092OEC’s This Week in Trees

This week we have 39 news items from: Alaska, British Colombia, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona., Montana, Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia, USA, Canada, North America, Scotland, England, Congo, Panama, Peru, New Zealand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and World-wide.

Alaska:

1) PETERSVILLE, Alaska (AP) – A 1,300-acre timber sale near a popular fishing stream drew a lot of protests and a lawsuit, but failed to attract any bidders. “We had hoped to get bids that would have helped in the management of the forest, but they didn’t materialize,” state forester Rick Jandreau told the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. The state expected bids from two firms, NPI LLC, a Matanuska-Susitna Borough-based company that exports wood chips from Port MacKenzie, and Wasilla-based Whitney Logging. Neither submitted a bid by Tuesday’s deadline, citing rising transportation costs with getting the timber to Port MacKenzie. Dane Crowley of NANA Services, the parent company of NPI, said economics was the lone factor that kept his company from submitting a bid. “The cost to cut the timber and truck it to port, particularly given rising fuel prices, outweighed the revenue the company expected to generate from the harvested trees,” he said. http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/ap_alaska/story/7703981p-7615040c.html

British Colombia:

2) About one dozen protesters, carrying signs and tree trunks, assembled outside the West Fraser annual general meeting held in Edmonton on April 26. The protesters, assembled from a number of environmental groups, were protesting West Fraser’s logging of caribou and grizzly habitat in Alberta and British Columbia. Members of ForestEthics passed out a look-alike 2005 annual report, which contained the group’s position in an effort to educate the company about its practices. While fellow protesters were outside building awareness, Glenn Scmenchuk with the Federation of Alberta Naturalists (FAN) had the opportunity to speak directly to West Fraser president, Hank Ketchum, during the meeting. Scmenchuk, who was carrying the proxy on some West Fraser shares, said he was pleased with the way things went. “It went very well — they were very polite in the meeting,” Scmenchuk said. “I was the only one who asked the president any questions, so I was highlighted.” One of the environmentalist’s questions was if West Fraser would be willing to work with environmental organizations and scientists to implement precautionary deferrals in endangered species habitats. “He (Ketchum) gave me a positive response and indicated that I should get in touch with people in Hinton at Weldwood (Hinton Pulp) and I did talk to some of the Weldwood people after,” Scmenchuk said. “We basically invited West Fraser to get involved in a dialogue — that we’ve been identifying and working on these areas for a long time.” Scmenchuk said that West Fraser is probably the province’s largest landholder presently and estimated that the area they have would be equivalent in size to Vancouver Island. http://www.hintonparklander.com/story.php?id=229185

Washington:

3) For years, timber companies and the government have debated environmental groups and Indian tribes over whether Washington’s timber industry should get 50 years of protection from Endangered Species Act prosecutions for harming salmon. The debate was required under a federal law meant to give the public a chance to speak out before the government makes a major environmental decision. But now environmentalists are charging — based on an admission in a recent letter by Washington’s elected lands commissioner, Doug Sutherland – that the whole thing looks as if it was a foregone conclusion. That flies in the face of a federal law designed to give close environmental review to federal actions, they contend. Sutherland wrote that the mind-set of all involved was “a deal is a deal and this is about memorializing the deal.” “Sutherland’s letter confirms the deal was the deal, and only now are they doing environmental review years later,” said Paul Kampmeier, an attorney with the Washington Forest Law Center in Seattle. “That makes it look to us like they’re using environmental review as a rubber stamp for the decision they’ve already made.” robertmcclure@seattlepi.com Seattle Post-Intelligencer

4) The lower White River corridor that divides King and Pierce counties might be one of the last, best places for wildlife to thrive in the rapidly urbanizing region. Computer models show healthy animal populations should live in the 10-mile-long forested strip between Buckley and Auburn, said Michelle Tirhi, an urban wildlife biologist for the state Department of Fish & Wildlife. Puget Sound Energy, the landowner for nearly a century, says the 3,000-acre corridor contains deer, Roosevelt elk, bears, cougars, bald eagles, wood ducks, great blue herons and other wildlife. Next month, experts will do an intense wildlife and plant inventory to provide on-the-ground, scientific proof. The “bioblitz” exercise starts June 2 and will last 24 hours. The intent: to show landowners and the public what might be lost if the area is developed. The inventory will provide evidence that government officials could use to redirect development or even roads, said Linda Burgess, chairwoman of the Puyallup River Watershed Council. The lower White River corridor begins near Buckley, runs through Puget and Muckleshoot tribal lands and ends near Auburn, only about 20 miles from Seattle or Tacoma. The western end of the corridor is already accessible to people who yearn for green, riverside areas to admire and explore. It is anchored by Auburn’s Game Farm Park and Game Farm Wilderness Park, one on each side of the river.The parks help make the transition between the wild and urban parts of the river, said Aaron Nix, an environmental protection specialist for the City of Auburn. Don Johnson lives upriver, next to the wildlife corridor on the Pierce County side. Last month he led a tour of landowners and government officials. They saw second-growth evergreens more than 80 feet tall, an elk track, a tree trunk chewed on by a beaver and various plants, including a gloriously blooming white dogwood on the river’s edge. http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/5728157p-5127736c.html

Oregon:

5) KS Wild temporarily halted the illegal logging of thousands of acres of forest in the South Fork of Little Butte Creek Watershed by the Medford BLM in 2004. We took our case all the way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and won! Now the BLM has announced brand new plans to log 4,779 acres in the same watershed. Instead of destroying native forests, the BLM has a fresh opportunity to revisit its plans and focus on small diameter trees and true fire hazards. The BLM claims that the South Fork Little Butte timber sale will “generally involved the removal of the smaller diameter trees within a forest stand,” yet they continue to mark large old-growth trees for logging, including stands that are designated as critical habitat for the threatened Northern Spotted Owl! Please take a moment to write to the BLM and tell them that you would like to see the South Fork Little Butte Timber Sale reflect the following community values: 1) Please drop the proposal to remove and downgrade 515 acres of Northern Spotted Owl Critical Habitat. 2) Please do not proceed with the proposal to “regenerate” (clearcut) some older Douglas fir forests in the watershed. 3) Please re-think the proposal to build 3.6 miles of new logging roads in this highly roaded and fragmented planning area. Send Comments By May 19th to: Kristi Mastrofini Medford BLM 3040 Biddle Road Medford, OR 97504 Kristi_Mastrofini@or.blm.gov

6) SISTERS – Deschutes National Forest managers are seeking public input on a project initiated by an environmental organization and a forest industry group to reduce fire hazards to subdivisions and stands of old-growth ponderosa pine trees. The Oregon Natural Resources Council and Warm Springs Forest Products Industries agree active management is needed to protect the mature trees, aspen groves, historic sites and rare wildflowers lying on 1,200 acres east of the upscale Black Butte Ranch subdivision, five miles west of Sisters. Forest Service officials hope the unique partnership will become a model for groups with differing views to work together to protect ecosystems, communities and economic resources. Years of fire suppression in the scenic area have left woody debris, brush and thickets of immature trees that can feed blazes such as the 4,200-acre Cache Mountain Fire, which forced the evacuation of the subdivision and damaged two homes before it was contained in July 2002. Deschutes National Forest managers hope to avoid more catastrophic fires, and improve forest health through thinning and biomass collection in stands of immature trees within the project area. In old-growth stands, they plan to use thinning and mechanical mowers to reduce the risk of low-intensity ground fires killing mature trees. Controlled burns will also be used throughout the area to reduce woody debris and dense patches of trees will be left undisturbed for wildlife habitat. Less than 1,000 acres will be thinned, but up to 1,200 acres might be mowed or burned under the project proposal. http://www.ktvz.com/story.cfm?nav=news&storyID=11223

California:

7) Water quality officials cut a compromise over the number of acres the Pacific Lumber Co. will be allowed to log in Freshwater Creek and Elk River at a hearing in Santa Rosa on Monday, though all parties were still combing through the order late in the day digesting the details. The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board voted 5-0 to grant permits for Palco to cut 382 acres in Freshwater this year and 378 acres in the Elk River watershed. Its staff had recommended 144 acres in Freshwater and 318 acres in Elk River. Other conditions also were applied, allowing some harvest plans approved last year and subsequently struck down by a state court to be grandfathered and cut this year..
“After two decades of PL dumping its costs of doing business onto the public and public trust resources, it was high time for the agency to act,” he stated. Elk River and Freshwater Creek, which spill into Humboldt Bay on either side of Eureka, have become filled with sediment, reducing channel capacity by up to 65%. Both are designated as “Impaired” under the Clean Water Act by the EPA This decision caps a nearly nine year odyssey to obtain relief by residents and conservationists, including numerous public hearings and exhaustive scientific studies in the face of persistent obstruction tactics by the company seeking to maintain extremely high logging levels. Area residents were disappointed in the ruling, which amended Regional Water Board staff recommendations by allowing increased potential acreage limits. However, the increased acreages were offset by a zero discharge standard for “sediment discharge above 125% of background level of sediment load” according to the approved Board resolutions. This standard means that absolutely no additional sediments may be delivered into the creeks without an enforceable monitoring program approved by the Regional Water Board Executive Officer. According to Evans, “After waiting nine long years for even these minimal controls on PL pollution, we are determined to achieve the recovery mandated by state and federal water quality laws.” http://www.times-standard.com/portlet/article/html/fragments/print_article.jsp?article=38014
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http://www.wildcalifornia.org

8) Just received judge Wilson’s ruling on our motion to dismiss Maxxam/PL’s SLAPP suit against us co-defendants, and Maxxam/PL’s motion to dismiss our cross-complaint against them. Both motions were denied, meaning that we will be going to trial (someday), and that Maxxam/PL will have to answer to our cross-complaint. We’re set for a status conference on June 12th, so we’ll keep you updated as we go. We’ll also be posting more information about the nature of SLAPP suits, what they are, what they are intended to do, history, etc. soon. S.L.A.P.P. stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, and are, basically, class action civil suits, filed against anyone who participates in the resistance to big corporations. This could mean speaking out at a rally, doing a sit-in, writing articles, and a number of other rights and liberties guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights and Constitution. There are anti-SLAPP laws, yet corporations like Maxxam/Pacific Lumber continue to file lawsuit after lawsuit, claiming outrageous damages, and basically harassing people by forcing them to show up in court for years. It’s either that or sign away your rights by agreeing to permanent injunctions, when there are already laws prohibiting the actions that define civil disobedience. Maxxam/Pacific Lumber wants people to sign away their rights to engage in civil disobedience against them, so that they can decimate the rest of their landholdings without grassroots resistance. Maxxam/Pacific Lumber, and the rest of the global corporate elite, need to learn that these frivolous lawsuits are a waste of their time and money, it’s harassment, and that they allow activists the opportunity to counter-sue, especially with the ongoing trend of civil rights abuses carried out by the agents of these corporations. SLAPP suits must end! No Compromise! Earth First!! Forever wild, Shunka Wakan [shunka_2004@yahoo.com]

Arizona:

9) There’s no place where size matters more than when pitting one tree against another to find the nation’s biggest. Arizona, take a bow. The Grand Canyon State ranked only behind Florida and California for offering up the most champion trees in the 2006-07 National Register of Big Trees, just released by the nonprofit organization American Forests. Eighty-two champion trees live in Arizona, and 13 of them, including the hairy cercocarpus, Chihuahua ash, Goodding ash and Arizona cypress, were spotted in Coronado National Forest Two champion trees put down roots on the sprawling University of Arizona campus. They are the Gregg ash and the pithecellobium pallens. The champion coral bean tree resides at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The top spiny hackberry and a sour orange both live off the UA campus, but somewhere within Tucson city limits. A champion Indian fig, a plant that looks like a thornless prickly pear, is growing at Tucson Medical Center. If you’re looking for the biggest oleander, you’ll have to go to Sun City, the retirement area northwest of Phoenix, the survey said. The biggest velvet mesquite lives south of Tucson in an unidentified part of Santa Cruz County. Santa Cruz County also is home to the largest Fremont cottonwood, Arizona white oak and Toumey oak. The largest saguaro does not live in Saguaro National Park, according to the listing. Two of the giant cactuses tied for top honors, one in the town of Mammoth and one in Tonto National Forest. http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/11844.php

Montana:

10) “Green Scammers: Behind closed doors, self-appointed interlopers sold out your Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest!” reads the sizable ad printed May 4 in the Missoula Independent and Helena’s Queen City News, paid for by Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Deerlodge Forest Defense Fund, Swan View Coalition, Friends of the Wild Swan, Montana Ecosystems Defense Council and Native Ecosystems Council. …Western Montanans are well accustomed to fiery clashes over all things environmental, and the frequent squaring off that typically leaves conservationists “Obstructionists!” in one corner and the timber industry “Shortsighted pillagers!” in another. What’s not so familiar, though, is aggressive public discord within one side or the other, like what’s currently being seen on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, where three prominent Montana conservation groups are under attack by kindred organizations. At issue is a proposal that representatives from Montana Wilderness Association (MWA), National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Montana Trout Unlimited (MTU) wrote jointly with five timber-reliant groups and herald as a “new era of cooperation,” and which others pan as a needless hand-off of roadless lands to industry interests. The main features of their proposal would increase both wilderness and timber acres, relative to the Forest Service’s draft plan: The agency proposed 216,000 acres for timber harvest and 249,000 acres of new recommended wilderness, while the coalition proposes 716,000 timber acres and 573,000 in new wilderness. Gatchell also emphasizes that all timber sales would be “stewardship contracts,” where proceeds are spent on forest restoration in the immediate area rather than carting the money off to the federal treasury. “You get a lot more bang for your buck,” he says. “What we’re shooting for here is a whole different model that makes the Beaverhead the nation’s first stewardship forest.”

Colorado:

11) Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., said Monday he has introduced legislation in the Senate that would appropriate $225 million over a span of five years to permit logging that would thin national forests as part of a long-term solution to the bark beetle infestation which has plagued the western United States. We firmly advocate for the passage of this legislation. Clearing the forests from the masses of dead, gray trees and flammable vegetation is the most logical, environmental friendly answer to controlling the bark beetle that devours the nutrient systems of trees, lays eggs that hatch, and continues feeding until they move onto new hosts. Combine that effort with the new technology used to treat trees with a pheromone that keeps the beetles away, and some progress may be gained towards rebuilding plush, green thriving forests of beauty. If we had our way – since these insects can live anywhere between 30 days and two years – an additional means of partial extermination would be ordered. We acknowledge that the last suggestion probably doesn’t bode well with most conservationists, but what is paramount to replenish Southern Utah’s pristine wilderness is a cooperative effort between private, state and federal landowners. Without a concerted attempt, our red hills will continue to fade into a dreary gray of dead trees and Southern Utah will no longer be able to promote its unique distinction as Color Country. http://www.thespectrum.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060511/OPINION01/605110331/1014

Minnesota:

12) The oldest cabins, including the ranger’s house, are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, and buyers will be required to keep the character of the buildings intact under deed restrictions. The sales are part of a nationwide trend in which national forests are shedding little-used or abandoned properties to reduce the backlog of unfunded repairs and maintenance estimated at about $1.2 billion. The Superior National Forest alone has more than $7 million in backlogged maintenance work and no money from Congress to pay for it. By shedding the old properties, the Superior forest can reduce that backlog by about $700,000. http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/14538108.htm

New Hampshire:

13) MADISON –Selectmen and town residents are worried about a major logging operation planned for about 280 acres of timberland north of Silver Lake. The logger, High Acres Enterprises LLC, of Littleton, has filed an “intent to cut” document with the town that selectmen must sign by Friday. The company has not yet asked for a state wetlands review, however. That concerns some local officials, who fear that High Acres could damage wetlands and clearcut the pine trees on the land. Chris Crowe, of High Acres, promised the company would abide by “best management practices” under state forestry laws and regulations. He spoke at a packed hearing before the Board of Selectmen last week. “As of right now, we are not going to be in the wetlands,” he said. “If, at any time, we are going to be in a wetland area,” the company will file a document with the state that says how the loggers will minimize the impact. A town forestry official said logging crews and equipment would almost certainly have to cross wetlands. The selectmen also are worried about potential damage to town roads from all the trips by logging trucks. Robin Rancourt, the town forester and a member of the conservation commission, said he strongly believes in landowners’ rights to profit from their land, but he is also concerned a massive clearcut would not leave enough pines to regenerate a good commercial species of trees.

14) There’s a great cedar forest in Rye, or at least there was one. At extremely low tides the stumps of this once great forest can be found just northeast of Jenness Beach. It has to be an extremely low ebb tide, however, because the last times they were exposed in recent history were in 1940,1958, 1962 and 1978. This might have been a truly mighty forest, for the stumps of these trees measure between 8 and 10 feet in circumference. When the stumps were last visible, the rings on the 56 found stumps were counted and the trees were all more than 100 years old. Further, the stumps were carbon dated, which indicated the trees were alive some 3,600 years ago (give or take 200 years). In all probability, the stumps were submerged when the early settlers arrived here; no mention of them is recorded from the Colonial era. There is speculation as to how large the forest may have been. Current thinking is that the Atlantic Ocean rose after the last Ice Age, and the New England of that era appeared quite different from what we know today. It is highly possible that what is now the New Hampshire coastline was actually some miles inland from the ocean at that time. Best estimates are that the shoreline might have been at one time up to 75 miles east of where it is at present. If true, it may have been possible for early hunters to walk from southern Cape Cod to Nantucket Island without putting their feet in the Atlantic Ocean. http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/hampton/05092006/news/101947.htm

Virginia:

15) WASHINGTON — Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina moved a step closer Tuesday to protecting hundreds of thousands of acres of national forests from road construction. A federal panel approved requests from all three states to stop road construction in parts of national forests and sent the recommendations to the Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. He is to decide on the matter within 180 days of when the states filed the petitions. Virginia was the first state to apply for the protection under a new rule adopted by the Bush administration. But the Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee, made up of environmentalists and industry groups, nearly returned the application to the state. “Virginia was the first one in the door, and it was kind of a guinea pig,” said Dale Harris, advisory committee co-chairman. “They didn’t provide us with enough information and they left a lot of questions unanswered.” But after five hours of deliberation, the committee sent Virginia’s application to the Agriculture secretary with instructions that the state complete missing information before a final ruling. Johanns has 180 days from the application’s filing to make his decision. After Virginia broke the ice, applications from North and South Carolina sailed through the committee. “It’s a great day for roadless areas in the South because we’ve gotten almost 575,000 acres recommended for further protection to the secretary,” said committee member Ray Vaughan, an environmental lawyer from Montgomery, Ala. “The Southern states were the first to do it and as a Southerner I’m proud we were the first to get these in and get them through.” http://washdateline.mgnetwork.com/index.cfm?SiteID=wsh&PackageID=46&fuseaction=article.main&
ArticleID=8413&GroupID=181

USA:

16) Two American elms, a 192-foot-tall Jeffrey pine, and a Mississippi baldcypress with a girth of 55 feet are among the 870 champions recognized in the 2006-2007 National Register of Big Trees. This biennial listing of the largest known trees of 826 species is by the nonprofit AMERICAN FORESTS, the nation’s oldest conservation group.
Listings in the National Register of Big Trees, published continuously since 1940, range from California’s massive General Sherman giant sequoia, earth’s largest living thing, to Florida’s tiny corkwood, the smallest “big tree” on the list. American Forests (www.americanforests.org) crowned 119 new champs and co-champs on the latest list, which registered champions from 43 states and the District of Columbia. Sequoia National Park’s General Sherman giant sequoia reigns as the largest of its species, the largest tree in the Register, and the largest living thing on earth. At 274 feet tall with an 85-foot circumference and a 107-foot crown spread, the tree has a point total of 1,321. It is among three trees—the other two are a Rocky Mountain juniper and a Western juniper—that remain from the original 1940 list. American Forests relies on public participation to find and nominate champion trees; nominations are verified by state coordinators and the list updated every two years. Trees receive a point total based on their height, circumference and 1/4 of their crown spread. Trees within 5 points are declared co-champions. Florida leads the list of states with 160 champs, including the smallest tree on the Register, the 25-point corkwood. It’s followed by California with 101; Arizona, 82; Texas, 78, and Virginia, 54. Seven states do not currently claim any titleholders: Arkansas, Delaware, Kansas, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Wyoming. The nation’s capital has one titleholder, the national champion jujube, which grows on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. Among the notable new champs: a 758-point co-champion baldcypress growing on a cotton farm in Mississippi. With a girth of 55 feet, it would take 30 people standing shoulder to shoulder to encircle it. The second and third biggest new champions are conifers that stand more than 180 feet tall: the 521-point Jeffrey pine in California’s Stanislaus National Forest and a 486-point Engelmann spruce near Loman, Idaho. Fountain Creek, Virginia, boasts the new co-champ American elm, which joins the current titleholder in Meeman-Shelby State Park, Tennessee. The champion for each of the 826 species can be found at American Forests’ website http://www.americanforests.org

17) The $30 billion US timber industry includes about 300 companies that are involved mainly in timber management, and close to 12,000 firms involved in logging operations. The industry is highly fragmented: fewer than 100 companies have more than 500 employees. A large number of companies and individuals are passive owners of timberlands. Although some large companies like Weyerhaeuser and Louisiana Pacific have vertically integrated operations that may combine land ownership, land management, logging, and downstream operations like sawmills and the production of wood or paper products, most companies operate only in logging. Timber is harvested to make paper or wood products (mainly lumber and plywood). Residential construction and repair/remodeling account for nearly 70 percent of all lumber used in the US. Demand for paper is driven partly by the general health of the economy, which influences demand for office papers, cardboard boxes, newspapers, magazines, and tissue papers. Large logging companies can have a cost advantage over smaller ones through the use of more efficient (and more expensive) machinery, but logging is a very local activity, often without significant economies of scale.
http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c36631

18) For decades American taxpayers have been forced to subsidize clearcut logging in the Tongass National Forest – our country’s largest national forest and the world’s largest intact coastal temperate rainforest. According to an independent analysis of Forest Service’s records, the agency lost nearly $48 million of taxpayer money last year. All told it has spent nearly $1 billion since 1982, letting the timber industry clearcut the Tongass National Forest – America’s Rainforest. Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Robert Andrews (D-NJ) are taking the lead again to end fiscally irresponsible spending by re-offering their amendment to the annual Interior Appropriations bill, which will prohibit taxpayer funds from being used to build new logging roads in the Tongass National Forest. The Appropriations bill is expected to be on the House floor before Memorial Day. Last year, with your help, the Tongass Subsidy Amendment was approved by a bi-partisan majority in the House. We have a great opportunity to get this amendment passed in the House again this year. Please call your Representative TODAY at 1-800-839-5276 or 202-224-3121 and ask them to VOTE YES on the Chabot/Andrews Tongass Subsidy amendment to the Interior Appropriations Bill. The amendment prohibits taxpayer dollars from being wasted on new logging roads in the Tongass National Forest – America’s Rainforest. You can also send a letter to your Member of Congress online at: http://www.akrain.org

19) A group representing wildland firefighters Tuesday called on Congress to defeat a bill aimed at speeding up logging dead timber and planting new trees after storms and wildfires. The bipartisan bill demands that areas hit by disasters greater than 1,000 acres be restored quickly, before the commercial value of fire-killed timber diminishes, and insects and rot set in. But Oregon-based Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology said the bill could increase fire risks and undermine efforts to reduce hazardous fire conditions near communities. “Post-fire logging and planting does not ’recover’ a burned forest, but rather, sets it up for future high-severity burning,” said Timothy Ingalsbee, the group’s executive director and a former firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service. Young, densely stocked timber plantations are prone to sudden “blowups” of extreme fire, and can start crown fires in nearby old-growth stands, said Ingalsbee, whose group includes about 80 professional firefighters from Alaska to Virginia. The bill awaiting action in the House “not only will create more hazardous fire conditions, but it will divert financial resources away from one of the most urgent needs of society: community wildfire protection,” Ingalsbee said. http://www.thedailyworld.com/articles/2006/05/10/ap/regional/regional.txt

20) There are a number of different competing visions of what the United States should be like and, in particular, how public spaces should be used and managed. One view is best typified by RR’s comment “You’ve seen one redwood, you’ve seen them all”. Don’t be concerned about the status of the wilderness areas. Use whatever you can. Maximize usage by all parties. Another view is that these areas should be pristine: let nature take its course. Limit or eliminate commercial utilization. Limit or eliminate public access. Minimize usage. Another view is stewardship: do your best to manage the resource. Some commerical use is okay; some access is okay. Optimize usage. It will not be a pristine wilderness: it will be the best-managed space that the standards of the times, available finances, chance, and the state of knowledge will allow. I lean towards this view and I take this post as doing the same. Holders of any of these views can never be happy with any of the others—any compromise means that all three views lose. http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=3837

Canada:

21) ALPHARETTA, GA, United States (UPI) — Wagner Forest Management Ltd. will pay $140 million to Georgia`s Neenah Paper Inc. for about 500,000 acres of Nova Scotia timberlands. The all-cash deal includes a supply agreement that ensures Neenah Paper`s Pictou pulp mill continues to receive fiber for its operations and that the timberlands will continue to be managed in ‘a responsible, sustainable manner,’ Neenah said Wednesday. The transaction is expected to result in an after-tax gain of approximately $80 million. http://news.monstersandcritics.com/business/article_1162765.php/Neenah_sells_Nova_Scotia_for
estlands

North America:

22) North Americans no longer can control the corporations that are consuming the landscape, and their inability to control the behavior of governments has lead to oppression of the visions and desire of tens of millions of “ordinary” people. When we industrialize the landscape, every abuse of nature suddenly becomes legitimate. After all, the past, the benchmark, is gone. David Kidner, the British humanist, said it as well as it can be said: “if our affluent lifestyle is based on the extinction of other species, the exploitation of oppressed peoples, or the theft of land from others, it is not only morally reprehensible, but also psychologically malignant”. There are solutions to this disease and places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the East Front of Montana are part of it. But they alone cannot save America. Much more is necessary, much more is possible. But it means Americans will have to take back control of their government, and with that they must take back their land. Brian L. Horejsi is a wildlife biologist from Calgary, Alta.

Scotland:

23) ANGRY locals in Eshiels near Peebles have an axe to grind after their community woodland was flattened to make way for a new recycling route. Plans were submitted to take out selected trees for the road and a junction with the A72, but homeowners claim that almost double the agreed number of trees have been felled. Tommy Forbes who lives opposite the former woodland, told the Peeblesshire News: “We woke up on Saturday morning to find the wood had just about disappeared. They have just butchered it. “It’s such a waste, there was no need for them to have done that and we would have all put in objections if we had known this would happen.” Plans were approved for the access road from the A72 to the new community recycling depot as an alternative to the small existing lane. But a screen of trees was to be left standing, hiding the site from the road and preserving some of the woodland. Technical services boss at the Scottish Borders Council, Steven Renwick told us: “We are aware of people’s concerns and have undertaken the tree-felling in conjunction with the council’s landscape architect as well as the Borders Forest Trust. “It was not our intention to remove more than is necessary, we fully appreciate the sensitivity of tree-felling.” But families at Eshiels are stumped by the amount of trees that came tumbling down last weekend. Norman Brockwell said:”The Borders Forest Trust marked about 200 trees to be cut down but more than 400 have gone. “They came in with a big machine and bull-dozed straight across the top of the hillside. “Some of those trees were hundreds of years old and they’re gone in seconds. It’s very upsetting.” http://www.peeblesshirenews.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=695&format=html

24) Scotland has become one of the world’s top mountain biking destinations and it is estimated that tens of thousands take part in the sport every week. But the Forestry Commission has ordered an inquiry after the upsurge in accidents at its Scottish properties. At the same time, doctors in Fort William, where the mountain bike World Cup will be held later this month, are carrying out an investigation into the rise in injuries. Borders General Hospital – close to the commission’s downhill resort at Glentress near Peebles – says it is now dealing with more than 10 mountain-bike-related casualties every weekend. Injuries range from serious lacerations to major fractures and head and spinal injuries. Last month, a 45-year-old GP from Jedburgh broke his neck when he went over the handlebars of his bike at Glentress. Its Glentress Forest and Innerleithen sites, near Peebles, are now Britain’s number-one destination for the sport, with visitor numbers doubling from 160,000 in 2003 to 330,000 last year. Across Scotland, more than 20,000 riders take part in the sport every week.

England:

25) A recent study investigated how conservation purchases affect land prices and the impact of the resulting market feedbacks on the effectiveness of the conservation efforts. The authors conducted an economic analysis of land-buying practices based on a variety of assumptions about where biodiversity resides. The results of the analysis showed that there are various market feedbacks that determine the effectiveness of the conservation investments, these being: 1) Land prices rise when conservationist group invest significant sums in local land markets, thus making future investments more difficult. 2) Conservation purchases displace development pressure, sometimes towards properties of high ecological value that would otherwise have gone unthreatened. ???Conservation purchases can even attract developers keen to capitalise on conservation amenity values. ….. The combined impacts of these land market feedbacks depend on the ecological value of the land outside the areas to be protected. When surrounding areas are important for species persistence, market feedbacks have a larger negative impact on the effectiveness of conservation efforts. In order to avoid these counterproductive effects, the authors proposed the following practical considerations when designing land acquisition strategies for conservation purposes: 1) Economic forces, land market dynamics in particular, need to be factored in to conservation planning so that the full suite of potential gains and costs can be accounted for. 2) Improved inventories of biodiversity are needed to enable conservation buying to target areas where biodiversity is particularly in need of protection. Poor information on species’ distributions will not only render conservation efforts less effective, they may even undermine future opportunities by increasing development pressure on the unprotected lands and raising the price of the land. Contact: p.armsworth@sheffield.ac.uk

Congo:

26) A new study ties the presence of roads to bushmeat hunting in the Congo rainforest and also raises important questions for global conservation. The study, published in the current edition of Conservation Biology, found that roads and associated hunting pressure reduced the abundance of a number of mammal species including duikers, forest elephants, buffalo, red river hogs, lowland gorillas, and carnivores. The research suggests that even moderate hunting pressure can significantly affect the structure of mammal communities in central Africa. The Conservation Biology study examined a 400-square-mile area of tropical rainforest in southwestern Gabon, of which 130 square kilometers was the Rabi oil concession operated by the Shell-Gabon Corporation since 1985.The area served as a good study site because Shell’s closely guarded and carefully regulated concession effectively protects the forest from hunters and incursion by outsiders. Such is not the case in the unprotected areas outside the concession, where road density is higher and hunting and development pressures are greater. By comparing mammal abundance and behavior between the two areas, the researchers found that roads had the greatest impact on large and small ungulates, causing important changes in mammal community structure. http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0509-gabon.html

27) About Eucalyptus Fibre Congo S.A. : EFC leases a 68,000 hectare eucalyptus plantation (of which 20,000 hectares is presently unplanted), the majority of which overlies MagIndustries’ magnesium and potash mineral lease in the Pointe-Noire area of the Republic of Congo. EFC also holds an option to lease 50,000 hectares of additional plantation land, which is undeveloped. In addition to securing long term land rights for brine well mining and industrial site development activities, the acquisition of EFC brings numerous operational synergies as MagIndustries other subsidiaries, MagMinerals (potash) and MagMetals (magnesium) proceed with the development of their projects. EFC is the operating lessee of an existing and well established renewable forestry operation (previously owned and operated by a division of Shell Oil International, Shell Renewables), which is based on the planting and harvesting of eucalyptus trees. Shell invested about $40 million and commercialized this operation initially for log sales. Shell’s long term strategy was to establish a renewable, high-yield source of biomass for future energy generation. EFC currently holds an exclusive 50 year forestry concession agreement with the Government of The Republic of Congo, which is renewable for an additional 21 years. The EFC plantations support fast growing clonal eucalyptus strains developed at the Company’s 33% owned research facility in Pointe-Noire (UR2PI). The trees typically reach 22 to 26 meters (70 to 85 feet) in seven years at which point they are harvested and then the area is replanted. Although past operations were based on the export of logs, the new business plan will expand into value added products such wood chips, utility poles, lumber and wood-pellets (bio-fuel) for which significant international off-takers and operators have confirmed their intention to participate. EFC currently ships about 25,000 tonnes of pulp logs per month to Europe for annualized revenues of about US$12 million. The Company has received expressions of interest for volumes up to 1 million tonnes annually partially due to the high quality provided by the eucalyptus fiber. EFC is now one of the largest employers of local residents in the Republic of Congo. http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release_html_b1?release_id=128061

Panama:

28) Harpy eagles have been found from as far north as Mexico and as far south as Argentina, but their stronghold ranges from Panama to the Amazon Basin. These are places where their forest habitat is under constant attack, but Álvarez doesn’t think that it makes a whole lot of sense to direct a frontal assault on everyone who cuts trees there. Better, he believes, to convince loggers that it’s in their interest and that of their families and communities to back off and preserve any eagle nest they encounter, with a little fringe around it. That way, birdwatching tourists are likely to come in on the logging roads, and these people pay a lot of money to do so, creating jobs and income in hardscrabble Third World rural communities. Among the slides he showed the crowd was one of ecotourists in a logging camp. The biologist’s understanding of economic necessities has its limits, however. He denounced clear-cut logging and replacement of the destroyed forests with teak as an activity that “enriches a few” but doesn’t replace habitat for wildlife. He especially condemned gold mining, which over much of Latin America is done by using high-pressure hoses to wash veins of the metal out of forested areas. Not only is the land denuded, not only does silt kill things along the rivers into which it washes, but then toxic chemicals are used to get the gold out of the ore, and those are particularly destructive. Mercury in particular, he said, “destroys everything.” Álvarez came here with a mission. He’s been studying harpy eagles in Venezuela, Guyana, Panama and elsewhere, and considers it a problem that researchers in different countries don’t tend to share information and cooperate. The birds don’t recognize international boundaries, he pointed out, and thus he advocates a continental approach to their conservation. That’s why he’s one of the founders of Earthmatters, an international network for such cooperation. http://www.thepanamanews.com/pn/v_12/issue_09/outdoors_01.html

Peru:

29) A logger drives his freshly cut mahogany logs upriver toward Ivochote, a scratchy, low-slung jungle town in Peru’s eastern Amazon. Hoping to convert his illegal revenues into some weekend lovin’, he takes maca, a traditional Peruvian libido enhancer. He heads to a nearby brothel, but its employees are too busy protesting pollution caused by a foreign mining company to entertain him. Frustrated and ready for action of any kind, he gives up and joins an angry crowd marching to Lima to oppose the 2006 U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, signed in April. Far-fetched, maybe — but mahogany, maca, mining, and frustrated movements are all part of this controversial agreement, which lawmakers in Washington and Lima are preparing to ratify in coming weeks. What are the environmental impacts of the Peruvian free-trade agreement? Besides ramping up international trade and investment — which can directly boost environmental damage — critics say the deal peels away social and environmental safeguards, expands corporate power, and endangers biodiversity. Swietenia macrophylla, or big-leaf mahogany. Though it’s covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species — a voluntary species-protection treaty between 169 governments, including the U.S. and Peru — activists say Peruvian officials look the other way, granting logging permits without a baseline understanding of the mahogany population and failing to enforce regulations. The secretariat of CITES has criticized Peru for failing to live up to its promises. Meanwhile, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Defenders of Wildlife estimate that most of Peru’s big-leaf mahogany exports are logged illegally, and that 80 percent of that tainted harvest winds up in the United States. The failure of the Peruvian free-trade agreement to force its parties to adhere to CITES or other multinational environmental accords irks greens and some lawmakers, including Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas). He has taken trade representatives to task in congressional hearings, a fact cheered by mainstream greens who say good trade law should, at the least, require adherence to environmental standards. Even better, they say, it should help build technical expertise in poor nations, so something like a mahogany count would be feasible. http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2006/05/11/hearn/index.html?source=daily

New Zealand:

30) The Premier of Niue, Young Vivian, has defended plans to invite Malaysian loggers to harvest some of the island’s forest. He says the intention is for the company to export timber and re-start a furniture factory on the island. Niue opposition MP, Terry Coe, says there is anger in the community about the plan which, he says, was only publicly revealed at the weekend. But Mr Vivian denies this. He says it has been a topic of discussion for a couple of years. Mr Vivian says a section of the forest was destroyed by Cyclone Heta in January 2004 and it needs to be taken care of. “We need to get the young trees to grow up again. We need to take away the invasive species that are covering the canopy of the forest, and we need to replant. It’s a resource that we have always had and we have always been advised in the past to make use of it.” http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=23963

31) Forest owners want the Government to encourage them to plant more trees rather than spend millions of dollars buying carbon credits overseas to meet New Zealand’s Kyoto obligations. Roger Dickie, who has 25,000ha of forest on the East Coast, said he would have been planting between 600-800ha of forest a year, but because the Government had decided not to grant forest owners Kyoto credits he had not planted any for three years. The foresters have asked politicians across the board to endorse policies they say will help New Zealand meet its Kyoto targets. Mr Dickie is president of the Kyoto Forestry Association, one of the forest owner groups that have presented six policies they want all political parties to endorse. Forestry will play a key part in any rational climate change package, but policy development had to happen now, Peter Berg, NZ Forest Owners’ Association (NZFOA), said. “It will take two years for forest owners to gear up for major new plantings and a further three or four years for young trees to start sequestering significant quantities of carbon.” The campaign has the support of the NZFOA, the Federation of Maori Authorities, the Kyoto Forestry Association and the NZ Farm Forestry Association organisations, which represent the vast majority of NZ forest owners. Mr Berg said New Zealand had a choice. “In order to balance our carbon ledger we can start buying carbon credits from other countries like Russia now, or we can adopt policies which recognise the value created by forest owners when their trees store carbon. http://www.hbtoday.co.nz/localnews/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3682681&thesection=localnews&the
subsection=&thesecondsubsection=

32) Ngati Porou Whanui Forests Ltd is seeking investors interested in large-scale carbon farming on the East Coast, to create complementary land development to conventional forestry, farming and other types of land use. Although the Government was back-tracking on some parts of its Kyoto Protocol policies, the project would come under its permanent forest sinks initiative, encouraging people to invest in earning carbon credits, said Ngati Porou Whanui Forests (NPWF) manager Chris Insley. It was proposed to do this using slow growing alternative forestry species such as redwoods, Douglas fir, cypress and eucalypts. Native trees were already being trialled in various areas. NPWF had 10,000 hectares available for planting, but there had up to now been no other investor interest in planting it because of the Government’s previous stance on carbon tax, which had “severely disadvantaged” the forestry sector. “There are investors keen to jump into this space,” said Mr Insley. If it came into force, the carbon tax would prevent any forestry owners from changing their land use because they would be charged for the release of carbon when trees were removed. Already large areas of plantation land in the central North Island had been converted back to dairy farming to avoid the introduction of carbon taxes in 2008. Although the Government had back-tracked on some parts of the policy, there was still a high level of uncertainty in the sector, and this was expected to continue for some time yet. Mr Insley advised regional development partners, including all local and Maori authorities, to keep a close eye on the situation because carbon taxes would impact severely on many parts of the local economy, particularly energy. http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/article.asp?aid=4825&iid=404&sud=27

33) There is concern on Niue that a contract that’s been signed with Malaysian loggers could destroy the country’s forest. An opposition MP, Terry Coe, says there’s been no public consultation over the decision by the cabinet to allow the loggers in nor has the contract been made available for people to comment on so it’s not known whether it’s sustainable or not. He says the deal is probably going ahead because the governemnt is facing financial difficulties over a high deficit. Mr Coe says not even members of the assembly were told by the premier, Young Vivian, about what was happening. Mr Coe says there are no resources or capacity on the island to check that the logging is carried out in a sustainable manner. He says they will attempt to get the numbers to put a motion of no confidence in the premier but the assembly is not due to meet for another six weeks and the loggers could be in the country before then. http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=23930

Philippines:

34) An international environmental group on Wednesday advised the Philippine government to get its act together to stop illegal logging, especially in the Sierra Madre mountains. Von Hernandez, director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said the government’s two-face policy on forest use and protection is not helping its anti-illegal logging campaign in one of the country’s last remaining forests. “The schizophrenic policy and programs on forest use and protection being carried out by the government is to be blamed for the dismal failure of anti-illegal logging operations, particularly in the Sierra Madre,” he said. Hernandez said a clear example of the government’s conflicting policy on logging is the prohibition against logging in the Sierra Madre, while agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry are pushing for the growth of the furniture industry. He said despite the log ban, DTI has recorded 20,000 wood furniture producers in Cagayan Valley and has listed furniture-making and wood processing as the region’s top industries. “Illegal logging has been a constant plague in the Northern Sierra Madre Mountain Range, which was declared protected in 1992. Aside from being one of the country’s last remaining small patch of old growth forests, it is home to a number of protected and endemic wildlife species. Unfortunately, the park is a gold mine to illegal loggers,” he said. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=37700

Malaysia:

35) The lake is Tasik Temenggor, the second-largest man-made lake in the country after Tasik Kenyir. Regular users of this Jeli (Kelantan)-Gerik (Perak) route are known to have make stops along the road to admire mother nature at its best. The surrounding dense rainforest, believed to be in existence for 130 million years, is much older than South America’s Amazon jungle. The forest is rich in flora and fauna apart from being a sight to behold. This forest is left virtually “untouched” prior to 1991 due to the curfew imposed for security reasons. The name Temenggor Forest may not ring a bell among some Malaysians but many may be familiar with the mention of Belum Valley, Royal Belum or Tasik Banding. This 300,000-hectare forest is a “wishing well” for nature lovers, showcasing various flora and fauna. Mammals on the brink of extinction like the Sumatran rhinos, Asiatic elephants and Malayan tigers can be found here, as well as 10 rare species of hornbills. As for the flora, Temenggor Forest is host to three types of the world’s largest flower, the rafflesia and a fern species (cycads) that exists since the Jurassic period. There are hot springs in the forest. “If in Australia, tourists can see kangaroos crossing the roads, but here they can expect to come across the jumbos,” tour guide Mohammad Mohd Yusof told Bernama. But there is a tinge of sadness and frustration behind Mohamad’s statement. The reason? Rampant logging activities, if left unchecked would threaten the forest’s existence! http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news.php?id=195385

Australia:

36) Fiona Buffini’s “Pulp fiction” and “Growing pains” (May 6-7) warn of the pitfalls for private investors in the tree plantation bubble inflated by the Australian Taxation Office, but too little of its very considerable collateral damage to other interests. In addition to swallowing up more than 15 per cent of Tasmanian farms, and their much higher labour needs, the plantation companies aim wherever possible to acquire and log land with existing forests as icing on their bonanza. This has resulted in close to 45 per cent of forest being in private ownership, some 400,000 hectares, put into easements to the logging industry. Thirsty plantations have been shown to intercept up to 52 per cent of water that would normally filter through a natural forested catchment, while also passing on the cocktail of forestry herbicides and pesticides needed in monocultures. Victorian studies have shown that the water from undisturbed catchments is worth more over time than all the timber that could be extracted from it, while other studies have found the same to be often true of tourism amenity in forested areas. Such academic arguments, however, stand little chance, particularly in Tasmania, against the political influence provided by the $3 billion invested in plantations in the last three years. Down here, plantation trees have even been exempted from rates valuations, as well as planning and environmental legislation. It’s time for the public interest to be restored to the equation. http://afr.com/articles/2006/05/10/1146940587531.html

37) “Forest Activist Laura Minnebo was arrested at a forest action protecting a wedge tailed eagle breeding site in Tasmania’s Southern Forests,” spokesperson Warrick Jordan said. Three more activists were arrested on Wednesday protecting the breeding site. Wedge Tailed Eagles in Tasmania are an endangered species. “As Wedge Tailed Eagles soared above our protest today, we were reminded of how habitat for this critically endangered species is rapidly disappearing in Tasmania. The irreplaceable value of these ecosytems along the Eastern boundary of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area is highlighted by the actions of tree sitters in the Styx and Denison valleys,” said Jordan. Logging in High Conservation Value Forest in Tasmania’s south Protesters 40th day atop 75 meter regnans in Valley of the Giants Weld Valley Online http://melbourne.indymedia.org/archives/archive_by_id.php?id=9891&category_id=13

38) A MAN who has maintained a tree-top protest in a Tasmanian forest since March has been arrested after police used a helicopter to get to him. Tasmania Police today charged the 21-year-old West Moonah man with trespass, disobey the direction of a police officer and obstruct police, after he was arrested in the Styx Valley. After two previous unsuccessful attempts to negotiate with the man who had occupied a platform in a tree since late March, police attempted again today to negotiate with the man. When the man refused to descend from the tree, a police helicopter was used to lower two Search and Rescue officers onto a platform that had been erected in the tree top. Tasmania Police said the man agreed to abseil to the ground of his own volition. The two officers lowered the man’s belongings to the ground before abseiling from the tree themselves. Commander Colin Little said access to the tree was problematic and police had previously attempted to climb the tree. “The helicopter approach was the safest option,” Commander Little said. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,19103847-29277,00.html

World-Wide:

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