093OEC’s This Week in Trees

This week we have 37 news items from: British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Indiana, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Maine, Florida, US Virgin Islands, USA, Canada, European Union, England, Malawi, Tanzania, Guyana, Armenia, Nicaragua, Brazil and India.

British Colombia:

1) For now, the glut of dead and dying pine trees in the northern Interior due to the pine beetle is providing B.C.’s pulp industry with the cheapest wood supply in the world, beating even Brazil, PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Craig Campbell told a Vancouver conference Thursday. He said the beetle has given B.C.’s pulp industry a 10-year window during which it will have the lowest fibre costs in the world before its obsolete mills flame out. In a town like Quesnel, a fatal blow to the industry that has given it a strong economic backbone for decades would have a devastating impact on local residents — one that not even the Keen family is certain it could survive. “Obviously, it’s a concern for the community and every business that is linked to the forest industry,” said Mickey Keen, who at 37 is the latest to take the helm of the family business. Campbell told 500 industry leaders attending PWC’s global forest and paper industry conference that something needs to be done to aid the local pulp industry, whether the old mills are replaced by new ones or alternatives like oriented strand-board plants are built. If there is no renewal, Campbell said, the pulp industry’s future is bleak once the cheap beetle wood is gone. B.C.’s world-class sawmills would then have no place to sell their chips, depressing their revenues. “The question is: What do we do with all the chips?” Campbell said. “Pulp mills are the traditional solution. But if we don’t re-invest in the pulp sector then we’ve got to find another use for those chips, otherwise our world-class sawmilling sector is going to be unprofitable.” dahansen@png.canwest.com © The Vancouver Sun 2006

2) Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story is about 15-year-old Simon Jackson (Mark Rendall, (Childstar, ReGenesis), a real-life, average teen who spends time hiking in the British Columbian wilderness. Nearly attacked by a ferocious black bear, Jackson is rescued by a rare white Kermode Bear known as the “Spirit Bear.” When he discovers that these bears are endangered and their habitat is targeted for clear-cut logging, Jackson turns into a passionate and vocal teen political activist. With the help of Lloyd Blackburn (Graham Greene, Transamerica, Into The West), Jackson takes on the powerful forestry industry and the provincial government, eventually rallying young people around the world in support of the Spirit Bear. In the real life story that inspired this dramatization, the outcome of SimonJackson’s David vs. Goliath fight was the protection of more than 600,000 hectares of Canada’s Princess Royal Island, one of the largest land protection battles ever won. It also led to Jackson being named one of Time magazine’s 60 Heroes for the Planet in 2000 and to the creation of The Spirit Bear Youth Coalition (www.spiritbearyouth.org), the world’s largest environmental network of young people with over six million members in 30 countries, spearheaded and founded by Jackson himself, who remains the Executive Director. “The story of Simon Jackson’s fight to save the Spirit Bear is an inspiring one that will appeal to viewers of all ages,” said Susanne Boyce, CTV’s President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group. “Embraced by film festivals in Canada and around the world, the powerful message that Spirit Bear delivers is that one person really can make a difference.” “The Kermode bear is Canada’s Panda – a unique species that is endangered and is under Canada’s watch,” said Heather Haldane, Producer. “Our ‘little movie that could’ is bringing the world’s attention to the bear and to the real Simon Jackson, an impassioned and committed young man. Mark Rendalll, Ed Begley Jr and Graham Greene all felt a personal connection to Simon’s passionate defense of the bear and came aboard with a great sense of purpose. It was a real pleasure to see this in the process of making this film.” http://www.channelcanada.com/Article1360.html

3) Another 56,000 hectares of forested land scattered throughout Graham and Moresby Islands have now been protected. The areas were first protected by a very temporary measure called Government Action Regulation, as part of the agreement between the Haida and the province after the Islands Spirit Rising action last March. A year after the letter of understanding was signed, the areas, many of which were outlined as cedar archaeology, cultural cedar, goshawk and marbled murrelet areas of the Haida Land Use Vision, are now protected under Part 13 of the Forest Act. Parts of the Yakoun and the Tlell watersheds were also included. This protection is in effect until May 31, 2007. Council of the Haida Nation President Guujaaw says this designation takes the pressure off the negotiations. “Companies have been trying to get approval in these areas,” he says. In fact, Husby Forest Products took the province and the CHN to court because the district manager had been holding off on approving cut blocks in some of these areas. Since the Part 13 designations were made, that case has been adjourned.
Guujaaw says the areas will now be considered in the government-to-government negotiations on the Land Use Plan. He says the goal of that process is to examine everything again, and to attach permanent protection to areas. Currently more than 225,500 hectares have interim protection on the islands. Approximately 142,000 hectares were designated as the Duu Guusd area in 1999, followed by another 27,700 hectares in April 2005 and 56,000 this month. There are still a number of other outstanding issues to be resolved from the April 2005 Letter of Understanding, including the Allowable Annual Cut, a Haida tenure, the bear hunt and a revenue sharing agreement. A community viability process is also underway. http://www.qciobserver.com/articles.aspx?article=2121

4) halito — For 6 years i have maintained a Peace Camp on Mt. Elphinstone. After all kinds of roadblocks etc. etc…my camp is safe for now…the mountain is being logged like crazy for the first time in the past year…bidding closes on the area above my camp June 1st….if there is anyone out there who wants to stay at the Peace Camp(there are other camps too)and resist the destruction…please e-mail me at…plalo@myself.com There are few people willing to take action in my community-but alot of other kinds of useful support…the environmental groups that are formed are usually formed after myself and whomever is staying on the mountain stops the logging…then they have a few meetings…a benefit or two, and dissolve…until we stop the logging again. If you just want to talk go to meetings and organize a benefit contact the newly formed environmental group C-PEC (Coalition for the Promotion of Environmental Concerns…if you want to stop the logging..please contact me… See you at Wild Earth…Ping! “Penny Lalo Singh” plalo@myself.com


5) State officials also point out that the Mount St. Helens area offers unique challenges for elk forage. The land here was suffocated by the mountain’s 1980 eruption, and hunting also was curtailed after the blast. The area is now healing, and the underbrush that elk prefer is now being overtaken by increasingly larger evergreen trees in the replanted forest land. The state wildlife area is managed to remain open and brushy, which is why elk congregate there in the winter. But the soil, capped by mud and ash from the eruption, is relatively poor. ‘‘It’s right in the core of where the impact was, and where the elk ended up needing that area for critical winter habitat,’’ said Dave Brittell, the state assistant director for wildlife programs. Others disagree with the state’s winter kill figures, and say elk deaths also were pushed into higher elevations this year because fluctuating winter weather caused elk to move up and down the terrain. The alarm over elk deaths was amplified this spring when residents of southwestern Washington saw a privately filmed video on the local television news, showing dead and dying elk around Mount St. Helens. ‘‘I think what’s happening is that Fish and Wildlife has just failed to adjust the herd population to take into consideration what’s happening with habitat up there,’’ said Orcutt, a forester by trade. Orcutt subsequently called for the firing of state Fish and Wildlife Director Jeff Koenings, a suggestion that was denounced by the agency head and the state Fish and Wildlife Commission. Foresters for Weyerhaeuser, which owns vast tracts of timber land around the volcano, also have been troubled by what they see as too many elk, company spokeswoman Jackie Lang said. Aside from encounters with starving animals, company foresters must contend with elk eating the tender tops of young trees, which interferes with crucial periods of tree growth. ‘‘The problem is, we’ve got too many elk and not enough forage. So what’s the solution? Either provide more forage or reduce the elk population,’’ Lang said. http://www.helenair.com/articles/2006/05/13/national/a05051306_01.txt

6) The federal government has approved a $1.44 million grant that could preserve more than 400 acres of forest threatened with logging near Ashford, just outside Mount Rainier National Park. The parties still are negotiating a purchase price, and the deal hasn’t been finalized. But if it goes through, it would be the first phase of a larger preservation initiative, which the Nisqually Land Trust is expected to announce this fall. The Mount Rainier Gateway Initiative will call for permanently protecting about 4,500 acres of timberland between the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Elbe Hills. “Our goal is building sustainable forests, which include working forests, as well as wildlife habitats,” said Joe Kane, director of the Nisqually Land Trust. For now, his group is negotiating with Pope Resources, the owner of 404 acres, which include mature forests and harvested lands. They hope to wrap up the deal by summer. Meanwhile, the Land Trust – the conservation arm of the Nisqually River Council – has begun conversations with owners of other smaller properties along Highway 706. The threat of logging there has been averted at least for now. The trust’s proposal, called the Ashford Spotted Owl Project, aims to protect 484 acres of timberlands in the upper Nisqually River watershed. That includes 404 acres privately owned by Pope Resources and an adjacent 80 acres publicly owned by the state Department of Natural Resources. The lands provide habitat to animals including northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets and bald eagles, as well as 13 other species the state is trying to protect. The lands also fill gaps between other protected lands in the area, such as Mount Rainier National Park, Glacier View Wilderness, Tahoma Hill State Forest and Gifford Pinchot National Forest. To spend the $1.44 million to buy the Pope properties, the state Department of Natural Resources must provide matching money or land valued at $1.76 million. Parts of the Tahoma forest are under review for placement into permanent conservation status. If that happens, it would be considered matching money for the federal grant. The Land Trust also hopes Pierce County steps forward to help buy the DNR’s 80 acres. The county’s Conservation Futures Program collects 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or $12.50 on a $250,000 home. http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/5738026p-5134835c.html


7) This time of year, the forest is ripe with multiple shades of green, and the purples and whites of wildflowers. The smell is fresh and woodsy, and the sounds of dozens of bird species give voice to the trees, said Tim Lichen, outreach coordinator for Forests Forever. The nonprofit operates the 140-acre site and provides woodland management education and information about sustainable forestry practices to the t public. The organization began in 1991 when Margaret Hopkins donated the land that her late husband, Howard, had managed for 25 years. She wanted the woodlands to remain safe from development and accessible to the public. Saturday all the forest’s sites, smells and sounds will be on display during A Walk in the Woods, a special Mother’s Day event in the forest south of Beavercreek. The daylong event is a time for nature lovers and folks who rarely get out of the city to traipse along three miles of forest trails and view exhibits and interpretive panels along the way that describe how the forest is managed, Lichen said. Portions of the woodlands are periodically logged and replanted. Last year Scout troops and other volunteers planted about 2,500 trees, including red alder, Douglas fir, Western red cedar and other varieties. Visitors can see the forest in various stages. Some spaces have been clear cut, others sprout 2-year-old trees, and within yards of the new growth stand trees more than 50 years old, Lichen said. “Our key to sustainability is related to diversity,” he said. “We have diverse ages of trees and a mix of species.” The property also provides an escape for people looking for something different to do, said Terry Griffis, a Redland-area resident who has visited the forest several times with her young sons. “If somebody just wants to try and get some exercise, it’s a great place,” Griffis said. “I’d much rather be out in the woods than walking around the neighborhood.” People can come out at any time and wander around the forest trails. As in past years, special hikes may be scheduled this year. http://www.oregonlive.com/metrosouth/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/metro_south_news/1147211721161

8) After receiving over 800 comments from concerned Oregonians, the Forest Service has made a decision (without acknowledging your concerns) to move forward with the No Whisky Timber Sale. No Whisky is the largest logging project planned for Mt. Hood National Forest; threatening 1,680 acres (nearly 3 square miles!) of beautiful forest in the North Fork of the Clackamas River. As discovered on the March Bark-About to No Whisky the current proposal includes illegal logging next to streams and increasing risks to the forest by opening it to abusive off-road vehicle use. Worst of all, this area already suffers from a lack of recreational opportunities and has been destroyed by past logging and illegal dumping, shooting, and off-roading. Unfortunately, No Whisky does nothing to restore this forest. But don’t worry! The Forest Service posted a statement on their website, “This is new, cutting edge forestry,” said Clackamas District Ranger Andrei Rykoff. “Right now the stands are healthy and growing, but they don’t have the mix of tree species that were historically present and they’re relatively uniform in terms of tree size and spacing.” Bark has just one question, “How does this new cutting edge forestry protect our drinking water, stop illegal shooting and off-roading, and make Mt. Hood National Forest a better place for hikers and wildlife?”


9) CAVE JUNCTION — Mushrooms popping up on the forest floor, given their potential medicinal properties, could provide an economic alternative to cutting tall timber in the region.That conclusion by a group of Illinois Valley residents was one of several economic options proposed for emerging forest-based business opportunities during a Thursday evening forum called: Beyond Logging: Building Local Forest Wealth “…From new medicines to ecotourism, our forests are worth far more to residents of the Illinois Valley as old-growth stands than stumps,” said Eric Cerecedes who represents Mycosphere Inc., which he described as a local “for-profit activist organization” focusing on the economic potential of medicinal mushrooms. The group supports an economically and ecologically sustainable community, he said. But mushrooms are only a portion of the potential alternatives, he said, noting that could include other forest-friendly products and tourism. Old-growth areas in the region are worth more standing than they are as saw logs. “We could support our full economy without destroying what we have for the future generations,” he said Selma resident Orville Camp agreed. The longtime area resident, who has been working for some four decades on his family-owned forest, has coined the word “ecostry” to describe his natural selection process for logging his land. Roger Brandt, an Oregon Caves National Monument employee, estimated that nature-based tourism could help local businesses benefit from the nearly $30 million that tourists bring to the Redwood Highway corridor each year. “We have some of the richest resources in the United States here,” Paul West said. “But we really haven’t been seeing the forest for the trees.” http://www.mailtribune.com/archive/2006/0512/local/stories/beyondloggi.htm

10) Too many live trees, too many dead and dying trees and too much undergrowth are making Mountain Park a prime area for a huge, uncontrollable fire. According to Pontes, by creating fuel breaks and improving roads, the parks and forestry departments could reduce the acreage of the fire from 2,300 to 1,200 acres. Then, by reducing the fuel through cleaning out dead trees, undergrowth and thinning the forest, the fire could be reduced to 373 acres. “The whole objective is to improve the forest and the park,” Pontes said. Using a study created by the GTFSC, a collaborative of agencies will begin as soon as late August to groom the forest to protect the park from a devastating fire. Because Mountain Park is over populated with trees, the trees are not receiving sufficient nutrients to thrive. Thus, many trees have become weakened and fallen victim to disease and the ravages of bark beetles. Each acre in Mountain Park has from 1,000 to 1,500 trees. Using facts about the park’s elevation, water and soil, Pontes said the forest should have between 75 to 100 trees to be a healthy forest. Therefore, it will be necessary for the crews to also cut down some living trees. Don Maben, Kern County 2nd District Supervisor, said assurances have been made by the county council that the money from logging in Mt. Park will be specifically used for that park. Pontes said the safety of hauling the logs is definitely important and the truck drivers will be expected to drive carefully. Also speaking at the meeting, Kern County Fire Department Battalion Chief Ken Stevens explained that special equipment can be used to clean out undergrowth and dead debris without damaging bushes and other living plants. http://www.tehachapinews.com/home/viewarticle.php?cat_id=383&post=15695

11) San Bernadino — From 2004 through April, the county removed about 180,000 bark-beetle infested trees from 17,000 acres of mountain land, Martinez said. Although the county’s efforts focus on clearing dead trees from private property, the U.S. Forest Service is tasked with removing potential fuel from federal land. In addition to $15 million in federal funds for the job of thinning trees and setting controlled burns this year, $6.1 million also was allocated in April to remove trees through an agreement between the U.S. Forest Service and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service. Tom Schott, emergency watershed-protection coordinator for the service, said the money is to be spent on removing trees that are close to private property. Schott’s agency is also working with the county on its tree-removal program. But if fire prevention is too successful it can lead to excessive overgrowth and catastrophic fires, such as those that burned through the mountains in 2003. That same year marked the peak of bark-beetle infestation – they killed trees on 521,771 acres of the forest that year, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Mary Beth Najera, a forest silviculturist – she describes her job as a forest “gardener” – said planned fires prevent the forest from becoming too crowded. “It’s putting the fire back in the ecosystem,” Najera said. Edison has spent about $178 million to fell some 173,000 trees, said project manager Don Johnson. At the height of the crisis, the electric company was paying to have about 1,000 trees cut down daily. It has since slowed to about 1,000 trees a month. “We’re kind of holding steady in a maintenance mode,” Johnson said. “From the time we identify a tree as dead or dying, within a month it’s gone.” For Crestline resident Robert Biggs, tree removal has dramatically changed mountain life, making the forest look downright sparse. “When I first moved up here, it was monstrous,” Biggs, 21, said. “The trees were everywhere, it was thick here.” In normal conditions, bark beetles are an important part of the ecosystem, serving as food for woodpeckers and creating habitat in dead trees for other animals, said Sheri Smith, a U.S. Forest Service supervisory entomologist. During drought conditions, trees stop producing sap that can prevent bark beetles from burrowing inside. The sap is a deadly barrier for bark beetles, keeping population levels in line. http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_3796788


12) In 2001 and 2003, 2,000 acres of Ponderosa pine were thinned out around the ranch. In November 2005, 160 acres were purposely burned, removing lower plants and dead wood that had dried out.It is part of 20,000 acres where Payson district officials have treated the forest. They have 130,000 acres to go, land chosen to protect life and property. Needed to reach the objective: time and money. “We want to thin 72,000 acres around Pine and Strawberry, and we will start when we get the money,” Ortlund said. “These are two of the higher-risk places in the country.” Foresters and local communities have initiated similar efforts around the state. The 2.1 million acre Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, covering the Mogollon Rim to the east as well as the White Mountains, have identified half a million acres that need to be restored, through thinning or controlled burning. Foresters have completed 9,000 acres, with 20,000 more contracted for thinning. Prescribed burning has been increased from 2,000 to 10,000 acres a year since 2001. The 1.6 million-acre Kaibab National Forest has treated 22,000 acres in the past two years. Foresters are working on a plan to help identify and schedule future treatments. Much of the work will be done around Williams, the largest community in the area. Coconino National Forest, which covers 1.8 million acres including Flagstaff, Oak Creek and Sedona, Mormon Lake and the top of the Mogollon Rim, has focused strongly on the Flagstaff area. There, the effort is overseen by a cooperative organization called the Greater Flagstaff Forest Partnership. More than 100,000 acres of overgrown forest have been thinned. http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/0513wildfire0513.html

South Dakota:

13) But what may be the city’s greatest public space often goes unnoticed, hidden beyond some forested hills and down a dusty gravel road. Located a mere two and a half miles from downtown Deadwood, this public park was constructed in the spring of 1919 at the behest of Seth Bullock, a frontier Renaissance Man who had been a dear friend of Theodore Roosevelt. The former president’s death on Jan. 6 affected Bullock greatly, and the former lawman and rancher immediately convinced the Society of Black Hills Pioneers to erect the nation’s first memorial to Roosevelt on a high peak above Deadwood. The dedication of Mount Theodore Roosevelt occurred on July 4, less than three months before Bullock’s own death at the age of 70. He arranged to be buried above Deadwood’s cemetery on Mount Moriah, near the top of the peak. Known as White Rocks, this location provides Bullock’s final resting place with an unimpeded view of the memorial he created for his friend during the final months of his life. Today Mount Roosevelt is maintained by the Black Hills National Forest as a recreational trail and picnic area. The most popular way to access the summit is to take Mount Roosevelt Road from U.S. 85 on Deadwood Hill, where construction on a new hotel and convention center is underway. The road is gravel and generally well-maintained, although the landscape is thickly forested and can harbor deep snow drifts through spring. http://www.deadwoodmagazine.com/article.php?read_id=124


14) JACKSON — An outdoors group is encouraging hunters and anglers to pressure public officials to restrict development in some of Wyoming’s wild places. Trout Unlimited representatives Monday said Wyoming is one of the “greatest places in the world to hunt and fish,” and the economic impact of that recreation is often diluted in the face of explosive energy development on public lands. Chris Hunt, communications director for Trout Unlimited, said there are 3.2 million acres of roadless areas in the state that are considered “special” for the wildlife and fisheries they support. “We would like to see our governor and federal delegation take some initiative and ask their peers to consider these areas for protection in Wyoming,” he said. Tom Reed, Wyoming field coordinator for the group’s public lands initiative, said the Wyoming Range in western Wyoming is among the most vulnerable in the state. With three native species of cutthroat trout and tremendous hunting opportunities but no wilderness designations, the area is coming under pressure from energy development, Reed said. He was chief author of a report Trout Unlimited released Monday detailing what the organization calls a direct connection between hunting and fishing success and undeveloped backcountry. http://www.jacksonholestartrib.com/articles/2006/05/09/news/wyoming/621dcf8010bd87dc87257168


15) The cottonwood sustained initial major damage after a July 2003 storm when it lost large branches. More storms caused additional damage until it was discovered earlier this year that only a fourth of the main trunk remained, said Bunny Watkins, the Army Corps of Engineers park manager at Perry Lake. “We could see that there was a crack line where it was getting ready to go again,” Watkins said of the tree that once stood 116 feet tall with a crown spread of 124 feet. Its trunk had a circumference of nearly 30 feet. The remainder of the tree was brought down March 24 with more than 100 people watching, Watkins said. Storms have taken a toll the last few years on some of the area’s magnificent trees, including one in Lawrence listed as a champion tree. The March 12 microburst took down a pin oak tree that had stood next to Potter Lake on the Kansas University campus, KU landscaping manager Mike Lang said. The oak had been measured to be 110 feet tall with a crown of 94 feet. A second champion tree on campus still stands. It is a Japanese maple near the chancellor’s house that’s 21 feet tall with a 26-foot span. There are two other champion trees listed in rural Douglas County: a shagbark hickory and a blackjack oak near Baldwin. Several champion trees are found in Leavenworth, Shawnee, Franklin and Johnson counties. The Ozawkie tree was replaced on the champion list by an 82-foot-tall eastern cottonwood near Studley in Sheridan County. It has a crown span of 123 feet and a trunk circumference of more than 32 feet. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/may/12/champion_trees_lost_storms/?city_local


16) Wildflowers are blooming and it is turkey-hunting season, so Mr. Cole wears a bright orange stocking cap. Soon he will return to his discourse, lecturing on erosion studies, the sediment that is filling up Yellowwood Lake below his property and the numerous damages the forest has suffered. But for a moment on a late-April morning, he is silent, watching the destruction happen before his eyes. He says the forests have recovered from the clear cuts of early 20th-century farmers, who prided themselves on the amount of land they had exhausted. They inevitably learned the steep landscape was unfit for crops. Twenty-five years ago, Mr. Cole and his wife Linda Baden found it was a suitable place to build a home. Since then, they have paid attention to the way water moves. The night their first son was born, a rainstorm nearly stranded them at home—they live between two low points in a road, which floods easily. Mr. Cole steps through the stream. During a flood last summer the creek jumped its banks and tore new paths here. “See here’s another channel. We need to test the turbidity of the water,” he says, pointing to a tangle of brush created by the flood. “ But water moving fast enough to lift all that debris will take your feet out from under you.” He notes that the spongy, absorbent topsoil has been washed away—you can tell by pushing your foot against the hard clay ground. Farming the steep hills had the same effect. He says the young forest has begun to rebuild the soil, but it takes one hundred years to form a single inch of topsoil. He has lived in Yellowwood long enough to learn from his own forestry mistakes. And he is quick to charge the DNR with enormous mistakes in its plan to quadruple the amount of state forest logging it does. The landscape can’t handle that much disruption, he says. Erosion will worsen and the lake will get filled in. But you can’t call him a tree-hugger, he insists, because he uses chainsaws and heats with wood. His family’s home was also built with wood from the property. So was his mother’s house, an octagonal cabin he built up the drive. http://www.browncountyindiana.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=7791&TM=3801.

South Carolina:

17) A federal committee will recommend more than 7,500 acres of national forest in South Carolina be protected from new roads and logging. The Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee accepted Gov. Mark Sanford’s recommendation to keep the areas roadless. The committee’s recommendation will go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a final decision later this year. Most of the area affected is in the Sumter National Forest in the mountains, including the largest single roadless tract — Bee Cove, at nearly 3,000 acres. The remainder is in the Francis Marion National Forest near Charleston. http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/local/14550140.htm


18) ALBANY – Pine plantings tumbled 12 percent across the South in 2005, slumping to their lowest level in years, but a flurry of planting in the late ’80s left the nation’s leading timber-producing region with plenty of trees for lumber, paper making and a source of alternative fuels, experts say. Experts cite lower timber prices, natural disasters, cutbacks in government incentive programs and the loss of forest land due to urban sprawl for the tree-planting skid in all but one of the last four years. “When somebody puts a tree in the ground, they’re making a bet that 20 to 30 years from now there’s going to be a market,” said Ken Stewart, director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. “Tree planting works in business cycles just like any other business.” The South isn’t about to run out of trees, and the region may actually produce a greater volume of wood because of genetically superior pine trees and more use of herbicides and fertilizers to maximize growth, experts say. Because of improved genetics, the current generation of pines can produce about twice as much cellulose as unimproved natural trees, Stewart said. The planting statistics were reported in a quarterly newsletter published by Albany-based F&W Forestry Services, one of the South’s leading timber management and consulting firms with 12 offices in the region. They are compiled annually by the Forestry Commission, based on reports from Kentucky, Oklahoma and 11 Southern states. http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/politics/14545930.htm


19) Some cottages are only a foot or two apart. If you don’t like that and you’re afraid of big trees falling on your houses, you shouldn’t live here,” said Lehman, 50, who has spent most of her life in and around the Montgomery County town. In her case, the advantages of this little municipality — about 225 homes surrounded by more than 200 acres of forest and parkland — far outweigh the inconveniences. “This is a live-and-let-live area,” Lehman said. “Eclectic people live here. We’re all a little nutty. “Washington Grove, just outside Gaithersburg, is a mix of century-old Carpenter Gothic cottages and bungalows surrounded by ranchers, Cape Cods and Colonials. There is no mail delivery. Residents go to the town post office — it’s in the lone commercial strip, along with a hair salon, consignment shop, catering business and insurance office. The town started in the 1870s as a religious retreat for Washington’s Methodist families. To escape the area’s steamy summers, they would hop on the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O Railroad and find respite and religion in a tree-canopied tent colony set. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/12/AR2006051200887.html


20) I have met with my woodsman and he said that money can be made by judiciously taking down selected portions of my forest. In past years, I would have rejected any suggestion of taking down trees. But veterans of the woods, both state and private experts, have informed me that large trees end up stealing sunlight and other resources from newer growth. One result is that many of the fir, pine and spruce trees are just dying in an upright position (and in position to fall on the cabin). Upside No. 1: I own about 20 acres, and it hasn’t been cut for at least 60 years, according to the old-timers at the farm store. Upside No. 2: There is much oak, maple and poplar on the land. These trees are in demand. Upside No. 3: Bob, Woodsman Numero Uno, doesn’t want to cut and split these towering, 90-footers for firewood. He wants to strip them and sell them in lengthy pieces for veneer. Happily, there are a couple yards right in town so we don’t have to truck the timber to Jay or Rumford. I don’t know how much money I will realize from the harvest. But it would be fun to derive something. And the knowledge that I am cleaning up the forest would make me feel like a natural-born naturalist – which I am not but am happy to assume that posture. Bob says he can find at least four-to-five weeks worth of work on my back 20. If I do realize cash in the low three figures, I might go shopping for a generator. I don’t have electricity. http://outdoors.mainetoday.com/cabincountry/005773.html

21) BANGOR – One of Rolland Perry’s few regrets is that he didn’t quite reach his goal of planting 1 million trees before retiring from his more than four-decade career as city forester. “I only got to 812,809,” Perry, 70, said as he squinted at a computer-generated spread sheet tracking a career’s worth of tree plantings, removals and other statistics. If Bangor ever had a Johnny Appleseed, the Hampden resident would have to be it. You don’t have to look hard to see Perry’s legacy in the city. Just drive down any tree-lined residential street, or visit one of the city’s four public forests, namely the 654-acre City Forest off Kittredge Road, 28-acre Brown Woods off Ohio Street, 35-acre Prentiss Woods on Grandview Avenue, and the 70-acre Essex Woods on Essex Street. http://www.bangornews.com/news/templates/?a=133623


22) The Division of Forestry brought in two bulldozers to dig a protective fire line around Space Coast Junior/Senior High and Enterprise Elementary schools. The bulldozers cut a six mile defensive line 45 feet wide around the schools. The 50,000-pound earth movers have sharp blades that can bring down pine and palm trees and snap them like twigs. Forest rangers say with a small change in wind direction, some of the recent fires could have destroyed the schools and put students in danger. “Dangerous work that needs to be done to protect this school right here if a wild fire ever comes in this area,” Richard McGhee, a senior forest ranger said. http://cfn13.com/StoryHeadline.aspx?id=15582

US Virgin Islands:

23) Fast-growing plants, such as snake root, wild tamarind and gnip trees, grow in such dense thickets that they block indigenous species’ access to sunlight and soil, said Dan Clark, an exotic plant specialist with the Virgin Islands National Park in St. John. They
affect other plants, insects and birds too. “These invasive plants have the ability to throw several things out of whack all the way up the chain,” Clark said Wednesday as his crew
sprayed herbicide on the stumps of invasive plants. “Some of the islands are dense with this stuff.” The Virgin Islands National park boasts some 850 known species of plants, more than 80 percent of which are native, officials said. With the invasive plants cleared, Clark hopes that the dormant seeds of native species, such as gumbo limbo, fiddlewood and guava berry, will take root in the improved conditions. The work has already paid off: native species have increased by some 300 percent in cleared areas, Clark said. “Exotic and invasive species are the number two threat to biodiversity, behind habitat loss,” said Peter Galvin, a spokesman for the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity. Clark’s team plans to spend the month of May removing plants from six uninhabited cays in the U.S. Virgin Islands and across 80 acres (32 hectares) of the 7,100-acre (2,890-hectare) national park in St. John. For three years, they have battled African Guinea grass in Buck Island, near the island of St. Croix. Islands, such as those in the U.S. Virgin Islands chain, are vulnerable to loss of biodiversity because of the limited amount of forested land. European settlers in the U.S. territory introduced many nonnative plants as feed for goats in the 17th century. Other invasive plants crept into forests and parks from decorative landscaping outside homes and businesses, Clark said. “A lot of people think anything green is good for biodiversity,” he
said. “The plants I remove actually eliminate biodiversity.” Not all invasive plants are being uprooted. Nonnative Caribbean icons, such as coconut palms and bougainvillea, will be spared since they pose no threat to native species. http://www.forestrycenter.org/headlines.cfm?RefID=80800


24) The Canadian Boreal Initiative is a pre-emptive industrial astroturf attack on Canada’s boreal region. This region is close to 100% original forest, lakes and wetland wilderness within the public domain. Logging, oil and mineral exploration companies using astroturf vehicles like the Canadian Boreal Initiative are fabricating a context for environmentalists to endorse industrial resource development on 1/2 of the boreal landbase. The Canadian Senate established a conservation framework for the boreal where 80% of the landbase should be conserved with only 20% allocated for industrial exploration and development. The Canadian Boreal Initiative is an industry funded PR project to reduce the international public boreal conservation expectation to 50% or less and create a boreal region administration in the hands of an industrial development partnership funded with resource exploitation revenues. If you or your organization is really interested in conserving the boreal environment then be very careful not to lend credibility to this anti environmental pro development industrial initiative. –Michael Major stoneboat@gmail.com

25) Management at Toronto-Dominion Bank cannot have been thrilled to discover the bank has become the campaign’s first target. After all, RAN’s methods for getting Citigroup to adopt progressive environmental and human-rights policies are notorious; tactics included television spots with Hollywood celebrities cutting up their Citibank credit cards, a full-page ad in The New York Times and a super-sized banner across the street from their midtown New York offices. In the report, ForestEthics and RAN accuse TD of not setting targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions for the projects they finance, of providing loans without adequate environmental policy safeguards and of funding logging, tar sands and mining projects in sensitive habitats. According to Tzeporah Berman, who co-founded ForestEthics, “TD has been the last as far as we can see among its peers to even start looking at these issues.” Independent analyst Michael Jantzi of Toronto-based Jantzi Research Inc. says, in reference to TD: “there’s no question in some ways they lag behind some of their Canadian counterparts on the policy front in these areas.” A review of the five largest Canadian banks’ corporate websites shows TD is the only one not to adopt “the Equator Principles,” the voluntary guidelines of the private sector arm of the World Bank that evaluate the environmental and social aspects of projects. Townsend says TD doesn’t subscribe to the guidelines because they govern project financing in the developing world — not a TD activity. Bill Barclay, one of RAN’s campaigners, says TD is indeed involved in questionable project financing. The greenwashing report focuses on, among other projects, the Rosia Montana gold mining project, which Canadian company Gabriel Resources Ltd. is undertaking in Romania, despite controversy regarding the allegedly toxic nature of proposed mining techniques. The report alleges TD was an underwriter. TD’s Townsend says the bank participated in “a small equity financing at 5% level” but has no further relationship with the project. TD’s competitors shouldn’t gloat. Rainforest Action Network and ForestEthics have made it clear they’re setting the bar higher than Equator Principles. “[They’re] really just a minimum step,” says Barclay. And he confirms that, yes, discussions are taking place with all the banks. http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/stocks/article.jsp?content=20060424_76329_76329

26) A new study calls for a proper inventory of Algonquin Park’s old trees before they are lost to logging. The study suggests loggers are cutting ancient trees because the area isn’t accurately mapped. Forest ecologist Mike Henry who co-wrote the report said some of the trees in peril started growing while Samuel de Champlain was still alive. The report was funded by a non-profit research group and shows that some 240-year-old Hemlock trees have been harvested inside the park in the last few years. Besides Red Pine, other old growth species now recognized as being at risk include, American beech, red oak, yellow birch and white pine stands. http://www.tbsource.com/Localnews/index.asp?cid=82927

27) …With forestry layoffs occurring across the Island, drastic cutbacks in the annual amount of wood districts are allowed to harvest, and threats of further mill shut downs, this is a time when all stakeholders need to discuss the issues. “This discussion cannot occur in a meaningful way unless all individuals have access to up-to-date, relevant information,” said Bull… “The need for this toolkit became apparent after the last round of forest management planning team meetings,” said Jason Bull, Sierra Club’s forest campaigner on the Island. ….Sierra Club of Canada today released a Forest Planning Team Toolkit for the island of Newfoundland. The toolkit is aimed at helping citizens concerned about forest management to participate effectively in the Island’s planning team processes and in the upcoming review of the forest sector. The toolkit includes; forest industry fact sheets, sample maps from past planning teams, a list of relevant appendices, a mapping package to aid people in envisioning their own view of the forest, as well as links to further reading material. http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/media/item.shtml?x=957

European Union:

28) The attack from a coalition of NGOs led by Friends of the Earth preceded the Europe-Latin America Summit in Vienna on Friday. The EU, South America’s first foreign investor and second most important trade partner, hopes the summit will strengthen economic cooperation. But environmentalists accuse European companies of polluting water resources with effluent from pulp plants, and causing rivers to dry up by damming water flows and clearing swathes of rainforest to make room for eucalyptus plantations. One company put in the spotlight was Norwegian-Brazilian Aracruz Celulose, the world’s largest producer of eucalyptus pulp, which set up eucalyptus plantations in protected areas of Brazilian rainforest and caused several rivers and streams to dry up, the NGOs say. Aracruz is planning to expand its activity in South America and relies on funding from European banks for this – as do Finland’s Metsa Botnia and Spanish ENCE, whose planned paper mill complex on the Uruguay River continues to raise protests in Argentina. Argentineans say that the development would cause severe pollution in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Widespread protests have prompted one European bank to pull out of funding the project. Other effects of European pulp and paper companies’ activities in South America include deforestation, the concentration of land in the hands of a few transnational corporations, and the displacement of communities. “The establishment of forest monocultures for the production of cellulose in South American countries has had serious social and environmental impacts in Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay,” said Carlos Santos of Friends of the Earth. http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?id=11447&channel=0


29) A FOREST regeneration project at Sandy Balls holiday centre in Godshill has upset some long-standing residents. Swathes of forest has been felled, including trees on Good Friday Hill and Giants Grave. One resident, who has lived at Sandy Balls for many years and who did not wish to be named, told The Forest Journal that large tracts of woodland had been “devastated.” “I understand that that woodlands and forests need to be cared for in order to survive well into the future, but how can anything grow back with all the mess on the floor. “I know that many healthy trees, including beeches and oaks, have been destroyed as part of the scheme and I am very upset about the mess that has been left on the ground.” The holiday centre has been carrying out a woodland management programme for the past 12 years. A spokesman for the centre said the scheme had been approved by the Forestry Commission and it is following a strategy prepared by Oikos Countryside Management for the wood. The plan is being overseen by Bruce Gwynn, a consultant from Hampshire County Council and Mike Cutler of Sandy Balls. http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/headlines/display.var.757760.0.distress_over_woodland_


30) Mass termination of valuable trees in the Armenian-occupied areas of Azerbaijan continue, the Ministry of Ecology and natural Resources of Azerbaijan said that some types of trees and bushes – arrack oak, yalangoz, east plane-tress, pomegranate, wood grapes, Buasie pear, shumshad, Eldar pien-tree and other valuable types are on the eve of disappearance. The area of forests of public significance, which are currently under occupation, comprises 975,900h. The coniferous forest covers the area of 10,400h, hard-leaf tree forest – 814,400h, soft leaf trees forest – 22,700h. 2,700h, 95,300, 7,500h are aged and old woods respectively. 70-80% of the forest are young trees. “These facts testify for violation of international ecological conventions, as well as irrefutable evidences for informing the world community abut Armenians’ attitude towards the environment,” the press service announced. http://www.trend.az/?mod=shownews&news=19641&lang=en


31) Government says it has planted over 45 million trees in this year’s National Forestry Season launched on December 15, 2005 by President Bingu wa Mutharika at Chingadzi Hill in Thyolo under the theme ‘Forestry for Sustainable Development’. Minister of Mines, Natural Resources and Environment Henry Chimunthu Banda said this was a positive development and attributed the success to political commitment on the subject of sustainable management of forest resources in the country. “This season’s tree planting efforts have gone up by 14 percent compared to last year’s 40 million,” said Chimunthu Banda. Statistics show that government planted about 1.5 million, private sector about 5.5 million, individuals about 37 million and Income Generating Public Works Programme (IGPWP) support to forest reserves about 2 million. Chimunthu Banda said national forestry season had two innovative aspects like the extension of the activity from one month the (National Forestry Month) to four months (December to April) and the involvement of all cabinet ministers in launching the season at regional level and in all the 28 districts. The Minister said government is working on alternatives to curb the charcoal burning business by giving charcoal sellers alternatives for survival. Chimunthu admitted there was rampant corruption in his ministry, especially in the forestry department, but that had been dealt with. http://www.nationmalawi.com/articles.asp?articleID=16694


32) Scientists have discovered a new monkey in Africa, the first new genus of primate found in 83 years. Called kipunji by native villagers, scientists have classified the monkey under the genus Rungwecebus, after its habitat on Mount Rungwe in Tanzania. Kipunji live in groups of 30 to 36, are omnivores, and communicate via a “honk-bark” sound. Hmm, kind of like our boss. The monkey was found in the forests of Tanzania last year, but scientists have just determined its significance. “The discovery of a new genus makes this animal a true conservation celebrity,” said Tim Davenport of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Enjoy the kipunji while you can: Its habitat is disappearing because of illegal logging, and scientists estimate only 500 to 800 remain in the wild. WCS has set up a website dedicated to protecting the monkey and is calling for action to conserve its habitat. A DNA analysis confirmed that the animal was genetically distinct from any other group and that it should be reclassified in its own separate genus. “This study is a textbook example of how a variety of individuals and institutions spanning the globe can work together to significantly improve our understanding of the biodiversity of this planet,” Dr Stanley said. It lives in a dwindling region of highland forest some 12 hours journey by road from Dar es Salaam and a day’s trek up the mountain from the nearest village, Dr Davenport said. Kipunji monkeys live in groups of 30 to 36 and are omnivores, feeding on leaves, shoots, flowers, bark, fruit, lichens, moss and insects. Dr Davenport said that illegal logging was forcing the animals out of their natural habitat to raid local crops. He added “I imagine the forest has been reduced and these groups of kipunji are being squeezed. I don’t imagine that there are more than 700 or 800 individuals left,” he said. http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article364328.ece


33) The preamble to the 1995 Act of Parliament, establishing the Iwokrama Inter-national Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development (IIC), states that the Act provides 360,000 hectares, dedicated by the Government of Guyana, as a Programme Site for the purposes of research to “develop, demonstrate and make available to Guyana and the international community systems, methods and techniques for the sustainable management and utilisation of the multiple resources of the Tropical Forest and the conservation of biological diversity; and for matters incidental thereto”. It was therefore never the intention that the Iwokrama forest should be non-extractive. Last year the Board of Trustees decided that, in accordance with the Act, the time had come to implement this original mandate and, accordingly, authorised the IIC to begin a limited programme of experimental timber harvesting, lasting three years, to test the proposition that sustainable forest management works. After a transparent public tender process, the IIC decided to enter into detailed negotiations with DTL as its chosen partner of co-operation. There has been full consultation with the local communities. For these reasons, the Iwokrama rainforest will not become a desert of logged trees but a showcase of what can be achieved in sustainable forest management by striking the right balance. http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_letters?id=55719179

34) President Enrique Bolaños made a surprise announcement on May 3 when he decreed a state of economic emergency in four departments (Northern and Southern Atlantic Autonomous Regions, RAAN and RAAS, Nueva Segovia and Río San Juán). The emergency has been created as a result of what the President described as “indiscriminate exploitation,” logging, commercialization and exportation of Nicaragua’s principal forested areas. When a state of emergency is declared a number of rights guaranteed by the Constitution are suspended. In this case six articles of the constitution will not apply to police and army actions for the next 180 days. Bolaños ordered the armed forces to capture and detain any person found or suspected of illegal timber logging in the four above mentioned departments. The decree has been sent to the National Assembly for its swift ratification and the secretaries of the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) have been notified of the move. Bolaños, who is not normally associated with campaigns to protect the environment and natural resources, said “We are degrading the resources our children and grandchildren will need. … There is indiscriminate exploitation of our forests. This decree will put a stop to illegal logging [for the next six months] until we understand more about who is doing it and how.” Critics say this is a move with the political aim of damaging the image of the FSLN, representatives and associates of which, it is claimed, are involved in illegal logging in the RAAN and RAAS regions. During the week at least five seizures of trucks and boats carrying illegally logged timber were made by members of the police and the army. The most significant was the capture of a vessel carrying 8,000 mahogany trees estimated to be worth around US$7 million. http://www.nicanet.org

35) Yesterday afternoon, we started seeing other people plying the river in canoes, and we knew that our trip was about to change. We were getting close to Yarina, the first of three towns along the Yanayacu River. As we grew closer to town, we stopped hearing Howler Monkeys. The troops of Squirrel Monkeys we had grown accustomed to seeing were nowhere to be found. Within only a few hours we left the truly wild rainforest behind, entering a rainforest inhabited by people. The last 4 days of our journey will be through populated areas, and we will be staying in communities along the river, rather than camping in the flooded forest. As we paddled into Yarina, I was saddened by the fact that it would be many months before I will wake up to the sound of howler monkeys. I have grown accustomed to using their guttural song as an alarm clock. http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0503-wc.html

36) The plants, animals, and people of the rainforest also rely on each other to survive. They build relationships, and require knowledge, resources, and skills necessary to maintain the delicate balance that allows thousands of different species to survive in the Amazon Rainforest. If a large section of forest is destroyed, or a species becomes extinct, it affects all of the other plants and animals in the forest. The keys to keeping the forest healthy are knowledge and practice: just like working as a team. Getting to know my fellow team members has allowed me to learn their strengths and weaknesses, and figure out how they fit into our team. The more we practice working together, the stronger we become, which allows us to tackle even greater challenges. It seems as though every living organism in the jungle is highly adapted and most species are interdependent (known as mutualism). This means that they create a relationship where they help each other survive. For example, fire ants protect the Cecropia tree from vines and predators, and in return receive a perfect nest site. During the flood, many trees rely on certain fish to eat their fruit and at the same time, the fish disperse the plant’s seeds for the coming dry season. Several fish species have developed pectoral fins that they can use to walk across the forest floor when the floodwaters return to the river channel. The flexible river dolphins use sonar to locate their prey. Fish and many insects use their sense of smell to find food sources. Birds use keen senses of sight and hearing. Some animals, like monkeys, are arboreal (living in the trees); they use natural highways over 100 feet above ground. Arboreal animals have developed great balance, strong hands, feet or claws, and some use a prehensile tail as another way to hold on. Pacaya Samaria National Reserve is a very bio-diverse region- meaning many different species of living things live there. Thanks to the help of our guides, Ruben and Warren, we’ve seen and recorded over 150 species of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects in the Pacaya Samaria. Keep in mind the most common defensive tactic, used by most animals in the rainforest, is simply to hide- so we were probably seen by many more creatures than listed here. http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0505-wc.html


37) The idea behind the plan is to ensure maximum participation of the people and flow of information from various sources to check poaching in Haryana’s scarce forest reserve. The attempt is also to build up an information resource on such activities in the state so that a focused action plan to check poaching can be evolved, based on specific inputs. The proposal has made it to Haryana’s draft forest policy, being prepared for the first time in the state. The draft policy, sources said, has been sent to the Government for consideration. So far there’s no practice of reward to check poaching in the state. The anti-poaching plans also include setting up of special teams and increased surveillance to curb such crime in the state. The draft forest policy of Haryana also makes provisions for Panchayats to reserve a part of the earning generated by way of felling trees for renewing the tree cover. ‘‘Panchayats earn a lot of money by felling trees that are planted on Panchayat land and maintained by the Forest Department for at least three years,’’ said an official, adding that the provision would bind Panchayats to take initiatives towards renewing tree cover in their area. Haryana currently has a tree cover of barely 6.6 per cent, out of which 3.5 per cent is forest land. http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=182126

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