078OEC’s This Week in Trees

This week we have 35 news items from: Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Vermont, USA, Canada, Kenya, Brazil, China, India, Sumatra, and Australia.


1) The Tongass National Forest has received federal approval to use a previous version of agency rules to correct its forest plan, Tongass supervisor Forrest Cole announced Tuesday in Juneau. Cole said he signed a notice on Monday to amend the Tongass Land Management Plan. To avoid disruption to the Tongass timber program and the Panhandle’s mills, Cole said he wants to finalize the revision by July 2007. The revision was triggered by a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against the Forest Service in a continuing Tongass timber lawsuit. In August, the appellate court ruled that the forest plan exaggerated the market demand for Tongass timber, among other problems. It is “fairly significant” that the Tongass will use the 1982 planning rule to amend the plan, rather than a new planning rule for national forests published in 2005, Cole added. Getting approval for using the old rule required a lot of time and consultation in Washington, D.C. with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Alaska’s congressional delegation, Cole said. The approval was given two weeks ago, he said. Meanwhile, the 2005 rule is being challenged by environmentalists around the nation. Among their criticisms: It doesn’t mandate an environmental impact statement. Cole told his audience Tuesday said the Tongass will use the 1982 rule “because the court’s decision calls for an EIS, and because many interested parties have asked that the plan be amended with the same rules that developed it.” http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/032206/sta_20060322017.shtml

2) Environmental groups went to court Thursday to block proposed logging on the Cleveland Peninsula, a popular area for hunting, subsistence and recreation near Ketchikan. The U.S. Forest Service wants loggers to cut about 16.4 million board feet of old-growth timber from 601 roadless acres of the Tongass National Forest. The project, located in a place called Emerald Bay, involves 6.2 miles of road construction. Seven environmental groups, including the Juneau-based Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, sued the federal agency in U.S. District Court. Plaintiffs lawyers say the timber sale is based on miscalculations that a federal appeals court has ordered the Forest Service to correct. “It doesn’t make sense to put out big, money-losing timber sales that harm local use when the Forest Service is justifying them using an illegal forest plan,” said Dave Sherman, a SEACC organizer. “Lots of things we do are not quote unquote profitable but they are mandates that Congress gives us,” Neil said. http://www.adn.com/money/story/7561545p-7472831c.html

British Columbia:

3) We did it! Today, 500 people came out to our Ring-Around-the Legislature Rally for Ancient Forests and Jobs and fully encircled the Legislature by joining hands, calling on the BC government to protect our ancient forests and jobs on Vancouver Island. It was the biggest forest protection rally in almost 2 years in BC. The drumming band was great, the speakers were great, and the energy was great! THANK YOU to everyone who took part and who made it happen (those who put in the work calling thousands of supporters, postering all over the city and campus, making placards, distributing leaflets, etc.). Please continue to circulate our petitions, write letters, and watch for forthcoming calls to action We’ll soon become an unstoppable force to protect our ancient forests on Vancouver Island! Below is an article in today’s Times Colonist and a backgrounder on the WCWC’s new study on the current status of Vancouver Island’s ancient forests. http://www.wildernesscommittee.org/

4) No more compliance, we’ve got reliance. Professional Reliance is the brand name for timber industry self-regulation where corporado careerists will be charged with regulating industrial greed and guarding the public interest against the worlds most sophisticated forest kleptocracy and longest lasting subsidized corporate political pork laundering process. If Enron had it this good, it would be around for the millenium. Billion dollar stumpage ripoffs involving fake valuation and appraisal data won’t occur anymore and you can decide yourself whether that’s because Big Timber got ethics or because no one left is dumb enough to be looking for career ending evidence of crime, complicity or accounting mistakes. On March 27th, we begin to say good-bye to the old fashioned regulation and enforcement regime. It was underfunded, understaffed, out-of-date and very unpopular with the forest professionals who acted insulted that anyone would consider scrutinizing the work undertaken in the transaction for public timber. Next week, is the last opportunity to offer comments (now that’s public participation) on Cascadia’s Forest Stewardship Plan which once signed into law by the province gives the company 5 years of clear space to plunder without the MoF or any other government agencies nosing about. If you want to read the details and provide comments, here is the website for information: http://www.cascadiafp.com/fsp.html

5) Darcy area. Statmic territory – The N’Quatqua Logging Co. (chief Harry O’Donaghey) who is the soul share holder has went ahead and planned this with his forest consultant Bernice…? The N’Quatqua Land and resource team stumbled upon their work in progress and asked for them to follow the Stl’atlmx land and resource consultation process, which they refused to do. They had already signed a forest range argeement with out sufficient community consultation. If you know how the govn’t works, people were not informed and minimal people were there to ask Q’s and to get answers so it slipped through. There is a wildlife study done in the area thus far, a kind gentleman who care for and lives in the area has paid for the study. It will wipe out our winter range for the mule deer and put other endangered species at risk and quite possibly damage our water shed area. This report never reached the ministry of forest. we were told that we could appeal the process in victoria, but when the Land and Resource team asked and recieved a application form they told them that it was not worth it and we shouldn’t do it that the logging will go ahead anyway. N’Quatqua is a small quiet community and it has woken up most of the community to insufficient and un accountable leadership. our Land and resource team have done their best to approach this is a good way, but they are getting told to back down by the chief, which has caused the process to slow. Aside from the internal leadership dilema, we need your assistance in developing a process that will help us stop this logging ASAP. We have no previous experience in making this stand and your help in any way possible would be greatly appreciated. We think we need to get the media informed, but we need to be organized and ready for confrontation with our own chief and council, CRB logging, Ainsworth, and Bill Pietla Jr. Carol Thevarge [mailto:yiktsa7@yahoo.ca]

6) For the second time in just over a week, the Provincial Government has been forced by its violations to suspend preparatory logging above Horseshoe Bay. The Table of Commitments states that “no clearing of vegetation is permitted during the general bird breeding time period of March 15 to July 31, unless pre-approved by the Canadian Wildlife Service.” The work was stopped on March 16 thas the required surveys have not been done. Failure to secure approval of an Environmental Management Plan initially forced Government to suspend its logging operations two weeks ago. “This is the latest evidence of the cavalier manner in which the Provincial Government deals with B.C.’s environment. Our Government’s actions are anything but sustainable and they fly in the face of Premier Campbell’s promise to deliver the most sustainable Olympics ever. The Government ignores its own regulations as it is dead set on building a four lane highway right through the two most unique and most sensitive ecosystems in the Horseshoe Bay to Whistler corridor”, says Dennis Perry, President of the Coalition to Safe the Bluffs at Horseshoe Bay. The GVRD and local government, the Coalition and virtually all informed British Columbians WANT an alternative route. http://www.eagleridgebluffs.ca

7) At the Powell River Conservation Alliance meeting on March 19 many people were asking for a radical change in the forest practices in the upper Sunshine Coast. Cascadia Forest Products’ new forest stewardship plan (FSP) basically says out of sight, out of mind regarding logging. Any forest you cannot see from a lake or the ocean is slated for clear-cutting. The second-growth trees that have struggled back from the total deforestation in the 1900s will be gone in a few years. Also destined for extinction are any old-growth trees outside the tiny old-growth management areas. The government has opted out of protecting the forests. Instead, they have left the public and the forest professionals, who are hired by the logging companies, to manage the forests. The forest service is just a police officer, not a policy maker, and its staff has been cut to the bone. This is letting the fox guard the chicken coop instead of the farmer. http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1998&dept_id=365174&newsid=16356399&PAG=461&rfi=9


8) OLYMPIA — In a stark break from their usual animosity, environmentalists and the state Board of Natural Resources on Tuesday settled their long-standing feud over protecting spotted owls and salmon on 1.4 million acres of state-owned timberlands. “It’s remarkable,” said state Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland, who has been the target of conservationists’ ire for much of his five years in office. The broad-ranging agreement commits both sides — plus the timber industry — to a dispute-resolution process to work out future disagreements before marching to the courthouse. The accord stemmed from a lawsuit spearheaded by the Seattle-based Washington Environmental Council, which challenged plans by Sutherland and the natural resources board to increase the timber cut on state-owned lands in Western Washington. It obligates the state Department of Natural Resources to try innovative approaches to forestry, including more labor-intensive thinning of forests overgrown from a century of fire suppression. The pact also more strictly protects the older forests favored by spotted owls and requires the state agency to recalculate how much timber can be cut near streams that nurture salmon. “There’s a heck of a lot of work to be done under this agreement, and it’s really how things pan out over the next couple of years that determines whether we have a new day here,” said Becky Kelley of the environmental council. “But I can honestly tell you that everybody’s giving it a good shot.” Sutherland credited the environmentalists for coming to the negotiation table with a mind to compromise, even after winning the court case. “Reason can prevail,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson, a member of the natural resources board. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/263877_forest22.html


9) U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Greg Walden of Oregon unveiled a bill Tuesday to designate 77,500 acres of Mount Hood National Forest as wilderness, protecting it from most use except recreation. The proposal to increase the forest’s wilderness by 40 percent flows from three years of meetings and negotiations with area residents, industry and environmental groups. The bill also adds a “wild and scenic river” protection to 23 miles of rivers in the forest, a 19 percent increase. Other provisions would tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a 10-year plan to better manage areas that have disease, insect infestations, “heavily overstocked tree stands or moderate-to-high risk of unnatural catastrophic wildfire.” The plan could include harvesting some trees for timber. The USDA would have one year to make the plan in a public process, then one more to start carrying it out. Two land swaps are in the bill: The government would give Mt. Hood Meadows corporation 120 acres of prime Government Camp real estate, appraised at $3.8 million, in exchange for 770 acres in Cooper Spur on the mountain’s north side, appraised at $5.5 million. The USDA would offer other companies contracts to run the Inn at Cooper Spur and Cooper Spur Ski Area, putting the land in a protected Crystal Springs Watershed management unit. Separately, Cascade Locks would get 10 acres in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in exchange for 40 acres of city land along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1143001512158270.xml&coll=7

10) Drake, a native of Connecticut who has been attending college in the open plains of Iowa, said she was taken aback by the natural beauty of Oregon and how green it is here. “I think oaks are my favorite trees,” Drake said. She’s already answered the call to climb the outstretched, mossy branches of an oak. “I just like being here, getting away from the stress of school,” said Drake, a sophomore studying history in Grinnell College in Iowa. Grinnell students selected the Benton County park project because of their interest in natural resources and the environment. At Grinnell, these students have been involved in a campus effort to promote renewable energy on campus and in their community by building a wind turbine. Grinnell is a private liberal arts college where students study through free inquiry and by the open exchange of ideas. That translates to a lot of late nights studying until 2 a.m. and getting up at 8 a.m. said Jackie Groves, a freshman majoring in biology and art. Groves said she wouldn’t think of trading her spring break working in the woods for a spot on a sunny beach. Even the food tastes better in the great outdoors compared to what they’re serving in the cafeteria at school. At their camp on the south ridge, students prepare their own dinner on a camp stove. Thursday’s dinner was falafel, and for lunch they rested on the gravel path of Bird Loop Trail to snack on bagels, pitas and hummus, sharing handfuls of trail mix from a plastic bag. http://www.gazettetimes.com/articles/2006/03/24/news/top_story/fri01.txt


11) SACRAMENTO – A federal appeals court on Friday ordered a temporary halt to logging in two sections of the Eldorado National Forest east of Sacramento that were damaged by wildfires in 2004. A lower court in August denied a request by two environmental organizations to immediately end the logging, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Earth Island Institute and the Center for Biological Diversity are likely to eventually win their lawsuit. Allowing logging to continue could cause too much damage to the forests while the lawsuit proceeds, the San Francisco-based appeals court ruled. Many of the trees killed in the fires already have been cut by the contractor, Sierra Pacific Industries, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Matt Mathes said. The environmental groups claim in their lawsuit that the Forest Service used poor science to determine which trees died or are dying because of the fires and failed to compensate for the logging’s impact on the California spotted owl. The Fred fire burned 7,700 acres in El Dorado County north of Highway 50, in the northern part of the forest between Ice House Reservoir and Kyburz. The Power fire burned nearly 17,000 acres east of Pioneer, between Bear River Reservoir and Salt Springs Reservoir near Highway 88. http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/14181049.htm


12) Final approval is in for a U.S. Forest Service project that aims to reduce fire risk by logging more than 3,600 acres along the so-called “Frenchtown Face” from Frenchtown to Ninemile. The agency will also use low-intensity, prescribed burns on the logged acreage and another 6,500 acres to further reduce fire danger. “This is a long-term project that will represent subtle changes on the landscape, but it’s going to help us a whole lot in the long run,” said Brian Riggers, the biologist who’s leading the team responsible for the project. “The timber harvest will probably take place over three to five years, and there will be other work on the ground that takes even longer.” By the time it’s complete, the project should produce a forest with its larger trees intact and a dramatically reduced understory, Riggers said. The agency first introduced the project in late 2002, and Forest Service officials have worked closely with residents and forest users in the area. The “Frenchtown Face” is generally the area north of Interstate 90 from Frenchtown to Ninemile, as well as the lower part of the Ninemile drainage up to McCormick Creek. Riggers is particularly excited about the weed management, which will use herbicides to tackle an extensive knapweed problem. “Usually with these sort of projects, we manage the weeds along the roads, but this time we’re actually going to treat big chunks of land that aren’t associated with the timber cuts,” Riggers said. “That’s something people out there were very interested in.” In all, the timber cuts, prescribed burns and weed spraying should improve wildlife habitat on about 15,000 acres of land, the agency believes. Riggers said work could begin on the project in the late fall, but next spring is a more likely start date. Unlike some timber projects that involve small acreage, the Face project will involve a large acreage that will be less likely to show dramatic change, Riggers said. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2006/03/23/news/mtregional/news06.txt


13) A federal judge has backed plans by the U.S. Forest Service to allow logging in an area of the Superior National Forest north of Isabella. The Forest Service received help defending the logging plan in court from the state’s timber industry. In the decision, released Tuesday, Erickson wrote, “Based on the record, the Court concludes that the Forest Service’s analysis is sufficient to demonstrate that the Forest Service took a hard look at the visual and auditory impacts of the Tomahawk project, and, in particular, to the impacts to the BWCAW and its users. In addition, the Forest Service identified the relevant areas of concern and made a convincing case that any impacts were not significant.” “It confirms that our decision on management there was based on good science,” said Barb Soderberg, Superior National Forest public service team leader. “This is a tremendous victory for forest management,” said Wayne Brandt, executive vice president of the Minnesota Timber Producers industry group. “The Sierra Club’s claims were all rejected, so now we can go on about the business of improving the forest and its wildlife habitat while providing the products that we all use.” http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/news/local/14166475.htm

14) It’s not a coincidence that there have been three major fires in the same area in the past 29 years and dozens more over the past few centuries, said Lee Frelich, a University of Minnesota scientist who specializes in the relationship between fire and the BWCAW forest. The soil in this part of the BWCAW is especially thin and can’t hold much water, causing plants and trees to dry out faster than even forests nearby around Ely or the North Shore. Moreover, the area — a narrow swath from near Ely to Saganaga Lake — is hilly, and high points attract more lightning strikes. The jack pines that make up much of the forest burn easily and add to any fires that get started. More than 700 different plots are being studied. For example, cedars that usually grow6 inches a year are growing 2 feet and more — thanks to the extra water and sun now that the big trees are dead. On Seagull Lake’s Three Mile Island, purposely burned in 2002 to remove thousands of dead, drying blown-down trees, red pine are sprouting across the island even though only a few stands of big pines survived the fire. “We’re seeing red-pine reproduction a lot farther from the remaining pines than we expected. Apparently the seeds can move better than we thought,” Frelich said. Birch trees seem to be doing especially well where intentional fires have been lit, Frelich said. Not all is well, however. In blowdown areas outside the BWCAW, especially where logging occurred to remove downed trees, several exotic species are flourishing, possibly at the expense of native species.“Wherever you get logging equipment or ATVs, they spread the seeds of the exotics,” Frelich said. “That can stop the normal succession.” So far, the Forest Service has done very little replanting or reseeding. In many areas, nature may do the work instead. But some say reseeding may be necessary if certain species are to flourish. So far, Forest Service wilderness rules don’t allow seeding in the BWCAW. But Frelich said that could forever alter what parts of the BWCAW look like. In areas where most big trees blew down, there’s little seed stock to sprout the next generation. “There’s a real problem with white pine in the western part of the blowdown, near Ely. We’re not seeing any reproduction there,” Frelich said. “All the big white pines blew down and there aren’t any seed trees left. If they (the Forest Service) don’t seed in there, white pine will be extirpated from that part of the Boundary Waters.” http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/news/local/14167976.htm


15) Inspired by the words of the great conservationist Aldo Leopold, Clemens C. Sylke did more than plant 10,000 trees. He planted 180,000. More importantly, he planted a different kind of seed as a teacher. “He read ‘A Sand County Almanac’ to every student he ever had,” his son Tom Sylke said. Sylke died of leukemia March 14 in hospice care at his Whitefish Bay home. He was 80. Sylke was raised a city kid on Milwaukee’s east side. He graduated from Riverside High School, enlisting in the Army Air Corps after graduation. Sylke trained as a top gunner on B-29s, surviving 27 missions over Japan as World War II was ending. He returned home to his old neighborhood, studying at the Milwaukee State Teachers College, later part of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “He was a geography major for a while, and that sort of stimulated his interest in reforesting the land,” his wife, Nancy Sylke, said. It was about that same time that he took a summer job working in Wisconsin Dells. “He heard about this land that was empty – it was 100 acres in Adams County – and so he bought it and began planting trees,” she said. After graduation, he snagged a job teaching in Los Alamos, N.M., but his land in Wisconsin called him home. He left after a couple of years, becoming a teacher at Henry Clay Elementary School in Whitefish Bay. There he met his wife, the former Nancy Bremer, in 1955, and they married two years later. It wasn’t long before she started to hear about trees. “When we started dating, he said: ‘I’m sorry, I can’t see you this weekend. I’ve got 10,000 trees in my trunk, and I have to plant them,’ ” she said. “Today in Adams and Marquette counties there are two properties filled with acres and acres of pine forest that owe their existence to Clem Sylke,” forester Dan Peterson of Stora Enso wrote. “Clem’s little corner of the world is truly a better place because he was here.” In 2004, Sylke came out to see the thinning process, laughing with delight at the height of his little saplings, with generations of growth yet to come. “I never thought I would live to see this day,” he said. “Today in Adams and Marquette counties there are two properties filled with acres and acres of pine forest that owe their existence to Clem Sylke,” forester Dan Peterson of Stora Enso wrote. “Clem’s little corner of the world is truly a better place because he was here.” The Sylke family intends to continue his legacy. “The final harvest – I won’t see it,” Tom said. “But maybe my children or grandchildren will.” http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=410481


16) Producers in the Republican River watershed are facing serious water challenges, with many actions being proposed to save water. One proposal, which suggests removing the riparian (streamside) forests growing along the Republican River, is based on the assumption that tree removals will increase water flow. Such action needs to be carefully evaluated to make sure unintended consequences do not in fact make the situation worse. While I recognize the seriousness posed by the continuing drought and pressure to meet Nebraska’s water agreements with Kansas, removal of these riparian forests would have severe and lasting impacts on the river. These impacts would extend to the surrounding area’s ecology and the residents of the valley. Early explorers and fur traders consistently noted substantial riparian forests along most rivers in the Great Plains, including the Republican River. Trees along streams are a natural, native component of riparian systems in the Plains and provide critically important benefits to people. Riparian trees absorb the energy of rushing floodwaters, reducing erosion damage to levees and crop ground and ensure that more water remains in the immediate area for groundwater recharge. They substantially improve water quality by filtering both surface and subsurface waters, arresting streambank soil erosion (by 77-97 percent based on studies in Iowa), removing nutrients and pollutants and capturing and storing snow for later recharge. http://www.mccookgazette.com/story/1144804.html


17) Planners at the Green Mountain National Forest will formally release today their final design for the forest’s future, a plan that calls for an additional 27,473 acres of proposed wilderness. That represents an increase of 10,000 acres over a draft of the plan released last year, but far short of the 80,000 acres called for by some environmental groups. Some all-terrain vehicle trails will be allowed in the forest for the first time, but under strictly controlled conditions, according to Melissa Reichert, a planner at the forest’s Rutland headquarters. The 400,000-acre forest stretches from the Massachusetts border to northern Addison County and serves many purposes, from timber harvesting to protection of undisturbed natural areas to hiking and snowmobiling. Most of the new wilderness will surround Glastenbury Mountain in far southern Vermont. Only Congress can create wilderness areas, so the 27,000 acres are designated in the plan as “wilderness study areas” for congressional consideration. Only ATV connector trails will be allowed — “only if it is a connection required to go from Point A to Point B outside the forest,” Reichert said. There will be no trailheads in the forest and there must be an organized private group ready to help with construction and maintenance. A maximum annual timber harvest set at 16.4 million board feet, slightly less than proposed in an earlier draft of the plan. In recent years, timber cutting has not topped 3 million board feet. Reichert said that given tight budgets for preparing areas for harvest, it is unlikely cutting will reach the new maximum. Nearly 30,000 acres of specially designated areas for research, education and recreation. An additional 5,400-acre roadless area around Abbey Pond in the mountains east of Middlebury. http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060322/NEWS01/603220316/1009&theme=


18) The Bush administration created a major stir when it recently proposed selling off hundreds of thousands of acres of national forest land. Now you can use Google Earth to explore the parcels on the auction block and see for yourself the full scope of what the administration has proposed. The administration has described the parcels it intends to sell as “non-vital,” characterizing them as isolated properties that are difficult to manage. Viewing the parcels through Google Earth instead reveals that far too many of the areas up for auction are within or immediately adjacent to large blocks of public forest land. Selling these properties would only serve to fragment undeveloped forestland, something Chief Dale Bosworth has called one of the biggest threats to America’s forest heritage. The maps are based on the latest Forest Service data, dated March 14, 2006. The Google Earth maps are available at:


19) The Lord government is fighting crime in the woods by empowering forest rangers to write tickets and fine wood thieves and animal poachers. The Lord government is fighting crime in the woods by empowering forest rangers to write tickets and fine wood thieves and animal poachers. Private woodlot owners and the provincial government are coping with many kinds of woodland lawbreakers whose crimes range from cutting in illegal areas, to stealing wood from privately owned land to jacking deer. The province’s 190 forest rangers are in charge of enforcing the law, along with handling other issues such as wildlife and forest management. But they can’t be everywhere, and say they haven’t had the time or the tools to make a dent in the criminal activity. Natural Resources Minister Keith Ashfield is hoping to change that by dedicating 80 members of the force exclusively to law enforcement. He says those officers should be in the woods by next fall, issuing on-the-spot tickets instead of court dates. “We’ll be able to train an elite group of people, a group that will be able to focus totally on enforcement,” he said. The government is also planning a new approach to monitoring logging on Crown land that the Conservation Council of New Brunswick worries will leave the forest open to abuse. Instead of checking every single logging operation on Crown property, the province will conduct thrice-yearly audits of companies, with stiffer fines for infractions. Conservation Council forester Inuk Simard says the government’s new approach of inspecting fewer logging companies, and auditing them instead, will lead to abuse. “We think that’s opening the door for the operators, the licensee, the sub-licensee to be less vigilant and do operations that might not respect the regulations, and nobody out there to see that it’s happening until the next audit.” http://www.cbc.ca/nb/story/nb_woodcrimes20060321.html

20) A group of Minaki area cottagers, concerned with planned wood cutting operations near their properties, has temporarily halted any forestry operations with requests for individual environmental assessments from the Ministry of the Environment. Ministry of Natural Resources forester for the Kenora west area, Ian Pyke, said Friday the cottagers made their request very near to the March 10 deadline, following a 30-day public review of the 2006-2007 annual work schedule for the Kenora Forest. This schedule is part of a 20-year resource management plan from 2006-2026 for the Kenora Forest, a joint-plan between the MNR and the company holding the wood rights to the area, Weyerhaeuser-Trus Joist in Kenora. Pyke said the first five years of this plan have already been approved, but approval of the one-year annual work schedule, which is to take place from April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2007, has been delayed by the cottagers’ request. As a result, he said the MNR, as well as Weyerhaeuser-Trus Joist, is requesting “concurrence” from the Ministry of the Environment, which would temporarily allow them to continue with forestry operations outside of the areas of concern for the cottagers. “There’s lots of other areas to cut in once we get this concurrence,” said Pyke. The Kenora Forest includes an area of 1.2-million hectares of Crown land from the Manitoba border in the west, to Sydney Lake in the northeast, down to Nestor Falls and along the U.S. border in the south. Pyke said the cottagers, who own properties both north and south of the community of Minaki – in Sand Lake, Tunnel Bay and on the Winnipeg River. Ministry spokesperson Sandra Guido confirmed Friday they had received two requests for individual environmental assessments. “The requests were just submitted this week,” said Guido. “It’s at the very early stages of our review here.”http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/story.php?id=219596

21) Regional Aboriginal leaders are demanding the province put a halt to all industrial development in Northern Ontario’s Boreal forest. The group wants the province to enforce a moratorium until a meaningful consultation agreement between industry and First Nation groups is in place. Spokesman John Cutfeet says the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the First Nation’s position that they must be consulted before any development takes place. And he says now it’s up to the province to follow through, regardless of the cost. A lawyer with the Sierra Legal Defence Fund says if the government doesn’t rectify the situation, legal action is a possibility. Cutfeet says the aboriginal way of life must be protected and it’s time first nations people receive the benefits of their traditional lands, that have been enjoyed by industry for the last hundred years. The group is hoping Minister of Natural Resources David Ramsay will have some answers for them Tuesday when he meets with NAN officials in Thunder Bay. http://www.tbsource.com/Localnews/index.asp?cid=81392

22) EDMONTON — Roads, logging, energy development and other industrial activities have already chopped up almost one-third of Canada’s forests, according to a report to be released Wednesday by Global Forest Watch. In a report compiled from more than 1,000 NASA satellite photos, the organization found that nearly all intact forest left in Canada was in the territories and the northern parts of the provinces. Nearly two-thirds of that undisturbed forest was found in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and the Northwest Territories. Alberta, with only four per cent of Canada’s intact forest, has allowed activity in nearly all its woodlands, the report found. It’s the first time a study has taken a uniform look at how much untouched forest is left and where it’s located, said Forest Watch director Peter Lee. “There’ve been many regional studies, but nothing that’s been done nationwide,” he said. “Government and industry do not ask those kinds of questions. They don’t want to know the answer.” Lee’s report used Landsat photos with enough detail to pick out objects 28 metres in size. It defined an intact forest as an untouched area of at least 100 square kilometres in the northern boreal forest and 50 square kilometres in the temperate forests of the Maritimes, southern Ontario and B.C.That may seem like a high standard, but Lee said it depends on the context. “If you’re a woodland caribou, it’s not very high. If you’re a grizzly bear, it’s not very high.” In all, the report examined about 6.5 million square kilometres of forest. Alberta’s forests have suffered the heaviest industrial impact, the report found. Only seven of 63 management areas still have more than half the forest intact. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=64568601-9801-4e5b-9857-

23) When a young Ojibway woman decided to stop logging trucks 39 months ago, she never thought that her defiance would take her to the headquarters of one of the largest corporations in the world. But that is where Bonnie Swain will be going next month when she will be nominated for a position on the board of directors of Weyerhaeuser, the multi-national forestry giant that has been feeding off the timber cut from the forests of western Ontario, where Swain and her sister set up a blockade Dec. 3, 2002. Rainforest Action Network, a California-based environmental organization, is working through sympathizers who own shares in Weyerhaeuser in an attempt to get Swain elected to the board at the company’s annual meeting in April 20 in Seattle. “I just wanted to take that chance to be heard in front of the shareholders,” Swain said in mid-March, explaining that her goal is to educate investors about the effects of logging practices. The blockade began almost as if it had been written by a screenwriter. The theme was that of dozens of movies. The little guy – or in this case two women – who decided they’d had enough and weren’t going to put up with it any more. For Swain and her younger sister, the decision came one day when looking at the clear-cut left in an area where her stepfather used to take her hunting. The logging had been moving closer and closer to the Grassy Narrows First Nation and her community’s traditional lands were being cut bare, she explained. “I guess we just said: ‘That’s it. No more.” The first day just the two Swain girls – Bonnie, 28 and Chrissy, six years younger – blocked trucks from getting to sites where Abitibi-Consolidated was cutting trees from Grassy Narrows traditional lands. The next day 20 more people joined them. Since then interest has grown, with the blockade getting national attention as media outlets, environmental and Aboriginal rights organizations, and websites, took interest. The group Friends of Grassy Narrows has been formed and supporters of the blockade have paid for speaking tours by Bonnie, Chrissy and other blockaders. http://www.firstperspective.ca/story_2006_03_22_native.php


24) Leading corporates contributed handsomely to the restoration and management of the Mau Forest, one of Kenya’s most important water towers faced with extinction through illegal logging. Visiting World wide Fund for nature (WWF) Director General, Jan Leape has called on both the private sector and government to boost forests and woodlands conservation as part of the global agenda for sustainable development. He suggested that Kenya and other African countries risked backsliding on the achievement of sustainable development in the absence of a healthy forests and woodlands resource base to sustain social and economic development. “As a business heavily dependent on quarrying activities, we invest heavily in environmental conservation as it impacts on the long term sustainability of our business and communities socially and economically,” said David Njoroge, Bamburi’s Corporate Affairs Director. Bamburi Cement has been restoring it’s quarries for the past 35 years resulting in the world famous Haller Park showcase. The company aims to recreate vanished coastal forests and wetlands and has already reintroduced over 400 species of indigenous trees. Mr Leape said the long term sustainability of environment necessitated that industries whose activities entail quarrying, must by law, restore such wastelands. He said the world is now more focused on private sector and government handling environmental audits on quarry rehabilitation plans, greenhouse gas emissions, water, energy and raw material consumption, waste generation, dust, emissions and recycling. http://www.coastweek.com/2912-05.htm


25) “A changing climate poses a substantial threat to the Amazon forests, which contain a large portion of the world’s biodiversity. Threats here translate into threats to biodiversity at large,” said Lara Hansen, WWF’s chief climate change scientist. “The world needs to urgently evaluate vulnerability to climate risks and integrate them into biodiversity conservation efforts.” According to the WWF survey, the combination of human activities – such as deforestation and logging – and climate change, increases the drying effect of dead trees that fuels forests fires. In the absence of effective measures, global warming and deforestation could convert from 30 up to 60 per cent of the Amazon rain forest into a type of dry savannah, according to research carried out under the auspices of Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE). Currently, the Amazonian forests act as an important sink for carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas emitted mainly from the burning of fossil fuels coal, oil and natural gas, and the major driver of global climate change. However, up to about 20 per cent of CO2 emissions stem from deforestation. If its destruction continues, the Amazon rainforest could become a net source of CO2, WWF says. “Both the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation must be urgently and significantly reduced in order to save the world’s biodiversity and people from catastrophic climate change,” said Giulio Volpi, coordinator of WWF’s Climate Change Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean. http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/index.cfm?uNewsID=64220

26) Some trees in the Amazon rainforest grow fastest not in the wet season, but in the dry, sunny part of the year, researchers have found. The discovery underlines the importance of preserving old-growth forest that is likely to be more resistant to drought. The effect only occurs with pristine rainforest, rather than in re-planted areas. With logging continuing to deplete the forest, researchers note, the area could become too dry for even intact areas of forest to cope. Researchers studied colour satellite images of the eastern and central Amazon collected over five years to survey the amount of vegetation produced in different seasons and in different areas. They found that many areas of intact old-growth forest ‘green up’ during the dry season, which runs from July to November. Pasture lands, on the other hand, are parched and brown during the dry spells, and show fastest plant growth during wetter months. The discovery highlights a unique characteristic of rainforests such as the Amazon, says Alfredo Huete of the University of Arizona in Tucson, who led the survey, published in Geophysical Research Letters. It is unclear whether this effect extends to the entire rainforest or merely to those areas with the deepest soils, says rainforest expert Oliver Phillips of the University of Leeds, UK. More research will be needed to see whether this is a universal ‘rainforest phenomenon’ he says. The same dry-season growth spurt does not seem to happen in areas where there are only younger trees. “Old-growth trees are doing something that secondary regenerating forest can’t do,” Phillips says. Leaf growth is an important process, not just for the rainforest itself, but for the planet. Growing trees suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and convert it to the building-blocks of new plant material, sequestering the gas that would otherwise contribute to the greenhouse effect. “Anything that disrupts the carbon cycle of such a huge reservoir is of concern,” Huete says. http://news.nature.com//news/2006/060320/060320-4.html

27) CURITIBA, Brazil – Emotions and sensitivity are “the essence, the core dimension of the human being,” said the Brazilian theologian at a panel on “ethics, biodiversity and sustainability”. The panel formed part of the Global Civil Society Forum, held parallel to the Mar. 20-31 Eighth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP8). “The world is not made up of objects but of relationships. It was cooperation that made possible the leap from animal to humanity, and without it we are dehumanised, which is what occurs in the case of capitalism,” the theologian told around 300 activists, most of them small farmers. Boff is one of the founders of liberation theology, which is based on a “preferential option for the poor”, whose proponents’ involvement in the struggles of the poor and marginalised sectors of the population often brought them into conflict with a more conservative Catholic Church hierarchy in the past. The expression “sustainable development” is “a deception to undermine the demands of environmentalists” by joining together two contradictory concepts, he told the participants in the Global Civil Society Forum. Development “comes from the capitalist economy,” which supposes a constant rise in production, consumption and wealth as part of an illusion of “infinite resources,” while sustainability has to do with biology, “the dynamic equilibrium of interrelated beings,” he said. In order for the consumption levels of industrialised countries to become universal, “two additional planet earths” would be needed, he said. Argentine lawmaker Marta Maffei called for efforts to combat “cultural domination,” the mother of all dominations, in her view. Maffei maintained that politicians adopt decisions “without knowing anything about environmental issues,” and depend on the advice of specialists who work for private companies that have no interest whatsoever in preserving biodiversity. Social mobilisation is the only way to break this “vicious cycle of environmental domination,” she declared. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0324-04.htm

28) Without further checks, the scientists predict nearly 100 native species will be deprived of more than half of their habitats and about 772,300 square miles of forest will be lost. But if more is done to control expansion and increase protected areas, 73 percent of the original forest would remain in 2050, and carbon emissions would be reduced, the models projected. The scientists said better conservation of the rainforest would have worldwide benefits, so developed countries should be willing to pay to make it possible. “By building a policy-sensitive crystal ball for the Amazon, we are able to identify the most important policy levers for reconciling economic development with conservation,” said Daniel Nepstad, a co-author of the study who leads the Amazon program of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts. http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11961547/

29) The predictions, published today (24 March) in Nature, are among the first to emerge from a unique, large-scale study that is using computer models to simulate how factors such as logging, farming, climate and policy decisions could affect the future of the forest. The models predict that unless Brazil takes action, eight of the Amazon basin’s twelve main watersheds will lose more than half of their forest, increasing the risk of flooding. The news is not all bad, however, says lead author Britaldo Soares-Filho of the Federal University of Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Brazil is making increasing efforts to control deforestation, and to set up more than 70,000 square kilometres of new conservation areas that were designated in 2004 and 2005. But, says Soares-Filho, this is not enough as most areas at risk are on private land that could be profitably deforested for timber or to farm cattle or soybeans. http://www.scidev.net/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=readnews&itemid=2742&language=1

30) The added demand has intensified a pulp war between timber companies in various regions of the world. Pulp producer Aracruz Celulose (ARA) is in the front ranks of the action. Aracruz grows, harvests and processes crops of eucalyptus trees on 645,000 acres of plantations in Brazil. It also holds 343,000 acres of native forest reserves. The company serves up a third of the world’s supply of bleached eucalyptus pulp. It exports nearly all of its product to the U.S., Europe and Asia. In the past, as much as 90% of eucalyptus pulp went to making tissue products. Now paper goods makers are finding new markets and uses for the long-grain eucalyptus fibers. Aracruz reports that prices for its eucalyptus hardwood rose 13% last year. London-based industry consultant Hawkins Wright sees softwood pulp sales essentially flat, while hardwood sales slightly higher in 2006. “We’ve got northern eucalyptus growing at about 6%,” said John Bingham, Hawkins Wright’s research director. Timber producers in South America, Malaysia and other less developed regions have long had certain advantages over their rivals in Europe and North America, including lower labor costs and fewer environmental regulations. But the greatest advantage to pulp farmers like Aracruz is the crop itself. Commercial hardwoods in North America work only part of the time. In the fall, they lose their leaves and sit dormant the rest of the year. “The eucalyptus does not do that,” said Mike Messina, professor of Silva culture with Texas A&M University. “It just keeps growing.” Eucalyptus trees can grow 10 feet or more per year. They reach harvestable maturity in six to seven years. http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=7&issue=20060322


31) Only 0.1 percent of China’s intact forest landscapes—which cover an area of 55,448 square kilometers, or 2 percent of the nation’s total forest resources—are under strict protection, according to a report on China’s forest resources released yesterday in Beijing by the international environmental group Greenpeace. Intact forests refer to natural forest regions covering an area of more than 500 square kilometers. In China, most of them are located in the southwest, including in western Sichuan Province, the region bordering Myanmar in Yunnan Province, and the region along the Yarlung Zangbo River. There are also tiny patches of intact forests at the northern tip of Inner Mongolia in the northeast and in Xinjiang Autonomous Region in the northwest. Those regions are not only rich in biodiversity, but also harbor ecosystems that are vital for maintaining the local and regional climatic balance, such as glaciers, marshes, and wetlands. Due to rampant illegal logging and paper and pulp production, however, these areas have shrunk rapidly in recent years, as illustrated on satellite maps. “We would owe our future generations too much if we don’t protect the very few intact forest landscapes left to us,” said Liu Bing, Forest Campaign Manager of Greenpeace. Environmentalists say there is still hope for protection. “The good news is that we still have some such forests left, and there are still possibilities to turn things around,” noted Tamara Stark, International Advisor to Greenpeace. In order to better protect the remaining intact forests, Greenpeace urges governments to work with indigenous peoples and local stakeholders in establishing immediate moratoria on new industrial projects in these forests, and to allocate greater financial resources for conservation purposes. The group also advocates the banning of forest products that come from illegal or destructive sources. http://www.worldwatch.org/features/chinawatch/stories/20060323-1

32) BEIJING — China’s growing environmental consciousness has hit the heart of its culture, with the government yesterday announcing a 5 percent tax on disposable wooden chopsticks. The Finance Ministry said chopstick production used up China’s forests at a rate of 70 million cubic feet a year, a waste that it wanted to discourage. Chopsticks were not the only targets of the regulations, an early fruit of the government’s new five-year plan, which stresses energy conservation, efficient use of resources and an end to the environmental despoliation that has accompanied its rapid growth. China sells 10 billion boxes of wooden chopsticks a year domestically and exports about 6 billion boxes annually, the China Daily newspaper said. http://www.washtimes.com/world/20060323-121845-3811r.htm

33) The report issued on Friday, “China and the Global Market for Forest Products”, is based on five years of research by Forest Trends, the Centre for International Forestry Research, the Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy, and other groups. It found about 70 percent of all timber imported into China, now the largest consumer of wood from tropical developing countries, is converted into furniture, plywood and other processed products for export. China has captured about a third of global furniture trade over the past eight years, and the booming business, coupled with China’s domestic demand for paper and wood products, is devastating forests and forest communities elsewhere, the report says. “Few consumers realise that the cheap prices they pay are directly linked to the exploitation of some of the poorest people on earth,” said lead author Andy White in a media statement. The report urges the Chinese government to act domestically to strengthen tenure and reform policies related to timber, improve productivity and focus more on ecosystem protection. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SP312145.htm


34) PHILIP Gain’s photography exhibition at Drik is a revelation of our forest life and culture. The focus of the exhibition is on the forest people, specially the indigenous communities, who have lived in harmony with nature and used the forest for their livelihood. Plantations and legal reforms have rendered the people of the forests illegal residents on their own traditional homeland. A portion of the display relates the distinct cultural life of the ethnic communities. Despite all the ruins in the public forest lands, the photographs tell of the ethnic identities, ethnic cultures and more. The images communicate how essential it is to protect the ethnic communities with their songs, dances and their need for space and protection. The exhibit tells the story of drastic depletion of our forest traditions. In his search for the images and issues of the forest dependant people he has come in close proximity to the forests. He makes his viewers aware of the beautiful hearts, minds and hospitality of the different forest dependent people. The pictures make the viewers aware of the underlying factors for the deforestation and the miseries of the forest people who are often wrongly blamed for the destruction of the forests. Philip Gain has tried to capture the beauty and pain of life in the forest. There is the depiction of Modhupur forestry being converted into wasteland. There is the presentation of how poisons have infiltrated the farming in the name of pesticides and plant hormone. There is the delineation of Modhupur women protesting against the laws of the forest department. Oil giant Unocal is setting up a gas pipe line through Lawachara National Park and many feel that this might ruin the park, a protected area. There is a picture of a mother and child and below is the caption saying how she and her child have been rendered illegal occupants as the land in which she once lived now produces pulp wood for Karnaphuli Paper Mill. A photo of Lyngngam of Netrokona depicts Khasi women in Netrokona. Intermarriage and socialisation with the Garos have extended their kinship to an extent, but they retain their distinct language, identity and culture. “Face of the oppressed” brings in the tea workers of Srimangal. Each tea worker represents the face of the downtrodden. http://www.thedailystar.net/2006/03/22/d603221401107.htm


35) Gland, Switzerland – WWF has discovered that ten endangered wild Sumatran elephants are being kept chained to trees without enough food or water in central Riau in Indonesia, having been made homeless by the complete destruction of their forest. The elephants were raiding crops and threatening a nearby village before being captured by local authorities ten days ago. The ten elephants are part of a herd of between 17 and 51 in Riau’s Bengkalis District. The Riau government said it wanted to capture and translocate all of the elephants to the newly designated Tesso Nilo National Park. “These ten elephants are the latest casualties in the escalating human-elephant conflict in central Sumatra, the direct result of uncontrolled destruction of their forest habitat,” said Nazir Foead, Head of WWF Indonesia’s Species Programme. “These elephants need room to live, which means ending problematic pulp and oil palm development. In the short term, they should get a suitable location. Currently, only 38,000ha of the Tesso Nilo National Park have been protected out of a proposed 100,000ha. The entire area must be protected before it can be considered as a feasible location for the captured elephants, WWF says. Six elephants were recently found dead in an oil palm plantation at the border of Riau and north Sumatra, apparently poisoned in retaliation for raiding crops. Faced with rapidly shrinking habitat and continual conflict with local people, Riau’s elephant population has been reduced from an estimated 700 to 350 individuals in the last seven years. This case of human-elephant conflict appears to be a direct result of forest clearing in Riau’s Libo Forest, one of the few remaining retreats of the Sumatran elephant in central Sumatra. Libo is rapidly being converted into plantations, fields and settlements, often without the necessary licenses. The Balai Raja Wildlife Sanctuary, within the Libo forest block, contained about 16,000ha of forest when it was declared in 1986. Today, only 260ha of forest cover remain. A multinational paper company, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), uses timber cleared in Libo for its Riau mills. http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/index.cfm?uNewsID=64520


36) The Wilderness Society says a forestry protest in Tasmania’s Styx Valley yesterday is just the beginning of the fight to stop logging in the area. A 25-year-old man has been charged with trespass after he refused to leave an area which had been declared an exclusion zone for forestry activities. Police say the man was arrested after he came down from a tree platform 45 metres above the ground. Four other people were also in the zone but left when requested to by police. The Wilderness Society’s Geoff Law says he is not surprised logging has resumed so quickly after the election campaign.”Now that the election is out of the way, the bulldozers and chainsaws are going to be moving very quickly into places such as the Styx, the Upper Florentine, the Weld Valley,” he said. “Areas that they tried to take off the agenda by taking the bulldozers out during the campaign.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200603/s1597084.htm

37) Forestry Tasmania says it is not concerned by evidence that one of its contractors painted a “smiley face” on a giant hardwood log taken from the Styx Valley in the State’s south. A protest against plans to log an old-growth coupe in the Styx resumed yesterday raising tensions between activists and foresters. Geoff Law of the Wilderness Society says photographic evidence that a forest worker defaced the log should prompt some soul-searching by Forestry Tasmania.”Whether it wants to be seen as an organisation that is provocatively destroying ancient trees like the ones in the Styx,” he said. Forestry Tasmania’s managing director Evan Rolley says Mr Law is overreacting. “But I’m not sort of going to get sort of over-excited, call a major news conference, vilify some forest worker who’s been light-hearted,” he said. A small band of activists expects police to visit the coupe again today and try to dismantle the tree-top protest inside an exclusion zone they are enforcing. http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200603/s1599826.htm

38) THE BATTLE over a proposal to log almost 100 hectares of forest in a rural conservation zone in Thoneman’s Road, Beenak, is scheduled to come to a head at the end of the month. A Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) hearing into the proposal, which is expected to last for up to four days, is scheduled to commence on Monday, 27 March. Moran Logging Company of Warburton, the company behind the logging proposal, applied to have the matter heard by VCAT at the end of last year. The move angered the Friends of Hoddles Creek residents’ group which accused the logging company of pre-empting a vote on the proposal by Shire of Yarra Ranges councillors in late January. On Tuesday, 24 January, the council voted unanimously to oppose the application. At the time, Cr Len Cox said the application was one of the worst he had seen. Other objectors to the application maintain that it is at odds with the shire’s Vision 2020 policy and will result in the destruction of precious flora and fauna. Gary Moran of Moran Logging declined to make any comment on the application. http://www.starnewsgroup.com.au/story/11759

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