091OEC’s This Week in Trees

This week we have 39 news items from: Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Colorado, Missouri, Arkansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Southeast US, USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Indonesia, and World-wide.

Alaska:

1) Some Panhandle historians and economists who have read drafts of Jim Mackovjak’s 540-page manuscript – which he is now trying to publish as a reference book – say it is a revelation. “I learned a lot, and unlearned some stuff that wasn’t true,” said Joe Mehrkens, a retired Forest Service timber economist living in Juneau. The heart of Mackovjak’s new manuscript is a period running from 1804 to 1960, when the forest was still bustling with axes and cross saws. Chainsaws came in use into the 1940s. His account ends just as two large pulp mills in Sitka and Ketchikan become the dominant logging operations in the Panhandle. A major thread of the book, and one that is particularly eye-opening, Mehrkens said, is the 50-year-plus effort by the U.S. Forest Service to woo the pulp industry into Southeast Alaska. As early as 1921, the Forest Service sent 850 firms around the nation a bulletin describing the potential large offerings of pulp wood on the Tongass, Mackovjak writes in his manuscript. Dozens of pulp mill ventures were proposed in the ensuing years, and Mackovjak catalogues them in the book. Most fizzled out before a single tree was logged. Just south of Juneau, at Port Snettisham, a group of mining and hydroelectric investors financed the first pulp mill in Alaska. The plant started operations in 1921 and employed 60 men. Unfortunately, it produced an expensive grade of wood pulp that could not generate a profit. The company failed after a couple of years. A major resource for his book was a vast historical collection of timber industry periodicals maintained at the University of Oregon in Eugene. In recent years, the Mackovjaks have been living part of the year in Eugene, where two of their children are in school. “I had to go through (old periodicals) page by page. They didn’t even have a table of contents … . It was like a treasure hunt,” Mackovjak said. The manuscript is now under review by the Forest History Society, based at Duke University in North Carolina. Steve Anderson, the president of the educational nonprofit, said he plans to assist Mackovjak in some way in publishing a book. http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/050106/loc_20060501007.shtml

British Columbia:

2) The trees the customers are after are the old growth, high-grade wood – the grandfathers of the forest. “Everyone knows what a knot looks like in a piece of wood,” Kemmler said. “These trees don’t have knots. They’re prime.” AFO’s crew climbs the mammoth timber using spikes and ropes, de-limbing the tree until reaching the desired height. Then the tree is topped, leaving a bare pillar protruding from the earth. After repelling back to terra firma, the loggers chainsaw the tree to within millimetres of the timber toppling. Cue the chopper. “We don’t fall the trees,” Kemmler said. “The helicopter flies in and hooks onto the tree, then snaps it off and flies away. “The wood doesn’t touch the ground until it’s at the loading site.” The quality of the wood fetches a high price in the international market, where Sig, a.k.a. the Prez, says a lot of the wood goes. “The logs we produce go to the high-end markets,” Sig said. “It’s some of the best quality wood around and people pay for it. It goes toward things like high-end door frames and windows, but the companies we work for would know better where the wood goes.” Currently the small operation is in the process of controlled expansion, keeping 15 full-time fallers and climbers on staff while hiring up to 35 workers in the peak season. Along with the single-stem cutting, which Sig estimates equals about ten per cent of their timber logged, the company does a specialized type of standing timber protection called wind firming. Wind firming is the process of protecting timber in unstable areas by selectively cutting green limbs to allow wind to flow through the stand. Using a piece of equipment known as the claw, the loggers swing from tree to tree, cutting windows in the branches. “We sometimes stay up all day,” Schmidt said. “We’ve got all our food and all our equipment with us. It’s faster than climbing each tree individually.” Because there are so few old growth trees available for harvest, and wind firming is sporadic, the company also logs traditionally. http://www.cowichannewsleader.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=9&cat=43&id=643442&more=

3) A draft Lillooet Recovery Plan for the communities of the Lillooet Timber Supply Area (TSA) has been forwarded to the District of Lillooet, the individual St’at’imc chiefs and the provincial government for comment and consideration. The Lillooet Recovery Plan was prepared by the forestry committee of District of Lillooet Council. Councillor Dennis Bontron, who represents municipal council on the Forestry Committee, described the draft plan as a “discussion document that will hopefully be viewed as an alternative that hasn’t been looked at before.” Bontron told the News the recovery plan suggests that one, TSA-wide community forest licence be established. That, in turn, would be managed by an independent board of directors representing stakeholders, communities and local First Nations. “It would be a different way of managing things,” Bontron commented. “I don’t think something on this scale has been proposed before. Most of the other community forest licences are for 20,000 cubic metres.” Under this new concept, the government’s 208,000-cubic metre share of the AAC for the Lillooet area would be reallocated to First Nations and communities and divided into two supply blocks. It would create one 138,000 cubic metre supply block for the Lillooet area and one 70,000 cubic metre supply block for Lytton. Source: Bridge River Lillooet News; May 2, 2006

4) The public will likely be baffled by new rules around viewing forest company logging plans, says the B.C. Forest Practices Board. “No member of the public will be able to read (a forest stewardship plan) without a lawyer at their elbow,” FPB chair Bruce Fraser told The Progress yesterday. Western Canada Wilderness Committee director Joe Foy also complained about the new rules, which he says makes it difficult to determine exact locations of cutblocks, and also prevents copying logging plans to study them away from forest company offices. He says public trails are also not shown on some logging plans, and the forest ministry does not keep a record of hiking trails. “If you’re not putting them on your maps, there’s a greater chance of them getting logged over,” Foy says. he Sierra Legal Defence Fund also slammed the way logging plans are being written under the new legislation. “When you give industry the power to write the laws, this is what you get,” says Sierra lawyer Devon Page. “You get vague and unenforceable laws that jeopardize the public interest.” raser says the FPB “strongly supports” the B.C. government’s results-based forestry legislation, but the first 15 stewardship plans reviewed by the board have raised a number of red flags. He says that “critical” objectives in the logging plans are “hedged” and “vague” on geographical locations and how the objectives will be measured. Without that information, he says it will be “difficult for the public to know what is the plan, and also difficult for (government) agencies to monitor and report on whether they are actually living up to their plans.” http://www.theprogress.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=39&cat=23&id=639894&more=

5) VANCOUVER, BC — May 5, 2006 — ForestNewsWire —Over 400 senior forest and paper industry executives, industry analysts, suppliers, and customers will be attending the 19th annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Global Forest and Paper Industry Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, on May 11, 2006. With the theme of Global Sourcing, Local Impacts, the PwC conference brings together thought leaders from the forestry, pulp, paper, wood products and packaging sector. Conference delegates will hear about: 1) The global industry’s financial performance and the opportunity to turn around B.C.’s pulp industry 2) How the industry can learn from Dell’s supply chain successes 3) Why IKEA is a leader in the use of small wood 4) How leading forest and paper companies are meeting the challenges of shifting consumer demands and maintaining financially and environmentally sustainable operations. http://forestnewswire.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=61&Itemid=2

6) There is a jewel hidden at the base of Mt. Arrowsmith. A place so secluded that most people do not know that it exists. Since the last ice age the flow of water known as the Cameron River has cut a deep canyon through the stone ridge many know as ‘the Hump.’ The Cameron Canyon reaches a depth of 250 meters and runs for 6 kilometers between the Cameron logging road mainline and the Alberni Highway at the base of the hump. Last week-end I left behind the massive clear-cut and single species tree farm that makes up the Cameron Valley, with the exception of the old-growth trees of Cathedral Grove, and hiked down into the Cameron Canyon. Between the dense growth of younger trees, most over 150 years old, I came upon the occasional massive old-growth Douglas Fir. Remnant survivors of the fire, the thick bark of these trees had protected these fir trees for six to eight hundred years. Then I saw the first freshly cut stump. I lost count of the rings at six hundred and forty because the growth was so slight towards the outer edge that I could not distinguish between the years. The next day I hiked/climbed down the west face of the Cameron Canyon, where the ‘hump’ falls off into the deep ravine. Steep cliffs are topped by a series of clear-cuts and tree farms ranging in age from 50 years to this winter when Island Timberlands cut down the last of the big trees. I skirted an almost vertical drop down to the Cameron River where I found a very narrow floodplain with rich soil and massive Cedar Trees. Both sides of the river are lined with some of the finest specimens of Western Red Cedar that I have seen in my entire life. They are about two meters in diameter, straight with no spiral, clear with few limbs until the top which reach heights of sixty to eighty meters. Most of the big trees, some growing directly out of the river’s bank, are ribboned and spray-painted for logging by Island Timberlands. Single stem heli-logging involves a faller climbing the tree while cutting off any branches and then the top of the tree with a chainsaw. He then climbs down and cuts the tree from both directions with no wedge cut until there is only a very narrow piece of wood holding the tree. Then he runs for cover as a helicopter grabs the top of the tree with a claw, snaps off the tree trunk, and flies away with the log. This type of logging allows access into the places that have never before been logged and trees are being cut down in the most fragile and sensitive locations. This is not sustainable. After all, how long does it take to grow an eight hundred year old tree? Let the Federal Department of Oceans and Fisheries know that this type of logging on river banks is not acceptable by writing to Minister Loyola Hearn at Min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca For details contact: Jim Sears, Island Timberlands 468-6810

7) How long will the wood last? That is the question of the day right now. Talk about shelf life, talk about looming disaster, talk about very little change; there is lots of talk about the issues of how long the forest will continue to supply the mills and the local economy when the mountain pine beetle has run its course. What is the answer? Well, nobody really knows. You may as well ask “how long is piece of string?” It all depends where and how you look at the forest. As with all predictions, the outcome depends on your assumptions. If you are a woodlot operator, with mixed stands including fir, spruce and deciduous, then you can count on wood supply long after the beetle has killed the pine. Yes, there are other beetles out there which attack fir and spruce, but they can be managed at the small scale. When it comes to the commercial forest things are not simple either. If you take a given stand of trees in a certain valley, it depends on the species mix, the elevation, the rainfall, the age of the trees, the slope and aspect of the growing area.All of these things combine to give a particular group of trees varying resistance to the pine beetle. In some stands the mortality is very high, approaching 100 per cent, while in others the mountain pine beetle will on get half or less of the trees. When you scale up and look at the landscape level of a whole valley or series of valleys, the effects are even more pronounced. Twenty-five years ago the little sticks you see being hauled to the mills in the Chilcotin Cariboo were not even considered useful. Now we take checked, spiral grain, anything down to a three-inch top diameter. On the horizon are pellet plants which take any wood they can find. So, from a utilization point of view, the answer to the question of how long the wood will last keeps getting longer and longer. Just as there are no easy fixes for the mountain pine beetle, there are no easy answers to the time line of wood supply. The best we can do is to look at each area individually, determine how and if it is to be harvested, and, more importantly, decide what we leave for the future. These actions are not easy. They are costly and take time, but in the end, the ways we answer the question “How long will the wood last?” will determine what we do in the forest over the next several years. Long or short, only time will tell how long our string is. http://www.wltribune.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=37&cat=48&id=641764&more=

Washington:

8) In reality, HR4200 [the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act] ignores and distorts a half century of publicly funded research by numerous scientists inside and outside government. For the past decade, I have worked with more than a dozen scientists, including three Oregon State University faculty (forest engineering, forest science, fisheries and wildlife) and others from universities and federal agencies in Idaho, Washington and Montana to write three peer-reviewed synthesis papers that cite more than 100 technical reports and papers. We found overwhelming evidence to conclude that post-fire logging is not an ecosystem restoration tool. Rather, post-fire logging damages forests and associated streams and impedes the natural processes normal to post-disturbance situations. HR4200, not the Donato study, is fundamentally flawed. JAMES R. KARR, Professor, University of Washington, Seattle http://www.oregonlive.com/letters/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/editorial/1146788732211410.xml&coll=7

9) The first alternative is to take no action. The second is to harvest dead or dying trees on 9,432 acres, remove dangerous trees along haul routes and develop recreation and administration sites. The third alternative will remove dangerous trees and salvage harvest primarily dead trees on 4,188 acres where fire effects were severe enough to kill 90 percent of the trees and less than 10 percent of the trees have visible green needles. The plan also proposes reforestation of the salvage units and methods to deal with slash and material resulting from the salvage operation. The project planning area covers about 28,000 acres and is located in Columbia and Garfield Counties. The School Fire, which erupted on Aug. 7, 2005, burned more than 51,000 acres on both public and private lands before being contained. In a release, Monte Fujishin, Pomeroy District Ranger said that comments on the draft statement will be taken through June 12. After review and analysis of comments and other materials, a final impact statement will be issued. Written comments can be sent to Kevin D. Martin, Forest Supervisor, 2517 S.W. Hailey Ave., Pendleton, OR, 97801 or by fax to (541) 278-3730. Comments may be sent via the Internet to: – comments-pacificnorthwest-umatilla@fs.fed.us.

10) TACOMA, Wash. — Developers have had their eye on the patch of Washington State University-owned forest in Western Washington, but before homebuilders could fell a single tree, windstorms and disease beat them to it. Foresters and a specialist discovered this past winter that more than 1,000 trees – some of the Bonney Lake sites tallest – were either blown down or infected with root rot. The sick ones will have to be cut down to stop the spread of disease. The property has been closed to the public since mid-February and that has made some residents suspicious. Laurie Carter, a Bonney Lake resident who sends out an online newsletter, wrote that people have contacted her and asked questions. “Will keeping the forest closed indefinitely make people in this area forget about the forest, clearing the way for development?” she asked. “It is public land and our taxes that support WSU and therefore the forest, right?” People in Bonney Lake are hoping to preserve as much as the forest as possible. Estimates vary on how many trees will be lost, but the number will be less than 10 percent of the forests total, said Mel Taylor of the WSU business affairs office in Pullman. http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0508/p08s02-comv.html

Oregon:

11) PORTLAND – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has formed a 12-member team to develop a recovery plan for the threatened northern spotted owl, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Members represent state and federal agencies and stakeholder groups and people with knowledge of forest management and northern spotted owl biology. A final plan is to be made public by November 2007 after a peer review. Dave Wesley, the service’s Pacific Regions Deputy Director, will lead the team, which is to begin meeting this month. The owl was listed as threatened in 1990 and its critical habitat was designated in 1992, closing off vast tracts of federal forests to logging and plunging some timber-dependent regions into an economic slump.The designation led to an 80 percent cutback on logging in national forests and restrictions on private timberlands. There is no precise estimate of the spotted owl population but some who track it say it is declining at a rate of about 2.4 percent a year. The Northwest Forest Plan was developed in 1994 and has been the cornerstone for conserving the owl on 24.4 million acres of federal land in Oregon, Washington and California. http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/14503021.htm

12) The Sweet Home District of the Willamette National Forest has been planning the South Pyramid timber sale for 7 years now, and they still can’t get it right. To date, they have produced, decided on, and withdrawn two Environmental Assessments (EA). Now its a trilogy. We now have the opportunity to comment on the third EA for the South Pyramid timber sale. In the heart of the Old Cascades, an area known for its diversity of forests and meadows, the 4100-acre Three Pyramids roadless area is a gem featured in many hiking guides. Located just east of the Middle Santiam Wilderness near checkerboard industry land that has seen decades of industrial logging and road building, this area is one of the last blocks of forest habitat left in the area that can provide clean drinking water and wildlife habitat. The South Pyramid timber sale would whittle at the southeastern corner of the roadless area. While no new roads are planned within the roadless area, seven units totaling over 100 acres of mature and old-growth forests suitable for Wilderness designation will be aggressively logged. One of the units will cut trees 100 feet from the South Pyramid Creek trail, which provides a hiking corridor between the North and Middle Pyramid trail and the Middle Santiam Wilderness. Take Action! Help Protect the last remaining large block of unprotected pristine forest in the Middle Santiam Watershed! Send Comments this week (deadline is May 4th) to: Mike Rassbach, Sweet Home District Ranger 3225 Highway 20 Sweet Home, OR 97386 E-Mail: comments-pacificnorthwest-willamette-sweethome@fs.fed.us FAX: 541-367-5506 Talking Points: 1) Logging in roadless areas and clear-cutting native forests are out-dated and unacceptable uses of agency resources 2) The alternatives proposed in the EA don’t offer an environmentally sound choice. Please develop and implement an alternative that does not have such high environmental impacts to wildlife habitat. 3) Focus your efforts on restoring diversity to the thousands of acres of even-aged stands in the Sweet Home District. http://www.cascwild.org/southpyramid.html

13) WASHINGTON – Noting the devastating loss of livelihood suffered in rural Oregon, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) pressed Interior Secretary nominee Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho Thursday on the need for a forest recovery plan that returns family wage jobs and revenue to communities impacted by the loss of timber receipts due to federal protection of the spotted owl. “These communities have suffered devastating losses to their livelihood, to their survival,” Smith told Kempthorne. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for the recovery of the spotted owl and yet sixteen years later we still don’t have a recovery plan for the spotted owl. We need you to have one and we need it fast.” Senator Smith told Kempthorne the county payments safety net is necessary until timber receipts can be returned to county coffers. “Senator Wyden and I are going to fight with all the tools available for us to preserve some safety net. When the federal government owns you and makes commitments and then it changes the deal, the change comes with a cost.” Senator Smith stated a recovery plan for the spotted owl and a forest management plan is critical to the recovery of fire damaged lands and the economic stability of Oregon’s rural counties. Smith also noted the impact the barred owl has had on the spotted owl. http://www.ktvz.com/story.cfm?nav=nwest&storyID=10775

California:

14) SANTA CRUZ – California Department of Forestry managers were cited for cutting down the wrong trees during a chain saw training exercise in the Soquel Demonstration State Forest. As many as 40 trees were cut down by forestry fire-prevention teams, the agency said Thursday. Two local Department of Forestry managers who oversee the forest and the chain saw training classes were cited for violating state forestry laws by mistakenly cutting down the trees without the proper permit. The law calls for a state permit to harvest trees, even for department training courses on state-owned land. The violations may be the first ever handed to the agency’s own employees, CDF spokesman Michael Jarvis said, adding, “CDF must be held to a higher standard than the ones we regulate.” Thomas Sutfin, one of the forest managers cited, said his Soquel office led at least one chain saw training course at the site since February 2005. “This is being treated as an illegal logging case, but for us, it was just a training and didn’t appear that we were violating any laws,” Sutfin said Thursday. Sutfin and chain saw program coordinator Ed Orre could have their forestry licenses revoked and face $10,000 fines. The charges could be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or dropped, Jarvis said. http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/14509490.htm

15) Through a wide range of forest management, from industrial harvesting to less intensive logging to conservation of forest land, significant carbon savings can be achieved, the report said. Wood-burning power plants can also play a major role, consuming wood taken from the forest to reduce the threat of wildfire and by crimping the amount of fossil fuels burned to generate electricity, it read. Such savings could be tradable on a market, a model of which is being tested today, Tuttle said. But only about 50 percent of the 100 or so people present, when asked, said they’d be happy to have more biomass plants in their community. Such an attitude toward logging around Lake Arrowhead changed three years ago when crowded trees hit by drought were infested with bark beetles. They quickly died, creating a fire hazard of incredible proportion. The problem resulted from a “cultural disengagement” from forest management said Pacific Forest Trust President Laurie Wayburn. Long-gone milling infrastructure had to be rebuilt to deal with thinning the dense forest, and many people changed their tune about cutting trees. California is trying to lead the nation by developing the plan for reducing emissions, called for by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last June. The California Environmental Protection Agency and Air Resources Board, the Integrated Waste Management Board, the departments of forestry and water resources, the California Energy Commission and other agencies are tasked with cutting greenhouse gases. http://www.times-standard.com/local/ci_3788675

Montana:

16) AUGUSTA – A Forest Service proposal calls for logging and burning on about 740 acres west of Augusta, to reduce the chance that wildfires would reach cabins and some other structures. The agency is taking public comment on the proposal for the Benchmark area. “None of this is set in stone,” said Russell Owen of the Rocky Mountain Ranger District. The project would take place under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act signed by President Bush. More than half of the land is in the Ford Creek and Mule Creek areas. There, crews would use power saws to thin trees, then burn the wood piles. Commercial thinning of trees would take place on about 145 acres. Other units targeted for work range from 8 acres to 34 acres. Owen said that if the project is approved by the end of the fiscal year, some of the work could start late this fall or early this winter. http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/05/06/news/state/82-logging.txt

17) HELENA — The Ecology Center and the Native Forest Network, two of the groups critical of federal forest management in the Northern Rockies, have merged. Operating jointly as the new WildWest Institute with some 800 members will improve the groups’ effectiveness, Executive Director Matthew Koehler said Wednesday from the organization’s Missoula office. Koehler is one of two staff members and said a third will be on board within a few weeks. A news release said WildWest will be a “leading public lands watchdog in the Northern Rockies,” monitoring nearly 20 national forests. Areas of concern for the group include removal of trees, watershed quality and the future of roadless lands. The Ecology Center was established in 1988 and Native Forest Network in 1992, Koehler said. Both were based in Missoula. Koehler, who was on the Native Forest Network staff, is joined at WildWest Institute by Jeff Juel, who worked for The Ecology Center. In his new role, Juel has the title of ecosystem defense director. The third staff member, Jake Kreilick, has been working for the National Forest Protection Alliance in Missoula and will work for WildWest as restoration coordinator. Koehler said WildWest will draw about 45 percent of its funding from membership fees and events such as auctions, with other money coming from foundations. The funding goal for 2006 is about $140,000, he said. Other resources include people who volunteer expertise in fields such as forest ecology and wildlife biology, he said. http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/05/03/news/state/24-merge.txt

Colorado:

18) SUMMIT COUNTY — National Forest roadless areas around Colorado have been orphaned by the ongoing political wrangling over public land management, their fate uncertain. But that could soon change, as a statewide coalition of conservation groups is encouraging residents and businesses to step up and adopt roadless parcels near their communities, ultimately advocating for their preservation as Colorado’s roadless review task force looks for public input. The coalition is calling itself Citizens for Roadless Area Defense (C-RAD) and has launched a new website focusing on White River National Forest roadless areas at http://www.wrroadless.org.

19) A proposal to conduct salvage logging on about 140 acres that burned in the 2002 Missionary Ridge Fire comes as growing scientific evidence suggests that salvage logging hurts forest recovery. Forest officials plan to log about 500,000 board-feet of timber northeast of Durango in response to timber users who have continued to push to allow logging of Engelmann spruce in the burned area. But 206 scientists from around the nation recently signed a letter to Congress saying that salvage logging, also known as post-disturbance logging, harms forest recovery. They said salvage logging can impede forest regeneration by compacting soils, removing or destroying seeds, damaging riparian corridors, introducing or spreading invasive species, causing erosion, degrading water quality and killing aquatic life. Fort Lewis College biology professor Julie Korb was one of the scientists who signed the letter. In an interview, she said that not all salvage logging is bad. “It really depends on the project,” Korb said. “If you do it with ecology in mind it won’t necessarily have the severe negative consequences as someone who comes in and is just interested in getting the timber out.” The plan for salvage logging on Missionary Ridge targets about 140 acres that lie within a quarter-mile of Burnt Timber Road and Red Rim Road, 15 to 20 miles northeast of Durango. http://durangoherald.com/asp-bin/printable_article_generation.asp?article_path=/news/06/news060506_4.htm

Missouri:

20) “I’d rather they cut both my arms off than see such a treasure sold,” said Corn, 52, the mayor of Seligman, an Ozarks town with a population of 1,000. “I’m not kidding.” Corn is just one of thousands who have told the U.S. Forest Service that they oppose a plan by the Bush administration to sell up to 300,000 acres of public land across the nation, including about 21,000 acres in the Missouri forest, to pay for a popular rural schools program. “If George Bush wants to make 1,000 enemies, all he has to do is sell this land,” said the mayor who is a Democrat and a real estate agent. http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060504/NEWS01/605040377

Arkansas:

21) “If the question of its existence remains unanswered it will continue to range the back country of the mind,” Moser wrote of the ivory-bill, “and those who wish to trail it there can find it in their visions.” “It’s a funny thing about that magazine,” Harrison said to me in the bog. “I cannot tell you how many people I stumble upon out here in the woods, and when we get to talking, I find out that they were inspired by the exact same article.” The greatest search for the ivory-bill was a 1935 expedition led by Arthur Allen, who, like Fitzpatrick, headed the Cornell ornithology lab. As Gallagher relates in his book, Allen and his team ventured into some virgin swamp in Louisiana known as the Singer Tract, owned by the company that bought such forests to make cabinets for its sewing machines. Allen not only saw the bird but also filmed it, photographed it and recorded it. Today, when Cornell scientists play the famous Kent calls in Arkansas hoping to attract the bird, they are playing Allen’s 70-year-old recordings. After the expedition, Allen sent his best student, a young man named James Tanner, down South to spend three years observing the bird. Out of that work came a slim book, still in print, and no ghost-bird chaser is without a dog eared copy. The burden of this noble history is undeniable. “No doubt about it, this is a venerable institution,” Fitzpatrick said, “and one of the things I’m doing is sitting in Arthur Allen’s chair.” But that burden carries much more than the reputation of Cornell University. If the ivory-bill is a story, it is one that reaches deep into America’s most anguished history. After the Civil War, when the South lay in smoldering ruins with no railroad or economy and with federal troops occupying many of those states until 1877, there were no jobs for the freed slaves or the poor whites living on the land. When Reconstruction ended, the Northern timber companies descended. “Some 200 million acres of forest were cut in about 30 or 40 years,” Scott Simon of the Nature Conservancy told me. (At one talk at the festival, a conservationist put up a slide depicting the annihilated “range of the ivory-bill.” It was essentially the Confederacy.) These primeval swamps and old-growth forests had been sheared into flat farmland by the time Allen and his party headed South to visit the last stand of virgin woods. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/07/magazine/07woodpecker.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Ohio:

22) The Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. wants to cut trees from around 10 gas wells and a pipeline inside the forest. It has already cleared 21 acres of land and has the right to permanently remove about 12 percent of the forest, equal to 158 football fields, NBC 4’s Tacoma Newsome reported. The company said it needs to cut down the trees in order to safely maintain the pipeline. The Ohio Environmental Council alleges, however, that the company is just trying to save money. “They want to get out of the burden of having to walk that pipeline and drive that pipeline, inspect it by foot and by vehicle on the ground. Instead, they want to go up in the air and patrol with a helicopter, which will be faster and cheaper for them,” said Jack Shaner, of the Ohio Environmental Council.The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is also concerned. Because of the size of the project, it has called for the Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. to provide a written plan that includes public input. “People don’t want to go camping, they don’t want to go hiking, just to come across a huge opening that was not made by Mother Nature, but was made by the hands of man,” Shaner said. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said the reason why the Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. can move forward with its plans is because it has claims on the land that date back about 100 years, before the state took possession of the land in the park. http://www.nbc4i.com/news/9163944/detail.html

Pennsylvania:

23) Those who visit Linn Run State Park, near Rector, to enjoy its pristine mountain forest scenery might find it hard to believe that when Pennsylvania purchased the land for conservation and recreation, the commonwealth was criticized because the acreage was considered a wasteland in the aftermath of extensive logging. “There are a lot of firsts represented here,” Finger said. “This land purchase in 1909, for $42,000 from Byers-Allen Lumber, was the first for conservation and recreation, and it started a trend. In 1918, the National Park Service was established. “There was a mining and logging revolution around then, for a 10- to 11-year period, and conservation became a state and national government mission; it became important to save land ravaged by logging and fires. Oil development had ravaged the environment in Pennsylvania, too,” he added. “From the 1864 oil boom to around 1890, more oil was spilled on the ground and in rivers than was gathered for use. They used wooden barges, with hundreds of thousands of barrels on them. They’d build dams to ensure there was enough water to float them, then break the dams to move the barges — and only about 20 percent made it.” Another factor propelled the movement. “We were an urban and rural society then — and urban people stayed in the urban areas,” Finger said. Then the educated elite became imbued “with the whole idea of the stress of the urban environment, and it became important to get people out of cities for their psychological as well as physical health, for the benefit of society. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/news/westmoreland/s_449947.html

North Carolina:

24) The media center of the Broad Creek Middle School briefly took on the aspect of a Congressional hearing room as Mr. Rey, flanked by uniformed forest rangers from the Croatan (CROW-uh-tan) National Forest, set about explaining his beleaguered proposal even while emphasizing that it is likely to be revised to make it politically palatable. He told a dubious young audience sitting cross-legged on the floor that the sale was designed to help raise $500 million to $1 billion to pay for rural schools in heavily forested counties like theirs. But he said the amount of land likely to be actually sold to raise the needed money would be cut to nearly half, or 175,000 acres. He said his proposal was designed to meet an obligation that dates back 98 years. When the national forests were carved out by President Theodore Roosevelt, the government promised to repay the counties most affected by the loss of their tax base. The original source of that compensation, timber sales, can no longer meet the obligations, Mr. Rey said. Unless the forest service found other sources of revenue, rural schools mostly in the Pacific Northwest could lose programs in sports, the arts and other activities. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/05/us/05sale.html?_r=1&oref=login

Virginia:

25) ROANOKE – With one final splice Monday, American Electric Power Co. will complete its 16-year project to increase the electricity available to customers in West Virginia and Virginia. A ceremony on a Wythe County farm within sight of five towers will mark completion of the 765-kilovolt transmission line over 90 miles through the mountains of Appalachia. The line will go live by the end of June. With 5 million customers linked to an 11-state transmission grid, Columbus, Ohio-based AEP is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. The $306 million line from Wyoming County, W.Va., to Jacksons Ferry, Va., will close what the U.S. Department of Energy has called the weakest link in the nation’s energy transmission grid. Strong opposition was raised to the project in Virginia and West Virginia, but it ultimately was approved by state and federal regulators. However, AEP made a number of changes to its original proposal for a line that would have been 43 miles longer in Virginia. Power companies used to build in straight lines, Burns noted, but the route for this line ended up quite different. “It zigs, zags, doglegs. Every one of those turns and twists represents an environmental or human concern that was raised,” he said. Only five homes ended up in the right of way, he said. In addition, AEP cut foliage selectively instead of following the former practice of taking down everything growing in the line’s 200-foot-wide corridor. Tall trees were leveled, but crews left smaller ones such as redbuds and dogwoods. However, the scenery in the rugged area has been altered, said David Muhly of the Sierra Club. “You can look up on Big Walker Mountain and see the swath that’s been cut,” he said. The U.S. Forest Service imposed some conditions to allow the company to cut through 11 miles of the Jefferson National Forest that includes the habitat for an endangered bat. To ease the impact on the environment, the Forest Service instructed AEP to use darkened steel for its towers so they would blend in better with surrounding trees. Towers and equipment were brought in by helicopter when the construction crew got to roadless areas of the forest in Bland County. http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/14524364.htm

Southeast US:

26) When the logging business began to die down in the Pacific Northwest beginning in the 1980s, timber companies started looking increasingly to the southeastern United States for the wood pulp it would need to satisfy the rapidly expanding global demand for paper. Today, just two decades later, more logging is conducted in the Southeast than anywhere else in the world and Southeast pulpwood is in three quarters of all paper sold in the U.S. What makes all the logging in the U.S. Southeast so egregious is not so much the sheer amount of wood harvested, but the destruction of biodiversity that the creation of single-species wood plantations in the region has wrought. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in the so-called New World, the Southeast played host to the highest tree species diversity on the continent. But a 2001 study by the U.S. Forest Service found that 40 percent of the region’s formerly diverse native pine forests have been turned into intensively managed single-species pulp plantations designed for maximum yield of wood pulp for making paper. According to esteemed Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, plantation forests are 90 to 95 percent less biologically diverse than natural forests. One problem with this scenario is susceptibility to pests and disease. For instance, the invasive pine bark beetle has thrived across the Southeast as mixed forests have been clear cut and replaced with its favorite delicacy, pulp-friendly loblolly pine. The logging industry has, in turn, used the beetle infestation as an excuse to “salvage-log” much of the timber in the region, including that which has been unaffected by the beetles. The result has been ongoing problems with erosion on forest lands and watershed damage. http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/14756/

USA:

27) “We see people who have started using the forest as their backyard,” said District Ranger Cal Wettstein, the chief ranger in Eagle County. Rick Newton, the Dillon district ranger, said he’s seen hot tubs, swing sets, wells and septic tanks on Forest Service land — all of which are not only illegal but bad for the land. And Cindy Dean, a real estate specialist with the Aspen/Sopris District, said her district constantly deals with missing or moved Forest Service boundary markers. They’ve also seen residents carve their own hiking trails into the land. “We like people to use the forest, but the trails that they build aren’t well engineered,” said Wettstein, who added that shoddily built trails can contribute to erosion. Trails that aren’t professionally built usually aren’t stable, so as people use them, they start to widen and slip downhill. Do they have what it takes? Newcomers to the area and second home-owners are also guilty of not knowing what it takes to live in the mountains, whether it’s disposing of trash to avoid bears or steering clear of delicate elk calving grounds in the spring, said Randy Hampton, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Keeping a barrier between wildlife and people is imperative so wildlife doesn’t become dependent on human food. Animals like bears may become aggressive in their search for people’s leftovers, and when it disappears, they may not know how to forage on their own. “Wetlands, riparian areas and areas by streams are the most fragile,” said Ryan Demmy Bidwell of Colorado Wild. “And high elevations don’t recover as well because of their short growing seasons.” Building in remote areas can also disrupt wildlife, he said. “Development can create a wall through which animals don’t like to move,” he said. Demmy Bidwell said the proposed Ginn Company development in Minturn — which includes a private ski resort, luxury homes and golf course — will act as a detrimental wildlife barrier. http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20060507/NEWS/60502004

Canada:

28) The Pessamit Innu will contest North Shore logging permits issued by the Quebec government to as many as 27 forestry companies, its council chief said yesterday Lawyers representing the band are to be in a Montreal courtroom Monday seeking to nullify permits issued to companies operating in Pessamit territory, Raphael Picard said in an interview. The Innu contend that the Quebec and federal governments failed to engage in a meaningful consultation process with them before issuing logging permits for land claimed by the band, about 140,000 square kilometres, located mostly north of Baie Comeau. Picard, who is to hold a news conference in Quebec City today to discuss the band’s legal recourse against Quebec and Ottawa in connection with the James Bay agreement, said that the band will contest all permits issued this season by Quebec. About 27 companies have harvesting rights on the North Shore territory claimed by the Pessamit, including Abitibi-Consolidated and Kruger. The band has filed a $3.1-billion lawsuit alleging the Quebec and federal governments, as well as the forestry companies, have illegally exploited their resources. The lawsuit is one of two major legal offensives already launched by the Pessamit. The other involves logging rights held by Kruger. On Friday, the Innu suffered a setback on the Kruger front when the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a lower court ruling that had prevented Kruger from logging virgin bor-eal forest on Ile Rene-Levasseur pending the outcome of a hearing over Quebec’s issuance of permits to Kruger. Picard yesterday downplayed the impact of the ruling, saying that the case will be argued on its merits as early as this fall and that Quebec’s appeal court has historically proven “conservative” in the area of constitutional rights. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=fe3b8039-a921-4366-9614-53de84abdabb

29) “Forestry’s a long-term business,” said Mackay, an assistant professor with Universite Laval’s wood and forest sciences department and the lead researcher of the Arborea project. “We’re generating knowledge now to help manage a public resource in the future.” The goal of the Arborea project, which received $11 million in funding this month from Genome Canada ($5.5 million), the Quebec government ($3.5 million) and a variety of federal forestry agencies, is to identify the genes that control the growth and wood quality of white spruce trees. Once that’s done, Mackay said, tools and methods can be developed to identify trees that produce the highest yields and the best-quality wood in the fastest time. The result, he added, would be spruce-filled forests that would grow 10 per cent to 20 per cent faster. “That’s a significant increase,” said Mackay, who heads a project network of some 50 researchers at a half-dozen research facilities across the United States and Canada – including the Innovation Centre at McGill University. “Faster-growing and higher-quality trees will result in more and better products being made from the material.” A species that is well adapted to our northern climate and which grows naturally across the country, the white spruce is also Canada’s most commercially prized tree. Spruces – mostly white, but also black – account for the lion’s share of material used in Canada’s $81.8-billion forest-products industry, which provides more than 375,000 direct jobs. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=b585503a-ca9a-4be2-95b0-ccd23e3ee528

30) There were many wide-eyed people in Muskoka on Thursday as news of Greenpeace’s protest at the Huntsville Kimberly-Clark plant began spreading. The international organization, which is not shy about using civil disobedience to drive its environmental message home, said it targeted the Huntsville plant because it processes tree pulp produced from old growth forests. “This mill is processing pulp that is coming from clear-cut Boreal Forests in Northern Ontario. We do have specific information about where the pulp in this plant is coming from and we have been up to the forest that it is coming from and we’ve seen their logging operations in person,” said Greenpeace organizer Christy Ferguson. She was referring to the logging practices used by those companies that the giant producer of facial tissue products buys its materials from. Greenpeace has been lobbying the purchasing practices of Kimberly-Clark, including its use of 100 per cent virgin tree fibres in household brands such as Cottonelle and Kleenex, for several years. Greenpeace stepped up its campaign on Thursday, which coincided with Kimberly-Clark’s annual general meeting at its Dallas headquarters, where Greenpeace also sent a representative. “I do want to make very clear that we are not against logging and we are not against forestry,” said Ferguson. “A very interesting thing about being here in Huntsville is that there is this Kimberly-Clark mill here that is a very large local employer, but at the same time there are two other mills, Tembec and Domtar. Those are two companies that are both taking positive steps towards making their logging operations more sustainable.” http://www.huntsvilleforester.com/1146673980/

Sweden:

31) The scientists say they have found that the FT gene that was previously shown to control the flowering time of annual plants, also controls tree flowering. The scientists also say they have discovered the same gene not only controls the flowering time of trees, but also the timing of when the trees stop growing and set bud in the fall. Researchers said finding — that the same gene was involved in all the processes — was highly unexpected. The Swedish researchers say their discovery might revolutionize forest tree breeding and can lead to the development of new tree seedlings with a dramatically improved growth and also ‘tailor made’ quality parameters. The findings are published in the international journal Science. http://science.monstersandcritics.com/news/article_1161109.php/Swedes_find_tree_growth_gene

Finland:

32) Prominent among the potential investors in Russian forest products processing are its neighbors the Finns and Chinese. One of the largest investment projects in Russia is the Swedish-Finnish Stora Enso’s East 2010. The company plans to invest capital of €1 billion to build a pulp plant with a capacity of 1 million metric tons per year. The Komi Republic, Perm Region and Kirov Region were considered as sites for the plant. Stora Enso senior vice president Jorma Westlund told the Kommersant Business Guide that no final decision on implementing the East 2010 has been made yet. “We are eagerly waiting for the new Forest Code to come into force,” he explained. “We are working closely with the Ministry of Industry and Energy and other agencies to study investment opportunities, but have not formed our plans yet. http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?id=668096

China:

33) The most promising investors for the Russian pulp and paper industry are Chinese financial groups. The Chinese can cover the deficit in the industry thanks to Eastern Siberian forests. Western forest products companies that had planned to invest in Russia found it expedient to build their new plants in Latin America instead, where there is less risk and greater return. Stora Enso is also negotiating with Chinese authorities in Guangxi Region. The company plans to launch a complex for the manufacture of 1 million tons of chemical-grade and thermomechanical pulp and 1 million tons of paper and cardboard per year by 2010-2012. It intends to expand its eucalyptus plantations in that province from 56,000 to 120,000 hectares by that time to obtain the needed raw material for the new production. The situation is different in Russia’s Eastern neighbor. China has eucalyptus plantations. It also has an acute demand for evergreen pulp. That demand guarantees Russia a stable trading partner and potential investment in forest products processing. A report by the American organization Forest Trends says that about 50 percent of world growth in paper and cardboard production since 1990 has occurred in China. By 2010, Chinese consumption of cellulose will reach 15 million tons. http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?id=668096

34) Dear Ecological Internet network participant, Chinese plans to use ancient rainforest timbers from Indonesia for Olympic construction offer a unique, discrete opportunity to raise the profile of China’s increasing role in rainforest destruction – particulary in Southeast Asia. If you have not already, please immediately take action at: There are other opportunities to ensure this campaign is successful. On the bottom of the alert are links to addresses to contact your local Chinese embassy and Olympic committee with a follow-up letter. And lastly, please get the press release below in the hands of local and national media in your region. This Olympic logging tragedy must be stopped. Please forward this message to grow our network – we simply need more alert participation to be successful. http://www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=olympic_timber

Indonesia:

35) On their first full day of filming, they joined our rescue team and the Conservation Department on a confiscation. The baby orangutan had come from somewhere upriver and was being held in a corrugated iron outdoor lavatory 3 hours’ drive away. She was terrified of everyone, and refused to be held or to eat or drink. But when she arrived at Nyaru Menteng, Lone took her in her arms and brought her to some trees, which she took to straight away. One afternoon, 2 young orangutans arrived by airplane at the local airport, sent in by the rescue centre in Bali, where they had been for a couple of months. As they were still small, we took them out of the transport cages at the cargo centre to hold them on the journey back to Nyaru Menteng. The littlest one, Putut, drank well and sat quietly in the vet’s arms, and the older one was held by his caretaker from the Bali rescue centre. When we got out of the car, the caretaker handed him to me and he clung tightly, suddenly unsure of the change in surroundings. We ventured into the project, and as soon as we were amongst the trees he ripped himself away from me and took off climbing. He was climbing up and down trees with an almost frenzied urgency, using jumping down the last meter or so, then dashing to the next tree to climb that one and so on. And every time he came to the ground, he took a nip or two out of somebody’s ankles. We got him some warm milk and when he took the bottle, he was visibly quaking with over –excitement. He continued with this energy for about an hour, but it was becoming close to bedtime and it was clear he would have to spend the nights in a quarantine cage—he was just too boisterous for anything less. It took 4 people to get him into the cage, but once in, he settled down happily with a rice sack and some leafy branches, and tucked into his evening meal. We had hoped to return Afri to the island, but it seems her throat sac infection has not entirely cleared up. We are also still keeping Rimba, with the same complaint, under observation. Today, Taruna also turned up with a throat sac infection. It has been an extremely wet and long rainy season this year, and the forest is flooded to a depth greater than I have ever seen it. This tends to contribute to a rise in incidents of throat sac infections, colds and flu’s, and fungal infections between toes and fingers, as well as malaria. So some 35-45 orangutans are being treated at any one time for any or all of the above ailments. http://www.savetheorangutan.co.uk

36) Immediately after graduation, Emmy, who was once nominated a Hero of the Planet by Time magazine, joined the Forest Conservation Cooperation Secretariat (Skephi) in 1982 before moving to Walhi in 1985. Due to her outstanding work, Emmy was appointed Walhi’s executive director in 1996, a position she held until 2001. Under her leadership, Walhi sued then President Soeharto for the alleged misuse of forestation funds worth US$183 million. Walhi also once sued mining giant Freeport-McMorran & Cooper for allegedly damaging the environment in Timika, Papua and neglecting the local people there. “Freeport told USAID to stop funding Walhi’s programs. But after listening to our explanation, they continued to fund our programs,” the mother of two girls recalled. Before taking up the job as executive director of Greenpeace South East Asia last October, Emmy was the executive director of the local chapter of the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) for three years. In South East Asia, we deal with four issues: climate change, genetic engineering, toxic waste and forest conservation. In Indonesia, we concentrate on Papua. We believe that forest conservation in the province can be done better than conservation work in other provinces across the country. Why did we chose the forest in Papua? Because the province is home to one of the world’s oldest and most pristine forests. We call it the world’s last surviving paradise forest. There are seven forests in the world which are considered “intact forest land” (IFL) — the Amazon in Brazil, and the forests in the Congo, Papua, Canada, Siberia, Patagonia and Finland. Papua is the biggest IFL after those in the Amazon and the Congo. http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailfeatures.asp?fileid=20060507.C01&irec=2

37) ONE of the world’s poorest and most isolated tribes is pleading with a British company to stop using timber from their home in the rapidly disappearing Borneo jungle. Chiefs of the Penan, Asia’s last nomadic people, have written to the head of the lumber company Jewson Ltd, appealing to him to stop buying wood from the Samling Group, a Malaysian company accused of stealing the Penan’s lands and destroying their forest. “By purchasing Samling timber, you and your company are making yourselves part of the crimes committed against us,” says the letter, arranged by a Swiss NGO, to Peter Hindle, Jewson’s managing director. “The Samling group is extracting timber from our forests against our declared will and without our consent. “Despite our repeated protests, Samling does not respect our boundaries, continues to encroach on our traditional land and disregards our native customary rights.” The headmen of 17 communities on the Baram river in the Malaysian state of Sarawak have signed the letter with their thumb prints, since most of them are illiterate. The Penan are the human equivalent of an endangered species: the last hunter-gatherers in Asia. For thousands of years they have lived in the deep interior of Borneo, the world’s third largest island, surviving by hunting wild animals and harvesting jungle plants. From the ipoh tree they extract poison for their blowpipe arrows. Only a few hundred continue to live a fully nomadic life beneath temporary shelters too simple even to be called huts. Most of the 9,000 Penan have settled down in simple villages to a life of hunting combined with rice farming. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25689-2165890,00.html

38) SANDAKAN: Sabah has terminated three logging licences awarded almost a decade ago to private companies. They were withdrawn because of a failure to carry out any logging and to formulate a management plan. Recently, a licence holder was issued a show-cause letter for the same reasons. Under the terms of the Sustainable Forest Management Licence Agreement, those awarded contracts must sustainably harvest timber and do replanting. They must also meet other requirements such as hiring forestry professionals. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said some with licences were not moving as fast as they should in concession areas. “We want them to improve and to emulate those who are complying. We will issue warnings and if they still don’t follow requirements, we will terminate their licences. “The State Government no longer wants to listen to any excuses. We want to see concrete results,” he said. He said the Sustainable Forest Management concept implemented in Sabah was able to not only protect timber resources, but also wildlife. “I wish to provide the reassurance that all orang utan are here to stay because studies have shown that the concept is conducive to wildlife management and this is widely recognised by experts,” he said. Musa said this at the launch of the State level World Forestry Day at the Rainforest Discovery Centre, near here. He also sealed a Centennial Time Capsule which will store valuable information on forestry in Sabah. A commemorative book on forestry in Sabah was also launched. Musa said Deramakot Forest Reserve, the model for Sustainable Forest Management, was selected by Unesco’s Food and Agriculture Organisation as an example of sound forest management. http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/nst/Wednesday/National/20060503080643/Article/index_html

World-wide:

39) Conservationists on Thursday launched a global coalition aimed at halving the number of forest-dwelling communities living in poverty by giving them a greater stake in lumber and other resources taken from their land. The Rights and Resources Initiative — founded by six nongovernment organizations in countries from Costa Rica to Papua New Guinea — wants governments to give millions of forest dwellers rights to the land they live on , and will push authorities to reconsider logging concessions that favor politically connected businesses at residents’ expense. “Most of the world’s tropical forests are government-owned and managed, despite legitimate local claims to the forest and the limited ability of governments to protect these vast resources,” said David Kaimowitz, director-general of the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research, part of the new coalition. Communities, often of indigenous groups, now manage at least 370 million hectares (914 million acres) of forest, and some of the greatest gains have been made in Latin American countries like Bolivia, Peru and Mexico, the group said. Liberia, too, is reconstructing its logging sector, the group said. “The world’s forest sector is in the midst of the biggest transformation since the colonial era,” said a statement from Andy White, president of the Rights and Resources Group, which is coordinating the initiative. But White said Asian governments have been slow to cede control over forest concessions, which often are poorly managed and where widespread corruption has fueled massive illegal logging. Papua New Guinea, for example, has laws granting communities rights to vast forests, according to study results released in March by US-based Forest Trends, also part of the coalition. But the government has ignored the laws and awarded timber concessions to foreign companies that give little back to local communities, Forest Trends’ study said. It said none of the 14 concessions Forest Trends reviewed could be viewed as legal. Much of the wood goes to China, which needs it to supply a fast-growing domestic market _ and an export industry that turns logs into flooring and furniture for European and American markets. Similar problems have surfaced in Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia, activists said. “Most countries have adopted forest development models that assumed that big industry, big plantations are better for economic development,” White said. http://news.inq7.net/world/index.php?index=1&story_id=74693

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