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28 May 2008 @ 07:20 pm
347 - Earth's Tree News  
Today for you 35 new articles about earth’s trees! (347th edition)
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--Alaska: 1) Save the Tongass: submit your comments,
--Washington: 2) FSC certifies healthiest part of state forest & looks the other way on the rest, 3) Weyco gets anti-REIT tax break of $128 million just before they convert to REIT, 4) Save Waldo forest,
--Colorado: 5) Beetle kill brings out loggers at great divide ski resort
--Minnesota: 6) Chippewa NF celebrates 100th anniversary
--Michigan: 7) Eco-researchers destroy aspen forest to make it more “natural”
--Illinois: 8) Wood waste and urban sawmilling
--Ohio: 9) Group criticizes the Wayne National Forest's forest plan
--Arkansas: 10) 3 weeks to destroy neighbors 3 giant trees
--Georgia: 11) $22 million in timber downed or destroyed in storm on Mother’s Day
--Pennsylvania: 12) Days numbered for giant firewood-cutting machine, 13) Halt logging on the Allegheny NF,
--New England Coast: 14) Coastal forest are most critical for birds
--Florida: 15) Fires & invasive Melaleuca in Everglades, 16) World’s largest pellet plant,
--USA: 17) New rules to govern mining on federal lands, 18) Industry spent a million bribing congress in first quarter ’08, 19) Plum Creek plans for another really big swindle,
--EU: 20) Failing to halt the loss of biodiversity
--Germany: 21) Merkel to provide $500 million to help world biodiversity
--Congo: 22) Remote sensing and REDD, 23) 50,190 square miles saved? 24) Pygmies help “certify” 7,500 sq km forest concession,
--Costa Rica: 25) Habitat destruction makes species smaller
--Brazil: 26) To him forest was nothing, soy everything, 27) Ethanol @ $35 a barrel,
--Solomon Islands: 28) Government never took lead on reforestation
--Malaysia: 29) forest hydrologist returns home to save it
--Indonesia: 30) Turning 12,200 hectares of unproductive land to firewood land, 31) Forest activist jailed for over a year was jailed again,
--World-wide: 32) Plants and Climate Change: Which Future? 33) Demand for cheap products is driving destruction, 34) A map of the scorched Earth, 35) follow-up to Friends of the Earth's Life after Logging published in 1992,

Alaska:

1) The Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska is the crown jewel of our nation's wild forests. At 17 million acres, the Tongass is home to a stunning variety of wildlife, including wild salmon, bears, eagles, and wolves. This key piece of our natural heritage should be preserved for future generations to enjoy, but the Bush administration wants to open up 2.3 million acres of Tongass backcountry for roads and clearcut logging. That's why I'm joining Earthjustice in calling on Forest Service Chief Kimbell to adopt a Tongass management plan that restores protections for the 2.3 million acres of wild forest now open to destruction. Our wild forests should be cherished and preserved for future generations, not used as an ATM for the timber industry. Take action at the link below:
http://action.earthjustice.org/campaign/tongass_0508?rk=lpAW9G71vsV_W

Washington:

2) "We think this is a great first step," said Shawn Cantrell, executive director of Seattle Audubon. "DNR can and should be managing all of its lands in a way that is truly sustainable."But Cantrell noted that most of the forestland that earned the FSC certification is in heavily populated areas and popular recreation sites, such as Tiger Mountain near Issaquah and the Capitol Forest in Olympia, where there is political pressure not to clear-cut. "This is a relatively easy, safe step and not really changing management practices," Cantrell said. "If it is good enough for the liberal Puget Sound region, it should be good enough for all the lands around the state."Sutherland said the process is expensive and that he would submit management plans for certification of other forestlands as funding allows. He declined to be specific about which lands might be next. The certification did not cause the state to make any changes in its overall management plan for the Puget Sound area, Sutherland said. Using sustainable logging practices on such a large block of Puget Sound forestland is good news for fish, wildlife and birds. In Washington, 93 of 317 bird species are in decline, according to a 2004 report by Washington Audubon. Sustainable forestry practices will help give birds a stronghold they need to survive in a rapidly developing region, said Matt Mega, conservation director for Seattle Audubon. Puget Sound forests are also crucial to the health of the Sound, which is affected by clearing of forests and disruption of the natural hydrology of the landscape. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004433574_trees23m.html

3) A $182 million tax break for Weyerhaeuser Co., tucked inside the farm bill, was expected to help the century-old timber company fend off a major restructuring sought by Wall Street that could have forced it to sell off its mills and increase logging on its forestlands. But Weyerhaeuser officials cautioned there are no guarantees the restructuring still won't happen. Analysts believe the tax relief might not be enough to protect Weyerhaeuser. Its days as the nation's last, major integrated timber company - growing its own trees and milling them into lumber and other forest products - could be numbered. Like Boeing, Microsoft, Nordstrom and Starbucks, the Federal Way-based Weyerhaeuser is a Northwest company whose roots run deep in a region where logging and mill work for decades was a way of life. The company owns 1.1 million acres of prime timberland in Washington and roughly the same amount in Oregon. Nationwide, the company owns 6.4 million acres, much of it across the Deep South, from eastern Texas to North Carolina. The company also owns or manages vast forest acreages in Canada and South America. Weyerhaeuser already has slimmed down. In 2007, it sold off its fine-paper business and is selling its containerboard-packaging operations in a deal that could be worth $6 billion. Its work force has dropped from 50,000 to 25,000. Besides the timberland, the company still owns 28 softwood lumber mills in the United States and Canada, where it produces lumber, plywood and other manufactured products; five pulp mills, with a worldwide buyer's list; and a real estate division operating in 10 states. But continued pressure from Wall Street could force even more changes. "They are the last of a breed," said Steven Chercover, an analyst with D.A. Davidson & Co. in Portland. "The world has changed, and Weyerhaeuser has to change with it." Most of the nation's major timber companies have converted their timberlands into real estate investment trusts. Wall Street loves REITs because they sharply cut a company's tax bill, with the bulk of a company's profits passed directly to stockholders, who have to pay the taxes. Weyerhaeuser so far has been reluctant to form a REIT, because under complicated federal laws it might have to divest itself of all of its operations not connected with actually growing and harvesting trees. The company has prided itself on being integrated. http://www.theolympian.com/business/story/460728.html

4) Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood is appealing the city's decision to let a developer cut down nearly half of a stand of 66 trees to make room for upscale town houses — the latest flashpoint over the city's growing density. Neighbors and arborists say the grove of mostly Douglas firs, some nearly 100 feet tall, deserves total protection, while Prescott Development touts plans to build a cutting-edge community on the site that recycles materials, saves half the grove and reduces stormwater runoff. Now it's up to a hearing examiner to determine whether the city erred in approving the plans without requiring further environmental study. The examiner has scheduled a July 22 hearing. Prescott wants to start construction in August. Some point to the grove, known as Waldo Woods, as a prime example of what's wrong with Seattle's tree-preservation rules. Rules now focus on saving large individual trees but offer no specific protection to groves of moderate-size trees. "This is a very difficult balancing act," says Alan Justad, a spokesman for Seattle's Planning and Development Department. "We hate losing these trees ... but if we can't fight sprawl at the same time, what's the point?" http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004442304_citytrees28m.html

Colorado:

5) “If we had been able to do this (logging) five years ago, we would have targeted the small trees,” Small said. “But the beetles beat us to the punch, and some large trees have to go in this case. We’ve had to adjust because they’re ahead of us. That being said, there will be some large trees surviving.” Thousands of dead and dying trees will be logged from about 150 acres of public lands at the Great Divide Ski Area in the upcoming weeks. Removing the trees will definitely change the look of the ski area, noted Kevin Taylor, ski area owner, but it’s a public safety issue. The trees being logged — about 200 to 500 per acre — are on Bureau of Land Management property; Taylor recently cut down hundreds of beetle-killed trees on the ski hill’s private property. “This is a public safety issue, because you can’t have standing dead trees, which could blow down in a windstorm, in an area heavily used by the public,” Taylor said. “We wish it wouldn’t have happened. It adds another wrinkle that we don’t need. “But there’s a little silver lining — the private land we worked last year turned out to be some of the nicest open glade skiing. So we hope we can work with the contractors to create something good.” According to BLM officials, they sold about 3,500 tons of saw logs and other biomass material to RY Timber of Townsend for $4,000. The low bid price reflects the technical challenge of removing the trees. He added that they’re not worried that transporting the logs from Great Divide to Townsend will spread the beetles’ territory. “There’s mountain pine beetle all over that part of the world; the infestations are pretty heavy,” Small said. “This is the most frustrating thing to deal with.” http://www.helenair.com/articles/2008/05/28/top/80lo_080528_beetles.txt

Minnesota:

6) The Chippewa National Forest this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary, having been established as a national forest May 23, 1908. “The common future is to make sure that there is adequate funding to adequately manage these forests, and to do that in a way that we have an ongoing dialogue, particularly here with the band, so that we’re working together with a shared vision,” Coleman said. Ninety percent of the Leech Lake Reservation overlays the Chippewa National Forest, which Coleman also calls a unique resource. “This is an incredible resource,” he said. “It’s important to the state, to the surrounding communities, important to the band. The good news is this is a treasure, it’s not a problem. It’s a huge opportunity.” How the resource is managed is critically important to the local economy, Coleman said. But that must be done in partnership with the Leech Lake Band. Earlier this year, Coleman fought administration efforts to cut the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget by 25 percent for the U.S. Forest Service, which would have affected operations at both the Chippewa and Superior National Forests, gaining $2 million to forestall the 25 percent cut. He says the newly enacted federal farm bill will help the National Forest manage its 1.6 million acres. “A big part of the farm bill — which is agriculture, nutrition and forestry — is the biofuels piece, which is really important,” Coleman said. “The supervisor here (Rob Harper) wants the Forest Service to be at the cutting edge of this whole transition to biofuels, and there’s a lot in this farm bill that really accelerates opportunities and incentives for that.” Aside from management issues, “there are opportunities for this resource to be part of the key to America’s independence from foreign oil,” the Republican said. “Biofuels is critical to that, and there’s a lot in the farm bill to provide opportunities for folks for research and investment for funding in this area.” Minnesotans “simply love this resource,” Coleman said of the National Forest, but added that there are challenges. “Sometimes people want it to recreate, others want it to provide jobs and economic development, others want to preserve it. The nature of a diverse society is that you get complex perspectives that you figure a way to work it out.” He noted that Mayor LaDuke had called for a partnership of all entities and that more jobs is key. http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/articles/index.cfm?id=16208§ion=news&freebie_check&CFID=4
0254133&CFTOKEN=69515919&jsessionid=8830e285b36b1e403375

Michigan:

7) Chain saws scream in a northern Michigan forest, but it's not the familiar sound of lumberjacks. This time the tree killers are environmental researchers. They hope that years from now the aspens they remove will be replaced with a healthy mix of maples, oaks, beeches and pines — which should soak up more carbon dioxide from an ever warmer world. The scientists hope to take a 100-acre section of the University of Michigan Biological Station research forest closer to the state it was in before logging, when it was dominated by different species of trees instead of the present-day aspens. They say the experiment is the first they're aware of that involves removing large numbers of trees to promote growth of other species that will boost carbon absorption. It comes as governments and businesses around the world look for economically feasible ways to limit climate change. Carbon dioxide makes up more than 80 percent of the human-produced U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, the Department of Energy says. Scientists believe a diverse woodland will hold more carbon because it will be richer in nitrogen and use sunlight more efficiently. Both are key factors in photosynthesis, during which carbon is absorbed, said Christoph Vogel, a University of Michigan forest ecologist. "We've been managing forests for lumber or pulp, or perhaps as habitat for deer or quail," said project leader Peter Curtis, an Ohio State University forest ecologist. "Many economists think that managing them for carbon will be a fact of life in the not-too-distant future." Skeptics question forests' long-term reliability for sequestering carbon. They can be cut down, burned or destroyed by disease or insects. Also, it's hard to measure their storage capacity, said Jonathan Pershing, climate and energy program director for the World Resources Institute. "Are you so sure you can tell us how much carbon is saved from your tree? That's the kind of question that makes people dubious about forest management" as a tool for limiting greenhouse gases, Pershing said. "I have little pangs now and then about what we've done ... even though it's for a good reason," Vogel said. But some of the aspens and birches were already dying, and it was just a matter of time for the others, he said. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hImKsZpVcUjkawA9qfNMeAYmTEJQD90QIURG0

Illinois:

8) Working construction I saw huge piles of hardwoods on jobs burned/left to rot, it made me sad. The same with the great specimens I have seen in the towns I have lived in cut down and hauled off as waste. I felt that was almost a crime against nature to cut a tree that was 300 years old in a town and burn it, like my town for example that is only 175 years old…that tree was here before we were . We “grew up” around it, then cut it down. I have nothing against traditional logging (if done properly, selective harvest), don’t get me wrong. I would never chain myself to a tree like what most people think of when they hear “tree hugger”. But somehow I feel if I mill these trees that were going to waste I am filling a little piece of the market and maybe one tree in the woods can stand. If I mill and sell an oak tree from a local town to a local woodworker, that guy will not buy wood from a tree that was harvested from nature some place else. Maybe an odd way to go about saving a tree, but it is the best I can do. For another example of my love of trees I have access to log family timber full of mighty oaks. I see those trees and remember the time my cousin and I climbed up in the limbs and had a picnic. The nap I took under the tree on a beautiful fall afternoon. The first time I showed my wife the tree and explained that tree was most likely 500 years old. I live in an area that was heavily populated by native Americans (I have dozens of artifacts from the same acreage, arrow heads and such) To think that a man living off the land 400 years ago might have also rested in the shade of the same tree, hunted the squirrels that fed from the fruit of that tree…No amount of money in the world would make me think about cutting that tree down. I am not going to shove this urban logging thing down your throat. But millions of dollars of lumber is being wasted every day by our cities (your tax money) The whole time the Fed is subsidizing logging companies, yea they are. http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/Daren/blog/4746

Ohio:

9) A report commissioned by a national forest preservation group criticizes the Wayne National Forest's forest plan, specifically the way it opens up acreage for logging, controlled burns and spraying herbicides. The report was conducted by GreenFire Consulting Group LLC for Heartwood, a national forest preservation group. It was scheduled to be released Saturday. The group stated in a news release that the forest service plan fails to maximize net public benefits and will add to pollution in the region. "The Forest Service could make the Wayne National Forest into the jewel of southeastern Ohio," said Heartwood member and Buckeye Forest Council Executive Director David Maywhoor. "But that's not what's happening. If the 2006 Forest Plan gets fully implemented, the Forest Service will make the forest less attractive to visitors by marring the landscape, and will add to the already high pollution of air and water in the region." The Wayne's Acting Forest Supervisor Jerri Marr said Friday she had not seen the report, and could not comment specifically on its content. However, she noted that the forest plan went through a review process, and the forest administrators are always open to discuss it. "Heartwood had an opportunity to respond to (the forest plan), back when it was in the review stage. We are always open to conversations about the forest and the plan. If there is anything they would like to get out on the ground and look at, we always welcome opportunities to talk about them." Heartwood criticized plans to open up 161,752 acres - almost 70 percent - of the forest to logging, to burn more than 46,215 acres for an "unproven 'oak regeneration'" program and 21,904 acres to reduce "questionable 'hazardous fuels'" risks, to spray almost 11,000 acres with herbicides, build 180 miles of new and temporary roads, open up 1,250 acres to surface coal mining and 121 acres to oil and gas well development. Implementation of the 2006 forest plan began in January 2006. http://www.athensmessenger.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=273&ArticleID=10551&TM=45451.14

Arkansas:

10) The soundtrack of my life currently involves the decimation of 3 perfectly healthy 80+ year old trees that once stood mightily in the neighbor's yard. The house is across the street and down one, yet the sounds of chainsaws and hunks of wood clanging against a metal trailer are everpresent in our house. It's been this way for 3 weeks. Giant trees do not go easily or quietly. I do not know why the trees have been destroyed, and I can't really think of any good reason to do so...not even building a new house on the lot. I've been away for a week, a trip up home to see the family in Illinois and Iowa. I come from a place where trees are sacred. Settlers of the prairie planted trees to hold back the wind and hold down the precious topsoil. In Northeast Iowa, the woodland forest of the east meets the prairie of the middle west. Spreading west of Waterloo, are acres and acres of open farmland set out on the Jeffersonian grid of township and range lines, and as I drove, I could identify where the farmhouses were, long before I saw them, by the stands of trees. I suspect there will be something about trees coming up in whatever poems come next, and perhaps the disjointed rhythm of the chainsaw and hurled wood as well. http://sandylonghorn.blogspot.com/2008/05/buzz-rrrrrrrrrrr-thunk.html

Georgia:

11) Georgia had more than an estimated $22 million in timber downed or destroyed during the storms of Mother’s Day leaving those in the timber, chip and pulp industry working non-stop against time to salvage everything possible. “We work with Ga. Pacific, but we’re not at the moment because we have to stay home and help the people in our county,” said Marie Keyton of Johnson County whose husband owns a logging company. “We have a contract, but we’ve explained to them these people are our friends, our neighbors, and we have to stay where we’re needed.” The annual meeting of the Dublin Regional Forestry Association was held Tuesday night at the Cloverleaf in East Dublin. Frank Green, associate chief of the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC), was there and gave estimates of damage across the mid-state. He said in a fly-over of the area it was estimated that in addition to the damage in Johnson, Twiggs lost 800 acres of its canopy, or about $1,440,000; in Washington estimates are about 100 acres were destroyed or about $80,000; in Wilkinson about 100 acres were destroyed amounting to $360,000 and in Laurens about 1,132 or $1,300,000. He said the GFC is recommending what landowners and loggers are already doing. “Our recommendation is to try to salvage what you can,” he said, adding that the influx of wood into the market is sometimes almost impossible to sell. “We had to give our wood away just to get it salvaged,” he said of the timber lost on the GFC compound in Macon. “It would have cost us $28 a ton just to take it to the landfill.” Green said for those involved in the destruction what to do can come down to each individual circumstance, “If you weigh the pros and the cons, it’s gonna be more con than pro,” he said, adding the GFC has a list of all the timber buyers on its web site at www.gatrees.org, and he encourages those who have trees to try to contact them. “Just in the McRae District, which includes Dublin, there’s probably 160 timber buyers. Contact them and try to negotiate a deal to salvage what they can,” he said. Keyton said every crew in the county has been working every available hour to get the downed trees hauled to the saw mills. http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?show=localnews&pnpID=909&NewsID=904026&CategoryID=19
667&on=0

Pennsylvania:

12) It's a testament to a self-taught engineer and the power of a spinning saw blade. This giant firewood-cutting machine, built by Mill Village logger John Ploss, can cut four cords an hour or up to 40 cords a day. Just a few years ago, Ploss wouldn't have had much use for it. He's been cutting Pennsylvania hardwoods since 1993, sending logs off to be processed as veneer or milled into boards for furniture, cabinets and trim. But now, thanks to a dramatic decline in housing starts, the value of the region's hardwoods have plummeted. "I can get better money out of firewood than I can boards," Ploss said. "I've logged for 15 years and for 12 years prices were pretty steady." That's changed and in dramatic fashion. The measure of that change can be found in the Timber Market Report, produced quarterly by the School of Forestry at Pennsylvania State University. The report shows that in the first quarter of 2005, the on-the-stump price for red oak in this region was $545 per thousand board feet. A board foot is board that measures one square foot by one inch thick. Today, the price is less than half as much at $264. Black cherry that sold then for $1,572, sold earlier this year for $1,064. Obviously, that's good news for anyone building a house. Prices for oriented strand board, among the most common construction materials, fell earlier this year to the lowest level in a decade, according to a recent Reuters report. http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080525/BUSINESS05/805250351/-1/BUSINESS

13) An environmental group is calling on the Allegheny National Forest to halt logging operations approved since a new forest management plan took effect earlier this year. The Allegheny Defense Project says the U.S. Forest Service is not properly assessing the impact of logging proposals with impacts caused by oil and gas drilling in the state's only national forest. "Until the Forest Service reconciles how it will regulate oil and gas drilling on the Allegheny, its logging proposals have to take a back seat," said Ryan Talbott, the group's forest watch coordinator. The Forest Service told Allegheny National Forest officials in February to redo parts of its management plan to clarify its authority to manage oil and gas drilling and to take into account the drilling's effect on air quality. Other aspects of the plan, however, have been affirmed. "All of our decisions made are in compliance with all environmental regulations, policies and laws, and this includes the chief's appeal decision issued in February," spokeswoman Kathy Mohney said Tuesday. The plan, which is to guide management of the forest for the next 10 to 15 years, calls for increased regulation of oil and gas drilling, adding two wilderness areas totaling about 12,000 acres and creating three remote recreation areas. More than 80 appeals have been filed by groups including the oil and gas industry, the timber industry and recreational users. The number of oil and gas wells in the 800-square-mile national forest, which lies in Elk, Forest, McKean and Warren counties, has increased due to rising gas prices. The Forest Service owns the surface but not underground mineral rights, more than 90 percent of which are privately held. U.S. Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., accused the Allegheny Defense Project of opposing economic progress in the forest region. "They have a belief that cutting down a tree is a terrible thing to do," Peterson said. http://www.timesleader.com/news/ap?articleID=540204

New England Coast:

14) An ornithologist named Robert J. Craig has been studying southern New England's birds year-round for years. His conclusion: coastal forests are the most important habitat, so we should do all we can to protect them. On a more controversial note, he says that if competition for land preservation funding is intense, it makes no sense to spend money protecting birds like the grasshopper sparrow, whose grassland habitat is dwindling in the east. Grasshopper sparrows are common in regions where grasslands are common, so forget about them here and work to protect birds that rely on the eastern forests. The Courant wrote about it, here. http://thissphere.blogspot.com/2008/05/coastal-forests-are-most-important.html

Florida:

15) At the same time crews are struggling to keep the flames away from stands of invasive melaleuca trees, which can grow more than 60 feet (18 meters) tall. "Melaleuca does create a challenge because of the very flammable, papery bark that it has," said David Hallac, chief biologist for Everglades National Park. Firefighters fear that melaleuca stands near the park's northeastern boundary could help the fire spread into the area near Fort Lauderdale and Miami, where about six million people live. The melaleuca tree, sometimes called the paperbark tree, is native to Australia. The tree absorbs enormous quantities of water and was introduced into the Everglades in the early 20th century to help drain the vast region for development. But the fast-spreading species quickly became an environmental nuisance in what should be a mostly grassy swamp. Fire can actually benefit the tree, because flames cause it to drop large numbers of seeds. There are often more melaleucas after a fire than before. The current blaze, which has been burning since May 14, recently reached the edge of a melaleuca stand before workers stopped it with fire-retardant chemicals. "It's been dicey the last three or four days," Duiett said. Bridget Litten, a National Park Service public information officer, said the fire was about 50 percent contained by Wednesday. But the wind direction is expected to change Thursday and blow from the east, and that will keep the 200-plus firefighters there on their toes, she said. "We're not quite sure what will happen tomorrow," Litten said. "We're hoping everything will hold." http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/05/080522-everglades-fire_2.html

16) Green Circle Bio Energy Inc. is building the world’s biggest wood pellet plant in the heart of the largest plantation-style pine forest in the world. Until U.S. legislation promoting biomass power catches up with directives in Europe, these pellets will be exported to a handful of European power companies. Construction of the Green Circle wood pelleting plant in Cottondale, Fla., 60 miles north of Panama City, began in February and initial production is targeted for December. The $65 million plant is scaled to produce 550,000 tons of wood pellets per year from regionally sourced pulp-quality southern yellow pine roundwood, which is produced in abundance in the fiber-rich southeastern United States. According to the Forest Nutrition Cooperative, more than 32 million acres of pine are grown in the southeastern United States. “The southeast United States has the largest plantation-style pine forest in the world,” Roed says. With ample nearby feedstock this plant will produce enough wood pellets in a year to generate 2,400 gigawatt hours of electricity—that’s more than 2.5 trillion watt hours. “The idea for this plant has been around for about two years,” Roed says. “The concept is to supply the European power industry with our wood pellets.” Green Circle looked at a world map and gauged global fiber supplies while also considering political stability and simple logistics chains. The result was a decision to build the plant in the Florida Panhandle. In March, Jackson County received a $750,000 grant to help pay for Green Circle’s water and sewer facilities in Cottondale. "The citizens of Jackson County are excited to have Green Circle Bio Energy break ground on the world's largest biomass pellet plant,” Ted Lakey, Jackson County administrator, said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “We expect this plant to have a positive economic impact for the entire Florida Panhandle." While much of the community response is positive, Roed says there are those who don’t understand all the issues. “Like agriculture, if it’s not cultivated it goes downhill. The virgin wood here has been gone for hundreds of years so we’re talking replanted forests here,” he says. “And when it’s not maintained and cultivated—that, of course, is not good.” http://biomassmagazine.com/article-print.jsp?article_id=1331

USA:

17) The U.S. Forest Service has proposed new rules to govern mining within National Forests - lands owned by all Americans. In a perfect world, we would applaud such a proposal. The existing rules are weak. According to the Forest Service they "have not been significantly revised since 1974". The proposed rule would be worse than nothing Alas, we don't live in a perfect world. The USFS proposal would actually be a step backwards from the 1974 rule. The lowlights of the new proposal: 1) It allows irresponsible mining companies to decide how much environmental protection is permitted at their mines; 2) It codifies the Forest Service's position that they cannot deny mining under the 1872 Mining Law; 3) It expands the authority of the 1872 Mining Law onto lands currently governed by other laws - laws that allow the Forest Service to weigh mining proposals against other potential land uses like hunting, fishing or grazing; 4) It expands a class of operations of called notice mines -- which are exempt from public and environmental review; 5) It would severely limit public participation in the rulemaking process Tell the Forest Service we need more, not less, oversight of public lands mining http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/676/t/572/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=24691

18) American Forest & Paper Association spent nearly $1.1 million in the first quarter to lobby on forestry and other related issues, according to a disclosure report. The nation's leading timber industry lobbyist also lobbied the federal government on illegal logging, farm bill, various environmental bills, renewable energy legislation and international trade agreements. Weyerhaeuser Co., International Paper Co. and Louisiana-Pacific Corp. are among the more than 90 member companies of the trade group. In the January-to-March period, the trade group lobbied Congress, Environmental Protection Agency, White House, U.S. Trade Representative's office, Agriculture Department and other agencies, according to the report filed April 21 with the House clerk's office. http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2008/05/23/ap5044780.html

19) U.S. Senator Max Baucus announced a potentially historic private land conservation project on Friday, aimed at protecting hundreds of thousands of acres of Plum Creek forestland in western Montana from development. The project, which has the potential to be "the largest land acquisition in American history," will conserve critical fish and wildlife habitat, ensure continued access to public land and reduce the cost of fighting wildfire by limiting development in the so-called wildland-urban interface, Baucus said. "We're doing something to pass on our enduring legacy and values to our kids and grandkids," he said. Under the potential deal, the Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy would acquire about 300,000 acres of forest land from Plum Creek Timber Co. using a new Forest Conservation Bonds provision included in the just-passed 2008 Farm Bill. The provision, which can be attributed to Baucus, authorizes states or non-profit organizations to issue as much as $500 million in federal tax-credit bonds. Private investors buy the bonds in exchange for a federal tax credit. The states or non-profits then use some of the capital to acquire privately-held forest lands slated for potential development. The rest of the capital is invested to repay the taxes deferred on the bond. Under the provision, half the money can be an outright federal grant. The whole forest bond program is expected to cost the federal treasury about $250 million over ten years. While critics on Capital Hill contend the provision is a sweetheart deal for Plum Creek designed only to benefit this particular project, proponents say it creates a sorely-needed funding mechanism to protect private timberlands across the country from sale for development. Plum Creek is the largest private landowner in the United States with over eight million acres. It is also the largest private landowner in Montana with over 1.2 million acres. In 1999, Plum Creek reorganized as a real estate investment trust (REIT) and has since begun selling its land for residential development and to public and private groups interested in conservation. Communities across the country are struggling to secure the funding necessary to buy forest lands slated for development in order to protect public access and fish and wildlife habitat. http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/baucus_seeks_to_protect_plum_creek_forestlands_from_develo
pment/C41/L41/

EU:

20) Despite political commitment, Europe is struggling to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010. Forests cover roughly a third of the European land area and they are a vital host to much of the biological diversity in Europe. Any initiative designed to halt the biodiversity loss in Europe must consequently take forests into account. Demands on forests will become stronger and spatially more diversified. Production of wood and other traditional forest resources will have to be balanced against other kinds of goods and services from the forest ecosystems. Europe must develop frameworks capable of addressing all these demands to create optimal forest landscapes in the future while preserving biodiversity. Although preliminary assessments show that the 2010 target of halting the loss of biodiversity will not be met entirely in the forests, Europe has the institutional, legal, financial and information framework in place to make a real difference. The new European Environment Agency report was released last week during a side event at the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, Germany. The report identifies the state, trends and major pressures on the forest ecosystems across Europe and suggests needed actions and capacity-building for sustainable forest management and safeguarding biodiversity. The European Forest Institute largely contributed to the report as partner in the European Environment Agency’s European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity. http://www.alphagalileo.org/index.cfm?_rss=1&fuseaction=readrelease&releaseid=529580

Germany:

21) Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany will provide 500 million euros ($784 million) over the next four years to help protect global biodiversity, and she urged other governments to address ``the world's most significant challenge.'' Europe's most populous country will use the funds to protect the world's forests, increasing its spending to 500 million euros annually from 2013, she told delegates at a United Nations meeting on preserving the world's plants, animals and natural resources. The money will come from selling permits to emit carbon dioxide, needed by factories and power plants across Europe. ``For me it's absolutely clear that we need to change direction,'' Merkel said at the conference in Bonn today. ``Nature is a remarkable teacher and offers enormous chances for humanity's future.'' About three-quarters of genetic diversity among crops has been lost over the last century, and hundreds of the 7,000 animal breeds registered with the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization are threatened with extinction, the agency says. Some 150 species of plants and animals become extinct every day, Merkel said. Protecting the planet's biodiversity and slowing global warming are part of the same problem that needs to be solved as a whole, said Merkel, who made climate change the key theme of Germany's presidency last year of the Group of Eight industrialized nations. Germany will also help implement an international standard for tropical agriculture and genetically engineered plants, the chancellor said. The earth needs support from many governments to avoid accelerating extinction rates, she said. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=a4bP2pxaiInE&refer=canada

Congo:

22) Dr. Nadine Laporte, an associate scientist with WHRC who uses remote sensing to analyze land use change in Africa, says that REDD could protect forests, safeguard biodiversity, and improve rural livelihoods in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other Central African nations. "REDD is perhaps the most promising way to protect forests in much of the tropics, including all the central African countries," Laporte told mongabay.com. "Carbon credits represent the largest potential flow of revenue to support sustainable development in tropical forest regions, particularly because most of the ecological services provided by these ecosystems (biodiversity, hydrology, sustenance of forest peoples, etc) do not have strong mechanisms to promote their conservation." But Laporte cautions that REDD is not a stand-alone solution for development in DRC — it must be integrated into a national program involving the country's emerging industrial sectors. Further REDD will require improved monitoring and governance capacity to be implemented successfully. "It is necessary to reinforce national capacity to monitor forests and identify the best alternatives to reduce degradation and deforestation, despite wide variation between regions and types of land use," she said. "Moreover, most people in the DRC, for example, rely on fuel wood for their energy needs. As such, it is important to develop REDD programs in synergy with the forest, agriculture and energy sectors." My group uses a combination of satellite imagery integrated with field information. We rely on field information for the calibration of our models and also for the validation of our results. To produce our maps of the distribution of above-ground biomass of tropical Africa, for example, we collected field information from foresters and national institutions. In the Republic of Congo some of our remote sensing analyses have been used to develop national mapping standards for forest management plans. In the DRC our biomass map was used to calculate the level of compensation necessary reduce emissions from deforestation. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0529-interview_laporte.html


23) The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo today announced plans to designate at least 50,190 square miles of the Earth's second largest rainforest region as new protected areas. At present, nine percent of country, corresponding to 8,494 square miles, is conserved in various categories of protected areas. "I was deeply impressed by the decision of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to conserve its forest resources by establishing new protected areas, while at the same time ensuring sustainable use by the inhabitants," German Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel told his Congolese counterpart José Endundo Bononge. "This will benefit not only the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but also the international community, for protecting the country's vast forests with their enormous carbon stocks helps to mitigate climate change and conserve the wealth of this forest biodiversity," said Gabriel. The German minister suggested to Minister Bononge that the new protected areas be incorporated into the new global LifeWeb Initiative. This funding initiative for protected areas was introduced by Germany at the ongoing Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, now underway in Bonn. The Life Web Initiative aims to support the implementation of the CBD Program of Work on Protected Areas through enhancing partnerships at a global level. The initiative will match voluntary commitments for the designation of new protected areas and the improved management of existing areas with commitments for dedicated financing of these areas. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2008/2008-05-27-02.asp

24) A tract of tropical forest in the Congo Basin mapped with the help of local pygmies has become the largest in the world certified under a system meant to ensure responsible logging, partners in the project said on Tuesday. The 7,500 sq km (2,896 sq mile) concession area, almost the size of Cyprus or Puerto Rico, is operated by Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), a unit of Danish hardwood specialist DLH Group. The area was the "largest ever tract of contiguous certified tropical forest in the world", partners said in a statement after the forest won certification meant to avoid deforestation. It more than doubled an existing CIB concession. "Timber production does not have to be synonymous with the destruction of tropical forests," said Scott Poynton, executive director of the Tropical Forest Trust, a Geneva-based non-profit charity that works with industry to conserve forests. Pygmies in Congo used GPS satellite handsets to pinpoint sacred sites on maps in the Pokola rainforest to ensure that they would be untouched by loggers. "For instance, at a large Sapelli tree prized for its edible caterpillars, or an important collecting point for medicinal plants, they simply selected the appropriate icon and the GPS records the location," the statement said. The handheld mapping device "made it possible for the pygmy communities to communicate to us the specific forest resources that they hold sacred", said Robert Hunink, executive vice president of DLH Group. http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSL2757503520080527


Costa Rica:

25) "Being smaller has some advantages, but these species are not small because of natural causes, they are small in response to habitat disturbance, [which] we think is a bad thing," says Delgado-Acevedo. "They have uncovered some interesting trends that need further investigation," says Rachel Santymire, an endocrinologist who measures stress in endangered species at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois. Human disruption to habitats not only causes populations to get smaller, it also seems to cause the individuals of some species to literally shrink. Johanna Delgado-Acevedo and Carla Restrepo at the University of Puerto Rico collected specimens of two common species of Puerto Rican frogs from nine sites in the northern regions of the island. The sites were all subtropical, moist environments, but differed dramatically from one another in the amount of foliage present. Some were heavily forested, while others had barely any forest left at all. Collected frogs were X-rayed and had their bones measured. Remarkably, the team found that frogs collected in habitats with foliage coverage of 20% or less were physically 5 to 10% smaller than those collected in habitats with 70% or more foliage cover. They also found that the frogs collected in more disturbed habitats had bodies that were less symmetrical than those in pristine areas. "It has been reported before that amphibian body size decreases when the animals are exposed to large numbers of predators," says Delgado-Acevedo, "but discovering this in response to human environmental disruption is really surprising." The reduction could be the result of natural selection. With few resources available in deforested areas, smaller frogs that make more modest demands on the habitat may be the most successful. However, the disturbed habitats might also be affecting the frogs during their early development, by exposing them to stresses that they would normally not encounter. http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn13987-incredible-shrinking-frogs-the-price-of-de
forestation.html?DCMP=ILC-hmts&nsref=news1_head_dn13987

Brazil:

26) One day, Lucio Flores, a Brazilian Terena Indian, was traveling by truck through the Amazons region alongside a local landowner. Looking at the dense tropical forest around, the landowner said, "Look at this, there is nothing here." A little further as they left the forest to cross a soybean plantation, the landowner exclaimed: "But here there is soy!" To him, forest was nothing, soy everything. Flores narrated the story to a group of environmentalists, government representatives and journalists at a side session of the UN conference on biological diversity under way in Bonn. For him, the story was a symbol of the opposed views dividing the business community and indigenous peoples. "For agro business, nature is nothing," Flores said. "For us, it is all." In Brazil the opposites are particularly telling. It has the world's largest environmental reserve -- the Amazons region -- and is at the same time the world's largest producer of ethanol, the agro-fuel distilled from sugar cane, and the world's second largest producer of soybean, after the U.S. The rapid development of sugar cane and soybean over the last 30 years has led to deforestation of large sections of the Amazons region, leading environmentalists say. "Nowadays, 21 million hectares of Brazilian land are devoted to the plantation of either sugar cane, mostly for the production of ethanol, and soybeans, both for agro fuels as well as fodder for cattle," said Camilla Moreno, a lawyer working for Terra de Direitos, a Brazilian non-governmental organisation. http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42527

27) “A few years ago, we thought biofuels were heaven, but now we think they are hell," says Anders Wijkman, an MEP from Sweden, which is the only European country that already imports Brazilian ethanol for its public transport system. "I think the truth is somewhere in between." Last year, Brazilian exports of ethanol fell by 14%. Work on two giant pipelines planned to carry ethanol from the canefields of Goias to the ports of Paranagua and São Sebastião has been suspended, and the question being raised is whether the bio-boom is over before it has begun. Are the big-name foreign investors such as George Soros and the pension funds, who were falling over themselves to buy up land in central Brazil to plant sugar cane, backing the wrong horse? Are biofuels really less sustainable and more polluting than fossil fuels? The view from Brazil, which has vast space, a burgeoning economy and a growing population hungry for development, is very different from that in Europe. With oil at over $120 (£61) a barrel, they say the answer can only be "no". Ethanol is just $35 a barrel, and for most countries - especially poor oil-importing countries in Africa, where high fuel prices have already led to a drop in real income - the economic argument is all important. As the number of vehicles in the world tops a billion, the oil companies themselves admit that biofuels will be essential for meeting the growing demand for fuel, probably providing 10% of transport needs by 2030. Today, they account for only 1%. Moreover, the demand for fuel is expected to double by mid-century, thanks not only to the gas-guzzling rich countries' inability to reduce their already high consumption, but to population growth and higher incomes in the large emerging economies. There is a misunderstanding that Brazil is obsessed with exporting biofuels. In fact, we export only 10% of our production, and that is only to Sweden. The reason we do not export more is because demand is growing so fast in Brazil. More than 50% of all the vehicle fuel used in Brazil is now ethanol. Biofuels are worth tens of billions of dollars a year to us. They provide 18% of all our energy and employ 50 times more people than the oil industry. The debate about biofuels is out of control. We have so much land that is badly used. People still bash us, but there is really no link between ethanol [from sugar cane] and food displacement. Nor are biofuels being grown in the Amazon. Soya can be planted there, and that is a worry. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/28/1

Solomon Islands:

28) Logging companies have claimed that the National Government has failed to take the lead in reforestation in logged out areas, despite imposing a 7% levy on logging companies to be used for reforestation, since 1983. The Secretary of the Solomon Islands Forest Association (SIFA), Kaipua Tohibangu, said this while commenting on reports that the logging industry is likely to wind up in about five years time. The SIFA Secretary said that the country would have had sustainable logging had the Government took the lead in utilizing the 7%-timber levy first imposed by the Government in 1983 to meet reforestation. Tohibangu said that since then the Government had not put the revenue raised from the 7% levy either for reforestation or rehabilitation of natural forests and while the Government failed to do this, it expected the logging companies to take the lead in reforestation. He said that the Government also had the option to discuss the levy with loggers with the view of revising it upward, but the Government failed to do this possibly because it had not used the revenue for the intended purpose. http://www.solomontimes.com/news.aspx?nwID=1851

Malaysia:

29) "The rivers were extremely clean then," Waidi Sinun reminisced of his boyhood days in Kampung Timbua, "so I spent a lot of time fishing, swimming, or berakit [rafting]." Now, more than three decades later, the 43-year-old Sinun still draws upon his love of water, but in a rather different way: He's a forest hydrologist who spearheads three internationally recognized forest conservation efforts in Sabah, East Malaysia—the part of Borneo Island shaped like a dog's head. The areas preserve a rich variety of flora and fauna unique to Asian tropical rainforests, making them noteworthy conservation zones. Kampung Timbua, where Sinun grew up, lies close to the small town of Ranau at the foot of Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia's highest peak. When he was twelve, his excellent school results got the attention of Yayasan Sabah, a foundation established to help the rural people of Sabah benefit from the state's considerable timber resources. "It's called timber wealth redistribution," Sinun explained. With Yayasan Sabah's financial support, Sinun went to high school in Perak, on the Malaysian peninsula. He did so well during his first three years there that the foundation decided to let him finish his high school education in Queensland, Australia. He then stayed on to get his bachelor's degree in earth science at the Queensland University of Technology, graduating in 1986. By then, Sinun was hooked on forestry research; he couldn't refuse an offer of funding from the same university to pursue his Ph.D. Even so, he wasn't about to forget his roots. "The environment [in Ranau] was really pristine when I was young, with undisturbed forests and abundant wildlife, but sadly most of these have changed," he lamented. So he decided to study the impact of forest destruction on streams in the highlands of Kinabalu, where he grew up. These ecosystems, called "montane forests," grow at 900 meters (3000 feet) or more above sea level. In Sabah, they are found mostly in the Crocker Range and on Mount Kinabalu. Oak and chestnut trees are prevalent, although these often appear stunted due to strong winds and a harsh environment. "I found that montane forests are very fragile, requiring a higher degree of care compared to lower and flatter [forest] areas," Sinun said. "These areas are not only very sensitive to change; they're among the most important regulators of streams, rivers, and ultimately the lives of people living downstream. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0527-poh_sinum.html

Indonesia:

30) In response to rising fuel prices, West Nusa Tenggara province is considering a proposal to transform 12,200 hectares of unproductive land into firewood-producing forests. The local administration also hopes the project will help stop deforestation in the province, which is known for its vast prairies and cattle industry. "With the price of kerosene soaring, more people are turning to firewood for their daily household needs," provincial forestry chief Baredun Zainal told The Jakarta Post. He said the administration feared that unless it made special forests available for firewood, residents would begin cutting down protected forests. According to the latest official data, West Nusa Tenggara uses 450,000 cubic meters of firewood annually for daily household purposes, such as cooking, and for home industries. That is significantly higher than the 100,000 cubic meters used to build houses and make furniture. With the government phasing out the subsidy for kerosene, which people in West Nusa Tenggara use for their tobacco drying machines, or omprongan, firewood use is expected to triple over the next 10 years. "People are unlikely to use coal and gas as a substitute for kerosene, as the government suggests, because they are more expensive ...," Baredun said. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailheadlines.asp?fileid=20080528.A06&irec=5

31) Mr Tony Wong (Pak TW) has been detained since May 2007 following his report to the Police Headquarter about the involvement of ALAS KUSUMA GROUP in Illegal Logging practice at Mt Lawang Protected Forest (Hutan Lindung Bukit Lawang) in Pawan Utara, Ketapang, West Kalimantan. The Police Headquarter promptly appointed a special team to Pawan Utara in April 2007, on a mission of investigating into Illegal Logging practice in the area, and they witnessed the report was true. However this act embarrassed and angered the Local Authorities in West Kalimantan. Mr Tony was arrested with “NO REASON” in Jakarta by the Regional Authorities from West Kalimantan across the border. Since then, Mr Wong has been watched closely by the Local Authorities, with all efforts to stop him revealing the truth behind the incident to the Public. When Mr Wong suffered a heart attack and collapsed on 02 Jan 08, Local Authorities in West Kalimantan still placed great obstacles along the way to delay his proper treatment for the incident. More importantly, there is strong indication of continuous intervention by ALAS KUSUMA GROUP behind the scene NEVER STOP !!! Being short of evidence to be charged with Illegal Logging, eventually Mr Wong has been charged with Corruption by under paying the Reforestation and Forest Resources Provision Funds (PSDH-DR) in a total of RP134.145.275 and USD40,252 respectively. AFTER spending a whole year behind bars, Mr Wong has gone through the legal process of court hearings, and finally Mr Wong has been pleaded “NOT GUILTY” and released in Ketapang on 26 May 2008. For just 3 hours in free air, Mr Tony Wong has been held in a “complete isolation” again by the regional police in Ketapang with a new case of Illegal Logging this time. Something is really strange here, as the case of “Illegal Logging” has been dropped against Mr Wong previously with lack of evidence, and why did they raise it again ??? WHAT IF this is just an excuse and a total conspiracy to keep Mr Wong staying behind bars ??? http://jacsky.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/the-truth-behind-illegal-logging/

World-wide:

32) Their new report, Plants and Climate Change: Which Future? makes the case for protecting the botanical foundations of terrestrial life. "If you read any report about the impact of climate change, it's almost always about polar bears or tigers," said Suzanne Sharrock, director of Global Programmes for Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) in London and a co-author of the report. But BGCI, a network of 2000 organizations involved in plant conservation, says climate change could kill off half of Earth's plant species. Plants that grow on islands or on mountainsides are at greatest risk because they have "nowhere to go" as the climate shifts around them. BGCI also announced its own global effort to catalog and preserve threatened plants. It will update a 10-year-old survey of the world's trees, identifying species that need additional protection in their native habitat and collecting others for preservation in botanic gardens and arboreta. BGCI plans to reintroduce some threatened plants into their former habitats. Thomas Lovejoy, president of the H. John Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, D.C., welcomed the new initiative. "At the outset, plants were scarcely mentioned in the Endangered Species Act. Now, it's an integral part," he notes. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/320/5879/1000b


33) Global demand for cheap timber products is driving their destruction and large foreign multinationals are logging these forests at unsustainable rates. Forest communities are usually swindled out of their land, sometimes under threat of violence, and regularly complain of human rights abuses and inadequate compensation for their forest resources. When logging companies leave areas these communities are left with nothing but crumbling infrastructure, polluted waterways and no ready means of survival. Nowhere is the situation dire than in the Solomon Islands. Decades of logging at up to five times the sustainable rate has decimated the country's forests and has had serious impacts on society and the environment. The International Monetary Fund recently predicted a total collapse of the forest industry by 2014. This would be disastrous for the Solomon Island's economy with logging accounting for 70% of exports, 15% of domestic government revenue and 10% of GDP. Papua New Guinea's forests look set to suffer the same fate unless something is urgently done to reign in its forestry sector. Up to 90% of all logging in PNG is done illegally. Numerous reports from the likes of the International Tropical Timber Organisation, the World Bank and numerous non-government organisations, over the last decade have shown there is no evidence of sustainability or of any real development or substantial monetary benefits to forest communities. Added to this are allegations of widespread corruption and an inability by PNG to enforce its forest laws. The PNG Forest Minister, Beldan Namah, recently admitted in parliament that logging companies routinely flout laws with the help of corrupt officials saying "I've noticed a lot of corruption going on within the Forest Department". In the meantime loggers continue to operate with impunity. Our oceans and forests are not inexhaustible, but highly vulnerable complex and finite. There is a strong link between global climate change, oceans and forests. There is a need for a concerted effort and integrated approach to biodiversity issues. http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=90355

34) A geographer from the University of Leicester has produced for the first time a map of the scorched Earth for every year since the turn of the Millennium. When vegetation burns the amount of reflected energy is altered, long enough for us to make an observation of the fire scar. Supercomputers located in Belgium were used to process the vast amounts of satellite data used in the project. Dr Kevin Tansey, of the Department of Geography, a leading scientist in an international team, created a visual impression of the fire scars on our planet between 2000 and 2007. The work was funded by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. The map reveals that between 3.5 and 4.5 million km2 of vegetation burns on an annual basis. This is an area equivalent to the European Union (EU27) and larger than the country of India that is burnt every year. The research has been published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Dr Tansey, a Lecturer in Remote Sensing at the University of Leicester, said: "We have produced, for the first time, a global data base and map of the occurrence of fire scars covering the period 2000-2007. Prior to this development, data were only available for the year 2000. With seven years of data, it is not possible to determine if there is an increasing trends in the occurrence of fire, but we have significant year-to-year differences, of the order of 20%, in the area that is burnt. "The forest fires last summer in Greece and in Portugal a couple of years back, remind us that we need to understand the impact of fire on the environment and climate to manage the vegetation of the planet more effectively. "Probably 95% of all vegetation fires have a human source; crop stubble burning, forest clearance, hunting, arson are all causes of fire across the globe. Fire has been a feature of the planet in the past and under a scenario of a warmer environment will certainly be a feature in the future". http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Scorched_Earth_Millenium_Map_Shows_Fire_Scars_999.html

35) This report, which is a follow-up to Friends of the Earth's Life after Logging published in 1992, provides the latest research on the impacts of logging on a rainforest's structure, its physical functions, its wildlife and its people. The methods of 'reduced impact logging' are also examined and the question of whether sustainable forest management in tropical rainforests is actually possible is explored. It is widely recognized that logging is one of the main causes of forest degradation and loss in tropical forests today. Yet more forest than ever is degraded or lost due to the activities of the timber industry, be it logging in primary forests, 'selective logging' of non regenerating species, illegal logging or clearing of land for timber plantations. Providing examples from tropical forests all over the world, this report sends a sobering message to the timber industry, governments and international institutions that many factors have to be taken into account before deciding whether a logging operation is truly 'sustainable.' This report concludes with the need for more research into so-called 'reduced impact logging' and above all for the precautionary principal to be reflected upon and implemented throughout all forest policies. http://www.edf.org/documents/1338_LifeafterLogging.htm