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20 June 2007 @ 08:57 pm
205 - Earth's Tree News  
Today for you 37 new articles about earth?s trees! (205th edition)
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Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

--British Columbia: 1) Save Cowichan Old Growth, 2) Challenge to change what you cut, 3) A really bad 85-hectare logging project,
--Washington: 4) Island Lake Forest saved, 5) Deforesting Seattle, 6) Logging graves,
--Oregon: 6) Vole saving may slow Tillamook logging, 7) Definition of old Growth,
--California: 9) Save Jackson State forest, 10) Fern Gully treesit, 11) Nude tree defense, 12) Harvest rate declines,
--Wisconsin: 13) Tornado salvage begins
Oklahoma: 14) Old Post Oaks to be turned into park in the middle of a development
--Louisiana: 16) Tree-killing salt marshes
--Delaware: 17) Wood thrush lost 43 percent of its population over the past 40 years
--New York: 18) Conservation group purchased 161,000 acres of timberland
--North Carolina: 19) Clearcutting for Jesus
--USA: 20) Canada Lynx protection plans
--European Union: 21) EU biofuel demand will displace 5 million Indonesians,
--Finland: 22) Wood supply decreases so they will cut faster to ensure self-sufficiency
--Greece: 23) Forestland to housing land politics continues
--Iran: 24) Forests, Rangelands and Watershed Organization
--Ivory coast: 25) In the past, beliefs about sacred woods served to protect these places
--Mexico: 26) Forest protection for rare butterfly is a failure
--Puerto Rico: 27) one island two completely different forest
--Madagascar: 28) Paying 3rd world to save forests
--India: 29) Naxal militants taking over forests
--Bangladesh: 30) Protecting Forests and Forest Dwellers: Role of Law,
--Nepal: 31) Smugglers go unchecked
--China: 32) Xishuangbanna rainforests in Yunnan is short on drinking water
--Vietnam 33) Forests for Livelihood Improvement in the Central Highlands
--Philippines: 34) Virgin Mary protection doesn?t apply to forests --Papua New Guinea: 35) Rimbunan Hijau logging right kept on hold by courts
--Malaysia: 36) 2,566-hectare Rhizophora forest reserve covers 94 per cent of the island,
--South Asia: 37) South Asian regional workshop on Protecting Forests and Forest Dwellers: Role of Law

British Columbia:

1) A group dedicated to saving an old growth forest are looking everywhere for help, and they found it with the Cowichan Valley Regional District. The group, Old Growth Forest on Koksilah River, asked the CVRD to enter into negotiations with TimberWest to make the Koksilah River ancient forest into a park or protected area. They want TimberWest to put a hold on plans for any road building or logging in the 20-hectare forest until an agreement between all parties involved is made for the area. The directors agreed to do just that at its regular board meeting Wednesday. The CVRD also agreed to write and send letters to various provincial ministers in an effort to enlist their help to save the forest, which the lobby group said is vital to Cowichan Valley tourism. ?Tourists come to B.C. because they like big things here; big mountains, big mammals and big trees,? said tourism operator, Scott Bonner, of the Victoria-based Midnight Sun Adventure Tours. ?There is a need for natural-based tourist products and more and more people are coming to see the Cowichan Valley wilderness,? he said. As a courtesy, CVRD chair Jack Peake agreed to give TimberWest boss man Steve Lorimer a personal call to let the timber company exec know what CVRD?s intensions are. In addition, Peake will be seeking a sit down with Rich Coleman, the minister of forestry, to ask for his help to save the old trees. http://www.cowichannewsleader.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=9&cat=23&id=1007665&more=0

2) Coastal lumber manufacturers received a wake-up call Monday in the form of a report that tells them they face huge challenges in making the transition from high-valued old-growth forests to second-growth. The coastal forest industry is one of the highest-cost lumber producing regions in the world that only makes money consistently from the old-growth harvest, according to the report prepared by International Wood Markets Group. Yet the coast is facing a transition to second-growth timber, mostly hemlock and balsam that has poor to flat growth potential, the report states. Making the most of that market is going to require new investment, and market and product research. The coastal forest is 60 per cent hemlock and balsam, which is costly to harvest, a challenge to manufacture, and sells for less than species like cedar and Douglas fir. As long as sawmills have high fixed costs, the ability to enter global commodities markets is limited, states the report, commissioned by the Coast Forest Products Association. Without significant investments in research, new technology and marketing, the variability in wood quality "makes harvesting hemlock-balsam forests somewhat of a lottery." The risks with hemlock reinforce the importance of the current old-growth industry. "The old-growth harvest consumed in the specialty sector, including western red cedar, should be given full industry and government support," states the report. "Specific policy measures designed to support this sector should be developed to ensure that a steady supply is maintained at affordable levels to support a stable cedar processing industry." The report also identified a 37-per-cent decline in the number of large sawmills -- from 43 to 27 -- between 1990 and 2004, and a 31-per-cent reduction in manufacturing output. The association released the 147-page report Monday. Association president Rick Jeffery said the study's findings are timely because the industry can now begin finding ways to adapt. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=1efd6ea1-1935-4bde-9220-c786e66a4

3) The government?s actions in approving an 85-hectare logging project near Anderson Lake came under criticism from the B.C. Forest Practices Board (FPB) last week, with the board concluding that approving the project ?does not represent good stewardship of winter habitat for deer? and recommending that the government ?consider ways to provide replacement timber for the licensee in a less sensitive area.? The FPB report, issued last Thursday (June 7), provides fuel for those who have opposed the N?Quatqua Logging Co. project since they first heard about it early last year. However, because the board?s role in the process is merely advisory, it?ll be up to the applicants ? the N?Quatqua Band chief and council ? to decide on an appropriate response to the report. Repeated attempts to obtain comment from Chief Harry O?Donaghey and members of the band council were unsuccessful. Tony Buckley, B.C. Timber Sales (BCTS) manager for the Kamloops business area, said he disagrees with at least some the report?s conclusions, but added that officials with his office planned to meet with the applicants soon to discuss the project. The FPB report will be one of the issues raised, he said. ?We still do believe that we did follow and meet the legislation, and we definitely ourselves, and the licensee, acted in good faith in trying to manage the mule deer winter range,? Buckley said on Tuesday. http://www.whistlerquestion.com/madison%5CWQuestion.nsf/0/51B28F24666DCFF9882572FA007271B4?Open


4) The property, called Island Lake Forest, is a 359-acre mosaic of old growth Douglas fir and Sitka spruce forest on old sand dunes within one mile of the Pacific Ocean. Old growth Douglas fir communities on sand dunes close to the ocean are extremely rare, occurring in only a few locations in the Pacific Northwest. ?Speaking ecologically, to have a dry forest tree such as Douglas fir growing in a region with more than eighty inches of rain per year, a mile from the ocean, is simply bizarre,? says Kathleen Sayce, local ecologist and Bank Scientist for Shorebank Pacific in Ilwaco. ?Wonderful, but bizarre.? There is an active heronry in the forest with more than 70 nests. Eagles, osprey, other raptors, and a variety of small birds are common in and around the forest. Other wildlife includes river otters, woodpeckers, bear, deer, elk, migratory warblers, waterfowl, and possibly the federally-endangered marbeled murrelet. The property is part of a well-used corridor for wildlife moving north and south. ?The wetlands and forests of the interior often go unnoticed alongside the ocean beaches to the west and Willapa Bay to the east, yet they provide important faunal habitat as well as surface water storage that recharges the unique island aquifer on the peninsula,? says Sayce. This acquisition by Columbia Land Trust is part of a broader conservation effort in the region. The Land Trust has worked with scientists, local communities, and local landowners to develop a long-term strategy to conserve the most important lands and waters of the peninsula and bay. The Land Trust has now conserved over 800 acres of key properties in this area. To consider logging our forest was a consideration that broke my heart,? says Frank Glenn IV. ?Not only would the destruction have vanquished the unfathomable beauty these forests have to offer, but such logging would have destroyed a beating heart in the Willapa ecosystem, wrenching the wild core of the Long Beach Peninsula out by its roots, taking another vital link of habitat forest from the fragile chain of life that still remains in our local region.?. http://www.columbialandtrust.org

5) City leaders are trying to re-green Seattle by saving older trees and planting new ones on public and private property. But it's an uphill battle to grow the city's tree canopy. The amount of tree cover in Seattle has withered from 40 percent in 1972 to about 18 percent today, city officials said. People illegally cut trees to improve views, because they're concerned about trees toppling onto their houses, and because they find their needles and leaves to be messy. Even more trees are lost to legal cutting. Some Puget Sound cities require permits when large trees or large numbers of trees are cut down on private property -- but not Seattle. In the Emerald City, there are no restrictions on chopping down trees on private lots, except in sensitive areas such as slopes or shorelines and with new construction. With the explosion in the number of smaller homes being demolished to make way for townhouses or larger homes, trees are getting squeezed out. "We do not have a culture of respect for trees," said Cass Turnbull, founder and president of PlantAmnesty, a Seattle group that works for tree conservation. "It's really a race between development and tree preservation." Trees are beneficial because they help clean the air, consume greenhouse gases, provide habitat for birds and other animals, reduce the amount of polluted stormwater that harms fish and provide cooling shade. Scientists find that their presence even provides emotional, intellectual and physical benefits to people.

6) Boots, now 87 and a historian for the Cheney Cemetery Association, also remembers when the place known as the "Old Burying Ground" was leveled by heavy equipment during a logging operation in 1990. "My sister and I sat there bawling," Boots said. "They were so reckless. They weren't one bit careful. There couldn't be any mounds left." It may be Washington state's oldest known cemetery, the resting place of American Indian ancestors and white pioneers from the days of the fur trade. All of this, including the very existence of the cemetery, apparently was unknown to the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation until this month, when it was brought to their attention by an amateur historian doing research on the possible site of Lt. Col. Edward Steptoe's last campground less than a mile away. The historian, Guy Boudia of Olympia, also told the tribes about the burial ground's alleged desecration 17 years ago. "It makes me angry that someone would desecrate these Native American and pioneer graves likes this," said Boudia, whose research was presented last week to both tribal councils. The state enacted a law in 1989 to prevent desecration of Indian burial sites, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both. Despite that law, and that at least one state official knew of the site and attempted to stop a tenant farmer from logging it in 1990, no enforcement action was taken. Repeated calls and an e-mail to the Washington state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation went unreturned this week. Tribal officials would only acknowledge that they're now aware of the situation and are considering what action to take. http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=webcheney16m


7) The Center for Biological Diversity, Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, Portland Audubon, Cascadia Wildlands Project, and Oregon Wild petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today to protect the dusky tree vole as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The Center also released an extensive report identifying all known species of concern in the Tillamook Rainforest and North Coast, including a total of 215 species, many of which are critically imperiled. ?Decades of excessive logging, uncontrolled growth, fire, road construction and extensive pollution have placed the survival of the dusky tree vole and literally hundreds of other Tillamook wildlife species at risk,? said Noah Greenwald, conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. ?Without better protection for the forests, streams and coasts of the Tillamook Rainforest and North Coast, the dusky tree vole and dozens of other species will need the strong protections of the Endangered Species Act.? The dusky tree vole is a subspecies of the red tree vole that is only found in forests of the Tillamook region. Tree voles live nearly their entire lives in trees and are dependent on forest structures typically associated with older, unmanaged forests ? features such as broken and forked tree tops, witches? brooms and large, wide branches. Recent surveys failed to locate the voles in places where they were once common. ?For too long, the Tillamook has been a sacrifice zone for industrial forestry,? said Donald Fontenot, Tillamook issues coordinator for the Oregon Chapter of Sierra Club. ?Forest reserves and better forest practices are needed to save the tree vole, salmon and dozens of other wildlife species in the Tillamook.? http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/press/dusky-tree-vole-06-18-2007.html

8) The Chinese revere their elders as having accumulated experience and wisdom and attempt to mix generations (high energy and wisdom make an interesting combination), but here we tend to "warehouse" our old. I'm not sure if that's because we want to preserve them or just get them out of the way. There are parallel concepts dealing with forest ecosystems. When I was asked to help develop science-based, old-growth definitions for southwest Oregon these and other parallels came to mind. Our early existing old-growth definition (any forest more than 200 years old) was measurable and precise, but hardly universal. At 200 a lodgepole pine forest is often long since dead while redwood is just getting started, a veritable juvenile. Our next iteration emphasized structural characteristics; canopies, layers, tree diameters, tree density and decadence (the number of standing dead trees, called snags, and the number of fallen dead trees). I guess there is "decadence" in elderly human populations too, but there are only a few standing dead. Moreover, there is variation in canopy, diameter and densities. The next version of the definition continued to use the earlier structural personality traits and added functional rates. For example, growth rates in young populations are accelerated. They change quickly. Older populations are more stable, they carry the genes (evolutionary wisdom) that carried them through earlier times. This version also recognized the differences between the dominant species, that is the difference between lodgepole and redwood old-growth. A typical Douglas fir-dominated old-growth forest that meets the latest definition might be about 250 years old and have a full canopy overtopping a layer of younger shade-tolerant trees. It would have more than 100 trees per acre with a variation in diameter ranging to over 30 inches. It would have standing dead trees (some of the largest diameter trees would be dead) and would have dead trees on the forest floor in various stages of decay. Keep in mind defining old-growth is like defining old. The definition is fuzzy, not absolute. And old-growth may not meet every stated criterion in the definition. It was much easier to identify old-growth when the only criterion was absolute age. You can find some old forests near Prospect. The long straight stretch from the Prospect Ranger Station to Beckie's Caf? supports large diameter, fully crowned, old trees. The stands are certainly scenic, but they lack a high degree of decadence since the dead material has been removed occasionally to reduce fire hazard. Do these forests qualify as old-growth? Do they function to provide clean, cool water and habitat for wildlife? Are they liberal or conservative? Does the label "old-growth" contain all the information you need? Or do the details count? http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070615/LIFE/706150316


9) This could be the last time that you will called upon to write, call, or donate money to save our forest! We are extremely close to the goals to we've been seeking for so long. After eight years of demonstrations, lawsuits, and negotiation, the state has finally released a new management proposal for Jackson Forest that goes a long way toward the goals we've been seeking -- with one very big exception. It sanctions clearcutting and related variations on a quarter of the forest! Clearcut variations could be done to thousands of acres every decade. A working group of environmentalists and timber-industry leaders in the county where Jackson Forest is located recommends that clearcut variations be limited to the minimum that can be justified for forest research and forest health. The limited clearcuts allowed under this proposal would allow the forest to fulfill its research goals without detracting from the important goals of restoration, wildlife, recreation, and human enjoyment. Please tell the Board of Forestry to support the recommendation of the Mendocino County working group and to require clearcut variations to be explicitly justified for research and forest health. If we can get the Board to make this change, we can have a huge celebration! We will have transformed management of our public forest from large-scale industrial logging to a balanced program of research, restoration, recreation, and education, carried out with the oversight of a public advisory committee. Learn more and send a letter quickly and easily at:

10) The Fern Gully treesit village in Humboldt County is one of the longest-running forest actions in Northern California. Defenders protect a glorious grove of ancient redwood, Sitka spruce and Douglas fir trees with their hearts, minds, spirits and bodies. Fern Gully, with towering trees including Libertal, Sundance, Patience and Watsi, has been a hotspot in recent years for forest defense actions. Maxxam/Pacific Lumber (PL) plans to log directly above Freshwater Creek, across from an elementary school. Each immense and magnificent tree in the gully stands on a steep, fern-covered slope. Destroying this awe-inspiring area would not only devastate precious habitat, it would also increase silt erosion into the already heavily sediment-impaired creek. Fern Gully is walking distance from US Highway 101, near a residential area. It is unique for an uncut forest to survive so close to development, especially with ancient trees vanishing at an alarming rate. Fern Gully is in immediate danger. Months ago, when forest defenders thought the gully was in the clear due to the long-awaited expiration of PL?s logging plan, PL got the California Department of Forestry to extend the plan for at least another year. After defending Fern Gully for more than three years, we will continue to guard the sacred area. Please help us save one of the last groves of ancient forest. In just a few work hours, this centuries-old ecosystem could vanish. Meanwhile, logging has recommenced in the Nanning Creek area of the Eel River watershed, only a few miles east of PL headquarters in the soon-to-be-sold-off company town of Scotia, California. Logging in Nanning, which began 10 days before marbled murrelet nesting season ended in September, threatens to wipe out one of the last commercially owned ancient redwood stands. Forest defenders remain determined to do all they can to protect the Timber Harvest Plan, aka Timber Holocaust Plan. The forest that remains after last year?s logging in Nanning is home to endangered species, including the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet. Early morning gate blockades (often including children), rallies, lockdowns and enduring treesits make up the short her/history to protect some of the oldest beings on Earth. http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/06/16/18427889.php

11) OAKLAND ? Photographer Jack Gescheidt will be out again this morning taking pictures of two of his favorite subjects ? naked people and trees. At least 50 people are expected to come out to pose sans clothing with some of the 224 trees around the lake that are slated to be chopped down as part of a city's multi-million dollar plan to revitalize Lake Merritt. Models are all volunteers and everyone is welcome. "We will be making a photograph to peacefully and artistically draw attention to the plight of over 200 mature trees of various species that will be removed if the community does not speak up . . . this is one very dramatic way (of doing so)," said Gescheidt, 47. Gescheidt runs the TreeSpirit Project, and said he has photographed naked people of all ages, shapes and sizes in about 45 different locations with various trees. Gescheidt said he wants the experience making art to be peaceful, playful, adventurous, and a lot of fun. "This stuff really seems to strike something in a lot of people," said Gescheidt. "Environmentalists, artists, tree lovers, tree huggers and naturalists ? they are an obvious group. "(The shoots) tend to attract people who are comfortable with their bodies," he said. Of the city's $88.3 million effort to revitalize Lake Merritt, paid for by a 2002 bond approved by voters, some must go to reshape 12th Street into a boulevard safe for cyclists andpedestrians. Last August, Friends of the Lake and three Oakland residents, upset with the plan, filed suit against the city of Oakland. The case is in the final stage of negotiations and should be decided this August, said Nancy Rieser of the Friends of the Lake and the No Clear Cut Group. The lawsuit claims the Oakland City Council's approval of the plan violated state law by not analyzing the cumulative impacts of removing the trees and deepening the Lake Merritt Channel. http://origin.insidebayarea.com/localnews/ci_6157987

12) California's timber harvest dropped 5.4 percent in 2006 to 1.63 billion board-feet, the second-lowest level since 1936, a timber-industry trade group noted in its annual report. A board-foot is a block 12 inches square and an inch thick. Logging on public lands in California has dropped more than 90 percent since its 1988 peak, while private-land logging is down 45 percent, according to state data. Many factors have contributed to the reductions. Donn Zea, president of the Auburn-based California Forest Products Commission, blamed the drop primarily on state rules that require timber companies to prepare extensive environmental reviews before cutting. The review process and other restrictions make logging in California more expensive than in other states, notably Oregon and Washington, Zea said. Paul Mason, a forest-policy specialist with the Sierra Club in Sacramento, said state reviews are necessary to protect soil, water and habitat quality in forestland degraded by logging in the past. He said the drop in logging also has coincided with the exhaustion of old-growth forests, restrictions in response to endangered-species concerns and volatility in the world price of lumber. California produces less than 20 percent of the wood it uses each year, down from 100 percent in the late 1970s, Zea said. http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/24214


13) Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources figures put the amount of timberland affected by the tornado at 14,441 acres, including 8,000 acres in the Nicolet National Forest. According to the National Weather Service, the tornado was on the ground for about 40 miles with a width of at least a half-mile. Jeanne Higgins, forest supervisor with the Chequamegon-Nicolet Forest, said teams are assessing the damage to the forest resources ? from timber and vegetation to roads and campgrounds. That assessment will be used to determine the longer-term response to the storm damage. "How will the forest fare from all of this? That's the larger question that we'll be trying to come up with both short-term and long-term," she said. Curt Wilson, regional forestry leader with the DNR office in Howard, said although damage to forested areas looks dramatic and there are fire and disease risks, he expects the forest will rebound. "We wouldn't have chosen to harvest this particular ? swath, but we have markets for it and the trees will return," he said. About 16 million acres of forests are in Wisconsin, so this loss represents a small percentage of the state's total timber base, but it's still traumatic for landowners, land users and those who had planned timber sales. The suit also claims some of the threatened trees contain nests for hawks and other birds of prey. A biologist hired by the city has not been able to find any nests, but the trees will be examined again before any removal, and nests spared. http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070615/GPG03/706150527/1247/GP

15) SKIATOOK - Officials believe they've found post oak trees in Skiatook that are 200 to 300 years old. Developers came across the trees while clearing the way for a hiking trail through a forest, and the Army Corps of Engineers measured the circumference of core samples from the trees to estimate their age. To qualify as an ancient post oak, a tree must be at least 200 years old. One tree is believed to date back to the 16th century. Officials say they plan to preserve the trees, which otherwise might have been targeted for firewood. A marina and restaurant are already at the development, and a golf course and convention center are in the works. http://www.kten.com/Global/story.asp?S=6669257


16) Eroding strips of barrier islands are the first things many songbirds see after an arduous 600-mile journey across the Gulf of Mexico.But Louisiana's changing coastline is making life harder for these long-traveled visitors to catch a break. As barrier islands erode away, and wetlands convert into tree-killing salt marshes, more and more of these important coastal forests are disappearing. "Nobody has ever really tried to document the effect of that, but those oak ridges that died, that's definitely a loss of habitat for many species of birds," said Tommy Michot, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Wetlands Center in Lafayette. Birds cross Louisiana during their long spring migration from winter habitats in the Yucatan back northward into America. But after a long flight across the Gulf, often against the wind, the birds are exhausted by the time they see the first strips of Louisiana. And healthy forests can mean the difference between life and death. These islands, and the wetlands of Terrebonne and Lafourche parish, were once rich with hackberry and mulberry forests and oak ridges. "They'll land in these trees, and they'll be starving and feed on anything they can," Michot said. Many things contribute to the death of coastal forests, but the main factors are human development, storms and saltwater intrusion, Michot said. "There is no tree native to Louisiana that will grow in absolute salt water," said David Muth, vice president of the New Orleans Audubon Society. Trees like live oak and hackberry are adapted to more salty conditions, and to occasional saltwater floods, but floods that come over levee walls, trapping storm water for days, wipe these forests out. "It kills everything in sight," Muth said. The USGS Center in Lafayette studied change in migration patterns of birds after storms wiped out areas of forest. The group used radar imagery to map and determine the distribution of birds in Louisiana. http://www.katc.com/Global/story.asp?S=6667727

17) The wood thrush has lost 43 percent of its population over the past 40 years, making it a species of conservation concern. As with other species in decline, the main culprit seems to be the loss and fragmentation of woodland habitats, largely due to development. Ongoing research at the University of Delaware compares the breeding success of wood thrushes at a university woodland preserve and in a nearby neighborhood. Roth discovered that loss of habitat hasn't deterred the remaining wood thrushes from summering in Delaware. However, many must try to breed in less than desirable conditions; in the 1980s, Roth studied a sizable population of wood thrushes in the wooded Newark neighborhood of Arbour Park. These birds had the usual two to three nests with three to four eggs per year, but raised significantly fewer young than wood thrushes breeding in the UD Woods, located just two miles away. And, unlike the thrushes at the UD Woods, few of the banded adults in Arbour Park returned there the next year, which was more likely an indication of bird dissatisfaction than mortality. http://dendroica.blogspot.com/2007/06/wood-thrushes-in-decline.html

New York:

18) A nonprofit conservation group purchased 161,000 acres of timberland in the central Adirondack Mountains under an agreement that will allow a lumber company to continue cutting trees for 20 years while the new owners pay local land taxes. The Nature Conservancy bought the former Finch, Pruyn & Co. Inc., lands - touching 31 towns in six counties and including several thousand acres next to the High Peaks - for $110 million from Atlas Paper Resources and Blue Wolf Capital Management, the investor group that recently bought Finch, Pruyn. The agreement announced Monday will allow Atlas to continue logging the forests for 20 years, providing the raw materials that have fueled Finch, Pruyn's mill in Glens Falls since 1905. The mill currently employs 850 people. The lands are among the Adirondacks' last large private landholdings, desirable for their size, location, condition, proximity to major rivers, and biological and scenic value, environmental advocates said. The forests have a variety of mountains, cliffs, lakes, ponds, bogs, alluvial forests, and flat- and whitewater rivers. The Hudson River Gorge, Blue Ledges, and OK-Slip Falls are within the 161,000 acres and stretches of the Hudson, Opalescent, Boreas, Branch, Cedar and Indian rivers flow through the property. Some 90 mountains and 70 lakes and ponds dot the land. "It's terrific news," said John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council. " With today's announcement, The Nature Conservancy has protected 556,572 acres in the Adirondacks since 1971. More than 300,000 of those acres are privately owned and managed as working forests. http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/06/18/ap3832131.html

North Carolina:

19) Scott Kennedy likes to write big, in letters nearly 200 feet long. He operates a log skidder, a heavy-wheeled machine used to move large trees in logging operations. His employer, C.H. Hedrick &Son Logging of Statesville, has been harvesting trees for lumber from a 50-acre site on the Catawba-Lincoln county line near Denver. For the last two weeks, he's been piling waste branches and brush into a message viewable only from above. It says simply, "SAVES," and it is part two of the message. He's been doing stuff like this for years, "when they let me get away with it," he said. Usually, the message is biblical; sometimes, he does radio-station logos; once in a while, "Kilroy was here." In broad daylight, only he knows what he's up to. "You can see it from the skidder; you can't see it from the ground," he says. "If you're on foot, you'll never know it's there." When the logging is finished, the area will be replanted with pine. For decades, when the new trees grow and leaf over, the word will still be visible as a different texture in the forest canopy. Part one of Scott's message, by the way, is in a clearing 50 miles north in Elkin. It says "Jesus." http://www.charlotte.com/catawba/story/162971.html


20) Management plans for 18 national forests in Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming are being changed to conserve the threatened Canada lynx and its habitat, U.S. Forest Service officials said Friday. The medium-sized cat, similar to the bobcat, was listed as a threatened species in 2000 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Its range includes the American Northeast, Great Lakes region and northern and southern Rockies, but Montana is home to three-quarters of the breeding population in the continental United States. The amendment replaces a conservation agreement between the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. "Canada lynx are important components of the northern Rockies ecosystems," said Kathy McAllister, a deputy regional forester and chairwoman of the Lynx Steering Committee. "This amendment will help protect the lynx and contribute to its ultimate recovery." The amendment affects 18.5 million acres in the following forests: the Clearwater, Idaho Panhandle, Nez Perce, Salmon-Challis and Targhee in Idaho; the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Bitterroot, Custer, Flathead, Gallatin, Helena, Kootenai, Lewis and Clark and Lolo in Montana; the Ashley in Utah; and the Bighorn, Bridger-Teton and Shoshone in Wyoming. It aims to reduce or eliminate adverse effects Forest Service management activities might have on lynx "while maintaining the overall multiple-use direction in existing forest plans," McAllister said. The amendment also provides flexibility in reducing the wildfire threat to communities in mountain areas through hazardous fuels treatments, she said. It only applies to areas where lynx currently exist. Land managers with habitat suitable for lynx - but not currently occupied by them - were "encouraged" to consider the amendment as they plan and implement projects related to the animals," McAllister said. http://news.yahoo.com/s/cpress/20070618/ca_pr_on_sc/lynx_habitat
European Union:

21) A European consultation on biofuels closes today, with nearly 5,000 respondents warning that current proposals fail to comply with an EU Summit decision that biofuel targets should be conditional on guaranteeing that biofuels must come from sustainable sources.? The European Commission have proposed a small number of environmental criteria for deciding whether biofuels are sustainable.? This means that biofuels would be classed as sustainable even if they come from plantations from which local of people have been evicted.? In countries like Colombia and Indonesia, human rights abuses at the hands of plantation companies and paramilitaries are widespread.? Andrew Boswell says: "In the last month, we have heard from the chair of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (Sixth session) that 5 million indigenous people in one part of Borneo alone are likely to be displaced by biofuel plantations.? We have also heard of thousands of families who have been violently evicted from their land by paramilitaries in Colombia who are helping palm oil companies clear land to produce biofuels, mostly for export.? The EU commission is culpable, as it knowingly forced through this aggressive biofuels target without considering sustainability first, and with a blind eye to social and human rights issues. "? European proposals also seek to ignore the wider impacts of biofuel production.? Europe's biofuel policy is pushing up the price of soya, palm oil and other commodities, which are already linked to large-scale destruction of rainforests, peatlands and traditional farmlands. NASA scientists have shown that, in the Amazon, the rate of rainforest destruction is directly linked to the price of soya. Almuth Ernsting, also of Biofuelwatch says: "The European Commission want to do nothing about the wider impacts of biofuel production other than 'monitor' them.? They are looking for tiny greenhouse gas savings from displacing a small proportion of fossil fuels whilst risking the large-scale destruction of rainforests and peatlands on which all of us depend for a stable climate. This policy will be a disaster for ecosystems, for local communities particularly in the global South, and for the global climate". http://www.biofuelwatch.org


22) Growth in overall wood volume has meant that Finland could, in theory, be almost self-sufficient in wood, even if imports of timber from Russia were to grind to a complete halt in the coming years. However, on the practical level, it is very difficult to get a sustained sufficient flow of wood from Finnish private forests. METLA attributes the increased growth to the increase in fast-growing forest areas especially in the south of Finland. Favourable weather conditions are also seen to be a factor. The maximum sustainable amount of felling for 2006-2015 is 72 million cubic metres of wood a year, which is 16 million more than what is now being cut down in Finland. In the past five years felling has been an average 56 million cubic metres a year. Imports from Russia have accounted for 18 million cubic metres. It was possible to increase the amount of potential sustainable felling in forest management recommendations by seven million cubic metres last year. The increase in volume of available wood is mainly for coniferous trees. The volume of available spruce has decreased because of intense demand, but METLA nevertheless says that there is plenty of it available. http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Finnish+forests+growing+at+record+rate/1135228114577


23) Despite passing a law to officially map Greece's forestland some 30 years ago, the charts drawn up so far cover only 6 percent of the country. Official figures made public earlier this year showed that in 1945, just over 75 percent of the country was part of a forest or valley, compared to about 61 percent today. The government decided yesterday not to go ahead with a legislative amendment that would have suspended the demolition of illegally built homes in forest areas, in a bid to stop speculation that the proposal is part of a pre-election handout campaign. Agriculture Minister Evangelos Bassiakos said the amendment was not related to the protection of forests but an attempt to settle outstanding cases involving people seeking to legalize their homes by obtaining court orders. Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias, who did not endorse the amendment, asked that it not be passed through Parliament until the government had finished preparing its forest registry, according to government sources. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is believed to have ordered his ministers to withdraw the amendment. The withdrawal of the amendment will help the conservative government develop its environmentally friendly image, which has been proving more popular with voters. http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100002_15/06/2007_84553


24) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in Iran Shahid Najam announced here Sunday that FAO is ready and willing to fully collaborate with the Iranian government and in particular the Forests, Rangelands and Watershed Organization in its palpable commitment and continuous endeavors to prevent deforestation and combat desertification. According to a press release issued by the UN Information Center (UNIC) here on Sunday, FAO said its move enjoys particular focus on mitigating the impact on poor and marginalized segments and ensure sustainable development. Addressing the participants of a seminar marking the International Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, June 17, 2007, held at the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad, the UN official said Iran has almost 65% of its landmass already in arid and semi-arid zones which are characterized by fragile eco-system and enormously stressed rangelands and pastures. "Due to this fact, climatic disaster of drought is a recurrent phenomenon in the country which drastically impacts the rural livelihoods, agriculture production, food security, environment and natural resources," Najam said. He pointed out that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran took particular cognizance of the long droughts of 2000 and 2001. He added that the need for a national drought management strategy and action plan, as a fundamental means to prevent desertification, was articulated to deal with the recurrent drought situations and formulate the necessary mitigating and coping mechanisms with focus on developing the early warning capability of drought, mitigating its impacts and relieving the suffering of those made destitute by it. http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-235/0706176456121830.htm

Ivory Coast:

25) We have inherited these forests from our ancestors. They are a venue for traditional ceremonies?These forests also enable us to preserve our ancestral experiences," Namogo Soro, a farmer in the northern village of Bengu?bougou, told IPS. In the region of Korhogo, also in the north, each village has at least one sacred forest, which only the initiated are allowed to enter. In the past, beliefs about sacred woods served to protect these places from destruction, says sociologist Marcel Gnando. It is impossible to cut down trees there for commercial gain, observes Soro, noting that citizens are also concerned with environmental preservation of the forests. Hilaire Gnohit?, president of the Croix verte (Green Cross) non-governmental organisation, based in the commercial capital of Abidjan, puts at 36,434 hectares the amount of wooded land that has benefited in recent years from the respect for forest lands. But now, population pressures and economic need are challenging these beliefs -- and threatening the future of C?te d'Ivoire's forests. In this West African country, the leading producer of cocoa globally, fertile land is sought after. The lucrative cocoa trade has pushed farmers into illegal use of land in protected forests -- especially in the west. "All around the forests, you can see that several areas are exploited by subsistence farmers," Ibrahim Savan?, professor of environmental management sciences at the University of Abobo-Adjam? in Abidjan, told IPS. Little by little, he added, the farmers make their way into the forests to stake out new fields: "In these forests, almost half-a-million farmers and their families have established themselves under the complacent gaze of the state." http://www.ipsnews.net/africa/nota.asp?idnews=38206


26) Professor Lincoln Brower, who has been studying the species for more than half a century, claims a Mexican government scheme to protect the forests where the butterflies spend the winter is failing. He will visit Britain later this month to draw attention to the problems he has observed. 'The illegal logging has not only accelerated; it has become a lot more intense, with dozens, up to hundreds, of people involved in big logging operations,' he told The Observer. As well as research showing 44 per cent of the forest in the wintering areas had been thinned, degraded or removed since 1971, Brower said on a trip to the region this year he was informed of a 'massive kill-off' where the butterflies had returned to a badly damaged part of the forest. The monarchs rely on the canopy to be their 'umbrella and blanket' and protect them from the freezing winter rains and sub-zero temperatures. 'If you even thin those forests you're degrading their over-wintering habitat, then they start freezing to death - they get wet and when they are wet they freeze easily,' said Brower. Brower said that he had flown over several hundred square kilometres of the region and not found a single new area where the butterflies spent winter - though experts are not sure why the species returns to the same sites every year, even when they are damaged. 'We don't have any evidence for it, but we think butterflies are in some way marking their areas they spend the winter in,' he added. Alfonso Ramos, federal prosecutor of environment for the Mexican government, said: 'The Mexican state is trying to reduce the problem of illegal logging. However, there are organised gangs that create conflict in the forests by cutting trees illegally. We have even created security committees to protect these areas.' http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2104850,00.html

Puerto Rico:

27) One island, yet two forests as different as chocolate and vanilla. Among the 19 forests counted on Puerto Rico, these stand out. Gu?nica Dry Forest is a parched landscape nonetheless teeming with life. The Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque) is a vine-strung jungle with so much rain to spare that it spouts rivers and streams. Walk with us in these U.N. Biosphere Reserves, so different, so alive. Headed for a natural bonsai grove, guide Francisco Jusino and I stop on 2-mile-long Meseta Trail to watch grasses sway in a breeze-choreographed dance. A Puerto Rican tody, a scarlet-bibbed bird not much longer than a man's finger, bee-beeps to acknowledge us. This is wonderful territory for birders. In the dry season between December and April, many trees shed their leaves, and there's little to hide the birds. Almost all trees are unexpectedly short, putting birds nearer to eye level. And Gu?nica's nearly 140 species represent half the bird types seen in Puerto Rico. This 9,500-acre forest that doesn't look like a forest is one-third the size of El Yunque rain forest on the island's northeast coast, yet it has about twice the plant species. Life is all around. Everything here waits for rain. Blocked from long drinks by the mountain range that divides Puerto Rico into the wet north and the sere south, Gu?nica gets just 35 inches of precipitation a year, most of it between August and November. By comparison, mountain forests of the north bathe in more than 16 feet of rain annually. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/travel/mexicocaribbean/stories/DN-forestguanic


28) Deep within Madagascar, more than 1,300 square miles of rainforest continue to breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen every day, helping to keep the planet cool. That may not seem like a big achievement for a bunch of trees, but elsewhere around the world tropical forests like this one are being felled to make way for timber and mining operations, cattle ranches and, increasingly, sugar and palm oil plantations to fuel the world?s growing thirst for ethanol. So how did this particular rainforest ? a tropical paradise whose canopy teems with rare lemurs and serpent eagles ? avoid destruction? Its survival is the fruit of one of the first experiments in carbon ranching: allowing polluters to make up for their greenhouse gas emissions by paying third world countries like Madagascar to preserve their tropical forests. Madagascar uses the money it gets from multinational corporations to safeguard the forest and pay for poverty reduction programs. Programs like this represent the world?s best hope to save vanishing tropical forests and avert global climate catastrophe. It?s vital that the senators and representatives now racing to create new climate legislation include incentives for carbon ranching. Otherwise they will not come up with the comprehensive solution that?s needed to address the climate crisis. Despite all the attention paid to China?s industrial pollution splurge, that country?s inefficient factories, power plants and vehicles don?t contribute as much to global warming as the destruction of the world?s tropical forests does. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/16/opinion/16powers-hurowitz.html?_r=1&oref=slogin


29) TIMES now has exclusive information that Naxals in Bihar are expanding base and encroaching on government land to make bunkers and training camps. Naxals have targetted the forest reserve in Bihar's Gaya district ? the state?s only wildlife sanctuary the Gautam Buddha Sanctuary - as their training camp and have also made bunkers there. Out of the total area of the forest reserve, as much as 70% is under their influence. The area under question falls on the border between Bihar and Jharkhand, and is part of the infamous ?Red Corridor?. What is worse, the Government is aware of such illegal encroachments, but is just not equipped to doing anything about them. The sanctuary spans around 135 sq km, and has been in existence since 1979. The Naxals have such immense hold on the land here that they have stuck posters inside the sanctuary, warning commoners against trespassing. For the Forest Rangers, the warning is more severe. The rangers have been warned that if they tread inside the Naxal territory, they will be beheaded. Chief Conservator of Forests (Magadh Range) U S Jha says, ?We have limited resources and there is this Naxal menace which is affecting the mobility of officers.? What makes matters worse for the forest rangers is that they cannot defend themselves as they do not have any sophisticated armoury. http://www.timesnow.tv/Bihars_forests_under_Naxal_shadow/articleshow/2130335.cms


30) The Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA) organised the workshop on ?Protecting Forests and Forest Dwellers: Role of Law.? ?The protective role of forest against disasters is being increasingly emphasised in the face of the challenges of climate changes,? he observed. He regretted that such protective measures are being increasingly neglected in Bangladesh. Referring to the recent landslides in Chittagong that buried more than a hundred people alive and injured scores of others Barrister Mainul Hosein said, ?It is a shameful reminder of how we have been careless in protecting the forests and hills in Chittagong.? The Law Adviser said the government has instructed the concerned authorities to take legal action against those responsible. He emphasised need for creating a social movement on saving environment saying that if activists were sufficiently conscious timely actions could have been taken against the damage caused to the environment and ultimately to the settlers on the slopes of the hills in Chittagong. The Law Adviser said forests play an important role in the country?s economy and forest products have contributed to the development of forest-based industries. He said a significant number of tribal and other local people are earning their livelihood from forests that are contributing 4 percent to the national gross domestic products (GDP). Environmentalist Farhad Majhar presided over the session while Dr Sudhirandar Sharma, Executive Director of the Ecological Foundation presented the keynote paper. Among others, the session was also addressed by IUCN Country Representative Ainun Nishat and BELA Director Rezwana Hassan. Prof Ainun Nishat said ?jhum cultivation? of hilly people is disappearing due to deforestation. It would not be surprising if food crisis is created in the hilly areas due to this. The workshop in its resolution recommended the freeing of forests from illegal occupation and reforestation after demarcating the forest areas in the country. It also recommended stoppage of eviction of indigenous people from the hills in the name of land recovery and emphasised the need for encouraging them to do jhum cultivation. http://nation.ittefaq.com/artman/publish/article_36894.shtml


31) Nepal has turned into a hub for smugglers." Inaugurating the third convention of the Nepal Forest Guards in Nepalgunj on Sunday, he termed the guards a "toothless tiger at the hands of smugglers". The CDOs and the police were asked to seize red sandalwood, but the request went in vain. "I myself have to run after trucks and godowns. That prompts me to think whether I am really a minister," Yadav said. "Although forest guard is the final authority to check deforestation, he is powerless. Detained smugglers were released on the orders of the DFOs and the ministers," Yadav further said. Urging forest guards, rangers and DFOs to work honestly, he said: "Be content with whatever you people earned in the past. Time has come for you to pledge that you will never indulge in corruption nor will let ministers do the same." "My party will withdraw from the government if the goals set by my party is not achieved," he said. "Government activities are not in accordance with the understanding reached at eight parties." He expressed doubts whether the CA polls will be held by mid-November. "The leaders had said they will quit if the CA polls are not held in mid-June. Neither the CA polls were held on the scheduled date nor the leaders quit." http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullstory.asp?filename=aFanata0vfqzpa5a6Sa4sa.axamal&folder=a


32) It's ironic that Xishuangbanna, a Dai autonomous prefecture in Yunnan Province famed for its tropical rain forests, is reported to be running short of drinking water. This water shortage has nothing to do with any natural disaster, though. Rather, it is the result of the residents' obsession with rubber plantations - a profitable but environmentally damaging form of agriculture, according to a recent Xinhua news agency report. The price of rubber has been steadily rising over recent years. From two yuan (US$0.26) per kilogram in 1994 to about 17 yuan per kg nowadays. This high profitability has stimulated rubber plantation fever among farmers in Xishuangbanna. Mei Kang, a farmer who plants rubber trees instead of other economic plants on his more than two hectares of land, says that his family makes more than 100,000 yuan annually by selling rubber. Like Mei, many farmers have replaced all their other crops with rubber plantations for profits' sake. According to Xinhua news, by 2006 the total area for rubber plantations in the prefecture had reached 410,000 hectares, in contrast to 78,666 hectares in 1988. http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sp/article/2007/200706/20070618/article_319969.htm


33) Under the eight-year project, titled Forests for Livelihood Improvement in the Central Highlands, problems concerning forest loss, degradation and rural poverty will be addressed by creating sustainable forest-management practices in area equal to a third of Viet Nam?s forest estate. This will include upgrading forest-sector governance, management and incentive regimes in Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Lam Dong and Phu Yen provinces. The project also targets forest-based livelihood opportunities to reduce poverty in 60 communes by creating a sustainable business environment, strengthening supply and market chains, and using credit-enhancement to attract investments by potential investors and lenders in the forest sector. The estimated value of the project is US$90.66 million. It has been co-financed by the Trust Fund for Forests (TFF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The ADB will provide a loan of $45 million and the TFF will provide a grant of up to $15.57 million. The Government of Viet Nam will contribute $18.29 million. In-kind contributions from project beneficiaries are estimated at $11.80 million. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development yesterday held a ceremony between signatories sponsoring and implement the project. Grants from the TFF will cover costs for training and the establishment of a Commune Development Fund to support forestry-related income generation, technical assistance for the extension of sustainable resource development and the management of small-scale farmers and households to ensure improved life. http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=09SOC150607


34) About Mt. Polis: After a 10-hour drive from Manila, one reaches the foot of the trail of Mt. Polis and comes face-to-face with a 30-foot statue of the Virgin Mary. The facility was set up during the days when restive insurgents were much more active in this part of the Mountain Province?a police detachment that keeps watch over the facility is another relict from those turbulent times. The icon was erected in front of a telecom tower facility to provide divine intercession, to dissuade rebels and other muckrakers from lobbing grenades at the facility. The tactic is working perfectly?the tower still stands and no rebel attack has ever been recorded against the facility. With the Virgin Mary literally shielding the tower with its body, no rebel group conscious of its media-image will risk damaging the religious statue. Unluckily, all the apparent ingenuity has not extended towards protecting the environment. On the contrary, nary a thought seems to have been given to the ongoing destruction of Mt. Polis?s natural habitats. One of the most frustrating aspects of traveling from Manila to Banaue and Mt. Polis is to see the rapidly-dwindling natural forest. The denuded areas?where the slope is such that logging is impractical?are being slowly colonized by stands of Benguet Pine (Pinus kesiga=P. insularis), which many visitors are fond of due to aesthetic reasons. Unfortunately, pine trees don?t hold in soil and water too well, so they?re practically useless to prevents erosion and landslides?of which, the area is prone to. The ecological functions of the original forest will not be magically taken up by the pine forest, no matter how pretty the pines are to look at. The pine forest is mainly a result of human disturbance because pine seeds germinate only in full light and in contact with bare soil. No matter how many pine trees colonize the denuded slopes in and around Mt. Polis, they will never supplant or replace the key functions of the original montane forest. http://samutsaringbuhay.wordpress.com/2007/06/18/looking-for-the-whiskered-pitta-on-mt-polis/

Papua New Guinea:

35) The Supreme Court on Friday granted a stay on a decision of the National Court that would have led to logging rights being granted to Rimbunan Hijau. The stay is in relation to attempts by Rimbunan Hijau to obtain a timber permit for the huge Kamula Doso concession in Western Province as an extension to its Wawoi Guavi operation. The PNG Eco-Forestry Forum commenced legal proceedings last year challenging Court orders made in legal proceedings between Rimbunan Hijau and the National Forest Authority. In those proceedings, Rimbunan Hijau and the Forest Authority had agreed a timber permit for Kamula Doso was to be granted as an extension to Rimbunan Hijau's existing Wawoi Guavi timber permit. The National Court endorsed that agreement but the Supreme Court has now placed a Stay on the courts approval. The Supreme Court on Friday also rejected an application by Rimbunan Hijau to have the Eco-Forestry Forum provide security for its costs. The judge found the Forum is a substantial organisation and Rimbunan Hijau had not established any special circumstances to warrant the order. In granting the stay to the Forum the court found the National Forestry Authority is a public body with a public duty to allocate forest resources according to a valid National Forest Plan. The court also stated the National Forest Board has a duty to ensure the Forest Authority implements the requirements of the Forestry Act. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0706/S00286.htm


36) The verdant 2,566-hectare island was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1948 and has since then achieved an unofficial reputation as one of the best mangrove forests in the world. Unspoiled Rhizophora forest covers 94 per cent of the island, accounting for 13 per cent of Brunei's mangroves. There are no human settlements on Selirong, although the presence of small-time fishermen from Brunei and occasionally villagers from Limpaki and Sundar of Lawas, Sarawak are tolerated in the surrounding waterways if they practise traditional fishing and trapping methods. The immediately-accessible sea is to come under the moratorium on Zone 1, which will prohibit activities in the area by trawlers and purse seiners. Dominant mangrove forest subtypes on Selirong are the bakau, nyireh bunga, linggadai and nipah palms. Mangrove trees can reach a height of 30 to 40 metres, and a trunk girth of 50 to 60 centimetres. Traditional uses for bakau include firewood, piling posts for houses, and the manufacture of cutch (a dye) and charcoal. Animals native to the area include proboscis monkeys, crab-eating macaques, silvered langurs, flying foxes, flying lemurs, archer fish and the climbing perch. Visitors to Selirong Island Forest Recreational Park are required to register at the guard house before continuing their boat journey into the park in the escort of Forestry Department rangers and armed forestry police. A quiet stroll along the two-kilometre elevated walkway winding above the mudflats will provide endless photo opportunities for the camera-toting nature lover. A proper tour of the park complete with a commentary from a knowledgeable guide will take around half a day. Written with the kind assistance of Dr Azman Ahmad, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Policy Studies at UBD. http://www.bruneitimes.com.bn/details.php?shape_ID=33762

South Asia:

37) Conservationists, legal experts and social activists of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal made the recommendations at a two-day South Asian regional workshop on Protecting Forests and Forest Dwellers: Role of Law. The workshop was organised by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) with support from Oxfam Novib at the Brac Centre in Mohakhali. Raja Devasish Roy, a lawyer of the Supreme Court (SC), said that the Forest Act of 1927, inherited from the colonial era, is more a police-oriented legal instrument and colonial in nature than a pro-people document of forest management. "The act must duly be amended to reorganise the forest department freeing it from its virtual role of law enforcers," Roy said, adding, "It must be updated to provide different types of management mechanisms of forests." The provision of handing over private land ownership to the government in the case of social forestation has to be reviewed, he said, adding that logging provision in the forestry master plan has to be checked too. Former adviser to a caretaker government Sultana Kamal, who chaired the second session of the workshop, said, "The forest laws and policies are related to policing rather than protecting the forests and forest dwellers." Under the repressing laws, government often tend to harass the indigenous people integrally related to and dependent on the forests in the name of protecting the forests, said Fazlous Satter, coordinator of Global Network for the Prevention of Torture (GNPT). Ritwick Dutta, a lawyer of the SC of India, said one of the major flaws in the forest related colonial laws is and has been that it puts absolute power in the hands of the forest department officials in managing the forests. He said India enacted Forest Conservation Act in 1980 and Forest Rights Act in January 2007. Editor of the daily New Age Nurul Kabir said most of the forest related laws are unjust to the people living on forests. Social ownership is crucial in the case of forest management, said Ronald Halder, a Bangladeshi documentary filmmaker of nature. Coordinator of Nijera Kori, Bangladesh, Khushi Kabir, said there has always been a conflict between the dependents and traditional users of the forests and implementers of laws. "It is the local people who have so far protected whatever forests we have today," said Kabir, who chaired the inaugural session. http://www.thedailystar.net/2007/06/17/d7061701085.htm