079OEC’s This Week in Trees

This week we have 33 news items from: Alaska British, Columbia, California, Idaho, Michigan, New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, USA, Canada, Germany, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, India, China, Indonesia, Borneo, New Zealand, and Australia.


1) The yellow cedar is able to withstand bugs and decay like no other tree in the 16 million-acre Tongass National Forest. Its outstanding durability and creamy texture make it a prize for Alaska Native carvers, weavers and the wood products industry. “There’s nothing more beautiful,” says Gordon Chew, a Tenakee Springs home builder. But for more than a century, the yellow cedar has been dying out of large swaths of the Tongass. More than half of the yellow cedar trees within 500,000 acres of the forest have died, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The yellow cedar is actually a cypress, not a true cedar. A cold-tolerant tree that thrived in the Little Ice Age, yellow cedar is having a tougher and tougher time surviving in the Alaska Panhandle’s warming climate. The decline of the tree – a species that is relatively rare to begin with – appears to be related to a reduced spring snowpack. Rising temperatures have resulted in reduced snowpack in the region. Without adequate snow covering them, the yellow cedar’s roots freeze to death in the spring “It’s kind of a paradox” that the trees are dying from freezing episodes that are ultimately caused by climate warming, said Paul Hennon, a federal scientist in Juneau who has studied the yellow cedar decline in the Panhandle since the 1980s. Along the shores of Baranof and Chichagof islands – the heart of the species’ range in the Panhandle – dead yellow cedars’ bare gray trunks stick out like ghostly spines. Similar dead patches also have been noted in British Columbia. Snow also appears to slow the cedar’s annual springtime loss of freezing resistance, called dehardening, Hennon said. In winter, yellow cedar are incredibly resistant to freezing, but the reverse is true in March and April, during the trees’ dehardening process, Hennon explained. Scientists suspect that the yellow cedar most likely survived the last major ice age, which ended roughly 12,000 years ago, on Dall Island and other spots such as Prince of Wales Island. Recent archeological studies show that these islands of the outer coast probably were free of ice. The trees may have migrated to lower elevations during the Little Ice Age, which ended in the late 1800s. Now, they may no longer tolerate the lack of protective snow in those places. They believe that yellow cedar can continue to thrive at higher elevations, with colder weather and less exposure to freezing during the early spring. “Places around Juneau and to the north are where you could actually favor yellow cedar,” Hennon said. http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/032606/sta_20060326002.shtml

British Columbia:

2) Dear Women in and out and of the Woods (and supporters): Spring has sprung, and it’s time to girdle our loins for action, so to speak. First, I want to tell you about my new book. The title is OPEN LIVING CONFIDENTIAL, FROM INSIDE THE JOINT. It covers the time when I was incarcerated for the Elaho campaign. It’s on line and it’s free. It’s also off line in PDF; both are free and can be down loaded so take your choice. The address is http://www.booksofbettyk.com And I will most definitely appreciate feed back. Secondly, I want to tell you about last Friday and Saturday in Gibson. I was presented with an elder award for environmental actions and was invited to speak on civil disobedience as there is trouble brewing in them thar woods. Gordon Campbell wants to blast a road over Elphinstone Mountain soon…very soon. It’s for the Olympics. For the Green Olympics as Gordon Campbell and the Olympic Committees like to advertise. Never mind the blue listed plant species and threatened rare red legged frogs in a beautiful irreplaceable setting smack dab in the middle of a watershed, Campbell and the Olympics Organization BC still insist this will be the “Greenest Games Ever.” I digress to tell you something funny. A friend sent me a copy of a speech given by an Olympic Organizer via email. It was titled “Greenest Games Ever” and my puritanical computer highlighted that as some sort of porn and junked it. I had to retrieve the article from the junk pile but on second thought, I think my computer was right. That article was pure junk. But I don’t think the interesting and interested citizens around Gibson and Mt. Elphinstone are going to put up with the trashing of their neighbourhood to facilitate Gordon Campbell’s fine show that primarily benefits rich people getting richer. I told citizens who came to the event in Gibson that Women in the Woods is definitely supportive and at least some of us have tents…ha! However, because we are looking at Spotted Owl habitat at the moment and how the last remaining bits of old growth they need to live are slated to be cut soon, we will keep our eyes on both sites. betty krawczyk [betty_krawczyk@hotmail.com]

3) Between the Alberni Valley and the Cowichan Valley, the count for the five days, from 6:30 AM to 4:30 PM each day, was 1331 loaded trucks. (The Thursday count from Alberni was down because the Rally at the summit stopped trucks for varying periods. Also, the Cowichan counters were not on duty on Friday. So the count was zero there. Also, truck transport likely continues beyond 4:30 PM) The average from Alberni for the four ‘big’ days was: ~85 trucks per day. The average from Cowichan for the four days was: ~238 trucks per day Using these averages, we can fairly predict that under normal, unimpeded transport, the total per five-day week from Cowichan and Alberni would be more than 1616 logging truck loads (not counting transport after 4:30 PM) On an annual basis, let’s assume this goes on for 45 weeks out of every 52. The annual total of logs taken away from the mills and communities in the Cowichan and Alberni Valleys would total 72,720 logging truck loads per year. Where are the logs going? How many BCers are employed giving added-value to the logs on these trucks? How many of these loads are exported as raw logs? Why are forest workers unemployed in BC? Why are forestry-based communities on Vancouver Island shrinking and struggling? From: Berni Pearce

4) VANCOUVER — The continued logging of old-growth forests in southwestern British Columbia may lead to the regional extinction of 17 species of mammals, birds, amphibians and fish, according to a new study published in the conservation journal Biodiversity. While it has been widely accepted that spotted owls are at serious risk of disappearing in B.C. largely because of old-growth logging, it has not been clear previously that so many other species are also in trouble. But the researchers, Dr. Stephen Yezerinac, of Bishop’s University, and Dr. Faisal Moola, of the David Suzuki Foundation, said their study found habitat destruction is threatening a whole spectrum of species, including tailed frogs, coastal marbled murrelets, northern goshawks, fishers and others. “We found the threat of pervasive endangerment. . . is all across the food web,” Dr. Moola said in an interview. He said the reasons for the population decline of the different species are varied, but there is little doubt that logging of old-growth forests is the main cause for all species. “The commonality is the shared old-growth habitat,” Dr. Moola said. “This study shows that one-quarter of all animals dependent on remaining old-growth forests in southwestern B.C. are threatened [with extirpation].” He said that while the B.C. government is preparing a spotted-owl recovery program, it’s unlikely those efforts will do anything to help the other species that are also threatened. “There is talk of a captive breeding program, of feeding owls in the winter and shooting predators [of the owls],” he said. “But these efforts will do nothing for the other species.” Dr. Moola said environmental managers should develop a “flagship fleet” of indicator species and then tailor prescriptive measures to ensure they all survive. He said this means protecting habitat — and that could lead to considerable restrictions on logging in some areas. “Timber harvesting was the most common single threat for amphibians (50 per cent of 6 threats), birds (38 per cent of 40 threats), vascular plants (40 per cent of 20 threats), and fish (14 per cent of 35 threats), whereas human disturbance was the most common threat for mammals (28 per cent of 18 threats).” The research paper is in the current issue of Biodiversity, Journal Of Life On Earth, a quarterly, international publication. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060325.BCSPECIES25/TPStory/National

5) VANCOUVER ISLAND – About 75 per cent of the original productive old-growth forest on Vancouver Island has already been logged, according to a new study by the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and the Sierra Club. The study is based on Landsat satellite photos taken in 2004 and is the first such analysis in 12 years. The results surprised the wilderness committee, said campaign director Ken Wu. “We didn’t think that much had already been taken away,” Wu said in an interview this week. “The last time a study was done, by the Sierra Club in 1994, we thought we had one-third [old-growth] left. Now we’re down to one-fourth.” The results have prompted the wilderness committee to call for immediate old-growth logging closures in the Island’s most endangered forests where the least old-growth remains. It is also calling for five- and 10-year phase-outs of old-growth logging in all other forests, depending on the ecosystem. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/index.html http://www.kvnews.com/articles/2006/03/24/news/news01.txt

6) Lake Cowichan town council is taking the “primary private forest land owner” to task for logging close to town starting at 5 a.m., seven days a week. Mayor Jack Peake brought the issue up at last week’s council meeting. “I have a great concern for the disruption of the quiet, peace, rest and enjoyment of the neighbourhood and the comfort and convenience of individuals in the vicinity when the noise of logging starts at 5 a.m.,” Peake. “I am also very concerned for the safety and well being of the workers who must put in these shifts and whose lives are being seriously affected by these changes in harvesting practices.” Steve Lorimer of TimberWest said he had a brief conversation with Peake, in passing, and he is aware of the concern. “I have talked to the contractor about trying to address the concerns,” said Lorimer. “We have also left some buffers near town, although that doesn’t necessarily address the noise concerns.” http://www.cowichannewsleader.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=9&cat=43&id=616010&more=

7) A long-time logger I know once quipped that “greed and stupidity make a lethal cocktail and this industry’s been drinking doubles for a long time.” These words took on new meaning for me recently while touring two radically different forestry operations a half-hour drive’s east of Prince George, near the eastern front of the pine-beetle outbreak now sweeping through the Interior. These days, Prince George is awash in wood. Trucks laden with logs are everywhere. The first site lay just south of the Yellowhead Highway, off a logging road covered in fresh snow. Driving up the crystalline corridor where a moose had cut a fresh trail earlier that morning, small-scale logger Dave Jorgenson pointed to a thick stand of towering trees. “That’s what I logged.” Down a thin skid trail, Jorgenson stopped to explain how he had taken roughly 1,000 trees out of this forest, 95 per cent of them killed earlier by beetles. The fruit of that labor now lay by the logging road in neat rows beside Jorgenson’s idled green forwarder. However, he wasn’t so much interested in what he’d logged as what he’d left behind. Following logging, three-quarters of the trees remained untouched, many of them tall, commercially prized spruce. And climbing up out of the shade rose other young spruce and balsam trees. After driving five minutes east, we veered north into a clearcut that branched in so many directions it defied description. Jorgenson reckoned at least 50,000 trees had come down in this now-barren landscape, enough wood to build a major subdivision. All the trees here were allegedly “salvaged” to extract economic value before the “pine beetle-attacked” trees lost their use for lumber or pulp. The trouble was many of the trees were perfectly healthy spruce trees. Greed had trumped common sense. As we passed by a long deck of stacked logs, all of them spruce, not a pine among them, he shook his head. “If they’re logging a spruce tree right now, that’s a pine tree they’re not logging. And 10 to 15 years down the road when that pine tree is rotting, there won’t be that spruce tree either.” If all the forests those marauding beetles are attacking these days were homogenous tracts of pine trees, then the massive salvage logging operation now underway on public lands might make sense. But as work by scientists with the Canadian Forest Service, B.C.’s Ministry of Forests and the University of Northern British Columbia is showing, just over one-quarter of forests attacked by the pests are comprised of trees that are 80 per cent or more pine. This means the vast majority of stands now being salvage logged have some pine in them but are also comprised of other trees, like spruce in the north and fir in the south. In fact, in many attacked stands almost all the trees are non-pine, while in others a significant minority of trees are non-pine and perfectly healthy. http://www.quesnelobserver.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=27&cat=48&id=615376&more=


8) The wonderful old oak is a “heritage tree,” protected by state law. These days, if developers decide they want to build around it, they have to think ahead — make sure it would never need to be cut down, no matter what. But, in fact, developers built around the tree years ago, and they didn’t think ahead far enough. And it became a safety hazard. It grew so much that firetrucks couldn’t get past it if they needed to go down the street. And so, much as he hated to, he had to issue a removal permit, said Scott Hennessy, who recently retired as director of the Planning and Building Inspection Department for Monterey County. And before he even did it, he knew he’d get calls. Hennessy used to head the local chapter of the Sierra Club. And he still appreciates those who take what he called “a purist standpoint,” although the feelings may not be mutual. “They think I’ve gone over to the dark side,” he said. But he sees himself as just being practical. “If you’re always for the animals and against the people, you end up devaluing your cause. If you don’t engage in a real way in the decision-making process… you lose credibility.” His work now is essentially a search for balance and compromise. “The role of county government isn’t to stop development,” he said. “It’s to provide orderly, thoughtful, reasonable development. We have to deal with the fact that the county has a birth rate, that we need to provide housing.” http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/14191272.htm


9) BOISE, Idaho — Last year’s limited wildfire season may be bad news for commercial mushroom hunters in the Northwest, but hobbyists are already salivating at the thought of spring morels. “Commercial hunters follow the burns, because at peak season they can make $1,000 a day,” said Orson Miller Jr., a prominent mycologist who lives in McCall in central Idaho. “They’ll probably be in other states this year.” However, pothunters – hobbyists who collect enough of the wild mushrooms for dinner and perhaps some extras for drying – will likely be in luck, Miller said. “This year looks particularly good because we got quite a bit of moisture in the soil before the freeze up last fall, and that really gives the morels a chance to grow,” Miller said. “For mushroom hunting in general, this should be a good year because the commercial picking may be concentrated to a few very small burn areas,” said Genille Steiner with the Southern Idaho Mycological Association. “The problem with commercial mushroom hunters is they pick and rake everything, and then they just throw what they don’t want away. It doesn’t look very good, especially when you pull into a campground and you see these huge piles of mushrooms just rotting.” http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420AP_ID_Mushroom_Hunting.html


10) “We send jack pine seeds to the Grayling area to provide habitat for the endangered Kirtland’s warbler.” The birds nest on the ground under the living branches of small trees, preferring jack pines between 5 and 20 years old. Over the years, the DNR has designated 150,000 acres of managed jack pine forest which it reseeds on a rotating basis to keep a steady supply of trees to shelter the warblers’ nests, said Knapp, 59, who has worked for the state DNR’s Forest Management Division for 33 years. http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/base/news-17/1143474242127220.xml&coll=2&thispage=2

New Hampshire:

11) Under the final plan, 47 percent of the nearly 800,000-acre forest can be used for campgrounds, trails, ski areas, snowmobiles and other high-impact activities. “Dispersed recreation,” such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and hiking will be allowed in the rest of the forest. The plan restricts ATV use to designated winter trails and open roads. ATV groups had been pushing for summer trails, but the state’s recent decision to develop a year-round, 7,000-acre ATV park on neighboring land in Berlin gives them an alternative, said Alexis Jackson, spokeswoman for the national forest. The plan also calls for setting aside 34,500 acres as wilderness that cannot be developed in any way, in addition to 114,000 acres already under wilderness protection. That part of the plan must be approved by Congress. Conservation groups had hoped to see as much as 100,000 additional acres designated as wilderness. But Jack Savage, spokesman for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, said that overall, the new plan is a good one. The amount of timber that can be harvested each year was reduced from 35 million board feet in the 1986 plan to 24 million board feet in the current plan, but officials said the new figure is closer to what is actually being harvested now. Logging interests had wanted to keep the higher limit. http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060327/REPOSITORY/60327002/1030


12) Of all of the 400,000 acres in the Green Mountain National Forest, Paul Brewster’s favorite spot is in the White Rocks National Recreation Area in Wallingford, south of Rutland. He’s hiked to a perch among the limestone rocks often with his family, and he says it’s there that he can see what is so beautiful about Vermont. “They call it, ‘the Valley of Vermont,'” Brewster said in a recent interview as he prepared to finish packing up his office as forest supervisor at the Green Mountain National Forest, based in Rutland. “It’s as everyone thinks of Vermont – the pastoral and the forest. There are falcons up there.” Brewster is leaving Vermont for Alaska this month. Brewster, 51, has been the top guy at Vermont’s swath of the national forest for the past seven years, and he’s leaving for the No. 2 job for the U.S. Forest Service in Alaska, where he worked earlier in his career with the Forest Service. Brewster will be deputy regional forester, in charge of resources. He’s heading toward the Forest Service’s crown jewel: the 17 million acre Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Brewster’s own seven-year tenure in Vermont has been marked by controversy surrounding a new management plan for the Green Mountain National Forest. Another major source of conflict is a three-year ban on logging because of concerns that habitat of the Indiana bat, a federally protected species, could be adversely affected. The government launched an extensive series of studies and field surveys, and found that the small bat was found in many more locations of the forest and the state than originally thought. Forest Watch, along with other environmental groups such as the Conservation Law Foundation, Friends of Wildlife and the Vermont Natural Resources Council, sued the Forest Service over several logging projects, most notably the Old Joe project in Rochester, and the Lamb Brook project in Readsboro-Searsburg. In both cases, the environmental groups prevailed in the federal appeals court.
“The Forest Service has two types of leaders: those who promote the interests of wild nature and future generations, and those who promote the interests of the agency. I hope for Alaska’s and the nation’s sake, that Paul’s years in Vermont have helped him become the first type of leader. I wish him well,” said James Northup, executive director of Forest Watch, an environmental group that has bird-dogged the Forest Service’s every step in Vermont for the past decade. Brewster came back from his new post in Alaska last week to introduce the final Forest Plan and its accompanying Environmental Impact Statement. http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060326/NEWS/603260301/1014

13) Few debates stir Vermonters more than the ones that deal with publicly owned lands. There is a deep sense of pride and ownership of these lands, and that can cause clashes between interest groups — as we saw last week with the negative response to the Green Mountain National Forest plan. Or it can create a sense of community and a commitment to stewardship. That is the goal of the Vermont Town Forest Project, a statewide forest conservation effort led by the Northern Forest Alliance, a coalition of conservation, recreation, and forestry organizations in Vermont and neighboring states. There are about 120 communities in Vermont that have town forests, but many people have never set foot in them. They should. The Vermont Town Forest Project can help connect residents with the woods — and with their communities as they become involved in the conservation and management of their publicly owned forests. Recently the Town Forest Project won support through a national grant that will allow the Northern Forest Alliance and its private and public partners to work with pilot towns in or adjacent to the Green Mountain National Forest. There will also be celebrations of the resource, a town forest statement and traveling photo exhibit with the hope that people will be encouraged to become active stewards. As with a pilot project in Stowe, young people will interview town elders about the woods, and the information will be compiled into a kind of forest manifesto. http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060327/OPINION/603270317/1006&theme=


14) A Venango County judge ordered The Venango Park and Natural Resources Authority Friday to provide its forest management plan and related documents to plaintiffs in a class action suit. The authority has until Thursday, April 13 to produce the documents, according to President Judge H. William White. On Monday, the authority advertised in local newspapers for bids for timbering at the park. A day later, Hadley, whose clients have filed three lawsuits against the park operators, filed court documents seeking further information about the possible timbering activity. That lawsuit charges that some park operations – including timbering and oil and gas activities and the gate and access fees – are in violation of the state constitution, which “limits and binds the power of government in its use of public lands,” and/or the terms of the deeds granting the land for the park. The emergency motion filed Tuesday is seeking to expedite the release of the requested documents. While attorney Jim Greenfield, representing the operators of Two Mile Run County Park, agreed with the request to provide the documents, he did not agree with the circumstances under which they were requested, he told White. Greenfield accused the plaintiffs of trying to “choke off” the authority by preventing it from making money. White agreed, however, that the documents should be produced. Once a cut is made, it is permanent, he said. “That’s significant,” White said. http://www.thederrick.com/stories/03252006-6104.shtml

15) Across the 2,000-square-mile region known as the Poconos, there exists a varied quilt of natural communities, five of which have been described in this series so far: mixed oak forest, northern hardwood, barrens, hemlock ravine and boreal bog. The presence of each of these communities depends upon environmental variables such as elevation, exposure to sunlight, moisture, steep slopes, soil quality and the influence of fire and glaciation. As these conditions change across the landscape, so do the natural communities adapted to them. There is one distinctive natural community in our region that is much more limited in distribution than the others. To experience it, a hike or canoe (or kayak) trip along the Delaware River is necessary. Most often, however, the dominant trees of this river floodplain forest are confined to a narrow, level strip along both sides of the river and are found hardly anywhere else in the Poconos. This results in the distinctive nature of this community. Giant sycamore trees spread their huge limbs above the moist, rich, deep floodplain soils. Sycamore is the largest deciduous tree (in circumference) in the eastern United States, with exceptional specimens measuring well over 25 feet around their lower trunks. Their beautiful, creamy-white bark that flakes off in big patches makes these trees even more noticeable. Almost as big as sycamore is the maple that typifies the floodplain —silver maple. Its lacy, deeply indented leaves show off silvery-white undersides when blowing in the wind. The only place in the Poconos where some big American elms still grow is this floodplain forest. These elms possess swollen, fluted bases like cypress trees in southern swamps. Elm’s closest relative, hackberry, is also restricted to the floodplain in the Poconos, where its warty, cork-ridged bark makes it easy to recognize. Other trees, such as red oak, white ash and sugar maple, that are more characteristic of previously discussed natural communities, are also commonly found along the river, and sometimes reach huge dimensions. The fertile banks of the Delaware provide ideal habitat for spring wildflowers before the canopy closes in May. May apple, wild geranium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, yellow violets, bloodroot, trout lily and many other colorful flowers can be seen in late April and May. Ferns are also abundant and diverse, with the giant, feather-shaped fronds of ostrich fern being the most distinctive. http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060326/NEWS01/60324008

North Carolina:

16) ST. STEPHEN – Dense forests around a popular boat landing, swamps packed with a dizzying number of plants, woods thick with deer and woodpeckers – all could be put on the auction block under the Bush administration’s controversial plan to sell public forest land. Last month, administration leaders proposed a plan to unload 307,000 acres of National Forest in 32 states, including roughly 1,100 acres in the Francis Marion National Forest. Forest Service officials described the land as “isolated parcels with no important scenic, wilderness or recreational values.” But a closer look at the land in the Francis Marion might suggest otherwise. When John Brubaker, president of the South Carolina Native Plant Society, surveyed a 121-acre plot near Macedonia last week, he counted roughly 100 species of plants, including herbs, grasses and sedges “typical of the highest quality rich, swamp forest.” Brubaker also spotted tall longleaf pines, some nearly old enough to attract red-cockaded woodpeckers, an endangered species that lives in mature longleaf forests. “There is no justification for selling this parcel,” he said. http://www.charleston.net/stories/?newsID=77857&section=localnews


17) You are invited to attend American Lands’ annual Forest Protection Week in Washington, DC, May 21 – 26, 2006. With the Walden-Baird logging bill moving through the House Resources and Agriculture Committees and an expected floor vote in the House this Spring, American Lands is organizing a Congressional education week to bring forest advocates to Washington, DC to educate Members of Congress and their staff about the important role natural disturbance plays on our forests and the detrimental impacts caused by logging after these natural events. We will also address other timely national forest issues. This is also an opportunity to educate your entire Congressional delegation about what is at stake on your forest and in your region: including federal lands for sale under the new Bush administration’s proposal to fund the Secure Rural Schools Act, threats to roadless, old growth, and endangered species. If you have examples of successful forest restoration projects and community protection projects, please be prepared to talk about those examples as well. Your Congressional representatives need to hear directly from you about the importance of our national forests and how their decisions can impact our natural heritage for better or for worse for years to come. You can make a big difference by coming to Washington. Members of Congress want to hear from their constituents! In addition, you will gain valuable experience and contacts with key lawmakers that could prove beneficial in future efforts. http://www.americanlands.org


18) Logging in the Minaki area of northwestern Ontario will stop at the start of April. The move comes after a group of Winnipeg cottage owners challenged Weyerhaeuser’s plan for an area known as the Kenora Forest. The Minaki Cottagers Association has asked the Environment Ministry for environmental assessments on portions of Weyerhaeuser’s plan for the area. The cottagers claim the company’s plan is a dramatic departure from previous activity in the area and the company didn’t consult them. They say Weyerhaeuser wants to clear cut huge tracts of land that would be clearly visible from the water’s edge. An Environment Ministry official says Weyerhaeuser will not be allowed to log in the Minaki area until the environmental assessments are completed. http://www.tbsource.com/Localnews/index.asp?cid=81565

19) 2,500 square miles of forests, lakes and rivers north of Kenora, Ontario have sustained the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation for thousands of years. Now logging companies, Weyerhaeuser and Abitibi, are driving a wave of destructive logging that threatens to uproot their traditional way of life. Grassy Narrows needs your help! On December 2nd, 2002, Grassy Narrows established a blockade on a logging road in their territory, sparking the longest standing and highest profile indigenous logging blockade in Canadian history. Three years later, logging is still taking place on remote sections of their land where the community does not have the resources to block all of the logging roads in their territory. Weyerhaeuser and Abitibi refuse to stop the logging, leave the land and respect the community’s right to self-determiniation within their traditional territory. Please sign the petition to pledge your support to the Grassy Narrows First Nation’s struggle to stop Weyerhaeuser and Abitibi from logging without their consent on their land, and secure the right to self-determination within their traditional territory. http://www.FreeGrassy.org


20) GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Large populations of endangered plants and animals flourish inside this training area where bullets and bombs keep them safe from humans, and the forest meisters are their guardians. The U.S. training area in the heart of Europe encompasses more than 140 square miles of land, forests, a large stretch of the Frankenhöhe River and numerous wetlands, lakes and streams. More than 50 villages and hundreds of farms were displaced when the training area was created in 1906; in the century that has passed, nature has reclaimed parts of the land, allowing rare species to thrive. German Forestry Director for Grafenwöhr Ulrich Mausake, 48, is the green-lederhosen-wearing woodsman who has cared for the wildlife here since 1995. He oversees 13 forest meisters (forestry officers), seven administration staff and 34 loggers who work in the training area, which is off-limits to most nonmilitary personnel. “Grafenwöhr is one of the best-kept nature areas in Germany. There are hundreds of species that are on the red list of animals and plants for Germany and Europe,” Mausake said. Wetland forests, which have vanished from most of Germany, grow at Grafenwöhr. To protect those areas, they have been placed off-limits to soldiers and vehicles, Mausake said. And certain species flourish in a war-zone. For example, there are rare plants that only grow in bomb craters on the range. “The forest is not run like a commercial forest. With commercial forests you try to make money. Here our forest has the purpose to mitigate noise and dust and provide an environment for training. Forest management costs 3 million euros a year and income from sales of timber and hunting licenses brings in only about 2 million euros,” Mausake said. About 1,500 deer are shot here each year by hunters who pay thousands of euros for the right to shoot prime stags. Last year a 17-point, 440-pound red deer — the best in Germany — was shot in the training area by a German CEO, Mausake said. Grafenwöhr is divided into nine districts, each watched over by a forest meister who lives off-post, just outside his area. The forest meisters start work at each day at 5:30 a.m. and supervise logging gangs, develop cutting plans for their sectors, mark trees to be cut, meet range control staff to plan for exercises, care for wounded game, escort hunting guests and help fight range fires. http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=36047


21) KAMPALA– Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called for the public awareness of the declining forest in the country, a State House statement said Saturday. Museveni said on the National Tree Planting Day Friday that due to rampant deforestation, some areas have been hit by storms and hurricanes with property having been destroyed and people having been killed because there are no wind breakers. He called on the local community to take every tree as a factory that provides either fruits, timber, firewood and other basic necessities. The president also asked the community not to regard investors and their projects as a problem but as providers of employment andcustomers for their produce. He also suggested the government ministries should convince people of the importance of trees and encourage them to participate in tree planting. He promised that the government will provide tree seedlings to people, who are interested in growing trees, as a measure to improve their diet and incomes. Kahinda Otafiire, minister of water, lands and environment, said there is dire need to increase tree coverage, which now stands at 21 percent, in order to reverse the adverse effects of global warming.The minister appealed to the Land Commission to cooperate with his ministry to secure land for investors especially those that are interested in forest preservation and tree planting. The National Forestry Authority has revealed a plan to establish 1,000 hectares per year of about one million trees over the next three years. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-03/26/content_4345378.htm


22) The ban, which was officially effected in March 2000 by then President Moi after an outcry over the destruction of indigenous forests,has been a sensitive subject even as its effects continue to be counter-productive. The illegal excisions to create settlements had led to the loss of 60,000 hectares of indigenous forests and 40,000 ha of forest plantations. “The ban should now be lifted since it is illogical to have forest plantations and not utilise them,” says the chairman of the Friends of Mau Watershed, Mr Richard Muir, who argues that the situation has improved a lot since 1999. Having reached the optimum growth, he says, most plantation forests are now going to waste. The ban was necessistated by the receding forest cover of plantation and indigenous and forests – at the time less than three per cent of the recommended 10 per cent – brought about by a chaotic period of wanton destruction through logging, settlement of both landed and landless people in water-catchment areas and the eviction of resident workers and saw millers from the forests. The idea to suspend wood harvesting was plausible from whichever angle one looked at it since the felling of trees was not being matched by the replanting. The gap was so big that the backlog of bare forest land was estimated at 46,000 ha. Currently, the gazetted forest cover is 1.7 million hectares and only 120,000 hectares of these are forest plantations producing softwood like cypress and pine for industrial purposes. The other is indigenous forest. But now, conservation groups, timber dealers and international stakeholders in environmental conservation say the ban should be lifted because timber shortage is so acute that to meet the country’s need, we have to replenish it through the Sh7 billion imports annually. The backlog of bare forest land has also improved with the gap closing in at 20,000 ha. Mr Muir, a private large scale forest plantation farmer, says there is no longer any justification of the ban on logging of over-mature and mature plantations which are now estimated to be 40,000 ha around the country. In addition, out of the 62,000 ha of young plantations there are nearly 18,000 ha of forest plantations between 10 and 22 years due for commercial thinning in the coming five-year period. “These materials should be sold to earn revenue for the Government. The revenue realised should assist in replanting the backlogs and rehabilitating degraded natural forest areas,” says the KFWG. http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=39&newsid=69844

South Africa:

23) The farmer, Madam Amma Boahemaa, 50, is therefore demanding compensation from the ECG, the contractor engaged on the project and the Adansi South district assembly. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency about the injustice being meted out to her, Madam Boahemaa said she was not even informed that some of her cocoa trees would be cut down to pave the way for the extension of electricity through her farm to the communities. All she saw was that the contractor working on the project had unilaterally entered her farm and cut down the trees and erected the poles that will carry the low tension cables to the communities. In spite of the fact that she had not been paid compensation for the cocoa trees destroyed, the contractor, Madam Boahemaa said, again entered the farm recently and felled a big tree which destroyed a number of her cocoa trees without informing her. She said whereas the ECG and the contractor sought permission from the Forestry Commission (FC) before cutting down some trees in the forest reserve near her farm for the project, the ECG and the contractor brazenly destroyed her cocoa trees on her farm without any notification let alone talk about compensation. Madam Boahemaa has therefore, called on the government to compensate her for the destruction of her cocoa trees claiming that the destruction of the trees had affected her income from the farm since the farm was her only source of livelihood. When contacted, Mr Francis Dorpenyoh, the Adansi South District Chief Executive said he had been informed about the case and promised to invite the parties involved for an amicable settlement. http://www.andnetwork.com/app?service=direct/1/Home/$StorySummary$0.$DirectLink$2&sp=l26340


24) Staff members of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank launched their web-based private sector guide to biodiversity at the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Curitiba, Brazil. Asserting that “emerging markets hold the majority of the world’s significant biodiversity” assets, the stated aim of the guide is to “help businesses understand how they can manage the business risks from biodiversity issues”. However, a closer look at the IFC’s lending policy on biodiversity reveals a number of shortcomings, not least for its failure to align itself adequately to the Convention. For all of its glossy veneer, the IFC continues to fund projects in a variety of sectors with serious adverse global and local implications for biodiversity and environmental sustainability, most notably in logging, mining, pulp and paper, agricultural monoculture and large hydro. In June 2004, the IFC gave a loan of $30 million to the Amaggi soy expansion project in the Brazilian Amazon. The Amaggi Group, owned by Blairo Maggi, governor of the Brazilian state of Matto Grosso, is one of the largest soy exporters in the world and a major contributor to the destruction of the Amazon. Roberto Smeraldi, from Friends of the Earth Brazil pointed out, “In 2005, the area where IFC financed Amaggi soybean expansion in eastern Mato Grosso was the area with the highest rate of deforestation in the whole of the Amazon, increasing by 34 per cent in a year in which overall rates of deforestation rate actually fell 29 per cent. It is also home to the single most threatened type of transition forest.” The IFC also recently made known its intention to increase lending for extractive projects, in direct contrast to the Bank’s stated leadership role in creating an investment framework for clean energy and tackling climate change, as agreed at the G8 summit in July 2005. http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/article.shtml?cmd%5B126%5D=x-126-531506

25) Minutes of silence pass, enough to honor all the martyrs to Brazil’s land struggles, as he rolls a cigarette and mulls his next utterance—or decides perhaps to remain silent after all. But once he gets talking, the gruff old farmer sounds like a socio-environmental visionary. “Our concern here, I call it my doctrine, is to maintain the forest, especially the pine trees,” he finally offers. “It was once like this all the way to Argentina,” says Luiz Backes, motioning without flair to the greenery beyond his front porch. The landscape features sundry specimens of the flat-topped Paraná pine, or candelabra tree; its tall, straight trunk can sometimes soar up to 50 meters as the slightly upwardly-curved branches spread on high. Only five percent of the original pine forests remain, according to Brazilian government figures. Most of the pines were logged during the 20th century. “They let the special interests tear down the forest,” says Backes. Long before it became fashionable to wed the interests of the environment to those of the poor, the members of the little community of Santa Cruz dos Pinhais had established a de facto barrier to logging by defending their homesteading rights as small subsistence farmers against first one lumber company, then another. Today they face a new set of challenges, including one from a neighboring indigenous group that seeks to expand its nearby reservation. Some folks did indeed pack up and leave: the number of families dropped from 70 in the late 1960s to today’s 37. “A big helping of persecution,” says Faustino Cardoso, a long-time community leader. “It got pretty insecure no matter where you were. That was one heck of a time.” Adds another old-timer, neighbor Antenor Cardoso: “We couldn’t rest peacefully at night.” reservation. Distrustful Luiz Backes and his neighbors show no signs of giving up. Last year Santa Cruz dos Pinhais finally received electrical service. A community task force is working to develop infrastructure for ecotourists keen to visit the forest and the waterfalls and caves hidden within. But residents still await the management plan for the reserve, which will help determine land use policies, and—just as in 1965—the formal recognition of their landholdings. “Lots of people tell me it isn’t worth it, that so-and-so has money and will dig a hole wherever he wants,” he says. “I say he’ll only do that if we aren’t united.” http://americas.irc-online.org/am/3163


26) MUMBAI: Numerous intense fires in the Mizoram and surrounding states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur and along the border with Myanmar have sized the farming community as abnormal dry weather hit them. There has been sharp rise in the slash or burn shifting cultivation during this year. Data from the satellites reveal that there were numerous fires on March 8, 2006. Slash and burn shifting cultivation, or locally known as jhum, is the predominant form of agriculture in the hill tracts of northeast India. Jhum, or jhumming, is a traditional agricultural practice still in use in northeast India and Myanmar and is a way of life for many of the people in the region, Jhum refers to the set of techniques for clearing land through the burning-off of natural vegetation, clearing burnt material and sowing crops. It is a cyclical process, with the land going fallow for several years after a period of cultivation. Since the preferred period for slash and burn is February and March and this generally coincides with the dry and windy months of the year, incidences of fires spreading beyond the boundaries of designated plots into the adjoining forests are not uncommon. http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=121752

27) CALANGUTE— So is he an antique dealer or businessman? According to an affadavit filed by Ingo Grill before the North Goa Sessions Court, contesting his deportation from India, Ingo says he is a businessmealing in antiques. But a Forest department report, inquiring into illegal felling of trees in Assagao, has documented the entire game-play of Ingo in the Assagao saga. The report with Herald shows the nexus between Ingo, Freddy the Saturday Night Bazaar and the Assagao panchayat. Ingo disclaimed association with Freddy’s application, stating to Herald (Nov 13, 2005), “this has nothing to do with me, I am filing an application for a bazaar and that is going to be my bazaar – Ingo’s Saturday Night Bazaar Private Limited’’, the report clearly shows his hand behind the bazaar.


28) The report is based on five years of research by Forest Trends, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy and many other Chinese and regional organizations. In its press statement, CIFOR said that China had become the world’s leading importer of wood from tropical, developing countries, such as Indonesia. China has captured one-third of the global trade in wood furniture over the last 8 years. About 70 percent of all timber that is imported into China is converted into furniture, plywood and other processed products, and then exported. This booming trade, coupled with China’s own domestic growth and demand for paper products, is having a devastating impact on forests globally. “Few consumers realize that the cheap prices they pay are directly linked to the exploitation of some of the poorest people on earth and the destruction of their forests,” said Andy White, lead author of the report. According to the report, imports of forest products from China bound for the United States and EU have increased almost 900 percent since 1998. The United States now accounts for almost 40 percent of all forest product imports – by far the largest destination of Chinese exports. U.S. demand for all products manufactured in China grew by 24 percent between July 2004 and July 2005 alone. The report calls on international governments and the forestry industry to increase transparency and accountability procedures and crack down on corruption and money laundering that drives the illegal business. http://www.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp


29) ) Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Michael Somare has done nothing “sinister or improper” in asking for a logging project to be fast tracked, his forestry minister says. The allegation was aired last week based on a letter Somare wrote to Forestry Minister Patrick Pruaitch. The letter directed the minister to issue a timber permit “without further delay” for a project in East New Britain. The letter has been referred to PNG’s Ombudsman Commission. The commission, however, has declined comment, neither confirming nor denying it is investigating Somare over the letter. Somare’s son, Planning Minister Arthur Somare, Deputy Prime Minister Moi Avei, Health Minister Melchior Pep and Works Minister Gabriel Kapris are all currently under investigation for separate cases of alleged misuse of public funds. Pruaitch this week took out newspaper advertisements defending the prime minister and accusing a journalist for The Australian newspaper of misconstruing the letter and trying to discredit Somare. The minister said the letter was based on a 2004 Cabinet decision relating to a timber permit for the logging company Tzen Niugini. He said due process was being following in the allocation of the permit “as in any other forestry project”. http://www.theage.com.au/news/World/Somare-defended-over-PNG-logging-project/2006/03/21/1142703345070.html

30) JAKARTA, Indonesia — A variety of hardwood threatened in Southeast Asia is showing up in flooring in the United States, where manufacturers, distributors and retailers are failing to ensure the wood’s legal origin, the Environmental Investigation Agency said in a report released Wednesday. Flooring made from merbau, a dark, luxurious red wood found mostly in Indonesia but also elsewhere in Southeast Asia, is being sold in U.S. home improvement stores, according to the nonprofit agency, based in London and Washington. Merbau is mostly found in Papua, an Indonesian province on New Guinea island whose merbau forests have been ravaged by illegal logging. Last year, before a government crackdown, 300,000 cubic meters of merbau logs were being smuggled out of Papua each month, worth about $600 million at retail flooring prices, the Environmental Investigation Agency reported. Indonesia banned all log exports in 2001 in an effort to protect its forests, which suffer the world’s highest deforestation rate. The world’s largest wood flooring company is Armstrong World Industries Inc., a U.S.-based firm that recorded $832 million in worldwide sales of wood flooring in 2004, the agency said. The top four companies in North America and Europe had combined worldwide sales of $1.46 billion in 2004, the latest year for which the organization could obtain statistics. “There is no indication that any of these companies have broken any law — nor is there evidence that they are fully aware of the potential origin of the wood they are supplying,” the report stated. “But our investigations have shown that far from being ‘carefully selected’ or ‘sustainably cut,’ these companies have no idea precisely where most of the merbau wood used in their flooring comes from — nor have they made much effort to find out.” A spokeswoman for Lowe’s Companies Inc., Karen Cobb, said in an e-mail that the firm conducts routine reviews of wood flooring products to ensure compliance with its purchasing policy that timber products be obtained from “well-managed, non-endangered forests.” If a product is found to violate the policy, she said, the company either asks the vendor to find “a more environmentally responsible source” or stops sales. After an October review of its merbau flooring product, Lowe’s decided to “exit the program” and is in the process of doing so, Cobb said. Since 2000, Home Depot has cut “millions of dollars of purchases” from Indonesia because of environmental concerns, Jarvis said. The company continues to buy small amounts of Indonesian meranti hardwood, he said, to have leverage with Indonesian suppliers to ensure that their wood comes from responsibly managed forests. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/21/AR2006032101572.html


31) To accuse those who protest at the escalating destruction of tropical rain-forest, a natural habitat of this planet, and the imminent extinction of much biodiversity, including one of our closest relatives – the orang-utan – of economic sabotage, of being almost terrorists, is an appalling disgrace. In these sensitive times one would have expected much better of a former director-general of a national organisation. He clearly does not realise that tropical rain-forest, exploited sustainably is far more productive economically in the long term than any monoculture. He does not seem to understand the immense value of these forests in reducing flooding and soil erosion, and in preventing the continual destruction of human habitation and their crops. He is clearly not interested in the global role of tropical rain-forest in preventing global warming and in promoting biodiversity, which bring immeasurable benefits to ecological balance and to economics. Tan Sri Dr Yusuf Basiron, and the Malaysian Palm Oil Promotion Council (MPOPC) seem interested only in getting rich quick, whatever the costs! It is irrelevant that palm oil is so much better than any other oil, or that a conservation fund is being generated – especially as it clear that they would not know what to do with it! What is relevant is that these economic saboteurs of the MPOPC show no concern for, or understanding of, the escalating clearance of tropical rain-forest, with the irreplaceable losses and irreversible changes that they are causing. If oil palm is so important, the focus for developing plantations should be on land already cleared. It is unbelievable that MPOPC feels it is necessary to defend such devastating vandalism, especially as they live among this irreplaceable resource, are watching its demise, suffering from the floods, droughts and fires, and still cannot understand the long-term importance of tropical rain-forest or the catastrophic effects of their policies. http://americas.irc-online.org/am/3163

New Zealand:

32) Up to 10 truck-and-trailer loads of logged rimu have been seized by Government officials in an investigation of alleged illegal harvesting in Northern Hawke’s Bay. The seizure was revealed yesterday by Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries indigenous forestry unit manager Rob Miller, although he would not disclose where it had happened, other than it had been “near Wairoa.” The haul of about 200 cubic metres, the biggest ever seized by the unit, was taken under warrant last week and is now in secure storage pending completion of an inquiry. The inquiry could lead to a criminal prosecution, and fines well over the record $56,000 imposed on a Bay of Plenty logger last year. The timber, from trees on privately owned land, was removed with the co-operation of the landowner, as part of what Mr Miller said was a clamp-down on illegal harvesting of native timbers in both the North and South islands. Harvesting of native timbers on private land is permitted under the Forests Act 1949, provided a sustainable forest management plan or permit is approved by the unit. “New Zealand’s remaining indigenous forest is a scarce resource which must be protected,” Mr Miller said. Rimu is a valuable and prized, timber species, which takes more than 200 years to mature, and doesn’t easily regenerate in many forest sites. “Illegal harvesting threatens future of this iconic native tree,” said Mr Miller. In the most significant previous case, last September a man was fined $56,000 in the Tauranga District Court for illegally logging about 100 cubic metres of rimu on privately owned land near Wharekopae, Bay of Plenty. MAF have the authority to hold the seized timber pending the outcome of its investigation, or may sell it and keep the proceeds in trust, also pending the outcome. Mr Miller said the timber seized in northern Hawke’s Bay was valued about $100,000, but had a potential sawn value of $300,000. http://www.hbtoday.co.nz/localsport/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3677722&thesection=localsport&thesubsection=


33) The Australian government should take a lesson from a protester who has stationed himself up a tree in Tasmania’s Styx Valley in a bid to protect the old-growth forest and its animals, the Greens say. Logging protester Peter Firth installed himself atop a eucalypt on Friday morning and is refusing to come down. He says he has enough food and ground support to stay there indefinitely. Mr Firth is seeking protection for two nearby wedge-tailed eagles’ nests. Loggers have set up an exclusion zone around his tree. Greens senator Bob Brown said he took his hat off to Mr Firth, and called on the government to take a leaf from his book. “It’s a very patriotic thing that this young man is doing in the Styx Valley today – lonely, alone, up a great tree defending what should be a part of world heritage,” Senator Brown told reporters. “It’s an absolute heirloom, the valley of the giants, and I take my hat off to him and his small band of supporters out there. “The Australian government should intervene here and make sure that this national heritage … and its wedge-tailed eagles, which are listed on the rare and endangered species list in Canberra, are protected. “It shouldn’t be left to patriotic young Australians like those out there surrounded by logging workers and police at the moment.” http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=93004

Comments (1)

libbyMay 23rd, 2011 at 9:29 pm

not helpfull im 9 i need it in before friday=(

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