301 – Earth’s Tree News

Today for you 33 new articles about earth’s trees! (301st edition)
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–Alaska: 1) Tongass National Forest’s death by a thousand cuts
–British Columbia: 2) They want to sue pennyless treehuggers? 3) Bank that funds loggers also funds “healthy future” for GBR, 4) Cutting public trees for a better private view, 5) Real vs. PR stats on Old Growth, 6) Maiyoo Keyoh blockade ends, 7) New Garry oak treesits at Langford, 8) Nakusp and Area Community Forest Inc. to log 9,800 hectares, 9) Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative to log 15,000 hectares, 10) Save Saltspring is running out of time, 11) How Greenpeace makes money off GBR deal,
–Washington: 12) Storm salvage creating wood supply glut, 13) Fed funds for restoration, 14) Spotted Owl protections extended, 15) Save Bonney Lake forest,
–Oregon: 16) Wealth of DNA lost to logging,
–California: 17) More fees for loggers! 18) light-touch logging, 19) Buying carbon credits for forest conservation,
–Minnesota: 20) Carefully Planted Spruce forest threatened by pipeline
–Indiana: 21) Public lands logging, 22) Our invasive governor is misdirecting,
–West Virginia: 23) Coal mining is where you lights come from,
–New Hampshire: 24) Longtime woodchipper guy sees business picking up
–New York: 25) “forever wild” forest preserve gets bigger
–USA: 26) Logging has a huge effect on forest fires, 27) Mark Rey,
–Canada: 29) Ravine Bylaws being violated, 30) Beavers mitigate drought impacts, 31) Single biggest factor behind forest’s carbon balance,
–UK: 32) Climate change effects noticed in flora and fauna, 33) Heath restoration runs amok,


1) Stymied in efforts to construct new roads in national forests, the Bush administration is now trying to subject Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to death by a thousand cuts. At 17 million acres, the Tongass is America’s largest national forest. Strewn among the islands and along the coast of Alaska’s Inside Passage, it’s also the world’s largest intact temperate rain forest; a place of lushness and beauty that is home to ancient Sitka spruce, bald eagles, bears, wolves and five species of wild salmon. It’s a destination for tourists who come from around the world to fish, hunt, hike or just bear witness to one of the world’s last wild places. Under a new management plan for the Tongass, the U.S. Forest Service is proposing to open about 3.4 million acres to logging, mining and road building. Roughly 2.4 million of those acres are now roadless. The plan also sets aside 90,000 acres to old-growth reserves and protects 47,000 acres considered most vulnerable to development. It also calls for a phased approach to logging as a way to encourage a more stable, long-term supply of timber. Forestry officials say the plan balances the needs of the timber industry with the requirements for a healthy forest. We think it grossly undervalues the Tongass’ uniqueness as an environmental asset and its economic potential as a destination for the growing eco-tourism industry. Traditionally, exploiting the Tongass’ natural resources for logging and mining has been a bad deal for America’s taxpayers. In 2005, for example, the Forest Service spent $48.5 million on road building in the Tongass. That same year, the logging industry paid the government only $500,000 in revenues. But those aren’t logging’s only costs. It also means the destruction of rare old-growth trees and habitat, increased erosion into streams and the loss of fish habitat. Logging accounts for less than 1 percent of the area’s economy. By far the largest industries are commercial fishing, tourism and recreation. http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-tongass.artfeb25,0,3263422.story

British Columbia:

2) “You may not be criminal, but if you put masks on and you block our surveyors and impede us … then we can sue you for our costs. They may not be criminally charged by the RCMP, but we’re going to now go after damages,” Young said. “That’s hilarious,” protest organizer Zoe Blunt said yesterday when told of Langford’s plans. “I don’t know what they’re going to recover from people that they haven’t already taken away – their backpacks, their shoes, their coats, their IDs, their wallets. I think he’s beating his chest and he’s trying to intimidate people.” Blunt said that unlike Young’s “billionaire friends” her only asset is “a five-year-old computer.” She welcomed meeting Langford’s lawyers in court. “We would like to see all the evidence of all the money that was spent and all the plans that were made and everything that had to do with the transfer of land; and all of their own assets and all of their interests they have in Bear Mountain and other resorts and other land and properties. We would like to get that all on the table,” she said. Ben Isitt, a protester and former Victoria mayoral candidate, said the move was “typical of Langford’s bullying tactics to try to silence legitimate dissent. The campaign against the Bear Mountain interchange has been picking up steam and I think vested interests are obviously alarmed by the growing opposition so they’re responding in different ways.”

3) Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) today announced it has pledged half a million dollars to ensure a healthy future for British Columbia’s North and Central Coast called The Great Bear Rainforest. The donation will fund conservation management and sustainable economic development in First Nations communities in the region. This commitment is part of the RBC Blue Water Project, and completes Tides Canada Foundation’s $4 million Canadian fundraising campaign for one of the largest and most ambitious conservation projects in North America. The contribution also completes the $60 million financing package pledged by Canadian and international private philanthropic organizations for the Great Bear Rainforest. Covering 6.4 million hectares, (21 million acres) the Great Bear Rainforest represents 25 per cent of the earth’s remaining ancient coastal temperate rainforest. A vast ecosystem with over 100 unlogged pristine watersheds, it sustains tremendous biodiversity including rare white Spirit Bears, grizzly bears, and rare and unusual plants. It is one of the planet’s great environmental treasures and a vital cultural and economic resource for British Columbia’s First Nations and coastal communities. “RBC has a long history of commitment to First Nations communities and to the environment, and we are thrilled to seal the deal on this campaign,” said Graham MacLachlan, Regional President, RBC, British Columbia. “With its 100 watersheds sustaining 20 per cent of the world’s wild salmon population, the Great Bear conservation initiative was a natural fit under our Blue Water Project. The bonus here is that this innovative model for conservation will also create sustainable economic development in First Nations communities.” Until recently, the Great Bear Rainforest was a threatened wilderness. But on February 8, 2006, after over a decade of hard work, an unprecedented alliance among environmental groups, First Nations, logging companies and governments marked a landmark event in modern conservation. http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/February2008/25/c5258.html

4) Walker’s Hook area residents are upset after trees were cleared from a public shoreline area by a private property owner across the road. According to Walker’s Hook Road resident Donna Martin, six trees were “limbed, topped and just plain butchered” in an Islands Trust shoreline protection area and contrary to development permit area guidelines. Six trees — three greater than 20 cm in diameter — were cut along an ocean-facing slope on Feb. 9 by Rene Widmer of 950 Walker’s Hook Road, who worked with a contractor to remove the trees across the road from his property. The Ministry of Transportation (MOT) verifies the slope is an environmentally sensitive area that has a history of instability and shoreline erosion. The shoreline area is also designated a heritage and scenic road segment, according to the official community plan. Firs, arbutus, willow and a western yew were cut down, and two firs were limbed, leaving only the top portion of the branches intact about 20 feet up. Prunings were also tossed over the slope and some were burned on the beach. Martin returned from out of town to find a patch of the shoreline near her home stripped of vegetation. “The latest ugly mess,” she wrote in an e-mail to MOT authorities, “. . . is an insult to the neighbourhood.” “I hope you agree,” she wrote, “that it’s time people stopped butchering and cutting down trees on public land and highway right of ways.” Islands Trust bylaw enforcement officer Miles Drew, and Greg Galpin, area manager for the MOT, responded to Martin’s plea by talking to Widmer at his home. Galpin suspects the trees may be owned by the Ministry of Forests but said he cannot confirm that at this time and is awaiting confirmation from the ministry. Fines may be imposed, he said. Drew verified that cuts to the three trees over 20 cm in diameter violate a condition of the Islands Trust shoreline development permit area regulations. Galpin said Widmer “regrets removing the trees and was apologetic.” http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_south/saltspringislanddriftwood/news/15793662.html

5) The BC government’s old-growth statistics, however, are public relations spin. They fail to mention that the majority of the 4 million hectares of old-growth forests are economically marginal to worthless to the logging companies, as they include vast tracts of stunted trees growing in the cold subalpine zone, on rocky sites, or on other sites with poor soils and slow growth rates. In contrast, the classic giant redcedars, Sitka spruce, and Douglas firs in the productive old-growth forests at lower elevations where logging has historically occurred now constitute only a tiny fraction of our remaining old-growth forests, especially on the southern coast. The timber corporations have largely logged-off the biggest and best trees at the lower elevations, leaving behind the expensive to reach, smaller, lower value trees high up steep mountainsides in remote areas. At any rate, for more accurate statistics that better illustrate what’s really going on, an analysis of satellite photos of Vancouver Island in 2004 revealed that of an original 2.3 million hectares of productive old-growth forests, only about 600,000 hectares remained – one-fourth of what was originally here. Of this, only about 140,000 hectares are protected in our parks, or about 6% of the original big trees. In addition, only one-tenth of the original, productive old-growth forests on the valley bottoms – the areas with the largest trees, richest soils, greatest biodiversity, and all of the fish-bearing streams – still remained. In contrast, there are still 750,000 hectares of low productivity old-growth forests on Vancouver Island – the typically stunted trees found in the bogs, rocky sites, and high altitudes that the government spin-doctors like to include in their statistics of how much old-growth remains. See maps at http://www.viforest.org http://pacificfreepress.com/content/view/2320/81/

6) The blockade at a cutblock in the Fort St James area has come to a peaceful end, but the fight will continue for the Maiyoo Keyoh. The Maiyoo Keyoh have talked with their lawyers, and will be filing a complaintewith the Forest Practices Board. Jim Munroe, spokesman for the group, says the issue is one of territorial rights “The blockade was the result of the Ministry of Forests denial of Aboriginal title. Had they owned up to this in the first place, there wouldn’t be a problem. They continue to deny our rights and continue to offer token consultation.” The blockade prevented logging contractors for Canfor from harvesting in block # 508. Canfor has now agreed to move it’s operations to block #507. Munroe says the blockade came close to violence as log haulers set up their own blockade, dumping logs to prevent the protestors from exiting the site. “There were threats” says Munroe, but the matter was resolved peacefully although not to the satisfaction of the Maiyoo Keyoh. Speaking on behalf of the youth, Seraphine Munroe asked about the future because her culture is connected to the land “How is the land to look after us , our children our children’s children when every tree is stripped form it? The small animals need the debris, the large animals need the small animals, and we need the large animals for survival.” She said her people have as much right to a livelihood from the land as the companies given licenses to harvest trees. They have spoken to the provincial forestry critic, NDP MLA Bob Simpson, who has promised to raise the matter in the legislature. http://www.opinion250.com/blog/view/8509/1/maiyoo+keyoh+to+file+complaint+with+forest+practices

7) On Thursday, a handful of people set up a new Bear Mountain Tree Sit in the mature Garry Oaks at Spencer Road and Highway 1, right next to the Shell station. More folks have been stopping the machines from working this week as well. The new tree sit grew into a small community, with two platforms, banners, a picnic table and live music and a potluck on Saturday. But early this morning, the authorities came in and removed everything. No one was arrested, but now folks want to figure out what to do next. Getting together to discuss continuing this strategy and new strategies would be a big help. Friends and supporters are welcome to come out today to Spencer Road, or to join Food not Bombs at Pandora and Vancouver, or get together somewhere else in the next few days. The new tree sit happened almost spontaneously. We were at the site for a meeting and tour of the interchange site and a tree cutting contractor pulled up. He told us he was getting ready to cut the oaks.Three tree people immediately climbed up into the branches to protect the oaks. Two mornings this week, people stopped the work crews from removing logs and digging up the soil. So far the police have not been arresting people for civil disobedience, but only letting them go with a warning. On most days there was only one police officer on duty at the site. A large area of wetlands, oaks and arbutus immediately adjacent to the Shell station will be cleared at some point soon. Blasting for the proposed interchange has not started yet, and the cave is still intact despite the rebar welded across it and a couple tons of boulders piled onto the rebar. zoeblunt@gmail.com

8) NAKUSP – The Province has offered Nakusp and Area Community Forest Inc. a five-year probationary community forest agreement to further develop the local forestry sector, Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman has announced. “The community forest agreement will help diversify the region’s forestry industry and create new opportunities for Nakusp, its residents and business community,” Coleman said. “Community forests generate employment and revenues that benefit the immediate area as well as allowing resource management decisions to be made at the local level.” The agreement grants the right to an annual harvest of 20,000 cubic metres of timber on about 9,800 hectares of public forest lands in the Arrow Timber Supply Area. “We’re thrilled with the advent of a community forest. It will be a terrific asset for the community,” said Mayor Karen Hamling. “Over the past five years, the Community Forest Committee, with the community’s and council’s support, has worked extremely hard to make this dream come true.” Probationary community forest agreements are a form of legal tenure that enable communities to more fully participate in the stewardship of local Crown forest resources. They are area-based, and give communities exclusive rights to harvest timber, as well as the opportunity to manage forest resources such as timber and botanical forest products, recreation, wildlife, water and scenic viewscapes. Community forests are intended to stimulate long-term employment, forest-related education and skills training, as well as other social, environmental and economic benefits, while meeting environmental stewardship standards. After an initial term of five years, the agreements may be extended for an additional term of up to five years or replaced with a long-term agreement of not less than 25 years. c.counterflow@shaw.ca

9) SLOCAN – The Province has issued the Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative a five-year probationary community forest agreement that will give the group increased control of local resource management, Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman has announced. “The community forest agreement allows area residents to benefit from the employment and revenues that forestry generates, and allows the local stewardship of more than 15,000 hectares of Slocan’s forests,” Coleman said. “This agreement has brought people together, to work towards sustaining environmental and economic benefits.” The agreement grants the right to an annual harvest of 16,300 cubic metres of timber on about 15,850 hectares of public forest lands in the Arrow Timber Supply Area. The Cooperative has representatives from the Village of Slocan, the Winlaw Watershed Committee, the Elliott-Anderson-Christian-Trozzo Watersheds Association and the Red Mountain Residents Association and has adopted an ecosystem-based management plan. The Cooperative’s strategies emphasize the maintenance of fully functioning ecosystems and watersheds while creating and supporting local jobs, profits and entrepreneurs. The Cooperative will also use forestry techniques to reduce the risk of interface fires. “The community forest is very much representative of the diversity of our population and the spirit of our teamwork,” said Marc Septav, Village of Slocan councillor. “A wide range of stakeholders are all committed to developing a forestry operation that will improve our economy and village and preserve the integrity of our environment.” c.counterflow@shaw.ca

10) A group of Saltspring Island residents hoping to save eight hectares of rainforest are six days and $300,000 from their goal. The islanders must raise $1 million by the end of this month if they hope to buy Creekside Rainforest. They have collected just over $700,000 so far. “We’re still hoping,” said appeal co-ordinator Maureen Moore. “We’re hoping people that were wavering before will realize they have to step in to help.” The residents currently have first option to purchase the land, which is owned by a numbered company. The funds must be raised before the end of February or the deal expires and the land will be sold. If sold, Moore said the land will likely be subdivided and eventually logged. But if the residents are successful, the land will be turned over to the Land Conservancy of B.C. and preserved in perpetuity. The group is able to take donations up until the last day, with pledges collected in March. Visit www.savesaltspringrain forest.com for more information. http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=1817ffd8-de25-455a-ac6f-9355505ed26b

11) “I’m really excited that Greenpeace is starting to do … work in British Columbia again,” says Colby. “The reason I renewed my membership this year with Western Canada Wilderness Committee was their new programs focusing on the Gateway project and their strategic turn towards tackling climate change.” In return Colby receives electronic updates of each group’s progress. Bremner notes that donors should be engaged or contacted as many times as there are zeros in their contribution. For smaller scale and monthly donors, electronic communications such as e-newsletters and website updates are effective. Large potential donations, however, may require events showcasing the cause or an actual trip out to the field to achieve buy-in from donors. When father-of-two Wright was given the opportunity to visit the Great Bear Rainforest last year with another group of donors, he leaped at the chance. Though trained as an electrical engineer, Wright is an amateur photographer. Six months after he decided to become a major donor to the campaign, he was standing in the heart of the rainforest. “I was quite emotional about being in a pristine, productive ecosystem. Salmon were swimming and spawning around my feet. Just 10 feet away a huge grizzly was walking on shore without a care in the world…. I’m not religious, but if there’s anything that makes me spiritual, this is it.” http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=2febbf21-f4f4-4d21-8592-baa944ef5a8a&p=2


12) Wirkkala is one of dozens of landowners launching a big — and at times dangerous — salvage harvest in Southwest Washington. They are caught in a financial trap. There is a big rush to harvest this wood, before it discolors and loses even more value. But in the months ahead, the salvaged logs risk flooding regional markets, further depressing prices. Much of the timber lies in a weird patchwork that spreads across some 19,000 acres of Southwest Washington. Within these lands, the wind spared some stands and pummeled others just a few hundred yards away. Some trees are splayed on the ground, root wads wrested from the soil. Others are bent like taut bows. Still more remain upright but with tops that look like they were lopped off by giant garden shears. This was the worst wind damage since the notorious Columbus Day storm of 1962, which knocked down timber as far inland as Oregon’s Willamette Valley and claimed at least 46 lives. The December storm blew over several days, wreaking most of the damage within a narrow band that lies within 20 miles of the coast. In this zone, state officials estimate 600 million to 800 million board feet of public and private timber — enough wood to build more than 20,000 homes — was damaged. The bulk of the damage is on state lands and corporate holdings owned by Weyerhaeuser and other large forest companies. The storm also struck many of the hundreds of family-owned tree farms, whose tracts range from a few backyard acres to more than 1,000 acres. Most of the salvage harvest will be mechanized. Rather than tramping through the woods, loggers will sit inside a cab, operating automated saws that bite through fir, spruce, hemlock and alder trees and pare them into lengths. Their windshields are made of bulletproof glass to protect them against falling limbs. But some trees are so big, or growing on such steep ground, that they must be logged the old-fashioned way — with chain saws. In a decent market, these stands could return more than $20,000 per acre. In today’s markets, many of the logs are worth more as pulp than lumber, and Wirkkala expects the return will decline by about 80 percent. If export markets are flooded, then the salvage could barely break even. “We have 2.5 to 3 million board feet of timber lying on the ground,” he said. “And we’ll be fortunate if we find a market for most of it.” http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004199401_salvagelogging25m.html

13) Today Washington and Oregon learned that national forest lands within their boundaries will get federal funding to help restore critical and endangered watersheds. Oregon will receive approximately $4.7 million and Washington will get $3.46 million, which is part of the $39.46 million the federal government will distribute to national forests across the country as part of the Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Initiative. Supporters of the Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative are encouraged that the federal government has begun to provide resources to address the problem, but concerned that the funding received this year is only a small fraction of what is needed. “Thanks to the efforts of the Northwest’s congressional delegation, the Forest Service now has a start on funding to begin addressing this problem,” said Sue Gunn of Wildlands CPR. Thousands of miles of crumbling national forest roads are degrading water quality, causing landslides, exacerbating flooding and muddying or blocking salmon habitat. The failing roads contribute to the declining ecosystem health of Puget Sound, the Columbia River and other waters across the state. “As the severity and frequency of storms increase in the Pacific Northwest, damage to stream habitat from the already failing national forest road system grows,” Gunn said. “Unless we storm-proof our forest watersheds, the price tag for fixing these sub-standard roads will skyrocket.” Unlike other states, Washington has a signed commitment from the federal government to repair and maintain deteriorating roads in its national forests to protect its watersheds. Washington’s agreement with the Forest Service, signed in 2000, calls for Forest Service roads to come into compliance with the state’s water quality pollution laws by 2016. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2008news/2008-046.html

14) OLYMPIA — Washington forest regulators are extending a statewide moratorium on additional logging in spotted owl habitat. The moratorium through Dec. 31 will allow the state Forest Practices Board to review logging rules that protect the owls. Spotted owl populations have declined over the years. They’ve faced threats by competition from barred owls, timber harvests, and habitat loss from wildfire. While state and private lands contribute to spotted owl conservation, the majority of owl habitat and owls are located on federal lands. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420ap_wa_spotted_owl.html

15) There is a warm political wind blowing through the tall firs and cedars of an 147-acre urban forest in Bonney Lake that could lead in coming months to a settlement over its future use. Officially closed since May 2006, the big patch of green along the city’s commercial strip, known as the Washington State University Demonstration Forest, is part of a larger effort to preserve open space in the plateau area. The players include the City of Bonney Lake; Quadrant Homes, a subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser Corp. which owns the land; WSU; the Cascade Land Conservancy which specializes in open space preservation; Investco Financial Corp., a Sumner-based developer that has worked with Quadrant; and members of the land-owning Corliss family. Negotiations have been under way for almost two years. The participants are mum about details, citing confidentiality agreements and the complex and sensitive nature of the talks. Meanwhile, the forest located between Highway 410 and South Prairie Road remains closed to the public. What once was a popular place for area residents to walk and bike has become more of a public nuisance. WSU operated a variety of educational programs in the forest for 63 years . In late 2004, it gave up control and agreed with the Weyerhaeuser Corp., the original landowner, to sell the land and share the profits. Wally Costello with Quadrant Homes is handling the sale and has proposed two development plans for the forest. They call for 470 to 527 homes with park and commercial development. The Bonney Lake City Council has said it wants more park than development. Costello said last week there would be more to share in a couple of months. “At the moment there is not a story to be told,” he said. Ryan Mello, conservation director with the Cascade Land Conservancy in Pierce County, would only say talks continue among a number of interests. “We are working on a bigger conservation strategy for the Bonney Lake community to increase the quality life,” he said. “I think you are going to see some movement in a positive direction close to the end of the year.” Bonney Lake Mayor Neil Johnson, who with the City Council has made preserving open space and creating more parks a priority, agreed with Mello’s assessment. He declined to talk about the particulars but said he and the council have a grander vision than just saving the forest. The 300-acre Fennel Creek corridor and the Kelly Creek farm property are two areas of special concern, he added. http://www.thenewstribune.com/front/topstories/story/289624.html


16) Logging converts a native forest into a plantation managed to maximize fiber production. When a forest is logged, a wealth of unique DNA, an irreplaceable library of information, is lost forever. Compared to native forests, plantations are empty bookshelves. Populations of every species have genotypes uniquely adapted to their local environments. Uncounted numbers of microbes specialize in micro-habitats found only in native forests. Their genomes contain untold treasures that may one day be discovered if they are allowed to survive. When native forest is logged, canopy loss, micro-climate change and soil damage cause fungi, lichens and a host of microbes to disappear. Science has barely begun to understand diversity among forest microflora. To a molecular biologist, the genotype of each organism is a book full of wonders that we are barely beginning to be able to read. Burning these books is a crime against the future. Most of the native forests in Oregon (by some estimates, 90 percent) have been logged. Let us not destroy the last of our natural libraries. Let us save them for our more literate descendants. –Dennis Todd http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?cid=67697&sid=5&fid=1


17) We recommend the enactment of legislation to create a fee on timber operators to fully fund the review and enforcement of timber harvest plans by several state agencies. This would result in additional General Fund savings of $21.2 million beyond the Governor’s proposed General Fund budget–balancing reductions, with no reduction in program activity. Under the state Forest Practice Act, logging operations must comply with a timber harvest plan (THP). The THP describes the proposed logging methods and projected production from an area, as well as any environmental mitigation measures that the timber harvesters will undertake to prevent or offset damage to natural resources, such as fish or wildlife. The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) has the statutory responsibility to review these plans, approve or deny them, and to monitor compliance with the plan during logging operations. In addition to CalFire’s review of THPs, the Department of Conservation, the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) also participate in the review and enforcement of THPs under their own statutory authorities. Under current statute, there is no THP review fee in place to pay for the general cost of reviewing or monitoring compliance with THPs. http://www.lao.ca.gov/laoapp/laomenus/sitemap.aspx

18) Petrolia — The Mattole Restoration Council is developing a plan to make light-touch logging more feasible on private lands throughout the 300-square-mile Mattole watershed. The plan, known as a Program Timberland Environmental Impact Report (PTEIR), will provide an umbrella of environmental review for some low-impact logging practices, streamlining the permit process for landowners who opt to log in those ways. Individual harvest plans would rely on the overarching analysis in the PTEIR, reducing the amount of research and paperwork required for approval. “We came to recognize that the increasingly complex permitting process for Timber Harvest Plans was making it hard for some family landowners to log as gently as they would like,” said the Council’s forestry director, Seth Zuckerman. “Ultimately, the cost of cumulative impact studies and foresters’ time is paid for by cutting more trees. By conducting those studies for the watershed as a whole, we’ll achieve an economy of scale, while making sure that wildlife and watershed issues are thoroughly considered.” Under the PTEIR, landowners would be able to log using what are known as “selection” methods, by cutting trees individually or in small groups. The harvest of dead and dying trees would be allowed, as would the clearing of small tracts of conifers that had invaded oak woodlands or meadows in the last fifty years. More intensive logging styles, such as clearcutting and the widespread conversion of hardwood to conifers, are not covered by the Council’s plan. The Council’s proposal is entirely voluntary, and will not affect landowners’ ability to seek approval for any of the other kinds of forest practices provided for under the law. “We see this as a way of expanding the opportunities for Mattole landowners,” said Zuckerman. http://humboldtherald.wordpress.com/2008/02/25/more-on-the-mattole/

19) Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the big California utility, is buying its first carbon credits for forest conservation, a move that could be a model for other utilities. Under the arrangement, PG&E is making purchases of 214,000 carbon-dioxide emission credits derived from California forest land. For PG&E, the deal is tiny. The credits will be delivered over multiple years; even if they all were delivered in a single year, they’d compensate for only about 1% of the utility’s annual CO2 emissions. But it marks a big purchase in the world of forestry-derived CO2 credits, an area gaining interest around the globe. (Here and here.) PG&E will pay $10 for each credit, for a total of about $2 million. The deal satisfies the California Climate Action Registry, a standards-setting body that has created protocols to quantify and verify the mechanics of carbon storage. The utility is spending money from customers who volunteered for a program to make them “carbon neutral.” In coming years, U.S. utilities likely will have to cut their carbon footprint to slow climate change. Most will cut emissions at power plants, but many likely will buy carbon offsets, too. Most of PG&E’s purchase – 200,000 credits – is going through The Conservation Fund, an environmental group. The credits come from a 23,780-acre parcel in the Garcia River Forest of Mendocino County that was last logged in 2004 by other owners. The Conservation Fund, working with Nature Conservancy, plans to restore it and run it as a “sustainable” working forest with careful timber harvesting. Carbon sales will generate more cash than tree cutting — $700,000 annually versus $500,000. “We’re not just tree farmers anymore, we’re carbon farmers,” said Chris Kelly, California program director at the Conservation Fund. He estimates a redwood tree is worth more for its carbon credits than lumber at carbon prices above $30 a ton. http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2008/02/26/pg-and-e-buys-some-hot-air-in-california-


20) Their two grown kids and their friends helped dig the holes, plant the trees, and water them as the spruces put down roots on the 65-acre farm. Now, hundreds of the young spruces stand in dark splendor against the snow at the couple’s farm. But these and older, taller spruces that line the front of their farm could soon be uprooted as a refinery-led project cuts through 14 Minnesota counties to bury a new pipeline. The $300 million MinnCan pipeline project runs 304 miles through Minnesota from Clearbrook to Rosemount. The system begins in Alberta, Canada, where rich deposits of heavy-crude oil are mined in the tar sands area, and ends in the south metro. The 24-inch pipe will carry 420,000 gallons of crude oil each day, expanding the current system to meet a growing consumer appetite for petroleum products. The Glanzers say that transplanting their 550 trees, which are worth upwards of $100,000, might kill many. They want to save them not just for their beauty as they line the entrance to the farm, nor just for the shelter the family’s trees provide for bluebirds, bunnies and other wildlife. The Glanzers see the trees as symbolic of the pastoral lifestyle that they worked so hard to achieve. And for them, the trees have sentimental value that’s priceless.”It’s our children’s heritage,” Anna Glanzer said. For now, they’ve won a reprieve. Tiny red flags, on either side of a big stand of pines, mark where a subcontractor has deemed there will be no work.Patty Dunn, spokeswoman for the project, said MinnCan is trying to find a solution. “The goal is to come up with a plan that works for them,” she said. “That is why the clearing schedule has been adjusted, and that’s why the clearing has not occurred.” The Glanzers say they’re praying that the pipeline, set for construction this summer, will not cross through their property. Under the state’s eminent domain laws, energy companies can take land to use for pipelines, as long as homeowners are compensated. http://www.startribune.com/local/15908672.html


21) Logging on public land is an issue guaranteed to spark controversy at any time and in practically any place. Some say the forests are best left alone and any plan to cut trees inevitably creates more problems than it solves. And some say the judicious cutting and removal of selected trees can improve forest health and enhance the biodiversity of woodlands while also creating revenue for other natural resources projects. But there is significant disagreement on what prudent forest management entails. Most observers accept the stated mission of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and its forestry division, which is to provide sound stewardship of the state’s forests and provide for multiple uses, including hiking, hunting, habitat preservation, climate moderation and education. But when Natural Resources Director Kyle Hupfer announced in 2005 that he intended to increase logging and revenue generation in the state’s forests by 400-500 percent over the next five years, it set off a firestorm of protest. Not only did the amount of increase seem audacious, but Hupfer, an attorney, had no experience in natural resources management whatsoever. It didn’t help matters, either, when Hupfer fired 10 DNR managers in front of the remaining 20. “It was the first time in my memory that an administration went below the political level and fired professionals,” says Charlie Cole, a former naturalist and member of the Friends of Yellowwood, an environmental advocacy group. “What this did was to put the fear of God in the rest of the DNR.” Cole said Hupfer’s move fractured morale in the department and fostered a feeling of distrust among citizens who care about the state’s natural resources. “The big problem with the whole DNR now is that there is no big picture right now,” he said. “I used to have friends in the DNR who I could talk freely with. Now, no one talks freely.” http://www.reporter-times.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=96754&format=html

22) A devastating pestilence has invaded our beloved state forests. It is not an exotic insect, virus or blight. It is our invasive governor and his misdirected Department of Natural Resources. They have increased logging in our forests by 500 percent. Some of that logging involves clear-cuts, where all trees are removed in 10-acre swaths. The backcountry of Morgan-Monroe State Forest, where logging had been off-limits for decades, is now being carved up. Our forests are areas of surpassing beauty that are greatly appreciated by Hoosier families for hiking, camping and personal reflection. They are sacred places that all citizens are free to visit to escape the harshness of our chaotic world. Our forests are some of the rarest and most valuable refuges in our state. Income from the sale of these majestic trees amounts to a shockingly tiny part of Indiana’s general revenues, about 0.02 percent to 0.03 percent. The value of these trees to our citizens, when they are left standing, is far greater and is never ending. Decimating the natural wonders of our state cannot be considered a gain except on the narrowest of balance sheets. The forests are much more than the number of board feet that can be hauled out of them. They are complex communities of trees, birds, wildflowers, insects, mosses, ferns, amphibians, mammals and much more. Many species require large tracts of undisturbed forest to thrive. Logging affects this entire ecosystem. All these consequences must be included in any fair balance sheet of forest uses. Beauty, awe and wonder are not luxuries. If we degrade and devalue all that is beautiful and glorious, all that is humbling and inspiring, we diminish our humanity. And where are our trees going? Many become expensive furniture or floors for corporate offices, here and abroad. More are cut up to make shipping pallets that are used once and thrown away. Eighty-eight percent of all Indiana’s forests are privately owned. Those forests can supply lumber for most of our needs. In fact, without the competition from state trees, private timber would be more valuable. State forests have other, better uses. Indiana is 46th among the states in recreational land per capita. About 19 percent of Indiana is forested, and only 1 percent of that is state-owned. A small fraction is mature forest. These forests belong to us, the citizens of Indiana. They were not set aside to be exploited for political or commercial profiteering. http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080225/EDIT05/802250350

West Virginia:

23) CHARLESTON – When you flick on the lights this evening, think of Kayford Mountain. Or what was Kayford Mountain, but now is a sprawling, muddy, trembling construction site 100 metres below Larry Gibson’s home. Three years ago, Gibson hunted wild boar here, picked gooseberries and peaches, and sat under the shade of white oaks and hickories so thick he couldn’t see the sky. “Now, you can see the sky below your feet,” Gibson says. The boars have long scurried away. The trees have been reduced to a heap of pulp. The gooseberries have been bulldozed, replaced by rows of explosives. Just past the “Do Not Enter” sign, the mountain has been brought to its knees – cut down like a giant tree. Instead of gazing 200 metres up to its peak, as Gibson once did, you peer down at its rubbly remains, clawed at by giant shovels and trundled off by bucking yellow dump trucks. There are no birdsong or rustling leaves – just beeping and grinding, and sounds like a 747 taking off. A small sliver of the former mountain slumps to one side of the construction, like the last piece of Black Forest cake left amid the deflated balloons and streamers. On top are the trees and soil, then sandstone and shale, and at the bottom, a thick chocolate layer – coal. “They say they can make the land better than it originally was,” says Chuck Nelson, gazing down sorrowfully from his friend’s property, hands in his pockets. “Who can do a better job than God? This land will never be no good for nothing.” Except of course, electricity. Which is why all this is happening. This is the new face of coal mining in Central Appalachia. It is called mountaintop removal. Instead of extracting coal the old-fashioned way, by burrowing, the mountain is extracted from the coal – blown up sequentially to reveal each black seam. Everything left over – trees, soil, plants and rock – is considered “overburden.” It’s dumped into the valleys below, filling them up. http://threewisemonkeys.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/coal-mining-ravages-appalachia-mountains/

New Hampshire:

24) The longtime woodchipper can see, from his house, the power plant on Smith River Road in Alexandria where he once supplied wood chips. With plans now in the works to revive that facility, chippers like him may have a new customer on the horizon. The hope for people like Waters is that by increasingly turning to biomass — a byproduct of timber harvesting — to fuel existing and future electricity generation needs, New Hampshire will continue to have both vibrant forests and a vibrant forest industry. And in the process of having both, the Granite State, which already is 84 percent forested, will get “greener” still as biomass becomes the renewable fuel source of choice for electricity generation with the added benefits of reducing use of fossil fuels and the carbon they create when burned. The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and the NH Timberland Owners Association want to be part of the state’s energy solution, especially because their members can provide biomass fuel. Biomass, according to SPNHF Spokesman Jack Savage, is “positive on any number of levels, but first, from a simple forest management perspective, this is essentially like weeding your garden and doing a biomass harvest is going in and pulling the weeds and instead of tossing them you’re taking them and you’re turning them into electrical power that ideally is replacing fossil fuels.” The “weeding” Savage described also allows “higher value trees” to flourish and to live long lives that will translate into valuable prices for the lumber they eventually produce. Biomass — as well as other renewable energy sources such as hydro, photovoltaic, wind and tidal — is also factoring into the math for companies like Public Service of New Hampshire, which has more than 400,000 customers and which, like other generators since 2007, has been required by law to increase its renewable energy portfolio. Gov. John Lynch has set a goal of having New Hampshire produce 25 percent of its power through renewable energy by 2025. http://www.citizen.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080224/GJNEWS02/311858560/-1/CITNEWS

New York:

25) Earlier this month the state announced that 57,699 acres of lakes, forests, rivers and mountains in the heart of the park will be added to our “forever wild” forest preserve, and 73,627 acres will be secured under conservation easements that permit compatible uses but prevent fragmentation and development. This latest conservation triumph involves the former timberlands of Finch, Pruyn & Co, purchased last year by the Adirondack Nature Conservancy. Another 92,000 acres of wild, boreal habitat the subarctic evergreen forests of the northern Adirondacks have recently come on the market, and conservationists are urging the state to buy and protect these rare tracts as well. Today, our forest preserve has grown to 2.7 million acres. Close to a million additional acres of private lands have been protected by easements. In a park of almost 6 million acres, an area the size of Vermont, more than half will never be subdivided and built on. So the question remains: How much more should we try to save? Answer: Every last bit that we can. This kind of undisturbed, soul-satisfying wildness, on the grand scale that exists in the Adirondacks, has been lost to “progress” almost everywhere else. We can’t afford to lose any more. Then there are the ecological benefits. We share this Earth with other living things, and it’s to their advantage, as well as ours, that we leave them enough room to exist. And when it comes to wildlife habitat, bigger is definitely better. The park’s improving environmental health is reflected in the return of many former residents, including moose, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, ospreys, ravens and fishers. Finally, there is the spiritual value of wild nature. William Chapman White defined it nicely in his 1954 classic, “Adirondack Country,” as he reflected on the forest preserve: “As a man tramps the woods to the lake, he knows he will find pines and lilies, blue heron and golden shiners, shadows on the rocks and the glint of light on the wavelets, just as they were in the summer of 1354, as they will be in 2054 and beyond. He can stand on a rock by the shore and be in a past he could not have known, in a future he will never see. He can be a part of time that was and time yet to come.” http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=666075&category=OPINION&newsdate=2/24/20


26) Logging has a huge effect on forest fires. A logging company goes in for the valuable trunks of the largest, most fire-resistant trees, leaving behind young growth and dead, drying branches and treetops that are, of course, especially susceptible to fire. Since the mission of the Forest Service is, in a nutshell, “to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run,” and since large-scale forest fires do no good for pretty much anybody, you’d think the Forest Service would be really careful about leasing out national forest land for logging. You’d think, but you’d be wrong. Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, the former timber industry lobbyist who now runs the Forest Service, thinks logging is a great use of public lands. He proudly reports to the Associated Press that “We are now treating four times as many acres as we did when this administration came into office.” In case you missed it, “treating acres” is a polite little euphemism for cutting down trees. Rey’s methods of handling fire prevention, if you can call it that, have come under fire by critics who point out that we could reduce the amount of toxic fire retardants dumped from planes each year by quite a bit if he’d just be a little more responsible with the land. At a hearing today, a judge will decide whether Rey has been skirting NEPA, a law that would in essence require him to tell the truth about the effects of logging on forests. Like that it causes fires. That Rey uses billions of gallons of poison to put out. Let’s not be naive about this. We all use products made from wood, and we’re going to keep using them. We ought to be using them at a much more sustainable rate, but regardless, they have to come from somewhere. And there are sustainable ways to harvest lumber — just ask the Forest Stewardship Council. But whatever you do, don’t ask Mark Rey. http://www.enviroblog.org/2008/02/rey-logging-forest-fires.htm

27) “He’s tried to oversee a radical dismantling of the safeguards that the public really wants for its public lands,” said Doug Heiken, conservation coordinator for Oregon Wild, an environmental group. The object of such fury is unlikely. At 55, the short, bespectacled Rey looks more like a high-school math teacher than a ruthless tree killer. With a salt-and-paper goatee, the soft-spoken Rey has a dry wit that masks his determination to remake forest policy. Josh Kardon, chief of staff to Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, whose state, Oregon, has much of the forest land that Rey is targeting, said Rey revels in his notoriety. “Mark has always enjoyed a good joust and likes reliving those battles while he sips wine and strokes that legendary goatee,” Kardon said. Born in Ohio, Rey became interested in forests as an Eagle Scout. He later earned degrees at the University of Michigan in forestry, wildlife biology and natural resources policy. After a stint at the Bureau of Land Management, he began working for the timber and paper industry in 1976 and was vice president of the American Forest and Paper Association before joining the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in 1995. As lead forestry staffer for the panel’s two top Republicans, Idaho’s Larry Craig and Alaska’s Frank Murkowski, Rey was a key figure in a number of controversial bills, including one to hasten so-called salvage logging after forest fires. Craig, who pushed for Rey’s appointment, said Rey knows more about forest management than anyone else in Washington. “He will be viewed, I think, as one of the more successful undersecretaries,” Craig said, citing the healthy forests law and increased focus on the cause and suppression of wildfires. Chris West, vice president of American Forest Resource Council, a timber industry group, gives Rey’s tenure a B-minus. “Mostly because they didn’t get as much done as they could have and should have” with a Republican administration and Republican Congress for six years, West said. Rey acknowledges the point, but he said budget constraints because of the Iraq war have limited his options. His biggest regret? “I didn’t get to be undersecretary for natural resources during a time of budget surpluses and above-average rainfall,” Rey said. “There’s nothing I can do about either.”


29) Less than a kilometer North of the bluffs, where I take Lindsay for her run, two white tailed deer have returned to the young forest recently clearcut by developers, gingerly stepping around the tangled branches of the 2000 fallen trees, unaware 36 additional trees are now under threat at the southern end of the Ravine. The trees bordering Danzig Creek are protected by the Ravine bylaw and were not part of the recent clear cutting by the developer of the 5 acre site. (See my blog entry for 2/12/08 “The Devastation of Weedgreen Ravine” for background) However, as Don York, President of the Manse Valley Community Association, writes: In the fall of 2007, trees in the protected area were tagged and when we questioned this we were advised that this area would be cleared for the construction of the sewer lines for the new development. We were later told that an agreement had been reached with the developer to tunnel in this area to minimize the loss of trees. Now a number of representatives from the City and from David Schaeffer Engineering Ltd. were on site examining the protected area, and when questioned, they said that they had changed their mind regarding tunneling and would be clear-cutting that section. A total of 36 trees will be removed, many of them of significant size. Since we were originally told that there would be no loss of trees in the protected area we have never questioned that part of the development plans. Now we find out we have been mislead. The area above Danzig Creek is protected under the Ravine Bylaw, and those trees need to be protected, as provided by the Bylaw. There were 32 trees identified on the proposed construction site as “protected” under the Tree Bylaw, but Council approval was given to remove them with no regard to the significant opposition by the public. Now we have 36 trees in the ravine area, protected under the Ravine Bylaw, and there appears to be NO requirement to get ANY permission from Council. How is this possible? The fact that there was no reference in any of the developer documentation related to the removal of trees in the protected ravine area shows that either the Engineering firm and the City staff were incompetent in their assessment and review, or there was a DELIBERATE omission of this fact to avoid any additional confrontation with residents. Neither of these possibilities is acceptable! If facts were omitted from the report for this item, how many other facts were conveniently removed from other reports? How many more “surprises” are there going to be? http://anexplorer.blogstream.com/v1/pid/291720.html

30) Edmonton – They may be considered pests, but beaver can help mitigate the effects of drought, and because of that, their removal from wetlands to accommodate industrial, urban and agricultural demands should be avoided when possible, according to a new University of Alberta study. “Removal of beaver should be considered an environmental disturbance on par with in-filling, peat mining and industrial water extraction,” said researcher Glynnis Hood, lead author on the study and a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in Camrose. In examining how beaver influenced some of Alberta’s wetlands in Elk Island National Park over a 54-year period, Hood and co-investigator professor Suzanne Bayley discovered that the presence of beaver and their dams increased the presence of open water by up to nine times. Climate models predict the incidence of drought in parts of North America will increase in frequency and length over the next 100 years, and beaver will likely play an important role in maintaining open water and mitigating the impact, Hood said. Infilling and drainage of wetlands have increased to make way for urban and industrial expansion, and beaver colonies are being removed both inside and outside of protected areas, which means a continued loss of water resources, she added. “In times of drought they may be one of the most effective ways to mitigate wetland loss,” said Hood. “Some people believe climate is driving everything, but the presence of beaver has a dramatic effect on the availability of open water in an area. Beaver are helping to keep water in areas that would otherwise be dry.” When beaver were present, there was 60 per cent more open water in drought-stricken areas than in those same areas, during previous drought periods, when beaver were absent. The study, published online recently in Biological Conservation, also found that temperature, precipitation and other climate variables were much less important than beaver in maintaining open water areas in the wetlands of the mixed-wood boreal forest. The role of beaver in sustaining open water is critical for several reasons, said Hood. Flooding caused by beaver dams provides habitat and water resources used by land animals and amphibians, and even provides water for livestock. It can also recharge groundwater reserves. http://www.expressnews.ualberta.ca/article.cfm?id=9085

31) Led by Ben Bond-Lamberty and Stith Gower, both of the University of Wisconsin, the study worked to identify the single biggest determining factor behind a forest’s carbon balance—whether it absorbs more carbon than it emits. Earlier research had convinced many that atmospheric carbon dioxide was the driver of this process; it was thought that increasing amounts of the gas caused forests to produce more leaves and other organic material, helping soak up the carbon emitted by human activity. This hypothesis was sparked by satellite images suggesting the boreal’s biomass had grown. Bond-Lamberty and company took a closer look and found that there could be a different, potentially ominous interpretation of those images. The boreal forest is a vast northern belt of trees just below the tundra, home to such plant groups as conifers, broadleaf trees, and mosses. Modifying a pre-existing computer model to reflect the competition between these groups, the researchers entered data on forest fires, climate, and other aspects of the boreal ecosystem between 1948 and 2005. The number of forest fires had increased during that time, and the researchers realized that, as burned swaths of forest recovered, the earlier satellite images might have mistakenly recorded this regrowth as the continuing growth of a mature forest. Their final conclusion? Fire activity, not carbon dioxide, was the greatest predictor of the forest’s carbon balance, “pushing the system toward being more of a carbon source,” Bond-Lamberty said. The research shows that much of the boreal has already transitioned from sink to source, a transition that could start happening on an ever-larger scale. Many scientists expect the number of forest fires to continue rising as the earth warms. These fires turn the carbon in trees from a solid into a gas which re-enters the air via flames and smoke. Making matters worse, the new absence of trees causes the forest’s soil to release carbon more quickly. http://www.conbio.org/CIP/article10855.cfm


32) At first, the changes appear quite subtle. Some plants react more to warmth than daylight, and vice versa. The sycamore, not originally a native of Britain, is responding fastest to this extra warmth and is coming into leaf earlier and earlier. With its big broad leaves, it will then start to shade out other trees native to the British countryside, like beech, and slowly come to dominate our woodland. King of the forest, the oak tree, is also a beneficiary. The oak and the ash have always come into leaf at about the same time and, depending on which came first, it was said to decide the summer’s weather in the old country rhyme: “Oak before Ash, you’re in for a splash; Ash before the oak, you’re in for a soak.”Now the oak tree, dependent on warmth, is increasingly beating the ash – dependent on daylight – into leaf. This competitive advantage means that it is possible that the oak’s vast canopy will come to dominate the ash. The effect on our landscape would be enormous; expanding canopies and earlier leafing, by woodland species such as hawthorn and hornbeam, will severely restrict sunlight. This creeping blanket of darkness will prove disastrous for our favourite wild plant, the bluebell. Kept in increasingly dim conditions and unable to photosynthesise, it will inexorably decline, to be replaced by other plants that adapt better to earlier springs – such as garlic mustard or cow parsley. No longer, the magical haze of a woodland carpet of British bluebells. Birds are the big losers in an early spring. The RSPB predicts that climate change will push certain birds more than 300 miles further north. In the case of the osprey, snow bunting, pintail and skua, this would send them towards the Arctic Circle and near-certain extinction. Migrant birds will start moving too soon and may arrive before the food to sustain them is ready. Scientists are already concerned that the swallows will turn up before there are enough insects to support them. In our gardens and woodlands, many breeds began singing a month early this year, in January. Singing heralds nest building, and chicks born before their favourite feed, such as caterpillars, becomes available. This spells disaster for birds like blue tits. Their nestlings will starve to death. Fortunately, most of our birds have more than one brood and should recover. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=518671&in_page_id=1

33) The other day I noticed the excavators had moved back into our local patch of Surrey woodland. Well, I say woodland, but actually these days it’s more like a scene from the Battle of the Somme. Where once we had trees, we now have vast tracts of open muddy ground, fought over by squadrons of earth-movers and rough tough looking men armed with chain saws. Obviously, when these guys first appeared a couple of years back we assumed it was yet more houses, and girded up our nimby loins to protest. But it wasn’t that at all. It turned out that all across Southern England thousands of acres of woodland are being uprooted as part of a commissariat masterplan to recreate Egdon Heath. Something called Tomorrow’s Heathland Heritage is costing us £25m plus, and will take at least a decade to complete. It’s biodiversity, Jim, the idea being that we need less trees and more Dartford Warblers (pic above), rare bees, rare heathers etc etc. There are some familiar points to make. First, much of our heathland only disappeared originally because a previous generation of commissars planted socking great forests on it after WW1 (ie the Forestry Commission). But of course, this time round the commissars are sure to have got it right. Right? Second, nobody asked me or other local residents what we thought. The website for our local restoration project promises more adders, spider-hunting wasps, and flesh-eating sundew plants to wriggle their way up our trouser legs. Is that what we want? Cos that’s what we’re gonna get. Plus, residents have had to put up with all the noise, mess and general harassment of the work, and are losing their tree privacy screens into the bargain. Third, why should we pay taxes just so the commissars can have a go at playing God? Who says heathland is better than woodland? IIRC most of Southern England was forested until the arrival of agriculture. Why should the commissars decide heathland is the landscape of choice for us? http://burningourmoney.blogspot.com/2008/02/well-im-bugged.html

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