374 World-wide

–World-wide: 19) New global partnership of “forestry experts” 20) UN’s 2005 Global Forest Resources Assessment released, 21) We all get rich when we prevent deforestation, 22) Minimize logging impacts conserves carbon? 23) Books and Trees, 24) FSC’s 2nd largest certifier shuts down certification operations, 25) We destroy 150 square miles of forest every day, 26) Make ‘em pay for lost services before they log and they’ll won’t be able to afford to log, 27) Why you must say no to paper, 28) What’s a paper bag all about, 29) Save the ecological truth-tellers, 30) Wildlife philanthropy, 31) RRI report: Rush to protect forests will mostly fund corrupt politicians and criminals


19) Forestry experts agree on the need for a new global partnership to ensure sustainable forests initiatives deliver on environmental needs and work for the poor. But they say the World Bank, which last year proposed the collaboration, should not take an active role in the initiative. That’s the message in a report by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), based on a survey of more than 600 forest experts in Brazil, China, Ghana, Guyana, India, Russia and Mozambique, as well as those attending international meetings. The World Bank last year proposed a new global programme, the Global Forests Partnership (GFP), to reduce deforestation and unsustainable forestry use, drawing together the Bank’s and other forest initiatives under one umbrella. The thrust of the IIED report conclusions is that the World Bank should step away from such a process and take a “hands off” approach that allows smaller, forest-dependent stakeholders to build a truly effective alliance from the bottom up. It appears this feedback to some extent reflects resistance among some NGOs about the World Bank taking an active role after what they felt was a negative experience with its programmes in the past. The survey respondents also agreed that the programme has to tie in with sustainable forests initiatives at global, national and local levels to be effective. Momentum for new action on forests is building, particularly in the wake of startling data on worldwide rates of deforestation and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. This has seen the emergence of the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) process, promoting the establishment of forest carbon markets to pay local communities for avoiding deforestation. The World Bank’s new Forest Carbon Partnership Facility is one recent initiative in this area. Much work still needs to be done, however, to see that such mechanisms deliver on forest conservation and for the estimated 1.6 billion people relying directly on forests for their livelihood, many of them in poverty in developing countries. http://www.carbonpositive.net/viewarticle.aspx?articleID=1163

20) Monday, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released its 2005 Global Forest Resources Assessment, a regular report on the status world’s forest resources. Some 13 million hectares of the world’s forests are still lost each year, including 6 million hectares of primary forests. –South America where large tracts of the Amazon rainforest are being cleared for cattle ranches and soybean plantations — suffered the largest net loss of forests between 2000 and 2005 of around 4.3 million hectares per year. Africa suffered the second largest net loss in forests with 4.0 million hectares cleared annually. Nigeria and Sudan were the two largest losers of natural forest during the 2000-2005 period, largely due to subsistence activities. At 11.1%, Nigeria’s annual deforestation rate of natural forest is the highest in the world and puts it on pace to lose virtually all of its primary forest within a few years. The regions with the highest tropical deforestation rate were Central America — which lost 1.3% or 285,000 hectares of its forests each year — and tropical Asia. Tropical Asia — including the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam — lost about 1% of its forests each year. According to FAO, Vietnam lost a staggering 51% of its primary forests between 2000 and 2005, while Cambodia lost 29% of its primary forests between 2000 and 2005 [Cambodia’s figures were revised by the FAO after this article was published. Original data showed Cambodia’s primary forest cover declining to 122,000 hectares in 2005 from 356,000 hectares in 2000. The new FAO data says Cambodia’s current primary forest cover stands at 322,000 hectares]. Illegal logging, combined with rapid development, is blamed for much of Cambodia’s forest loss. Due to a significant increase in plantation forests, forest cover has generally been expanding in North America, Europe and China while diminishing in the tropics. Plantations help offset the loss of natural forests but essentially result in an overall decline in global biodiversity as single species plantations replace their biologically richer natural counterparts. The United States has the seventh largest annual loss of primary forests in the world, according to FAO. In the 2000-2005 period, the United States lost an average of 831 square miles (215,200 hectares, 2,152 square kilometers or 531,771 acres) of such lands which are sometimes termed “old-growth forests.” http://news.mongabay.com/2005/1115-forests.html

21) If the deforestation process that is occurring from the Amazon to the Congo basin were to be slowed, it could generate billions of dollars each year that could then be used to aid developing nations as a part of a United Nations (UN) plan to fight climate change. The burning of these forests by farmers who are clearing their land makes up 20 percent of our world’s greenhouse gas emissions. These reductions would represent approximately 300 million tones of unreleased carbon dioxide emissions each year. This is roughly the same amount of heat-trapping gases that are emitted by a country the size of Turkey in one year. A UN climate conference held in December and attended by 190 nations agreed to work on ways to motivate and reward countries for decreasing deforestation. Even small improvements can generate large amounts of revenue and can also create effective emission reductions. A ten percent reduction in the rate of tropical forest loss could create annual carbon finance for many nations at an estimated amount of between $2.4 and $14.3 billion. The UN is pushing for reduced emissions from deforestations to be a part of a new climate treaty that is being formulated to go beyond 2012. The purpose of this treaty is to help avert and avoid more droughts, heat waves, rising oceans, and future disease outbreaks. http://www.naturalnews.com/023623.html

22) Logging practices can be designed to minimize ecological impact, but even when trees are picked selectively there is often collateral damage – ten to twenty times the number of harvested trees are destroyed through human error and poorly designed procedures for locating and removing correct targets. Putz et al. argue that worker training in directional felling and better planning of timber extraction paths can reduce these effects by at least 50%. In long-term studies of conventional versus improved forest management practices in Malaysia and Brazil, improved management reduced carbon emissions by approximately 30%, compared to conventional logging. Using data on intensities and intervals of logging, areas of production forest (managed for timber and forest products), and their estimates of carbon loss, the authors estimated that global implementation of improved forest-management techniques would save 0.16 gigatons of carbon per year. While emission policies in one area can sometimes have the unintended effect of raising emissions in another – for example, economic restrictions in one country can give its neighbor a competitive advantage – Putz et al. argue that better logging techniques have no negative impacts on production and can even improve financial yields, making this rearrangement of emissions, or “leakage,” a non-issue. “Incentives to retain more forest carbon through improved management would represent a big step toward sustainability in the vast area of tropical forests outside protected sites,” the authors argue. “Although many details on measuring, monitoring, and compensating carbon sequestering by individuals, companies, communities, and governments need to be sorted out, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from tropical forest degradation should be given a high priority in negotiations leading up to the new climate change agreement to be formulated in Copenhagen in 2009.” http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/114850.php

23) Very few books have the power to change your life, to help you evaluate what’s important and real in the world, but this exploration of our relationship to trees – and to wood – is one of them. It reveals how central wood has always been to the way we talk and think about ourselves. In Shakespeare people go “into the greenwood to grow, learn and change”; the Chinese consider wood as the fifth element, and Jung counts trees as an archetype in the collective unconscious. Wildwood takes the form of an extended ramble, beginning in the New Forest where Deakin recalls his earliest forays into botany as a schoolboy, detailing all the different plants he and his friends could find while crawling on their hands and knees over small patches of ground: “Some of our projects… read almost like Swift’s accounts of the scientists’ experiments on Laputa in Gulliver’s Travels.” This isn’t simply a book about trees; it’s about how you can learn to look closely at life. More than that still, it’s about what the trees symbolise. “Woods,” Deakin writes, “have been suppressed by motorways and the modern world, and have come to look like the subconscious of our landscape.” They contain ideas about how we might rescue lives which have become somehow buried or lost. Deakin roves as freely as he writes, travelling through Devon, and abroad in the Ukraine and Australia, sharing the journey with diverse companions who share his passion for life. Some of the scenes he describes are hauntingly beautiful: the sound of a newt “singing”, or how pale the night sky can appear in summer after you’ve grown accustomed to the darkness. Others, like his description of a solitary ash tree, vandalised and scarred by pollution in a park at the centre of a Ukrainian town, are desperately sad. This is a moving, passionate account of nature. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/wildwood-a-journey-through-trees

24) In a shock announcement, South Africa-based SGS Qualifor – FSC’s second largest certifier – has said that it has taken a ‘business decision’ not to issue any further FSC forest management certificates, pending a ‘review’ of it’s forest management certification processes. The announcement, made on the FSC’s website, is believed to pre-empt an imminent decision by the FSC Secretariat to formally suspend SGS’s accreditation worldwide. SGS has recently been forced to withdraw several non-compliant certificates, including in Guyana and Spain, following damning assessments by FSC’s Accreditation Services International; in April this year, the certifier was also banned from all certification activities in Poland. FSC-Watch believes this is good news for the FSC, as it reduces by one the number of major certifiers that are wrecking FSC’s credibility by issuing certificates to non-compliant companies. We urge the FSC to confirm SGS’s decision by formally and indefinitely suspending the certifier’s accreditation, along with all its certificates, including those for Chain of Custody, which are not included in SGS’s self-imposed ‘moratorium’. Similar moves should be started against the other major certifiers which have brought discredit to the FSC system. FSC can then get on unimpeded with the all-important job of changing the way that contracts are issued for certification assessments, in order to give the FSC greater control, and breaking the direct economic link between the certification bodies and the ‘client’ timber companies seeking certification. http://www.fsc-watch.org/archives/2008/07/07/SGS_halts_all_new_FS

25) About 40,000 hectares – roughly 150 square miles – are logged or burned to make way for agriculture or grazing on a daily basis. In the past 60 years greed, wanton destruction and exploitation has seen about 50 per cent of the world’s rainforests disappear. Millions of hectares of rainforest in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil and Africa containing a vast diversity of plants and animals have now been replaced by agricultural crops such as palm oil and soya. The rush towards biofuels has helped palm oil becomes the world’s premier fruit crop outstripping even the banana. In EU countries alone it is estimated that consumption of plant-based fuels will soar from around 3m million tons at present to more than 30m tons by 2010. Friends of the Earth says that Malaysia has becomes the world’s largest producer of palm oil with almost half of its cultivated land turned over to plantations. But it is fast being caught up by Indonesia which has about 6.5m hectares under oil palm plantation – an area which could double in size over the next 10 years. Most of the world’s palm oil is supplied by the two countries for use in food and health products but the growing demand for palm oil as a sustainable and alternative transport fuel is expected to result in even greater losses in the rainforests. The palm oil industry is booming and global exports increased more than 50 percent from 1999 to 2004.But the price has been the conversion of thousands of square miles of pristine and ancient tropical rainforests and most of the biodiversity they contained to regimented lines of lucrative palms. Satellite images reveal bare and often barren areas which were once covered by thick and emerald-green forests and which teemed with life. In many cases illegal plantations operated by criminal gangs, particularly in Indonesia, are blamed for consuming huge parts of the rainforests. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/07/07/eabiorain107.xml

26) Ecosystem service approaches to conservation are being championed as a new strategy for conservation, under the hypothesis that they will broaden and deepen support for biodiversity protection. Where traditional approaches focus on setting aside land by purchasing property rights, ecosystem service approaches aim to engage a much wider range of places, people, policies, and financial resources in conservation. This is particularly important given projected intensification of human impacts, with rapid growth in population size and individual aspirations. Here we use field research on 34 ecosystem service (ES) projects and 26 traditional biodiversity (BD) projects from the Western Hemisphere to test whether ecosystem service approaches show signs of realizing their putative potential. We find that the ES projects attract on average more than four times as much funding through greater corporate sponsorship and use of a wider variety of finance tools than BD projects. ES projects are also more likely to encompass working landscapes and the people in them. We also show that, despite previous concern, ES projects not only expand opportunities for conservation, but they are no less likely than BD projects to include or create protected areas. Moreover, they do not draw down limited financial resources for conservation but rather engage a more diverse set of funders. We also found, however, that monitoring of conservation outcomes in both cases is so infrequent that it is impossible to assess the effectiveness of either ES or BD approaches. http://www.pnas.org/search?author1=Rebecca+L.+Goldman&sortspec=date&submit=Submit

27) In addition to the destruction of forests for making paper, now forests and grasslands are being replaced by vast monoculture tree plantations, destroying communities, water, soil and all life. Both the destruction of forests and the installation of monoculture tree plantations – occupying food-producing land – bring about enormous damage to the local population, who see their rights violated, their environment destroyed and their way of life irremediably affected. The destructive cycle is continued with pulp production, in which fewer and increasingly larger companies take possession of land where they plant trees, of water that their trees and mills consume and contaminate, of political power acquired through their billion dollar investments, and of the environment that they destroy in the regions where they are installed. To destruction are added inequities. The enormous volume of paper produced from this pulp feeds a “world market” centred on rich and powerful peoples’ consumption. The average figures (that hide enormous inequalities on a national level), show that consumption per capita is more than ten times higher in the countries of the North than in those of the South. To inequity is added excessive consumption. Only as an example it is enough to see the mountains of paper and cardboard growing night after night in the streets of New York to understand that most of the pulp production does not end up as books, newspapers or journals, but simply as trash. In general terms, at least half the pulp produced goes to the production of paper and cardboard for wrapping and packaging, most of it totally unnecessary. We do not want to have anything to do with paper produced in this way. We do not want to become accomplices to the social and environmental destruction this implies. We do not trust certification schemes that have given their seal of “sustainability” to these same monoculture plantations whose impacts we know so well. The only and real obstacle is the economic interest of large companies, whose objective is to continue making profits by imposing an increasingly large and unlimited consumption of paper.
The time has come to tell them that this is enough. Those who would like to adhere to the appeal can do it at: http://www.wrm.org.uy/plantations/writers.html

28) Where do brown paper bags come from? Paper comes from trees — lots and lots of trees. The logging industry, influenced by companies like Weyerhaeuser and Kimberly-Clark, is huge, and the process to get that paper bag to the grocery store is long, sordid and exacts a heavy toll on the planet. First, the trees are found, marked and felled in a process that all too often involves clear-cutting, resulting in massive habitat destruction and long-term ecological damage. Mega-machinery comes in to remove the logs from what used to be forest, either by logging trucks or even helicopters in more remote areas. This machinery requires fossil fuel to operate and roads to drive on, and, when done unsustainably, logging even a small area has a large impact on the entire ecological chain in surrounding areas. Once the trees are collected, they must dry at least three years before they can be used. More machinery is used to strip the bark, which is then chipped into one-inch squares and cooked under tremendous heat and pressure. This wood stew is then “digested,” with a chemical mixture of limestone and acid, and after several hours of cooking, what was once wood becomes pulp. It takes approximately three tons of wood chips to make one ton of pulp. The pulp is then washed and bleached; both stages require thousands of gallons of clean water. Coloring is added to more water, and is then combined in a ratio of 1 part pulp to 400 parts water, to make paper. The pulp/water mixture is dumped into a web of bronze wires, and the water showers through, leaving the pulp, which, in turn, is rolled into paper. Whew! And that’s just to make the paper; don’t forget about the energy inputs — chemical, electrical, and fossil fuel-based — used to transport the raw material, turn the paper into a bag and then transport the finished paper bag all over the world. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/08/paper-or-plastic-a-look-a_n_111547.html

29) Ecological truth-tellers infused with a revolutionary spirit of action to save the Earth are the most special people around. We are the future hope for humanity and all being. We are going to stop coal, ancient forest logging, and implement numerous other transformative changes necessary to save the Earth and all her creatures. Ecological revolutionaries are smart and speak scientific and other truths. Those that do not believe in climate change or feel the Earth’s pain are stupid and dull. We reject mainstream environmentalism — where what is asked for is insufficient even if fully achieved — for a revolutionary spirit of ever increasing pressure upon criminal Earth destroyers. First we ask, then we protest, then we obstruct and perhaps sabotage, and if and when every offer to embrace sustainability by the elite has been rejected, we must be willing to fight. I Am Special, You Can Be Special Too! It is ok to be special. I am special by virtue of my embrace of Gaia and all her species and people as kin; and unique skills I have to see ecological wrongs, envision sustainability, and possess the smarts, dedication and skills to continuously organize awareness and solutions. There are thousands like me and together we are going to save the Earth. If we are to weather the times that are coming we had better overcome the tyranny of mediocrity and start recognizing genius and truth. Herein I have often been frank with my human frailties. How myopic to think it is ego to now discuss what makes me and others like me special. Why are game athletes, play actors and screaming singers revered and viewed as being special and not political ecologists defending the Earth and all life?

30) Bricks and mortar are so passé. So forget Dorset and join the Patagonian land grab, taking your lead from CNN supremo Ted Turner (owner of 128,000 acres) or the well-healed Chilean Sebastián Piñera, who has created the Parque Tantauco (120,000 hectares) ostensibly to conserve Patagonia’s virgin forests, which are obviously vital carbon sinks. No matter that Piñera earned his fortune as the operator of Chile’s biggest airline (I know, the CO2 irony!) – that’s no barrier to becoming a Wildlife Philanthropist (WP), stocking up on land to preserve biodiversity for future generations. If Patagonia is out of your reach, how about a more modest WP act? £50 to the World Land Trust (worldlandtrust.org) will buy an acre of rainforest, or for £70 you can save an acre of Brazilian rainforest courtesy of Cool Earth (coolearth.org), the charity partly founded by sportswear magnate Johan Eliasch, who in 2006 bought 400,000 acres of rainforest, prompting President Lula of Brazil to stress: ‘The Amazon is not for sale.’ Actually it is, along with tracts of wilderness in any cash-strapped country. I was recently offered a timeshare in South Africa’s Kruger National Parkchimpedenresidentialclub.com The information was full of comforting promises about environmental preservation, but more room was given over to the five-star accommodation. Increasingly, wildlife philanthropy crosses with eco tourism. Not a necessarily helpful hybrid. Similarly, private enterprises from developed countries buying up land from developing nations which then implement draconian conservation policies leave themselves open to the charge of eco colonialism. Newer private conservation schemes refute eco-colonialism charges by leasing land rather than buying it or working with the local community and evaluating the rainforest properly in terms of natural capital so that the host country receives a fair price; Canopy Capital recently bought 370,000 hectares of pristine forest in Guyana with the Iwokrama reserve, earning plaudits from Greenpeace. Look for evidence of community conservation (divesting power to the local population to manage) and evidence that the community has been properly compensated. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jul/13/forests.carbonoffsetprojects

31) The rush to protect forests as a way to tackle global warming could see billions of pounds handed over to corrupt politicians, criminals and polluting industries, experts have warned. The Rights and Resources Initiative, a coalition of groups from around the world, says not enough has been done to address land rights in tropical countries, where much of the money is being directed. Without clearer guidelines on land ownership and involvement by local people, they say, the funds provided by rich countries, including Britain, to protect trees could fuel violent conflict and fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation causes about a fifth of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, and how to protect the huge stocks of carbon locked in tropical forests has become a key issue in the climate change debate. Sir Nicholas Stern, in his 2006 review of the economics of the problem, said that £2.5bn a year could be enough to prevent deforestation across the eight most important countries. Britain and Norway have already pledged £108m to a fund to protect forests in the Congo basin. Rich countries paying tropical regions to protect forests is likely to form part of a new global climate deal to replace the Kyoto protocol, which could be agreed next year. Stern also said that a series of institutional and policy reforms were needed, including forest property rights. Without such changes, said Andy White, coordinator of the initiative, the money aimed at protecting trees could go to central government officials, many of whom were closely tied to illegal logging and mining activities. He said direct payments to local groups would be more effective, but that required them to be given clear land rights. Evidence from Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil showed that local communities protected the forests better than governments, he said. White added: “These forests are often in lawless regions with a history of conflict. We have huge concerns about sending all this money in the name of fighting climate change if the land rights for people living there are not resolved. It could cause more violence, benefit only a wealthy elite and lead to even greater carbon emissions. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jul/14/forests.conservation

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