159 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 38 news items about Mama Earth’s trees. Location, number and subject listed below. Condensed / abbreviated article is listed further below.

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–British Columbia: 1) Coal mining affects rare forest in the Flathead, 2) Wells Gray Community Forest Corp, 3)Lot size in Cowichan, 4) Kenora Forest Co. wood rights,
–Oregon: 5) Trees on the outer edge
–Idaho: 6) Wood River Land Trust, 7) New State Park,
–Colorado: 8) Forest Service staff aware of their ecological footprint
–Missouri: 9) Missouri Ozarks Forest Ecosystem Project (MOFEP)
–Pennsylvania: 10) Presence of “den trees”
–USA: 11) US consumption drives global deforestation via China, 12) soil nutrition is critical for the effective carbon sequestration, 13) Forest thinning don’t survive fires well,
–Canada: 14) Industry giant Asia Pulp and Paper Co moves in
–Poland 15) Save Bialowieza Forest
–Congo: 16) 2/3 of forest could vanish in 50 years,
–Mozambique: 17) China buying up slow-growing tropical hardwoods,
–Ghana: 18) Calls for the creation of a forestry district at Ejisu
–Uganda: 19) President defends plans to destroy last rainforests
–Kenya: 20) Charcoal burners warned they risk arrest and prosecution
–Guyana: 21) Barama company’s contract, 22) 80,000-acre concession,
–Eritrea: 23) Frankincense is an endangered aromatic hardened wood resin
–Liberia: 24) 10,000 jobs to come from timber exports?
–Mexico: 25) Tamaulipas, a 350,000-acre ecotour reserve
–Brazil: 26) Aracruz Celulose protest by natives almost turns deadly, then ends
–India: 27) Marathon debate for tribal rights, 28) Road through Betul reserve forest,
–Nepal: 29) Maoist camp is being deforested
–Philippines: 30) Filing 135 cases against illegal loggers
–Papua New Guinea: 31) foreign investment logging ruins local communities
–Malaysia: 32) Choosing who to evict among 20,000 ‘illegal’ forest reserve residents,
–Borneo: 33) Fifty-two new species discovered as logging increasingly encroaches
–Indonesia: 34) illegal logging in a forest reserve
–Australia: 35) Bad accounting by Greenfleet who gets money to plant trees for ethical CO2 consumers, 36) Legal victory for Wielangta forest, 37) International arboretum put on hold, 38) Logging stopped pending old growth review,

British Columbia:

1) A federal government policy reversal appears to have cleared the way for coal mining in an area long coveted by Parks Canada and which environmentalists have called “one of the most biologically important places on Earth.” Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act show that in negotiating with British Columbia over ownership of massive coal deposits now under federal jurisdiction, Ottawa has dropped a major condition that would have required a parks feasibility study in the Flathead Valley. The region, in the southeastern corner of the province adjacent to Waterton Lakes National Park, has long been seen as the key to protecting the southern Rocky Mountains by creating a linked series of national parks in the rugged landscape where Alberta, B.C. and Montana meet. Environmentalists said yesterday they were shocked to learn Ottawa has thrown away its trump card in negotiating with B.C. over the fate of the wild valley. “I find this unbelievable,” said Vicky Husband, one of B.C.’s leading environmentalists. “This is an area that belongs to all Canadians and even though B.C. wants to allow coal mining in there, I would expect the federal government to show some backbone and demand a parks feasibility study. “It is absolutely one of the most environmentally significant places in B.C.” Bob Peart, a consultant for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, said the federal Liberal government passed an order in council in 2005, that created a link between a national park feasibility study and transference of the coal deposits to B.C. He was surprised to hear that link had now been broken by the Conservatives. An environmental group known as Flathead Wild has labelled the Flathead Valley “one of the most biologically important places on Earth.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

2) The Wells Gray Community Forest Corp. (WGCFC) held a public meeting Dec. 3. at the CSS Theatre (The Pit). Prior to timber harvest commencing, a Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) must be approved. This public meeting served as a kick-off to that process. Laverne Burnell, president of WGCFC, reviewed the objectives and future plans of the newly awarded probationary community forest agreement. The new community forest encompasses just over 13,000 ha and has a forest composed of 42 per cent fir, 24 pr cent pine, 18 per cent spruce, five per cent cedar, eight per cent balsam, two per cent hemlock and some birch and other species. The Community Forest has a contract to remove 67,000 cubic metres of wood (mainly pine beetle infested) by the end of 2007. (A truck load is approximately 50 cubic metres.) Net profits from the management of the Community Forest will be deposited with the North Thompson Communities Foundation. Non-profit organizations and groups within Wells Gray Country will be able to apply for these funds to conduct a wide range of projects that will benefit the community. http://www.clearwatertimes.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=7&cat=43&id=795726&more=

3) Many people seem to think so, based on comments made at a public hearing in Lake Cowichan recently to discuss increasing the minimum lot size on forestry land from 20 hectares to 80 hectares. The directors for the rural areas of the Cowichan Valley Regional District have different ideas, though. They think it’s worth protecting the industry by encouraging smaller, more sustainable methods of logging. There’s no guarantee this will happen, of course, because it’s impossible to predict who will purchase land from TimberWest and the other private forestland owners. They do, however, hope these forestland property owners will be encouraged to sell to those who want to develop small-scale forestry operations. As we have found out in recent years, the present path the forest industry has taken has led to a lot of lost jobs. Small-scale logging operation would very likely mean more local jobs in the industry. This type of forest industry, with small mills included in the mix, could co-exist with the tourism industry that is beginning to explode here. The lot size issue has met with a lot of criticism from people who own land west of Youbou, mostly for the purpose of camping and other recreation during the beautiful summers we have here. They believe they are being treated unfairly. It’s their land, they say, and they should be able to camp if they want. It’s a much bigger issue than that, but those who have been camping for many years have a good point and it’s an issue that the CVRD — and Youbou director Brooke Hodson — must address. http://www.cowichannewsleader.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=9&cat=48&id=794968&more=

4) Kenora Forest Products brass are marking the days on their calendar until the deadline for the Ministry of Natural Resources’ decision on area wood rights. “We’re pretty positive we’ve done everything we can to secure the fibre,” said operations supervisor Rob Halverson on Thursday. “We look forward to a very bright future at Kenora Forest Products. We’re here for the long-term,” he emphasized. Three days ago, management submitted a proposal, which would help provide fibre for its $30-million expansion plans. If approved, the project could create about 50 jobs in the mill, as well as another 200 positions in the woodlands. The company expects a response from the province within 60 days, which would be the end of February. The additional capacity would allow them to manufacture new items, such as machine stress-rated materials for trusses and flooring components. On Thursday afternoon, Halverson got encouragement from NDP forestry critic Peter Julian, who took time from his cross-Canada tour to visit the plant. The B.C. member said he’d seen a lot of communities suffering from the ongoing forestry crisis, and he was interested in the local company’s plans to create jobs, rather than cut them. “They really want to move forward, and I believe they deserve the support from the federal and provincial governments,” said Julian, after looking over plans for the new facility. There are also opportunities for creating new sources of energy from the burning of sawdust and bark. The separating processes would allow for management to reduce energy costs, while also facilitating the sale of such byproducts as sawdust. http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/News/275674.html


5) Paul Ries, an urban forester with the Oregon Department of Forestry, said Douglas fir and Western red cedars grow best among other trees. The trees on the outer edge of the “tree community” develop what’s called “tree firmness.” “As (trees) bend and sway, they put on ‘reaction’ wood,” Ries said. “The tree forms wind resistance.” When the wind-resistant trees are removed, remaining trees are susceptible to the weather. “When we remove a tree in a native forest remnant, the trees that are now the outside of this grove, they don’t have the same wind firmness as previous tree did,” he said. “So sometimes those trees can come down. It can be a concern for land managers and developers to retain intact groves as much as possible so as not to leave a strip of trees.” Dan Lassila, who lives off Jasper Way NW and Fir Gardens Street NW, said the trees left along the edge of the development were swaying in the strong winds. “It was really devastating watching those trees,” he said. “They looked like bamboo stalks.” Lassila’s home suffered some damage as a tree grazed the corner. But his neighbor’s home across the street was the hardest-hit in the area.


6) The Idaho Department of Lands and the Wood River Land Trust in central Idaho have agreed to a land swap of 80 acres of steep, rocky terrain favored by wildlife for 4.58 acres that’s part of a subdivision. The 80 acres the land trust is getting include a half-mile of riverfront property along the Big Wood River in the town of Hailey. It includes the northeast face of Della Mountain, which rises up on the west side of Hailey. “This is absolutely the biggest thing we’ve ever done,” Land Trust Executive Director Scott Boettger told the Idaho Mountain Express. Under the consent agenda dated Dec. 12, the state will receive a lot in the Indian Creek subdivision northeast of Hailey. A previous deal involving the 80 acres and a 2.17-acre parcel fell apart after part of the smaller parcel flooded in May. That led to the land trust offering the 4.58-acre parcel instead. http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_4865495

7) Gov. Jim Risch plans to announce this morning that the Thousand Springs Preserve along the Snake River near Hagerman will become the state’s newest park. The Nature Conservancy, which has preserved the lush and idyllic spot for more than two decades, is donating the property to the state. The cleanest water in Idaho flows down the cliffs here, after creeping its way through the underground aquifer for two centuries. The glassy flows surround an island that once held a small dairy — state-of-the-art when it was built in 1918. The privately funded Conservancy bought Thousand Springs in 1985, paying $1.2 million to the estate of U.S. District Judge Willis Ritter. The group also helps protect fishing mecca Silver Creek near Picabo and scattered landscapes throughout Idaho. Today’s gift — to be announced at 10 a.m. in the governor’s office at the Statehouse — won’t change the process Gov. Dirk Kempthorne started to build a new state park in eastern Idaho. Agency leaders are working to develop a 577-acre site that also is on the Snake but upriver, between Firth and Blackfoot. Idaho has 30 state parks and recreational trailways, drawing more than 2.5 million visitors a year. http://www.idahostatesman.com/101/story/64135.html


8) “We’re starting small,” he said. The first thing is getting local Forest Service staff aware of their ecological footprint, he noted, and making simple, manageable moves towards energy efficiency and waste reduction. For now, that includes things like switching out incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient compact fluorescents, encouraging staff to rely on natural light, and putting computer sensors on thermostats to regulate heat use. The local project is an offshoot of a larger effort. The Rocky Mountain regional office of the Forest Service has been working with the Golden-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) since 2004 to increase energy efficiency. “We have a bunch of different tasks we’re helping them with,” said NREL mechanical engineer Alicen Kandt. The first thing NREL is doing, she said, is getting metering systems in place to help the Forest Service determine their baseline energy use and identify areas where energy can be saved. The baseline will also serve as reference to help the Forest Service gauge the efficacy of their energy-conservation efforts over time. “We’re also making energy savings recommendations,” Kandt said, and helping the Forest Service “get an energy management system going, which is basically a big, fat document.” Helping the Forest Service get more efficient, Kandt added, is the first step in helping them convert to more expensive renewable energy sources in the long term. http://www.aspendailynews.com/article_17303


9) If it is true that knowledge is power, then the Missouri Department of Conservation has a big generator coming online. The generator is the Missouri Ozarks Forest Ecosystem Project (MOFEP). The knowledge it generates pertains to forests. The power that knowledge creates is the ability to manage forests in ways that sustain their biological diversity, health and economic productivity. The Conservation Department launched MOFEP in 1990. The long-term research project is designed to generate understanding of how the various parts of a forest – including trees, wildflowers, fungi, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and more – react to different types of management. The project is a science experiment on a grand scale, in both size and duration. On one-third of the study area, the Conservation Department is practicing even-aged forest management, where harvests involve cutting down all the trees within a forested stand and re-establishing forest stands in which all the trees are the same age. On another third of the study area, trees are harvested selectively in what is known as uneven-aged management. This produces timber stands with trees of different ages. Timber harvesting techniques used in the study are the same as the Conservation Department uses to manage forests on its land statewide. By tracking changes that occur under different management practices, the agency hopes to gain insights that will guide forest management for sustaining biological diversity and commodity production. Such insights already are beginning to accumulate. http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/19670/


10) Many species of woodland wildlife benefit from the presence of “den trees.” Den trees, or snags, are those standing trees that are used by animals for nesting, roosting, cover, food supply and other critical functions of basic survival. These trees are often over-mature with many defects and no financial value from a forestry standpoint. However, from a wildlife standpoint, their value is life itself. Wildlife that inhabit these den trees, such as woodpeckers, nuthatches, bluebirds, squirrels, and raccoons, are called cavity nesters. The type of wildlife that utilize these den trees will also depend on the kind, size, and location of the den tree. There are two basic kinds of den trees: hard or soft. Hard den trees have rotten centers with a solid exterior and a few limbs. These usually make the best den trees because the center can be easily excavated to form a home. Trees that usually form good cavities are large hardwoods that decay slowly; such as sugar maple, beech, white oak, hickory and sycamore. These trees are normally quite old and may look totally healthy, but with close inspection, in and around the base of the tree a cavity, will indicate its hollow nature. Soft den trees have softer exterior wood, and usually have no limbs. These den trees usually make good foraging sites for insect-eating birds, as well as nesting sites for woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches. These trees often have short life spans and rot quickly. Aspen would be a perfect example of this type of tree. Evergreen den trees do not usually last as long as hardwoods, and are usually not utilized for a den tree. However, eastern white pine makes an excellent nest and perch site for bald eagles and osprey when located next to water. http://www.sungazette.com/outdoors/articles.asp?articleID=12582


11) ZHANGJIAGANG — Night and day, the timber ships reach this Yangtze River port, one of the world’s busiest clearinghouses for logs from every corner of the globe: Southeast Asia, the Amazon, Russia, the Congo. Soon, this wood will be yours. It will be your hardwood floor and your coffee table, your bedroom dresser and your plywood — all stamped with the most successful label of our time: Made in China. In less than a decade, China has transformed the global timber trade, importing more wood each year than any country in history and quadrupling the amount of wood products it ships around the globe. And no one is consuming more of it than Americans. U.S. shoppers have become the world’s best customers of low-cost Chinese flooring, furniture and plywood, buying 10 times as much as a decade ago. But that profitable embrace comes at a steep, hidden cost: The demand for cheap Chinese goods is driving destructive logging around the world, threatening livelihoods and dividing fragile nations. To grasp how a rising superpower’s appetites shape the world, consider a single log from this port at Zhangjiagang. Buried among thousands of others, it has nothing to set it apart except a number emblazoned on a tiny green tag: 11008. In those five digits lies the story of where the log began, a coded map to a distant outpost of China’s commercial empire. It points south from the flourishing coast of southern China, across 3,000 miles of the Pacific to Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s most troubled and spectacular countries, which nearly abandoned logging until China came along. Digit by digit, the map leads over the mountains and glaciers to the nation’s remote northwest province, Sandaun, where millions in timber profits and payments have left children without shoes and schools without plumbing. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/specials/chi-china-timber-htmlstory,0,1381395.htmlstory

12) Researchers attached with the USDA Forest Service have found that trees can only increase wood growth from elevated CO2 if there is enough leaf area to support that growth. Building on preliminary studies reported in the journal Nature, the scientists claimed that soil nutrition is critical for the effective carbon sequestration in forest areas. “With sufficient soil nutrition, forests increase their ability to tie up, or sequester carbon in woody biomass under increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations,” says Kurt Johnsen, SRS researcher involved in the project. The studies took place at a Free Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) study established by the U.S. Department of Energy on the Duke Forest in Durham, North Carolina. The researchers said: “Forests play a critical part in sequestering carbon, and may play a role in mitigating the elevated levels of carbon dioxide associated with climate change.” http://www.newkerala.com/news4.php?action=fullnews&id=66533

13) The basic idea is that most of our forests are far too dense. There are way too many trees per acre. This, we are told, not only makes them “unhealthy” but also reduces their productivity for wood production and makes them prone to frequent and severe wildfires that damage the forests even further. Cutting down many or most of those trees is the proposed solution. But the evidence is mounting that this is not the case. Studies of actual fire behavior in Northern California, Colorado, and Oregon indicate that removing trees, “thinning” the forest, by itself actually increases the severity of forest fires and the damage they do to forests. Some of the fires in 2002 were so huge that they provided a natural laboratory to study what impact previous forest treatments had on how much damage the forest fires did to trees. Despite the usual picture often painted for us of fires simply blackening thousands and thousands of acres, totally destroying all the trees and every other living thing, forest fires actually have very diverse impacts, usually creating a mosaic of heavily burned as well as relatively lightly burned landscapes. By studying the variation in tree mortality in these large fires and matching that up with previous human manipulation of those forestlands, the scientists could get a picture of what, for instance, previous thinning did to control the severity of the damage done by the fires. What they found in both Oregon’s Biscuit Fire and Colorado’s Hayman Fire was that areas that had not been thinned or subject to prescribed burns before the recent fire lost about half of their trees in that fire. In areas that had been thinned, 80 to 100 percent of the trees were killed. Thinning the forests made them more vulnerable to wildfire. This was not entirely surprising to the scientists. Thinning the forest opens the forest up to more sunlight and wind. That increases the temperature and lowers the humidity, drying out the forest more and allowing the higher winds to carry any fire that starts further and hotter. In addition, the thinning activity disturbs the ground, baring mineral soil for a new crop of shade intolerant young trees, shrubs, and invasive weeds. –Montana Public Radio Commentary


14) One of the world’s largest — and most controversial — pulp and paper companies has bought the Meadow Lake Pulp Mill, the biggest money-losing government investment in Saskatchewan history, it was revealed Friday. Industry giant Asia Pulp and Paper Co. Ltd. (APP) will pay $38 million for the fixed assets of the mill, which is jointly owned by the provincial government’s Investment Saskatchewan arm and Alberta forestry company Millar Western, said the mill’s lawyer Conrad Hadubiak. The mill, which employs about 150 people, has been under bankruptcy protection since February and the deal must still be approved by the Court of Queen’s Bench in a hearing slated for next week. Under the deal, expected to close in late January, APP has pledged to operate the mill for five years, with penalties if they shut it down before that time. “I think this is good news for the town of Meadow Lake.” Hadubiak said. The company went through major financial difficulties in 2001, including a massive default on bank loans and bonds. It has also been a focus for environmental groups, which say the company has been involved in illegal logging of natural forests in China and targeting highly ecologically sensitive forests for conversion into plantations in Sumatra. “I would see it as being a bad sign that they are coming into Saskatchewan,” said Richard Brooks, head of the forest campaign at Greenpeace Canada. “This isn’t an issue where they’re just slightly bad on the environment. They’re one of the worst offenders when it comes to protecting the environment, particularly protecting natural forests and forests that have very high conservation values. They rank very, very low on our list of companies operating in places like Asia.” http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/business_agriculture/story.html?id=5eee6e90-455e-46f


Help save Europe’s oldest lowland forest The Bialowieza Forest, situated on the border of Poland and Belarus, is the last remaining natural lowland forest in Europe. Abundant in wildlife, it houses a vast treasure trove of different species: thousands of plants, hundreds of birds and more than 50 types of mammal. Unfortunately, only 17% of the Polish area is protected as a national park. The rest is subject to logging of old trees – an enormous threat to the natural harmony of the forest and the survival of its wildlife. Help us save this truly special place by signing our petition demanding that the national park is extended to cover the whole area of the forest in Poland


16) YAOUNDE – Two-thirds of the forests in the Congo River Basin could disappear within 50 years if logging and mineral exploitation continues at current rates, environmental group WWF said in a report. The Congo Basin, the world’s second largest tropical forest after the Amazon, loses some 3.7 million acres a year to agriculture, logging, road development, oil exploitation and mining, WWF’s Central African regional office (CARPO) said in a report published late on Thursday. “Tropical forest is vanishing at a rate of 5 percent a decade, wrecking habitats and releasing 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, which is a fifth of global greenhouse emissions,” CARPO director Laurent Somé said in the report. About 400 mammal species live in the Congo Basin, including the world’s largest populations of lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and forest elephants, all under threat as their habitat is destroyed. More than 655 bird species fly under its dense canopy and over 10,000 plant species take root in the forest floor, many of them unique to the region and containing medicinal properties. “The region is blanketed by a patchwork quilt of logging concessions. While the logging itself is usually selective and does little damage, the associated roads, infrastructure and migration degrade surrounding landscape and result in massive wildlife depletion,” the report said. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L15808867.htm


17) Chinese timber buyers are colluding with Mozambican business people and some members of the Mozambique government and their forest services to strip precious slow-growing tropical hardwoods from Mozambique’s semi-arid forests at a rate that could see the resource exhausted in 5-10 years, according to reports of the trade on timber and wood in the Zambezi. The unsustainable logging begins with Chinese support to timber buyers to acquire ‘simple licences’, which allow logging of a relatively small quantity in a specific area. These licences are given to local Mozambicans, in large numbers (146 in 2003 alone), thus starting a deforestation process often referred to as ‘the Chinese takeaway’. Once an application has been approved, the licence holder pays for the licence (US$10-40 per cubic meter of forest logged depending on the species). Many of the local licence holders get credit from Chinese buyers to pay these expenses. The availability of this credit is the main factor driving the logging boom, attracting unqualified and unskilled people into the sector. Up to one-third of operators do not repay their debts, and this cost is passed on to other operators, in lower prices paid for the timber. On average the income generated by locals linked to the logging industry is below the legal minimum wage of US$30/month. The quotas and licences give little indication of the quantity and area of logging; under-reporting is systematic and widespread. Inspections are rare, bribes common, and the computer-based control system of licensing and transport is purely cosmetic, according to reports and local experts. There is only one real checkpoint at Nicoadala, were copies of all the licences of all the operators are filed and were all drivers should stop. Anyone looking into the matter who spends time at the checkpoint will notice that the focus is on villagers with small volumes of hand-sawn timber and established industrial operators, while operators well connected to politicians, the Provincial Forests and Wildlife Services of Zambezia (SPFFB) and the timber buyers are allowed to escape. http://allafrica.com/stories/200612140902.html


18) MR. CLEMENT Manu, Co-ordinator of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) for the Ejisu-Juaben district has called for the creation of a forestry district at Ejisu to control forest degradation. He noted that the non-existence of a district forestry officer at Ejisu has contributed to the spate of illegal chainsaw operations in the district. According to him, the monitoring of illegal chainsaw operations is not effective since forestry officials responsible for Ejisu-Juaben district are stationed far away at Nkawie, Juaso, Kumawu and Bekwai. Mr. Manu intends to collaborate with the police, Forestry Services Division (FSD), and Special Task Forces to clamp down on illegal logging in the district. He has therefore urged Unit committees to be vigilant and check the practice in their areas. The Co-ordinator noted that besides the economic benefits, forests serves as wind breaks and helps to avoid disasters. In the interim, Co-ordinator Manu proposed the mounting of a barrier at the entry points of the district to check the movement of chainsaw operators and has urged the public to report activities of chainsaw operator to his outfit for necessary action. http://allafrica.com/stories/200612140688.html


19) KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni has defended plans to destroy some of Uganda’s last few rainforests to give land to plantation owners, saying his country urgently needs to industrialize, local media reported on Wednesday. Museveni has clashed with politicians and environmental groups for months over offers to agro-industry tycoons that would allow them to destroy thousands of acres of virgin rainforest to grow palm oil and sugar crops. “It is on account of the urgent need for industrializing our very backward country … Our backwardness is on account of the absence of industries,” he told parliamentarians on Tuesday, according to Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor. “The problems of Africa are not lack of forests but lack of factories, real estate, professional services,” he added. Last week, the head of the National Forest Authority, Olav Bjella, resigned after failing to resolve a dispute with Museveni in which he refused to grant a local palm oil company a license to remove a rainforest on an island on Lake Victoria. Museveni has also argued fiercely with local officials over a plan to allow Uganda’s Mehta Group to axe 7,000 hectares or nearly a third of Mabira Forest Reserve on the mainland, which has been protected since 1932, to expand its sugar estate. http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=scienceNews&storyID=2006-12-13T140944Z_01_


20) Charcoal burners have been warned that they risk arrest and prosecution because of destroying forests. They were a major threat to the survival of indigenous trees in the province, said provincial commissioner Hassan Noor Hassan while announcing that special commission will be formed to protect forests in Rift Valley. Baringo, Koibatek, Narok, West Pokot and Trans Nzoia districts were some of the districts in which charcoal burning was on the rise and depleting swathes of forests, said Mr Noor. He said: “We are told that lakes Nakuru, Baringo and Elmentaita will be extinct in eight years. We have to do something to reverse this situation and the time is now.” Some areas had experienced flooding because of destruction of the water catchment areas, the PC said. About 60 per cent of all government forests were within the vast province, stretching from Oloitokitok to Kibish in the north. Mr Hassan, who was speaking at Afraha stadium in Nakuru, further cautioned residents against being divided on the basis of tribe, particularly during campaigns for next year’s elections. Mr Hassan said that some 300,000 children were yet to benefit from free primary education. He urged parents to send their children to school. http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=1&newsid=87529


21) The Barama company’s contract to harvest in a sustainable manner the Baromalli forest type in its large concession was made possible under the Hoyte Administration at a time when Guyana was experiencing severe structural economic adjustments and unsubstantial foreign investments. In fact Guyana then was not a suitable destination for foreign investment. When Barama’s contract was officially signed there was no opposition to it by the present day critics of Barama. As soon as the Hoyte Govern-ment was replaced by the PPP/C Government, opposition elements in the forestry sector in their bid to pressure the new Government decided to wage a campaign of hostility against the Barama Company. Today this campaign continues which was evident from the letters in the Stabroek News in preparation of the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) auditors visit to Guyana. Unfortunately for Barama’s critics including Mr. Beharry their letters of venom had no effect or merit and in the final analysis Barama retained its FSC certificate which the critics wanted to be withdrawn. The Barama Company’s intervention in our forestry sector has significantly revolutionized this sector with its sustainable harvesting methods and good forestry management practices notwithstanding its large concession. http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_letters?id=56509989

22) Sustainable Forest Inc (SFI) is on a mission to give a supply boost to the value-added market in a $300M investment amid a shortage of prime species of logs. The consortium comprising Bulkan Timber Works, Precision Woodworking Ltd and Farfan & Mendes Ltd, in June gained approval from the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) under a State Forest Permission for an 80,000-acre concession. The government had taken a position to enhance the availability of raw materials to manufacturers who add value to logs. Over the past weeks letters in this newspaper have called on the GFC to improve its monitoring of forest resources, amid concerns that foreign loggers were exporting prime log species like locust and purple heart and were not in compliance with their management plans. Directors Howard Bulkan, Managing Director of Bulkan Timbers and Andrew Mendes, Managing Director of Farfan & Mendes in an interview with Stabroek News called for concessions in the vicinity of 20,000-100,000 acres to be given to 400-500 small forest producers – since these producers contribute revenues almost equal to the large companies. For example, it was noted that SFI will have a small road network since milling will be on site and there would be no need for large vehicles to access the site. “Mobile saws will cut accurately the good timber and at 65% yield will give 50% more lumber than the best fixed mills in Guyana, and at 1/3 of the traditional cost,” according to SFI. It was further noted that “SFI will have no or minimal log hauling costs because its preliminary milling will be at the tree stump.” In addition, this means that SFI can cut and recover relatively small amounts of good timber from defective trees, which would not be worth hauling to fixed mills. The “SFI’s recovery rate of 65% means that the GFC will be gaining around three times as much in royalty per tree than it gains from pure logging operations, or about four times as much per hectare,” according to Mendes. Some 57 persons will be employed in the forest side of SFI, plus others in a mill for wallaba shingles. Bulkan noted that due to a shortage of their prime species, locust, over the past year they have operated at 40% capacity. The situation has gotten so bad that Bulkan Timber has had to import a few 40-foot containers of locust from Brazil this week. http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_general_news?id=56509974


23) Frankincense is an aromatic hardened wood resin obtained by tapping Boswellia trees. For 2000 years, the resin has been important as an ingredient in incense and perfumes, especially popular in Christian communities at Christmas. Writing in the December issue of “Journal of Applied Ecology,” the ecologists said that overtapping the trees results in them producing fewer, less viable seeds. Working in southwestern Eritrea, they tested the hypothesis by looking at how many seeds intensively tapped trees produced, and their germination rates, compared with untapped trees. Although the impact of tapping trees for other crops, such as latex and pine resin, has been studied in plantations, this is the first study to show quantitatively the fragile relationship between the extraction of resins and tree regeneration in natural populations. “At all study sites, trees subject to experimental tapping produced fewer flowers, fruits and seeds than trees that were exempt from tapping,” said Bongers, an expert in tropical forest ecology. “Furthermore,” he said, “tapped trees produced smaller fruits with seeds of lower weight and reduced vitality than non-tapped trees.” They say new tapping regimes should include rest periods when there is no resin harvesting to allow the trees to recover. At least five species of Boswellia are currently exploited for frankincense. In addition to those in Eritrea, Boswellia woodlands are found in Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Yemen and Oman. Boswellia papyrifera is a small deciduous tree that grows in a savanna belt stretching from northern Nigeria eastwards to the highlands of Eritrea and Ethiopia. In Eritrea, it grows under semi-arid conditions in shallow soils on rocky slopes. Despite its economic importance, B. papyrifera is a threatened species in Eritrea where Boswellia woodlands are being destroyed for agricultural land. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2006/2006-12-13-01.asp


24) MONROVIA – Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority is preparing a new bidding process for logging concessions following the lifting in October of the United Nations Security Council’s three-year ban on Liberian timber exports. “We expect this will create about 10,000 jobs,” Richie Grear, the government’s forest bureau spokesman, told IRIN. “All the mechanisms are being put into place to ensure that logging activities restart.” Revenues from timber constituted 50 percent of the country’s export earnings before the UN Security Council imposed sanctions in July 2003. At the time, the council described Liberia’s logging industry as a threat to peace and security with revenue from timber allegedly being used by former president Charles Taylor to fuel armed conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The council has not yet lifted sanctions on diamond exports imposed on Liberia five years ago, saying the country is yet to meet international standards of verification designed to prevent the illegal trade of so called “blood diamonds”.With timber, the current elected government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has implemented new legislation on logging to ensure revenue would benefit the whole country. “[It is] principally geared towards sustainable forest management and more developmental benefits to the communities where logging activities would be carried out,” Grear said. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/cc96b046b3e559689bc51729bbbe1d5f.htm


25) ALTA CIMA – The souped-up pickup rocked its way up the old logging road into the cloud forest. A formidable dark silhouette swooped overhead and Eduardo Padrón told the driver to stop. “Aguila solitaria,” he said, springing from the truck’s bed just in time to see El Cielo’s latest VIP guest, a solitary eagle, glide over the forest canopy. El Cielo, an unusually well-protected nature reserve in northeastern Mexico, has been drawing its fair share of rare birds in recent months, including stygian owls and ornate hawk eagles. And with those sightings have come the birders, helping Padrón’s small community in this mountain area adjust to life without hunting and logging as they try to turn ecotourism into a profitable way of life. Tucked just below the Tropic of Cancer in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, the 350,000-acre area was declared a reserve in 1985. Part of it is considered a cloud forest, shrouded year-round by clouds and mist. The resulting humidity and plant and animal diversity is limited to a small number of similar forests in the world.But telling Padrón’s community that it had to stop shooting the fauna and chopping down the flora wasn’t an easy sell. “We felt anger,” said Padrón, 30, who was just a child at the time but recalls the turmoil clearly, since the government’s original plan was to evict El Cielo’s 10 or so communities. Without work, many left anyway. In 1992, things took a turn for the better with the arrival of Terra Nostra, a nongovernmental organization that helped the village of Alta Cima organize itself to provided ecotourism services. They established a bungalow-style hotel, a restaurant and a craft shop, and they started charging nominal fees for access to the village and surrounding trails. The facilities, a bit rustic but clean and well maintained, are run collectively by 30 men and women who divide the profits. http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA121706.27A.el_cielo.37f7a6f.html


26) After the arrival of a director of the company Aracruz Celulose, the more than 1,000 workers of the company and its subcontractors encouraged to take out the Tupinikim and Guarani Indians by force from the harbor of Aracruz (Portocel), left the place at about 17:00hs. The situation today got very tense, several Indians and supporters of their struggle were attacked by workers and almost a fatal conflict took place. With loudspeakers, when they left the place, the leaders of the workers threatened the Indians that they would come back tomorrow. At the end of the afternoon at about 19:00hs, after a meeting with local representatives of the FUNAI, the Indians accepted the proposal of having a meeting in Brasília next monday with the Minister of Justice Márcio Thomas Bastos. The Tupinikim and Guarani left the harbor voluntarily. Aracruz Celulose is the main responsible for the aggression practiced today, even against a state parliamentarian, Claudio Vereza, who uses a wheelchair, and who is a well-known defender of human rights. It is unacceptable that a company releases its workers to take out the Indians by force, according to the trade union leader Davi Gomes – one of the workers´leaders – because the military and federal police did not act against the Indians. Responsible also is the Brazilian State that was negligent during the aggressions against the indigenous peoples and the solidarity groups, having only some few policemen present at the place. During the whole action, the Minister of Justice did not make any pronunciation about the emission of the Act of Demarcation of the Tupinikim and Guarani lands. In the afternoon (13/12) about 60 students occupied for some time the Palace of the Government of the state of Espirito Santo, supporting the Tupinikim and Guarani and demanding that the State of Espirito Santo should take position to guarantee the security of the indigenous peoples and activists at the harbor.
Some photos of the occupation of the harbor (credits: Nester Samora) and of a small demonstration yesterday at the consulate of Brazil in New York:


27) The most important amendment was to have the cut-off year, for recognizing rights for tribals living in forests, changed to 2005 from 1980. The government has also accepted the right of jurisdiction of gram sabhas to settle claims of tribals. Replying to a marathon debate, tribal affairs minister PR Kyndiah allayed fears that inhabiting forests would denude the areas. “Studies have revealed that where there are tribals, forest area has been dense,” Mr Kyndiah stressed, adding tribal and forest dwelling communities were the most-efficient conservationists. Out of many amendments introduced in the Bill, many were withdrawn and some adopted. Mr Kyndiah said it had been agreed that tribal forest dwellers who have been living since December 13, 2005, were entitled to their rights and could sell the forest produce from their land there. In the run-up to the introduction and passing of the Bill, the tiger lobby had put up a strong resistance to some provisions in the Bill, saying it would affect the forest and its environs. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/822873.cms

28) The 17-km Mohda Gurwa Pipariya road through the Betul reserve forest was built six months ago under the Pradhan Mantri Sadak Yojna. And the raw material for the road came by digging up the forest. Betul, it seems is full of such ravaging and plunder. Harrai village on the periphery of the forest reserve is meant to be the lifeline of the tribals there, while the Harrai river seems more like a puddle. “They have even dug up the river. It’s hardly there anymore,” said Samiya Bayee, villager Harrai, Betul. According to the Madhya Pradesh Miner and Mineral rules, quarry leases cannot be granted within 50 metres of a watercourse. Yet, the hill as well as the river itself have been excavated blatantly and without mercy. This quarry belongs to a contractor Prakash Agarwal, who’s also close to Raja Thakur and MP Vijay Khandelawal. There’s yet another illegal quarry in Harrai, which according to the chowkidaar Ram Swarup, belongs to Raja Thakur and will be used for the road. It seems to be a cosy family business. Of the 49 contracts sanctioned in the roads project, 27 contracts worth Rs 26 crore went to Raja Thakur’s brother Rajendra Singh Kiledar. He in turn patronises the stone crusher association, whose vice-president is Mukesh Khandelwal, son of Betul MP Vijay Khandelwal. Illegal quarrying has always been a drain on the Betul reserve forest. But since 2003, when the Pradhan Mantri Sadak Yojna was launched, it’s been a bonanza for the industry. The tribals protested both in Betul and Bhopal and a petition against illegal mining were filed in November 2004. In 2005, the Collector cancelled ten illegal leases in the area. Within 24 hours, the Collector was transferred out and the leases reinstated within three days by Babulal Gaur, the Chief Minister at the time. http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1870055,000900030009.htm


29) Maoists in Nawalparasi have been chopping down large number of trees in Jhyaldanda, Hattikhor and Jargha of the district despite cautionary warning from District Forest Office. .The forest office informed that tractors with loaded logs had been ferrying the woods each day without any record. They claimed that they needed planks to spread on the floor but they have not used any plank for the purpose so far, the office said. Although the Seven Party Alliance representatives urged them to stop chopping the trees, the Maoists have been clearing the sal tree forests in Jhyaldanda in Rakachuli VDC, Hattikhor and Jargha of Ram Nagar of the district, a local political leader said. Ganesh Man Pun alias Rashmi, fourth divisional commander of the Maoists, however, refuted the claim saying some people had been trying to tarnish the image of the party as they had chopped down some trees to build roads to reach the cantonment areas. The Maoists have established fourth divisional headquarter at Jhyaldnda and auxiliary camps at Hattinagar and Jargha. http://www.gorkhapatra.org.np/content.php?nid=8440


30) Ricardo Calderon, regional executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), said they have “always been in control of the illegal logging situation” in the area, filing 135 cases against illegal loggers in the region, with 12 this year. Five of the cases were filed in Davao Oriental, he said. He announced the deployment of more DENR personnel in key points as a key deterrent to the illegal operations and has beefed up personnel in Cateel, Davao Oriental and in Compostela Valley province, where there were recent reports of illegal logging. He said the move was intended to protect a growing wood industry in Cateel and neighboring towns. He denied that thousands of hectares of forest lands under Integrated Forest Management Agreements were abused and used as front for illegal logging activities. “IFMA (areas) are properly regulated and documented. There is no basis on that accusation,” he said. Though he also said the DENR would not condone illegal acts committed by their personnel, he admitted that nobody has been suspended so far despite reported involvement of some DENR men. http://mindanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1455&Itemid=50

Papua New Guinea:

31) “In the name of bringing foreign investment and development to PNG and Indonesia, these powerful multi-national companies have caused the displacement of local communities, particularly indigenous people, the deprivation of their native customary rights to land, the loss of their source of livelihood as well as environmental destruction and degradation,” a spokesman for several PNG and Indonesian NGOs said. The NGOs also said that in PNG, Malaysian companies were responsible for widespread human right abuses and political corruption. They said these companies have disgraced Malaysia. They were speaking at a joint press conference today after a three-day Sahabat Alam Malaysia seminar on land rights, indigenous people, logging and plantation that saw 40 participants from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, PNG, Nepal, India, Chile and the Netherlands. The logging industry in PNG is dominated by Malaysian companies with one Malaysian company owning five of the 12 major logging projects while in Indonesia, Malaysian companies are said to be responsible for widespread illegal logging, especially along the Kalimantan-Sarawak- Sabah border. The group’s spokesman, Indonesian Muhamad Yayat Afianto, said last year, Indonesian police released a wanted list of 16 Malaysian company officials whose companies were involved in these illegal activities.He claimed that seven Malaysian-owned companies have been clearing forests in Central Kalimantan without proper permits from the Indonesian Forestry Ministry and at least five companies in Riau and another five in Central Kalimantan have used fire to clear the forest for plantations. http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=16446


32) Officials in East Malaysia have the hard job of choosing who, and who not, to evict from among 20,000 ‘illegal’ residents of it’s forest reserves. At one end of the scale you have those arriving with chainsaws in the back of their landcruisers, destructively clearing trees to build weekend residences within forest boundaries. Then are villages whose growth sees them slowly encroaching borders of the reserves. Finally come complete and established self-sufficient villages existing deep within the heart of the reserves. http://www.celsias.com/blog/2006/12/15/people-forests-part-ii/


33) A mission by WWF scientists to the south-east Asian island found 52 species previously unknown to science, including three types of tree, two tree frogs and a tiny fish less than a centimetre long. “These discoveries reaffirm Borneo’s position as one of the most important centres of biodiversity in the world,” said Stuart Chapman, the international coordinator of WWF’s Heart of Borneo programme. “The remote and inaccessible forests in the Heart of Borneo are one of the world’s final frontiers for science and many undiscovered species are still waiting to be found there.” But he warns that species are going extinct as fast as the scientists can find them. In the second half of the 20th century, forest cover on the island – which includes parts of Indonesia, Malaysia and the sultanate of Brunei – dropped from 162m to 98m hectares. Since 1996, deforestation has accelerated to 2m hectares (5m acres) a year. The threat comes from forest clearing for rubber, oil palm and pulp production. Logging roads into the forest also make it easier for illegal wildlife traders to poach animals. Borneo has long fascinated biologists. Charles Darwin, on his voyage around the world on the Beagle, described the island as “one great wild untidy luxuriant hothouse made by nature for herself”. The naturalist and co-discoverer of natural selection, Alfred Russell Wallace, spent many years there studying its plants and animals and honing his ideas. The Heart of Borneo is a forested highland region which covers 30% of the island and is home to creatures such as the orang utan, clouded leopard, sun bear, Borneo pygmy elephant and proboscis monkey. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/120671.html


34) JITRA: A logger authorized to remove logs from a private land is suspected of felling trees in an area earmarked for a forest reserve. Kedah Forestry Department has since sealed the consignment of the logs worth RM50,000. Its director Kassim Osman said the consignment belonged to a local logger, who had obtained licence to remove logs from a private lot bordering the proposed Bukit Payung forest reserve in Wang Tepus near here.
“During a routine check, our officer noticed that the logs which had been cut and piled on the land in Charok Tok Latah looked too ‘pretty’,” he said. “Pretty” meant high-quality, expensive logs such as the Keruing log, Kassim explained. “The consignment could have come from the proposed forest reserve area,” he said during a visit to the site yesterday. Kassim said the logger could be charged under Section 15 of the National Forestry Act for theft. If convicted, the offender could be fined up to RM500,000 or one year jail sentence, or both. http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/nst/Monday/National/20061218082252/Article/local1_html


35) Since 2002 Greenfleet has planted about 23,000 trees at the Hannan feedlot property and nearly 3 million nationally. Greenfleet is a not-for-profit organisation, whose goal is to grow enough trees to consume the carbon dioxide produced by its subscribers. These subscribers calculate the carbon dioxide emitted by their cars, flights and domestic power consumption and then donate to Greenfleet to establish forests of trees and shrubs on their behalf. An important condition is that, in order for it to be counted as a carbon offset, every species needs to be one that can potentially grow to two metres. Greenfleet is one of the biggest offset outfits in Australia, with 11,000 subscribers, both individuals and fleet, but since climate change coverage has taken off, so has recruitment to the scheme. All carbon-offset companies are now preparing for the extra scrutiny that is likely to follow as they come in from the fringe to the mainstream. Planting 17 trees for $40 for the average Greenfleet subscriber may sound simple, but the challenges facing the organisation are a formidable combination of human nature and mother nature. One of the main problems Greenfleet has to rectify is its lack of detailed environmental accounting and auditing. A second forester has been employed to audit the plantings and to monitor future work. Extra staff will also enable more regular inspections of progress. It has been a year since Greenfleet sent a staff member to Wagga to check on the progress of its carbon-offset forests there, leaving the organisation dependent on reports from locals. http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/cant-see-the-forests-for-the-gloom/2006/12/15/1166162323034

36) Mr Brown said the decision meant that logging could not proceed in forests containing endangered species unless the logging improves the chances of the species’ survival. In his court challenge, Senator Brown maintained that logging as proposed at the Wielangta forest was outside the law because RFAs had to ensure species were protected, and be in compliance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act). Federal Court judge Shane Marshall in Hobart upheld Senator Brown’s challenge to logging in the forest. “The Court has formed the view that the relevant forestry operations will be, and have been, carried out otherwise than in accordance with the RFA,” Justice Marshall said in his judgment. Forestry Tasmania did not have an exemption from provisions of the EPBC Act, Justice Marshall said. The Wielangta forest is home to endangered species including the swift parrot, wedgetail eagles and the Wielangta stag beetle. “The Court has found that the forestry operations and proposed forestry operations of Forestry Tasmania in the Wielangta area are likely to have a significant impact on all three species,” the judge said. http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,20951932-5005961,00.html

37) Canberra’s controversial $6million international arboretum has been put on hold after a warning that up to 90 per cent of any of the trees planted could have been lost to the drought. Planting at the 250ha site west of Lake Burley Griffin was due to start in November but, ironically, was postponed because earthworks were affected by heavy downpours. Six species, including the still rare Wollemi pine, the Camden white gum, maiden hairs and giant sequoias, were to have been planted.The ACT Government has deferred the project until at least next autumn after receiving advice that the valuable trees were unlikely to survive because of the continuing drought. In late October, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope defended the plantings while the territory prepared for the most severe water restrictions in its history. A minimum of 1300 kilolitres of water a year would be needed to irrigate the arboretum, with the Government issuing an official bore water licence for the site. As a result of the latest delay, the Wollemi pine and the Camden white gum will have to be repotted into larger pots at a cost of about $12,000. However, ANU professor Peter Kanowski, who is advising the Government on the project, said yesterday that the cost was minor in light of the 100-year investment. “My advice is it is not a risk worth taking,” he said. Professor Kanowski said that in 1919-20, Canberra also had been in significant drought. Of the 48,500 trees planted before 1921 at Greenhills the site for the planned arboretum only 1000 had survived. http://wimmera.yourguide.com.au/detail.asp?class=breaking%20news&subclass=general&story_id=5408

38) A forest conservation group has accused the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) of allowing logging in old-growth forest halfway between Pemberton and Northcliffe in Western Australia. The Global Warming Forest Action Group recently visited the Crowea 10 coupe, saying it contains areas of old-growth forest that cannot be logged. However, the Forest Products Commission was due to begin logging shortly and already has infrastructure in place. Action group spokesman Mark Sheehan says while it is concerned other areas of old-growth have been approved by the department for logging, it is pleased with the department’s response. “We’re happy that the DEC has now called for an assessment of old-growth forest to be carried out by the Forest Products Commission, of which they’ll be doing very shortly,” he said. “They’ve halted all operations in Crowea 10 coupe until this survey has been done.” The DEC’s manager for the Warren region, Peter Keppel, says it knew about the areas of old-growth forest before being approached by the action group. http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200612/s1814561.htm

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