419 – EU-Africa-Mid-east

419 – EU-Africa-Mid-East Tree News
–Today for you 35 news articles about earth’s trees! (419th edition)
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In this issue:



–EU: 1) A selection of statistics concerning forests in EU27, 2) Half-assed way to stop illegal log imports, 3) EU opposes inclusion of forest credits in carbon markets, 4) EU will lose credibility for opposition to forest credits in carbon markets,
–UK: 5) Nation’s forest destroyed at rate faster than Amazon, 6) Extinct Ravens returned to Braydon Forest, 7) Woodfuel East project to encourage forest liquidation, 8) Canopy Capital, 9) Protest seeks to save forest from parking lot plan in King’s Park, 10) Postive spin on Willenhall Wood logging for airport safety, 11) Newton Stewart Golf Club expansion harms trees,
–Luxemborg: 12) Grand Duke Henri annually inspects the forests
–Norway: 13) Half-billion dollars for tropical forest protection will try to promote indigenous rights?
–Germany: 14) Nation’s forest production exceeds that of Montana, 15) Clearcutting all pines in Helderberg Nature Reserve,
–Switzerland: 16) Value of Town forests
–Sweden: 17) World’s first factory for producing biodiesel from pinewood? 18) Södra thinks their brand of forest management will save the world,
–Hungary: 19) Search on for wood thieves near Budapest
–Portugal: 20) President shuts down pine logging near Ria Formosa natural park and Faro Airport
–Africa: 21) Rougier gets FSC certification so they can get away with destroying 2 million hectares,
–Congo: 22) Woods Hole research data may be wrong
–Ivory Coast: 23) Chimp population drops 90% in 20 years
–Uganda: 24) Immigrants depleting forests
–Nigeria: 25) $5 billion in losses per year from eco-degradations
–Kenya: 26) Bird expert studies effects of human disturbance on tree populations, 27) Demands to lift logging ban, 28) North Rift region’s rare plant species’ food value being lost to degradation, 29) Gov. banned all logging activities in West Pokot, 30) Logging ban makes illegal logging lucrative, 31) Children’s book about Wangar Maathai,
–Ghana: 32) Age old promise of loggers claiming that they will improve social-economic conditions
–Gambia: 33) arrest and sentencing of six people for illegal felling
–Lebanon: 34) Effort to “trim and clean” forest will save the forest?
–Jordan: 35) Environment Police Department (EPD) tried to stop three wood dealers who escaped and are still being sought



1) In connection with European Forest Week, Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, presents a selection of statistics concerning forestry in the EU27. European Forest Week, which takes place between 20-24 October 2008 highlights the contribution of European forests in mitigating climate change, providing wood and renewable energy. In 2005, forests and other wooded land covered 177 million hectares in the EU27, or 42% of its land area. The largest area covered with forests and other wooded land was found in Sweden (31 mn hectares or 75% of its land area), Spain (28 mn or 57%), Finland (23 mn or 77%), France (17 mn or 31%), Germany (11 mn or 32%) and Italy (11 mn or 37%). Together these six Member States accounted for more than two thirds of total forest area in the EU27. The Member States with the largest proportion of their land area covered by forest and other wooded land in 2005 were Finland (77%), Sweden (75%) and Slovenia (65%), while the lowest shares were found in Malta (1%), Ireland (10%), the Netherlands (11%) and the United Kingdom (12%). In the EU27, 73% of the forest (129 million hectares) was available for wood supply in 2005. Among the six Member States with the largest area covered by forests and other wooded land, the proportion of forest available for wood supply varied from 37% in Spain and 69% in Sweden to 99% in Germany and 86% in Finland. Roundwood production comprises all wood removed from the forest and other wooded land. In the EU27, roundwood production has increased by nearly 20% between 2001 and 2006, to reach 426 million m3, although this was down from the 454 million m3 recorded in 2005. The largest producers of roundwood in 2006 were Sweden (65 million m3), Germany and France (both 62 mn m3), Finland (51 mn m3) and Poland (32 mn m3), which together accounted for nearly two thirds of EU27 production. Sawlogs and veneer logs, which are used in the production of sawnwood and veneer sheets, made up nearly half of total EU27 roundwood production in 2006. 30% of roundwood production was pulpwood, which is used in the production of pulp, particle board and fibreboard. One fifth of the production was fuelwood, which is used as fuel for heating, power production and cooking. The highest production of sawlogs and veneer logs was registered in Germany (38 million m3), Sweden (32 mn m3) and Finland (22 mn m3). The main producers of pulpwood were Sweden (27 mn m3), Finland (24 mn m3) and Poland (14 mn m3). The highest production of fuelwood was recorded in France (33 mn m3), Germany (8 mn m3) and Sweden (6 mn m3). (Eurostat) http://www.ihb.de/wood/news/roundwood_Forest_18113.html

2) European Commission plans to halve rather than halt tropical deforestation by 2020 have been sharply criticized by WWF today. The European Commission’s communication on reducing emissions from deforestation and a legislative proposal to tackle the problem of illegal logging are unlikely to meet their intended objectives of halting deforestation and eliminating the trade of illegal wood, according to the global conservation organization. At the Convention on Biological Diversity, last May in Bonn, representatives of more than 60 countries signed up to a WWF commitment to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. WWF urges the European Union to maintain this target. “The EU has finally recognised the need for legislation to address the trade in products from illegally sourced timber,” said Anke Schulmeister, Forest Policy Officer at WWF. “However, the draft proposal presented today does not have the teeth needed to seriously clamp down on this trade.” says Anke Schulmeister, Forest Policy Officer at WWF. Deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for about 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and illegal logging is one of the major causes. Every year about 27 million cubic meters of illegal timber enter the EU. Today’s proposal does not bind companies all along the supply chain to provide credible assurances that their timber is legally sourced. It also does not clearly specify whether source country laws, such as those protecting land tenure rights of local peoples, need to be covered by these assurances. WWF calls the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers to move rapidly to strengthen the proposal so that, as soon as possible, legislation is in place to effectively stop the trade of illegal wood and paper products. http://yubanet.com/world/EC-issues-lame-deforestation-plans.php

3) The European Union should not allow industry to meet climate goals by funding tree planting or cutting deforestation in developing countries before 2020, said a leaked EU Commission paper due for release on Friday. But EU governments can ‘test’ such forestry carbon offsetting for national compliance with international goals under a successor climate pact to the Kyoto Protocol from 2013, said the paper seen by Reuters on Thursday. ‘Inclusion of forestry credits in the EU ETS should only be considered after a thorough review of the experience of using deforestation credits for government compliance and for the period after 2020,’ said the paper. ‘For a global forest carbon mechanism to be operational in 2013 and to test the feasibility of including forests in carbon markets intensive preparatory work will be necessary.’ http://www.hemscott.com/news/static/tfn/item.do?newsId=68240588777423

4) Europe will have “no credibility” in international climate negotiations without some sort of forest-related policy framework, said Doyle, who wants to see the issue “stitched through” both the EU ETS and a separate proposal on ‘effort sharing’, which spells out member states’ commitments to reduce CO2 emissions in sectors not covered by the ETS. Mechanisms to prevent deforestation – by giving landowners EU ETS credits for leaving forests standing, for example – were not included in the Commission’s climate proposals, put forward on 23 January. This was due to apparent difficulties related to measuring emissions from these sectors with accuracy. But the issue was also not “on the radar screen” of officials working on the EU ETS proposal in the EU executive’s environment service (DG Environment), Dr. Bernhard Schlamadinger, a consultant to the UNFCCC secretariat, the World Bank and the FAO, told EurActiv in November 2006 (EurActiv 30/11/06). Increasing EU energy demand may be at least partly to blame for this apparent oversight. A push to use biomass for biofuels in transport or in home heating means that forests, and the land on which they stand, have a higher and more immediate economic value if exploited for energy-related purposes than if left standing. The Commission attempted to address the issue in its 2006 Forest Action Plan (EurActiv LinksDossier). But environmentalists, and industries that use forests for non-energy purposes, are increasingly worried that Europe’s energy thirst will put too much pressure on forests and that the non-binding action plan is too weak to prevent an overshoot. Forests may also be far from the climate change ‘radar screen’ of European citizens. A new Eurobarometer survey on ‘Europeans’ attitudes towards climate change’ highlights citizens’ concerns about climate change without addressing the issue of forests at all. At international level, parties to the 160 nation talks towards a successor deal to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012, are faced with their own set of difficulties in forging an adequate international forest protection framework. Even environmentalists are wary of draft proposals to include forests in global carbon markets due to fears that they could backfire (EurActiv 22/08/08). source – http://myeuropeandream.blogspot.com/2008/10/forests-in-europe-or-whats-left-of-them.html


5) Ancient woodland in Britain is being felled at a rate even faster than the Amazon rainforest, according to new research today. It shows that almost half of all woods in the UK that are more than 400 years old have been lost in the past 80 years and more than 600 ancient woods are now threatened by new roads, electricity pylons, housing, and airport expansion. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/oct/21/forests-conservation The Woodland Trust needs everyone to act as our eyes and ears on the ground – find out where you local ancient woodland is and keep an eye out for any signs of development threats to the wood – if you hear of any let us know by visiting www.woodwatch.org.uk and get out there and organise a local campaign against the plans. We know that if you are early enough you can stop this destruction. Research by the Woodland Trust has revealed that the total area of ancient woodland threatened by destruction or degradation over the last decade has covered a total of 100 square miles (26,000 hectares) – equivalent to the size of Birmingham! In the last 10 years we have discovered over 800 woods threatened by all forms of development from roads, housing and airports to power lines, gas pipes and golf courses. Right now we are dealing with over 400 cases of woods under threat from development. This level of destruction or degradation is extremely worrying because ancient woodland is our richest habitat for wildlife and completely irreplaceable. Ancient woods cover only 2.4% of the country and are the UK’s equivalent of the rainforest. You would think a habitat so special, so important would be protected and theoretically ancient woods are protected in national planning policies. The problem is local councils are allowed to ignore national policy and develop an ancient wood if they believe social and economic benefits of that development outweigh the benefits of keeping the woodland. It stands to reason that if a council wants a development to go ahead they will be able to “find” some economic or social reason why the development is important. This means priceless ancient woods are lost to short term economic gains. Often you hear of plans to “compensate” for the loss of ancient woodland by planting new woods but this simply can’t be done – centuries of undisturbed soils and seedbanks are protected in these habitats and planting new trees just can not make up for their loss. http://wtcampaigns.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/ancient-woodland-area-the-size-of-birmingham-threatened/
6) The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) project shows ravens are living and breeding in Braydon Forest. The birds were blamed for killing livestock and so were shot, trapped and poisoned and became extinct by 1900 in much of lowland Britain. The WWT said improved wildlife protection laws had helped the birds. The WWT project team has spotted ravens in several parts of the woodland which were originally named Ravensroost, Ravenshurst and Ravensbrook. Paul Darby, from the WWT, said: “It’s easy to miss them unless they call because they can look like crows or rooks at a glance. “They are big black birds with a four-foot wingspan and a chunky, powerful bill and they give a much deeper sounding call than other corvids. “We are just delighted that we’ve got them back in the area. “Although the bird survey was mainly for birds such as skylark and reed bunting, a few significant raven records were collected too. We definitely regard the raven as a bird of good omen.” A spokeswoman for the RSPB said: “Ravens had been lost from lowland Britain by the end of the 19th Century. “It’s always good news to hear that a hitherto persecuted bird is making a natural return.” According to a Birds of Wiltshire survey, carried out by the Wiltshire Ornithological Society, a pair of ravens came to Wiltshire from Somerset in 1992. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/wiltshire/7683456.stm

7) The Woodfuel East project aims to cut carbon emissions by providing locally produced and sustainably sourced fuel. Landowners will be urged to manage woodlands, and wood which may otherwise go to waste will be used for fuel. The scheme also aims to create jobs and businesses in the rural economy. Under the plan landowners will be encouraged to manage any neglected woodlands, which will also create new habitats for wildlife. There are about 140,000 hectares of woodland in the East , around 7% of the total land area, but 50,000 hectares are undermanaged or not managed at all, EEDA said. Felled trees and cut branches, which might otherwise go to waste, can be chipped for use in specialised boilers and provide heat and hot water for buildings such as schools, village halls and offices, particularly in rural areas with no gas supply. David Sillett, EEDA Rural development manager said: “Woodfuel East, which covers Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, will encourage a co-ordinated supply chain, from land owners through to the marketplace for wood chips. “With new markets, come new opportunities which will be of particular benefit to the rural economy.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/7684368.stm

8) “Commercially, forests are worth more dead than alive. That’s why they fall and that’s what we have to change.” That’s the succinct synopsis of Andrew Mitchell, executive director of Canopy Capital, and the driving force behind the company’s forest-based fund. Its experiment in monetarising the world’s forests concentrates on the million-acre Iwokrama Reserve in Guyana. The president of the former British colony has earmarked the reserve for research into sustainable development policies. The future cost of saving forests such as those of Guyana will dwarf the current bail-outs for the financial sector, says Mitchell. “This is not about markets versus donor funds, it’s about an emergency. The economic losses from degrading nature are three times the credit crunch,” he says. “We need markets and a new global agreement on the economy but this time with natural capital firmly on the balance sheet.” Canopy Capital denies that local people will lose out in the market-based system it is proposing. The funds already secured from investors will be used to pursue conservation projects and “business partnerships” for Iwokrama’s 7,000 residents. “Paying communities and governments to maintain forests for us, like a global utility benefiting the world, will one day be as natural as paying for your electricity bill,” says Mitchell. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/20/conservation-forests

9) About a dozen people gathered at King’s Park in Stirling to protest against council plans to cut down trees to make way for a path and parking meters. The police confirmed a peaceful protest had been held near Victoria Place, where the felling was carried out. Campaigners said they were not properly consulted on the move, arguing the trees added to the area’s “charm” and the parking spaces were unnecessary. Stirling Council said 20 trees were being cut, but they would be replaced. One of the protesters, Patrica Pizarro, said she was disappointed the trees were being cut down. She said: “Although some of the mature trees felled have been identified as diseased, they could have been managed in a different way. The majority of the trees felled were perfectly healthy.” A council spokeswoman said the local authority appreciated the protestors concerns and it had tried to advertise the decision to cut the trees as much as possible. She said: “Victoria Place is well used for parking especially for visitors to the park, and at the moment there are no footways on the park side and cars that park on the verge are causing damage to the verge and the tree roots. For people parking, the lack of footways is unsafe and inconvenient. “Unfortunately, it is not possible to make this improvement without felling some trees.” In total, 20 trees are to be removed, and replaced with 23 semi-mature lime trees. Each tree will be between 4m and 5m high and have a life expectancy of about 100 years. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/7678852.stm

10) A historic wood in the city is set to be given a new lease of life – with help from Coventry Airport. Willenhall Wood, which features in the Domesday book, will undergo a string of work to entice wildlife and walkers back to the area. The scheme is part of Coventry Airport’s plans to offset compulsory work in Willenhall Wood to ensure the safety of planes leaving or approaching the Baginton airfield. These will also involve planting more than 500 trees to create a new wood in Coventry. Craig Southwell, technical director at Landscape Planning, which created the woodland management plan, said: “Coventry Airport needs to carry out work on some of the trees in the wood and could invoke powers to do that. But we are trying to find a middle ground and use this as an opportunity to increase biodiversity in the wood.” The work will be carried out by Coventry City Council and paid for by Coventry Airport. It includes: 1) Pruning, or removing and replacing, some large trees to allow more sunlight to reach the forest floor. 2) Planting new trees. 3) Installing bat boxes in some trees. 4) Restoring footpaths and building information boards for visitors. 5) Reintroducing the medieval practice of coppicing – heavily pruning ash trees to encourage new trunks to grow – to harvest timber from Willenhall Wood. 6) Cracking down on fly-tipping and joyriding in the wood. Andrew Needham, consulting tree specialist for Landscape Planning, hopes the woodland management will help to return bluebells and threatened species to Willenhall Wood. Although there is no evidence there are dormice in Willenhall Wood, they are in surrounding areas and coppiced trees are their ideal habitat. It is hoped this would attract them, he said. Talks are under way for the airport to plant a new wood in the city, with several sites being considered. Residents in Willenhall Wood have spent four years campaigning for the airport to plant 500 trees, which were promised as compensation for some trees in the wood being pruned. The work was ordered as a safety measure after five people died when a plane crashed into Willenhall Wood in 1994. http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/2008/10/14/coventry-airport-gives-willenhall-woods-new-lease-of-life-92746-22028908/

11) Rik Langham feels the loss of the trees will cause havoc for wildlife in the area near Newton Stewart Golf Club and claims there wasn’t enough consultation before the felling started. But developer Jim Scott yesterday insisted he was well within his rights to chop the trees down and that everything was being done to the letter of the law. Mr Scott’s workers have taken down the oak and beech trees to make way for a road to the development, near Minnigaff Primary School, which was granted planning permission almost two years ago. But Mr Langham, of nearby Doocot Terrace, feels the developers could have liaised more with nearby residents and woodland authorities. He said: “I am livid at the wholesale destruction of these mature trees, some of which are over 100ft tall and 100 years old. I also believe these trees were established stop-overs for various species of bats which roost in the nearby Minnigaff Primary School.” Mr Langham added: “There are over 300 species of beetles living in those trees and I have been told that Mr Scott was advised by many people he shouldn’t fell them. “This is what I can only call wanton wildlife destruction and is, from what I believe, the builder going against strong advice from leading figures in woodland and animal conservation. “The local woodlands trust was not asked for input and we have not been made aware of any efforts in the plan to compensate for ecological footprint or carbon offset issues. Nor have they been offered even a small sum of money to help with re-planting.” Mr Scott instructed a bat survey following the suggestion that bats used the area but this came back negative, with experts saying there was no bat activity within the trees. But Mr Langham disagrees and says he has seen the bats for himself many times – as have some of his neighbours. One, who did not wish to be named, said: “I walk the dog down there every single day and am almost always, without fail, buzzed by bats as I pass those trees. “Whether they used them or not is a matter for the experts – but they were certainly present. It does seem a shame to see such old trees felled for houses. I’d rather walk past woodland than buildings, but you can’t try to stop the provision of new homes I suppose.” http://www.gallowaygazette.co.uk/news/Anger-over-builder39s-39wildlife-destruction39.4601552.jp


12) Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri annually inspects the forests to check on issues of biodiversity and historical heritage. Instead of walking through the Mullerthal as in recent years, yesterday he chose to stroll through the forests in Mersch. It was orgnaised by a local group “Commission de sauvegarde de la Petite-Suisse et de la région du grès de Luxembourg” whose mission is to preserve and protect Luxembourg’s sandstone. Although prolific in the Mullerthal (Little Switzerland), sandstone is also abundant in the Hunnebur region of forest in the Mersch area which also offers a rich biodiversity with rare mosses and ferns. The guided walk also included a visit to a cave. http://station.lu/newsDetails.cfm?id=21960


13) Norway promised on Wednesday to promote indigenous peoples’ rights as part of investments of almost $500 million a year in tropical nations to slow deforestation and combat global warming. But Environment Minister Erik Solheim rejected calls by some human rights groups for Oslo, the leading international donor on forests, to set stiff pre-conditions for governments to respect indigenous peoples’ rights from the Amazon to the Congo basin. Deforestation is blamed by the U.N. studies for causing about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Trees soak up carbon when they grow and release it when they rot or are burned, often to clear farmland. “We will do what we can to influence” governments to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples, Solheim told Reuters during an international conference about indigenous rights and deforestation. “Dialogue is much more likely to succeed than a small nation on the outskirts of Europe … running around the world setting conditions,” he said of the Nordic country. Some experts at the meeting urged Solheim, whose government in late 2007 pledged up to 3 billion Norwegian crowns ($477.1 million) a year to slow deforestation, to attach more strings. “We’ve not been recognising indigenous peoples’ rights,” said Andy White, of the Rights and Resources Initiative, a Washington-based non-profit organisation. White said international plans for overseeing forests should include tougher reviews of human rights — many indigenous peoples fear they could be evicted from forests because they have no formal land rights. “They’ve never been consulted,” Adolphine Muley, of the Union for the Emancipation of Indigenous Women, said of pygmy people in Democratic Republic of Congo. But Solheim said rich nations were not in a position to preach to developing nations, saying Norway had in the past discriminated against indigenous Sami reindeer herders in the Arctic. He also said the global financial crunch should not divert attention from a drive to agree a new U.N. climate pact by the end of 2009. Solheim favours use of carbon markets to help slow deforestation. http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnLF597044.html


14) Though Germany’s and Montana’s forests are roughly comparable in size, Germany’s forest production greatly exceeds that of Montana’s, according to Peter Kolb, a Montana State University Extension forestry specialist. Add in Germany’s staggering population of 82 million people in a region about the size of Montana – compared with less than a million people in Montana – and Kolb says the figures seem even more counterintuitive. Kolb, an MSU employee who is based at the University of Montana in Missoula, studies forests and healthy forest management practices. He said he wanted to understand exactly why Germany could produce so much more from its forests than Montana. He won a Fulbright Scholarship to spend six months asking German forestry experts that very question. Through the Fulbright, Kolb was based at the Bavarian Land Institute for Forests and Forest Management last February through August. He said the time was well spent. “My expectations for my time in Germany were exceeded beyond my wildest dreams,” Kolb said. Kolb went to Germany to learn about the functionality of German forests, what the forests’ threats are, and how Germans — who highly value their forests — integrate recreation with production. As part of his research, he examined forest systems in the Northern Alps that have been intensively managed for five centuries or longer. He said that understanding historical influences helps explain the value Germans place on their forests. “Keeping the land productive in Germany is based on a cultural history of starvation and lack of resources,” he said. “Forests (in Germany) have also always been a resource people have gone back to, to help them survive during periods of great need,” he added. “After World Wars I and II, for example, forests became a means of survival for people who gathered wood to heat with, as well as nuts, berries and mushrooms as a food source.” http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwview.php?article=6366

15) The Helderberg Nature Reserve without its pines forests is inconceivable, say objectors to plans to flatten all the pine trees in the reserve within the next six months. Owen Wittridge, Reserve Manager has confirmed that a decision was taken with the Reserve management to cut down all the pine plantations following a recommendation by City management and Helderberg Advisory Committee. They comprise five plantation blocks, totalling 101,1 hectares – or about 145 rugby fields – with the first block to go, being the one closest to the entrance of the reserve. Some locals are outraged about this news and said if the pines are removed, much of the character of the reserve will disappear. “The forests give a certain ambiance to the reserve. It frames the reserve and blocks out the houses. Bontebok lie in the shade of the pines and if cut down, the sparrow hawks will also disappear. Surely some of the trees can be kept as a compromise?” an objector told DistrictMail. The decision to cut down the trees was taken for various reasons, says Owen. One is pressure from local residents who regard the forests as a huge fire risk, another is that pine trees are not indigenous and are regarded as an alien species. “One just needs to take a walk through the forest to see how sterile the ground is. The reserve is situated in one of the most critically endangered vegetation areas in South Africa, the alluvium fynbos, and once the pines are gone, the whole area will be rehabilitated.” Bontebok, while indigenous to SA, he said, did not naturally occur in the Helderberg, having been introduced in 1970. Regarding arguments about the falcons, he asked detractors what the birds did before the pine forests were planted? “We have over 460ha of land. They will find somewhere else to sit.” He said the reserve’s administration offices would be relocated once the plantation was removed, but that they would be built in a small area and be raised from the ground on pillars. Another conservationist and former rserve curator Gerald Writght said he didn?t think it necessary to test public opinion about the removal of pines, as they were not indigenous. “One cannot allow alien plants or trees to grow in a proclaimed nature reserve.” Gerald is chairman of both the Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve and Helderberg Advisory Committee who made the recommendation that the pines be cut down. http://www.news24.com/Regional_Papers/Components/Category_Article_Text_Template/0,2430,303_2410776~E,00.html


16) Living in Switzerland after college, I was amazed by the way communities both revered and used the landscape. Every facet of efficiency was enthusiastically explored, small farms abounded (growing grains on plots as small as an acre or less), and mountain trails were thick with orchids, green woodpeckers, and bell-toting cows. But my favorite thing was the town forest. Everyone had a right to enjoy and use these forests, and anyone who wanted firewood from it merely had to help in gathering it. Threaded with inviting access roads, there were long stacks of wood that had been cut and split. And they didn’t look over-managed: the one closest to me looked to be on its way to becoming old-growth. Something similar is sprouting in the northeastern U.S. right now, especially in Vermont and New Hampshire, where citizens are getting together to cooperatively buy/own wooded acreage for mutual enjoyment and use. The Vermont Town Forest Project is a fine example. It’s helping communities remember their deep tie to the land while building a stewardship ethic and giving folks who live in town with no land of their own a chance to explore a new sense of tenure. There’s a great article on it in Northern Woodlands magazine here. As the author says, town forest benefits include: Everything from watershed protection, forest products, and wildlife habitat to public recreation and community rallying points. They function in the same way town commons have for centuries in New England and New York. Every community member is responsible for their stewardship, and every member also benefits from their presence. http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/10/16/111735/99/


17) Work has started in the northern city of Piteå on building the world’s first factory for producing biodiesel from pinewood. The €27 million plant will be the first in the world to produce green diesel from wood raw material on an industrial scale. Using technology pioneered by Swedish company SunPine, the plant will convert crude tall oil (CTO) – a byproduct of pinewood processing for pulp and paper – into crude tall diesel, also known as pine diesel. The plant – co-owned by SunPine, pulp company Södra, state-owned forest owner Sveaskog and oil firm Preem – is due to open in a year’s time. It will produce 100 million liters of tall diesel annually, sufficient to power 100,000 diesel vehicles that travel an average of 10,000 kilometers per year. “This project is a unique cross-border industrial collaboration that benefits both the economy and the environment,” said Gunnar Olofsson, Sveaskog chief executive officer. Mikael Staffas, Södra chief financial officer, added: “Sweden’s forests are an enormous energy resource. The breakthrough for tall diesel means we can harness the energy from wood to produce yet another product that benefits society.” http://jobsinstockholm.blogspot.com/2008/10/worlds-first-pine-diesel-factory-in.html

18) VAXJO — If half the world’s forests were run like Sweden’s, the entire greenhouse effect could be eliminated- this is the finding of researchers at Sweden’s largest forest owner and woodpulp producer, Södra (1). A radical overhaul of global forestry along Swedish lines would see carbon locked in a growing reserve of timber rather than remaining in the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide, which is responsible for the greenhouse effect. Göran Örlander, siviculture manager at Södra, explains: “The world’s forests cover some four billion hectares. We could increase forest growth by more than 1% per year across half of this area (only half of the world’s forests are suitable for management based on the Swedish model). To implement this, we would need to break the negative trends of deforestation, forest damage and poor forest management on a global basis, but we’d be rewarded with an increase in carbon uptake of almost two billion tonnes per year (2).” Initially this would reduce the level by which emissions of carbon dioxide increase every year. But continuous forest growth of one percent in half the world’s forest could halt the increases altogether, possibly within as little as 20 years. The Swedish model does not entail a ban on felling trees – quite the opposite. Timber is Sweden’s most valuable natural resource, and Swedish companies process millions of tonnes of it every year. But thanks to intelligent forestry, Sweden manages to increase the amount of timber in its forests year in year out, despite harvesting it constantly. http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=239642

19) Police are searching for wood thieves who fired several shots at wardens in a forestry area near Budapest’s Ferihegy Airport on October 13. At around 10 p.m., forest patrol officers were checking the area bordered by Csévéz? út and the road leading to the airport when they noticed a pile of logs next to a dirt road. When they got out of their vehicle, unidentified perpetrators fired several shots in their direction. Nobody was injured in the incident, but it’s nice to see the wood thieves taking attention away from their metal-stealing competition. [stop.hu] http://www.pestiside.hu/20081016/midweek-briefing-brother-can-you-spare-ft-1-gazillion/


20) FARO CÂMARA president José Apolinário ordered an embargo on the cutting of pine trees at a private woodland area near the Ria Formosa natural park and Faro Airport. A spokesman for Faro Câmara said the site was in the council’s urban area so any developments or construction “required a licence from the council”. He said the embargo, which was imposed on Thursday, October 9, would last for six months and may be revalidated for similar periods thereafter depending on the owner’s reaction to the order. The woodland is owned by the Faro Diocese’s seminary instruction college, Seminário de São José. No comment was available from the college at the time The Resident went to press this week. http://www.portugalresident.com/portugalresident/showstory.asp?ID=29801


21) Rougier, the specialist in African tropical timber, with two million hectares of forest concessions managed in Cameroon, Gabon and Congo, announces that its Rougier Gabon subsidiary has obtained FSC(TM) certification (Forest Stewardship Council) for the major part of its forest concessions in Gabon and its chain of custody. Rougier Gabon has just obtained the FSC(TM) certificate for three of its FCSM (Forest Concession Under Sustainable Management) managed in Gabon: Haut-Abanga, Ogooué-Ivindo and Léké (allocated to CIFHO, a Group subsidiary). This means that a total of 688,262 hectares of forest concessions are simultaneously FSC(TM) certified. With this FSC(TM) certification, Rougier reaches a key milestone since the certification is internationally recognized by the large environmental NGOs. The certification attests that the Group’s forest concessions are managed in a responsible manner from three perspectives: 1) Optimization and conservation of the resource: Study of the allocation and evolution of the long-term resources available. 2) Protection of the biodiversity (fauna and flora): Evaluation of the impact of hunting and poaching, development and introduction of protective measures. 3) Socio-economic development: Contribution to the social development of the local populations, workers and residents of the forest worksites. – Major Progress in the Continuous Responsible Forestry Management Policy Francis Rougier, President of Rougier’s Executive Board, affirms: ‘True to its commitments in terms of management and protection of tropical forests, Rougier has for over ten years mobilized its teams in favor of strong and sustained commitment. We are making excellent progress towards the target that we have set ourselves: Gradually obtaining internationally recognized responsible management certifications for 100% of our concessions and hence rising to a double environmental and commercial challenge.’ http://www.ad-hoc-news.de/Rougier-Gabon-obtains-FSCTM-Certification–/de/Unternehmensnachrichten/19748955


22) A growing number of forestry, conservation and remote sensing experts are questioning the role in the REDD debate being played by the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Research Centre (WHRC). The Centre, which is widely recognised for its high quality research, such as by Dan Nepstad, who has now left the organisation, is a relative newcomer in policy discussions on forestry and climate. But questions have been raised about WHRC’s work in other parts of the world, and about the scientific integrity of some of the organisation’s recent ‘policy’ positions, such as the extent to which industrial logging contributes to forest degradation and climate change. At the Bali UNFCCC Conference in December last year, Woods Hole launched a series of reports looking at deforestation in each of the major tropical forest regions, and purporting to describe who was responsible for it, and how much it would cost to stop it. The report for the Democratic Republic of Congo concluded, on the basis of analysis of satellite imagery, that the main problem is slash-and-burn farming being carried out by hundreds of thousands of poor subsistence farmers. The document, which has subsequently had the name of the Congolese government appended to its front cover, suggested that this deforestation could be halted by paying such farmers a few hundred dollars each year in ‘compensation’ for their lost agricultural activity. What is not clear is whether WHRC’s analysis has taken into account that rotational slash-and-burn farming as widely practiced right across the Congo Basin, often takes place on a limited area of often secondary forest that is allowed to regenerate afterwards, and which cultivators return to in later years. So ‘snap shots’ of deforestation at any one moment can give a very misleading picture of where forest is really being lost permanently, and carbon is being released to the atmosphere. An area of forest that might from superficial analysis of low-resolution satellite images appear to be ‘deforested’ in any one year might appear in subsequent years to once again be forested. Some experts believe that it might require analysis of satellite images over a 15-30 year sequence, along with careful ‘ground-truthing’, to be able to distinguish between areas that are being deforested by farmers from those that are part of a broadly sustainable forest-fallow system. Unless the careful distinctions are made, tropical country governments are likely to be encouraged to blame the wrong ‘culprits’. http://boilingspot.blogspot.com/2008/10/woods-hole-research-centre-reliable.html

Ivory Coast:

23) In a population survey of West African chimpanzees living in Côte d’Ivoire, researchers estimate that this endangered subspecies has dropped in numbers by a whopping 90 percent since the last survey was conducted 18 years ago. The few remaining chimpanzees are now highly fragmented, with only one viable population living in Taï National Park, according to a report in the October 14th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. That catastrophic decline in chimpanzees is especially strong in forest areas with low protection status, where the researchers saw no sign of the chimps. Even in protected areas like Marahoué National Park, chimpanzees have clearly suffered since surveillance and external funding support were disrupted by civil unrest in 2002. “Following my transect lines in Marahoué National Park was similar to doing so in classified forests throughout the country, where I had to search long and hard to find any wild trees,” Campbell said. “It was saddening that I only found one nest in this park, as during the previous survey they found 234 nests along the same transects. The one nest I did find was also in an area that had just been cleared for agriculture.” The only remaining refuge for the dwindling West African chimpanzees is Taï National Park. However, this population is also extremely threatened by poaching activities, Boesch said. External financial support in that park is scheduled to end in 2010, a move that will probably have disastrous consequences for the last vestiges of chimpanzees in Côte d’Ivoire. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081013124419.htm


24) The natural forests were the most depleted by the increasing number of immigrants into the district who opt for virgin land in the forests. Kyamuhondeire said the forestry department had this week impounded over 400 pieces of timber and two power-saws from illegal timber cutters. He said his office had also confiscated 10 hand-saws from illegal sawyers. “Our efforts to protect forests are being frustrated by illegal pit-sawyers who indiscriminately cut trees.” The most affected sub- counties were Kasambya, Nkooko, Nalweyo and Kakindo in Bugangaizi county, he said. Kibaale district has planted 150,000 trees in a programme aimed at replacing the fast disappearing forests in the district. “Our target is to plant at least 200,000 trees before the rainy season ends to counter the high rate at which forests are being cleared for cultivation,” the acting district forestry officer, Wilson Kyamuhondeire, said. He said the forest department was now focussing on plating trees at sub-county headquarters and other institutions in the district. Kyamuhondeire was on Thursday addressing journalists at the district headquarters after touring the district to assess the state of forests. “In the last three years, we have planted over 950,000 trees but there is still need to plant more,” Kyamuhondeire said. http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/18/655298


25) Nigeria losses 5 billion dollars (about N650bn) annually from environmental degradation, the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute, has said. Julius Adebayo Onietan, an Environmental expert, disclosed this in a paper presentation during the workshop on environmental issues in Agricultural/Agro- Industrial and Rural Development Projects in Abuja. Julius noted that annually, Nigeria records an estimated loss from soil degradation and forestation to the tune of about $3, 000 and $1, 000m, coupled with the loss of biodiversity, wildlife and fishery resources which accounts for 10 and 50 million dollars respectively. He said that the loss of vegetation arising from agriculture, fuel wood and commercial timber extraction, among others, leads to desertification, declining soil productivity and loss of farmlands, flood and siltation of water bodies which are serious environmental problems. According to him, it is estimated that about 17million hectares of tropical forests have been destroyed between 1981 and 1990, while 75 percent of deforestation is attributable to agriculture, commercial timber extraction and fuel wood which are also significant, adding that internal and external factors are responsible for the large scale deforestation of forest in the tropics, while the internal factor is related to commercialization. http://allafrica.com/stories/200810160630.html


26) Oyugi’s research has focused on bird communities because they are a “bio-indicator” of environmental health. In his travels to his native Kenya, Oyugi studied how habitat changes, especially changes caused by deforestation, impact forest bird populations. This research can help improve ecosystem management and forest conservation in the face of human pressure. Also, Oyugi, who holds a doctorate in biological sciences, has studied the effects of human disturbance on tree populations in Kenyan forests and applied that research to forest regeneration in Illinois. In the classroom, Oyugi uses his field research to explain causes of species loss and “how we can conserve habitats to protect rare species from extinctions,” he said. The professor hopes students can gain valuable experience by joining him in his Kenyan research. He has applied for a National Science Foundation grant that will pay for students to travel to the Kenyan forests to get firsthand experience in ecological field work. http://www.pioneerlocal.com/norridge/news/1220659,no-kenyawright-101608-s1.article

27) The government has been urged to lift the partial logging ban to avoid wastage in forests and meet the country’s timber demand. The Kenya Forest Service Board chairman, Prof Eric Koech, on Saturday said that rising demand for timber for construction and other industrial purposes has led to increases in prices, making illegal logging a profitable business. In a statement to the newsrooms, he said that the ban, imposed nine years ago, has led to illegal logging in indigenous forest areas while exotic forest areas, planted more than 30 years ago, were ripe for harvesting. “The current produce ready for harvesting is worth over Sh3.5 billion annually. This produce continues to decompose in plantation forest areas,” said Prof Koech. He said that exotic plantations are in place to supply timber to the local market. “The partial logging ban is strangling the principles of fair business practices and to step up fair competition it is prudent to lift it,” said the statement. According to Prof Koech, the partial banning affects small-scale millers, leaving only four big actors to log, resulting in social tension among players in the industry. He noted that the lifting of the ban would be supported by mechanisms already in place to ensure maximum value and utilisation of timber. “The Service will provide technical support to timber industry business enterprises to assist in adding value to tree products,” he said. He added that materials in Kenya’s forests are mature and that the Service is on the verge of completing a national inventory meant to boost plantation management. http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/481772/-/tlfpb8/-/

28) A report by the Kenya Forestry Services department indicates that rare species of plants in the North Rift region which contribute to increased food production were being degraded through encroachment and illegal logging activities in public forests. “The life support systems sustaining forests and improved crop productivity could soon be overwhelmed unless corrective interventions are urgently carried,” warns deputy Director of natural resources Esau Omollo in the report. He cites Mau Complex, Transmara, Ol Pusimoru and Maasai Mau forests as most affected by the destruction. “The growing demand for more land for food production and harvesting of trees for timber and fuel is causing massive destruction to forest cover and measures should be put in place to contain the menace,” warns Mr John Chumo, Executive Director of Friends of Nandi, an environmental conservation body in the North Rift. Most forest stations in Rift Valley suffered wanton destruction during the post-election violence after illegal timber merchants took advantage of the chaos to harvest logs. “The Government incurred a loss of over Sh100 million in terms of revenue generation and property worth over Sh5 million lost during the violence translating to great damage to the bio-diversity of natural resources,” says KFS Director David Mbugua. According to the Commandant in charge of the Forest Rangers, Col (Rtd) John Kimani, at least Sh 27 million is required in short term to help stem out the current wave of destruction of public forests. http://www.nation.co.ke/News/regional/-/1070/483046/-/6kyst0/-/
29) The government has banned all logging activities in West Pokot district in an effort to protect the environment from further depletion. Members of the District Development committee- DDC have expressed concern over the indiscriminate felling of trees, saying if no action was taken to protect their existence, a serious environmental threat was in the offing. Speaking during the meeting chaired by acting district commissioner Albert Mwilitsa, the members decried the acute deforestation activities being undertaken by illegal loggers in Lelan, Kaprech and Kamatira forests, and warned anyone found in the forest would face the full force of the law. The committee also decried the increasing cases of insecurity due to cattle rustling and highway banditry along the Makutano – Lodwar road, and blamed the vice on the chiefs and their assistants, whom they said offered protection to the culprits. The D.C said the government would rein on government officers who were purportedly protecting criminals, saying any chief in whose area the insecurity escalates would be sacked. He said the government would set up security police posts in the volatile areas of the district in a bid to fight the escalating insecurity due to cattle rustling and highway banditry, adding already, plans were underway to have a security post at Lonou in Kamatira forest to fight highway banditry activities which were frequent in the area. http://www.kbc.co.ke/story.asp?ID=53102

30) “The shortage of timber created by the ban has pushed up prices, making illegal logging of indigenous forest very lucrative,” said Prof Koech on Friday during a tour of Mau Forest Complex. KFS which replaced the defunct Forestry Department (FD) becomes the first state agency to challenge the government ban which nearly brought down the ‘timber towns’ of Molo and Elburgon after their economic mainstay was cut off as hundreds of small scale saw millers were driven out of the forests. The ban order only gave four giant saw millers – the Nakuru Based Comply, Elburgon headquartered Timsales, state owned Pan Paper Mills and the Eldoret based Raiply — limited rights to exploit state forests and replenish them through an afforestation programme which has since drawn the fury of conservationists for its poor implementation. http://www.bdafrica.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10733&Itemid=5813

31) Wangari’s Trees of Peace is a beautifully imagined account, designed for young readers, of the life and career of Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan scholar, activist, and environmentalist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her leadership of the Green Belt Movement and her resistance to deforestation. The book represents her clash with authority—her standing between the trees and men with axes eager to build an office tower. She is depicted being hit by a club and bloodied by men who “call her a troublemaker and put her in jail.” And yet, in spite of her isolation, we are told she is not really alone, and the women and their trees fill the land with thirty million symbols of hope. Finally, the book tells of the world’s discovery of Wangari and her victory. Often, “message books” like these underestimate kids’ level of sophistication and come across as preachy or cloying. In my experience, kids are wary of being propagandized and tune out adult condescension. On the other hand, they are often responsive to environmental issues and moved to action by abuses such as those depicted by Jeanette Winter. What makes this book especially remarkable is that its author does not soft-pedal the hardships that Wangari Maathai faced in her challenge to political authority, even the violence and imprisonment she suffered is represented graphically. Winter, who provides simple yet colorful and evocative illustrations as well as an age-appropriate narrative, begins the book with an image of shelter: stylized trees in the shadow of Mount Kenya with goats frolicking and a young girl basking in the shade. Wangari is illustrated gathering firewood with her mother, again under the shelter of trees leafed with birds. She and her mother are depicted harvesting crops under a benevolent sun. She then leaves to study in America, and returns to see a land of tree stumps and unhappy women searching great distances, under a much more menacing-looking sun, for wood. Wangari asks poignantly, “And where are the birds?” The next illustration shows Wangari crying as she imagines Kenya becoming a treeless desert. She then decides to plant trees in her own backyard, cares for them, and then shares her seedlings with others in the village. The trees represent hope, and the other village women embrace the gifts. The trees become “like a green belt stretching over the land”—the author’s nod to the environmental movement Maathai founded. http://feministreview.blogspot.com/2008/10/wangaris-trees-of-peace-true-story-from.html


32) In Ghana, legislation requires logging firms to commit a portion of their financial resources towards the provision of social amenities to local forest communities. Logging firms must perform this legal obligation by signing and implementing “Social Responsibility Agreements” (SRAs) with forest communities. This report is about legal arrangements for enabling forest communities in Ghana to participate better in the benefits generated by timber activities. The document considers whether SRAs serve as effective vehicles for the sharing of benefits between local forest communities and investors. It reviews experience with Social Responsibility Agreements, and looks at what difference they have made to forest communities. In addition the author assesses the design, implementation and outcomes of Social Responsibility Agreements in the forestry industry in Ghana, drawing on a number of SRAs concluded between timber firms and local communities. Conclusions include: 1) Ghana’s experience may provide interesting lessons for other countries that are looking into developing arrangements to promote benefit sharing in forestry or in other sectors 2) the positive features of SRAs include clearly laid out minimum standards, explicit legal backing, and consideration for the conditions laid out in SRAs in the selection process for competitive TUC bids 3) the legal framework provides an enabling environment for the negotiation of SRAs, the actual practice of negotiating and implementing these agreements leaves much to be desired 4) Social Responsibility Agreements may become a more effective tool if local groups are better equipped to negotiate them. This requires establishing mechanisms to broaden community representation, so as to minimise local elite capture of SRA benefits. http://unladtau.wordpress.com/2008/10/18/forestry-sector-social-responsibility-ghana-case/


33) Following the arrest and sentencing of six people for the illegal felling down of trees at the Sibanor Forest Park by the Brikama magistrates court, another batch of three people was on Saturday arrested for the same offense at President Jammeh’s farm in Brufut. The arrested persons are Saloum Ceesay, Alhagie Njie, and Alpha MK Leigh. They were apprehended at the said farm and detained at the New Yundum Police Station where they are awaiting trial. Confirming this story to the Daily Observer on Monday during an exclusive interview, the regional Forestry officer, Western Region, Abdoulie Sanneh, said that two of the accused persons, Saloum Ceesay and Alhagie Njie are to be charged under Section 109F of the Forest Act, while the third accused, Alpha MK Leigh, is to be charged under Section 108, sub-section (1).of the Forest act for illegal charcoal production. He said that the three will appear in court on Tuesday at the Brikama Magistrates Court. Mr Sanneh also sent a warning to those involved in illegal deforestation to desist from the act saying anybody caught would be shown no mercy. http://wow.gm/africa/gambia/brikama/article/2008/10/22/3-arrested-for-deforestation


34) CHOUF: A new environmental and agricultural project in the Chouf region aims to protect the area’s natural environment against forest fires, wood cutting and other types of deforestation. According to Batloun Mayor Sleiman Kamaleddine, the project was launched in late August in cooperation with the Chouf municipalities and governorate, the forests center in Beiteddine and the Public Health Department of the Health Ministry in the Chouf. The project consists of allowing municipality officials to secure permits from the Agriculture Ministry to “trim and clean” existing forests, Kamaleddine told The Daily Star on Tuesday. “The resulting firewood is to be distributed to the needy, while branches and leaves are sent to a special press where they are transformed, along with olive residue, into artificial firewood,” he said. “Supported by [Progressive Soicalist Party leader Walid] Jumblatt, we have bought the press, which is worth $8,500, and installed it on a plot of land located in the Seema region,” he added. “Another machine, worth $15, 000, will also be set up in order to mince branches and turn them into sawdust. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=96989


35) AMMAN — Authorities are searching for wood dealers who hit a patrol vehicle in Ajloun last week, officials said on Tuesday. A four-member patrol made up of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment Police Department (EPD) tried to stop three wood dealers trying to escape after cutting down trees in Ajloun late Thursday night. They were hauling two tonnes of wood in their pickup truck when they encountered the patrol, an Agriculture Ministry official told The Jordan Times. An EPD source said that the wood dealers “hit the patrol vehicle while attempting to flee”. The Agriculture Ministry official, who preferred to remain unnamed, said one of the men was apprehended shortly after the collision, but the two others escaped. The apprehended suspect has a prior criminal record. According to the official, he was referred to prosecution; authorities expected to capture the other two “hopefully this week”. The fine for cutting down a tree in Jordan ranges between JD100 and JD300, and three months imprisonment, the official told The Jordan Times, adding that illegal logging activities happen “almost daily” in Ajloun. “Many of the violators are traders, not citizens cutting trees to heat their homes,” said the ministry official, adding that dealers sell wood in Amman at JD280-300 per tonne, and at JD180 per tonne in northern cities. Late last week, the Public Security Department said a group of people was interrogated in connection with forest fires in recent months. At the time, Jerash Agriculture Directorate head Jaafar Arabiyat told The Jordan Times that wood dealers might have committed arson in order to “distract the authorities’ attention” from logging activities in Jordanian forests. Jordan has less than 1 per cent of its total land covered in forests, yet, according to the Ministry of Agriculture official, judges tend to be lenient, passing on lesser punishments in case of logging. http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews+articleid_2714645.html

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