094OEC’s This Week in Trees

This Week we have 39 news items from: Alaska, British Columbia, Oregon, California, Colorado, Wyoming, Michigan, USA, Canada, Syria, Uganda, Kenya, El Salvador, Panama, Brazil, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia.

1) Last year, the U.S. Forest Service spent $48.5 million to build logging roads in the world’s largest temperate rain forest, Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. In return, the Service collected just $500,000 in royalties from timber companies that use those roads to clear-cut trees. While the Service’s tax-subsidized logging-road program supports very few timber jobs (at an estimated cost of $170,000 per job per year), it exacts a heavy toll in terms of land erosion, water degradation and habitat destruction. It is, argues the environmental group Alaska Coalition, a “ridiculous” subsidy. “Taxpayers from Florida shouldn’t have to pay to destroy the largest intact temperate rain forest in the world. This appalling subsidy can be stopped,” says Aurah Landau, spokesperson for the Coalition.
Any day in Congress, an amendment will be offered to the Interior Appropriations Bill to cut off the “ridiculous” subsidy for logging roads in the Tongass. Message to Congress: Cut fiscal waste, not trees. http://w

2) The House of Representatives will be voting this week ? as early as Tuesday ? on an amendment to the Interior Appropriations spending bill that will actually save taxpayers money. The amendment would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to build new logging roads in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. According to the Alaska Rainforest Campaign, there were no buyers for nearly half of the Tongass lumber in the years between 1998 and 2005. This same amendment came up in 2004 and won approval in the House, 222-205, but was removed from the legislation when the bill got to a conference committee with the Senate. We urge Rep. Tom Petri, who represents the 6th District in Wisconsin, including Sheboygan County, to continue his support for the amendment and stop this foolish spending. We urge people who want to see this waste of taxpayer dollars stop to contact Petri’s office at (202) 225-2476 and tell him to oppose this subsidy to the logging industry. You can e-mail Petri by using the “Write your Congressman Web site: www.house.gov/writerep/ and following the instructions. http://www.sheboygan-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060515/SHE06/605150357/1883

British Columbia:

3) PORT ALBERNI — Angry forest workers blockaded Highway 4 east of this Vancouver Island resource town Tuesday morning halting logging trucks loaded with timber bound for export. Seventy-five protesters, including Port Alberni Mayor Ken McRae took part in the blockade at a highway summit east of the city, where the truckers had to stop for brake checks. “Ninety to 100 trucks a day are leaving the valley and our mills are only working part-time because we can’t get logs to them,” said Wayne James, of the Save Our Valley Alliance, which organized the blockade. The trucks began moving after two hours when forest company Island Timberlands agreed to set up a meeting with the alliance to discuss grievances. It was the fourth blockade this year. “Nobody wants to see this get out of hand,” said Jim Sears, general manager of Island Timberlands southern operations, who negotiated a truce with protest organizers. Sears said he told his drivers to keep things cool and not start a debate with the protesters. James said he blames government policy changes and a decision by Island Timberlands to step up private land harvests for an increased number of logs leaving the valley. The coastal industry is in a state of flux following a major re-structuring. The valley’s main sawmill is shut down at a time when log exports are at record levels. The trucks, loaded with long, straight old-growth and second-growth timber, were mostly heading for export markets. About 35 per cent of them go to local operations either in the valley or on the other side of the pass, said Sears. ghamilton@png.canwest.com © The Vancouver Sun 2006

4) By developing and testing these audit tools, they can report to British Columbians on the effectiveness of forest practices in protecting biodiversity, fish and wildlife habitat, community watersheds, and other forest values. Forests Minister Rich Coleman says however that there is still plenty of work to do (see story page 3). Plenty of work is an understatement. Take a look around. A very close look. Get off the highway and travel on some of the North Thompson’s back roads. Roads that lead to timber blocks where pine beetle and burnt timber have been logged within the past three years. What you’ll find is something we should all be ashamed of. The wastage is horrendous the reasoning unfathomable. “Hit and run” logging practices that the public is continuously assured are now nonexistent by a Board who are back-patting about their new tools while our land is laid to waste. Large blocks of healthy trees have been knocked down to provide easier access to marketable ones. Piles of slash three stories high are not hard to find and they contain numerous logs that miss a mill’s specifications by only an inch or so. All to be burned as part of Forest Practices? BC’s forests are a natural resource that is being wasted at such an incredible degree by some of our own forest companies it is nothing less than criminal. http://www.starjournal.net/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=4&cat=48&id=648682&more=

5) The traditional territory of the ‘Namgis First Nation is centred around Alert Bay and the Nimpkish Valley on Northern Vancouver Island. There are six provincial parks and marine parks, and four ecological reserves within ‘Namgis territory, including Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, an internationally significant killer whale (orca) sanctuary. These protected areas total approximately eight per cent of ‘Namgis territory. The ‘Namgis have an active program of tourism development, centred around the development of trails, management of recreation sites and partnerships with existing tourism operations in the area. They are actively interested in expanding their role in the management of provincial parks in their territory, including the development of new cultural tourism opportunities such as grease trails, kayaking and cultural interpretation. The Province is building relationships with Aboriginal people founded on the principles of mutual respect and reconciliation. The goal is to ensure Aboriginal people share in the economic and social development of British Columbia, in line with the five great goals for a golden decade. A map of Parks and Protected Areas in ‘Namgis Asserted Traditional Territory is available at:

6) An audit found that logging companies with short-term interests had little incentive to follow reforestation plans. A B.C. finance ministry audit of a $60-million, privately administered forest-investment program has found numerous problems, including some faced by the program’s predecessor, Forest Renewal B.C. Originally supposed to fund a range of forestry activities, such as environmental cleanup and reforestation, FRBC branched out into other areas, including job retraining. The corporation even paid to retrain some forestry workers as dog groomers and saxophone players. The official goal of the LBIP is to “improve the forest assets base and support sustainable forest management practices on Crown land.” Among the programs supposed to be funded by the LBIP is the reforestation of areas cut before 1987. But the audit reports that it’s difficult to tell whether or not the money is going for the right purposes. The report also calls access to information “poor” and says the administration of information was “ineffective”. And some timber companies are spending LBIP money just for the sake of spending money. “In addition, several licensees advised us that they undertook a use-it-or-lose-it approach, spending money on smaller, lower priority projects rather than have the money transferred to another licensee,” it says. As well, the various forest companies holding tree farm licences within a single timber supply area (TSA) have little incentive to cooperate, the report notes. “It was felt that TSAs, with licensees having no long-term responsibility for a region, did not fully assist with or facilitate long-term investment,” it says. “Both licensees and ministry staff raised the question as to how industry can possibly protect the long-term land base interest when they are more concerned with the shorter-term interests of their shareholders.” NDP forests and range critic Bob Simpson (Cariboo North) also has concerns about the FIA, including the contracting-out of the LBIP’s administration. http://www.straight.com/section.cfm?id=172

7) “The government has no jurisdiction in our territory,” said Harriet Nahanee, as she waved a copy of a royal proclamation from many years ago that detailed the First Nations’ right to the land. Nahanee was joined by hereditary Chief Capilano, who said many members of his band are opposed to the highway expansion – which is part of the preparations for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler. — CBC News

8) WEST VANCOUVER – Betty Krawczyk said she won’t voluntarily leave the tent city if police arrive to evict her. “They have their job to do and I have mine, and mine is to fight against the injunctions that this province is using to quell public protest dissent. “I do know there is lot of disappointed people here who love the bluffs and would be quite willing to do whatever to protect them.” …Protesters say they will continue to occupy their tent city at Eagleridge Bluffs today despite being told Monday by a B.C. Supreme Court judge to stop blocking construction of the $600-million highway expansion through a forested area above Horseshoe Bay. Coalition to Save Eagleridge Bluffs president Dennis Perry said some protesters are prepared to defy the injunction issued by B.C. Supreme Court Judge William Grist. Perry said the Eagleridge protest is in the tradition of dissent that includes Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement in the U.S. and the struggle by women for the right to vote. Perry also said his group plans to appeal the judgment. “We’ve lost this little battle. We certainly haven’t lost the war,” Perry told reporters. Grist said the protest violated the provincial Transportation Act, which prohibits obstruction of construction. He granted the injunction application of Peter Kiewit Sons, the firm contracted by Victoria to build the section of road through the Eagleridge Bluffs. Grist also rejected the demonstrators’ request for an injunction to stop the project because the environmental approval process was flawed. The Eagleridge protesters want the government to build a tunnel or add a third lane to the highway rather than cut a road through the bluffs. Grist said his decision allows for continued protest of the highway expansion plan, but that the demonstrators must not impede construction. The judge said protesters must remain at least 25 metres from the project site and between 75 and 300 metres away when workers are falling trees or conducting explosions. Many Eagleridge protesters were not satisfied that they will be provided areas where they can continue to demonstrate. “They are just locations from which we can watch our bluffs be destroyed — and this is very hard to take,” said Eagleridge Coalition activist John Bannister. “At the moment my tent is there and I don’t have plans to remove it.” http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060517/OPINION01/60516048/1194


9) May 20th, Center for Arts (821 N. Riverside), Medford Oregon The Bureau of Land Management administers more public forests in western Oregon than anywhere else in the nation. Many of us hunt, fish, gather wood, hike and float on these lands. These forests affect our lives and the character of our communities. The BLM is preparing to weaken environmental protections for these public lands through the Western Oregon Plan Revisions. Scientists, business owners, restoration foresters and community members will discuss what this means for the future of our fish and wildlife, recreation, scenery and the economy of western Oregon. Join us in creating a sustainable vision for public forests. schedule of events, visit: www.oregonheritageforests.org/beyondbigtimber

10) Something is seriously wrong with the Medford BLM. Despite widespread public support of old-growth forest protection, the Medford BLM continues to plan timber sales on public land that targets our remaining old-growth forests. The South Fork Little Butte Creek timber sale is another such sale. It plans to log more than 1,800 acres of Northern Spotted Owl critical habitat through the single most important link connecting the Oregon Cascades Province to the Klamath Mountains Province across the south Ashland portion of I-5. By straddling the crest, this area provides an important east-west connectivity for the southern Oregon Cascades. This area also provides the only link to the north in the Oregon Cascades, and is the key link from Oregon to California south of Highway 66. As is sits right now, this sale includes a total of 4,779 acres of logging and 3.6 miles of new road construction. Public comments are needed to help stop this sale! Tell the Medford BLM to propose an action alternative for the South Fork Little Butte project in which: Contact: John Gerritsma, Ashland Resource Area Medford BLM District 3040 Biddle Road Medford, OR 97504 PHONE: 541-618-2200 FAX: 541-618-2400 E-mail: or110mb@or.blm.gov more info: http://www.cascwild.org

11) These roadless areas adjacent to the renowned Kalmiopsis Wilderness in southwestern Oregon are biological hotspots and premier recreation destinations. We’re doing everything it takes to protect these precious places. We’re organizing communities to speak out against this reckless logging. We’re leading hikes and campouts to the threatened areas. We’re filing a lawsuit to stop these projects in court. We’re working with Oregon’s governor, senators, and representatives to take a stand. Last weekend, we led a group of community members to these proposed logging areas. We hiked through the mosaic of burned and live trees, among saplings and wildflowers, listening to woodpeckers drill into snags. While it would be tragic to see these unique forests destroyed, even more tragic would be the precedent this logging would set. As the first logging in an inventoried roadless area since Bush repealed the Clinton-era Roadless Area Conservation Rule, these projects could open the door to similar projects in wild, undeveloped forests across the county. Opposition to these sales is continuing to grow, but we’re still waiting to hear from the Oregon Democrats who have told us they’re against roadless area logging. Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Peter DeFazio need to follow Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s lead and send a letter to the Forest Service demanding they stop their plans to log these forests. Call to your represenative today and tell them you want to see the Mike’s Gulch and Blackberry roadless area timber sales in Biscuit stopped today! Sen. Wyden: In DC – (202) 224-5244, In Portland – (503) 326-7525 Rep. DeFazio: In DC – (202) 225-6416, In Eugene – (541) 465-6732 A National call-in day is currently being planned for May 25th, so call today and again on May 25th, there’s still time to stop these sales http://www.cascwild.org/support/support.html


12) Nature sometimes appears to have an ironic sense of humor, if maybe a bit dark. The Tecate cypress, a remnant Ice Age tree that grows only in a few places in Southern California and Mexico, needs fire in order to regenerate. The fire’s heat coaxes open the tree’s cones, eventually allowing tiny seeds to spill out. And fire is what the cypresses got in the Santa Ana Mountains in February: Nearly 11,000 acres on slopes leading down toward Orange County were scorched after wind kicked up smoldering embers from an earlier fire – one that had been set by the Forest Service to reduce wildfire risk. That’s one irony. Another is that the cypresses on Forest Service land were walloped so hard by the fire that the survival of one stand of the trees, high on Sierra Peak, is now in doubt. The fire the trees can’t live without might in this case prove lethal. Fire, it seems, is a kind of Goldilocks proposition for the rare tecate cypress – too much, and the slow-to-mature trees will be wiped out; too little, and the trees have no chance to reproduce. Enter Gary Petersen, a Forest Service silviculturist who is a kind of ecological paratrooper. Petersen spent last week walking the blackened slopes of the Sierra fire site, using decidedly low-tech methods to try to bring the tecate cypress back. He simply kicked open a depression in the dirt for each seed, repeating the process over several acres.”This is not rocket science,” he said as he spread seeds Friday. “You drop a few seeds, cover them up and walk a little farther – just like Johnny Appleseed.” A big question: Can we get enough of these hidden, so the rodents won’t find them all? Once, when Southern California was far more lush and wet, the tecate cypress was likely more widespread. But as the Ice Age drew to a close and the land grew semi-arid, these trees – like a number of other species – found themselves stranded on a handful of mountaintops. But unlike many rare plants in the region – often small, scrubby and beloved only by botanists – the tecate cypress has its fan base. http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/homepage/abox/article_1141835.php


13) The 42-year-old mother of three children calls this — taking a break and hiking in your “backyard” — the Durango lifestyle. “I can’t imagine living here and being sedentary,” she says. Animas Mountain is only four blocks west of Camino del Rio, Durango’s arterial road. When she finishes her afternoon jaunt up the mountain, Marqua says she will pick up her children from school. “There’s trails everywhere. Sometimes I don’t even have to start up a car to go for a hike,” she points out. A hiker’s needs depend on the length of their hike, which can vary from an afternoon to several days, he says. People often have the misconception they can hit the trail wearing sneakers, but, according to Salisbury, they’ll find it uncomfortable if they do. “People have a hard time grasping the concept that there’s more to hiking than putting food in a pack and going on the trail,” he says. He recommends people purchase a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue Card for $3, which reimburses county sheriffs for costs incurred while rescuing people. http://www.daily-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060514/FEATURES/605140313/1009


14) An insect from China called the Hemlock woolly a-del-gid is eating and killing the hemlock trees in the Monongaleha Forest. The U-S Forest Service plans to protect the trees by releasing as many as 500 predatory beetles to kill the insects. It will release the beetles as a test to see if they can survive in the climate and kill the insects. Experts say it’s the best option to control the insects. If the test works, the forest service will release more beetles to control the spread of the hemlock woolly a-del-gid. http://wowktv.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=10944


15) Grass shoots break free of blackened sands in the Huron National Forest, proof of the regenerative nature of jack pine forests. About 6,000 acres of federal forest land in Oscoda County burned in a wildfire that began April 30 with an out-of-control campfire. The fire destroyed some structures in Oscoda and threatened homes in Crawford and Ogemaw counties, as well. It smoked and smoldered until quashed by recent rain and thunderstorms. The scorched landscape will for the most part grow back without human intervention, said Philip Huber, wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service. “All the species of animals and plants that evolved in the jack pine ecosystem rely on fire for their habitat and their long-term survival,” he said. “It’s a new beginning for that area. It will provide great habitat over the next several years.” Wildfires sparked by lightning historically ripped through northern Michigan’s jack pine forests. Fires are now controlled to protect human life and property, Huber said. Biologists currently use different methods to mimic the effects of wildfires, by clear-cutting and replanting jack pine trees, which otherwise need fire to release seeds from the cones. http://www.record-eagle.com/2006/may/14fire.htm

16)Despite concerns from some Barrington Hills neighbors over the clear-cutting last winter of 13 acres of mature trees, officials say a habitat-improvement project at Spring Creek Forest Preserve is aimed at re-creating a prairie landscape that flourished two centuries ago. Planted as picnic groves 30 years ago by the Cook County Forest Preserve District, two large stands north of Penny Road were removed at the 3,910-acre site as part of a joint effort with local conservation groups. “What we’re trying to do is restore the principal ecosystem that has been there most of the time since the glaciers pulled back,” said Stephen Packard, director of Audubon Chicago Region, which has spearheaded the 3-year-old project, believed to be the largest contiguous habitat restoration ever undertaken in Cook County. At the far northwest corner of the 67,000-acre preserve, Spring Creek is home to grasslands, wetlands, oak woodlands and savannas, but vast open spaces have been fragmented by invasive species like buckthorn and well-intended but misguided reforestation, according to Packard. Hoping to restore the ecosystems and native wildlife such as Henslow’s sparrow, bobolinks and other dwindling grassland birds, about 180 acres of brush and woody growth have been cleared, Packard said. Funded by $140,000 in grants from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and several foundations, volunteers have provided much of the labor, but outside contractors were brought in last winter to raze the tall islands of honey locust, ash and oak trees, opening up a 109-acre grassland and a rift with some neighbors. “People were upset about it,” said Dave Cook, a four-year Barrington Hills resident who volunteers weekly for buckthorn cleanup at Spring Creek. “When you see large trees come down, it’s hard to wrap your mind around it, especially if it’s called a forest preserve.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/nearnorthwest/chi-0605170282may17,1,5116431.story?co


17) CONCORD — Sixteen years after singer Don Henley turned the woodsy
habitat of a quirky New England iconoclast into a cause-c?l?bre, supporters will gather today to dedicate Thoreau’s Path on land that once seemed destined to become an office park. The dedication of the unassuming pathway near Walden Pond marks a milestone in the preservation effort by an unlikely band of celebrities whose fund-raising concerts and MTV-friendly environmental crusade sparked early suspicions among locals. The staying power of the Walden Woods Project that Henley founded in 1990 is as curious as the enduring appeal of Henry David Thoreau, the cantankerous social activist who holed up in a Concord cabin for two years, wrote “Walden” and “Civil Disobedience,” and went on to influence environmentalists and social reformers for more than 150 years. Among those scheduled to appear at today’s dedication are biologist Edward O. Wilson and relatives of luminaries influenced by Thoreau’s work — from Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson to John Muir’s great-grandson to Rachel Carson’s nephew. The mile-long trail at Brister’s Hill, named for a freed slave who lived nearby, is across Route 2 from Walden The scrappy path is dotted with granite strips featuring Thoreau quotations and upright bronze-topped columns illustrating the varied issues he studied. A reflection circle is ringed with granite columns bearing quotes from notables, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Chief Luther Standing Bear, who were influenced by Thoreau’s thinking on issues such as passive resistance and conservation. Despite early skepticism about Henley’s commitment, neither he nor the Walden Woods Project has gone away. The land includes 18 acres that publisher-developer Mort Zuckerman had planned to develop into an office park, and another, nearby tract that had been slated for condominiums, including affordable housing. Over 16 years, the Walden Woods Project spawned a book and a compact disc, and its fund-raising efforts collected $41.5 million — including $6.9 million from Henley’s highly publicized concerts and $11.2 million from corporations. The nonprofit Walden Woods Project has spent roughly half of what it raised on general operating costs and expenses, such as educational programs and running the library, and roughly half on acquiring and preserving nearly 150 acres of land in and around Walden Woods, the 2,680-acre area in Concord and Lincoln where Thoreau studied. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/05/15/

18) AGAWAM – Resisting logging planned by state officials on 130 acres of John C. Robinson State Park, a group of residents is circulating a petition opposing the project, and plan to present it to state officials. The petition, organized by a group billing itself as Friends of Robinson State Park, has more than 250 signatures, with no end in site, said Steven R. Rossi, a group organizer who lives near the park on George Street. “Most everyone who signs the petition is very concerned,” Rossi said. “What they (state officials) want to do there is completely irresponsible.” State officials said earlier this month they are planning to log 130 acres of the 852-acre park in two harvests aimed at targeting red pine trees suffering from a shoestring fungus. Some of the 60- to 80-foot trees targeted have greens covering less than 15 percent of them, said Vanessa A. Gulati, spokeswoman for the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The first cut is planned for an area of an undetermined size around Maynard and James streets, and is scheduled to begin during mid- to late-summer. The second cut would begin near the park’s North Street entrance around November. State foresters have said the harvest is necessary to give the park’s forest age and species diversity, allowing younger trees to flourish once the older trees are gone. But Rossi said they would rather see Mother Nature take care of the forest on its own, particularly after seeing the way other state forests like the one at Chicopee State Park have been harvested. “Take a look at their track record,” Rossi said. “After seeing what they did there, we don’t see how they could do it here (responsibly).” A walk of the park’s northeastern end shows hundreds of trees marked with blue spray paint, which marks trees slated to be removed. Additional trees marked with yellow paint will be removed to build access roads necessary to bring in logging equipment, state officials have said. http://www.masslive.com/springfield/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-4/114787029059880.xml&col


19) The main goal of the fuels portion of the National Fire Plan is sustainability of timber stands and associated organisms. This means treatments that enhance resistance to fire, increase the percentage of old growth, and favor wildlife habitat – striving for what are often referred to as “pre-settlement conditions.” Layout and marking to produce this effect requires simultaneous boldness and restraint, and perceptiveness at the landscape scale. However, a typical timber-marking crew member seems to use the “I love this tree, I love this tree not” method, ruminating about “form and vigor,” future marketability, etc. The result is a plantation-like eyesore in the near term, and doesn’t move the stand toward the desired future condition. The answer to this problem appears to be simple: Hazard fuels reduction should be the province of the Forest Service fire program rather than the timber program. This would allow crews trained in the protocols of fuels work, rather than those indoctrinated (at least indirectly) by the timber industry, to do the work mandated by the National Fire Plan. Unfortunately, Forest Service leadership from Washington down to the district level generally lacks the acumen and courage to admit that the standard way of doing business neither cares for the land nor serves the people.
–David Howard, Assistant Fire Management Officer (Fuels), South Park Ranger District, Pike National Forest, Pueblo, Colorado http://www.hcn.org

20) Our study validates results of other peer-reviewed studies such as the 2004 publication of Dr. Robert Beschta and eight other top western scientists. These studies also conclude that logging practices mandated by H.R. 4200 are harmful to our forests. Here is just some of what the studies show: Logging after fire reduces the ability of streams to support desirable aquatic life, including salmon and steelhead. When logging roads are put through burned areas, erosion increases and streams may become clogged with sediment, which covers gravel needed by fish for spawning. A heavily logged watershed can produce streams with increased peak flows and decreased summer flows, severely reducing fish populations. When large logs fall into streams, they stabilize banks and create complex habitat for fish and a host of other creatures. The logs function directly as cooling shade and cover and indirectly as hard surfaces that cause the scour pools in which most fish live. It is now standard practice when restoring salmon streams to haul in large logs to increase the ability of the stream to support large numbers of fish. Post-fire logging removes the very logs that sustain such streams, reducing their ability to support large fish populations for decades to come. It is important to leave not only large dead trees, but also those that have been damaged as well as the largest living trees, which often survive fires. Together, these trees provide the continuous supply of logs that a stream requires to replace those that have been moved downstream or rotted away. Large fire-damaged trees also have huge benefits as habitat for wildlife. Many forest species, such as woodpeckers, flying squirrels, swallows and martens require tree cavities for roosting, denning, foraging or other life functions. In the absence of large trees, many species disappear. Large-diameter snags and logs play critical structural and functional roles in maintaining healthy, diverse wildlife populations. This is a lot of science to ignore. Rather than passing H.R. 4200, Congress should implement science-based management through the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-V148). We have learned an enormous amount about how to manage forests in recent years. It will be a shame to throw that scientific knowledge away in one ill-considered bill. http://www.sacbee.com/content/opinion/story/14256001p-15071114c.html

21) During a daytime conference in New York on the marketing of certified sustainable products, global business leaders, small and large farmers and foresters in the vanguard of the certification movement will gather to discuss the transition of sustainable products from specialty niche market to mass markets. Certified products have undergone phenomenal growth recently, as green/ethical branding and corporate social responsibility trends catch on with companies and consumers. Kraft Yuban coffee, Chiquita bananas, and FSC certified wood and wood products are examples of Rainforest Alliance Certified goods now gaining shares of mainstream markets. These companies are harnessing the power of the marketplace to advance the cause of global sustainability, earning profits while creating benefits for workers, wildlife and habitat in producer countries. At tomorrow’s conference a new deal with a major coffee brand to use certified beans will be announced. The head of a major consortium of Bolivian forestry companies will explain how Bolivia’s world leadership in FSC forest certification brought economic, social and environmental gains that could be threatened by recent talk of nationalization. Sustainable tourism experts will discuss the growth of an international network of tourism certification bodies. The conference is hosted by the Rainforest Alliance, which provides rigorous independent certification of bananas, timber, cocoa, coffee, and other products and works to advance sustainable tourism certification. http://www.usnewswire.com/

22) AFTER A FOREST fire, is it better to cut down the remaining trees or leave them standing? Perhaps not surprisingly, neither science nor economics has come up with a definitive answer to this question: It depends on what’s meant by the word “better.” Something that is better for timber companies may not be better for preventing future fires — or vice versa. And experts disagree: Many of the nation’s forest scientists and firefighters believe logging and replanting recently burned forests increases the risk of another forest fire and harms wildlife. Others point to studies showing the opposite to be true. All of which causes us to question those in the House pushing a bill that promotes more rapid logging of burned forests. It’s certainly not urgent, since at the moment, some 34 percent of the timber produced in this country already comes from burned forests, and all sides agree that the Forest Service often acts responsibly in such cases. This measure would merely facilitate post-fire logging, particularly in roadless areas and other places where the rules are tougher; it would allow projects to go forward faster, with fewer environmental regulatory barriers. Given that the environmental consequences of such logging are so little understood, this change seems not only unncessary but potentially dangerous. But then, forest policy is rarely governed by anything resembling environmental caution or economic logic, as the looming annual fight to cut off funding for logging in Tongass National Forest is about to illustrate. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/13/AR2006051300862.html


23) Drawing on the latest research on forest ecology, the impacts of recent climate change, and studies on projected future climate change, this report shows that between 50 and 90 percent of the existing boreal forests are likely to disappear as a result of a doubling of atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. While it is possible that the boreal forest could expand into the frozen tundra as temperatures increase, such an expansion would likely be delayed by slow tree migration rates and the adverse effects of increased ultraviolet radiation on trees from ozone depletion. Even in the long term, the boreal forest is not expected to expand enough to compensate for the deterioration in the southern part of the forest.

24) Regional staff will implement a management and operating plan for Hilborn Forest, located in the east Galt section of Cambridge. Hilborn Forest is considered particularly significant because it has been identified as a rare “mesic oak savanna”, or open woodland that serves as a transition between open areas and forests. In order to ensure the continued health and vitality of the forest, the region will be removing damaged trees and thinning the canopy in some areas to improve sunlight levels on the forest floor. Dense undergrowth will also be thinned and non-native plants will be removed. These forest management efforts will protect the healthy savanna areas and encourage natural regeneration in other areas. http://www.cambridgetimes.ca/cam/news/news_581343.html


25) The Jordan River, a narrow strip of green in a dry landscape. Three sources flow together to form the Jordan River – the Banias, or Hermon, river; the Dan, or Leddan, river; and the Hasbani, or Senir, river – all from the snowy slopes of Mount Hermon, on the Syrian-Lebanese border. The Jordan flows down into Lake Tiberias, or the Sea of Galilee, 212 meters below sea level. It then drains into the Dead Sea which, at 407 meters below sea level, is the lowest point on Earth. Bromberg cited ample evidence that the river is in dire straits, plagued by pollution and starved of water. In the past half century, the annual flow of the lower Jordan has sunk some 95 percent – from more than 1.3 billion cubic meters per year to less than 100 million cubic meters. Some 20 percent of its dwindling flow is untreated sewage. The river’s plight is the direct result of conflicts and suspicion that permeate the region, said Nader al-Khateeb, Palestinian director of FOEME. “All the parties have competed unilaterally to use as much of these resources as possible without paying any attention to their neighbors,” al-Khateeb said. “If we continue this policy of unilateral utilization, we will just create more problems.” Jordan, Israel and Syria have all diverted upstream waters for domestic and agricultural uses. In the late 1950s, Israel began drawing massive quantities of water from the Sea of Galilee and “not a drop” from the sea now makes it to the lower Jordan, Bromberg said. The latest threat to the river’s water supply is a new Syrian dam on the Yarmuk River. The dam should be operational this year, Bromberg said, and then the two major sources of the lower Jordan – the Yarmuk and the Sea of Galilee – will no longer provide any water to the river. FOEME is calling on the national governments to take a series of steps to revise their water management plans in order to restore the river. “The irony is that the Jordanian and Israeli governments subsidize water so much that is it is given virtually for free to the farmers,” said Munqeth Mehyar, Jordanian chair of FOEME. “We are subsidizing fruits for rich nations and the economic return is so lousy.” http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2006/2006-05-16-10.asp


26) The district leaders and forest officials have decried the high rate of forest depletion in Nebbi especially on the lower and the upper escarpments. The coordinator of the Nile Frontier, Mr Dickens Langoya, said people do not value forests. He asked residents to desist from destroying of trees in the forest reserves. “We have a big problem with the population who don’t value the importance of these forests. That is why there is massive depletion of forests in the district and Uganda in general,” Langoya said. He was speaking at a meeting organised by the National Forestry Authority at Ringa Conference Hall in Nebbi on May 10. The upper escarpments include Omyer, Abiba, Uru, Laura, Kafu, Iyi and Ajupane forests which have been destroyed due to settlement and grazing. The lower escarpments include Alwi, Opio, Wadelai, Oming and Kayongo forests. Langoya said there was need to gazette and reinforces more laws to protect the productivity of the forests. Mr Jerry Kasamba, one of the people who attended the meeting said the depletion was due to illegal bush burning, land disputes, massive charcoal burning as a means of attaining income. Kasamba said there was need to have a method of cutting the trees. He asked NFA to carry out massive sensitisation about the need to conserve the forests. http://allafrica.com/stories/200605151165.html


27) Narok civic leaders have expressed concern over the destruction of Mau forest, despite the eviction of over 10,000 settlers last year. The 14 councillors accused the Government of failing to protect the forest. “More people than those who were evicted last December have gone back to the forest and are illegally felling trees and cultivating the land,” said Supeyo Lemein at a press conference in the town. The councillors also accused some politicians in Narok South of inciting squatters to return to the forest. “These politicians tell the people to settle on the forest land, claiming that the Government is reluctant to conserve the resource. “They also sold the forest land to unsuspecting buyers,” claimed Lemein. The councillors said the squatters were even felling endangered tree species such as white Podo. Last week, local authorities impounded several trucks deep inside the forest loaded with Podo beams. They also confiscated power saws and other equipment used by the loggers. The civic leaders warned that rivers would dry up if the plunder continued. http://allafrica.com/stories/200605170872.html

El Salvador:

28) SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – Tropical forests that house El Salvador’s famed coffee plantations and provide habitat for migrating birds are being depleted at an alarming rate, scientists warned on Tuesday. Between 2001 and 2004, the country lost 21,025 hectares of forest-covered coffee farms, Mario Acosta, president of El Salvador’s Foundation for Coffee Research (Procafe), said. El Salvador last year planted around 161,000 hectares of coffee, the vast majority of it grown on wooded plantations. With the greatest population density and smallest land size in Central America, El Salvador was long ago cleared of virtually all its native forest. Coffee farms, where bourbon variety coffee trees flourish under a thick shade canopy, provide 75 percent of El Salvador’s remaining forest cover. “Just in the period between 2001 and 2004, we lost 21,025 hectares with the accompanying environmental degradation, with the problems this means for watersheds and all the problems of unemployment in the countryside,” Acosta told reporters at the opening of a regional conference on the role of the coffee industry in the environment. The dramatic losses took place during a sustained period of record-low coffee prices which led many farmers to abandon their land, in some cases ceding it to encroaching urban expansion. In recent years, environmental groups have embraced El Salvador’s coffee industry, noting the role it plays providing habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife. A recent joint study by Procafe and Washington-based research group Resources for the Future, presented at the conference, found that 13 percent of El Salvador’s so-called coffee forests were lost in the 1990s. The report blamed coffee forest depletion on urban expansion, a lack of investment and renewal of coffee trees, farmer indebtedness, migration and weak regulatory oversight of land-use changes. http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=scienceNews&storyID=2006-05-16T224012Z_


29) Gatun Lake, Panama — A terrible, hoarse roar echoed through the forest. Howler monkeys. In a large tree hanging over the water, a dozen of them leapt up from their naps, fidgeted through the branches and glared down at us. We peered back and added them to our list of jungle spottings for the day: red-naped tamarins and white-faced capuchins, three-toed sloths, wattled jacanas and a 50,000-ton, blue-and-orange container ship. Not the usual fare in most deep-jungle nature preserves, but in Panama, where the world’s best-known waterway slices through miles of primeval rain forest, economy and ecology are irrevocably intertwined. Each ship passing through uses 52 million gallons of fresh water, which then flows out to sea. So Panama must protect the watershed and its precious rain forest, which serves as a giant sponge and protects against erosion. No rain forest, no canal, no megabucks for Panama. Without the canal, conversely, the jungle would be threatened by economic forces — lumber, ranching, real estate. The result is pristine rain forest teeming with wildlife that is both protected and accessible because without it, one of the world’s grandest engineering projects and one of its busiest waterways could not function. At sunset we sat on the verandah drinking chilled Gamboa beer with our guide, Rich Cahill, a Panamanian whose parents were American expats. Across the river, the guayacan trees were in electric yellow bloom. “You’re lucky,” Cahill told us. “These trees bloom for only one week, to get an early hit by the pollinators, then drop their flowers.” It was true: A week later the trees were bare, their golden petals littering the forest floor — and providing for some fun nano-parades of leaf-cutter ants. Cahill, like most Panamanians we met, is fiercely proud of his country’s natural treasures and growing prosperity in the world economy. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/05/14/TRG3OIP7NO1.DTL


30) Brasília – In 50 years the Amazon region (“Amazônia”) may be reduced to half its present size, and six regional water basins may be stripped of more than 60% of their forest cover. This is the grim picture painted by the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), if steps are not taken to promote sustainable local development. The estimates appear in the conclusions of the “Amazônia Scenarios” project, which was developed by the institute and presented last Thursday at the encounter, “The Amazon and the New Global Economy: How to Administer Deforestation in a New Era,” which began on Wednesday. According to Daniel Nepstad, director of the IPAM and coordinator of the project, a great deal of the depredation and reduction of natural resources in the Amazon could be avoided through “good planning, strengthening groups with sustainable development proposals for the region, and negotiation.” He observed that “new techniques of environmental management could spread throughout the region, thus enabling groups to formulate more coherent and feasible proposals.” The director of the Ministry of Environment’s National Forests Program, Tasso Azevedo, who participated in the encounter, judges that there are ways to harmonize economic interests with forest preservation in the Amazon. Azevedo mentioned the example of an extractive reserve in which, instead of destroying the forest, latex is extracted for a sustainable production of rubber, and Brazil nuts are gathered. “They represent ways to extract forest products without cutting down the trees, that is, without deforestation, and using these products to generate income and employment. If you have this mechanism that generates income by using the forest, it keeps you from wanting to eliminate the forest to be able to plant something later that will only generate income at some even more distant point in time.” The director of the National Forests Program went on to say that even logging companies can adopt the practice of sustainable management. “In an area of more or less one hectare, equivalent to the size of a soccer field, with around one thousand young trees and two hundred mature trees, five to six mature trees can be felled every 30 years,” he said. http://internacional.radiobras.gov.br/ingles/materia_i_2004.php?materia=264754&q=1&editoria=


31) The National Afforestation Programme (NAP) is being implemented in 28 States of the country. The NAP scheme is being implemented through a two-tier decentralised set-up of Forest Development Agency (FDA) at the Forest Division level and Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMC) at the village level. Seven different types of plantation models, with different plant densities, have been prescribed under the NAP Guidelines. The actual number of trees planted under NAP varies according to the plantation model and the local site conditions. The Ministry does not keep the record of number of trees planted, but approves the area to be covered under each FDA project. During the last three years and the current year (upto 28.04.2006) 431 FDA projects covering a project area of 4.46 lakhs hectare have been approved by the Ministry. An amount of Rs. 699.98 crore has been released during the period under the scheme. Planning Commission has fixed a monitorable target of 33% of forest and tree cover in the country by the year 2012. This information was given by Minister of State for Environment & Forests, Shri Namo Narain Meena in his written reply to a question of Shri Milind Deora and others in the Lok Sabha today. http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=17697

32) KODAIKANAL: Tourists enjoying the cool climes of the princess of hills may give an impression that all’s well with Kodai. This hill station, however, seems to be staring in the face of an impending environmental disaster, with reports of rampant tree felling and ‘facilitated violation’ of forest rules in the local reserve forests. Pillar Rocks, one of the well known tourist spots in Kodaikanal, is a reserve forest area. As per Section 16 of the Indian Forest Act, locations declared as reserve forests are prohibited areas where trespassers should be fined and no tree felling or encroachment is permitted without knowledge of the authorities. However, if the 100 odd makeshift shops that have come up at Pillar Rocks are any indication, it is the law of the jungle that is in vogue here. Worried eco-conscious citizens of the hill town say that the authorities concerned seem to have turned a blind eye to the systematic exploitation of this protected forest. Meanwhile, a local NGO told this website’s newspaper that locals collecting firewood as well as tourists move unhindered in the reserve forest area. http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IET20060516060616&Topic=0&Title=Southern%20News%

33) Pakistan’s forests are in urgent need of protection and conservation. The country has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. The primary causes of deforestation are population growth and settlement, lack of fuel wood alternatives, insect damage and diseases, forest fires and lack of awareness about the importance of preservation. In the 1970s Pakistan began making efforts to protect the country’s forests. It has created 14 national parks, covering a total area of 2,753,375 hectares (6,803,738 acres). The protected forests of the parks help prevent soil erosion. The parks are also wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves. Khunjerab National Park, established in 1975, is an important habitat and sanctuary for a number of threatened or endangered species, including the snow leopard. It is one of the country’s most important alpine biodiversity regions. Located in the Himalayas, it is also one of the highest-altitude parks in the world at 5,000 m (16,000 ft). Most of the parks generally have no ecological basis, they exist primarily as tourist attractions or for the preservation of game animals. The government of Pakistan should make more valiant efforts to reduce the rate of deforestation before it takes on the proportions of an ecological disaster. http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=143371

South Korea:

34) South Korea will help Mongolia plant trees beginning next year in an effort to curb the yellow dust storms that blow across Northeast Asia, South Korea’s Agriculture and Forestry Minister said Monday. South Korea will support the planting of 500 hectares of trees in Mongolia every year from 2007 after it conducts a feasibility study this year, said Park Hong-soo in a press briefing. Park visited Mongolia last week as part of President Roh Moo-hyun’s official entourage. Park said he explained to his Mongolian counterparts that South Korea will shares its experience in forestation efforts that have transformed bare, tree-less mountains into rich forests in the last 60 years. “I stressed to Mongolian officials that forestation is a long-term effort that could take up to 100 years,’’ he said. Park noted that in the 1980s, yellow dust hit the country on an average of 3.9 days a year, but this had risen to 7.7 days in the 1990s and 12 days after 2000. The minister said the planned feasibility study will cost 200-300 million won ($212,000-319,000), while the tree planting operation will cost 500 million won to 1 billion won per year. The money will come from a fund run by the Korea Forest Service.The project that will run until 2016 is part of a broader “green belt’’ project by Ulan Bator to prevent the rapid expansion of deserts in the country. The measures are necessary because the expansion of the Gobi Desert is cited as one of the reasons for the increase in yellow dust storms hitting this country. http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/nation/200605/kt2006051516465111990.htm


35) STATE governments are being urged to act fast in opening up new forest plantations to help ensure the long-term sustainability of the local timber industry and help alleviate the current acute rubberwood shortage. “There has been no progress in the local forest plantation sector to ensure a steady supply of rubberwood, which is the main raw material to make furniture. “(But as a suggestion,) remnants of forest plantations previously planted with oil palm and rubber or land too small to be managed under natural forest and degraded forest areas can be degazzetted and turned into new forest plantations,” Sheikh Ibrahim told Business Times recently. Makmur Plus is the first and only rubber forest plantation company in Malaysia awarded by the Johor State Government in 1999 to grow commercial timber, particularly rubberwood, over a 1,000ha area. With a paid-up capital of RM2 million, the company holds a 30-year lease to grow and harvest rubberwood every 15 years. Malaysia aims to almost double its forest plantation area to 500,000ha from the current 270,000ha spread out in Sabah, Sarawak, Johor, Terengganu and Pahang. A forest plantation is a dedicated area which plants and harvests 11 timber species in a well-managed and sustainable environment, usually for commercial purposes. Out of the 11 timber species, five have high commercial value – Meranti, rubberwood, Sentang, Acacia and teak used to make furniture pulp and paper, among others. By establishing dedicated forest plantations, flora and fauna in the natural forest nearby will be protected from the commercial activity. Managing forest plantations is also costly and involves a lot of foreign workers and long gestation period to recoup investment. Malaysia has some 2 million hectares of natural forest cover. Timber located over 1,000 metres at sea level and over a 40 per cent slope gradient are not allowed to be fell. http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_News/BT/Monday/Nation/BT565648.txt/Article/


36) Recognition by the Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) is a major milestone for plantation forestry in Indonesia, increasingly seen as a future source of eco-friendly timber supplies as the country’s natural forests continue to be lost through illegal logging and poor management. “This is great news for the forest sector and the furniture industry. The international market is skeptical about Indonesia’s ability to supply products made from sustainable timber. This proves that it can be done,” said Moray McLeish, manager of IFC-PENSA’s Sustainable Wood Program. “Indonesia needs more endorsements like this to retain market share and keep its furniture industry alive.” The 50,000 hectare plantation owned by PT Inhutani II is the first acacia plantation in Indonesia to join the GFTN. The network endorses responsible forestry enterprises and links them with international buyers seeking sustainable timber products. Nusa Hijau is the local name for the Indonesian arm of the GFTN. “We gladly welcome PT Inhutani II as the first acacia plantation to join Nusa Hijau. We hope that this cooperation will be beneficial for both parties and also encourage other producer companies to join and experience the advantages offered. Nusa Hijau provides the opportunity to work closely with an extensive network of market groups all over the world,” said Executive Director for WWF Indonesia Mubariq Ahmad. “We would also like to acknowledge IFC-PENSA for its determination to make this membership happen. It is time for all stakeholders to come together to support the positive efforts of companies that have a strong commitment to managing their forests in a responsible way,” he added.


37) TASMANIAN woodchips are fighting a losing battle on world markets, with several major Japanese paper mills switching their allegiances to suppliers other than Tasmania’s Gunns Ltd. The alternative woodchips being purchased by the Japanese paper mills are of higher, more uniform quality and require less bleaching and processing to turn into office-grade white paper than woodchips from Tasmanian’s old growth forests. Some, especially those from Chile and Brazil, are also cheaper. But the main difference appears to be that Japanese paper manufacturers are now demanding woodchips from trees that are less than 15 years old and that have been grown in single-age plantations rather than natural forests. “The writing is on the wall for forests; all the messages we are getting from our buyers is that plantations are the only way to go,” says David Ikin, public relations manager for WA-based Gunns rival Great Southern Plantations. “There’s no doubt that people campaigning overseas and in Japan against the State has had an impact,” Tasmanian Forestry Minister Bryan Green said last night. “I’ve spoken to Japanese customers who have been scared off, who’ve told me that even if they wanted to buy our woodchips, that the green campaigners have scared off their customers, printers and publishers, further down the chain.” Bryan Hayes, Gunns’ regional manger for Tasmania’s north-west and south, last week refused to discuss how much orders for woodchips from Gunns had fallen in the past two years. But an April ruling in the Tasmanian Supreme Court by Chief Justice Robert Underwood detailed how since 2004, Gunns has suffered several shipment cancellations and the loss of one of its markets, ending up being owed $2.24 million by one Asian buyer. The recent collapse in international demand for Gunns’ woodchips comes as Great Southern Plantations ramps up its production of woodchips from its own plantations of Tasmanian blue gum trees. Last year, Great Southern Plantations started shipping 187,000 tonnes of woodchips to Daio Paper in Japan, and has just signed a new deal worth $130 million for 1.5 million tonnes of woodchips with Oji Paper from 2007. http://www.themercury.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,19137282%255E3462,00.html

38) On the basis of those work assurances, and other earlier ones, Mr Kerrison calculates he invested more than $6million in his business since 2004 — most of it borrowed. Some of that money was used to buy new trucks and excavators so he could deliver the 215,000 tonnes of pulpwood he was contracted to supply each year, on time and efficiently, to three separate log buyers. A large chunk of his business loans was spent expanding his booming business, buying the timber harvesting arm of Tasmanian transport company Hazell Bros. By June last year, with his company operating at its peak and the future looking rosy, the bottom suddenly fell out of the local sawlog and woodchip markets. With three of Amlin’s five harvesting contracts spread around southern and Midlands forests up for renewal, Mr Kerrison was the first large logging contractor to feel the pain. “Anyone who goes into business does so with their eyes wide open and knowing the badly run businesses will fail,” Mr Kerrison said. “But this way of cutting, dropping or failing to renew long-term contracts without notice simply means it is the bad contractors with broken down machinery and unsafe maintenance practices, but no loans, who are surviving. And the good operators with the best and most modern equipment are going down.” http://www.themercury.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,19162750%255E3462,00.html

39) IN a wet sclerophyll forest past Huonville, a lone birds’ nest is causing quite a stir. It sits in a tall tree, surrounded by forest so dense it dapples light, and is home to a rare breeding pair of wedge-tailed eagles. A few kilometres away, up a hill and down a ridge, Tony Bennett and his crew use chainsaws to fell a 15ha coupe of native forest. Even farther across more valleys and ridges, out of sight, is Weld Camp, home to a dedicated band of forest protesters. Usually this is as close as the “greenies” — as Mr Bennett calls them — get to Barnback Ridge in the Denison State Forest. But when Mr Bennett and his crew arrived to log the area last week, the protesters came too. This week four protesters have been arrested, but not before their actions stopped logging for almost a week. Mr Bennett has encountered cars and young women blocking roads, a protester perched on a tripod above a gate and, on Wednesday, men chained to his $250,000 tree harvesters. “They claim they are protecting the nest,” the third-generation logger said. “But we’re nowhere near it. “We’re down over the hill and two kilometres away — not even in the line of sight of it — and they know that. “What’s getting up my nose is the untruths and the crap.” Warrick Jones, one of the protesters arrested, said the action was to highlight the endangered eagles in the area. “We are trying to stop them destroying the habitat of an endangered species,” he said. He said there were only 117 breeding pairs left in Tasmania. “Small buffer zones given to them by Foresty Tasmania mean nothing when large swaths of native forests are being logged,” Mr Jones said. But Forestry Tasmania Huon District forest manager Steve Davis said the nest was in a 15ha fauna reserve, with the coupe 1.5km from the reserve’s edge. “This is well outside the required distance of 500m,” Mr Davis said. Mr Bennett said the loggers complied with all regulations. “We have got just as much interest, if not more so, in the wellbeing of the forest and the species,” he said. “We don’t need this hassle.” http://www.themercury.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,19108935%255E3462,00.html

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