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--British Columbia: 1) Unique interior cedar-hemlock rainforests threatened, 2) Less rules, more exploitation for big timber, 3) BC gives up on Caribou protection, 4) Burns Lake community forest, 5) Weyco turns sawmill into housing,
--Oregon: 6) Wholistic foresters?
--California: 7) Destroying Sierra Nevada to save it doesn’t fly in court
--Montana: 8) Mark Rey preaches to local logger choir, 9) Stimpson shuts downs mill,
--Oklahoma: 10) State and Weyco on land access permits
--Louisiana: 11) Little is sued by Red Neck Timber Co.
--Kentucky: 12) Mountain top name the roads after themselves
--Florida: 13) Cutting all the big trees in Starkey Preserve, 14) Clearcuts save species?
--USA: 15) S. 2593, 16) Green lining to real-estate cloud, 17) Who’s buying forest land?
--Canada: 18) Overview of mining claims, 19) Oil sands symbolizes deforestation,
--South Africa: 20) Family and Chief get harsh sentence for Yellowwood theft
--Venezuela: 21) They shut the door to new gold projects
--Latin America: 22) News + 6 best ecotour groups, 23) Why she helps forest people,
--Brazil: 24) New environment minister: Carlos Minc, 25) Who will steal Brazil first?
--Chile: 26) Volcano threatens nature preserve
--India: 27) Save trees by lifting ban on new natural gas connections
--Cambodia: 28) China to build great walls of never ending dams
--Malaysia: 29) Danum Valley Field Centre in Sabah,
--Indonesia: 30) Another illegal logger acquitted on all charges
--Tropical Forests: 31) Will REDD really work?
--World-wide: 32) Forests and the Biodiversity Convention, 33) Forest destruction costs us $3.1 Trillion per year,
1) A Forest Practices Board investigation into a public complaint about government's management of unique interior cedar-hemlock rainforests southeast of Prince George has found that the long-term preservation of rare forest sites is at risk. "Some of these forest stands contain trees that are more than 1,000 years old. These same stands are favoured for logging, which compounds the risk of losing their contribution to biodiversity," said board chair Bruce Fraser. "Government's current legal requirements to protect old-growth and biodiversity in this area can be met without preserving any trees older than 140 years. There are very few of these ancient forest sites remaining and they need protection." The board is recommending that government develop an overall stewardship strategy to ensure high biodiversity values, such as ancient trees and rare lichens, are conserved in the inland rainforest, and that government use its existing regulatory tools to restrict logging of these sites while such a strategy is being developed.University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) researchers recently discovered lichens in the canopies of these trees that are not known to occur anywhere else in the world. http://www.fpb.gov.bc.ca
2) VICTORIA - The 90-day forestry regulatory review has identified four major steps that will enable government to immediately cut red tape to help the forest industry, Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman announced today. "Government has made substantive changes to the forest regulations and policy since 2001 to increase competitiveness in the forest sector," said Coleman. "We will continue to look for ways to help our forest industry, both short-term and long-term." Examples of actions that will be implemented immediately are: 1) Establishing defined faster approval times for cutting permits and road permits 2) Ensuring all forest districts can accept and approve digital only files of plans and permits 3) Recognizing new Ecosystem Based Management costs incurred by the coastal industry in stumpage rates. http://www.gov.bc.ca
3) Six months after the B.C. government announced an ambitious plan to protect herds of endangered mountain caribou, the project has bogged down in complex negotiations and is far behind schedule, according to an audit commissioned by 10 environmental groups. Most of the aspects of the caribou plan were supposed to be in place by early spring, but many deadlines have passed and work remains incomplete, the audit found. Candace Batycki, a spokesperson for the coalition of environmental groups, said the finding is worrying because some caribou herds have declined since the plan was formulated last year. "The audit shows that a growing number of shortcuts and setbacks are threatening the recovery of mountain caribou, with some herds worse off than before," said Ms. Batycki. She said there have been budget shortfalls, poor communication between federal and provincial governments, and calculation errors that have shortchanged the amount of land that was to be set aside. Ms. Batycki said one protected area in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region is 23,000 hectares - or 48 per cent - smaller than was planned. She said it's hoped the audit will spur the government to put more effort into making sure the caribou recovery plan is fully implemented. "The ink is barely dry [on the plan] and we're seeing the government waver in its commitments to caribou," said John Bergenske of Wildsight, which joined with ForestEthics, BC Nature, Sierra Club of Canada and other groups to fund the audit. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/serv
4) The hauling distances associated with getting wood waste out of the bush create expenses that are, so far, the big stumbling block to wood-fuelled bioenergy thriving in B.C. But Schroff says there's no choice but to experiment. "We don't know what the winning techniques are, but we know we have to do something...it's just trying to learn our way through it," he says. Burns Lake, population 2,000, is worth watching as an example of what a difference local management of forests can make, because it is surrounded by the largest "community forest" in the province. At 85,000 hectares, the Burns Lake community forest has more than tripled in area since it was created in 1998. That was the year the province introduced its community forest pilot program. Right now, a local contractor is at work in the Burns Lake forest just south of Decker Lake, grinding up roadside piles of timber. The resulting chips are trucked to a pellet plant 80 kilometres away in Houston. "This will extend our ability to go in and recover value and get those stands back into production," says Schroff. "But our internal calculations suggest in three to seven years we would have a significant drop in what we're doing here" as the beetle-killed wood diminishes. "And, really," says Schroff, "our land can produce a lot higher value material rather than raw fuel." The program, which has grown and changed over the past decade, grants area-based tenure to communities and First Nations, allowing them to harvest and manage forests for community economic and environmental benefit. Or would it be more sustainable to find ways to add value to logs through milling and manufacturing? "But our internal calculations suggest in three to seven years we would have a significant drop in what we're doing here" as the beetle-killed wood diminishes. "And, really," says Schroff, "our land can produce a lot higher value material rather than raw fuel." Some of the highest value products are lumber products like wood siding, panelling and moulding -- basically, "anything that is not a smoothly planed rectangle," says Russ Cameron, president of the Independent Lumber Remanufacturer's Association. The association represents 82 small companies, anywhere from 10 to 100 employees, across the province. Five years ago, membership was 120 strong. "Our guys have taken a beating," says Cameron, noting that 83 former members have since gone out of business. Cameron says the group was averaging $2.5 billion in sales in 2003, which has decreased about 30 per cent. http://thetyee.ca/News/2008/05/13/Timbe
5) As the logging industry fades from the economic scene, forest giant Weyerhaeuser has capitalized on its 600-acre site near the town. “Weyerhaeuser is developing their former logging site into housing,” said Lyons. “But the great thing is that they offered the lots to the local residents at a discount before opening them up to the general public.” Lyons says the new residents will bring new businesses. “We are attracting some young entrepreneurial types to town,” said Lyons. “And the clothing and other items in their shops are definitely needed.” For a tourist town, though, the lack of dining establishments could be a deterrent. Gray says that he’d like to see some young couples come to town and, as partners, create those restaurants.“We also want to have young families here to support our schools,” he said. “But, as housing prices rise, it makes it more difficult for them.” Two key factors keep Ucluelet from being a West Coast tourist mecca: the long, slow highway from Port Alberni, and the deficiencies of the airport. “Our airport is an ex-WWII landing strip,” said Lyon. “It is really long and could handle fairly big planes if we had an instrument landing system. That way, people could fly in from Victoria or Seattle for the weekend.” http://web.bcnewsgroup.com/portals-c
6) Reacting to the excesses of industrial manipulation, wholistic foresters attempt to manage the woods according to the basic ecological principles of balance and diversity. Instead of simplifying the ecosystem by eliminating unwanted elements, they prefer to utilize all elements to the best advantage of the entire forest. Like industrial tree farmers, they are interested in the production of timber. Unlike industrial tree farmers, they treat the forest as a complex, interdependent system with a life of its own. But how can you make it work out in practice? If you're like most would-be foresters, you will probably be starting with land that has already been abused. If you want to grow decent timber wholistically, you will first have to make sure your soil is not going to wash away. Erosion is a most serious enemy, but it can be stopped. You can build check dams in the gullies to slow down the flow of water that undercuts the topsoil. You can build retaining walls of live brush (called contour wattles ) on the hillsides to keep those slopes from sliding away. And you can also plant a cover crop of quick-rooting, pioneer vegetation to help hold the soil in place. Wholistic forester Gerald Myers—who descends from several generations of loggers—lives in one of the fastest—eroding and most severely damaged watersheds in the country. Yet he is convinced he can grow timber on his land: Three or four years ago, I started daydreaming about taking this damaged environment and trying to put it back together. That was the first time I started thinking wholistically about this 19-square-mile watershed I live in. I decided to create a labor-intensive environmental repair project that would take the out-of-work rural poor (which we have a lot of) and the damaged woods, and put them together. One of the interesting things about this wholistic approach is that—when you look at the whole site—you find that a lot of the work fits together. For example, in timber-stand improvement you generate a lot of waste material, and that can be used for erosion control, in contour wattles and check dams. http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-C
7) When it adopted the 2004 Framework, the Forest Service acknowledged that logging large trees does not reduce the risk of wildfire, but it claimed that such logging was necessary to finance the removal of smaller trees and brush. Quite literally, the 2004 Framework lost sight of the forest for the trees. Our clients argued, and the Ninth Circuit agreed, that the Forest Service's failure to consider any alternative options for financing fuel reduction activities violated the National Environmental Policy Act. Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit enjoined the Forest Service from carrying out aspects of three logging projects - totaling 12,000 acres - in the northern Sierra Nevada that implement the 2004 Framework and would be inconsistent with the 2001 Framework. In our view, the Ninth Circuit's repudiation of the 2004 Framework is an important legal victory that should shift the Forest Service's attention away from the last big trees in the backcountry and back to the important fuel reduction activities that are needed around Sierra communities." http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w
8) In a broad-ranging address Saturday to the Montana Logging Association stretching from the farm bill to the next president, U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey said better forestry management is helping slow the escalating costs of suppressing wildfires.He said firefighting accounted for about 14 percent of the U.S. Forest Service budget in the 1970s, and accelerated to about 50 percent today. Rey addressed a group of about 120 people, representing an industry particularly hard hit in recent years. Ken Swanstrom, president of the 580-member Montana Logging Association, said these have been “desperate times” for loggers and sawmills, given the sluggish housing market and low timber prices. “Three months without work is a long time. This is pretty severe economically,” he said. “Usually, it is weather-related.” Alternatively serious and lighthearted in his 30-minute talk, Rey described a quiet moment after receiving a call in October 2001 from the White House to serve in President Bush's administration. He said he contemplated his “quality time” with the Secret Service who would be part of his life in his new job, and then quickly sent up a prayer. Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist, has visited Missoula five times recently. Those visits included court appearance over the Forest Service's use of fire retardants and discussions over access to Plum Creek Timber Co. properties. “I like coming to Missoula because I have interesting times,” he said. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2
9) Stimson officials cite the slumping housing market, foreign competition and availability of timber as reasons for their decision. Sue Tollefson is pondering her next step after Stimson Lumber Co. indefinitely closes its Bonner plant in the next few days, ending 122 years of logging operations. After 14 years at the sawmill, she's considering a career as a radiology technician. “It's scary because it's a whole different direction,” said Tollefson, 52. “But it's also an opportunity to advance.” Production supervisor Richard Anthony has been at the Bonner plant for 38 years. He planned to talk with a career counselor after listening to brief overviews of available programs during a recent information session for Stimson workers at the University of Montana's College of Technology. The Bonner mill's heyday was in the early 1980s, when it employed nearly 1,000 workers. Stimson, a privately held forest products company based in Portland, Ore., bought the mill from Champion International in 1993. Stimson owns about 400,000 acres of timberland and has assets and operations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. While millworkers scramble to figure out their next step, several related businesses have readjusted their prospects, too. Dyrk Krueger, who runs a small logging outfit from Corvallis, said without the Bonner mill, he'll have to deliver to mills farther away in St. Regis, Deer Lodge and elsewhere. But that means taking a hit with higher fuel costs. “I don't want to make it sound like that logging in the Bitterroot is economically impossible, but it is hitting home now,” Krueger said. “I don't know what we're going to do, honestly. We're small, we're flexible and we will make it, but it is not easy.” Scott Kuehn is one of two foresters recently laid off by Stimson, where he's worked for the past 3 1/2 years buying timber from private and public lands. After several jobs with timber companies in the region, he landed a position last week as a procurement forester at Tricon Timber in St. Regis. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2
10) Richard Hatcher, assistant director of the wildlife department, said both the department and Weyerhaeuser remain dedicated to enhancing fish and wildlife resources, and hope to continue to provide quality public recreation in that country. "This remains a very large, contiguous area that will allow us to focus our resources and management efforts," he said. "Every dollar brought in from land access permits will go right back into that area, whether to help pay for the lease or manage the property."The public will continue to have access to some 75,000 acres of land in nearby Honobia Creek WMA, and the department says about 15,000 people have been purchasing access permits since they went into effect several years ago. "This new agreement was certainly better for the department, and the average citizen, than completely losing access to most of that country," said M. David Riggs of Sand Springs, who is chairman of the Wildlife Conservation Commission. "It's just a fact that more and more of that country -- and many other areas of our state -- are going into private leases to big corporations or very wealthy individuals."There are several other rules and regulations that will be part of the new agreement, including a very controversial law that will prohibit ATV use on Three Rivers except during deer hunting season and only by licensed deer hunters. Recreational riding will be completely prohibited on that area, but access to Honobia Creek will remain as before. http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/13
11) Little told The Town Talk, "I don't have a logging business. I'm not in the logging business." But J.D. Rudd, owner of Red Neck Timber Co., has sued Little claiming that he is owed $4,929.36 by Little Enterprises Inc. for timber that was cut and hauled off of a tract of land belonging to the U.S. Forest Service. The commercial database on the secretary of state's Web site shows Little Enterprises Inc. is an active corporation domiciled at 8784 La. Highway 501, Winnfield. A.D. Little and his wife, Kelly C. Little, of that same Winnfield address are listed as president and secretary/treasurer, respectively, of Little Enterprises. A.D. Little is also listed as a director. According to the lawsuit, Red Neck Timber contracted to harvest timber from 60 acres of Forest Service land Jan. 1, 2005, with a requirement that the harvesting be completed by Sept. 15, 2005. Rudd claims that he had to contract with others, including Little Enterprises, to complete the Forest Service job because he became ill and was hospitalized in the spring and summer of that year. The lawsuit claims Little did not live up to the conditions in the contract with Red Neck and paid Rudd less than the agreed-upon split. The lawsuit seeks $4,929.36 allegedly owed to Rudd and attorney's fees from Little and from Little Enterprises. http://www.thetowntalk.com/apps/pbcs.dl
12) The road slicing through the thickly forested hills of eastern Kentucky used to be called the Daniel Boone Parkway. It was named for the controversial American folk hero who fought his way across Indian country to settle a state where many of his descendants still live. That was before the coal industry began blowing up the Appalachian Mountains as a cheap way of getting at the black stuff below, behaviour decried by the environmental group Appalachian Voices as "one of the greatest human rights and environmental tragedies in America's recent history". Daniel Boone's road is now the Hal Rogers Parkway, named after one of the Kentucky coal industry's closest friends in Washington, a Republican Congressman of 34 years. It passes through a mountain range older than the Himalayas and is blanketed in broadleaf forests rivalled only by the Amazon basin in its biodiversity. But the canopy of trees which lines the parkway as it rises from the bluegrass horse country to the mountains is a trompe l'oeil. The lush forest gives way to scraggly trees along the ridge-line, and behind those trees is evidence of unspeakable ecological violence. In a process known as mountaintop removal an upland moonscape is being created, which is incapable of regenerating trees. As far as the eye can see, the land is grey and pockmarked with huge black lakes, filled with toxic coal slurry. The devastation being wrought on Appalachia is best appreciated from the air. An organisation called Southwinds offers people an eagle-eye view of the carnage, not readily appreciated from the road. Another way to see what's going on behind the ridge-line is to take a Google Earth virtual tour of an online memorial to the 470 mountains blown up and levelled in recent years. The act of destroying a million-year-old mountain has several distinct stages. First it is earmarked for removal and the hardwood forest cover, containing over 500 species of tree per acre in this region, is bulldozed away. The trees are typically burnt rather than logged, because mining companies are not in the lumber business. Then topsoil is scraped away and high explosives laid in the sandstone. Thousands of blasts go off across the region every day, blowing up what the mining industry calls "overburden". http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w
13) A three-year project to restore 951 acres of the Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Preserve should be under way by the end of this week, according to the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Sand pines have taken over much of the uplands acreage because of the lack of fire, which naturally maintains the quality of a habitat. In addition, decades of vegetative debris have built up, leaving the area at risk for raging wildfires. The tall pines will be removed and sold to pay for the restoration. By reintroducing controlled burns, the forest floor will be returned to a more natural state, resulting in more grasses and wildflowers, the agency said. Those plants and acorns will provide food for wildlife that normally would live in such uplands habitats. The restoration also will allow for shrubby oaks and larger turkey oaks to again become the dominant canopy. "This project will not only restore the health of the habitats, it will also enhance the fire protection of the surrounding residential communities," said Will Van Gelder, district senior land management specialist. The project will be conducted over three years in phases, with all of the work happening south of the paved recreation trail, leaving the overwhelming majority of the park available for recreation. The first two phases will take place west of the power lines, while the last phase will be east of the power lines. The first phase involves logging an area near the Aristida subdivision. A remote hiking trail and the entire equestrian path will be closed during portions of the project. While the horse path is off limits, riders will be redirected to the Serenova entrance off State Road 52. http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreatio
14) OCALA - It is not uncommon to see logging trucks hauling freshly cut sand pine trees out of the Ocala National Forest all year long. What most people don't see is the aftermath. A timber operation can leave an area looking desolate, like the patch of forest along Forest Road 77 that was logged in mid-April. By harvesting the timber, the Forest Service protects the resource, generates funds and provides a useful product, but that's not the main reason. "This provides habitat for the world's largest population of scrub jays and scrub lizards," Record said. "Pretty much what drives our timber program any more is the scrub jay." The endangered bird lives in young sand pines that grow low to the ground, trees that generally are less than 15 years old. "Right after we cut it, it provides forage, food for them," Record said. Each year, about 2,500 acres of sand pine trees are harvested in the Ocala National Forest. With roughly 120 to 200 trees an acre, that amounts to about 400,000 to 500,000 trees a year. "That is less than 1 percent of the total number of trees in the Ocala National Forest," Record said. "This is the largest sand pine forest in the world." Cutting the trees actually mimics what would happen in nature, he said. Sand pines live about 80 years, and aged trees are toppled by winds. Often, the trees are struck by lightning, which causes wildfires that burn acres of forest and can endanger private homes and property. This year, the Forest Service will conduct six timber sales totaling about 2,000 acres. "There's talk we may up that to 4,000, which is still below our allowable cut," Record said. "We never harvest more in a year than what is generated by new growth." http://www.ocala.com/article/20080519/N
15) Overaggressive fire suppression, poor forest management, and development have impaired forest landscapes across the country. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the lead sponsor of S. 2593 and Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, says the bill will lead to an overall reduction of wildfire management costs by focusing funding on collaborative and science-based forest landscape restoration program that would prioritize and fund ecological restoration treatments for forest landscapes. The bill maintains all existing environmental laws such as the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the 2001 Roadless Rule. American Lands Alliance worked closely with the drafters of the legislation and was able to secure ecological safeguards, including framing the bill in the context of ecological restoration as opposed to just thinning and requiring scientific review. In addition, American Lands was able to secure language that ensures road decommissioning and promotes watershed health. The legislation includes a prohibition on building permanent roads and requires that funds for any temporary roads be included in the project to ensure their removal. The purpose statement includes the role of reestablishing natural fire regimes as a means to help reduce wildfire management costs. Finally, American Lands was able to persuade the sponsors of the bill to remove a loophole that would have allowed agencies to implement outdated forest plans that would have allowed the logging of old growth. This revision also eliminated the exemption for logging matrix forests covered under the Northwest Forest Plan. email@example.com
16) There's a green lining to the real-estate cloud: Trust for Public Land, a San Francisco nonprofit group that specializes in buying land for conservation. Now, U.S. property owners from Massachusetts to Hawaii are flocking to it. One of the latest examples involves a five-mile stretch of Hawaiian beach. Last summer, a unit of Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management LP was negotiating with a hotel chain to build a mega-resort development along Oahu's fabled North Shore. Its plan for as many as five new hotels with up to 3,500 rooms and condominium units had been one of the most intensely opposed in Hawaii in years. But a deal to develop the 858-acre property, which includes the well-known Turtle Bay Resort, languished. Last June, the company missed a $687,500 payment on a $283 million loan it obtained in 2005 from a group of lenders headed by a unit of Credit Suisse Group, according to court records. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle asked groups including the Trust and local conservation group North Shore Community Land Trust to help protect the undeveloped land and to find a buyer for the adjacent Turtle Bay Resort. Oaktree representatives contacted her office within days after her announcement saying they wanted to talk. "They need to get out of that property," she said. "We would like to see it preserved." In Portland, Ore., a developer that had approval to build 65 homes on a 27-acre parcel agreed in February to sell it for $4 million, a 20% discount to the land's appraised value before the housing market softened. In Groton, Mass., the Trust last July paid $19.4 million to preserve a 360-acre farm that was owned by a developer who abandoned plans to build 130 homes as housing there also slumped. In rural Minnesota, thousands of former Camp Fire girls rallied to stop a 71-acre camp from being turned over for development. The property had operated as a Camp Fire camp for 77 years until being closed two years ago. But last August the developer failed to secure $5 million in financing, say officials of Camp Fire USA's Minnesota Council. They have since begun negotiations to sell the property for $3.8 million to the Trust, which proposes to convert it into a regional park, says Andrea Platt Dwyer, chief executive officer of the Minnesota Council. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1210288
17) Since mid-2006, pine sawmills have been closing across the South and prices for pine lumber and saw timber have been dropping. Now skyrocketing timberland prices have some people scratching their heads and mentioning the "bubble" word. On April 1, 900,000 acres of timberland in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas changed hands for $1.71 billion. Just 17 months earlier, the same land had sold for $1.19 billion. One simple explanation for growing timberland values is supply and demand, Clutter said. "There's $10 [billion] or $12 billion looking to find a home invested in timberland, and there's not anywhere near that much [land] available," he said. Most U.S. forest-products companies have sold their strategic timberlands. Only Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser Co. still has major U.S. timberland holdings, about 6.5 million acres. The buyers have tended to be large, tax-exempt entities like pension funds, foundations, and college and university endowments, which wanted to diversify their long-term investments. More recently, foreigners have been attracted to U.S. timberland investments because of the weak U.S. dollar. In the most recent transaction, TimberStar Southwest, a Shreveport-based real estate investment trust, sold the timberland to third-party investors of the Hancock Timber Resource Group for an average price of $1,900 per acre. Boston-based Hancock is a timberland investment management organization. On Oct. 31, 2006, Timber-Star had bought the same land from International Paper Co. forroughly $1,322 per acre. The timberland increased in value by more than 43 percent, despite recent dismal trends in the wood-products industry prompted by slumping demand for housing and chaos in mortgage markets. This Arkansas timberland, which has been "managed for intensive timber production by industrial timber companies for many decades," is of especially high quality, Ballard said. "These lands have very good road systems, well-managed timber stands with balanced age diversity and steady timber harvest potential," he said. The opportunity to buy such land "does not come around very often," Ballard said. Pat DuBose, a principal with Little Rock-based Davis DuBose Forestry & Real Estate Consultants PLLC, said he is bullish on timberland because the U.S. housing market eventually will recover. "Patient money realizes that the [timberland] prices we have today, while they may be high, will not be considered high 10 to 15 years from now, but cheap," DuBose said. http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Business/226
18) OTTAWA - A report and set of maps released today offer a first time overview of the extent to which mining claims staked under an outdated free entry system conflict with Aboriginal rights, private landowners, conservation, wildlife, and other values in Canada's Boreal Forest. The report calls for modernizing the mining law. Over a half-million sq km of mineral claims are currently staked across Canada's Boreal Forest under a "free entry" tenure system implemented 150 years ago during the Klondike gold rush era. Under the free entry system, mineral rights are acquired automatically without consideration of other land-use priorities or the prior and informed consent of affected Aboriginal people. Ten per cent of Canada's vast Boreal Forest is staked for mining. "We are living in the 21st century with a mining law that dates back to the colonial era. It needs to be reformed," noted Larry Innes of the Canadian Boreal Initiative, "Social and environmental objectives - such as resolving Aboriginal land claims and ensuring conservation planning before development--should take precedence but under the current system, mineral rights are given first priority." The maps released today show potential conflicts over vast regions of Canada, including areas where mineral exploration overlaps with unsettled Aboriginal land claims; mineral claims which encroach on proposed protected areas; and regions where intensive exploration is occurring within threatened woodland caribou habitat. The report offers case studies of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec to illustrate the rising conflicts fuelled by booming investments in mineral exploration and the outdated free entry mining system.
19) With the oilsands now symbolizing deforestation, climate change and corporate greed, the Alberta energy industry is up against a growing network of green activists. In 1949, when the Athabasca oilsands were still a two-bit experiment, J. Howard Pew, chairman of Philadelphia-based Sun Oil Co., summoned to his office the new head of his Alberta operation. He picked up a thick file labelled Athabasca Tar Sands and showed it to George Dunlap. "I believe the tar sands will, some day, be of great significance to the needs for petroleum in North America," the patriarch said, according to reports at the time relayed by historian Earle Gray in his book, The Great Canadian Oil Patch. "I want you to be sure that Sun Oil always has a significant position in the Athabasca tar sands area," Mr. Pew said. Seattle-based Steve Kallick, manager of the Boreal conservation pro-gram of the Pew Environment Group, said when he travels to Alberta he is quickly reminded about Mr. Pew's role in starting the oilsands industry and asked to justify his group's antioilsands stance. His response is that no one, not even Mr. Pew, could have imagined the level of activity under way in Alberta and its impact on the Canadian Boreal Forest, whose conservation is one of the top causes embraced by his charity. "The tar sands pioneers, including the members of the Pew family who were part of Sunoco or Suncor companies, were trying to figure out to extract oil from the tar sands economically," he said. "Now that we are talking about expansion over a gigantic area of Alberta, the size of Florida … all of a sudden these environmental issues that have never been addressed are becoming a real significant problem." http://www.financialpost.com/most_popul
20) A family and a local chief who struck a fraudulent deal to chop down a yellowwood forest have been sentenced to hefty jail terms in a precedent-setting environmental court case. Conservation officials were greeted with a scene of devastation at the Gongqo-Gongqo State For est in Um- zimkulu, where 89 trees aged 300 to 400 years old were illegally felled in late 2001. The incident angered the then Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Ronnie Kasrils, who said the forest, which now falls within KwaZulu-Natal, could not be restored in a lifetime. Now, almost seven years later, Clive Terblanche and sons Morné and Pierre from Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal, and three members of the Malenge Tribal Authority, have been convicted of fraud and contravening the National Forests Act by the High Court sitting in Um- zimkulu. KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife investigations officer Rod Potter said fraudulent documents were drawn up to purchase the forest, a habitat of the endangered Cape parrot, from the tribal authority for R15000 — although only R10000 changed hands. The plan went awry when conservators discovered illicit yellowwood being transported to a sawmill by truck and train. Potter said the chopped logs were valued at R389000 but potentially worth R6-million to R7-million once they were sawn into planks. The Terblanche family, Chief Wilson Ntlabathi, tribal authority secretary Eric Sithole and treasurer Siphiwe Satywa were sentenced to eight years for fraud, three years of which were suspended for five years. Terblanche and his sons received an additional three-year sentence for offences under the National Forests Act related to the cutting down of indigenous protected trees in a natural forest. “Forests have this huge role to play in reducing climate change as a result of greenhouse gasses,” said Potter. “We wanted to set an example of enforcement and prosecution in this case ,” he said. The state is to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal to increase the sentences. The six men are appealing against their conviction and sentences. http://www.thetimes.co.za/PrintEdi
21) Mineral-laden Venezuela on Thursday shut the door to new gold projects and threatened other mining and logging concessions in a step by leftist President Hugo Chavez to tighten control of natural resources. Environment Minister Yuviri Ortega said the South American country will not give permits for any open-pit mines and will not allow companies to look for gold in its vast Imataca Forest Reserve. "Venezuela will deny environmental permits for the open-pit mine exploitation," Ortega told Reuters in an interview. "Neither private or public companies will for now explore Imataca's gold." Citing ecological damage, Ortega said the government was also revising all its mining and timber concessions. OPEC member Venezuela is one of the world's top oil exporters. With its coffers bulging from record crude prices, it feels it does not need to risk further harming its environment with more mining and logging. "For the moment we do not need to exploit these minerals; as the president says, we don't need diamonds or gold, or coal," she said, but did not give further details. Much of the Caribbean state remains largely unpopulated and it houses diverse eco-systems including a significant chunk of the Amazon rain forest. The ban on mining in the 9 million acre (3.8 million hectare) Imataca reserve and the end to permits for open pits was a blow to Crystallex and Gold Reserve. The Canadian companies have long been seeking environmental permits to exploit their concessions in the reserve. Chavez last year launched a nationalization drive, increasing state control over the country's oil industry. The U.S critic has since taken over key sectors of the economy including electricity, telecoms, cement and steel companies. He has been especially tough on foreign companies but typically pays a fair price for nationalized assets. http://venezuelawearewithyou.blogspot.c
22) Last week, Peru announced the creation of its first Environment Ministry, dedicated to protecting the nation’s Amazon rainforest; while the Brazilian government stepped up its “Arc of fire” operation against illegal logging and deforestation. All good stuff, on paper, but the resignation of Brazil’s Amazon Minister (Marina Silva), citing “difficulties in implementing the government’s environmental agenda”, reminds us that striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection continues to be a struggle. But responsible tourism and community-led conservation initiatives do offer some hope for the future. 1) POSADA AMAZONAS, Puerto Maldonado – PERU- After 20 years the lodge will be given over completely to the community; having been fully trained to run the lodge in guiding, cooking, accounts, finance and marketing. 60% of all income goes back to the community to fund education, health-care initiatives and protect the surrounding rainforest (10,000 hectares achieved) and its wildlife. 2) HUAORANI LODGE, Napo River – ECUADOR - A fantastic lodge with both community and conservation benefit, in a region which was threatened by oil companies. 3) SURAMA VILLAGE, Pacaraima savannah – GUYANA - In an attempt to stem the exodus of villagers to the capital, Surama’s “Macushi” villagers, backed by local operator Wilderness Explorers, built a rustic lodge and hammock camp to offer hiking and dug-out canoe tours in the surrounding jungle. 4) PUNTA ISLITA, Nicoya Peninsula – COSTA RICA – Set in the middle of a 50-acre private tropical dry forest reserve, all produce is locally sourced and over 85% of staff are from the local villages. There are 32 luxurious rooms, suites and villas, 5) “VOLUNTARY ADVENTURE PROJECTS” – PERU, BRAZIL & PANAMA - These projects give travellers the chance to volunteer their time as a much-needed "extra pair of hands" - assisting local conservation NGO's with field studies and lab research. 6) “COMMUNITY JOURNEYS” – PERU & CHILE - Where possible, you stay with local communities (in family homestays) rather than hotels, and are invited to participate in their daily lives - learning how they weave, cook, farm etc and helping out with their daily tasks. http://www.journeylatinamerica.co.uk/Ho
23) Developing countries rely on their resources for development by definition; hence isolating and protecting these resources was a futile attempt. Corrupt systems and the cunning ways of the big players in the oil, logging and mining industries found ways into the parks. As to indigenous people of the forest; they were tired of the philosophies of the west. They needed no one to teach them how to protect the forest. They did that for many millennia. It is important to stress the importance of indigenous people in the preservation of the Amazon. Sustainable development as a strategy is based on the understanding that a living ecosystem can produce greater economic value than the exploitation of non-renewable resources - that enlightenment that came in the mid-90s made a huge difference since conservation start making sense. We've seen green consumerism before in the last decades yet these days with the realities of global warming and its palpable peril to the planet and to the human race - I tend and hope that what we are experiencing is not a trend but an awakening. Q: How did you get involved in forest conservation? Was it a result of your experiences in the Amazon? A: Yes. I have returned to the Amazon to thank the people that were involved in my rescue and upon meeting them I realised that their life is in danger. They have asked for my help on a community-based initiation of a tourism project. Both of us weren't familiar with the term ecotourism at the time. I had no knowledge of conservation at all. However, I was in awe of their bravery and determination and decided to support it actively by moving to the Amazon and dedicating myself fully and totally in the project. I have learned a lot from the community but also delved into a deep research and soon became familiar with all major players, NGOs, government agencies, policy makers, ethno-botanists, etc. After the experience in the Amazon I have tried to go back to 'normal' life within the context of my upbringing and my society. To my distress and dismay I did not belong anymore. I was haunted by existential questions about life and the big picture, who am I and what am I doing here. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Indi
24) Brazil's newly appointed environment minister, Carlos Minc, is pushing to have the military patrol nature reserves in the Amazon and elsewhere, according to comments published Monday. Minc, who was named to the important ministry following the surprise resignation of his highly regarded predecessor Marina Silva last week, said he would put the proposal to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. "I am going to propose the creation of patrols or movements by army regiments to watch over the big parks and reserves," he was quoted as saying in several media. Brazil has around 300 nature parks and reserves, most of them located in the vast Amazon forest, which is under threat from illegal loggers and ranchers. Minc, 50, was previously in charge of the environment for the state of Rio de Janeiro, during which he built a reputation as a "guardian angel" of the environment Greenpeace, and an "enemy of development" for large agricultural interests. He has large shoes to fill in taking over his new portfolio. Silva, the daughter of a rubber plantation owner, was a staunch defender of the environment during her tenure. She was said to have resigned in frustration over differences with other ministers more interested in economic development than eco-protection, and with Lula's focus on developing biofuel crops. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Brazi
25) For as long as most can remember, Brazil has gazed nervously at maps of the vast, mostly uninhabited territory of the Amazon rain forest. In the 1960s and ’70s, generals here saw the colonization of the Brazilian Amazon, which is half the size of Europe, as a national security priority. Ocupar para não entregar — “occupy it to avoid surrendering it” — was the slogan of the day. Highways were built, and Brazilians were offered incentives to conquer the land in the Amazon and transform it in the name of development. There was more behind the nervousness than idle conspiracy theory. Even then, such a unique and vast repository of riches stirred imaginations worldwide. Herman Kahn, the military strategist and futurist, pushed the idea of establishing a freshwater lake in the Amazon to transform the area into a center of agricultural production. Now, with the world focusing on the promises of biodiversity and the perils of global warming, a chorus of international leaders have ever more openly declared the Amazon part of a patrimony far larger than that of the nations that share its territory. “Contrary to what Brazilians think, the Amazon is not their property, it belongs to all of us,” Al Gore, then a senator, said in 1989. Such comments are not taken lightly here. In fact, they have reignited old attitudes of territorial protectionism and watchfulness for undercover foreign invaders (now including bioprospectors). The government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is pushing a law that would restrict access to the rain forest, requiring foreigners and Brazilians alike to obtain a special permit to enter it. Brazilian officials say it would separate bad non-governmental organizations from good ones, and deter so-called “biopirates” — those who want to patent unique substances discovered in the forest. “The Amazon is ours,” Justice Secretary Romeu Tuma Jr. said in an interview. “We want to know who is going there and what they are going to do. It’s a question of national sovereignty.” But José Goldemberg, a former environmental secretary for the state of São Paulo, echoed many environmentalists in calling the strategy “paranoid,” and evoked the way the cold war Kremlin sealed off whole areas from prying eyes. “If you try to control it, this will end up like the Soviet Union,” he said. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/weeki
26) The Chaiten volcano sits on the southern edge of Pumalin Park, a 300,000-hectare (740,000-acre) site created by the Tompkinses to preserve a swath of Patagonia said. ``If it gets worse, it could hammer in a big way the infrastructure we've built, and wipe out forests that'll take thousands of years to return, ''said Kristine Tompkins. The eruption, which started May 2, has spewed windblown ash east across the Andes as far as Buenos Aires, almost 1,500 kilometers away, and forced the evacuation of more than 4,000 people living within a 30-kilometer radius of the mountain. A 3,000-year-old hardwood forest of evergreen Alerce trees has been spared so far. About 90 percent of the now-evacuated town of Chaiten is flooded, Chile's national emergency office said on May 15. Residents probably won't be able to return for at least three months, Chilean Defense Minister Jose Goni said the same day. In an interview with Bloomberg News last year, Tompkins, now 65, recounted the steps that led him to Chile. He said he first visited Patagonia, a vast expanse of mountains, rivers and grasslands at the southern tip of South America, in the 1960s. A climbing buddy with him on that trip later started Patagonia Inc., the outdoor-apparel company where his present wife once served as chief executive officer. Tompkins himself went on to found and sell outdoor-gear maker North Face in the 1960s. In 1968, he started fashion company Esprit Holdings Ltd. with his first wife. He gave up his Esprit holdings for $200 million in 1989. Two years later, he sold his Ferrari and Amish-quilt collection and moved to an isolated cabin in Chile to work fulltime on conservation. He married Kristine, a long-time friend, in 1993. They say they have spent $200 million to acquire and preserve 810,000 hectares of land in Chile and neighboring Argentina. Pumalin, which spans the country from Argentina on the east to the Pacific Ocean on the west, is the showcase of their holdings. Its self-guided trails, rustically luxurious cabins and elegant visitors' center draw 7,000 visitors a year. In 2005, the Chilean government granted the park the status of a nature sanctuary. Since the eruption, the Tompkinses have relocated 75 people who live and work in the reserve. Kristine Tompkins said flyovers showed that flooded, debris-filled rivers threatened to wipe out livestock on several farms that they own contiguous to the park, which is owned by a foundation established by the couple. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p
27) The Majority population of Himachal Pradesh has requested the Central government not to impose ban on the release of new gas connections in the state, so that the consumers do not face any difficulty in meeting their fuel requirements for cooking purposes. This request has been made in the wake of the ban imposed by the Government of India on the release of new gas connections throughout the country. The gas consumption in the state is only seven kg per month per consumer, which is very less compared to the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana, where it is 12 and 11 kg per month respectively. All India average of gas consumption is 10.5 kg per month. There is a total ban on felling of trees in the state, and use of fuel wood is being discouraged for cooking purposes for protecting forests. Banning the release of new gas connections would compel people to use fuel wood, which would result in degradation of forest wealth. http://india.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?a
28) The Southeast Asian country will open nine dams of various sizes between 2010 and 2019 to generate 1,942 megawatts of power, according to a government report to parliament obtained by AFP. At least four of the dams will be backed by China. The US-based International Rivers Network last year said that two Chinese-funded hydroelectric dams already under construction threatened to flood huge swathes of Cambodia's protected forests. The group said the Kamchay and Stung Atay dams, unchecked by public scrutiny, will wreak havoc on local communities and slow development. The new government report said the Kamchay hydropower plant will open in 2010, while Stung Atay hydroelectric dam will open in 2012. "By 2020, all villages will have electric power. (And) by 2030, at least 70 percent of the families countrywide will have electricity use," the report said. The government also plans to build nine coal-powered plants between 2011 and 2020, the report said. Only some 20 percent of Cambodian households currently have access to electricity. Spiralling utility prices, driven by this lack of supply, are a major obstacle to attracting foreign investment, and the government has struggled to find a way to bring down the cost of power. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Cambo
29) Danum Valley Field Centre in Sabah - Perched high on treetops were parties of Green Imperial Pigeons and on subsequent days, we caught sight of a White-fronted Falconet and a Bat Hawk. The Buffy Fish Owl and Brown Wood Owl called every night. In Danum Valley, a total of 328 bird species have been recorded, including 42 Bornean endemics. We were delighted to finally see one of these rare endemics, the queer looking Borneon Bristlehead. Despite the rainy weather, we saw a total of 60 species of birds during our six-day stay, a decent haul indeed. The valley in eastern Sabah is not only a haven for birdwatchers, it is also noted for having one of the most complex eco-systems in the world. It is located within 438sq km of lush virgin tropical rainforest which hides many of nature’s wonders not often seen by the human eye. As for snakes, Danum Valley has recorded 72 species of reptiles. We had close encounters with two highly venomous snakes. A Dog-toothed Cat Snake was seen slumbering beside a house swift’s nest on a ceiling ledge of the Education Centre’s porch. It had apparently just feasted either on the chicks or the eggs in the nest and was sleeping after its hearty meal! Then we came upon a road kill, a Banded Malayan Coral snake. We could still see the beautiful black and white banded belly and its diagnostic red tail. My thoughts at that moment were that it would make a very pretty necklace or bracelet! Other rainforest denizens we came across were tree frogs, owls, giant centipedes, scorpions and many strange patterned beetles, moths and butterflies. Even as we observed a large monitor lizard swimming in the Pallum River, we were distracted by a graceful Wood Nymph butterfly and a rufous Raffle’s Malkoha rustling on the branches overhead. It gladdens my heart to know that Danum Valley is protected for future generations to still enjoy all of its biodiversity in years to come. the centre’s excellent facilities have attracted local and overseas scientists to generate, to date, more than 300 scientific studies and documentaries. From 1992, extensive forest restoration works and enrichment planting of degraded forests with indigenous species have been undertaken in logged areas of the forests in Danum Valley. In 1996, the surrounding jungles were gazetted as a Protection (Class One) Forest Reserve. Logging and other commercial exploitative activities were banned. Danum Valley Field Centre manager, Jimmy Omar, proudly proclaimed that all logging officially stopped on August 31, 2007. http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/Trav
30) Another timber company director pursued in a police crackdown on illegal logging in Riau province was acquitted of all charges by judges in the Pelalawan District Court last week. Managing director of PT Karunia Alam Riau (KAR), Ana Marningsih, had been accused of acquiring timber from a protected forest without the appropriate license. “We did our best to prove her guilty and demand a sentence of three years in prison, but the panel of judges held a different opinion and believed she wasn’t at fault,” Riau High Court spokesman Darbin Pasaribu told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. Riau Police raided PT KAR’s property in Sikijang Mati village in Bandar Sikijang district, Pelalawan, on Jan. 23 last year. Police found processed and sawn timber of the acasia variety stored without the required timber documents. “Ana, as director of the company, was charged with violating Law No. 41/1999 on forestry for misappropriating forest resources without a license,” Darbin said. Presiding judge of the Pelalawan District Court, Samsuddin, acquitted Ana of all charges on May 7, and said the timber found by police had originated from a community-based forest, not a preserved forest. Prosecutors have appealed against the ruling, arguing that Ana had broken the law regardless of what type of forest the timber had been taken from, Darbin said. Law No. 41/1999 defines forest as both state-owned and traditional forests, he said. “Even though the timber had been taken from a community forest, it should have come with documents. That’s the basis of the law,” he said. http://www.thejakartapost.com/node/1692
31) "Past efforts to save tropical forests have relied on voluntary funding, and this simply has not been enough to properly value all of the benefits tropical forest provide, or to make their protection a competitive option compared to their destruction," Johns explains. "REDD offers us the chance to put a monetary value on standing forests, and could give developing countries a way to contribute more substantially to the goals of global emissions reduction, while at the same time protecting their forest resources and investing in forest-related sustainable development for their forest-dependent communities. While REDD has attracted a lot of interest among policymakers, environmentalists, indigenous rights' groups, and the investment community, Johns says that implementation still faces a number of challenges including the "readiness" of developing countries and the commitment of developed governments. "Many of the developing countries most likely to join a REDD regime currently have limited capacity to monitor and account for changes in deforestation rates and emissions, and many also do not have processes in place to support a participatory process that will incorporate the many stakeholders impacted by a REDD program," she said. "Creating the infrastructure to support REDD programs long-term and to address the rights and roles of all relevant stakeholders impacted by a REDD program is a huge challenge, and can only be met through significant commitments by both developed and developing countries; developed countries must provide financial support, technology transfer, and knowledge and experience transfer, while developing countries will need to commit through sustained political will to address issues of land tenure and traditional rights, as well as incorporate REDD into long-term planning." A well-designed REDD framework could support the recognition of the role of indigenous peoples and forest communities in forest protection, but this goal must be incorporated in the design of national REDD programs, to insure that REDD does not provide an incentive to bypass the rights of these traditional forest stewards. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0519-inte
32) Global Forest Coalition released a major report, "Forests and the Biodiversity Convention," at the Convention on Biological Diversity today. This report contains the summaries and research undertaken in 22 countries by independent country monitors to examine whether or not Parties are implementing the decisions made through the CBD Programme of Work (POW) of Forest Biological Diversity. The civil society groups from the 22 countries who elaborated the reports presented at their findings at a press conference this morning. The Coordinator of the report and Chairperson of the Global Forest Coalition, Dr. Miguel Lovera said, "Even though isolated actions have been taken by some governments, they fall short of complying with the CBD/POW which mandates that forests be regarded as ecosystems and not as mere resources." He continued, "The consequences of this are that forest species are being lost at a rate of more than 100 a day and huge areas of forests are being lost, such as in the Amazon, Congo Basin and throughout the earth. To make things worse, governments and corporations are obsessed with promoting false solutions to climate change, like relying on agrofuels and genetically engineered trees to replace oil. Reports on CBD/POWs implementation primarily refer to ongoing activities that have started well before 2002. New activities are either lacking or insufficient. So what are they doing?" Many countries omitted implementing the CBD/POW for diverse reasons, but one outstanding example is the lack of political will as exemplified by Brazil. Hubertus Samangun, Director of ICTI, Tanimbar, Indonesia, Southeast Asia Regional Coordinator of the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests explained, "The Indonesian government is cutting down millions of hectares of forests and replacing them with palm oil plantations." Agrofuel expansion and the expansion of large-scale monocultures for both agrofuels and other agro-industrial purposes, bad forest governance and the lack of a proper definition of forests were identified as some of the main causes of forest loss in the 22 countries monitored. The report concludes that there have been some clear success-stories of forest conservation, especially on indigenous lands and territories, but indigenous peoples are still not able to participate in national and international forest policies. firstname.lastname@example.org
33) The destruction of flora and fauna is costing the world two trillion euros (3.1 trillion dollars) a year, or six percent of its overall gross national product, according to a report trailed by German news weekly Der Spiegel. The European Union and German environment ministry-led research, entitled "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity," will be presented on Monday at the ninth conference of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn. In its edition out Monday, Der Spiegel will present extracts from the paper, with the study's lead author, Pavan Sukhdev, a senior figure with Deutsche Bank in India, writing that "the world's poor bear the brunt of the cost." Der Spiegel also says that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will announce a sharp increase in German funding to combat deforestation in line with Norway, which ploughs 500 million dollars annually into forest retention. Deforestation -- a huge factor in species loss and global carbon emissions contributing to climate change -- is a central theme of this year's conference in Bonn, formerly the capital of West German. One in four mammal species, one in eight among birds, a third of amphibian creatures and 70 percent of all plant life made the most recent endangered list issued by another UN agency, the World Conservation Union (WCU). http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5i4Y