097OEC’s This Week in Trees:

This week we have 37 news items from: Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Arizona, Montana, Ohio, West Virginia, Georgia, Maine, USA, Canada, France, Romania, Africa, Guatemala, India, Bangladesh, South East Asia, Philippines, Brunei, New Zealand and Australia.


1) The political architect of Alaska’s “Bridges to Nowhere,” and other drains on the U.S. Treasury, is vowing retaliation against colleagues who voted last week to end a multimilliondollar U.S. Forest Service subsidy of the timber industry. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said he was taking down the names of the 237 members of the U.S. House of Representatives — including 68 fellow Republicans — who voted to prohibit Smokey Bear from using federal dollars to build new logging roads in the Tongass National Forest. The threat echoes a similar warning from Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, when the Senate blocked his backdoor effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. Stevens already has undertaken a revenge effort against Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. Such I’ll-get-you diatribes reflect the fetid state of Washington, D.C., politics these days. They underscore the arrogance of men in power. The fjords, glaciers and largely intact rain forests of the Tongass are an adventure destination for thousands of cruise-ship passengers embarking out of Seattle each summer. The Tongass is where our sport and commercial fisherfolk seek out still-healthy salmon runs, and where our kayakers go to test their skill amid the icebergs of calving glaciers. No wonder that a majority of our state’s congressional delegation voted to end a logging road construction program that was losing 96 cents on the dollar. The Forest Service spent $48 million on road building and timber sales last year in the Tongass, according to Reps. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, and Robert Andrews, D-N.J., co-sponsors of the anti-subsidy legislation. Timber receipts totaled $400,000. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/connelly/271387_joel24.html

British Columbia:

2) Responsible forestry is not the function of public forest harvesting licensees anymore than long-run vehicle maintenance is the responsibility of someone renting a new car at the airport for a week’s business visit to Vancouver. Responsible forestry criteria measure the owner’s not the industry’s appalling stewardship performance. In Canada, public forest owners transfer huge subsidies to loggers by setting abysmal expectations and ignoring the consequences of their resourcist land management. Only for PR consumption do we pretend our timber is traded to licensees for long-run forest centred stewardship. All public forest performance audits demonstrate that commensurate forest stewardship is the rare exception rather than the defining public policy objective. Governments dedicated to maximizing the appearance of forest economic activity are entirely undeterred from transferring diminished forests and environmental and economic consequences to future generations. It has been my long term experience that UBC and its corrupt ilk primarily exist to staff the ranks of apologists paid to window dress this plunder of our natural capital. Responsible forest stewardship cannot result from an underlying policy to maximize and or balance the industrial interest in resource exploitation. On the other hand, short term stewardship of the industrial interest can be very effectively achieved by ignoring the environmental and industrial consequences of our forest practices and policy objectives. Which do you think is taking place? — Victoria BC Michael Major mbmajor@telus.net

3) Les Bjola, project developer for the $2.3-billion, 1,300-acre development, said he believes at least one of the suggested caves is outside the resort’s boundary, south of a planned vineyard on a slope below the signature 19th hole. “There are no caves on Bear Mountain,” Bjola said, gesturing to a map during an interview at the resort. The dispute centres around a number of mountain caves and burial sites once thought to be only a native legend but discovered this month by the Songhees First Nation on the south side of Bear Mountain, in Langford. The resort, featuring luxury condominiums and houses, a Westin hotel, spa and Steve and Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, has been carved out of forest, and is still being developed. But long before the golf course, or even contact with white European settlers, aboriginals used the area for cultural ceremonies, a campground, and a burial site of cairns (where bodies are placed under large boulders for protection), said Songhees land manager Cheryl Bryce. The Songhees say they are worried about damage from a road now being built by Bear Mountain, which has a deal with five nearby landowners to provide a route from the resort to the Trans- Canada Highway. “They are destroying lots of areas that are so important… they’ve got their bulldozers beside some of them.” said Bryce. Langford sent Bear Mountain Development Corporation a letter dated Feb. 6 advising them an “archaeologist should immediately review the area of work and ascertain if there are any cultural sites that should be protected.” The resort only last week agreed with nearby property owners to do an assessment, but has no definite plans about when the work will be done. Meanwhile, construction has continued. “No we haven’t stopped,” said Bear Mountain CEO Len Barrie. “We can’t afford to stop.” The Songhees say they are prepared to seek a court injunction if their concerns are not addressed. If that fails, Songhees members, the Tseycum First Nation in Saanich, and the Tsartlip First Nation (which owns land adjacent to Bear Mountain) will block access to the resort, said Bryce. “We’ve tried to talk to the developers and they don’t seem to be listening,” said Tsartlip Chief Chris Tom. “That might be the only step they are going to listen to and hear, a blockade.”
— Rob Shaw, Times Colonist

4) Time is short to protect the Fraser River lowland habitat. Development is increasing at an alarming rate along the lowlands of the Fraser River in the eastern Fraser Valley, warns Abbotsford biologist Marvin Rosenau. He and river expert Mark Angelo are spearheading a public initiative called “Heart of the Fraser” to try to preserve a green strip of lowland habitat from Abbotsford and Mission to Hope. They are seeking political, corporate and public support to counter the rapid disappearance of one of the most diverse and valuable aquatic and lowland ecosystems in B.C., said Rosenau. He explained that the goal of the newly-formed “Heart of the Fraser” group is to identify, conserve, protect and restore key portions of the Fraser River, in the eastern Fraser Valley, to sustain the biological diversity of the area. Rosenau said it is vital to take action now. The Fraser River has the largest-single spawning run of salmon in B.C. and perhaps North America, he said. Roseanau said governments, First Nations and private citizens can work together to protect the heart of the Fraser River from unchecked development by buying key private properties for conservation purposes. He believes the government can step up to the plate to protect and manage key Crown lands. Roseanau and Angelo are asking for more public support. http://www.heartofthefraser.bcit.ca

5) MNISTER ADMITS more work needed on regulations to protect public forests and watersheds. The B.C. government’s new “results-based” forestry regulation system is due to go into effect at the end of the year, and Forests Minister Rich Coleman agrees with critics that there is plenty of work remaining to make sure B.C.’s vast public forests and watersheds will be protected. The Forest Practices Board, B.C.’s independent watchdog on the industry’s use of 47 million hectares of provincially-owned land, found numerous weaknesses in the first 15 “forest stewardship plans” submitted by industry. Board chairman Bruce Fraser said he supports the results-based approach to replace a long list of regulations imposed on industry, but draft plans examined so far are vague, cover enormous regions and are written in complex legal language. Most provide little detail about where logging would actually take place, and “do not make commitments to measurable results or outcomes,” the board concluded. “These forest stewardship plans simply do not reflect the high level of forest practices we find in our regular board audits and investigations,” Fraser said. A coalition of environmental groups was more blunt in its criticism of the forest stewardship plans. “When you give industry the power to write laws, this is what you get,” said Devon Page, a lawyer with the Sierra Legal Defence Fund. “You get vague and unenforceable laws that jeopardize the public interest.” San Francisco-based ForestEthics hinted at an overseas campaign similar to the one it waged against logging of old-growth forests on the north and central coast, which targeted large international lumber buyers. Coleman has rejected the NDP’s suggestion that the deadline for the new plans should be extended by a year. http://www.nanaimobulletin.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=51&cat=23&id=653396&more=

6) VICTORIA – McBride Forest Industries and the Headwaters Forest District should provide more detailed information in logging plans for the Rocky Mountain Trench, the Forest Practices Board reported today. The board investigated a complaint by the Fraser Headwaters Alliance. The complainant was primarily concerned about the licensee’s ability to meet the visual quality objectives (VQOs) in the Robson Valley Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP). The complainant objected to the district’s approval of the licensee’s logging plan, which allowed an exemption from the VQO standards if the licensee believed it would be difficult to meet them when salvaging beetle-infested trees.The board concluded that the actions of the licensee and the district, in trying to address the mountain pine beetle outbreak in the area, did not result in any damage to forest resources. The board found one amendment to the logging plan did not meet legal requirements, as it showed only large areas within which logging would take place, rather than specific cutblock boundaries as required by legislation. The board also found the district manager did not have the authority to approve the exemption from VQO standards in the plan, at the time the approval was granted. “This logging occurred in the context of a severe mountain pine beetle infestation, and the licensee anticipated difficulties in maintaining required standards for forest practices under those conditions,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “While the board recognizes the unique challenges posed by the beetle epidemic, we believe the Forest and Range Practices Act provides sufficient flexibility for licensees to meet those challenges within the law.” The board recommends the licensee give the public an opportunity to review the large undefined logging zones when preparing its forest stewardship plan (FSP) for the area subject to complaint. This plan must be approved by December 31, 2006, under current timelines. “In our recent special report, the board recommended that FSPs need to provide more details on specific logging locations within the area covered by the plan,” said Fraser. “In this case, we hope the licensee will provide sufficient geographic detail to allow for effective public review of the FSP in question.” http://www.fpb.gov.bc.ca

7) VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) – While International Trade Minister David Emerson continues to hammer out a final softwood lumber deal with the U-S, British Columbians are being warned about the dangers of exporting too many raw logs. A resource analyst with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says, last year, raw log exports from BC hit 4.7 million cubic metres. Ben Parfitt says one company, Western Forest Products, also controls nearly half of all trees harvested from public forests in the coastal region, “This company has an enormous amount of power at its disposal and we could be entering a situation where we see that company pressuring the government more and more to allow further log export increases.” Last week, Forests Minister Rich Coleman agreed to set up a committee to review exports, but Parfitt says the Provincial Government needs to pressure forest companies to open more sawmills in BC.

8) Island Timberlands, the company that has substantial private holdings in the Powell River area, plans on logging more of its property next year. The company’s forester, Diane Medves, attended the Powell River Regional District planning committee meeting on May 16. She told directors the company is sharing Western Forest Products’ Stillwater Timberland’s community advisory group (CAG). “We’re working with them on a new plan that is coming forward shortly,” she said. The company is certified through three different agencies, Medves said, Canadian Standards Association (CSA), ISO 14001 Environmental Management System and Sustainable Forest Management (SFI). Medves said the current standards under CSA are up at the end of July and the company is working on a new, revised set of standards. Medves outlined the company’s short history. When Brascan Power Corporation purchased Weyerhaeuser’s coastal assets, it formed two separate companies, Cascadia Forest Products Ltd. and Island Timberlands. The 3.6 million cubic metres of Crown harvesting rights, five sawmills, and two remanufacturing plants became part of Cascadia. Island Timberlands is responsible for managing 258,000 hectares of private timberlands from a head office in Nanaimo. Since then, Western Forest Products has purchased Cascadia and Brascan has changed its name to Brookfield Power Corporation. Two years ago, the provincial government removed thousands of hectares of private land from tree farm licences on the coast. In Powell River, approximately 2,800 hectares were removed from TFL 39, Block 1. Board chairman Area C director Colin Palmer explained this is the first time in the region’s history that logging is separate. “There’s no longer unity there,” he said. “It used to be Crown lands and private lands were together. We would appreciate being kept up to date about what is going on.” Medves said the company will “do our best to keep the community informed about our plans.” Palmer also asked Medves about the company’s replanting program. “We were told 20 years ago that there would be a lot of logging around this time,” he said. “We don’t want to hear that the replanting program is inadequate.” http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1998&dept_id=499599&newsid=16689660&PAG=461&rfi=9

9) B.C. chief forester Jim Snetsinger said the western pine beetle problem is “pretty much dwarfed by the mountain pine beetle epidemic.” The Ministry of Forests has counted 71 hectares of Crown forests infested by the western beetle, compared with 8.7 million hectares for the mountain beetle. “The problem with [the western beetle] is that it’s attacking very high-value trees, mostly in esthetic or urban interfaces,” Snetsinger said. He added that ponderosa pine is not logged for its commercial value, so it is mainly an issue for private landowners and municipalities that rely on the trees for aesthetic greenery. Ian Wilson, urban forest supervisor for the City of Kelowna, added that the western pine beetle is becoming a bigger issue for residents in his city. “We’ve had quite an upsurge of beetles here in the last year and a half,” Wilson said. He expects it to get worse. A Kelowna neighbourhood called Hall Road suffered a “devastating” infestation, Wilson noted. He added that a regional park also lost 10-15 hectares of ponderosa trees. The City of Kelowna itself last year culled some 700 to 800 trees infested with western pine beetle, which was up from just 50 a year ago. “Unfortunately, there is no real silver bullet,” Wilson said, adding that the best thing to do is “find infested trees and destroy them. . . . But that’s tough to do.” –Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun


10) The Grays Harbor biodiesel plant planned by Imperium will make biodiesel out of palm oil imported from tropical countries like Malaysia. A look at current vegoil prices shows why: Soybean oil is selling for about 25 cents a pound for July delivery, while canola oil is a couple of cents higher. July palm oil is about 19 cents a pound, including delivery to the U.S. Palm oil is essentially made out of rainforests, which are being bulldozed at unprecedented rates to make way for palm plantations. In an ironic twist, the destruction of Malaysian rainforests may lead to an upturn in the Grays Harbor economy, which has been depressed since the destruction of Washington rainforests. There is very little that is “green” about palm oil biodiesel, especially when it is produced at the expense of North American vegoils. In explaining the size of his proposed plant and the source of his vegoil, John Plaza says in last week’s Capital Press, “We have to be competitive to be sustainable.” There is very little that is sustainable about a 100 million gallon per year palm oil biodiesel plant. First, we know that bulldozing rainforests is not a good idea in this era of global warming, but apparently Imperium is banking on the fact that we really are addicted to oil. Company statements say they will “try” to use sustainably harvested oil. Of course, the main sustainability problem happens when the rainforests are replaced with palm plantations, not after. Second, Imperium pays lip service to Washington agriculture and has benefited from a state biodiesel mandate that was originally aimed at providing markets for Washington oilseed crops – and reducing dependence on foreign oil. But Imperium’s actions actually hurt Washington agriculture. Business is business, so it wouldn’t be so bad if Imperium simply owned up to what its plans are. Instead, Imperium is being disingenuous in suggesting that Washington-grown vegoil is a realistic option for their plant. Biodiesel mega-projects are no friends of Washington agriculture. We certainly can have a successful home-grown biodiesel industry, but the governor and the Legislature need to pay more attention to the realities of Washington agriculture and Washington biodiesel consumers need to pay attention to the source of their fuel. –Hans A. Littooy
http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp SectionID=75&SubSectionID=768&ArticleID=25127

11) U.S. Rep. Brian Baird?s recent self-serving guest editorial sounded just like “Dr. Science,” the old NPR character who always began his show by proclaiming himself to be an authority on science with the phrase, “I have a master’s degree. In science!” But of course, it’s a fundamental rule in science that one’s conclusions should be based on the data, not preconceptions, and are valid only until some new data says otherwise. Even now, he cites no study, no data at all, to support the concept of so-called “salvage logging,” because there is none. Instead, he claims his theories are “well-known” facts, based on experience on private, state and tribal lands. Well, that’s the opposite of science. And I say, OK, let’s take a look at those private, state and tribal forests. They’re very easy to identify, because they’re all already logged, which is why the logging companies and their shills, like Baird and Walden, are constantly trying to justify logging off the remaining acres of our publicly owned forests. When the Oregon State University graduate student’s study was published in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal, it was big news, precisely because its facts showed the exact opposite of Baird’s and the loggers’ preconceptions. Instead of giving Baird pause, or making him revisit his conclusions, he and Walden held a Congressional “hearing” in which he savagely attacked the graduate student’s study, and he continues to nitpick it as “unscientific.” Baird, quit harping about the tiny splinter that might exist in the eye of this grad student, and deal with the huge, fat, rich log that?s in your own. –JOSEPH WEBB, Astoria http://www.dailyastorian.info/main.asp?SectionID=23&SubSectionID=393&ArticleID=33633&TM=5620


12) The high heat that accompanied the recent drought was the underlying cause of death for millions of pinyon pines throughout the Southwest, according to new research. The resulting landscape change will affect the ecosystem for decades. Hotter temperatures coupled with drought are the type of event predicted by global climate change models. The new finding suggests big, fast changes in ecosystems may result from global climate change. “We documented a massive forest die-off — and it’s a concern because it’s the type of thing we can expect more of with global warming,” said research team leader David D. Breshears, a professor of natural resources in The University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources in Tucson and a member of UA’s Institute for the Study of Planet Earth. At study sites in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, the team found that from 40 to 80 percent of the pinyon trees died between 2002 and 2003. The researchers confirmed the massive regional dieback of vegetation through both aerial surveys and analysis of satellite images of those states’ pinyon-juniper woodlands. “Scientists are concerned about how fast vegetation will respond to climate change, but we don’t have many examples to test our ideas,” Breshears said. “Here we’ve clearly documented a case that shows how big and fast the die-off can be.” “These trees are slow-growing trees, so we aren’t going to have woodlands of this type back in this area for decades,” Breshears said. He added that the lack of pinyon nuts will have negative effects on wildlife and on people who harvest the nuts for food and for sale. Rich said, “The fate of the pinyon-juniper forest depends on what happens next, especially in terms of weather. If it’s wetter, the trees may come back. If not we’ll probably see shifts to species from drier ecosystems.”

13) SUMMERHAVEN — Parts of Rose Canyon Lake campground resemble a lumber mill — huge logs heaped alongside the roadway, stripped branches piled nearby. The area is being thinned to create defensible space on a ridge between the campground and the summer homes on Forest Service land at Willow Canyon, where six homes burned during the 2003 Aspen Fire. Projects such as this one and buffers created by two summers of fire make this mountain a little safer, but the danger of wildfire remains and this season of dry heat is the most dangerous time. http://www.azstarnet.com/dailystar/metro/130868


14) Over the weekend of May 19-21, the National Forest Protection Alliance, along with the Wildwest Institute and the West End Volunteer Fire Department, organized the first annual Deborgia Community Wildfire Protectiond Work Weekend. The goal was to create defensible space around homes and community structures to make local residents feel more prepared in the event of wildfires through education, action and fellowship. Special emphasis was placed on improving defensible space around the homes of elderly members of the community, along key roads in the community and establishing a safe zone near the firehouse and community center. The latter work provide local residents with a great example of what can be done on their properties due to its strategic location in Deborgia. Everyone who participated in the project felt like we were accomplishing something effective as well as something positive for the community. From the standpoint of NFPA and Wildwest, the event far exceeded our expectations as we were able to bring together a diverse group of volunteers including the District Ranger of the Superior District of the Lolo N.F., Rob Harper, the Frenchtown Fire Department’s chipper operator, JD Murphy, Ken Verley of Tricon Timber in St. Regis, and several local volunteers from the West End Fire Department including Bruce and Susan Charles, Ed and Beth Roberts and Phil and Jeanne Fingar. Despite the tremendous amount of volunteer help, we would not have treated nearly as much of the area without the expertise and leadership from the crew that we hired. Through a grant that NFPA and the WildWest Institute received from the National Forest Foundation and the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, a forest restoration and fuel reduction contractor, Wildland Conservation Services, was paid to do much of the project assessment, treatment design and actual cutting. This was essential to ensuring that our work was both effective and visually attractive and also showed that the conservation community can help to generate some economic activity to local contractors and workers that has real social benefits to rural communities. http://www.forestadvocate.org


15) COLUMBUS — Three state environmental groups are voicing their problems with a new plan to manage the Wayne National Forest, saying that too much of the forest is opened to logging and that not enough has been done to protect endangered species. The Buckeye Forest Council, Heartwood, and the Ohio Sierra Club filed an administrative appeal to the Land and Resource Management Plan, which would open 83 percent of the forest to logging. “All over the country, citizens groups have been forced to challenge the forest service’s unjustified management practices,” said Brandi Whetstone, Executive Director for the Buckeye Forest Council. “The plan will deal a substantial blow to the Wayne National Forest by failing to protect important forest features and public recreation opportunities. Instead of using this opportunity to maximize protection for Ohio’s only national forest, the Forest Service has chosen to increase cutting against the people’s will.” But Phil Sammon, public information officer for the Wayne National Forest, said that the groups are taking a sky-is-falling approach to a plan that is actually more conservative, in terms of logging, than the last one that was in place. The deadline for appeals has passed, there will now be 60 days for the Wayne representatives to compile a defense. That information will then be sent to the Washington forest office, which will have 100 days to review both the appeal and the defense. At that point, the appellants can either file litigation, or take another course of action. http://www.irontontribune.com/articles/2006/05/27/news/news654.txt

West Virginia:

16) We now have until May 31 to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Spruce #1 mountaintop removal mine near Blair, W. Va. This is the mine that would destroy Jimmy Weekly’s homeplace in Pigeon Roost Hollow. People’s work to save this area –the mining has been held off for nine years!– resulted in some of the earliest national media attention on the coal companies’ massacre of our mountains. If you don’t have time to read the 450-page document yourself, please use our form letter below. It’s easy and fast and makes all the right points. If you do have time to read the document, copies of the DEIS (in CD format) may be obtained by contacting USACE Huntington District Regulatory Branch at 304-399-5210 or 304-399-5710. Copies are also available at the Blair Post Office, the Kanawha County Public Library in Charleston and the Logan County Public Library in Logan, WV. Please fill out all blanks in the form and then press the “send comments” button at the bottom. If you have time, please modify this letter to reflect your personal concerns. Thanks! http://www.heartwood.org/alerts.php

17) The jury verdict in the first trial to determine liability for severe 2001 floods in southern West Virginia might be the opening scene of a nightmare for the state’s logging and mining industries. Neither is used to being found liable for damages linked to cutting timber or unearthing coal, but that’s precisely what happened in the first of a series of lawsuits stemming from floods that hit southern West Virginia on July 8, 2001. Now the likes of coal giants Peabody Energy Corp. and Massey Energy Co., as well as timber owners and logging companies, face a potential shift in West Virginia’s attitude toward once all-powerful industries. Some see the decision reached earlier this month by a Raleigh County jury as an omen. The jury decided that improper logging practices allowed by two timberland owners contributed to severe flooding. Another jury will determine actual damages later. How that plays out for logging and mining remains to be seen, but the stakes in additional lawsuits involving five other southern West Virginia watersheds will be high. The flooding caused an estimated $143 million in damages across seven counties and spawned litigation involving thousands of plaintiffs and more than 100 defendants, including Peabody, Massey and other large coal companies. Massey, for instance, has been sued along with nine subsidiaries, while several Peabody subsidiaries are facing lawsuits as well. Massey is based in Richmond, Va. People on both sides are wondering whether the first case marks the start of a losing streak for coal and timber interests. http://www.dailypress.com/news/local/virginia/dp-wv–floodtrial0527may27,0,2912570.story?co


18) “Many years ago, the people native to this area, navigated through the Mountains, using an elaborate system of trail markings. The trunks of oak trees were purposely bent to point in a given direction, indicating, food, water, safety, etc.” These trees are made to point the way by being bent over as young saplings, their tops buried in the ground. The tops eventually rotted and dropped off and the tree (now growing bent over) struggles to retain it’s upward growth and sends out an upward pointing branch which eventually continues to develop as the main trunk of the tree. Therefore some of the trees on the above web-site must be about 200 years old from the look of their size. There are many of these trees that can be found in the hiking trails of the National Forests throughout the Appalachian & Ozark Mountains. Every time I find one, my thoughts return to the native people and their simple wisdom http://www.trailtree.com/Tree.htm


19) PORTLAND, Maine –An environmental coalition on Thursday said it will step up efforts in opposition to Plum Creek Timber Co.’s revised proposal for a massive development project in the Moosehead Lake region. Representatives of Save Moosehead Coalition said Plum Creek’s plan to develop nearly 1,000 house sites and several resorts over 10,000 acres is inappropriate for an area that serves as the gateway to Maine’s North Woods. Plum Creek’s ads touting the proposal are misleading and misrepresent the facts, they said. The coalition is made up of the Forest Ecology Network, Restore: The North Woods, the American Lands Alliance and Friends of the Earth. “Plum Creek wants us to believe that (the new) version is something that balances development and conservation. That’s nonsense,” said Jonathan Carter, head of the Forest Ecology Network. “Their sprawl proposal is about dollars and cents.” Jim Lehner, Plum Creek’s general manager for the Northeast region, said that if the proposal is approved by the Land Use Regulation Commission, the company will donate or sell conservation easements totaling more than 400,000 acres. In TV ads touting the revised plan, Plum Creek says the revised plan permanently protects more than 400,000 acres from development, while preserving the character of the area and guaranteeing public access. Jym St. Pierre of Restore: The North Woods, said the ads are misleading because the conservation measures are not tied to the LURC application. By implying otherwise, Plum Creek is “blurring the lines” and confusing Maine residents, he said. http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2006/05/25/new_coalition_says_moosehead_lak


20) Hilo, Hawaii May 25th 2006 – Several local farmers and native Hawaiian activists joined Greenpeace experts today in decontaminating an organic farm in Hawaii that has been tainted with genetically engineered (GE) papaya from nearby commercial farms. The farm was sealed off with signs reading, ‘GE Papaya Restricted Area’ as volunteers in hazmat suits removed trees, fruits and seeds from the scene. According to evidence released today by Greenpeace, GE papaya profits have dwindled significantly as a growing number of global markets reject the crop. Organic farmers in Hawaii are especially alarmed, as the state is considered a contamination hot spot with the most GE field trials per square mile in the world and the only place where GE papaya is grown commercially. “These US corporations tried to force feed GE papaya on the world and the world isn’t biting,” said Local Hawaii Farmer, Melanie Bondera. “Organic crops can get three times what GE papaya can get on the market, but not if there’s a possibility it’s contaminated. The GE industry came to us promising big money but instead they are ruining our crops and robbing us of our profits.” Greenpeace has been at the forefront of decontamination efforts around the world, assisting farmers concerned about genetic engineering tainting and stopping illegal distribution of GE papaya in countries such as Japan and Thailand that have put a ban on these crops. Currently a court case is underway in Thailand where South East Asia campaigner Patwajee Srisuwan and the former Executive Director Dr. Jiragon Gajaseni are facing up to six years in prison for exposing a Thai government agency’s role in the illegal distribution of GE contaminated papaya.
“The Thai Government has attempted to lift the genetic engineering ban under pressure from the US government and the agro-chemical industry. However, Thais oppose GE crops because we don’t want to lose the market for our farm crops, like what happened to Hawaiian papayas, as well as our status as the world’s kitchen,” said Patwajee Srisuwan.


21) In almost every proposal, we read that “vegetation restoration” (i.e., logging) is needed, ironically enough, in order to compensate for the negative consequences of earlier logging and fire suppression, the latter of which was often done at the behest of the logging industry. But whereas there is a vigorous scientific debate over whether industrial logging can actually restore our forests, there is simply no debate over the immediate need to restore watersheds–with stream ecosystems unraveling and native fish habitat choked by sediment following decades of road building and logging. The watershed restoration needs here in the Northern Rockies are immense with Forest Service estimates indicating that nearly 85% of the fish- passage culverts in our region are currently impassable to fish coupled with a road maintenance backlog of over $1.3 billion on the 67,000 miles of roads that crisscross our forests and watersheds. Unfortunately, Congress has yet to appropriately prioritize and adequately fund genuine watershed restoration for our national forests. Perhaps this is due to the fact that since 1990 the logging industry and their lobbyists have given members of Congress $39 million in campaign contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In recent years, the Forest Service has been displaying the disturbing tendency to utilize industrial logging as a way to raise funds for watershed restoration through something given the positive sounding name of “stewardship contracting.” One such example is the Fishtrap logging project located twenty miles north of Thompson Falls, within a remote corner of the forest. The Fishtrap project calls for 3 1/2 square miles of industrial logging in unroaded wildlands, old-growth forests and important habitat for grizzly bears and bull trout. The Forest Service wanted to “implement the Fishtrap project through stewardship contracting in order to accomplish as much of the identified restoration opportunities on the ground as possible.Stewardship contracting facilitates land restoration and enhancement efforts by using value of the traded goods (timber) for important work on the ground” In some ways, this seems almost like extortion, forcing the public to permit logging in what are usually heavily logged watersheds so that some watershed restoration can be achieved.


22) Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister asks Ottawa for tougher rules to stop the loss of forest in his country and to prevent tiny islands from being wiped off the map.Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda has asked Canada to bar illegally sourced timber imports as part of a crackdown on transnational crime, but also to fight climate change caused by loss of forest. “We are seriously battling illegal loggings,” says Mr. Wirajuda, in Ottawa this week on a North American tour in which he met Foreign Minister Peter MacKay and then travelled to Washington for a sit down meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “Indonesia has asked the support of Canada, in particular to reduce the demands for… wood products from illegal loggings.” Indonesia has one of the highest tropical deforestation rates in the world. An estimated 80 per cent of logging in South Pacific nation is unlawful, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency, an independent body that exposes ecological misdeeds. Environmental stewardship, according to the EIA, has been hindered by corruption in Indonesia. Mr. Wirajuda says his nation needs international help to design law enforcement to nab criminals who are destroying wooded areas. But he emphasizes that Canada can squeeze illegal loggers out of business with tougher rules to reduce demand. “We have to work on a practical level to… ensure products of illegal loggings are not sold in Canadian markets. We must restrict any chance or possibility,” says Mr. Wirajuda. For starters, Mr. Wirajuda says he wants illegal logging to be characterized as an international crime under a United Nations protocol. He says, happily, that Canada has expressed support to include illicit harvesting of forests in the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. Mr. Wirajuda also pitches the idea that Canada mirror an agreement signed by the European Union to only accept wood imports from Indonesia that can be traced to legitimate harvesters. Under the initiative, cargo is inspected at the port of entry to ensure it has been properly managed. http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2006/may/24/climate/

23) Canada is following doggedly in the footsteps of those countries of South and Central America we used to deride as “Banana Republics,” and only a decade later. Now those nations are throwing off the yoke of a corrupt and inefficient “free-market system” (was this juicy appellation coined by the Ministry of Truth?) that threatened to keep the citizens of those countries in penury for decades, and for which they received virtually no benefit. That was reserved for an very elite few. Now the voters have seen and experienced the results of a decade of what can only be called pillaging and plundering, all done in the name of prosperity, and they are increasingly voting to” throw the bums out”, in the hopes of replacing them with someone — anyone — of a more egalitarian posture. Will it work? That is the trillion-dollar question. But what is known for sure is that the free market system foisted upon them was anyting but free. How long will we Canadians have to have our “feet held to the fire” before we see that the road we are travelling on leads to the proverbial ruin. The example is before us. Do we have the courage to open our eyes? Excerpts from The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:


24) PARIS (Reuters) – The area in France covered by forest has grown by a third in the last 50 years, partly due to private investors who have funded reforestation programs as part of long-term, tax-efficient investment plans. One third of France is covered by trees, the farm ministry says, and at more than 16 million hectares, the country’s forest takes up more land than all the arable crops combined. The investment yield is not even close to that achieved on stock or bond markets. But investors do enjoy tax breaks and they get something that an equity stake can’t provide — a slice of the countryside they can pass on to the next generation. Seventy percent of France’s forest is privately owned while the remaining 30 percent is state owned with just over one million proprietors owning at least one hectare of trees. “In exchange for looking after their piece of forest, owners obtain significant tax rebates,” a top manager at the largest forest fund management business, CDC Foret, told Reuters. He said many people chose to invest in forests in the late 1970s, seeing them as safe havens at the time of the oil crisis.”Forests then became for many a sound investment,” he added. The country gains something too. Forests absorb the equivalent of 138 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year and provide three percent of the country’s energy consumption. French retail bank BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) says taxpayers who invest in wooded land, forests, or parts of a forest group from mid-2001 until end-2010, can benefit from a tax deduction that equals 25 percent of their investment within a limit of 5,700 euros for a single person and double for a couple. Three forest owners out of four are above fifty and one out of three is at least 70 years old, the ministry added. And many trees outlive their investors by a long way. “You have to be patient with those investments when one knows that it takes some 150 years for an oak tree to come to maturity,” the CDC Foret manager said. http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=reutersEdge&storyID=2006-05-24T100920Z_


25) Dear colleagues, I am from Romania, I am legal adviser and my business is trading with CO2 sequestration certificate (under Kyoto protocol activities). I write because I need help to begin a few projects, here in Romania, about forestation of degraded lands. I have a group of owners of degraded lands, totally 11,000 ha ( in different counties in south and southeast of Romania), who want to reforest their lands but do not have financial options. If you know investors who want to invest in Romania I’ll be happy to sell you a list of land owners. Land owners can sell their lands to investors for reforestation. Also if you know forest owners who want sell specific capacities of sequestration of CO2 I can trade in the market certificates. If you have any information for me, please write at my personal email. Best regards. –Lucian BUZEA lucianbuzea@gmail.com


26) “Climate change, drought and desertification in Africa, and massive pesticide use on African farmland may all be to blame for the declines of once common UK birds such as the spotted flycatcher, wheatear, wood warbler and turtle dove,” it said. Researchers were looking at factors such as drought and heavy pesticide use in the Sahel region of Africa, which borders the Sahara desert and is a major stopover point for birds that have made the exhausting journey across the unforgiving sands. The RSPB said the research, to be published in the journal “Biological Conservation”, showed that 54 percent of the 121 long-distance migrants studied have declined or become extinct in many parts of Europe since 1970. http://za.today.reuters.com/news/NewsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2006-05-26T061828Z_0


27) Most beans traded on the world market are far from organic, since cacao is the most heavily sprayed crop after cotton. In Ghana, every tree is doused – by law – with chemicals to keep diseases at bay. In Brazil, cacao is an industrialised crop grown on vast plantations in regimented rows, with insufficient shade and treated with artificial fertilisers and pesticides. Cacao grown organically under ‘shade trees’ to mimic the forest environment is a rarer commodity, available only in small quantities. To put it in perspective, the TCGA’s farmers manage to fill just one shipping container every eight weeks. ‘Globally, we are talking about a desperate race to get organic up and running,’ says Sams. What is needed is a ready supply of mature organic trees – and last year, while visiting a Maya village close to the Guatemala border, Gregor Hargrove stumbled across just such a resource by chance. Colonial maps showed some kind of plantation near Dolores but the local Maya denied it. ‘They said the maps were out of date, that the plantation never existed,’ says Craig Sams, but Gregor Hargrove went to take a look. What he and his extension officers discovered was mature cacao, swallowed by the jungle. When they used a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) handset to map the pattern of the trees, they found the trunks were exactly 15ft apart – the optimum distance for a healthy cacao orchard, and a sure sign that they had found the Kramer Plantation, set up by a German colonist in 1875 and untouched since at least 1910. In the stupefying heat and humidity, I set off on a two-mile hike to see the ghost plantation for myself. Ahead of me are Pedro Batz, the extension officer who knows Dolores best, and Sebastian Putul, the farmer who will tend it. When mapping Dolores, he also found nutmeg trees planted at strict 30ft intervals. Other companion trees, providing a secondary income, are mahogany, banana, allspice, pacaya (an edible fern) and xate – a type of palm popular with florists. All Sebastian Putul must do is keep the site clear of weeds and prune the trees to keep them healthy, giving them a flatter, broader shape so the pods grow lower down and are easier to harvest. ‘It’s very old cacao with a better genetic stock,’ says Gregor Hargrove. ‘It pre-dates the whole system of cacao produced with agrochemicals.’ As we scramble over a ridge and pause on a hilltop, gazing across at the regimented rows of intensively-farmed corn across the border in Guatemala, Hargrove makes an announcement. ‘This was the biggest surprise of all,’ he says, tapping the earth with his foot. ‘The Kramer plantation sits right on top of an ancient Maya ruin – and you are only the fifth white man ever to have seen it.’ http://observer.guardian.co.uk/foodmonthly/story/0,,1781908,00.html

28) CRUCE A LA COLORADA, Guatemala, May 25 (Reuters) – The ancient Mayans abandoned their monumental cities in Central America’s jungles over a thousand years ago, and many blame their civilization’s collapse on massive deforestation. In the following centuries, a wildlife-rich forest regrew in Guatemala, now home to one of the largest tropical rainforests north of the Amazon. But modern Guatemalans are now watching a repeat of their ancestors’ mistakes, as slash and burn tactics by illegal loggers, cattle ranchers and drug traffickers destroy enough trees to fill an area the size of Dallas, Texas each year. The 5-million-acre (2-million-hectare) Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala’s northern Peten region was created in 1990 to protect part of a wilderness that extends in patches across Central America and into Colombia and southern Mexico. The area represents less than half a percent of the Earth’s landmass, but at least 7 percent of the world’s animal and plant species are found there, including giant anteaters, howler monkeys, scarlet macaws and the elusive jaguar, an endangered jungle cat that can kill armadillos and other prey with a single, skull-piercing bite. But in recent decades, lax control in Guatemala has led to some of the highest deforestation rates in the world, with over a third of the forest already destroyed. NO MAN’S LAND “The government completely abandoned the national parks,” said an official from the National Protected Areas Commission, known as CONAP. “Now other interests have moved in with links to drug traffickers,” he said asking not to be named for fear of retaliation. “It’s turned into a no-mans-land.” The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration estimates 70 percent of cocaine bound for the United States passes through Central America, often moving through unruly Peten where criminal bands smuggle not only drugs but people, exotic animals and looted Mayan artifacts. Scant government resources means few forest rangers are charged with protecting the reserve, and drug traffickers routinely threaten them, along with ecologists and archeologists working in the region. Last year, heavily armed thugs invaded the ruins of an ancient Mayan city called Piedras Negras, one of the thousands of Mayan sites partially excavated or still buried under thick jungle cover.
“Narco-ranchers” use their resources to illegally buy up large swaths of land inside the park often from peasants who have invaded the protected areas. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N24288072.htm


29) Mumbai: The fragrant Indian sandalwood is under threat of extinction because the business of extracting the sweet-scented oil can fetch huge profits, says a conservationist. And authorities in Maharashtra have certainly played a dubious role in obliterating the forest wealth by permitting sandalwood oil extracting units in the state in violation of Bombay Forest Rules and the Supreme Court orders of 1997. Among the violators is none other than former Forest Minister Surupsinh Naik, now serving a one-month jail term for contempt of the apex orders in allowing saw mills, for veneer and plywood, to operate within the precincts of forest areas. Conservationist Kishor Rithe, Director, Nature Conservation Society Amravati (NCSA), has proved that there is a clear nexus between politicians, the forest department officials and owners of sandalwood oil extracting units. His only hope is that authorities comply with the laws of the land to protect the depleting forest cover. “Do you know, a sandalwood tree takes 60 years to grow into a mature tree? Indian sandalwood is the best and most fragrant in the world and looking at the booming illegal industry of sandalwood oil extraction, our future generations may wonder what sandalwood is all about.” That is why his organisation, the NCSA, filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Mumbai High Court on February 10, 2005. “Notices were then issued to the respondents. As per the investigations of NCSA, we found that 33 oil extraction units are operating in Maharashtra illegally even though the state has no sandalwood forest cover unlike Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.” “Initially, the state government failed to reply to the notices issued by the court but woke up to act when the court directed the Chief Secretary to pay a fine of Rs5,000,” says Rithe. The final order of the high court came on January 13, 2006 asking the government to shut down the units. The distribution of sandalwood shown by the Central Empowered Committee is: Karnataka, 5,245 sq km; Tamil Nadu, 3,040 sq km; Andhra Pradesh, 175 sq km; Kerala, 65 sq km; Madhya Pradesh, 33 sq km; Orissa, 25 sq km and Maharashtra, 1 sq km. In 2001, the cost of sandalwood rose from about Rs500 per kg to Rs2,200 per kg. Consequently, the price of sandalwood also shot up from Rs16,000 per kg to Rs78,000 per kg. http://www.gulfnews.com/world/India/10042535.html


30) The seventh conference of SAARC environment ministers concluded in Dhaka yesterday with the adoption of a 10-point declaration that include setting up of an expert committee to prepare a concept paper on regional environment treaty (RET) soon. Environment and Forest Minister Tariqul Islam formally read out the declaration at a press conference after the conference. The seventh conference of SAARC environment ministers concluded in Dhaka yesterday with the adoption of a 10-point declaration that include setting up of an expert committee to prepare a concept paper on regional environment treaty (RET) soon. The ministers’ conference aimed at devising ways and means to manage and prevent disasters in SAARC region, has approved the ‘Frame Work’ prepared at a workshop of SAARC experts held in Dhaka in February last. The meeting has decided to discuss the concept paper about establishing the proposed SAARC Forestry Centre in Bhutan apart from strengthening the SAARC Meteorological Research Centre in Dhaka and SAARC Costal Zone Management Centre in Male. The declaration also includes taking steps for an integrated environment standard for SAARC countries. He said, “In undertaking regional endeavours, we need to be mindful that efforts by one country do not affect the ecology and economy of other countries.” He stressed the need for discussing mega project at the regional forum before implementing those. Without mentioning any country’s name, Saifur said Bangladesh was experiencing a number of natural calamities for various steps of neighboring countries. He indicated that economic and planning process of a country often proves damaging for the environment. In this connection, he said construction of roads and bridges on crisscrossing rivers caused water logging that cast negative effects on water bodies. Suggesting that it is time to take preventive measurers for environment he said, “We all should promote sustainable environment policy.”

South East Asia:

31) The demand for a cheap ingredient found in thousands of products, from shampoo to biscuits, is contributing to the extinction of the orangutan, warn conservationists. One in 10 mass-produced foods on Britain’s shelves is estimated to contain palm oil, a bulking agent and preservative, but supermarkets and food manufacturers have been accused of doing too little to ensure their supplies are not threatening forests that are vital to the survival of Asia’s only great ape. An estimated 5,000 orangutans are killed each year in Malaysia and Indonesia by the burning of vast tracts of virgin forest to supply the world’s growing demand for palm oil. Building roads to the plantations has made the situation worse, by opening up the jungle for poachers, who kill orangutan mothers and sell their babies as pets to Asian families. WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund, estimates that 80 per cent of orangutan habitat has been lost in the past 20 years. Experts warn that at current rates of deforestation, the orangutan will be extinct in the wild in just 12 years. Its disappearance would set a dismal precedent for the survival of other endangered animals such as the polar bear and the tiger. “The orangutan is one of the monkeys closest to us. We still have a lot to learn about them,” said Mark Attwater of the Orangutan Foundation. Dr Willie Smits, of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, said the loss of the orangutan had hastened in the last three years, “and palm oil plantations take the brunt of the blame”. http://www.thePetitionSite.com/takeaction/822035733


32) AGUSAN DEL SUR (May 25) –- The Provincial Task Force on Natural Resources Protection and Utilization (PTF-NRPU) created by Gov. Eddiebong Plaza has netted the provincial government some P1,265,354 out of confiscated illegally cut logs. This came about with the apprehension of dipterocarp lumber and fliches during intensified operations by task force agents in Prosperidad, Bayugan, Esperanza, and Sibagat towns. The timbers were about to be transported and believed to be sold in sawmills in neighboring provinces that deprives the province of needed revenues. However, even with the relentless efforts by the PTF-NRPU as mandated by Executive Order No. 5 issued in 2005 to suppress this kind of transactions but observers say that illegal logging activities still persist. They commented that this is possibly happening due to the collusion of some erring officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and big lumber companies in the province. They lamented that these illegal activities are considered economic sabotage because they are supposed to be the protectors of the environment. To address this concern, Forester Danilo Sarong, PTF-NRPU team leader said that they are eyeing the possible links of government personnel with the private sector in carrying out illegal logging activities. He even cited that some personnel in the Provincial Capitol are allegedly in cahoots with those responsible in destroying the natural resources. He, however, declined to divulge their identities as they are still looking deeply into the matter. http://www.pia.gov.ph/news.asp?fi=p060525.htm&no=12

33) ENVIRONMENT Secretary Angelo Reyes assured residents of Davao Oriental that the logging operation of Matuguina Integrated Wood Products Inc. would be very limited and strictly monitored by their office. Reyes made the assurance after reports came out that the controversial logging firm resumed its operation in Davao Oriental last month. He said the operation of Matuguina is limited to about 3,000 hectares out of the 63,000 hectares covered by the Timber License Agreement issued to them by the government 22 years ago. “So its only about five percent of their area, which they are using. That is why residents in the area has nothing to worry about,” Reyes said. However, Reyes said that if ever Matuguina’s license expires by 2008, it can always apply for another license this time under the Integrated Forest Management Agreement. The logging firm’s license was first suspended 20 years ago allegedly due to poor performance in reforestation activities. But, former environment secretary Michael Defensor ordered the lifting of its suspension on June 5, 2005, which he recalled a few months after. http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/dav/2006/05/25/news/environment.exec.assures.limited.logg


34) Bandar Seri Begawan – Three Malaysian men were each sentenced to jail for nine months with five strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to cutting trees in a forest reserve, committing mischief and Immigration offences, before the Kuala Belait Magistrates’ Court earlier this week. Padan Laput, Henrick Danor and Satar Abd Rashid pleaded guilty to cutting trees on a State land without a licence issued by a Forestry officer at Ulu Sungai Bang Kidan, Kg Buau in Kuala Belait, between April and May 6, this year. A second charge stated that all three defendants committed mischief by clearing more than 108 trees at the said area in order to make a camp and had caused a loss to the Government of Brunei Darussalam. In addition, Padan, Henrick and Satar each faced a charge of entering the country without possession of a valid pass, and admitted to them all. According to DPP Noradinah Ramlee, the defendants were arrested on May 6 by the Belait Forest Police Unit in the middle of the forest reserve where the defendants had camped. Apparatus were also found that were believed to be used for the cutting of the trees and collecting ‘Kayu Gaharu’. However, another person named Abai who had guided the defendants to enter the forest reserve through Kg Medamit was not at the camp at the time of arrest, and is still at large. http://www.brudirect.com/DailyInfo/News/Archive/May06/260506/nite05.htm

New Zealand:

35) Forest & Bird Northern Branch Secretary Beverly Woods says Forest & Bird is extremely concerned at the destruction of mature indigenous trees and habitats in the district, and the complete lack of regulation by the council to protect them. Beverly Woods says the district is losing indigenous trees that are nationally rare, that support habitat of threatened species including kiwi, and that are necessary to maintain groundwater and soil stability. The district is also losing internationally-recognised freshwater wetlands, dunelands, estuarine systems and volcanic broadleaf forests, she says. “Landowners cannot be blamed for destruction of international-status areas of indigenous flora and fauna if they do not know of its status. Even if they are aware they cannot be brought to account because there are no rules.” Among the worst instances was the felling of a 200-year-old pohutukawa at Urquhart’s Bay in April, and the felling of another pohutukawa, believed to be at least 100 years old, at Bream Bay in March to improve the view from an existing house. Such cases would only increase under growing pressure of coastal development and the total lack of rules on protection of native trees, Beverly Woods says. Beverly Woods says that by failing to protect indigenous trees, the council is not fulfilling its legal obligations under the Resource Management Act, the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement and the Reserves Act. Forest & Bird will make a submission to the council’s Long-Term Council Community Plan on 29th May asking that it: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK0605/S00241.htm


36) Green groups have launched a campaign calling on the New South Wales Government to control logging on private land. The groups say a loophole in legislation has left almost 4 million hectares of native forests and woodlands vulnerable to logging on private land. Andrew Cox, from the National Parks Association, says the Government must quickly introduce a code of practice to prevent further destruction of forests. “We want a ban on logging of rainforest on private land,” Mr Cox said. “We want a ban on old-growth forests on private land. “At the moment they can still log rainforest and old-growth forest on private land. It’s a disgrace.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200605/s1647350.htm

37) THE Tasmanian Greens have demanded an immediate halt to construction work on the Meander Dam. Greens dam spokesman Kim Booth said 30ha of endangered Eucalyptus ovata would be cleared but there was no plan to offset its loss. “It is the habitat of the [endangered] Swift parrot, where they feed,” Mr Booth said. “So what Paul Lennon is doing is consigning the Swift parrot to extinction.” But Water Minister David Llewellyn did not agree. “Most of the eucalypt in Tasmania are habitat for the swift parrot,” he said. “I don’t think that is going to have any affect whatsoever. He said the Greens would try anything to stop the dam, which is due to be commissioned late next year. “They don’t want the dam to be built,” he said. “They have continued to be there, objecting, appealing, costing extra money, delaying the project for years.” Government scientists last year discovered the tree species at the dam site, which will be cleared and flooded. Since European settlement, land clearing has reduced the tree species to 4 per cent of the cover that existed more than 200 years ago. On Friday, Mr Llewellyn said the site was ready for work to start on a small preliminary dam. He said another key step would be clearing the site ready for commissioning. But Mr Booth said all work had to wait for a Forest Practices Plan to offset the loss of the endangered trees. “Those offsetting measures will care for the environment. “It is a very small area, the forest itself is highly degraded. It wouldn’t be an issue if the Government itself had not discovered it.” http://www.themercury.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,19288863%255E3462,00.html

Leave a comment

Your comment