077OEC’s This Week in Trees

This week we have 36 news stories from: Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Wyoming, Michigan, Texas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Florida, USA, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Uganda, Tanzania, Guyana, Brazil, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, and World-wide.


1) Seattle – Kids today may have plenty of knowledge about the Amazon rain forest, but they’re unlikely to be able to tell you about the last time they explored the outdoors, or stretched out in solitude in a field to listen to the wind and watch the clouds move. This change in our relationship with nature has profound implications for the mental, physical and spiritual health of future generations. While pediatricians see fewer children with broken bones these days, they report more children with longer-lasting repetitive-stress injuries, related to overuse of keyboards and video game controllers. While researching “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,” I talked with hundreds of parents across the country who said their children spend less time in nature than they did when they were young. Parents point to diminishing access to natural areas, competition with electronic entertainment, increased homework, longer school hours and other time pressures. Most of all, parents cite fear — of traffic, nature itself and, most of all, strangers. At the Seward Park center, kids will study matters related to the outdoors, but they’ll also make their own discoveries. They will walk under tall firs and watch the resident eagles, and learn about themselves through the full use of their senses. Eventually, the center will serve nearly 60,000 people a year with more than 800 programs. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/263438_focus19a.html

2) Computers and mechanization have changed the industry for both the foresters and the loggers. “Everything is computerized these days,” Spencer said. Plum Creek has benefited from Geographic Information Systems mapping and better data management which helps its workers more easily locate roads and define boundaries, Spencer said. “In the past you might have had a hand compass, an air photo and a line on a map,” Spencer said. Lemons began to purchase mechanized equipment in 1995, and he said that a majority of the harvesting he does today is done mechanically. The size of the trees that are harvested today means every piece of the wood is used, and the mechanization makes it easier to handle the smaller pieces. “Nowadays, everything is utilized,” Lemons said, “right out to the tip.” On a typical job site, there are five or six people, along with the machines that cut the trees, remove their limbs and load them on trucks to be hauled away. “(The machines) definitely eliminated a lot of manpower,” Lemons said. The trees may be smaller these days, but there is still a high demand for wood products, according to Jeff Jones, a general manager of American Forest Products. The company owns 55,000 acres of timberland in the Teanaway. Logging is still fairly viable, Jones said, but there is concern as to how long that will last. The rising cost of fuel and the possible closure of nearby mills are factors that affect that viability. AFP transports logs to mills in Yakima but also as far away as Oregon and Idaho. “The biggest concern … is that if we have to transport those logs further, we lose the economic viability of the land, “ Jones said. http://www.kvnews.com/articles/2006/03/20/news/news01.txt

3) Invariably, planning for the future in the timber business is something that takes time. It takes 60 to 80 years to grow a typical commercial-sized tree. The foresters at AFP have a two-year planning period, where seeds are stored, then grown in a nursery and finally planted in the wild. “It’s a long-form planning process,” Jones said. That process affects the public, and he says he gets to hear about it when people are unhappy with logging. “It’s a daily battle,” Jones said. “We constantly get calls from people who don’t want to see logging.” Aside from environmental concerns and a general change in the way people view logging, increased globalization has applied pressure to the industry as well. “South America is coming on line now with a lot of pine,” Jones said. When it comes to the future of timber, Bill Boyum, regional manager for the Department of Natural Resources didn’t mince his words. “The timber industry is in flight in the state of Washington,” Boyum said. Six months ago he would have blamed the decline on Washington’s regulatory system, which is stricter than a state such as Texas, which has little or no regulation, Boyum said. But now he points abroad, where cheaper timber is becoming available from places such as Argentina. With less profit to be made, timber companies are selling their land in Texas just like they are in Washington, Boyum said. The land is being bought by companies more interested in development or investment than timber, according to Boyum. Many of those companies purchasing land are in the insurance industry. The DNR manages 137,000 acres in the county and harvests 6 to 10 million board feet a year off those lands. The money from timber sales benefits various trusts around the state, such as those used to construct public schools. The new Ellensburg High School was constructed using trust monies from DNR lands, Boyum said. http://www.kvnews.com/articles/2006/03/20/news/news01.txt


4) Dennerlein is opposed to two salvage logging sales in the roadless portion of the Biscuit fire. The sales are expected to be logged early this summer. “These would be the first inventoried roadless areas that would be logged,” he said. “They are adjacent to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area. They are part of that system.” He observed that the economy in Josephine County as well as the region is changing. “How are we stabilizing 21st century economy with early 20th century logging practices?” he asked. But he admits that environmentalists haven’t made much headway in protecting burned trees. “We’re gun shy — we don’t know how to talk about it well,” he said. “People think of salvage as a salvation, as making use of something. But this is not a dead forest.” He observes that natural reforestation is already well established in the burned area. “If I could take everybody for a walk up the Babyfoot Lake trailhead — you will notice it is exploding with growth,” he said of the lake just inside the eastern boundary of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area. “The seedlings are coming up sheltered by this growth.” He likens the fire-blackened trees to a Venetian blind turned on end, providing shade for the seedlings. He believes there is mounting scientific evidence that salvage logging isn’t healthy for a burned forest. “I’m a big fan of trying to talk to people,” he concluded. “We’re learning enough about natural regeneration after a fire that we have a lot to talk about.” http://www.mailtribune.com/archive/2006/0319/local/stories/06local.htm

5) An analysis by The Nature Conservancy of the most recent forest health data suggests that, of the 34 million acres of forests and woodlands in Oregon, more than 25 million acres need active treatment — thinning, controlled burning or both — to restore safer and more natural conditions. More than 15 million of these acres are on public land. Restoring health to Oregon’s forests is a complex undertaking. It will require rigorous scientific grounding and strong citizen participation to build consensus over desired forest conditions and appropriate treatments. It will require innovations by industry — plus increased public and private investments — to make the best use of the materials produced by thinning. http://www.oregonlive.com/commentary/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/exclude/1142837867165930.xml&coll=7

6) But something snapped in Blachly recently, and it wasn’t just a tree under the weight of a mudslide. You could see it on the side of the highway on Feb. 11, at the base of a particularly homely clearcut. About 50 folks in jeans and baseball hats held hand-printed cardboard signs reading “No Spray” and “Health is Wealth.” They took turns at a staticky microphone, lambasting big timber and pesticide companies for poisoning them for profit, politicians for failing to pass substantive laws to protect their farms and families, and media for not noticing. Their mantra: “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not gonna take it anymore.” This, they announced, was the beginning of something big. An uphill battle, but one absolutely necessary to protect their land and their families. This was the launch of the Pitchfork Rebellion. If Lane County’s major timber companies — Weyerhaeuser, Roseburg, Rosboro, Swanson — are Goliath, then it’s not hard to imagine David Owen’s role. Two years ago, he left his natural food store in Veneta to move to Blachly with his wife Neila and her two school-aged children. They raised up a home and a small organic farm, complete with chickens and goats, and he became the minister of a country church. Wearing his trademark denim overalls, with a long white beard and small sharp blue eyes, he resembles a farmer Santa. A 2000 ODF study analyzed water samples from 26 “volunteered” forestry herbicide and fungicide application sites, none of them in Lane County. The study reported that, on the whole, water contamination was minimal. But hexazinone and 2,4-D — two of the most toxic forestry herbicides — were found at trace levels in several of the samples. “Chemical monitoring is a low priority for the Forest Practices Section,” the study concluded. “[N]o changes are recommended to the forest practice laws.” And that seems to be that. Gary Kutcher, director of the Sustainable Forestry Network, isn’t waiting for legislative reform. He wants to take the issue straight to the people of Oregon. He is proposing a ballot initiative that would require private timber companies to leave two-thirds of the trees on any given acre standing. Clearcutting and herbicide use would be banned. It may be a long shot — Kutcher’s last ballot initiative, in 1998, only got 20 percent of the vote after the timber industry outspent his campaign 100-to-1 — but he’s undaunted. “Laws are meant to be changed,” he said. Kutcher is also challenging Faye Stewart’s seat on the Lane County Commission http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/03/16/coverstory.html

7) The majestic old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest were born in fire and have thrived for millennia and survived countless droughts, windstorms and insect outbreaks. The majestic stands of Douglas fir in the Columbia River Gorge, the Western hemlocks on Oregon’s volcanic peaks and the dry Ponderosa pine forests in the eastern part of the state flourished and recovered after natural disturbance without logging. I have spent time in all these places and still return to the beautiful mountains of Appalachia to visit my family. Burned forests are great for backcountry skiing in the winter, as well as for spotting mountain bluebirds and black-backed woodpeckers. Burned forests are also great places to hunt morel mushrooms and witness the amazing rebirth of wildflowers, sprouting seedlings and the host of plants that literally rise from the ashes. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., in his recent commentary about the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act (March 9, “Forest bill permits recovery options”) claimed: “[O]ur bill only requires the U.S. Forest Service to conduct a rapid evaluation of an area impacted by a catastrophic event.” He suggests that the growing number of people who are criticizing the bill simply misunderstand it. Goodlatte’s claims about the need for new authorities are dead wrong. After every fire or disturbance, the Forest Service already conducts a rapid assessment known as a burned area emergency recovery report that looks at the impact of the fire on the landscape. Using existing authorities, the Forest Service is able to quickly respond, and no conservation groups have stood in the way of recovery projects designed to achieve genuine restoration of our forests. The “recovery” projects that Goodlatte and his backers really want involve removing commercially valuable timber from our forests. They want to do so without the pesky environmental regulations that are there to protect the last remaining old-growth and roadless areas in your federal forests and to ensure these forests are there for this and future generations. http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/commentary/wb/wb/xp-57490


8) The Big Pines Highway work started last year and resumed again this winter. Forest Service officials hope to thin about 200 acres this winter and spring, on top of about 400 thinned last year. An even larger thinning project is proposed around the mountain community of Wrightwood, and neighboring San Bernardino National Forest plans to burn off this month or next several hundred acres of old brush in a canyon southeast of the community. The Big Pines Highway thinning was approved in 2004, a year after 91,000 acres in the San Bernardino Mountains burned – destroying nearly 1,000 homes and killing six people – in a conflagration fueled by thousands of dead trees killed by crowding, drought and insects. Trees killed by low rainfall and bark beetles have shown up around Wrightwood, but only in clusters rather than the tracts of dead trees that spread across the San Bernardino Mountains. The Big Pines Highway work is removing smaller trees and brush, trimming branches up from the ground, and mulching or burning the trimmings. The larger proposed project is to thin about 2,500 acres of forest surrounding Wrightwood, most on the mountain ridge south of town. That project still hasn’t received final approval. http://www.dailynews.com/antelopevalley/ci_3619028

9) FORT BRAGG — The Big River tract in California’s Mendocino County is a sprawling expanse of towering redwoods and Douglas firs, woods that for years have provided an ideal habitat for rare spotted owls and endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout. Now, it’s all up for sale. Big River, neighboring Salmon Creek and dozens of other forests across the nation have come on the market in recent years as timber companies shed holdings that are worth more as real estate than as a source of lumber. The trend has spurred a land rush that has conservation groups scrambling to raise money to buy environmentally sensitive tracts in competition with private investors seeking to snap up the land for development. A recent U.S. Forest Service study predicted that more than 44 million acres of private forest land, an area twice the size of Maine, will be sold over the next 25 years. The consulting firm U.S. Forest Capital estimates that half of all U.S. timberland has changed hands in the past decade. Lawrence A. Selzer, whose 20-year-old group is hoping to raise $48 million in the coming months to buy the 16,000 acres that make up Big River and Salmon Creek. “It has the potential to permanently and profoundly change the landscape of America.” The United States still has large swaths of forest — much of it private — that provide critical habitat for large animals such as bears and cougars as well as recreational opportunities for the public. But if the selling spree continues, environmentalists fear, these areas could be cut up into much smaller parcels in which condominiums and trailer parks would replace soaring trees. Stephen Levesque, the Campbell Timberland Management area manager who oversees the company’s forest holdings in Mendocino, said new state regulations have made lumber operations increasingly expensive and developers have come by with tempting offers. The company recently sold off 160 acres that are likely to become lots for residential homes. “There’s tremendous pressure for development,” Levesque said. In several instances, they have been able to close a deal. In 2004, the Conservation Fund bought 24,000 acres of working forest along the Garcia River in Mendocino County from Hawthorne Timber Co. for $18 million. It plans to begin logging some trees there this summer to make enough money to pay property taxes and restore key ecological areas. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/20/AR2006032001595.html


10) PABLO — Area landowners are asking the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to allow some logging in a “buffer zone” next to the Mission Mountains Wilderness to reduce the risk of a catastrophic fire. An environmental assessment recommends allowing the logging. The tribe is taking public comment on the assessment through March 30 and the matter could come up for a vote by the council as early as mid-April. If adopted, the logging plan would overturn an earlier ban on commercial timber cutting put in place by a “straw vote” referendum in 1996. “This would be a policy change for tribal government,” said Stephen McDonald, CSKT program manager of forest industry planning. “We could take commercial-size timber from the buffer zone as part of a fire management project.” The buffer zone was established in 1987 to provide a protective cushion between the Mission Mountains Tribal Wilderness and the Mission Valley floor. It includes 22,000 acres, with 60 percent owned by the tribe. Most of the rest is owned privately, with some small parcels of state-owned, school-trust land. The environmental assessment states that, “Timber stands have become so dense and fuels have accumulated to such high levels that prescribed fire use and biomass removal options are presently very limited. Use of prescribed fires would only result in severe fires that would be risky to control. Allowing naturally occurring wildland fires to burn for resource benefit is not a safe option due to the proximity of homes and communities and the associated health impacts from smoke.” http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/03/20/news/state/45-tribe-logging.txt


11) It’s hard to imagine that the grizzly bear — that bundle of teeth, claws and brawn — could be affected by a bug small enough to balance on the tip of a matchstick. But the mountain pine beetle is voraciously munching through trees in the Yellowstone ecosystem that provide one of the bears’ favorite foods. Last year, scientists estimated that the beetles had killed nearly 720,000 whitebark pine trees, which produce a tiny, fat-filled nut that bears scarf down in the late summer and fall. The outbreak, which has hit about 16 percent of whitebark pine stands in the Yellowstone ecosystem, is one of the largest on record but comparable in size to similar infestations in the 1930s and 1980s, according to Ken Gibson, a U.S. Forest Service entomologist in Missoula. While present outbreaks are devastating and unusual,” he said, “they are likely not unprecedented.” Some worry that losing whitebark pine could trigger a ripple effect in some high-elevation ecosystems, not only removing a crucial food source for bears, squirrels and birds but also affecting what grows on those high slopes and how the water moves from the mountains to the valleys. “If you remove the keystone that keeps the whole thing going, you’re looking at a collapse in the ecosystem,” said Jesse Logan, a U.S. Forest Service entomologist who has been studying interactions between the mountain pine beetle and whitebark pine. Slow-growing and hearty, the whitebark pine tree has already been suffering ill effects from a foreign and sometimes-lethal fungus called blister rust. The fungus tends to be more successful killing young trees and the branches of older trees. Bark beetles tend to focus on more mature trees. For grizzly bears, a decline in whitebark pine trees could mean more problems with people. “In terms of fall foods, whitebark pine is right up there at the top when it produces seeds,” said Chuck Schwartz, leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. Studies have shown that female bears that eat a lot of the seeds produce more cubs per litter and reproduce more often. And when seed production is good, grizzlies tend to stay in higher elevations to eat them and avoid seeking food in lower elevations, where they’re more likely to run into people and be killed. http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?siteSect=106&sid=6564786&cKey=1142953924000


12) The 17-year-old was one of dozens of people visiting the forest Saturday for the annual Maple Syrup Days, which conclude today. Visitors learn how the sweet stuff is made and can purchase fresh syrup. For Mircevski, it was a new experience. He had never sampled maple syrup before. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, Brockman said. “I didn’t think it took that much,” said visitor Gordon McLeod. “I’m going to buy some.” From February to March, the forest produces on average between 120 and 140 gallons of syrup, according to volunteer coordinator Barbara Baker. This year things are running a bit short, she said, with about 90 gallons produced so far. Sales from the syrup fund the forest’s volunteer programs. Baker said the two-day event attracts as many as 300 people. George Gleason was one of them. He brought his wife and two children to the forest. Gleason said his kids liked fresh syrup. “Have you tried it?” he said. “It’s just good stuff.” http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060319/NEWS01/603190310/1002


13) Six months after Hurricane Rita ravaged the East Texas piney woods, sawmills are stacked full with salvaged logs. But many communities are still littered with unsalvageable, splintered trees and waste wood from logging, such as branches and treetops. That’s where Michael Bishop, owner of an alternative power company in Nacogdoches, comes in. He plans to collect the ruined wood and transform it into electricity for Europe. Bishop, president of American Biorefining, and Joe Murray, chief executive officer of Green Energy Resources, a New York City-based renewable energy firm, expect to collect millions of tons of shattered trees, branches and other forest debris from an area stretching from northern Harris County to Nacogdoches to the Sabine River. The pair plan to shred the waste wood into biomass fuel — chips the size of cellular phones — and ship it to European countries where such fuel is burned to generate power. Bishop expects to lease a dock at the Houston Ship Channel by April 1 and begin shipments soon afterward. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/3734464.html

New Hampshire:

14) NOTTINGHAM, N.H. Residents of Nottingham (New Hampshire) voted this weekend to borrow 850 thousand dollars to help save a forest that includes trees that may be 300 years old. The overwhelming vote Saturday will save the two thousand-acre Mulligan Forest The money will help buy the development rights. The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests will seek the balance of the one-point-25-(M)-dollar conservation easement through private donations and grants. http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=4655902&nav=4QcS

North Carolina:

15) “It is just the environment. It’ll last — not to worry about it,” he said of the thoughts of other teens. But, a daylong Envirothon at Weyerhaeuser’s Cool Springs Environmental Education Center and a year of environmental science classes have given him and other students new insights.“Taking environmental classes, you want to help save it, keep it,” he said Tuesday during the Coastal Envirothon. About 300 students from 13 counties attended the event, held on the banks of Swift Creek. Chris Smith, a West Craven junior, agreed that environmental education has been helpful. “It shows what you need to do to keep future generation from having problems with it,” he said. “You don’t want your kids to have nothing.” He has been surprised at what he has learned about soil, air and water quality. “I didn’t really know too much about mercury levels in water or anything like that,” he said. “It has kind of opened my eyes to see what is out there.” Students attending the Craven Soil and Water Conservation District event spent the morning gathering information on five topics — soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife and current environmental issues. A testing competition was held in the afternoon, with winners from schools and clubs such as 4H and Future Farmers of America advancing to state competition in Burlington later this spring. http://www.kinston.com/SiteProcessor.cfm?Template=/GlobalTemplates/Details.cfm&StoryID=35013&Section=Local


16) And the St. Joe Co., a onetime timber and paper outfit, is pushing to build on tens of thousands of its acres on Florida’s Emerald Coast. Advocacy groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council are fighting to preserve the land, whose long-leaf pine forests, cypress swamps and wetlands sustain red cockaded woodpeckers and dozens of other endangered and threatened species. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/20/AR2006032001595.html


17) The forest industry provides some of the most dangerous and lowest-paying labor in the country, and thousands of Latino immigrants here on H-2B temporary worker visas are hired by contracting companies to fill them. Sometimes laboring below the minimum wage, the workers handle heavy loads and equipment, dig in rocky ground for long hours, and then sleep on cheap motel floors or even tarps in the woods on bitter-cold nights. Those companies are paid by large timber and paper companies and the US Forest Service, inspectors for which are sometimes overseeing the work. The pineros, or pine workers, are tied to their specific employer through the H-2B program, so they cannot quit their jobs without losing their temporary legal status. Recently, a spate of lawsuits, a complaint filed under the labor division of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), US Senate testimony and an extensive investigation by the Sacramento Bee have revealed the shocking working conditions, debt bondage and gross underpayment endured by pineros. Workers represented in the lawsuits describe being paid as little as $2 or $3 an hour for grueling and dangerous work after fees for chainsaws, sleeping bags, transportation and other necessities are deducted from their paychecks. International Paper spokeswoman Amy Sawyer said her company relies on independent contractors, which bring their own employees with them. She said the company demands that contractors comply with the Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act, but declined to comment further since litigation is pending. A call to Plum Creek, one of the largest lumber companies, was not returned.Larry Stein, the Atlanta lawyer representing the defendants in the SPLC suits, told TNS his clients are complying with all federal laws and accused the workers of lying about being underpaid.”We have people claiming they were planting trees until 7 p.m. when it gets dark at 5,” he said. “They’re claiming they work a lot more hours than they do. We think they’re not credible.” He also argued that companies should not be responsible for paying workers for time spent in transit, as advocates are demanding. http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/2975

18) The sales have attracted limited national attention because they are mostly private transactions and involve local planning decisions, but the stakes are enormous. In the Pacific Northwest, New England, Southeast and parts of the upper Midwest, traditional timber companies or newly emerging timber investment management organizations, known as TIMOs, own vast stretches of forest that rival the national forest system. Today, a third of the U.S. land mass is forest — the same proportion as in 1907 but just 71 percent of what existed before settlement by Europeans — and 57 percent of it is privately owned. But competition from cheap imported lumber, soaring land prices and pressure from Wall Street are now prompting timber companies to sell. International Paper Co. spokeswoman Amy J. Sawyer said her company is “contemplating selling some or all” of its 6.8 million acres of forest land scattered across the country and focusing on producing more profitable products such as uncoated papers and packages. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/20/AR2006032001595.html

19) More than a dozen public interest and environmental organizations today protested the presence of a top forest products industry executive on a National Academies of Science (NAS) committee charged with evaluating the impact of forest management practices on the nation’s water quality. The NAS appointed George Weyerhaeuser, Jr., a vice president of Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the largest forest products companies in the world, to the Hydrologic Impacts of Forest Management Committee despite NAS rules prohibiting the appointment of scientists with conflicts of interest to its advisory panels. The public interest groups also protested the lack of balance on the committee, another requirement of the law. While at least two forest products industry consultants were appointed, no scientists from environmental groups or with a conservation-oriented background are on the panel. “The bias of the committee as it stands is slanted toward private industry interests, whose function is not necessarily in the best interest of sustainable forest management practices, including improved water quality,” said Amy Mall, senior forest policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council. In recent years, there have been both legislative and administrative actions dramatically changing the policies that govern forest health and management. Congress is currently considering legislation that seeks to waive the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as various water quality statutes, for logging projects. The Forest Service is finalizing regulations to exclude forest management plans from review under NEPA. Our national forests supply clean drinking water to tens of millions of Americans and provide some of the most important aquatic habitat in the country, so it is crucial that any NAS panel evaluating current practices in light of these proposed changes be totally free of conflicts of interest and be properly balanced if the public is to have any faith in the final report, the groups say. http://cspinet.org/new/200603212.html


20) Springtime is almost upon us, and you know what that means–flowers are budding, birds are singing, and also…SPRING CLEANING. That’s right–Spring Cleaning, the time to break out your brooms and dusters, and clean up all that dirt and dust that’s been accumulating. We at ForestEthics believe that Spring Cleaning does not stop at the confines of your home. Some companies need a good spring cleaning to make sure they’re not engaged in dirty activities like logging Endangered Forests and instead are cleaning themselves up by using more recycled paper and adopting more sustainable logging practices. This Spring, Victoria’s Secret definitely needs a good scrubbing, but we’re going to need your help to do it! All winter, Victoria’s Secret has been mailing out those pesky catalogs, printed on paper sourced from places like the Great Boreal Forest of Canada, one of the most important forests in the world for providing us with clean water and air and protecting us against global warming. Over a million of Victoria’s Secret’s’ dirty catalogs go out every single day without almost no recycled content. On April 11th, join ForestEthics and help us do a thorough Spring Cleaning on Victoria’s Secret. Tell them that their dirty practice of destroying the world’s Endangered Forests for their catalogs needs to be cleaned up and pronto! www.victoriasdirtysecret.net/actioncenter


21) A GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER is living happily in a suburban garden in Howth. The great spotted is a glamorous bird, about the size of a large thrush, black and white all over apart from a red underbelly. Males have a red spot on the back of the neck. Woodpeckers are found throughout Europe but are absent for Ireland and the Isle of Man. Stragglers, of several species, visit our shores. Great spotted ones turn up about every second year. The visitors are usually on their own, but two or three are occasionally recorded together. This raises the intriguing possibility that a pair might stay on and breed. The great spotted bred here in the past; its bones were found by archaeologists at two caves in County Clare. Ireland was once covered in trees and conditions would have been ideal for woodpeckers. Then the forests were cut down; there was nowhere for the birds to live and they became extinct. In 1900, only 1% of the land of Ireland was forested and prospects for woodland species were dim. Thanks to State forestry programmes, tree cover has now reached 9%. So what are the chances that woodpeckers will return? The American conifers of commercial plantations don’t offer woodpeckers great nesting opportunities, but, if there are a few mature broadleaved trees or some dead elms in the vicinity of a plantation, the prospects for re-colonisation are not so bad. Of course, that is how things look to us humans. Woodpeckers may see things differently. Insects and the seeds of trees are the woodpecker’s favourite foods. Drilling holes actually helps insects; the tough bark is broken, enabling little creatures to get at the sap and the softer tissues underneath. The sharp forceps-like bill of the woodpecker extracts insects from crevices and holes. Decaying bark is particularly productive. It can be knocked off the tree to expose creatures living in the rotting wood. http://news.inq7.net/regions/index.php?index=1&story_id=69935


22) On World Forestry Day, Switzerland can look back at some impressive achievements, but the Swiss timber industry is not looking as healthy as the forests. Falling timber prices and increasing competition pose a challenge to the domestic forestry industry, which has to be propped up with subsidies. In the 20th century the amount of forest cover in Switzerland almost doubled. Today if all the trees were felled they would yield 420 million cubic metres of wood, a European record.”Switzerland is a model country with its forest regulation, which has obliged us for the past 100 years to keep the forest area stable,” Thomas Kolly, head of international affairs at the Federal Environment Office, told swissinfo. About a quarter of the country’s forests is in private hands. The environment office says this complicates efforts to manage the forests efficiently but that private owners often pool their resources to ensure sustainable management. The industry is worth SFr7 billion ($5.4 billion), providing employment to thousands. About 7,000 people work in forests, while a further 66,000 are employed to process the felled wood. But while the forests themselves may be blooming, prospects for the timber industry are grim. Since the 1990s, the sector has been in freefall because of falling wood prices and tougher overseas competition, especially from Austria. The drop in price was felt across Europe but Switzerland suffered most, thanks to the rising price of transportation and production costs. The authorities also blame the fragmented ownership of the forests, where each private owner has an average of 1.3 hectares. http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?siteSect=106&sid=6564786&cKey=1142953924000


23) Environmentalists warn that problems will continue if the current rate of resource depletion is not checked. One would expect that the hardships the country is now enduring due to environmental pollution would serve a great deal in checking abuse of natural resources. However, incidents of encroachment of forests, invasion of wetlands and the destruction of wildlife are still practiced. Hardly a week or two pass without one hearing reports in the media of people illegally killing wild animals, building in wetlands or cutting down trees in protected areas. A classic example is the recent invasion of a protected wetland in Entebbe by a private company, Seven Kings with the purpose of building a housing estate. The company claims to have ‘legally’ acquired the land after a ‘thorough’ survey to establish the validity of the land title. So it went on to cut down and burn palm trees together with other natural vegetation found in the area covering over 12 hectares and portioned the land into a number of land plots. In addition to that, it also dug drainage channels for the purpose of carrying out the project and thus tampered with the natural flow of water that existed before in the area. http://allafrica.com/stories/200603200635.html


24) Arusha – Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete on Monday banned tree-felling and the harvesting of timber in reserved forest areas in a move aimed at halting rapid environmental degradation, including melting of ice on Mount Kilimanjaro. “Wanton destruction of trees in mountains has completely ruined our environment. It is now necessary to ban the destruction of forests to save the environment,” Kikwete told a rally in the country’s northern town of Arusha. Mount Kilimanjaro’s legendary crown of snow and glaciers are melting and likely to disappear completely by 2020, triggering major disruptions to ecosystems on the dry African plains that spread out at its feet below, scientists warned last year. The forests on Kilimanjaro’s lower slopes absorb moisture from the cloud hovering near the peak, and in turn nourish flora and fauna below. The loss of snows on the 5 892m peak, which have existed for about 11 700 years, could have disastrous effects on the Tanzanian economy, US researchers warned in a 2001 Science article warning about the melting. “We have to do everything in our power to save our environment… We cannot watch the destruction carried out by human beings,” he stressed, noting that the Kilimanjaro region was notorious for felling of trees. Kikwete also blamed environmental destruction for being a partial cause of drought in Tanzania and other East African nations where millions of people were now at risk of famine and in need of relief food. – Sapa-AFP http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=87&art_id=qw1142887692657B235


25) The first Principle of the FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Certification requires compliance with all applicable laws of the country in which the concession is located. At present, the applicant only has to demonstrate compliance with this Principle for those areas of the concession for which an application for certification is under consideration. In the case of forests on titled Amerindian lands, the Barama Company is logging through subsidiaries managed by family relations of recent top-level Barama Company staff. It is an open secret that DTL, the second largest Asian multinational company in Guyana, is also logging in large leases outside its concession, also through direct and indirect contracts. In addition other Guyanese TSA holders have sold or otherwise transferred a controlling interest in their concessions to persons and companies of questionable repute, according to the 2006 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) of the US State Department, as reported in the Stabroek News of March 2, 2006. The GFC’s statistics on forestry allocation, published in 2005, show that 28 concessionaires (with Timber Sales Agreements and Wood Cutting Leases) have direct control of 71 percent of the area of State Production Forests. The trading of forest harvesting licences by concessionaires seems to be illegal, or at least contrary to the spirit of the Forests Act of 1953, which is the current basic law covering forest harvesting licences. Neither the Government nor the SGS Qualifor Public Summary has documented returns to the people, environment or economy of Guyana from the “bigger is better” allocation trend in State Production Forests. The practice reeks of more of the “race to the bottom” trend that distinguishes Guyana – 2nd poorest country in the hemisphere; 2nd highest rate of HIV infection in the hemisphere; 2nd largest exporter of logs in Latin America; and the projection for 2006 being 1st largest exporter of logs in Latin America, according to the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO)! What then is there for Guyana and Guyanese to celebrate in the certification award granted to the Samling/Sunkyong company? http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_letters?id=48383147


26) CURITIBA – Half of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest is under pressure from an array of human activities, according to figures released today in unison with a report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Imazon. Most importantly, the report offers a set of original maps that will prove invaluable in helping conservation and development planners understand the true extent of human activities in the region. “These incomparable maps paint a stark and compelling picture,” said Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil and current WRI board member. “The area that appears to be free of human pressure is large enough for the federal government to meet its goal to expand and consolidate the protected areas system by 2010. However, the government must act quickly because the opportunities are diminishing rapidly.” The report is the first comprehensive compilation of indicators of human activities in the region, and it breaks down the various human pressures into two main categories: 22 percent of the areas are under pressure from human settlement, a 3 percent increase from WRI and Imazon’s 2002 assessment. In these areas, human presence is fully established, settlements are permanent, and land use tends to be more intensive. Deforested areas, mainly for the purpose of cattle ranching, cover about 11 percent of the Brazilian Amazon. Other human pressures of this type result from nearby urban populations and agrarian reform settlements. 34 percent of the areas are subject to “incipient” human pressure, or emerging pressure that is not planned. This number is a 7 percent increase from the 2002 assessment. These areas are generally clustered and adjacent to areas of human settlements, indicating frontier expansion. The major contributor is fire zones — defined as the 10 kilometer radius around forest fires – – and accounts for nearly 30 percent of the incipient human pressure on the Brazilian Amazon. Between 2000 and 2002, the number of annual forest fires nearly tripled from 16,000 to 42,000, showing a marked acceleration of incipient human activity. The report and accompanying maps also analyze other factors such as policy decisions, logging, mineral exploration, and roads. The maps show individual indicators such as deforestation, population, fires, logging and others; one map shows all the indicators together. http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=62662

27) The single most ambitious partnership to date is the Amazon Region Protected Areas initiative, led by the Brazilian government in collaboration with the World Bank, Global Environment Facility, the German Development Bank (KfW), WWF and together with local communities. Through this initiative, some 50 million hectares of the Amazon’s diverse habitats and species will be protected in a system of well-manage and well-financed parks and reserves — surpassing the size of the entire US National Park system. Protecting the Amazon from high rates of deforestation and land clearing is no easy task, but the multi-stakeholder initiative has been living up to expectations and delivering extraordinary conservation results. Nearly 16 million hectares of protected areas have already been created. And, just last month Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva signed a decree creating new protected areas in the Amazonian State of Para. Comprising an area of 6.4 million hectares — twice the size of Belgium — the designation includes two new national parks and the major expansion of a third, four national forests, and an environmental protection zone where development is strictly regulated. This mosaic of new protected areas opens genuine prospects for halting deforestation, conserving biodiversity, and promoting sustainable local and regional development. http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/index.cfm?uNewsID=63840

28) After leaving his office in London’s Mayfair, it is a 12-hour journey by air and road before he can view his 400,000-acre plot in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The estate is the size of Greater London. Eliasch, 43, a banker, film producer and chief executive of the Head sports equipment company, has bought it from a logging company to protect the plants and wildlife. He sees himself as a pioneer on the new frontier of climate change. Eliasch, who is also deputy treasurer of the Conservative party, is part of a growing trend towards “green colonialism”. Rich people with chequebooks instead of pith helmets, charities and trusts are buying vast swathes of the Third World or “renting” the timber rights to stop trees being cut down. It is a breakaway from the methods that have characterised the international conservation movement for the past 50 years. The traditional approach relied on agencies and charities cajoling governments in developing countries to set aside state-owned land to create national parks and nature reserves. Now individuals and organisations are taking direct responsibility for the land. “The Amazon is the lung of the world,” he said last week. “It provides 20% of the world’s oxygen and 30% of the fresh water.” He is now lobbying insurance companies to follow his lead with billions of dollars of their own money. “In theory you can perhaps buy the Amazon for $50 billion [£28.5 billion],” he said. “It would be a very quick payback because a hurricane like Katrina will cost them a similar amount in payouts. “You can plot a direct correlation between cutting down trees which absorb carbon dioxide and the global warming and extreme conditions which lead to hurricanes like Katrina.” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2092492,00.html


29) In a message on the occasion of the World Forestry Day, General Rodrigues said, ‘‘On this day, we are reminded of our duty to maintain the ecological balance and environmental stability and the urgent need to save our forest resources.’’ He emphasised the involvement of every individual, village panchayats, municipal bodies, educational institutions and NGOs as active partners in this environment-friendly programme. The Administrator said the UT Administration had already launched a ‘Green Action Plan’ in the Union Territory for planting more trees and improving the quality of the existing plantations under a comprehensive programme. He said special measures had been taken to control the pest attack on trees and replenishing and conserving the biodiversity of places like Leisure Valley, our reserve forests, Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary and Sukhna Lake. General Rodrigues said in the recent past, the green cover of Chandigarh had increased tremendously and the Administration was committed to increase it further by undertaking short and longer-term measures. He said that the plantation target for the year 2006-07 was planting 1,20,000 saplings. He said that the administration intended to make the city greener. http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=174517


30) HA NOI — Prime Minister Phan Van Khai has ordered the punishment of people’s committee chairmen from provincial to communal who allow the felling or burning of protected forests. The instruction, issued earlier this month, is part of an intensified effort to stop the illegal exploitation of forests. Serious illegal logging is happening in numerous forests and was particularly prevalent in Tay Nguyen (The Central Highlands) and southeast Viet Nam late last year, the directive says. The illegal loggers also poach wild and precious rare animals. The prime minister says it is happening because authorities are neither serious or responsible about implementing the Government’s guidelines on forest management. He now wants the authorities to mobilise local forces to protect forest and suppress the illegal loggers. Police, soldiers and border guards are instructed to crack down immediately against the destruction. The prime minister also requires nomadic residents who have destroyed forest to move to allocated land and be given State help to stabilise their lives. But if the destruction and burning continues, chairmen of district and commune people’s committees must be punished, the directive says. If it becomes more serious, the responsibility will be with provincial people’s committee chairmen. The directive says illegal timber traders and poachers must forfeit their business licences and advertisements offering wild and rare animals for sale are prohibited. Residents granted land for housing and production must use it for those purposes and not transfer or sell it. http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=04SOC200306


31) BAGUIO CITY-An environmental advocacy group thinks preaching the values of tree fairies to schoolchildren will get Mother Earth more mileage than protest marches. The Cordillera Green Network Inc., a Baguio-based reforestation crusader, launched on March 12 a children’s book called “Moonbeams,” one of 129 stories submitted to CGN’s first ecological writing competition in 2005. CGN plans to publish most of these children’s stories as part of a new advocacy strategy.”We want to teach environmentalism, but we realize that if we are fighting for our children, we must show the children what the fight is all about. So we are producing children’s books to promote the management of the environment instead,” said filmmaker Jo Banasan, CGN executive director. “Moonbeams,” written by Baguio-based freelance writer Nonette Bennett, took the CGN contest’s top prize, and was selected as its first book because it was a story “with no borders,” Banasan said. Illustrated by Leonardo Aguinaldo, 2004 Asean Art Award grand prize winner, “Moonbeams,” tells the story of siblings Ambic and Ambit who live on a mountain. The children frequent a waterfall to visit tree fairies, formed from moonbeams cast at the highland’s calm surface every night. But the adults of their community no longer believe in fairies, and they ignore the children’s plea when they allow farmer Pedped to clear a section of the mountain forest for his vegetable garden. The fairies disappear, and in their absence, the gardens dry up and the mountain loses its resources. Banasan said like many other stories submitted to CGN, “Moonbeams” presents children with both the ideal and the practical points of view. Bennett’s story allows children to understand why the farmer needed to clear the forests, while exploring the consequences of his actions. http://news.inq7.net/regions/index.php?index=1&story_id=69935


32) Samarinda, E Kalimantan — East Kalimantan which has 17 million hectares of forests must see the fact of losing its 500,000 hectare per year due to illegal logging activities, uncontrolled land clearance and forest fires, an local official said. “There are at least six million hectares of critical lands in the province,” Nusyirwan Ismail, an assistant to the secretary of the provincial administrtaion said here Sunday. He also said, a coordinating meeting on the province`s forestry development planning had recently paid its attention on the problem. According to him, the treatment of the critical lands is not equal with the damages caused by the activities. http://www.antara.co.id/en/seenws/?id=10306

33) The government has decided to allow more logging companies to resume their destruction of Aceh’s forests, ostensibly to facilitate the construction of new houses for tsunami survivors, but environmentalists fear much of the timber will be smuggled overseas. Forestry Minister M.S. Kaban on Monday (20/3/06) announced that five forest concession holders (HPHs) have been given licenses to resume their activities in Aceh. He said the move is necessary to meet demand for about 200,000 cubic meters of wood to build houses for survivors of the December 26, 2004, tsunami that killed over 120,000 people and left about 500,000 homeless. “We only licensed five out of eight HPHs that had applied for permits to resume operations in Aceh,” Kaban was quoted as saying by state news agency Antara. He was speaking after signing an agreement on the timber supply with the Aceh and Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR). http://www.laksamana.net/read.php?gid=239


34) GUNNS Ltd would build a pulp mill without using old-growth forests, company executive chairman John Gay said yesterday. Mr Gay was commenting from Brazil about the state election result. “Tasmania has a lot of plantations and it is not being built based on old-growth forests as the Greens have claimed,” he said. Mr Gay said it was fantastic for Tasmania that a majority government had been elected. During the campaign he had threatened to take the pulp-mill project to Malaysia or China if the Tasmanian Greens won the balance of power. He said Greens claims of slander against them during the campaign were “only what the Greens have done against the forest industry over the past decades”.The company would now concentrate on completing its integrated impact statement over the next two weeks.”It is important Gunns moves quickly now,” Mr Gay said. Mr Chipman said voters had also endorsed the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement.”Timber-dependent communities throughout Tasmania take great heart from the overwhelming endorsement of the TCFA,” he said.Tamar Residents Action Committee co-ordinator Les Rochester flopped with just over 1000 votes in the Bass electorate. http://www.themercury.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,18528308%255E3462,00.html


35) The Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) is published as national delegates gather in Brazil under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. It sets out 15 indicators of progress towards the 2010 target, ranging from trends in the extent of wildlife habitats to the build-up of nutrients such as nitrogen which can harm aquatic life. Only one of the 15 – the area of the world’s surface officially protected for wildlife – is moving in the right direction for biodiversity. The other indicators point to an accelerating decline, which has seen the rates of species extinctions surge to their highest levels since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Forests continue to be lost at a rate of six million hectares a year – that’s about four times the size of the English county of Yorkshire – and similar trends are noted for marine and coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs, kelp beds and mangrove forests. The abundance and variety of species continue to fall across the planet, according to an index measuring the percentage of species with good prospects for survival; bird variety is on the decline in every ecosystem type from the oceans to the forests. Less complete indications are available for other groups of animals and plants, but it is feared they would show a similar picture. Unless they can convince their colleagues responsible for agriculture, energy, world trade and industry that losing biodiversity threatens people and economies across the planet, the decisions and pledges they make will do little to reverse the trends identified in this report. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4826262.stm

36) With the natural forest loss rate at 13 million hectares a year — about 25 hectares a minute — the race is on to protect what’s left of the world’s forests. If the world’s governments want to significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, as they have signed up to do under the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity, they are going to have to stem the tide of deforestation, and increase protection efforts and sustainable uses, such as certified forest management. only about 12 per cent, or 480 million hectares, of the planet’s forests have been formally protected. WWF, the global conservation organization, has been part of the drive to increase protection, helping to safeguard large tracts of forests and pristine landscapes in the Amazon, Borneo, the Congo Basin, Russia, Canada, China and beyond. WWF aims to see another 75 million hectares of the world’s most outstanding forests brought under protection by 2010. With such a timeline just several years away, the only way to accomplish these ambitious — but achievable — goals is through creative partnerships. http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/index.cfm?uNewsID=63840

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