You are viewing olyecology

 
 
21 May 2008 @ 10:55 pm
344 - Earth's Tree News  
Today for you 33 new articles about earth’s trees! (344th edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com

--British Columbia: 1) Mass wood waste with no limits is the most profitable policy, 2) Two gov bills explained, 3) Save interior forest with 2,000 year old trees, 4) Good industry PR in forcing Lab-bred Marmots to survive amid giant clearcuts,
--Washington: 5) Tree Cutting thieves in Kitsap county, 6) Salvage logging comments,
--South Dakota: 7) 40,000 acres of logging and burning,
--Illinois: 8) Starving rock park, 9) Neighbors want to save trees from stormwater project,
--Maine: 11) Stats about Pulp and Paper’s decline
--USA: 12) Harvesting harvest residues depletes soil’s carbon,
--UK: 13) Savernake Forest in Wiltshire,
--Congo: 14) French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo is expected to visit
--Mexico: 15) Impacts of the loss of key pollinators and seed dispersers
--Brazil: 16) New Eco-minister makes lotsa promises, 17) Don’t dam Xingu river, 18) How politicians use eco-concerns to eliminate landowners that don’t bribe them enough, 19) Remembering Marina Silva,
--Guyana: 20) Harrison Ford flakes on forest protection, 21) President excuses H. Ford,
--Malaysia: 22) Restoring 237,000ha of destroyed Ulu Segama and Malua forest reserves
--Indonesia: 23) We don’t need a logging ban, we just need you to buy our carbon credits
--New Zealand: 24) More on the Blue Lake campaign, 25) Forest to farm conversions
--Australia: 26) Gov-Industry fudge numbers to make turn more trees to stumps, 27) Tassie Devil upgraded to endangered,
--Tropical Forests: 28) A Plan to save tropical forests, 29) One day’s logging equal to?
--World-wide: 30) Stop GE trees, 31) Who protects, who devours: Can’t tell? 32) Of course it’s not tree cutters who kill people because of landslides: it’s the rain’s fault! 33) More on GE trees,

British Columbia:

1) Art Warner unclips a measuring tape from his belt and scales up the towering burn pile. The log is five feet long and 30 inches across. Clumped amid the landing pile from a winter logging operation are similar cedar butts as well as discarded fir logs, nearly as large. In an industry that is suffering its worst-ever downturn, the market for cedar contained in the valley’s lowland wetbelt is a corporate life preserver, keeping companies such as Gilbert Smith Forest Products and International Forest Products afloat last winter. “It’s gold,” said Warner, who lives in the valley and has been involved in the logging industry most of his adult life. But Warner and another local property owner, Brian Dack, are concerned logging companies are focusing heavily on a tiny area, taking the cream of the valley — its best cedar — and burning up the rest due to a lack of accountability to government and taxpayers. Warner and Dack say the timber going up in smoke has greater importance than keeping sawmills running a few weeks longer or propping up bottom lines. It allows companies to chew through more timber in future because the waste is not included in their volumes calculated by the province’s chief forester. The heavy logging in a small, high-value area has also altered patterns of wildlife, particularly moose, the residents say. “We’re not against the logging. It’s just the waste,” Warner said. “It breaks down to what’s cheapest for the licencee, not what’s best.” The waste, burned in piles — which can be hidden by operators and covered by limbs and tops — also includes five-foot fir logs. Warner said lack of government oversight allows companies to process trees for more valuable fir “peelers” that can be made into plywood rather than using more of the tree for sawlogs. “The better price comes from cutting that butt off,” Warner said. “If there’s no obligation to take it, why would you?” He said government foresters are letting waste go unassessed in pine beetle areas so companies can log and areas can be reforested. “This can be 40 per cent of the volume. Government is turning a blind eye. It’s a land clearing operation.” But that same relaxed stance is not suitable in high-value stands. By Warner’s rough estimate the equivalent 12,000 board feet of fir flooring, enough to cover every floor surface in three or four houses, was burned in four piles here from the winter logging. He also said no entrepreneur would be allowed to salvage the material because the calculation would drive up company costs and lower future cut. http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/

2) On the Resource Road Act (Bill 30) – this is the government’s feeble attempt to respond to reports done by the Forest Practices Board (2006), the Auditor-General’s report on Forest Safety (2008), the Forest Safety Ombudsman’s report on Resource Roads, and two Coroner’s Reports. However, because of the way the Act is designed – requiring less government involvement rather than more as was recommended and potentially privatizing BC’s forest and wilderness roads – and because the government did not thoroughly consult widely, this Bill has been virtually universally rejected. This backlash and the Opposition’s pressure against this piece of legislation has caused the government to pull back this Bill. It has been postponed until a potential Fall session, and likely will be dropped from the Order Paper completely. If you’re interested, I have attached the link to the Bill 30. The Bioenergy tenure embedded in Bill 31 is part of one of the government’s many empty climate change Bills we’ve seen this session. It would create a new form of tenure for wood waste and standing timber for entities that have a contract with BC Hydro for power generated from biomass. This tenure is necessary to allow the government to undertake the second call for bioenergy thru BC Hydro – we are still awaiting the results of the first call which was for existing tenure holders. It is also being done to show that the government is following through with its contention that Bioenergy will save the forest industry and help address climate change. However, we have significant concerns with how this is being done, and if we ever get to committee stage of debate on this Bill, we will raise the questions of how this is going to work in reality, because if done improperly it could actually be worse for the existing industry, for our forests, for our air quality and for the overall GHG emissions from BC. Here is the link to that Bill, Bill 31: http://www.leg.bc.ca/38th4th/1st_read/gov31-1.htm

3) Prof. Darwyn Coxson of the University of Northern British Columbia said some trees in the Ancient Forest Trail are up to 2,000 years old. He said the unique inland rain forest ecosystem is created by extreme snowfall and fed by a well-stocked watershed that mimics a coastal climate. Mr. Bell, a forestry worker before going into politics, said that he had logged some of the cedar-hemlock stands in the region. He said the government considers the rain forest a "very important eco-type in the province and something we've been looking at very closely." The report, he added, came out just as his department was finalizing a plan that would allow the harvesting of spruce, balsam and fir in many of these areas while protecting the cedar-hemlock stands. It would, he said, cover about 5,000 hectares of the cedar-hemlock rain forest at different sites in the region. "I think that [the report] was, perhaps, a bit presumptuous in the sense that it really hasn't adequately reviewed the direction that we are going to take," he said. Mr. Bell said the government hopes to announce its plan by early summer. "It was prudent to ... ensure that we maintained the maximum possible harvest levels, particularly of spruce, balsam and fir throughout the region," he said. Dave King, representing the Prince George Backcountry Recreation Society, was one of the people behind the original complaint. "We've never been really happy with the management plans for the Interior cedar forests put forth through the Ministry of Forests," he said. "We knew that a new timber supply review was in progress last year, recalculating what the allowable cuts would be. And we thought it was very timely that we file a complaint. "There is the potential that it could be logged and that is not pleasing. We would like some higher level of protection." Another complainant, Hugh Perkins, said limited mechanized harvesting could not be done in the area without serious damage to the rain forest's biodiversity. "That's my opinion as a logger and a forester. We need to get a long-term comprehensive strategy on how to conserve this ecosystem, one that doesn't have a lot of loopholes to let industry drive trucks through it. We need these unique stand areas mapped and protected," he said. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080521.BCTREE21/TPStory/Environment

4) The Marmot Recovery Foundation is a unique partnership among government, industry and the public sharing the costs of recovering the species. The Vancouver Island marmot, about the size of a large house cat, is considered a distinct species. The ultimate goal of the recovery program is to have 400-600 animals surviving in three main populations of smaller colonies on the island. "It's taken a great deal of effort but we are seeing signs of a comeback for the Vancouver Island marmot population," Penner said. "This good news has been made possible with the help of dedicated groups such as the Marmot Recovery Foundation, the public, ministry staff and some public-minded corporations." Penner took part in the release of two groups of marmots into historic marmot habitat in sub-alpine areas of Strathcona Park last August. Between 55 and 60 captive-bred marmots are scheduled for release this summer. A breeding program saw 60 pups born in captivity in 2007 at breeding centres across Canada but numbers in the wild remain a challenge. Only three litters were born in the wild in 2007. While it's still too early to know, at least six litters are anticipated to be born in the wild this year and 50-60 are expected to be born in captivity. From a combined low of approximately 80 animals in 1998, there are now approximately 256 animals, 162 in captivity and 94 in the wild. Predation is the largest cause of failure in the wild, and several non-lethal approaches are being tried to protect the marmots from predators with mixed results. Shepherding, collaring, relocation, fencing and playing recorded sounds are among the methods used to ward off the cougars, wolves and golden eagles that prey on the mammals. "Stabilizing the population of the Vancouver Island marmot has been a real challenge," said Victoria Jackson, executive director of the Marmot Recovery Foundation. http://www.marmots.org

Washington:

5) Tree-cutting thieves laid waste to numerous large, aging maple trees on public property this week — presumably to cash in on valuable "figured" maple used to make musical instruments. Law enforcement caught two men allegedly involved in separate incidents of theft at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds in Central Kitsap and within the Bremerton watershed near Gorst. Because of the value of the rare maples, both men were charged with felonies. They are Mark Douglas McCoy, 42, who was arrested during an incident early Monday morning at the fairgrounds, and Donny Raymond Seamans, 48, who was arrested in a separate incident Tuesday evening within the Bremerton watershed. Two old maples, one nearly four feet across, were cut down at the fairgrounds. County parks officials have valued the figured maple wood at $25,000. "I am sick over the loss of those trees," said Chip Faver, director of Kitsap County Parks and Recreation. "This is something stolen from our entire community, and it's something we can't replace in 100 years. This is not a petty crime like somebody stealing a TV set. The entire community should be genuinely angry about this." Meanwhile, in recent days, between 20 and 30 old maple trees have been removed from the Bremerton watershed, according to Bremerton Public Works Director Phil Williams. The trees are valued at more than $10,000, according to preliminary estimates. "These are beautiful mature maple trees that provide shade to Anderson Creek," Williams said. "They (the thieves) just whacked them down into the creek. As a manager of publicly owned assets, the thought that some idiot can walk in somehow think that this is OK makes me angry." Whether this week's incidents mark the beginning of a new rash of maple thefts in Kitsap County is hard to say, because similar incidents have occurred over the past few years, according to Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office. http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/may/21/thieves-cut-down-maples-in-search-of-rare-wood/

6) In our ERC mailbox we got some lovely letters from the Forest Service on proposed salvage logging operations. You can find the minimal and vague letters of intent at the Olympic National Forest website: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/olympic/projects-nu/ There are two specific timber harvests that have public comment coming to an end soon MAY 24th!!! The first one is the Snow Creek Salvage Proposal and the second is the Cook Creek Salvage and Thinning Proposal links to the proposal letters are at the link above, just scroll down to the named proposal. I wrote a letter back to Dale Hom who is the regional Forest Supervisor and Jason Jeffcoat who is the proposal's project leader. Since he asked for the ERC's input below is the first draft of the letter I wrote. Please let me know what you want to be added or changed or if there are any typos because I am addressing him as the ERC and would like consensus over if thats what the group wants. You should all write your own letters too. Public comments are easy and somewhat effective when in numbers. If Dale sees that there is going to be opposition from fiery college students it may sway him to at least do an Environmental Assessment and an Environmental Impact Statement which would mean more public oversight which would mean a smaller chance of the proposal going through since salvage harvests are time dependent (the would becomes less economically viable overtime) and unpopular in the general public. That at it is in a high risk riparian zone on a salmon bearing river. Some talking points should you choose to write a letter: 1) Salvage logging has an overwhelming and near complete negative effect on forest complexity and regeneration (just google effects of salvage logging for more details) 2) the proposal should not be put in a categorical loophole that allows for minimal public oversight and no EA (environmental assessment) or EIS (environmental impact statement). 3) the proposal runs counter to the goals of Adaptive Management Areas (AMA's) and Riparian Reserves (see my letter below) PLEASE take the 10 or so minutes to write a comment letter! SEND LETTERS TO: Jason Jeffcoat 1835 Black Lake Blvd. SW Suite A Olympia WA 98512 OR EMAIL: comments-pacificnorthwest-olympic-hoodcanal@fs.fed.us


South Dakota:

7) The U.S. Forest Service plans to log, thin and burn trees on nearly 40,000 acres west and south of Hill City to reduce wildfire danger and to battle a mountain pine beetle outbreak. Mystic District Ranger Robert Thompson on Wednesday announced the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Upper Spring Creek Project. Work could begin in late July. The Forest Service’s preferred plan calls for commercial logging and non-commercial thinning on about 27,000 acres of National Forest System lands and prescribed burning on 14,200 acres. Some of the areas overlap because prescribed burning would be done as a follow-up, in cases, to the logging and thinning, according to Katie Van Alstyne, natural resource planner with the Mystic Ranger District based in Rapid City. Treatments also would include creating fuel break corridors, removing some of the larger trees to regenerate smaller diameter trees below, and removing pine from meadows and from in and around aspen stands. Aspen stands and meadows are natural fuel breaks, Van Alstyne said. The project is one of a series of projects throughout the Black Hills National Forest to reduce the impact of wildfire by eliminating heavy fuels. One such project, the Mitchell Project, is under way between Hill City and Keystone, Van Alstyne said. http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2008/05/21/news/top/doc4834ac61d608b847480657.txt

Illinois:

8) This area has been home to humans from as early as 8000 B.C. Hopewellian, Woodland and Mississippian Native American cultures thrived here. The most recent and probably the most numerous group of Native Americans to live here was the Illiniwek, from the 1500s to the 1700s. Approximately 5,000 to 7,000 Kaskaskias, a subtribe of the Illiniwek, had a village extending along the bank of the Illinois River across from the current park. In 1673, French explorers Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette passed through here on their way up the Illinois from the Mississippi. Known as “Pere,” the French word for “Father,” Marquette returned two years later to found the Mission of the Immaculate Conception-Illinois’ first Christian mission-at the Kaskaskia Indian village. When the French claimed the region (and, indeed, the entire Mississippi Valley), they built Fort St. Louis atop Starved Rock in the winter of 1682-83 because of its commanding strategic position above the last rapids on the Illinois River. Pressured from small war parties of Iroquois in the French and Indian wars, the French abandoned the fort by the early 1700s and retreated to what is now Peoria, where they established Fort Pimitoui. Fort St. Louis became a haven for traders and trappers, but by 1720 all remains of the fort had disappeared. Starved Rock State Park derives its name from a Native American legend of injustice and retribution. In the 1760s, Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa tribe upriver from here, was slain by an Illiniwek while attending a tribal council in southern Illinois. According to the legend, during one of the battles that subsequently occurred to avenge his killing, a band of Illiniwek, under attack by a band of Potawatomi (allies of the Ottawa), sought refuge atop a 125-foot sandstone butte. The Ottawa and Potawatomi surrounded the bluff and held their ground until the hapless Illiniwek died of starvation- giving rise to the name “Starved Rock.” The Illinois State Parks Commission was initially headquartered in Starved Rock State Park after the park was purchased in 1911. http://illinoisreviewer.blogspot.com/2008/05/starved-rock-state-park.html

9) Despite the roughly 100 Glen Ellyn residents that expressed their discontent with the village and park district's plan to cut down 340 trees for a flood control project, the plan is expected to go forward. Glen Ellyn leaders will move forward with a flood control project at Ackerman Park that entails cutting down 340 trees, despite much outcry from residents opposed to the project. Tuesday night, about 100 residents attended Glen Ellyn Park District's board meeting and urged them to reconsider the project. Passionate people against the project wore "Save Ackerman" stickers and brought in signs representing their views. Residents also recently presented a petition that had more than 1,000 signatures of residents against the project, and Glenbard West High School students also collected about 270 signatures of teens in opposition to the plan. Still, park district officials reiterated again they'll move forward with the project.In an opening statement Tuesday night, Glen Ellyn Park District President Bill Taylor said the board had no plans to debate the issue. He also said it would be fiscally irresponsible for the park district to pass by the storm water opportunity. "The board is moving forward with the project as scheduled," he said. "The Glen Ellyn (park district) board will have to agree to disagree with residents." http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=194655

Maine:

11) Once the king of Maine's economy, the paper and pulp industry's transformation over the last 30 years has led to a perception that it is dying a slow death in the Pine Tree State. But don't write that obituary just yet. High-profile mill closings and paper company sales in recent years might suggest that in Maine, the industry is playing out its end game, perhaps in anticipation of consolidating in the South. While it’s true that the industry’s golden age here may have ended in the late 1970s, the paper industry in Maine and nationwide is still successful, though under a different business paradigm. Or course, the paper industry has seen its share of curveballs over the last 30 years. The Clean Water Act and other regulations ended the use of rivers to move pulp to mills and eliminated a cheap, though unconscionable, means of disposing of waste. NAFTA brought cheaper Canadian pulp imports, blessing buyers but cursing harvesters. Workers compensation reform eased some costs, as did technological advances that allowed clear-cutting several acres in a day. A reaction by environmentalists, and much of the public, changed the controversial harvesting practice. In the last decade, sweeping changes in land and mill ownership came. Some mills closed, then reopened with vastly fewer jobs. After Plum Creek landed in Maine, it introduced a business model not seen here before: marketing timberlands for housing and recreation. More changes are likely, as the Northeast looks to Maine’s abundant forests to ease reliance on fossil fuels. Fewer jobs in Maine mills is not a great outcome. Forty years ago, many Mainers had a relative, neighbor or friend who worked at the local mill, pulling down a good paycheck. According to the Maine State Planning Office, in 2006, 17,800 jobs in Maine were in forest products businesses, just 2.9 percent of employment, compared with 9.7 percent in leisure and hospitality businesses. According to The Center for Paper Business and Industry Studies, pulp and paper ranks among the top 10 employers in 43 states, but beginning in the 1970s, the industry began relying less on "the craft knowledge of skilled operators," and instead used computer-operated, automated paper-making equipment. Commissioner Richardson said the nature of the jobs has changed, with engineering and computer expertise now valued; as a result, salaries are up to the $50,000-$60,000 range. http://www.bangornews.com/news/t/viewpoints.aspx?articleid=164516&zoneid=34

USA:


12) The use of harvest residues for energy production decreases soil carbon stocks. These changes in soil carbon stocks are remarkable compared to the other greenhouse gas emissions caused by the use of forest residues for energy. On a national scale, soil carbon stocks play an important role in forest carbon balances. Changes in soil carbon stock need to be assessed reliably and transparently because we need more information on the effects of climate change and forest management on soil carbon. This is also stressed by climate conventions which have set practical reporting requirements for changes in soil carbon stock. The large spatial variability of soil carbon goes together with relatively slow changes in stocks, which, in turn, hinders the assessment of soil carbon stocks and their changes by direct measurements. Models therefore widely serve to estimate carbon stocks and stock changes in soils. A recent doctoral thesis developed and tested the soil carbon model YASSO for upland forest soils. The model was aimed to take into account the most important processes controlling the decomposition in soils, yet remain simple enough to ensure its practical applicability in different applications. The model was applied to study the effects of intensified biomass extraction on the forest carbon balance, to estimate the effects of soil carbon deficit on net greenhouse gas emissions of energy use of forest residues and to assess the national scale forest carbon balance for Finland's forests. YASSO managed to describe sufficiently the effects of both the variable litter and climatic conditions on decomposition. When combined with the stand models or other systems providing litter information, the dynamic approach of the model proved to be powerful for estimating changes in soil carbon stocks on different scales. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520211441.htm

UK:

13) Marlborough Parish Council and the Forestry Commission have joined forces to show off the wonderful heritage of Savernake Forest in Wiltshire. A novel pop-up map highlights the spectacular veteran trees of this ancient forest. Visitors can leisurely wend their way without fear of getting lost while learning more about the history of these ‘old men’ of the forest. Joan Davis, Chairman of Savernake Parish Council says, “I hope that this will add to the enjoyment and appreciation of visitors to this very special ancient forest”. Savernake Forest is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, giving it a star quality amongst woodlands. Most of the Forest has the status of being a Site of Special Scientific Interest, due to its internationally rare concentrations of ancient tees, making it an inspiring visit all around for everyone. During the Eighteenth Century Savernake and Tottenham Park were laid out with avenues of beech, oak and sweet chestnut, but even as far back as Henry VII's time, Savernake was known for its aged trees. Ben Lennon, Planning and Environment Manager at the Forestry Commission said: “We think a number of the large oaks probably extend back to the medieval period, when Savernake was a royal forest. A handful of trees near old boundaries appear to be much older still and possibly date back to the Anglo-Saxon period, although dating them is very difficult.” Visitors to the forest in recent times will see that clearance work has been under-taken to give ancient forest treasures more room to spread out, by removing competing younger trees. The added benefit of this is that visitors will now have the chance of being enchanted for centuries to come. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/newsrele.nsf/AllByUNID/0085F5A1DEA0A7908025744B004D7A97

Congo:

14) French Environment Minister Jean- Louis Borloo is expected to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the neighboring Republic of Congo from May 22 to 25 to drum up support for region-wide conservation efforts. "The visit will be mainly focused on the preservation of biodiversity in the region," DRC's Environment Minister Jose Endundo told reporters Tuesday, noting that the region was host to the Congo basin, where the second biggest tropical rain forest in the world is located. The French environment minister is expected in Kinshasa Thursday afternoon, where he is scheduled to have a meeting with senior government officials, notably President Joseph Kabila, Endundo said. Owing to the fears that have been expressed by the international scientific community over the specter of global warming and climate change, the Congo basin and the Amazon, which have been touted by experts as natural carbon sinks, have become the focus of the global efforts to curb environmental degradation. On Friday, the French minister is set to travel to Mbandaka, the capital of northwestern Ecuador Province, "to visit forestry project and inspect an information center that seeks to promote sustainable logging," according to a statement issued by the French Embassy to DRC. After returning to Kinshasa later in the evening, the minister, together with Endundo, is scheduled to sign "a joint statement on sustainable development," according to the embassy statement. On Saturday, Borloo is to visit a water treatment plant in the eastern part of Kinshasa, before leaving the city to visit an agro- forestry project in Mampu followed by tour of Bombo Lumene, a hunting reserve, about 150 km from the capital. The visit, the first by Borloo to the DRC, is coming only a few weeks from the commencement of a government exercise to review forest title deeds. The review will lead either to the validation of existing deeds, which will be converted into concessions, or their cancellation if they are deemed illegal, according to reliable sources. More than 20 million hectares or one quarter of the harvestable forest area in the country will be affected by the exercise, said one government official, adding that "over 156 title deeds will be covered." http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1396054/french_environment_minister_heads_to_kinshasa_bra
zzaville/

Mexico:

15) Studying plant and animal interaction in the forests of southern Mexico's Los Tuxtlas, Dirzo has seen firsthand some of the impacts of the loss of key pollinators and seed dispersers. "When you have the situation that the mammals are not present you don't even notice it, since most mammals are secretive or nocturnal. You tend to think that these forests are in good shape but overlook the fact that something very significant, the fauna, is missing. The absence of these animals indirectly affects the ecology of the forest," he explained. Loss of wildlife is a subtle but growing threat to tropical forests, says a leading plant ecologist from Stanford University. Speaking in an interview with mongabay.com, Dr. Rodolfo Dirzo says that the disappearance of wildlife due to overexploitation, fragmentation, and habitat degradation is causing ecological changes in some of the world's most biodiverse tropical forests. He ranks defaunation — as he terms the ongoing biological impoverishment of forests — as one of the world's most significant global changes, on par with environmental changes like global warming, deforestation, and shifts in the nitrogen cycle. "Climate change is very important and well-known form of change, but there are others, including land use change [and] fragmentation" he said. "Those environmental changes affect biodiversity quite significantly. Of all the global environmental changes, the most critical is biological extinction," he continued. "For one thing, biological extinction is the only irreversible global environmental change that we can think of. Climatic change, given time and willingness on behalf of governments and society, is something we can fix. It will take time but is reversible." http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0520-interview_dirzo.html

Brazil:

16) The new Environment minister of Brazil pledged Monday, May 19, to aggressively fight illegal logging and deforestation in the Amazon rain forest. Former Rio de Janeiro state Environment Secretary, Carlos Minc, is expected to take the post on May 27. Minc insisted that anti-logging measures "will be maintained and reinforced." He announced plans to use soldiers to protect the environment and vowed to implement a "zero deforestation" program. He gave no further details. Former minister Silva who was very much respected by environmentalist groups, had criticized Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's administration failure to provide sustainable alternatives to illegal logging. Her resignation left many environmentalists worried that illegal loggers might more often be left to do as they please. Minc said on Sunday that he would propose President Lula da Silva making Brazil's armed forces play a more active role in protecting national parks, Indian reserves and the Amazon rain forest. He promised that the Amazon "will not be converted into charcoal" and promised to continue with the "same policies that the former minister Marina Silva had insisted. We will also do many other things that she was unable to accomplish and that we now have the conditions to fulfill." The appointed minister is co-founder of the Green Party in Brazil and currently Rio de Janeiro state's Environment secretary. http://www.brazzilmag.com/content/view/9341/

17) BRASILIA - The construction of a proposed dam on Brazil's Xingu river will flood homes of 16,000 people, dry rivers and fuel logging, activists and tribal Indians warned on Wednesday as concern over Amazon destruction rises. The resignation last week of Environment Minister Marina Silva, widely seen as a guardian of the world's largest rain forest, has spurred concerns that Brazil's government will accelerate roads, pipelines and power plants in the region to fuel its fast-growing economy. The Belo Monte dam, under the auspices of state power company Eletrobras, would be one of the world's largest hydroelectric power plants, after China's Three Gorges and the Itaipu dam shared by Brazil and Paraguay. More than 1,000 environmentalists and tribal Indians gathered this week in the town of Altamira in the northern state of Para to protest against the dam and discuss alternatives. An Eletrobras official, Paulo Fernando Rezende, was injured and temporarily hospitalized on Monday in a skirmish with Kayapo Indians armed with clubs and machetes who had started a war dance in response to his upbeat presentation. In 1989, an Indian protest forced a similar dam project to be abandoned. Then, pictures of a Kayapo Indian woman holding the blade of her machete to the face of today's Eletrobras president figured prominently in local and foreign media. The Belo Monte reservoir would flood around 440 square km (170 square miles) and divert part of the Xingu, which flows north to the Amazon river. Residents fear their source of fish and water is endangered and say construction and new roads will draw more settlers and farmers, accelerating deforestation. "Roads, buildings, service companies -- like most big projects in the Amazon, the dam will bring much destruction and little benefit for residents," said Ana Paulo Santos Souza of the group Foundation Live, Produce and Protect. The last major dams built in the Amazon in the 1970s -- Tucuruvi and Balbina -- caused food shortages and dead rivers and displaced thousands of people, the environmental group ISA said. Critics say the government is ignoring conservation concerns about the project. Silva, a former activist in the Amazon, had been increasingly isolated in the government over her opposition to big infrastructure projects in the region. "This government sees environmental licensing as a mere bureaucratic process. They don't really care what the impact study shows," Marco Antonio Delfino, an Altamira public prosecutor, told Reuters by telephone. http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USN2032286320080521

18) Brazil's environmental agency Ibama said on Tuesday it seized some 4,740 tonnes of soy, corn and rice grown on illegally deforested land in the Amazon as the country struggles with its environmental image abroad. Brazil's farming, biofuels and ranching sectors, Latin America's largest, have come under fire, especially in Europe, for unregulated expansion at the cost of the environment, particularly in the Amazon. The European Union has been pushing to limit imports of commodities such as biofuels from Brazil on the grounds of sustainability. The government and large farming interests in Brazil have begun to realize the importance of public relations in trade and are investing to improve the country's environmental, sanitary and labor image abroad. "The seizure is a milestone in the battle against deforestation, since it hits exactly at the activities that stimulate environmental crime," Leandro Aranha, the coordinator of inspection at Ibama in the northern state of Para, in the lower Amazon Basin, said. Very little of Brazil's grains and biofuels production occurs anywhere near the Amazon, but the price of beef has risen to levels that makes ranching in the Amazon profitable. Loggers, shadowy real estate companies and squatters account for most of the illegal deforestation in the region. Aranha said agents took over the fields of a farm in the southeast of Para state. Although the owner of 500 hectares (1,235 acres) in the town of Dom Eliseu had previously been fined for illegal deforestation, a second inspection showed crops were planted there. The owner was fined an additional 8 million reais ($4.8 million), Aranha said. The fields that are beginning to harvest contain 1,740 tonnes of soy, 2,640 tonnes of corn and 360 tonnes of rice, Aranha estimated. The owner has 20 days to present his appeal in defense against the fine. The seized soy, corn and rice may go toward the government's Zero Hunger program that subsidizes food for Brazil's poor. http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKN2031945620080520

19) Marina Silva will never forget the day the bulldozers rolled up on her family's doorstep. It was the beginning of the 1970s and in the isolated Amazon community of Bagaço, where she was born, Silva, then about 12, looked on curiously as work began on a major highway to link the Brazilian rainforest with the rest of the country. Shortly afterwards, her relatives began to die. First two younger sisters, then her uncle and finally her cousin: all victims of a malaria epidemic imported by the road builders. "I don't know if I was conscious that the road was bringing all that, but it made me write on my own flesh the consequences of what it meant to mess around with nature without giving the slightest attention to the need to look after it," she remembers.Fast-forward to January 2003. Following the historic election of Brazil's first working-class president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Marina Silva was named the environment minister of South America's largest country, thrusting this former rubber tapper, who was virtually illiterate until her teens, on to the front line of Brazil's battle against deforestation - and of the global fight against climate change. Environmental groups rejoiced at her nomination. She was a woman from the forest, who understood the dangers inherent in destroying it. Last Tuesday, however, the fairytale came to an abrupt end. After just over five years as environment minister, Silva resigned following a succession of acrimonious disputes with fellow ministers and businessmen who accused her of stalling major development projects in the Amazon and hindering the Brazilian economy. In her short resignation letter, Silva cited "the growing resistance found by our team in important sectors of the government and society". http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/22/forests.conservation

Guyana:


20) If there's a man you can trust to do whatever it takes to secure the world's most sacred treasures -- dodge boulders, solve riddles, beat up Nazis with candlesticks, etc -- it's Indiana Jones. However, the archaeologist-turned-action-hero isn't doing much for one of the planet's most precious resources -- trees. Just last week Harrison Ford, the man behind the world-famous treasure hunter, was ripping out his chest hair on national television -- trying, in a weird way, to raise awareness about how painful deforestation is for mankind (get it? Painful -- just like tearing out your short and curlies). Anyway, it turns out Ford's philanthropic efforts have been derailed by his duties to Indiana Jones. The actor was supposed to appear at a press conference earlier today to formerly announce the initiative his newly-waxed chest was promoting -- "Lost There, Felt Here," a campaign by Conservation International that's attempting to pay countries that have large rain forest populations (like Guyana), to keep their trees. However, due to his promotional efforts for the new movie, Harrison was a no-show at the press conference, and Bharrat Jagdeo, the president of Guyana, had to speak on his behalf. However, despite being incredibly disappointed that they were stuck listening to a boring old president instead of Indiana Jones, the media is still somehow managing to report that President Jagdeo announced that the campaign was launching as scheduled. http://www.greendaily.com/2008/05/20/indiana-jones-contributes-to-deforestation/

Malaysia:

21) KOTA KINABALU: Some RM100mil will be spent over the next 10 years to regenerate the Ulu Segama and Malua forest reserves spanning nearly 237,000ha, about 10 times the size of Penang island. Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said the funds, largely sourced from international contributors, would be used to restore up to 20,000ha of severely degraded forests.“A portion of the funds would go towards silviculture works covering 40,000ha, such as clearing the undergrowth to enable young trees to grow,” he said.Earlier, Mannan represented the Sabah Government in the signing of a memorandum of understanding with WWF-Malaysia for a 55ha reforestation effort in the northern part of Ulu Segama forest reserve where logging had ceased since December 2007. Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman and Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Datuk Yahya Hussin witnessed the event.He said the reforestation efforts at Ulu Segama and Malua had gained much international attention and United Kingdom-based retailer Marks & Spencer was the latest contributor, donating RM170, 000.Other contributors in the Ulu Segama forest rehabilitation efforts include the Sime Darby group, which is donating RM25mil over the next five years, and the New Forest group, RM10mil over the next six years.The WWF would be contributing RM2mil over the next six months while US-based philanthropist Nancy Abraham donated US$100,000, the US Government US$20,000 and the Australian Government RM62, 000.Locally, Yayasan Sabah has set aside RM12.5mil, as seed money for the forest restoration efforts while the Sabah Government will be spending RM5mil yearly under the 9th Malaysia Plan. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/5/21/nation/20080521174206&sec=nation

Indonesia:

22) The government called on developed nations to buy carbon credits from Indonesia, rather than push for a moratorium on forestry activities. The Forestry Ministry expressed concern over rising calls from the international community for Indonesia to cease forestry activities in order to combat climate change. “It would only hamper our economic development. If the carbon buyers sincerely want to protect the earth and help Indonesia, they should buy carbon stocks in protected and conservation forests,” the ministry’s director of forestry production management, Agus Sarsito, told The Jakarta Post on Friday. He said protected and conservation areas had long been permanent carbon stores. There are about 40 million hectares of protected and conservation forests in the country. Agus said the ministry was also concerned about misplaced enthusiasm from local administrations for the proposed carbon trading scheme. “Local administrations should obviously be involved in the project. But there are misunderstandings about it since the government has not yet drawn up the details,” he said. “Many local administrators now expect to make big money by merely selling carbon credits. The carbon buyers have been very persistent in informing people of the carbon business.” Carbon trading has flourished since the UN climate change conference in Bali last December adopted the reduction emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD) initiative. The REDD concept is closely tied to the Kyoto Protocol, which obligates 38 developed countries to reduce their carbon emissions by about 5 percent by 2012, when the protocol expires. To meet this target and also maintain economic growth, these countries may “sell” their carbon to developing countries. http://redapes.org/news-updates/indonesian-govt-opts-for-carbon-trading-over-halting-deforesta
tion/


New Zealand:

24) Chris Taylor said the trees 20 years ago were felled "as best we could'' but there was run-off to the the lake, popularly known as the Blue Lake. The prospect of further felling in the surrounding lake area flashed last week with news that Kaingaroa Timberlands, which has cutting rights, intended to make another cut. Money from the cut would also be directed to the Government's Superannuation Fund. All acknowledge that Timberlands is doing nothing illegal, but opponents fear for the health of the lake and surrounding areas and the effects it would have as a destination asset. Mr Taylor said 20 years ago "there was run-off from the hill, because it's steep up in there.'' From an aesthetic perspective, it had been hard to detect where work had been undertaken. "We just helicoptered the logs from around the picnic area which is pretty much closed,'' Mr Taylor, now a civil construction tutor for Trade Education, said. "It made about of a mess and left a lot of good timber behind.'' Logging took place to the right of and behind the picnic area in hills to the south-west of the lake. "They didn't damage any of the walkway or anything.'' Logging was conducted without public knowledge and "they didn't know what was going on''. Hundreds of trees were felled "the whole hillside but not between the track and the lake,'' Mr Taylor said. He said that the present trees would be among "the biggest Douglas firs in New Zealand''. Douglas firs can remain healthy for up to 300 years, though growth does slow over the years. Mr Taylor was against the felling. "I know it's not New Zealand native bush but it looks pretty neat driving down into that area,'' he said. "I've seen them in the states and that's what they look like.'' http://www.stuff.co.nz/bayofplenty/4556838a6014.html

25) Scion scientist Dr Peter Beets and self-employed consultant Justin Ford-Robertson, both recognized for their roles on the Nobel Peace Prize-winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), say forest to farm conversions are harming rather than helping New Zealand's efforts to control its greenhouse gas emissions. Dr Beets said the facts could not be argued with. Climate change was real, was not slowing down and was getting worse and recent forest to farm conversions could take a large part of the blame. Dr Beets said he expected global temperatures to become continually hotter in the foreseeable future and New Zealand was not as clean and green as people might think. "We should all be worried about climate change, even moreso if you aren't doing anything about it." In 2007 global CO2 emissions were at their highest recorded levels recorded and New Zealand was now producing more CO2 than in 1990, he said. "The main reason for this imbalance is deforestation. In the 1990s we were planting about 10,000 hectares of new forest a year compared to about 2000 hectares now. The conversion of forests into dairy farms has a huge impact on increasing CO2 emissions in New Zealand." Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas, occurring naturally in the earth's atmosphere. Increased levels of man-made greenhouse gases increase the surface temperature of the earth, causing sea levels to rise, increasing extreme weather events like cyclones and changes in agricultural yields. http://www.dailypost.co.nz/localnews/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3773024&thesection=localnews&t
hesubsection=&thesecondsubsection=

Australia:

26) Australia has 10% less forest than government has believed for the past five years, prompting fears that forestry agreements and environmental policy have been based on flawed figures. The revelation was made in the 2008 State of the Forests Report yesterday, which put Australia's forestry reserves at 149 million hectares compared with the 2003 estimate of 164 million hectares. The report, which is updated every five years, also revealed that reserves of old-growth forest had declined and that the number of forest species that were threatened or endangered had risen. Despite publishing a figure 15 million hectares smaller than in 2003, the report said a new method of calculation could be responsible for the difference, rather than a reduction in forest. The claim was met with scepticism by some environmental groups. Greens senator Christine Milne said the difference undermined numerous aspects of environmental policy. "The figures on everything have been fudged, all their logging plans and forest agreements around the country have been based on inaccurate information," she said. Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Lindsay Hesketh said it was "poor science" not to use the same measuring methods. http://www.theage.com.au/news/environment/not-seeing-the-forest-for-the-133-maths/2008/05/21/1
211182895826.html

27) The decision to upgrade the Tasmanian devil's status from vulnerable to endangered at the state level follows the failure to stem the spread of the deadly facial tumour disease. National endangered listing is also likely, after Environment Minister Peter Garrett yesterday said he would ask the federal Threatened Species Scientific Committee to consider upgrading the devil's threatened status. Mr McKim, whose original nomination resulted in the devil's earlier listing as vulnerable, called on the state to match the $10million allocated for the devil in last week's federal budget. The level of state funding for the next financial year will not be known until the state budget on June 12. Mr McKim also called for an end to the "effective exemption" of logging operations and dam construction from threatened-species laws. The forest industry argues its forest-practices plans adequately accommodate threatened species, but Environment Tasmania yesterday said logging was a key destructor of devil habitat. State Primary Industries Minister David Llewellyn said funding to save the devil had been "substantial and ongoing". "We are committed to finding an answer and saving the Tasmanian devil for Tasmanians and the world," he said. There was some good news for the devils yesterday, with University of Tasmania researchers confirming Cedric - the first devil known to have an immune response to DFTD - had remained disease-free almost five months after being injected with DFTD cells. If he remains healthy at the end of the incubation period - late next month - this will suggest that devils that share his genetic make-up are either resistant to DFTD or capable of responding to a vaccine. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23738461-5006788,00.html

Tropical Forests

28) In a report unveiled today at the UN conference on biodiversity in Bonn, Greenpeace announced a plan to save tropical forests through a fund for carbon and other ecosystem services. The plan comes as support grows for the use of market mechanisms to link rainforest conservation to fighting climate change. "Protecting ancient forests is vital to tackle climate change, preserve global biodiversity, and protect the livelihoods of millions of forest peoples. Tropical forest destruction is responsible for about one fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than from the world's entire transport sector," the Forests for Climate report stated. "Industrialized countries that commit to doing their fair share in reducing energy and industrial emissions would be allowed to meet a portion of their overall commitments through the purchase of cost effective 'tropical deforestation units.' A major benefit for industrialized countries is that the units would act as hard currency for compliance purposes, since the mechanism would be responsible for delivering verifiable emission reductions." Greenpeace says the basis for the system would be "Tropical Deforestation Emission Reduction Units" (TDERUs), newly defined units that would be used for compliance with emission obligations agreed upon in future international climate treaties. Industrialized nations would be required to meet a certain percentage of their emissions obligations using TDERUs purchased from the mechanism. In effect, these countries would pay into a fund to reduce deforestation in tropical nations. The fund would aim to raise $10-15 billion per year — the amount estimated by the UK government's Stern report on climate change to reduce tropical deforestation by half. Greenpeace says that funds generated from a Tropical Deforestation Emission Reduction Mechanism (TDERM) would be used for "capacity-building efforts and for national-level reductions in deforestation emissions." The environmental organization says that national-level reductions in emissions would help prevent "leakage" or the shifting of deforestation from one part of a country to another. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0520-greenpeace_carbon.html


29) "Tropical forests are the elephant in the living room of climate change," said Andrew Mitchell, the head of the GCP. Scientists say one days' deforestation is equivalent to the carbon footprint of eight million people flying to New York. Reducing those catastrophic emissions can be achieved most quickly and most cheaply by halting the destruction in Brazil, Indonesia, the Congo and elsewhere.No new technology is needed, says the GCP, just the political will and a system of enforcement and incentives that makes the trees worth more to governments and individuals standing than felled. "The focus on technological fixes for the emissions of rich nations while giving no incentive to poorer nations to stop burning the standing forest means we are putting the cart before the horse," said Mr Mitchell.Most people think of forests only in terms of the CO2 they absorb. The rainforests of the Amazon, the Congo basin and Indonesia are thought of as the lungs of the planet. But the destruction of those forests will in the next four years alone, in the words of Sir Nicholas Stern, pump more CO2 into the atmosphere than every flight in the history of aviation to at least 2025.Indonesia became the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world last week. Following close behind is Brazil. Neither nation has heavy industry on a comparable scale with the EU, India or Russia and yet they comfortably outstrip all other countries, except the United States and China.What both countries do have in common is tropical forest that is being cut and burned with staggering swiftness. Smoke stacks visible from space climb into the sky above both countries, while satellite images capture similar destruction from the Congo basin, across the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo. According to the latest audited figures from 2003, two billion tons of CO2 enters the atmosphere every year from deforestation. That destruction amounts to 50 million acres - or an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland felled annually. The remaining standing forest is calculated to contain 1,000 billion tons of carbon, or double what is already in the atmosphere. As the GCP's report concludes: "If we lose forests, we lose the fight against climate change." Standing forest was not included in the original Kyoto protocols and stands outside the carbon markets that the report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) pointed to this month as the best hope for halting catastrophic warming. The landmark Stern Report last year, and the influential McKinsey Report in January agreed that forests offer the "single largest opportunity for cost-effective and immediate reductions of carbon emissions". http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/deforestation-the-hidden-cause-of-glob
al-warming-448734.html

World-wide:

30) Organizations and scientists from around the world spoke about their opposition to genetically engineered trees in relation to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity's Ninth Conference of the Parties (CBD COP-9). They that governments at the UN agree to accept the proposal to suspend all releases of genetically engineered (GE) trees into the environment, due to their extreme ecological and social threats. Camila Moreno, a researcher from Terra de Direitos in Brazil further explained, "there is a clear link between two of the major issues tobe discussed at this meeting--agrofuels (biofuels) and GE trees." She added, "A clear sign of this is the ethanol cooperation agreement being signed by Brazil and Germany. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Brazil, Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva assured her that so-called second generation biofuels -- made from GE trees and other cellulose--would better suit the German market. Genetically Engineered trees threaten to contaminate native forestsaround the world with unnatural and destructive traits such as the ability to kill insects, or have reduced lignin--the substance that enables a tree to stand up straight and withstand disease," stated Anne Petermann, Co-Director of Global Justice Ecology Project (the North American Focal Point for Global Forest Coalition) and Co-Coordinator of the STOP GE Trees Campaign. "Escape of these GE tree traits into forests would devastate wildlife, biodiversity and forest-dependent communities. It is for this reason that 137 groups from 34 countries have become members of the STOP GE Trees Campaign to demand a global ban on genetically engineered trees," she added. At the CBD COP-8 in Curitiba, Brazil in 2006, the CBD passed an historic decision that urged countries to use the precautionary approach with regard to genetically engineered trees. This amounts to a de facto moratorium since the precautionary approach is a direct reference to the precautionary principle, enshrined in the CBD. Groups are now calling on the CBD to strengthen this decision into a binding halt to any release of GE trees into the environment. http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/home/Frontpage/2008/05/17/02352.html

31) The difference is nowadays it can be hard for people to differentiate between the conservation organizations and the business interests they are supposed to be protecting these natural wonders from. Groups like Conservation International (CI), which has more than 200 million "protected hectares" in its portfolio, have been heavily criticized in the past for partnering with the very companies environmentalists have long pointed the finger at as the key enemies of their cause: Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Citibank, McDonald's, Starbucks and Gap to name a few in CI's case. CI also partners with the World Bank, which itself has been accused of schizophrenic attitudes to preserving the world's forests in the past -- proclaiming stewardship of them on one side while quietly encouraging commercial logging on the other. Earlier in May, one CI partner, International Paper, was accused of contravening its own terms with the organization, by proposing to build a pulp mill and setting up a 1.2 million acre plantation in the middle of the Indonesian rainforest, despite its own policy statement in 2003 which clearly stated: "International Paper will not procure or use wood that originates in biological hotspots or endangered, native forests in Indonesia or other parts of the world designated by Conservation International." Pragmatists argue that engaging with corporations to try to get them to improve their practices must be a better option than not engaging with them at all. Simply telling corporations to leave the forests alone, for example, is analogous to telling energy companies to leave fossil fuels in the ground. It's a nice idea, but is not entirely realistic. Organizations like the Global Canopy Program (GCP) point out that the countries which play host to some of the world's most valuable natural resources also tend to be the poorest. The world's forests for example are home to more than 1 billion of the world's "poorest, socially and politically disenfranchised", says the United Nations' Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Money spent by agribusiness, mining and timber companies in these areas is much more preferable to these countries' governments than no money spent there at all. If you want to keep the world's remaining biodiversity hotspots in pristine condition, GCP argues, you need to offer financial incentives to the host countries, pointing out on its web site, "these countries can hardly be expected to provide these services for free". GCP has a 20 percent stake in an investment firm called Canopy Capital, which recently announced a different approach to conservation deal making with the Iwokrama International Centrex (IIC), a 371,000 hectare reserve in Guyana. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/05/16/eco.privateconservation

32) Examples abound, from the 1991 flash floods that swept down from the hills into Ormoc City in Leyte, Philippines, killing approximately 8,000 people to the 1998 flooding of the Yangtze River in China that devastated large areas of central China. Two years later floods in Cambodia affected 3.5 million people, or a third of the population, and 5 million people in Vietnam. In the same year, floods in Bangladesh displaced more than 5 million people and in India 30 million. "Government officials, aid groups and the media are often quick to blame flooding on deforestation caused by small farmers and tree cutters," says Durst, regional forestry officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Bangkok, Thailand. Such ideas have, he says, have led some governments in the past to force poor farmers from their lands and away from forests while doing nothing to prevent future flooding. "Such actions are totally misguided," he adds.So, are floods caused by nature or by human activities such as logging? The FAO report Forests and Floods: Drowning in Fiction or Thriving on Facts? tries to separate fact from fiction, at least in terms of forests and water. It also dispels some of the commonly held misconceptions about the role of forests in flood mitigation. "Clearly, floods are caused by nature, but in some cases they are exacerbated by human activities," Durst says. http://www.peopleandplanet.net/doc.php?id=3285

33) Genetically engineered trees pose a tremendous threat to forest biodiversity, and to indigenous peoples and local communities. I fear that some delegations in this body are not taking this seriously. This body must strengthen the decision on GE trees made at COP-8, to prevent irreversible social, cultural and ecological impacts. I wish to thank the delegate from Liberia, and the African Group for insisting on the suspension of the release of GE trees, and also the delegate from Bolivia who pointed out that GE trees will only benefit large companies. Commercialization of GE trees is moving forward rapidly, driven by pulp and paper and agrofuels industries. Wood-based agrofuels will create a massive new demand for wood. These so-called second generation agrofuels are further driving the commercialization of GE trees and will result in increased illegal logging and accelerated conversion of forests to massive monoculture tree plantations of both conventional and GE trees. This, in turn, will further drive climate change. The enhanced destruction of forests that would result from the commercialization of GE trees will take a very high toll, not only on wildlife and biodiversity, but on forest-dependent and indigenous communities and women. You cannot say that you support the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, and that you are committed to biodiversity protection, yet simultaneously allow the release of GE trees. A ban on GE trees is critical because of the enormous threat of trans-boundary contamination. Scientists have determined that tree pollen can travel for over 1,000 kilometers. Even GE tree scientists acknowledge this threat. In the 2005 FAO report on GE trees, over half of researchers surveyed named unintentional contamination of native ecosystems as a major concern. I would also like to strongly caution this body about using the Precautionary Principle as defined by Principle 15 under the Rio Declaration. This definition is much weaker than precaution as defined under the Cartegena Protocol, and includes large loopholes that undermine it. globalecology@gmavt.net