–Today for you 31 news articles about earth’s trees! (421st edition) http://forestpolicyresearch.com
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–North America: 1) Last Stands: A journey through North America’s vanishing ancient rainforests

–Canada: 2) 4 tests should be used to assess environmental policies. 3) Political will to put a stop to log exports? 4) Little public interest in Corner Brook’s five-year harvesting plans,

–Great lakes Region: 5) Pollution and Global Warming makes trees grow faster!
–Minnesota: 6) Aspen-birch thinning research
–Missouri: 7) Mark Twain NF on how to manage land and trees around Cedar Creek
–Iowa: 8) ‘Restored’ forest-savanna lacks shrub habitat
–Texas: 9) 80% of zoo critters lost, arboreal Sloth un-catchable for 4 weeks, 10) Saving hundreds of ancient oaks from storm’s salt water damage,
–Georgia: 11) State seems to be frontrunner in biofuels
–Massachusetts: 12) Tree killing beetle SWAT team of 32 climbers is going tree by tree and street by street,
–New Hampshire: 13) Legal battle over logging at Batchelder Brook
–Vermont: 14) Only fools selectively log biggest trees first, 15) Where forests reach the ocean, 16) Long march back from being almost entirely cleared,
–Pennsylvania: 17) Save Lebanon County woodland for possible cutting
–Maine: 18) There’s an imbalance right now
–North Carolina 19) Tourists flood mountains to see forests in fall’s turning,
–Southeastern forests: 21) Second generation biofools, 22) Dogwood Alliance forest defense history,

–USA: 23) 75% of fire fighting cost is for protecting private homes, 24) First public meeting on the Lacey act, 25) New rule will allow new mountain bike trails in National Parks, 26) $175 million for USFS to remove wood determined to be “hazardous fuels.” 27) Fragmentation: It’s even bigger than climate change! 28) Synthesis of Knowledge from Biomass Removal Case Studies, 29) Reach out and educate our 55 million students! 30) Only a 32-hour review of 200,000 public comments related to ESA rule changes? 31) Donate to Earthjustice & Attorneys give update on roadless rule proceedings,


North America:

1) “Last Stands: a journey through North America’s vanishing ancient rainforests,” I am interested in how forest imagery can evoke deep feelings of emotional attachment or abandon to nature and, perhaps, determine how much we care. Through series of sculptural installations incorporating objects, drawing, photography and video, I have been exploring correspondences between historical and contemporary attitudes and uses of the land and thereby engage the viewer in multiple constructs of nature. Written text, including poetry and local histories, postcards and historical photography have been my reflective starting points. These speak of landscapes with signs of human presence, either human beings figuratively or as evidence of living in the land (dwellings, shelters, fences, roads and paths). Whether by fire or cutting, the deliberate removal of trees is one of the most longstanding and significant ways in which humans have modified the environment. ‘Pulp’ is an reminder of how we utilize forest products in our day to day lives without considering the impact. http://bythebook-pml.blogspot.com/2008/10/pulp-by-fae-logie.html


2) Addressing an audience at the Business of Climate Change conference in Toronto today, Avrim Lazar, the President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) called on the federal government to step-up targeted action on climate change. “The question is not should we move on the environment but how do we move to make competitiveness the lens through which we design aggressive environmental progress,” said Mr. Lazar. FPAC is calling on governments at all levels to step up the next generation of climate change programs and policy arguing the climate problem is global, driven by the structure of the economy, and increasingly pressing. Canada’s approach needs to be structured in light of these facts. In his speech, Mr. Lazar outlined four tests which should be used to assess environmental policies to ensure they address both the climate and the economy. These include: 1) Does the policy accelerate the deep re-tooling of Canadian industry to allow for a low carbon footprint future? Tax and policy measures all have a significant impact on the speed of re-tooling. 2) Is the policy trade neutral? Disadvantaging Canadian industry on global trade can have the perverse impact of harming the global environment and exporting jobs to polluting countries. 3) Is the policy designed with international markets, rather than domestic jurisdictional boundaries in mind? The economy that has to change does not reside within provincial or even national jurisdictions. Harmonizing nationally and within North America is therefore essential. 4) Does the policy prepare the economy for a changed climate? Policy must account for a changed climate as much as it does for mitigating against a changing climate. http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/October2008/15/c5965.html

3) Political will has been rising in recent years to put a stop to raw logs leaving nearby forests and bypassing the community without employing local people. For all the talk of “value added” products, Northwestern Ontario’s forestry industry continues to fall. Hoping to reverse that trend, the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre held the Growing Forest Value conference in Thunder Bay this week to a crowd of over 200 people. “It has been everything we wanted and more,” said the centre’s director, Rick Moore. He applauded the summit of government, small and large business to tap into the creativity needed to launch a new generation of products to adapt to market shifts worldwide. “Have you seen these spoons,” asked an energetic Kenora Mayor Len Compton, pointing to biodegradable wooden utensils that some believe could replace their disposable plastic counterparts. Compton was thrilled with the success stories presented in the unofficial regional capital from building materials to blueberry wine to the seedling announcement of a Northern Ontario school of architecture. The need to adapt is necessary for the industry’s immediate survival. “These are perfect examples of small businesses getting going. http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1252905

4) CORNER BROOK — While there was little public interest shown in the public consultations held in the past year, people still have until next month to voice their opinions about Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s five-year harvesting plans within Forest Management Districts 14 and 15. The paper company submitted its harvesting plans for the west and southwest coasts of the island for the years 2009 to 2013 to the provincial government for environmental assessment earlier this month. Public comments are due by Nov. 10 and Environment and Conservation Minister Charlene Johnson’s decision is due by Nov. 17. This plan is one of the first of its type that reflects the new legislated planning requirements of the Newfoundland Forest Service. There used to be a requirement for both Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and the Crown to each submit a five-year plan for each of these two districts. The company accounts for about 30 per cent of the two districts through its timber licenses — most of which don’t expire until 2037. Now, the two ecologically-similar districts are treated as one ecoregion — known as Zone 6 in this case — and each entity only has to submit one five-year plan for each zone. “The meetings for those districts were held jointly and the issues dealt with jointly,” explained Stephen Balsom, a planning forester with Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. “We still had to show and discuss our forest management objectives in each of those districts separately. “The initial meeting was designed to inform attendees of the change in the planning framework as a result of the new legislation, the ground rules for participation and to form the new planning team for the zone,” the document reported. “Attendance at these meetings was extremely poor. Therefore, a second public meeting was held at both locations. This meeting was also poorly attended, however, with a few exceptions; attendees were common to both meeting locations …This lack of interest in the process left organizers in a dilemma on how to garner input from stakeholders. It was decided to contact the major stakeholders individually to identify and characterize their values …Every attempt was made to garner input from a wide range of groups and individuals. It is very disheartening however that, despite numerous attempts, little interest was shown.” The company plans to harvest a total of nearly 1.7 million cubic metres of timber in both districts in the next five years, including a little more than 1.2 million cubic metres in District 15 — the more northerly of the two districts. The company is also planning to build 77 kilometres of road in the coming five years, including about 63 kilometres in District 15. http://www.thewesternstar.com/index.cfm?sid=181449&sc=23

Great Lakes region:

5) More than 20 continuous years of research into the effects of climate and atmospheric pollution on forest productivity in the Great Lakes region indicate that moderate increases in temperature with sufficient moisture and increased nitrogen deposition have extended the growing season in northern hardwood forests, causing the trees to grow faster and to store more carbon. Dr. Andrew Burton, director of the Midwestern Regional Center of the National Institute for Climatic Change Research, can talk about his NSF-funded Michigan Gradient Study referenced above and the effects of temperature, moisture and acid rain on northern hardwood forests. http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/545352/


6) Want to grow quality paper birch in mixed aspen-birch stands? An article in the September 2008 issue of the Northern Journal of Applied Forestry reports dramatic results from early birch release in mixed birch-aspen stands in Minnesota. The research was designed to evaluate the impact of early timber stand improvement (TSI) in mixed stands at the Cloquet Forestry Center. Before treatment, stands were 16-18 feet tall with 1500-3000 stems per acre of paper birch and trembling aspen. Three different treatments were implemented. In each case, birch stems were released. This means that competing aspen or other stems were removed to give the birch more growing space. The release treatments differed in intensity, with post-treatment stem densities from 250 to 750 stems per acre. Preference was given to birch stems, but red maple and aspen were also retained where no birch was present to meet the spacing requirements. Results and discussion: All three treatments led to major increases in the birch component relative to aspen. In the control (untreated) plots, birch formed only about 14% of stand basal area six years post-treatment. In the treatment plots, birch formed 77-87% of stand basal area. There was little difference among treatment intensities. The increase in birch basal area as a percent of the total basal area was due mostly to reduction in other species, but also to increased birch growth. Relevance for woodland owners: If you’re trying to grow birch, this article should be of great interest. With a brushsaw in a young stand, you can quickly release seedlings of birch or other species you want to promote. This Minnesota study documents significantly reduced birch mortality and increased birch growth as a result of the treatment. http://www.forestrycenter.org/headlines.cfm?refID=104227


7) COLUMBIA – The US Forest Service is seeking public comment on what to do with certain areas of the Mark Twain National Forest. KBIA’s Maureen McCollum visited the area and has more. The Cedar Creek area is the northernmost part of the Mark Twain National Forest and stretches southeast of Columbia. It’s home to many oak tree covered trails and various critters. The US Forest Service is offering different proposals on how to manage the land and trees around Cedar Creek. The propositions affect different areas and include clear cutting forests or removing certain trees. The trees are then logged for lumber or firewood. Mark Hamel works with the Forest Service in Rolla. He says the agency studies the woods every ten to fifteen years and makes these decisions to maintain the forests’ health. “We’re looking at those stands and seeing problems with insects diseases the longevity of the trees and finding that if we’re going to have these, for example balck oaks or red oak group, we need to harvest it.” Hamel says the Forest Service wants to hear from residents about the various proposals. The Forest Service has already faced some opposition from different organizations. Hank and Katie Dorst are with the Mark Twain Forest Watchers, who enjoy their time in the woods. They hike through one area, which is proposed to be clear cut because it’s considered overly mature. Hank Dorst looks up at the towering white oaks. ”I don’t see any signs of death or disease there’s a lot of vigor in them. They’re definitely aging, they’re definitely old.“ He says he doesn’t think the Forest Service should change land that’s on its way to becoming an old growth area. Dorst’s wife, Katie, says some forest management can be beneficial for the area, but isn’t always necessary. ”We’re not against all logging here, some people are, but we really don’t think this is a good place to do it. Generally, we don’t think clear cutting is really necessary. There’s a lot of other ways to log a place that are much more gentle, much more conservative type of management, leaving the canopy intact.” http://publicbroadcasting.net/kbia/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1392650&sectionID=1


8) The Oct. 6 article on the restored savanna in Decatur County leaves the reader with the impression that shrubs are bad and have no place in forests and savannas (“Letting the Sun Shine In”). Native shrubs were part of our historical landscape and were a component of natural plant communities, including savannas. When shrubs are too few, we lose critical habitat for an entire group of declining songbirds, including such beloved species as brown thrashers, field sparrows and yellow-billed cuckoos. The Oct. 6 article on the restored savanna in Decatur County leaves the reader with the impression that shrubs are bad and have no place in forests and savannas (“Letting the Sun Shine In”). Native shrubs were part of our historical landscape and were a component of natural plant communities, including savannas. When shrubs are too few, we lose critical habitat for an entire group of declining songbirds, including such beloved species as brown thrashers, field sparrows and yellow-billed cuckoos. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20081021/OPINION04/810210363/-1/NEWS04


9) The nocturnal tree dweller eluded animal care staff members for four weeks as they trapped and rescued other sloths, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and bats in the Rainforest Pyramid, which was made uninhabitable by Hurricane Ike’s 14-foot tidal surge. The pyramid was flooded by a toxic soup of saltwater, jet fuel and sewage that fried all electrical systems and killed 4,200 animals, or about 80 percent of the pyramid’s population. The staff rescued 800 animals, which were then moved to the Houston Zoo and from there to zoos and aquariums as far away as Fresno, Calif. The animals will stay there for months while the pyramid is rebuilt. The two-toed sloth is among the last to go. Staff members, who moved food closer to the ground each day, finally coaxed the sloth down from his perch in a tree canopy, said Greg Whittaker, animal husbandry manager. When the sloth finally came within reaching distance, two staff members caught him and moved him to the outdoor enclosure. There he sits — unhappily, it seems — and awaits a ride to the Dallas Zoo while staff members clean up the damage from the water that flooded the basement and the west side of the pyramid. http://galvestondailynews.com/story.lasso?ewcd=6090d663ba6f50af&-session=TheDailyNews:42F946A718d4c01487nph18F83CE

10) City officials are struggling to save hundreds of century-old oaks lining Galveston’s main thoroughfare after saltwater soaked the ground during Hurricane Ike’s storm surge. The 53 blocks of oak trees were planted on the Broadway Boulevard esplanade, the entrance to the city, after the devastating 1900 hurricane that killed more than 6,000 people. More than 500 live oaks line Broadway, and they range in age from 50 to 100 years, said Lori Schwarz, city preservation officer. The saltwater storm surge extinguished plant life islandwide, and the effort to save the oaks is mirrored in yards throughout the city. The storm killed 32 oaks, but the city hopes to save the remaining trees by soaking their roots with water and applying gypsum to neutralize the salt, city Parks and Recreation Supervisor Roger Johnson said. “I think it’s a huge loss,” Parks and Recreation Director Barbara Sanderson said. “We are known for our huge oak trees down the middle of Broadway.” The 1900 storm virtually denuded the island of plant life, and the little that remained was buried under the dredge material used to raise the island 5 feet to make it storm-resistant, according to Jodi Wright-Gidley, curator of the Galveston County Historical Museum. The Women’s Health Protective Association planted the oaks as part of an effort to restore vegetation to the city, Wright-Gidley said. The association began replanting less than six months after the 1900 storm and by 1912 had planted 10,000 trees and 2,500 oleanders throughout Galveston, according the Handbook of Texas. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6060999.html


11) The appeal of wood-to-energy power has snagged the attention of a multitude of power companies that are seeking an environmentally friendly and economically sound way to power new and existing plants. Georgia seems to be a frontrunner in adopting this technology in the United States. In late August, Atlanta-based Georgia Power requested approval from the Georgia Public Service Commission to convert its 155-megawatt-per-year coal-fired unit at its Mitchell Generating Plant near Albany, Ga., to wood power. The feedstock will be obtained from suppliers operating within an approximately 100-mile radius of the plant. The facility, which will power 60,000 homes, expects to complete this conversion in 2012. In September, Tucker, Ga.-based Oglethorpe Power Corp., the largest power supply cooperative in the United States, announced a massive woody biomass power plant project in the state, which will supply nearly half of Georgia’s population with electricity. Plans include the construction of two 100-megawatt-per-year, carbon-neutral facilities—possibly a third in the future—that will run on a woody biomass mixture composed of chipped pulpwood, manufacturing residue such as sawmill waste, and harvest residue leftover from forest clearing. Each of the new facilities is expected to create 40 permanent jobs, and possibly hundreds more, within Georgia’s forestry industry. In June, Georgia passed a bill that would give business owners and residential consumers an income tax credit if certain clean energy property criteria were met. The bill, which includes biomass equipment to convert wood residuals into electricity through gasification and pyrolysis, went into effect July 1. http://www.biomassmagazine.com/article.jsp?article_id=2134


12) Finally Beebe, a US Department of Agriculture tree climber, found what she was looking for – a bit of bark where an Asian longhorned beetle had chewed out a pit and laid its tiny egg. This tree, like 1,500 others identified so far, will have to be cut down after the first hard frost, in hope of halting the destructive beetle’s advance into a region whose identity and economy is deeply entwined with maple syrup and fall foliage. A beetle SWAT team of 32 climbers is going tree by tree and street by street, the start of a monumental task that will take years. On public ways alone, there are about 19,000 trees in Worcester, the vast majority of which are maples – the insect’s favorite. Every tree vulnerable to the beetles – hardwoods including elms, willows, and birch in addition to maples – will have to be checked by climbers or crews hoisted in buckets or armed with binoculars. The sense of urgency comes from the size of the threat and its proximity to the treasured woodlands of Northern New England. The USDA says the beetle has the potential to cause more damage than gypsy moths, Dutch elm disease, and chestnut blight combined. The beetle has been found in a handful of other spots in the United States, but scientists say this in festation represents a unique threat. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/10/18/swat_team_takes_to_trees/
New Hampshire:

13) “That road there,” said forester Don Winsor, indicating a single dirt lane. “That is in the roadless area.” Winsor and his team of loggers have been using this road in the past few weeks to cut 18 acres. The wood will be used to heat homes and be sent to his company’s sawmill in Henniker, HHP, where it is made into things like shipping pallets for Monadnock Spring Water. The cut, behind iron gates in this area known as Batchelder Brook, is at the center of legal dispute being waged by the Sierra Club against the U.S. Forest Service. The organization is appealing the sale along with several other cuts, arguing it violates a Clinton administration directive restricting logging in roadless areas and sets a national precedent. The environmental group has received authorization for an expedited hearing in the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. That likely will happen next month. A restraining order to prevent the logging was denied at both the federal district and U.S. circuit court levels. U.S. Senator John Sununu toured HHP last week and, while he watched some of that wood being processed, he discussed concerns about the appeal. “It disregards the entire (forest planning) process and cuts against the wishes of the entire state,” said Sununu. New Hampshire supports a multi-use approach to the land which includes logging and recreation, Sununu said. Above the Moose-hillock Campground off Route 118 in Warren, the fall cut continues. HHP has spent $250,000 for the wood and spent money on bridges and improvements to drainage in the brook area. “What is particularly disappointing is the first acres they go after are the roadless,” said Catherine M. Corkery, chapter director for the New Hampshire Sierra Club. “These areas are protected by law…It states that we are not going to be building more roads, we are going to protect these areas,” she said. http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Logging+draws+Sierra+Club+action&articleId=2ef830c1-cca7-4f7b-9f90-7a3839e0742d


14) Several years ago, a logger showed me the harvesting he was doing on a piece of his family’s property. This was the third time he had harvested this particular piece, and he had noticed each time that the quality of the logs he was getting had markedly decreased from the previous harvest. The first harvest, some 30 years before, had yielded a good share of veneer-quality hardwood and lots of nice sawlogs. The second time around, the logs had been smaller and generally of lower quality, while the logs from the current harvest were so poor that the job was far less profitable than he had expected. He was proud of the quality of his harvesting and thought he was practicing good forestry; he didn’t understand why log quality was declining with each harvest. What was going on, he asked me? Some disease or insect? Weird weather? I had to tell him the hard truth: the real reason for the decline in tree – and hence log – quality with each succeeding harvest was that he was practicing diameter-limit cutting. In its simplest form, diameter-limit cutting is the practice of harvesting all of the trees on a parcel that are larger than a certain diameter. Diameter-limit cutting has been and continues to be very widely practiced in the Northeast, despite foresters’ frequent railings against it. For diameter-limit cutting to be so commonplace, there must be some strong arguments for it; let’s take a look at the arguments and their problems. There is a strong correlation between the relative diameter of trees of the same age and species and how well each is doing in the competition; in other words, the stronger trees are bigger. In a diameter-limit cut, we are typically harvesting the winners and leaving behind the losers, the “little trees,” in the hope that they will then grow rapidly. The problem with this thinking is that the “little trees” are often about the same age as larger trees nearby. They’re not necessarily young trees waiting for their opportunity; they’re old trees that haven’t flourished. http://northernwoodlands.org/articles/article/a_damaging_tradition_diameter_limit_cutting_diminishes_a_woodlot/

15) Where can you see songbirds of the deep forest, like the ovenbird and veery, within one mile of an oystercatcher on the beach or a night heron in the marsh? What do fish have to do with forestry? The answer to both questions is right here in the Sakonnet region encompassing Little Compton and Tiverton, where the hardwood forests reach down to the ocean. A Rhode Island version of Vermont meets the sea. Many of the conservation efforts in the Sakonnet area are focused on preserving forests and protecting the natural resources of the local coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and Sakonnet River. These lands play host to many globally rare and endemic species — meaning that these plants and animals can only live in the Northeast coastal region into which the towns of Little Compton and Tiverton snuggle so nicely. The open spaces, conserved shorelines and marshes and preserved forests provide homes, nurseries and habitats to ospreys, oysters and oaks, herons, holly and herring, while also providing the clear, fresh water that ensures a healthy marine environment. Many live in healthy abundance along the forested wetlands in Sakonnet. As a case in point, in June 2003, the Rhode Island Natural History Survey “Bioblitz” identified 844 different species just in the Tiverton forest area between Weetamoo Woods and Seapowet Marsh. The partners in the Sakonnet Conservation Coalition have through the years focused in part on preserving the large remnant patches of coastal forest that abound in the Sakonnet, from Mount Hope Bay to Buzzards’ Bay. Gone from other parts of the region, these forest tracts are large enough to support all the endemic plant and animal species into the future, if they can be protected. And they also provide natural services for the surrounding communities. Our regional fisheries, fresh and saltwater, commercial and recreational, depend on these ancestral forests. The tidal reaches of Sakonnet estuaries originate from cool, fast-running freshwater streams which have their source among these unfragmented forest tracts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Forested watersheds provide a filter for residents’ drinking water, assuring its health and quality, while helping to ensure that inshore coastal waters are constantly replenished with clean fresh waters that make up the delicate balance that can make or break the cycle of life. In time and as the Sakonnet region grows, the Sakonnet Conservation Coalition partners hope to coalesce the protected tracts around these irreplaceable resources and endemic wildlife. The success of this effort will be left to the next generation to consider. http://www.heraldnews.com/opinions/x398370414/FOCUS-Where-forests-meet-the-sea-10-19-08

16) On gloomy October evenings, it’s easy to imagine that spirits still inhabit the abandoned homesteads and logging camps that dot the Green Mountains, and even during the light of day, some remnants of Vermont’s pioneer past can be downright scary to stumble upon. But most of the time they are barely noticed, if at all. As Vermont has completed its long march back from being almost entirely cleared for agriculture 150 years ago to mostly forested today, the stone walls and foundations that mark 19th-century settlements have become as much a part of the woods as the maple and beech trees that now tower over them. It’s only when we find an ancient cellar hole far from the nearest road that we pause and think about the people who hacked hardscrabble farms out of what was once real wilderness, in many cases only to abandon them as more fertile land in the Midwest became available. Often there’s a story behind such discoveries. Learning it makes these places all the more intriguing. One of my favorite fall haunts is a small clearing deep in the woods that the members of my deer camp have come to call Crazy Ann’s Meadow, after an eccentric spinster who decades ago lived there in a one-room house. She survived by tending a few goats and subsisting off the land, selling jams, berries, syrup and honey to the villagers who lived miles below. The only way she kept from freezing on cold winter nights, an elderly neighbor once told us, was to pile into bed with the pack of mongrel dogs that also called the small house home. When we first discovered her homestead, the meadow had largely reverted to forest, though the house was still standing. Outdoors@shoreham.net.


17) A forester was told last week to continue marking trees on the west side of the 1,105-acre Lebanon County woodland for possible cutting. But the board of trustees of Clarence Schock Memorial Park at Governor Dick has yet to decide whether to authorize the timbering, said board member Thomas P. Harlan. “That’s the issue and that has not been resolved yet,” he said. “We’re seeking information and opinions on that.”Everyone agrees that potentially dangerous dead trees that lean over recreation paths in the park should be cut, Harlan said. But he added that those trees pose no immediate threat and will not be taken down before the board’s next meeting in November. The cluster of dead trees stands roughly in the area bounded by the Governor Dick observation tower and the trailhead parking lot and environmental center along Pinch Road. Logging opponents have spoken out against various tree-cutting proposals since 2001, when a large-scale logging plan was suggested. Susan Wheeler, a Lebanon resident and volunteer naturalist at the environmental center, said she helped to plant 80 young trees at the park a week ago. “These dead trees are just as important to the health of the forest as the ones we just planted, maybe even more so,” she said. Bill Knapp, a forest advocate from Lititz, said standing dead trees provide habitat for wildlife, such as pileated woodpeckers, while fallen “nurse” logs nourish young plants in a regenerating forest. Knapp and Wheeler said they oppose as well cutting down the successional black birch saplings that are springing up near the moth-killed trees. Driving heavy logging machinery through the woods would harm native plants and speed colonization by invasive species, Knapp contends. According to Knapp and Wheeler, consulting forester Barry Rose has surveyed 17 acres in the kill area and determined that 266 trees could be removed and sold for $14,000. “There is a time constraint on [the logging plan] because to get the most dollar value from the trees they’ll have to be cut by next spring,” before they start rotting, Knapp added.
“What did forests do before man came along to manage them with chain saws?” http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/228966


18) ORONO — “There is an imbalance right now,” said John Williams, president of the Maine Pulp and Paper Association. “We have to be careful to continue to harvest wood sustainably.” The exploding demand for fuel isn’t helping, officials said. “Wood Pellets are new. It’s a wild card,” said Dave Struble of the Maine Forest Service. “The other wild card in this is firewood.” The price of firewood has gone up almost $100 a cord in the last couple of years, officials said. Although Struble said that more wood is growing in the forests than is being harvested, the increased demand for wood pellets and biomass chips is exacerbated by the fact that loggers are having trouble getting to the trees. Reasons for the harvesting difficulties range from the meteorological — such as last winter’s record snows — to the political, Williams said. The industry depends on a work force of about 700 Canadian foresters, especially in very productive forested areas in the northwestern part of the state. Some of those foresters have been caught up in a new federal immigration policy and can’t get their work visas. Another problem is that there are fewer loggers nowadays, he said. Williams also said that people in the industry are concerned that when trees get turned into fuels such as wood pellets and biomass chips, not much value is added to the raw material. http://www.bangornews.com/detail/91129.html

North Carolina:

19) Trees sense two things – the change in day length, which starts them in their preparation for winter, and changes in temperature, he said. Warm temperatures can delay color turning and lack of rain is a major factor in the degree of brightness, Neufeld added. “That may be the overriding effects of the drought, if your colors are not as bright as usual,” he said. The condition of the trees is also a big factor determining whether a fall leaf season will feature dull, muted hues or bright, vibrant color, fall foliage, experts said. Due to the differences in elevations, the mountains of Western North Carolina typically enjoy a lengthy fall color season. Ranging from 2,000 feet in the valleys to 6,684 feet at Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, the mountains surrounding Asheville and Hendersonville boast a range of microclimates and tree species that create one of the most extended fall foliage seasons in the nation. “Up here in Boone, it’s peaking right now, and it looks like a good year,” Neufeld said. “Henderson County, being a couple of thousand feet lower than we are up here, I would expect your colors to peak this weekend and probably into next weekend.” Trees that are peaking this week include maples, which turn a yellow-orange color, although red maples, naturally, turn red. Sourwood trees also turn red and dogwoods turn a deep burgundy color, Neufeld said. The yellow colors people will see during their drives or hikes through the mountains will most likely be hickory, tulip poplar and birch trees, he added. “Some of the brightest red plants are the Virginia Creepers,” he said. “When you see a tree with its trunk covered in bright red, chances are it’s a Virginia Creeper.” Trips to the mountains for leaf viewing make October one of the busiest months of the year for tourism in Henderson County, said Travel and Tourism Communications Director Karen Baker. Hotel managers across Henderson County reported brisk business Wednesday in anticipation of one of the busiest times of the year. “It’s like someone turns a switch on Oct. 1 and everyone starts coming,” said Jim Laub, general manager of Best Western on Sugarloaf Road in Hendersonville. “I’ve booked 15 rooms in the last hour. http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20081015/ARTICLES/810151058?Title=Trees_boost_local_economy

Southeastern forests:

20) Cellulosic biofuel is on its way. This second generation biofuel — so-called because it does not involve food crops — has excited many researchers and policymakers who hope for a sustainable energy source that lowers carbon emissions. However, some believe that cellulosic biofuel may prove less-than-perfect. Just as agricultural biofuels have gone from being considered ‘green’ to an environmental disaster, some think the new rush to cellulosic biofuel will follow the same course. Scot Quaranda is one of those concerned about cellulosic biofuel’s impact on the environment. Campaign director at the Dogwood Alliance, which he describes as “the only organization in the Southern US holding corporations accountable for the impact of their industrial forestry practices on our forests and our communities”, Quaranda condemns cellulosic biofuels as dangerous to forests “by its very definition”. The southern forests of the United States contain a wealth of biodiversity, ecosystem types, and watersheds. However, the region is also the world’s largest paper producer for everything from office supplies to packaging to fast food containers. Currently 43 million acres of what was once old-growth forest are now paper-producing plantations. “Large amounts of carbon have been released in the industrialization of the southern forests, biodiversity has greatly suffered leaving many species endangered, ecosystem types have dwindled to smaller and smaller pockets, and watersheds have been ruined,” Quaranda says. “Despite the pressure of the paper industry, there are forests left which remain pristine. Now, however, a new threat looms.” The new threat is cellulosic biofuels. “Tree-based biofuels, also known as cellulosic ethanol, is a product that will be produced from wood waste, pulpwood and wood chips by converting the cellulose to a liquid fuel through either a thermal or enzymatic process,” Quaranda says, adding that “cellulosic ethanol can also be created from other cellulose-rich plants like switch grass and jatropha.” According to Quaranda sixteen bioenergy projects are currently underway in the South, one of which will be online in as early as 2009. “The future of these magnificent forests and the people of the region whom have come to rely on them are seriously in jeopardy should cellulosic ethanol go into large-scale production,” Quaranda warns. “More forests will be cut down, a greater number of greenhouse gases will be released into the atmosphere, air and water quality will be compromised, and our already taxed water supply will be further depleted, threatening both our environment and quality of life.” http://news.mongabay.com/2008/1016-hance_quaranda_interview.html

21) Scot Quaranda: Southern activists formed Dogwood Alliance in November 1996. Originally, Dogwood Alliance focused on stopping the expansion of chip mills – facilities that grind whole logs into wood chips for making paper and chipboard — across the South. Since our founding we have had successes at the state, national and corporate level in increasing real and lasting protection for our forests. Since 2000, we have secured environmental paper policies and on the ground action from all of the top office supply companies including Staples, Office Depot, OfficeMax, FedEx/Kinko’s and Corporate Express. We have also reached landmark agreements with major paper companies including AbitibiBowater, North America’s largest newsprint manufacturer, and are currently campaigning on reform of paper packaging in the music, health & beauty and fast food sectors. Mongabay: What can Southerners do to protect their forests? How about those who don’t live in the region, how can we help? Scot Quaranda: When it comes specifically to Southerners, the best thing that we can do is become better stewards of the land and make smarter land management decisions. This means more conservation of forests, truly sustainable forest management practices, and rejecting false solutions to our energy crisis like cellulosic ethanol. That said, the entire Western world is accountable to not only Southern forests but forests around the globe and everyday decisions have an impact on whether we move towards a truly green world or continue with business as usual practices that have gotten us into our current predicament. We need to examine our levels of consumption as it relates to forests and energy. We need to use less, consume smartly, and make sure that you are getting the most out of what you choose to consume, and we need to hold corporations accountable for their decisions that have a tremendous impact on our forests. Anyone can write a letter to the editor, sign a petition, make a phone call to the CEO of a company or your legislator to make sure they are aware of the threat of cellulosic ethanol to our forests and our communities in the Southern US and around the world. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/1016-hance_quaranda_interview.html


23) The Forest Service has long recognized the importance of fire to North American ecosystems, but most fires on national forests are still suppressed—in 2005, more than 99 percent— largely because of the threats to private property in the wildland-urban interface. The risk escalates as communities continue to push their boundaries into forested areas. Between 1970 and 2000, the developed portion of the wildland-urban interface grew in size by 52 percent, and this trend is expected to continue, according to a 2007 study from Colorado State University. With more development comes a higher bill for fire suppression. One USDA audit reports that between 50 and 95 percent of Forest Service fire suppression budgets, which have averaged more than $1 billion per year since 2000, is spent protecting private homes in the wildlandurban interface. As more developments encroach on forested lands, federal agencies cannot continue to take responsibility for their neighbors, passing the bill on to the taxpayers at large. It would behoove residents of the wildland-urban interface to recognize the threats that exist in their locations and to take preventative steps to protect themselves in the event of wildfire. Alison Berry is a research fellow at the Property & Environment Reseach Center (PERC) specializing in forest economics and policy. http://ecoworld.com/features/2008/10/12/living-on-the-edge-managing-forest-fire-risk/

24) U.S. government agencies today held the first public meeting to present the government’s commitment to implement and enforce a new law amending the U.S. Lacey Act to prohibit trade in products that contain illegally logged wood. Representatives from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Interior, and the Department of Justice outlined plans for a large audience, focusing on a phased-in approach for the requirement to declare the origin and species of the plant material contained in a wide variety of products. Also today, the key Congressional proponents of the bill, including Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senator Baucus (D-MT), Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV), and Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) published a letter to these implementing agencies welcoming the phased-in approach and encouraging them to produce further details to ensure pragmatic implementation of the legislation. A statement from an unusually broad coalition of 48 environmental, importer and manufacturing groups supported the content of the Congressional letter (for full list, see below). The Agencies announced that the enforcement of the declaration requirement will begin on April 1st, 2009, for plants, timber and solid wood products, to coincide with the availability of a web-based declaration system. Other products of concern, such as furniture and paper, will be phased in subsequently over a two year time frame. The underlying prohibition on trade in products that contain illegally logged wood has already been in place since May 22nd, 2008. At the meeting, the Department of Justice emphasized its intention to enforce these prohibitions, suggesting that it was no longer acceptable for wood purchasers to remain ignorant of the source of their material. The Lacey Act amendments were a response to the global problem of illegal logging, which costs developing countries an estimated $15 billion a year in lost revenue, contributes to the 20% of annual total greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation, and supports organized crime around the world. http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/us-government-rolls-out-implementation/story.aspx?guid={6F8FB0F2-A93A-4D01-9777-DC296ECA48F9}&dist=hppr

25) The Bush administration plans to make it easier for mountain bikers to gain access to national parks and other public lands before the president — an avid cyclist himself — leaves office. The National Park Service confirmed Tuesday that it is preparing a rule that will allow decisions about some mountain bike trails to be made by park managers instead of federal regulators in Washington, a process that can take years. A park service spokesman said the rule would be proposed no later than Nov. 15 so it could be final before Bush leaves office. If adopted, the proposal would likely result in more mountain biking opportunities on public lands. Currently, the Park Service has to adopt a special regulation to open up trails to mountain bikes, which requires the public to be formally notified. The same process is required for all-terrain vehicles and other motorized recreation on park lands. “We are trying to give superintendents a little bit of latitude especially for non-controversial proposals for bicycling in parks,” said Jeffrey Olson, a spokesman for the service. “We are responding to public demand.” Environmental advocate Jeff Ruch called the rule a lame-duck gift for the mountain biking lobby from the “Mountain-Biker-in-Chief,” referring to Bush. Ruch, executive director of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said the proposal would open up backcountry trails to mountain bikers. Mountain bikers are blamed for erosion of trails and trampling native plants. They also disturb other park users, such as hikers, birders and horseback riders. http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/27183753/

26) A bill signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on Sept. 30 could offer potential benefits to biomass companies working with waste wood. Chapter six of The Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009 includes an allowance of $175 million for the U.S. Forest Service to use in removing wood determined to be “hazardous fuel” in areas of the country that are prone to wildfires. The issue of waste wood removal from federal lands, and specifically from national forests, has been an issue of contention among members of Congress since the passage of the 2008 Farm Bill which included language disallowing the removal of such wood. In August, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., held a senate energy subcommittee hearing to discuss the matter, focusing on the removal of woody biomass in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota. Forestry experts who testified at the hearing contradicted the language of the farm bill, stating that not removing waste wood posed more risk to the health of a forest than if such debris was removed. Thune had introduced a bill amending language in the farm bill to include waste wood in national forests as “woody biomass.” It now appears that the issue has at least been partially rectified by the allowance of money to fuel the Forest Service’s removal of waste wood from federal properties. http://www.biomassmagazine.com/article.jsp?article_id=2106

27) “By far,” said Michael Soule, a retired biologist and founder of the Society for Conservation Biology. “It’s bigger than climate change. While the serious effects from climate change are 30 years away, there’s nothing left to save then if we don’t deal with fragmentation. And the spearhead of fragmentation are roads.” Fragmentation cuts off wildlife from critical habitat, including food, security or others of their species for reproduction and genetic diversity. They eventually disappear. Some 4 million miles of roads affect 20 percent of the country, and in the past 10 years the new field of road ecology has emerged to study the many impacts of roads, and how to mitigate the damage. “Roads are the largest human artifact on the planet,” said Richard T.T. Forman, a professor of landscape ecology at Harvard, who brought road ecology from Europe to the United States. He is the editor of the definitive text on the field, “Road Ecology: Science and Solutions” (Island Press, 2003). One of the first projects in this country to ameliorate the effect of roads was on Florida’s Alligator Alley on Interstate 75. A series of 24 underpasses restored water flow to the Everglades and allowed wildlife to migrate safely. The changes reduced the mortality of Florida panthers — of which there were only around 50 — from four per year to 1.5. Now, the number of ecologically sensitive road designs built or under way in the country is in the hundreds. In Amherst, Mass., salamanders emerge from hibernation in the mud on the first rainy night of April. “They come up and go screaming across the street to their breeding pond and have an orgy,” Forman said. So many were being killed that locals stopped traffic on the night they emerged to let them cross safely. In 1987, engineers placed a tunnel under the road, with two fences to funnel the reptiles to the crossing. The gold standard for wildlife-friendly roads is in Banff National Park in the mountains of Alberta. Canada’s major highway, Trans-Canada 1, passes through the park, and with 25,000 vehicles per day, wildlife-vehicle collisions were frequent. There are 24 crossings (all but two underpasses), and they have reduced collisions with ungulates by 96 percent and all large mammals by 80 percent. In the past few years the concept has become an integral part of roads, helped by a 2005 federal transportation bill that mandated green-road design. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2008277004_grizzlies17.html

28) A new report released by the Forest Guild, Synthesis of Knowledge from Biomass Removal Case Studies, does just that. The report highlights successful strategies from biomass removal projects from across the country. Through funding from the Joint Fire Sciences Program and help from the U.S. Forest Service, the Guild collected over 45 case studies of biomass removal from public, tribal, conservation, and private lands. The report analyzes the themes, strategies, and lessons learned from these examples. Forest managers, landowners, entrepreneurs, and industry partners can access the Guild’s new report and in-depth case studies on the web at biomass.forestguild.org. Technically, the term woody biomass includes all the trees and woody plants in forests, woodlands, or rangelands. In practice, woody biomass usually refers to vegetation removed from the forest, usually logging slash, small diameter trees, tops, limbs, or trees that can not be sold as higher value products. “I’m amazed at the breadth of reasons and methods to remove woody biomass,” says Dr. Zander Evans, Forest Guild Research Director and the report’s author. “Harvesting biomass from forests isn’t just about reducing our dependency on oil. Habitat improvement, smoke management, forest-stand improvement, and ecological restoration are all important reasons to remove low-grade trees and material from the forest.” Interest in woody biomass from forests has increased dramatically because of rising energy costs, concerns about greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, and the need for forest restoration. However, getting woody biomass from the forest to the consumer presents economic and logistical challenges. The Guild’s new report identifies the building blocks of success in meeting these challenges: early and substantial public involvement, partnerships with efficient contractors, existing markets with favorable prices, and mechanization where appropriate to the forest type. Of course, the specific solutions for successful biomass removal are as varied as the forest where projects occur or the objectives land managers seek to achieve. “The health and future of our nation’s forests will be bolstered by the Forest Guild’s work,” says Jerry Payne, Biomass Utilization Specialist, U.S. Forest Service. “In this time of dwindling oil supplies and rising prices, it is of utmost importance to ensure the protection of our forests while making the most of our renewable fuel sources.” In addition to this biomass case study research, the Guild is actively engaged in the development of biomass removal guidelines to protect multiple forest values and in on-the-ground projects that provide clean energy from biomass. http://biomass.forestguild.org

29) We have been an utter failure at convincing many in the environmental community of the importance of reaching out to these 55 million students as future voting citizens that must be ecologically literate and that power of ecological knowledge: in generating a “love of place”, while igniting a genuine, passionate and active response to the looming ecological crisis of species extinction, deforestation and climate change. Never, has such a large group of humans’ gone untapped and ignored in the process of creating change in the name of social good. Yet, corporate entities, I refuse to call them people or humans, despite the 14th amendment’s entitlement of personhood to corporate America (a “slave reversal” proposition, where citizens became beholden and indentured lapdogs to corporate greed and power), now spend millions of dollars yearly to spawn “science curriculum” for the public good. Theirs is not a curriculum of science: it is the “science of death.” I do not state this glibly or in anger, I state it based in fact. From timber funded “Project Learning Tree” to the charade of energy education by the cartel of oil pimps better known as the “American Petroleum Institute”, teachers are unwittingly and tragically “teaching” concepts that students may embrace that encourages more oil consumption, more clear cutting and greater avoidance of ecological tenets that clearly state that the earth as a sustainable system is on “life support.” Sitting in front of me I have “Project Learning Tree” curriculum, which like an educational malignancy has spread falsehoods, half-truths and obfuscations about forest ecology in classrooms around the nation, now embraces working with the American Petroleum Institute on energy issues: rife with more corporate friendly “science” at the expense of substantive ecological truths. In their “energy module” (that is a laugh): there is no substantive discussion on climate change, acidification of the oceans or peak oil. For years, I have toiled to inform teachers that Project Learning Tree, funded by timber dollars and given cover by some so-called “green groups” is the poster child for the ultimate “guilty of the worst sin-omission” curriculum I have ever thumbed through. Yes, detractors will whine, “but, John, it has some good materials.” Yes it does, yet, does that provide cover and forgiveness for not thoroughly explaining that trees farms are not forests? That clear cutting old growth and soon-to-be old growth forests is a climate change debacle (all recent data show these forests as carbon reservoirs)? Those years of forest fragmentation has caused large predators to decline, watersheds to dry and erosion to eradicate thousands of years of soil building? Project Learning Tree is a vehicle to put a “smiley face” on an industry that lies repeatedly about forest ecology, bilked taxpayers of billions of dollars in welfare subsidies, manipulated lawmakers to encourage more deforestation and most grotesquely; made our children’s planet less livable. jenjill@peak.org

30) Rushing to ease endangered species rules before President Bush leaves office, Interior Department officials are attempting to review 200,000 comments from the public in just 32 hours, according to an e-mail obtained by The Associated Press. In an e-mail last week to Fish and Wildlife managers across the country, Bryan Arroyo, the head of the agency’s endangered species program, said the team would work eight hours a day starting Tuesday to the close of business on Friday to sort through the comments. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne’s office, according to the e-mail, will be responsible for analyzing and responding to them. The public comment period ended last week, which initiated the review. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., whose own letter opposing the changes is among the thousands that will be processed, called the 32-hour deadline a “last-ditch attempt to undermine the long-standing integrity of the Endangered Species program.” At that rate, according to a committee aide’s calculation, 6,250 comments would have to be reviewed every hour. That means that each member of the team would be reviewing at least seven comments each minute. It usually takes months to review public comments on a proposed rule, and by law the government must respond before a rule becomes final. “It would seem very difficult for them in four days to respond to so many thoughtful comments in an effective way,” said Eric Biber, an assistant professor at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. Along with other law professors across the country, Biber sent in 70 pages of comment. http://www.startribune.com/nation/31881144.html?elr=KArks:DCiUMEaPc:UiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU

31) I’m writing to give you a brief update on our Roadless Rule hearing on Monday. I argued before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, defending our district court victory overturning the Bush administration’s repeal of the Roadless Rule and reinstating the Roadless Rule’s protections. Joined by four states, we were delighted to have the chance to present legal arguments on your behalf about the importance of nationwide roadless area protection. Defending the Roadless Rule has required a series of legal actions. This part of the roadless litigation campaign is now in the Court’s hands, while other pieces of roadless litigation will take place in other courts. In fact, right now we’re preparing our defense of the Roadless Rule in federal district courts in Wyoming and California, as well as in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. We’re able to continue defending this landmark rule — which affects the fate of more than 50 million acres of wild places in your national forests — because of donations from supporters just like you. I hope that we can count on your support as we continue to hold the line against the Bush administration’s giveaways of your national forests.Sincerely, Kristen Boyles Attorney, Northwest Office — Time and time again, the administration has pushed to open up public forests to development, and we’ve beaten them back every time, but only because we’ve had the support of folks like you keeping our attorneys on the case. In addition to defending the Roadless Rule, we are fighting for your national forests by… 1) challenging the Forest Service’s approval of a highly polluting phosphate mine expansion project in two roadless areas of Idaho’s Caribou-Targhee National Forest. 2) fighting Forest Service plans that will open up 91% of pristine roadless areas in the southern California national forests to timber harvesting, road-construction, and off-road vehicles, in clear violation of federal law. 3) appealing the Forest Service’s latest plan for the majestic Tongass National Forest, which includes allowing old-growth logging in more than two million acres of roadless areas. And we’re preparing to halt future timber sales planned for Tongass roadless areas. 4) Protected key old-growth forest habitat in the Pacific northwest, stopped 12,000-acres’ worth of logging projects in Plumas National Forest 5) preserved Giant Sequoia National Monument from pro-timber management plans. — Our attorneys are fighting on several fronts to safeguard our national forests through the end of this administration and beyond, but we cannot do it alone. Please make a special gift to help us hold the line against Bush’s last-minute giveaways of national forests now: Please click here to donate: https://secure.ga0.org/02/protect_our_forests/nO1AW9G71B01p?source=isa081031007 Sincerely, Trip Van Noppen President, Earthjustice

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