antelopes or lions? Or that it has only one insectivore, the tenrec, a hedgehog-like creature whose nearest relative is native to Cuba and Haiti? http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/03/19/CMG9QHDTEK1.DTL

New Zealand:

29) The joint venture is owned by a subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser Company and RII New Zealand Properties 1, Inc, a timber investment fund advised by Global Forest Partners LP. The partners intend to sell the assets of the joint venture, which include planted and other productive areas totalling 68,000 hectares in the Nelson/Marlborough region. Approximately 77,596 gross hectares, with 60,741 hectares of Crown Forest Licences, 16,174 hectares of freehold land and 681 hectares of private joint venture leases. The assets are: 1) A pruned log sawmill at Kaituna in Marlborough, which processes about 80,000 cubic metres annually, 2) A log procurement and trading operation handling 220,000 cubic metres annually. 3) The assets are managed by Weyerhaeuser New Zealand Inc, which is included in the assets involved in the sale process. “The high level of initial enquiry reflects the quality of the forest,” said Gary Drobnack, vice president of Weyerhaeuser Forest Products International. “It is certainly among the best forest estates offered for sale in New Zealand in recent years. “The forest is mature and of very high quality, with about 68 percent of the radiata having been managed in a pruned silviculture regime. The favourable growing environment in Nelson/Marlborough produces quality trees with high wood density and small knots, which in turn yield very good construction materials and appearance grade timber.” Michael Edgar, Director of Asia Pacific Investments for Global Forest Partners LP, said: “The estate is at a sustainable level of harvest, with a rotation age exceeding 30 years. There is also flexibility to alter harvest plans to optimize sales to both domestic and international markets. In addition, the estate is well-located from a logistical perspective, close to the Nelson and Picton ports and to processing facilities. –News Release
Nelson Forests Joint Venture


30) PAPUA New Guinean Prime Minister Michael Somare is under investigation for attempting to fast-track a controversial logging project. Sir Michael ordered Forest Minister Patrick Pruaitch in a letter to issue a permit to loggers Tzen Niugini “without further delay” for a project in East New Britain province. The letter has been referred to the PNG Ombudsman Commission, which is also investigating the alleged misuse of $130,000 in district support grants by his son, Arthur Somare, who was forced to resign as planning minister this month. The World Bank and Western donor nations have criticised the Somare Government’s alleged failure to ensure logging companies operate in accordance with PNG law. The Howard Government has been examining ways of banning the importation of illegally sourced timber from PNG and elsewhere. The 180,000ha logging operation is part of the project, which the Prime Minister refers to as “very important”. Sir Michael says the project has been “unnecessarily delayed and no efforts should be spared to ensure it is fast-tracked”. Mr Pruaitch is “therefore directed” to issue the permit to the company. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,18482151%255E2703,00.html

31) A remote Papua New Guinea forest tribe has a new “walkabout” sawmill to cut logs for export to Australia as “ecotimber” rather than admit destructive foreign logging companies. The portable mill is part of a new ecoforestry initiative by Greenpeace and other environmental action groups in PNG to encourage tribes to do their own small-scale timber harvesting and milling. The mill arrived this week in the remote Lake Murray region of Western Province and will be used by the Kuni people and other tribes to mill selectively-logged trees for export to Australian buyers as sought-after “ecotimber”. In 2003, Greenpeace and other non-government organisations helped Lake Murray landowners halt illegal and destructive logging in the area by the Malaysian logging company Concord Pacific. At the invitation of the Kuni tribe, Greenpeace recently set up a “Global Forest Rescue Station” on tribal land, a concept first trialled in Tasmania to save old-growth forests. Greenpeace volunteers, eco-forestry trainers and environmental lawyers are working with three Lake Murray tribes to establish their rights over about 300,000 hectares by identifying, marking out and mapping their boundaries to deter illegal and large-scale logging. At the handover of the mill, Kuni elder Irowa Zewa said the mill would allow his people to sustainably harvest timber to make money from exports and to build houses rather than see their forests destroyed by large logging companies. http://seven.com.au/news/topstories/153418


32) Malaysia is heeding warnings by environmental groups that massive commercial logging is endangering the habitats of orangutans in the rainforests of Borneo. The WWF says about 80 percent of natural orangutan habitat in Borneo has disappeared during the past 20 years due to logging and forest clearing for rubber and oil palm plantations, among other uses. The Sabah state government this week announced it would phase out by December 2007 logging activities in the Ulu Segama and Malau forests. The area covers more than 200,000 hectares of forest – and is home to a third of the wild orangutan population in Sabah. The World Wildlife Fund says there are about 30,000 red apes left on Earth – most of them in Malaysia (Borneo) and Indonesia (Borneo and Sumatra). Their numbers have dropped 90 percent in the past century. John Payne, who is with the WWF’s office in Sabah, has welcomed the news to protect Orangutan habitats. “Orangutans generally in Sabah and in Borneo tend to be a species of the lowlands and it is those areas that tend to be the most attractive to agriculture development,” he explained. “It so happened that the areas the government has set aside for sustainable forest management are the last remaining low lands of natural forest area of Sabah. Those forest areas have the largest remaining orangutan populations, not only in Sabah, but certainly in Malaysia Borneo.” http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-03-16-voa14.cfm\


33) The most important task now, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hua Duc Nhi said, is to check existing forest area to define safe logging levels for economic development. Vietnam plans to shift the existing 3mil hectares of protected forest into forest for production. The head of MARD stressed that localities should continue decentralisation in allocating land and forest to households for management. MARD says that by 2020, Vietnam will have 14.3mil hectares of managed forest for sustainable use out of 16.2mil hectares of forestry land. The national forestry development strategy said that the average growth rate in forestry production value would reach 4-5% in the future. Vietnam will have 4mil hectares of natural forest, supplying 45mil cu.m of wood each year and bringing about $4bil from product exports. Thirty percent of the forest area for production would receive an international forest certificate as well. Government analysts say the move will create 2mil jobs in rural areas and help reduce the number of poor households by 70% in eight ecological economic areas nationwide. By 2010, the state economic sector will manage 8mil hectares of forest while the private sector (households, cooperatives) will manage 8mil hectares. A further 15% of the specific forest will be put under state management. http://english.vietnamnet.vn/biz/2006/03/551077/


34) The walkway is fantastic, too. It’s very long and on some trees there ladders attached and you can climb to the top and sometimes above the crown. It’ s amazing to stand above the crown of an emergent tree. But in the canopy there are very few Phasmids and so I’m searching for them on the ground, but some plants included in the study are from the canopy and so it’s worth it to do the project in Lambir. Searching for phasmids is another story. They are active during nights. Thus I have to go in the jungle at night with a torch and illuminate every single leaf in the hope to find one of the animals. It’s working quite well and I find three to nine per night. The other good thing about being in the forest at night is that one is seeing much more animals than during the day. I saw a gliding frog, rhinoceros-betles while sucking liana-sap, big spiders (that’s the bad side), a bird was sitting 30cm away from me waiting until I made a picture and than flew away and much more interesting things. — Robert Junker [junker.robert@web.de]

35) In the months leading to June, Ibañez said, they would focus on preparatory plans and activities, public consultations and information drive, among others, for the experimental release of the eagle. The Philippine Eagle is one of the most endangered species in the world. Each pair of eagle, environment experts said, needs at least 7,000 hectares of forest to survive. Recent survey revealed that with forest lost, eagle population also diminished since these creatures are known to be forest dwellers. “If the release will succeed according to the observations and monitoring, a pair of captive-bred Philippine Eagles will be released later on,” Ibañez said. He added that residents around Mt. Matutum have been consulted who are eagerly looking forward to the event. Mayor Valentine Mariano of Tupi in South Cotabato gave his full support to the release of the eagle in Mt. Matutum, which occupies part of General Santos, Polomolok in South Cotabato, and parts of Sarangani province. Mariano said the local government would assign several people to monitor the progress of the project after the release of the eagle to the wilds. Mt. Matutum was earlier declared by the government as a forest and natural park. Rising 2,286 meters above sea level, the peak has been nominated to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization natural site category. Its thick vegetation, which is home to various rare species of flora and fauna, has drastically diminished to less than a third of its natural state almost 40 years ago, prompting authorities to temporarily close the peak to mountain climbers. The forest degradation was blamed on illegal logging, slash-and-burn (kaingin) practice and forest fires. The giant forest raptor is considered as one of the most powerful eagles in the world. It averages about a meter in length and has a wingspan of around 2 meters that makes it suited to long hours of soaring high above the forest canopy. In 2004, it was estimated that there were 67 Philippine Eagles in the entire country including those in the Philippine Eagle center in Davao City. http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/gen/2006/03/13/news/eagle.foundation.set.release.of.philippine.eagle.html


36) THERE is no good news from Sunday night’s bushfire for Hancock Victoria Plantations – 34 years of work and millions of dollars worth of pine trees was lost. Hancock Victoria Plantations lost 1135ha, more than one million trees, in the bushfire, enough for about 10,000 house frames. The company’s environmental services manager Malcolm Tonkin said the full cost was unknown. “The whole thing is quite a major loss for the company,” he said. “It’s also a major loss for the community because the timber goes to regional processors. It does have a flow-on impact.” Mr Tonkin said nearly one year’s worth of wood was lost, and the company was talking to contractors and customers. He said about 200,000 tonnes of wood may be salvageable, and the recovery effort would start next week. “Fire of any intensity will kill the radiata pine, which is why we have to get in and harvest,” he said. “We’ve got about four months to harvest the timber and after that we’ll have to replant in two to three years. “In a native forest, fire’s a natural event, but with our crop it’s like burning a wheat crop or any other crop.” Hancock Victorian Plantations has a forest industry brigade that works under the Country Fire Authority, and had two tankers working in partnership with CFA and Department of Sustainability and Environment crews on Sunday. “With the conditions that evening the fire was beyond the capacity of any resources to contain,” Mr Tonkin said. http://www.thecourier.com.au/detail.asp?class=news&subclass=local&story_id=466071&category=General%20News&m

37) Two well-known Tasmanians have addressed a Wilderness Society rally against current forestry practices. The Wilderness Society wants all political parties to guarantee that they will end old-growth logging. Author Richard Flanagan and TV gardening presenter Peter Cundall spoke to more than 1,000 people on Parliament House lawns. Former intelligence analyst Andrew Wilkie also spoke at the rally. Mr Cundall, who lives in the Tamar Valley, says he is not affiliated to any political party but he is committed to preserving Tasmania’s environment. “I am totally opposed to a dirty, stinking pulp mill in the Tamar valley or anywhere else in Tasmania and I will never stop fighting against it,” he said. Mr Flanagan encouraged the crowd to fight old-growth logging and the use of 1080 poison. “This is no longer a Green issue, it is not a Wilderness Society issue,” he said. “It is an issue of whether this island, our island, belongs to us.” The Wilderness Society promoted a peaceful protest but a Lindisfarne man who interrupted the rally was man-handled by activists. Police intervened but no charges have been laid. http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200603/s1593649.htm

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