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10 May 2008 @ 08:05 pm
Today for you 37 new articles about earth’s trees! (338th edition)
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--British Columbia: 1) Coleman Blunders ahead, 2) Creditors dance on ruins of always unsustainable industry, 3) Gov’s lack of oversight makes beetle problem worse, 4) Klinaklini River, 5) Caribou extinction proceedings, 6) Hupacasath Nation says crown is an actor in bad faith, 7) Murrelet surveys never acted on, 8) Industry-wide shutdown,
--Canada: 9) Big trouble caused by overharvesting, 10) Save the Oak Ridges Moraine, 11) 19th century clear cutting practices still 94% of all logging, 12) Save the Warblers,
--UK: 13) 40,000 street trees lost in 5 years, 14) Last of Lee Hill Oaks cut for bridge, 15) Memorial trees to be dug up by developers,
--Finland: 16) Palm oil fuel protested by Greenpeace Orangutans
--Turkey: 17) Paper industry wants gov to give them their forests…
--Estonia: 18) 50,000 volunteers pick up garbage in forests
--Azerbaijan: 19) Thousand of oaks cut down and exported in occupied territories
--Africa: 20) Solve poverty by addressing droughts and deforestation
--Western Mali: 21) This is the land of the sacred tree, Chinese say otherwise
--Kenya: 22) Enviro minister decries forest destruction in Mau
--Puerto Rico: 23) Decline in rainfall correlates to deforestation
--Dominican Republic: 24) Ecologist warn of need to protect forests
--Guyana: 25) Save a little rainforest and give most of what remains to S&S
--Costa Rica: 26) Local seed gathering turns barren land into diverse ecosystem
--Brazil: 27) Yet another sustainable development plan for the Amazon, 28) Trees in amazon grow slower than previously thought, 29) Lack of sulfur dioxide emissions is drying rainforest, 30) New Gov claim that Amazon destruction has slowed,
--Ecuador: 31) Illegal logger speared to death & 15 indigenous beheaded
--Colombia: 32) Still no leadership for forest protection surveys
--Chile: 33) Canada’s largest retirement plan invests in destruction of “eco-gem”
--Latin America: 34) Carbon Market development
--India: 35) Rally to save old Banyan tree, 36) 35,000 trees cut down for hydro in Kullu,
--Pakistan: 37) New projects needed to develop forest: Parks and Zoos

British Columbia:

1) “Traditionally the AAC [annual allowable cut] has been based on saw logs. In reality, the AAC could be sustained at a higher level than it is now with a parallel industry to use some of the timber. “This roundtable is to get people thinking about the future.” Coleman said there are some aspects of the problems facing the forest industry which neither the roundtable or the whole B.C. forest industry could fix on their own. “The whole country, for instance, has to change its attitude to solid waste in all forms, not just wood waste.” He said the market system in place would insure that if people came up with uses for the beetle-kill wood, it would be harvested. “The way they’ll get the wood out faster is if someone is willing to pay for it.” Coleman also made it very clear the government was not using the roundtable as a way to find alternatives to the forest industry. http://www.bclocalnews.com/bc_north/ominecaexpress/news/18673024.html

2) "This is very disappointing but not unexpected," said Bob Smiley, of the Pulp Paper and Woodworkers of Canada, who watched Wednesday while lawyers representing creditors Ableco Finance and Wells Fargo argued over who would advance the money to complete the shutdown of the mills. Smiley, who represents the Harmac employees, said workers were taking the shutdown hard. "Some are leaving town; some are in shock," he said. Pope & Talbot is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, but most of its assets are in B.C. It has already sold most of its sawmills to Vancouver forest company Interfor but was unable to close a deal to sell its pulp mills, two in B.C. and one at Halsey, Oregon, to Asia Pulp & Paper. The Halsey mill already has a bidder but the B.C. mills pose more of a problem. With so few sawmills operating, fibre supplies are tight and both mills have resorted to chipping more costly whole logs. The resource town of Mackenzie has been hit hardest by the collapse of Pope & Talbot. The town of 4,000 is still reeling from the closure Jan. 31 of two sawmills and a paper mill run by AbitibiBowater. "This is a crisis but most people are still in shock. What are we going to do?" said Berry. "This is people's lives. This is probably the worst day you are going to see for most people here. If this happened in Vancouver where you lost 300 jobs, it's not a big deal. But this is a whole community. It's gone." http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=e2fcac87-2004-446d-8f14-1ab6790584ef

3) Instead of cutting down the infected forests whole-scale, the B.C. government must ensure that the response to the crisis doesn’t make a bad problem worse. Non-pine species shouldn’t be killed, and large areas need to be set aside to protect the habitat of species that are vulnerable to logging, and to preserve sensitive sites such as wetlands, lakes, and rivers. We should also learn everything we can from this epidemic, as it likely won’t be the last. Other insects, such as the spruce budworm, are threatening forests in Eastern Canada, and the pine beetle itself has already leapt over the barrier of the Rocky Mountains to threaten the boreal forest that covers most of Northern Canada. The mountain pine beetle outbreak is a clear example of how our actions can create ripple effects throughout the environment. Let’s hope that by the time the pine beetle runs out of trees to attack in B.C., we will have learned enough to prevent even greater bug-related disasters. We must also see this as a wake-up call about the dangers of climate change and the need for industry, citizens, and governments at all levels to do everything possible to address the problem. Just because the beetles are small doesn’t mean they are insignificant; it’s not a matter of size. http://www.straight.com/article-144643/david-suzuki-little-bug-big-problem

4) The Klinaklini River flows through ranchlands and scenic mountains near Kleena Kleene in the Chilcotin, on its way to the ocean. The Klinaklini River, approximately 200 Km long, passes between some of the tallest and most remote peaks in the Coastal Mountain Range. With a mean annual discharge of close to 200 cubic meters per second (cms) and peak flows reaching as high as 18,000 cms the Klinaklini River is one of the largest rivers in the province. Home to large populations of threatened Grizzly Bear and Marbled Murrelet, this drainage currently encompasses some of least fragmented habitat on the Canadian West Coast. With recorded Salmon, Steelhead and Eulachon runs in the lower river found to be some of the largest in the Georgia Basin. Kleana Power Corp, a junior energy corporation without any currently successful projects, has recently proposed to develop the largest private Run-of-River generating facility in BC’s history with an average generating capacity of 280 MW and a peak capacity of 700 MW. Pristine Power Inc. quotes annual generated power to be 2400 GWh. This equals approximately to 50% of the power expected from Site C. In order to create a generating capacity this large, generating and transmission infrastructure of large proportion will be necessary.

5) MoE has finally been allowed to contribute to the Mtn.Caribou Recovery Plan options under consideration for the Central Selkirks Herd, and even working within the localized 1% political cap on slow-downs to the cut which is all that government and industry are willing to allow for caribou recovery, the 11th hour MoE option released on Friday appears to offer a much greater advantage to caribou than previous proposals from SARCO's special team. The big important question is what would the local MoE recovery option look like if it was allowed to reflect the honest best case scenario left for caribou, and not required to conform to government's promise of "no net loss to the timber industry".Then we could overlay the options, and see what is being lost. Here's what would be most helpful --- challenge government to allow MoE to present the science based truth rather than the twisted reductive socio-economic deceit that SARCO seems forced to turn out. And then, if government's appointed enviros would just stop shooting themselves in the foot by declaring each successively worse caribou plan the best thing since mom and apple pie (this has been going on since the first Higher Level Plan some 15 years ago), the caribou might have half a chance. Glada McIntyre, Executive Director, Applied Ecological Stewardship Council of B.C. glada888@gmail.com

6) The Hupacasath First Nation today presented evidence that the Crown has acted in bad faith during two years of court ordered negotiations over the management of forest lands on Hupacasath traditional territory. The allegations arise out of the discovery that BC Investment Management Corp, an agent of the BC government, owns an estimated 25% share in Island Timberlands, the company harvesting timber and developing real estate on the contested lands. “It is a clear conflict of interest,” states Will Horter, Lawyer and Executive Director of Dogwood Initiative. “The BC government can’t carry out negotiations in good faith when it has a commercial interest in stymieing the process.” During the two years of negotiations the Hupacasath and BC Government were unable to reach any accommodation. In 2005 the BC Supreme Court found that the Crown had failed in it’s duty to consult the Hupacasath regarding the privatization of land from tree farm licenses on First Nation territory. As a remedy the court ordered a two year consultation period during which the Hupacasath and BC Government were to negotiate and reach reasonable accommodation. This is the latest in a series of controversies over TFL deletions on Vancouver Island . The January 2007 decision by Forest Minister Rich Coleman to allow Western Forest Products to remove 28,000 hectares from its TFLs on Vancouver Island has met with broad public opposition. First Nations affected by this decision are also considering suing the BC government for lack of consultation. Brookfield Asset Management owns 70% of Western Forest Products and 50% of Island Timberlands. The Brookfield group of companies have donated $232,315 to the BC Liberal Party between 2004 and 2007. http://www.dogwoodinitiative.org

7) Through helicopter surveys conducted between 2005 and 2007, Interfor identified 35,000 hectares of marbled murrelet habitat within the Sunshine Coast Forest District, most of it located within old growth areas. In 2004, Interfor submitted their forest stewardship plan pursuant to the Ministry of Environment’s “section 7 notice” — a mechanism that requires forest licensees to set legal targets for amount and distribution of conservation habitat. The mechanism is essentially the province’s response, under the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA), to the 2003 federal Species at Risk Act (SARA), said Blatler. Interfor’s plan outlined 23,000 hectares to be protected for the marbled murrelet within what’s called their non-contributing land base (NCLB) — usually steeper slopes that don’t often provide the best habitat for the marbled murrelet. This is the problem with the province’s approach, says the Forest Practices Board — it’s encouraging licensees to create conservation areas largely outside their timber harvesting land base (THLB), beyond where the best habitat is found. Within the THLB, the province has set a cap of just one per cent to be set aside for species at risk, notes Sunshine Coast Conservation Association executive director Dan Bouman. “If federal guidelines were applied, we’d have a much larger impact to the harvestable land base,” he said. The report echoes his sentiment and berates the province for failing to respond to the draft plan now being pitched by the federal marbled murrelet recovery team — a plan that would see 29,750 hectares, or 85 per cent, of the seabird’s habitat protected on the Sunshine Coast. It’s up to the provincial integrated land management bureau (ILMB) to make final conservation decisions for the province to carry out, and so far they haven’t. To force the province to comply, the federal government would have to “invoke extraordinary powers” under the SARA, says the report. Ultimately, the ILMB is overseen by Minister of Agriculture and Lands Pat Bell, who said the marbled murrelet’s recovery is going so well it could be removed from B.C.’s “red list” of species qualifying for special protection. A report by B.C.’s independent forestry watchdog is levelling criticism at the Ministry of Forests for failing to develop an adequate strategy to conserve habitat for a threatened seabird. http://www.coastreporter.net/madison/WQuestion.nsf/ff1265d9ca9a674688256bb900543458/84d40b138

8) WFP, the West Coast's largest forest company, announced on Tuesday, April 29 that it was shutting down most of its logging operations and laying off more than 800 loggers and contractors so it can bring its log inventories in line with its lumber orders. "What this is all about is matching production to market demand and operations," said Ley. "The expectation certainly is that the operation and others will be back up, as identified right now." Most of the layoffs impact operations on the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. Log harvesting curtailments range between one and six weeks. In a notice to employees and contractors, Trevor Boniface, vice president, Timberlands, stated the company is curtailing operations in those areas which are heavily weighted to providing logs for its commodity grade lumber program, or are still being operationally hampered with snow pack levels. "While we knew 2008 was going to be one of the most difficult years in recent history for the forest industry, the continued reduction in United States housing starts due to the subprime mortgage fiasco, extremely depressed commodity lumber prices, continued strong Canadian dollar, lumber border tax to the United States, challenging Japanese market and the high cost of harvesting on the coast are all contributing to a profoundly negative impact on our business," Boniface stated. "We must continue to adjust Timberlands log production to align with products we can manufacture and sell." According to another company statement, the reduction in logging represents about one third of normal harvesting undertaken during this period. "These curtailments are intended to align log harvesting with Western's reduced sawmill requirements, including the impact of an indefinite shutdown of the sawmill located at Ladysmith on Vancouver Island," the release stated. http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19670877&BRD=1998&PAG=461&dept_id=499599&rfi=6


9) HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s forests are in big trouble and clearcutting, overharvesting and bad management practices have cut into their ability to help preserve the environment, GPIAtlantic said in a report. "If we allow the status quo, if we allow the forest to continue to degrade, we will see more flooding, our forests’ ability to store carbon will be lessened, there will be more soil erosion and the plants and animals who rely on the forests will suffer," said Linda Pannozzo, who co-authored the report. A new report says measures intended to save the severely degraded forests in Nova Scotia are too little, too late. The Halifax-based research group GPI Atlantic says much more needs to be done to counteract decades of over-harvesting, clear cutting and other bad practices. GPI says there has been some progress in forestry practices, but it's a "far cry" from what's needed to deal with a massive increase in logging and clear cutting over the last 25 years. The report says there has been a marginal increase in selection harvesting and a small drop in clear cutting, along with more land being placed under protection. But the group makes eight main recommendations it says are necessary to begin to restore and protect the value of Nova Scotia's forest wealth. They include more incentives to woodlot owners to improve forest management, a sharp reduction in clear cutting, and development of a value-added forest strategy. http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/Front/1054446.html http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5iiSI7K1r2Wq-2sVjC1RGziS3z4Jw

10) "Extensive stands of hard and softwood trees cover many hectares of land on the sandy Oak Ridges Moraine in northern Whitchurch-Stouffville. The forest is operated by the Region of York and encompasses over 5000 acres on 18 tracts within the boundaries of Georgina, Whitchurch-Stouffville and East Gwillimbury. With 2000 acres of trails it is the perfect year-round destination for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, cross country skiing, snowmobiling and other recreational activities." (Reference: http://www.yorkregion.com ) In the past five years, this area been subject to constant clearcutting. Our government has seen fit to outsource logging, and has brought in a team of people to 'tree farm'. In reality, the forest is being clear cut, with timber being hauled away and sold, with remaining branches stewn in the forest. Although No Smoking' signs are posted at the entrance to the forest, we've come across numerous groups of people smoking, and in remote riding areas, have seen remains of campfires. Unlike natural reforestation these trees do not decompose, but dry out, and in our hot July temperatures (90 -105 degrees) - this is a forest fire just waiting to happen. Complaining to local officials seems to get absolutely no response - York Region maintains they are merely "farming the forest, not clearcutting" Not sure if they've actually had a look at the forest in the past five years. Do you have any suggestions on what we can do here? Thank you Jane Blake -- Jane.Blake@Rogers.com

11) The "good" news: selection harvesting, which removes trees selectively to maintain the integrity, age and species diversity, health, and value of the forest as a whole, grew marginally from 0.9% of logging in 2000 to 1.5% in 2005-06, while clearcutting declined from 97% to 94% in the same period. But... All that is good, says GPI report author, Linda Pannozzo, but it's a far cry from what's needed to repair the huge damage caused by the massive increase in logging and clearcutting in the last 25 years. Since the early 1980s, timber harvest volumes have increased by nearly 60%—from 3.3 million cubic metres annually to 5.2 million in 2006, after peaking at nearly 7 million cubic metres in 2004. As a result, the average age of Nova Scotia's forests has never been younger. In the 1970s only 4% of the province's forests were under 20 years of age, compared to 16% in the 1990s and 24% today. While the percentage of forests over 80 years old has declined by 94% in the last half century, the proportion of very young forests up to age 20 increased by a remarkable 327%. Older forests (aged more than 80 years) declined from 25% of forests 50 years ago to just 1.5% in the latest forest inventory. True old-growth forest, which dominated the province's forests prior to European colonization, has virtually disappeared from Nova Scotia. Only 0.3% of the province's forests are now more than 100 years old, down from 9% fifty years ago. Not surprisingly, there has also been a marked decline in forest-dependent species of flora and fauna. http://thecoast.ca/Blog-3828.113118-3850.113118_Nova%20Scotia's%20forests.html

12) Sault Ste. Marie is home to one of the largest concentrations of Canada Warblers. That's a wonderful feather in our cap, but one we shouldn't take lightly. In April, the Canada warbler was listed as a threatened species. "It's declined by 46 per cent between 1966 and 2005," said Jennifer Baker, with Ontario Nature, the federation of Ontario naturalists. That's a shocking decline. If those numbers reflected the stock market, we'd be long past the panic stage. If they reflected high-school drop-out rates we'd call a public inquiry. When it comes to endangered species we often don't notice until its too late. Perhaps one reason we don't notice the decline is that the threat to song birds doesn't come from a dramatic source like overhunting or some instant calamity. The decline is caused by the gradual destruction of habitat here and in their winter homes. From forestry to mining to construction we are altering the landscape. Nearly one in every three birds on the continent was born in the boreal forest. It's therefore critical that we manage the forest responsibly. With this in mind, Baker visited Sault Ste. Marie to raise awareness about more than 200 species of songbirds that migrate to Northern Ontario. David Euler, Sault Naturalist club president, said birds form an integral part of those ecosystems, and losing even one species, such as the Canada Warbler, would hurt the whole chain. http://www.saultstar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1020809


13) As Judge Simon Brown pointed out (Letters, May 3), the felling of 40,000 of London's street trees in the past five years is tragic. Intimidation of tree owners by the bully-boy tactics of insurers and loss-adjusters causes many trees to be taken down unnecessarily. Like many tree surgeons, I am appalled by the pressure put on tree owners to remove trees when such drastic action is not backed by sound evidence. The threat of punitive costs and legal action panics the average person into compliance. Buildings on London clay will move seasonally, as the water table fluctuates. In dry periods (such as autumn 2004 to autumn 2006) the clay will shrink considerably and many buildings will have cracks opening, but these usually close again upon the onset of wet weather. If a tree has the misfortune to be in the vicinity of such house movement it will carry the blame, a convenient scapegoat for the insurance industry. A more robust defence of trees must be mounted by those, like local authorities, who have the muscle to take on insurers. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/05/07/nosplit/dt0701.xml

14) When the beacons were lit to signal the arrival of the Spanish Armada, some of the Lees Hall oaks were already hundreds of years old. And one, the oldest dated tree in the city, says William, was recently cut down so the access bridge to the new school at Newfield could be dual rather than single carriageway. "We weren't very happy," he says. "We tried all sorts, but they said they couldn't cope with a single span. We were sad to see it go." The loss of the 700-year-old tree was 'offset' with a compensation grant of 10,000 pounds, which is now being used for conservation work elsewhere in the valley, he adds. Experts from Sheffield Hallam University came up with the 700 plus age of the departed tree by studying its remains after it was felled, and together with the recent 'Heritage Tree Project' carried out in the valley by landscape archeologist Dr Paul Ardron, a fuller picture is now emerging, says William Fairhead, of "the ancient landscape around a modern housing estate." "It's a unique situation, with an area of social deprivation with a very rich environment around it. I'd go so far as to say that the Gleadless Valley is a richer environment and has more interest than the average bit of Derbyshire countryside." Dr Ardron's Heritage Lottery Funded surveys found a wide range of interesting old trees in the valley, including 16 'veterans' of 3-400 years old and 15 others likely to have been acorns before the 16th century. Another group of coppiced oaks is even more ancient, possibly more than 1000 years old. http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/features/Treasures-of-the-Valley.4067078.jp

15) Scores of trees planted in Enham Alamein to commemorate the lives of people who have lived in the village over the years are to be moved - to the anguish of some residents. The trees, mostly native deciduous specimens, have been planted over many decades at the northern edge of the community and each is marked with the name of the person commemorated. But notices have appeared on the trees saying that there are plans to move them to make way for unspecified developments that will benefit the disabled. The land in question belongs to the trust that runs the village, known simply as Enham. Parish councillor David Hayward, lives near the area earmarked for change. "I have been told that a lot of these trees won't survive being moved and I have already heard from people who are not very happy about the whole thing," he said. "They haven't submitted a planning application for the area but by putting up these notices it looks like a foregone conclusion. "I would like the area to be left as park land and known as North Park as it makes a nice entrance to the village." http://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/news/aroundhampshire/andover/display.var.2254149.0.memorial


17) Greenpeace demonstrators dressed as orangutans converged on the Neste Oil filling station in the Eläintarha district of Helsinki on Wednesday morning, protesting the use of tropical palm oil in Neste's new diesel fuel. At about ten in the morning, the simian-clad protesters placed locks on the nozzles of the fuel pumps at the Neste station dispensing the new Green-diesel fuel, putting them temporarily out of service. They also distributed leaflets to customers arriving at the station. Greenpeace claims that the biofuel is not as green an option as it is claimed to be, as its widespread use encourages the clearing of rain forests in Indonesia and Malaysia. "We launched the protest because Neste has not given up on the use of palm oil in the production of its Green-diesel, in spite of demands", said Greenpeace representative Sini Saarela. The protest lasted about an hour. The police first cordoned off the area, broke the locks that had been placed on the fuel nozzles, and detained 11 demonstrators. Four people were still detained at 6:00 PM. Police say that there was no intention of placing anyone under arrest. Neste Oil says that it will issue a criminal complaint and demand compensation for lost sales revenues over the protest. http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Neste+filling+station+closed+by+anti-palm+oil+demonstration/1


18) Turkey's paper sector representatives, who used effective lobbying to benefit from the incentive law , are working hard to open forests to the private sector following rapid increases in imports last year. Paper sector representatives came together at the end of 2007 and submitted a report to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Forestry Minister Veysel Eroğlu and Forestry General Directorate. Paper producers ask in their report for an alteration of the existing forest law and adoption of Finland model, the world leader in the forestry sector. Home to the same amount of forests as Turkey, Finland has 50 times higher value-added income in forestry when compared to Turkey. Finland is the world leader in paper products. The Finnish state is permitted to rent lands available for agroforestry to forest villagers and industrial enterprises. For each tree that is cut down, two saplings are planted. Therefore, forest products are put to maximum use and forest growth is assured.


18) Estonia's inhabitants have taken to the forests as part of a major clean-up operation. A national effort to clean up the country came about after an internet campaign, with more than 50,000 volunteers taking part. Entitled Let's Do It! 2008, the event was the brainchild of Skype founder and Estonian, Ahti Heinla and founder of Microlink, Rainer Nolvak. An estimated three per cent of the population were sent to clean the forest, roadside and other public areas, with dozens of waste management companies supporting the initiative. The organisers said up to 80 per cent of the collected waste is being recycled, with the clean-up purporting to be the biggest civic event since the singing revolution ushered in independence to the country almost 20 years ago. Forests cover over 2.3 million acres in Estonia. This news item is brought to you by KMS Baltics in conjunction with Fest-Forest and EST KINNISVARA. Baltic forestry and property specialists. http://www.kms.ee/index.php?Estonians_clean_up_the_forests&page=12&article_id=18585779&action


19) Around 1,500-2,000 permanent oak trees were cut down and exported from the occupied territories in the Khacha yal zone of Shusha region of Azerbaijan by Armenians, Irada Ibrahimova, Head of the the Ministry news-service, stated to TrendNews on 8 May. On 8 May, it is the 16th anniversary of the occupation of Shusha by the Armenians. The city is 29,356 hectares and about 20% of the territory is a woodland area. There are medicinal mineral water sources like Turshsu and Shirlan in the city, which can be compared with the well-known water sources of Yessentuki, with daily debit 70,000 and 342,000 cu m. Medicinal herbs are widely grown in the region. There are facing stone fields with reserves 1,143 cu m, as well as Kechaldag clay fields with 397,000 cu m reserves suitable for use as construction materials. In 1988, the State natural reserve Dashalti was set up in Shusha and Askaran regions with an area of 450 hectares. Since 1992, the territory has been under occupation and the reserve was completely destroyed. Ibrahimova stated that the Operative Centre at the Ecology Ministry, which investigates the influence of destruction to the environment and natural resources in the occupied territories, disclosed a mass destruction of natural resources in the Azerbaijani occupied territories. Many permanent trees were cut and used as fuel from Shusha, as well as about 200 trees being cut on the Lachin road near Dordyol, Zarasli village being completely destroyed, two local schools were pulled down, many trees were also cut down near the Agziyasti cave and different buildings erected in its place. http://news.trend.az/index.shtml?show=news&newsid=1194754&lang=EN


20) Drought and deforestation are the greatest environmental challenges which pose a threat to poverty alleviation efforts in Africa and the rest of the developing world. Yet, they are neglected by many governments. This came out of a United Nations commission on sustainable development currently underway at the world body's headquarters in New York. Representatives of governments, business and civil society are gathered to examine strategies to mitigate the impact of drought, deforestation and climate change. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for most poor rural people. It is said that deforestation will affect them significantly because it causes land degradation and drought. This increases poverty and hunger which then forces poor people to migrate or starve. These challenges also pose threats to global security as people fight over scarce resources. The UN conference seeks to persuade governments to adopt pro-active measures to avoid deforestation. Echo-Agriculture’s Sara Scherr encourages Governments to work together to develop better land management systems, to control overgrazing and to predict the impact of rising temperatures. Programmes to restore the fertility of the land have also been suggested. Bakary Kante of the Environmental Law Conventions, fears that climate change will make it more difficult for many developing countries to achieve the millennium development goals.

Western Mali:

21) In the heart of the Mandinka territory in western Mali, the Mandinka believe that cutting down a tree is a sacrilege. This is the land of the sacred tree, the tree of life, the tree of words, the one that protects from evil spirits. So what has been going on here these past few weeks has left people with a bitter taste and belief that the land of their ancestors is being desecrated. In two months a Chinese company lumbered 243 tonnes of wood, in what is one of the country’s last forest natural reserves. And it’s not just any wood but Vene Wood, a precious wood which resembles teak and whose leaves are used to feed livestock. Mandinka hunters are firing guns into the air to show their anger. The Minister of Environment had visited the region earlier that day to try to calm things down. Around the negotiation table are angry residents and two very ill-at-ease Chinese representatives of the logging company. People want to know more about this contract. The debate is fueled by a rumour: Chinese authorities may have promised they would build a modern hospital in the capital city of Bamako in exchange for a five-year logging contract. The Malian government have temporarily suspended the logging contract due to the anger of the locals. But suspended doesn’t mean terminated. The Mandinka people remain determined to save their sacred forest. http://www.france24.com/en/20080509-report-mali-mandinka-forest-tree-environment-vene-wood-c


22) Environment minister John Michuki has decried the wanton destruction of forests at the Mau complex as a result of illegal logging and human encroachment. Michuki said the extent of destruction through depletion of forests was a clear manifestation that Kenyans were not bothered with environmental conservation and its importance. Addressing the press at Naishi airstrip in Lake Nakuru National Park after making an extensive aerial tour of the May Water Tower, one of the countries five water pillars, Michuki said Kenyans value for the environment was limited to precious stones. "Since I took over as the minister for environment, I found out with sadness that issues concerning the environment were those dealing with precious stones but those concerning conservation of forests, alerts on rivers drying up, looming drought and others were largely ignored", he said. "The destruction of Mau complex has even attracted international concern," he noted. The minister was accompanied by the Environment ministry PS Prof Jacob Ole Kiyiapi, NEMA Director General Muasya Mwinzi and KWS director Julius Kipng'etich. Michuki said following his fact finding mission, he was now in agreement with his cabinet colleague William Ole Ntimama that those encroaching on forests should be evicted. "Those who have invaded the forest for timber and farming are like people who have lost hope for their country and want to grab anything at their disposal," he said. He said Njoro river whose source is the Mau and empties its water into the world famous Lake Nakuru, home to millions of lesser and greater flamingoes and other bird species was now a seasonal river. "Other rivers, which originate from the Mau are similarly affected by the destruction and their future is now uncertain", the minister observed. One of the recommendations to end this destruction and save the forest, Michuki said was to bring to an immediate end, to illegal logging, track down and bring to book the buyers of the timber. The government, he added should look for alternative land for those people who were duped and bought part of the forest land while the rest should be evicted. Michuki said it was saddening to note that more than 80 per-cent of the country's land mass was arid and yet some greedy people wanted to destroy the remaining 20 per-cent which was agriculturally viable. http://www.kbc.co.ke/story.asp?ID=49938

Puerto Rico:

23) “Annual precipitation on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico decreased steadily during the 20th century, on average by 16 %. The reduced rainfall manifested itself in the form of regular water rationings during the 1990s which hit millions of inhabitants. Simultaneous with the reduction in rainfall there was widespread deforestation, notably in the coastal lowlands. This paper examines the link between the reduction in precipitation and the land cover change using a combination of energy balance measurements and mesoscale atmospheric modelling. The explanation of the reduction in precipitation appears to be quite different than expected. Based on measurements made earlier over rainforest and pasture in the Amazon, a forest covered island would be expected to be cooler because the higher transpiration -of the forest compared to grassland- tends to cool the surface. During an intensive measurement campaign on Puerto Rico, the opposite appeared to be the case: transpiration by a coastal wetland forest proved to be less than that for a grassland. In addition, the forest albedo was 8 % lower than that for grassland. Together, these two factors caused the sensible heat flux over the forest to be twice as high as that over the grassland, whereas forest evaporation was lower. The surface energy balance observations over forest and grassland were used to derive proper land surface parameterizations, which were implemented in a mesoscale atmospheric circulation model (RAMS) to simulate the meteorological effects of island wide deforestation. The model simulations indicated that the development of a sea breeze during the day dominates climate on the island. Sea breezes develop when the land surface is warmer than the surrounding ocean. In model runs, where the island was assumed to be completely covered with forest, the sea breeze was considerably stronger than in model runs where the vegetation had been transformed to grassland. Along the sea breeze front, convergence caused upward air motions. As this happens more strongly over a forested island, more clouds are formed but at a higher elevation, with an estimated 10-20 % enhancement of precipitation compared to a deforested island. In the deforested scenario the cloud base was typically lowered by 200 m. http://climatesci.org/2008/05/09/another-paper-on-the-role-of-landscape-change-on-the-climate-

Dominican Republic:

24) Two prestigious ecologists yesterday warned that Dominican Republic must protect its forests to prevent droughts and the extinction of many endemic species, threatened by the high depredation levels. Biologist and National District Environmental Information Center director Milcíades Mejía, and Botanical Garden director Ricardo Garcia, in a ceremony to mark Arbor Day, said there’s a need to face the danger of extinction of Dominican Republic’s different species. The municipal authorities celebrated Arbor Day with the participation of hundreds of students from Santo Domingo public and private schools. Mejía, a former director of the Botanical Gardens, urged the citizens to protect the biodiversity and together with the entire population, create awareness on the need to preserve the environment. Mejía and Garcia headed the event aimed at protecting forests. http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2008/5/8/27910/As-Dominican-forests-are-ravaging-of-end


25) GEORGETOWN — A U.S. logging company has won the rights to harvest trees in a large portion of Guyana's Amazon rainforest, the company said Tuesday. The timber concession, awarded to Simon & Shock International, is one of Guyana's five largest, covering 988,400 acres near the Brazilian border. The South Haven, Mich.-based company will invest at least $26 million to develop the area, Chief Executive Kelly Simon said. A harvesting license will be granted once the company completes an environmental impact study and inventories the trees, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Robert Persaud said. Guyana, a former British and Dutch colony, has offered to ban commercial development of its rainforest if compensated by the international community and already has preserved some areas. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/5754869.html

Costa Rica:

26) Half a century after most of Costa Rica's rain forests were cut down, researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Sciences (BTI) on the Cornell campus are attempting what many thought was impossible -- restoring a tropical rain forest ecosystem. When the researchers planted worn-out cattle pastures in Costa Rica with a sampling of local trees in the early 1990s, native species of plants began to move in and flourish, raising the hope that destroyed rain forests could one day be replaced. Ten years after the tree plantings, Cornell graduate student Jackeline Salazar counted the species of plants that took up residence in the shade of the new planted areas. She found remarkably high numbers of species -- more than 100 in each plot. And many of the new arrivals were also to be found in nearby remnants of the original forests. "By restoring forests we hope not only to be improving the native forests, but we are helping to control erosion and helping the quality of life of the local people," said Carl Leopold, the William H. Crocker Scientist Emeritus at BTI. He pointed out that drinking water becomes more readily available when forests thrive because tree roots act as a sort of sponge, favoring rainwater seepage and preventing water running off hills and draining away. Fully rescuing a rain forest may take hundreds of years, but Leopold, whose findings are published with Salazar in the March 2008 issue of Ecological Restoration, said the study's results are promising. "I'm surprised," he said. "We're getting impressive growth rates in the new forest trees." The project started when Leopold partnered with colleagues at the Ithaca-based Tropical Forestry Initiative; in 1993 they began by planting mixtures of trees on worn-out pasture land. For 50 years the soil had been compacted under countless hooves, and its nutrients washed away. When it rained, Leopold said, the red soil appeared to bleed from the hillsides. The group chose local rain forest trees for planting, collecting seeds from native trees in the community. "You can't buy [these] seeds," Leopold said. "So we passed the word around among our farmer neighbors." When a farmer reported a tree producing seeds, Leopold and his wife would ride out on horses to collect the seeds before hungry monkeys beat them to it. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428133928.htm


27) Brazil on Thursday launched an ambitious sustainable development plan for the Amazon that aims to lay down a new model for the vast jungle area balancing economic and environmental priorities, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said. "We all understand that the Amazon needs to develop, but we also understand that there had to be a development model that is well thought-out, and not predatory, just like we have in other regions of the country," he said. The initiative aims at laying down infrastructure works in nine Brazilian states that are within the Amazon, opening credit lines to small farmers, and adopting new criteria for the registration of people in the area. It provides for various methods to fight deforestation and the illegal occupation of public land. "There are people who think the Amazon should belong to mankind. And we think that way, too. We think that it needs to benefit everyone. But we also have to say loudly and clearly that it is Brazil that is in charge of looking after the Amazon," Lula said. That was seen as a shot across the bow of foreign governments and groups that want to pressure Brazil in terms of limitations on Amazon development. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Brazil_launches_sustainable_development_plan_for_Amazon_999.

28) Radiocarbon dating shows that trees in Amazon forests grow very slowly compared to their temperate climate counterparts and can live to be surprisingly old. As the world’s largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon plays a major part in the Earth’s changing climate. Susan Trumbore will discuss her studies of Amazon forest dynamics, including the consequences of slow growth rates for forest management and the degree to which these forests might soak up fossil fuel carbon dioxide. Trumbore, chair of the Department of Earth System Science, is the founding director of the Center for Global Environmental Change Research and the UCI Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics. Together with Ellen Druffel and John Southon, Trumbore established the W.M. Keck Carbon Cycle Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility at UCI in 2002. She served as the first elected president of the Biogeosciences Section of the American Geophysical Union and has been elected a fellow of the AGU and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. http://media-newswire.com/release_1066128.html

29) The new study identifies a link between red
ucing sulphur dioxide emissions from burning coal and increasing sea surface temperatures in the tropical north Atlantic, resulting in a heightened risk of drought in the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon rainforest contains about one tenth of the total carbon stored in land ecosystems and recycles a large fraction of the rainfall that falls upon it. So any major change to its vegetation, brought about by events like deforestation or drought, has an impact on the global climate system. Co-Author Dr Carlos Nobre of the Brazilian Institute for Space Research adds: "Global warming, deforestation and increased forest fires are all acting in synergy to reduce the resilience of the Amazonian forests." Sulphate aerosol particles arising from the burning of coal in power stations in the 1970s and 1980s have partially reduced global warming by reflecting sunlight and making clouds brighter. This pollution has been predominantly in the northern hemisphere and has acted to limit warming in the tropical north Atlantic, keeping the Amazon wetter than it would otherwise be. Chris Huntingford of CEH, another of the co-authors, explains: "Reduced sulphur emissions in North America and Europe will see tropical rain-bands move northwards as the north Atlantic warms, resulting in a sharp increase in the risk of Amazonian drought." Lead author Professor Peter Cox of the University of Exeter sums-up the consequences of the study: "These findings are another reminder of the complex nature of environmental change. To improve air quality and safeguard public health, we must continue to reduce aerosol pollution, but our study suggests that this needs to be accompanied by urgent reductions in carbon dioxide emissions to minimize the risk of Amazon forest dieback." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507133259.htm

30) Satellite photos show that Amazon destruction has dropped sharply since the onset of a massive crackdown on illegal logging by Brazil's government. Brazil's National Space Research Institute says the region's deforestation rate dropped by 80% in March over February, when federal police launched a massive operation shutting down clandestine sawmills. Police inspector Alvaro Palharini told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper Wednesday that 4,000 trucks, 19 chain saws, 10 guns and 95 vehicles have been seized in the operation. Still, environmentalists question month-to-month comparisons, preferring to compare monthly data to the same period of the previous year. http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/environment/2008-05-07-brazil-logging_N.htm


31) An illegal logger has been speared to death by Amazon natives in Ecuador's Yasuní National Park, officials say. The killing, which occurred March 4, reflects mounting tensions between natives and illegal loggers working in one of South America's most prized parks. It also follows allegations made in February that as many as 15 Amazonian tribal members were beheaded by timber poachers in the region. The death of the logger was confirmed by a spokesperson at the Orellana provincial police headquarters in Coca, Ecuador (see Ecuador map). The Ecuadorian newspaper El Comercio published a photograph of the scene, showing the body of the logger, Luis Mariano Castellano Espinosa, riddled with wooden spears protruding from his chest and legs. The killing appeared to be the work of members of the Taromenane tribe, judging from the type of spear used, police captain Edwin Ruiz told the newspaper. The attack took place in the rain forest of 1.9-million-acre (758,000-hectare) Yasuní park, which has been designated as a biosphere reserve by the United Nations. Yasuní is rich in marketable trees such as cedar and contains a quarter of Ecuador's untapped oil reserves. The park is also home to Amazon natives such as the Taromenane and Tagaeri, two tribes living in voluntary isolation within the park's "untouchable zone," where logging and oil exploration are prohibited. But loggers operate with impunity in parts of the park due to lack of enforcement, critics have charged, and violent clashes have resulted. The murder is the most recent confrontation in Yasuní, where the government has now established a permanent military presence to stop illegal logging, a move that natives and rights groups had long demanded. "[There] are powerful economic interests" involved in the park's future, said Diego Falconi, a top advisor to the Ecuadorian police. "[But the government] is committed to resolve it." The recent killing comes on the heels of a government probe into an alleged massacre of natives in Yasuní. On February 6 native groups reported that witnesses in the area had said that between 5 and 15 Taromenani and Tagaeri tribesmen had been killed, possibly beheaded, by illegal loggers when the tribal members raided a logging camp. A team of Ecuadorian police, soldiers, and officials from the Ministry of the Environment were dispatched to the zone to investigate but said it came up empty-handed. "No evidence was found of the incident in question," according to the government's official report, provided to National Geographic News by the environment ministry. http://ecuador-rising.blogspot.com/2008/05/spearing-beheadings-reported-in-ecuador.html


32) On Jan. 23, the Constitutional Court declared the Forest Law of 2006 unconstitutional for “having omitted in its expedition the requisite of consulting indigenous and tribal communities, as stated in Article 6 of Convention 169 in the International Labor Organization (ILO). Indeed, this 53-article law was not discussed with the indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities who are collectively owners of between 43 and 53 million hectares (106 and 131 million acres) that comprise the greater part of the 65 million hectares (161 million acres) Colombia is estimated to have in natural forests, but for experts this political decision really saved Colombia’s native forests. Attorney General Edgardo Maya had already warned about the serious consequences that the Forest Law would bring to the Colombian ecosystem because “it revokes norms established in 1959 on the creation of national parks that protect water-producing glaciers and hydrographic basins in [Colombia], considered one of the greatest water potentials in the world.” In turn, Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo, of the Independent Democratic Pole party, hit the nail on the head when he stressed that the principal purpose of the law was to exploit timber: “The project does not intend to do anything besides handing over management of forest reserves and natural forests to multi-national loggers, introducing elements today outside of relevant legislation, such as the concession and association to manage forest areas, which it puts in reach of the multi-national companies’ financial interests,” Robledo said before Congress. But the law’s inability to be enforced not only saved the native forests, but also managed to put the tremendous crisis — which forests have been suffering for decades — back on the table. “The greatest deforester is not coca, but rather the very government that legalizes deforestation, naming illegal settlers owners of the land,” claimed Professor Orlando Rangel of the Natural Sciences Institute in the National University of Colombia. “The country’s deforestation rate, according to government statistics, for illicit cultivation is approximately 3,000 hectares (7,410 acres) annually. The other cause of deforestation is the yearly introduction of 320,000 hectares (790,400 acres) of new land to agriculture and the annual use of 257,000 hectares (617,500 acres) of native forest for wood. This means 580,000 hectares (1,432,600 acres) are deforested each year,” Rangel claims, according to his own calculations. “The most serious issue,” he adds, “is that Colombia does not have a natural vegetation map and we are always talking based on what we suppose exists. We urgently need a cartographic map.” http://www.latinamericapress.org/article.asp?lanCode=1&artCode=5612


33) AYSEN — The Patagonian region of southern Chile is considered one of the world's last, great wildernesses, dubbed an "eco-gem" for its rare fauna, ice-sculptured fjords and almost total absence of industrial development. But development is threatening this pristine wilderness, driven in part by money from two of Canada's largest public-sector retirement funds. The CPP Investment Board and British Columbia Investment Management Corp. have stakes in a vast electricity project planned for this natural area, putting the organizations on a collision course with Chilean and North American environmentalists, and into the middle of a heated national debate over energy development in the Latin American country. The two funds, along with Toronto conglomerate Brookfield Asset Management Inc., are the controlling shareholders of Transelec Chile SA, a power-grid operator considering a 2,300-kilometre transmission line that would require one of the world's longest clear-cuts, a logged corridor 80 metres wide, much of it set to slice through temperate forests of a type found nowhere outside Patagonia. Ecologists reel off a lengthy rap sheet of the damage the dam project is likely to cause, including the flooding of 60 square kilometres in the river basins, fertility loss in downstream soil and habitat destruction of endemic plant and animal species, including the huemul, an Andean deer so rare that its population has dropped below 3,000. But activists believe the power lines, which could have an impact on 14 national parks or nature reserves, could prove even more damaging to Patagonia's fragile ecosystems. "The transmission line will have a bigger impact than the dams themselves," said Peter Hartmann, Aysen-based director of Chile's National Committee for the Defence of Flora and Fauna. "Whatever route they take, it's simply not possible to avoid a great many national parks, nature reserves and conservation areas." http://www.topix.com/ca/toronto-on/2008/05/canadian-pensioners-and-chiles-pristine-wilderness

Latin America:

34) Latin America, home to some of the world’s richest forest areas, is playing a critical role in developing viable carbon-based schemes to preserve and promote forest conservation. Emerging international carbon mechanisms are continually changing, however. Plantar, a Brazilian iron foundry company, epitomises the project and market complexities that such uncertainty brings. The pig iron producer, based in Minas Gerais, Brazil, was considering changing from charcoal from eucalyptus trees to coal in its production processes, a switch that would have resulted in greatly increased carbon emissions. To persuade it otherwise, the World Bank stepped in with its Prototype Carbon Fund to facilitate funding for a 23,100-hectare commercial eucalyptus plantation in 2001. It was hoped that the additional carbon sequestered by the planted trees would qualify the project for credits under the Kyoto Protocol’s Carbon Development Mechanism (CDM). However, the Plantar initiative quickly became a flashpoint for critics of monoculture tree plantations inspired under the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms. A coalition of over 50 Brazilian non-profit groups, unions and other civil society movements have publicly condemned the ‘carbon sink’ project as “unsustainable” and “climatically worthless”. They cite long-standing claims that credits for the temporary storage of carbon by forests fail to counterbalance the permanent release of fossil-stored carbon (see SinksWatchs’ report, ‘Forest Fraud’). The World Rainforest Movement, a Uruguayan-based non-profit organisation, also draws attention to the absence of socio-economic development benefits from the Plantar project – a criticism echoed by indigenous groups and other forest-based communities in the region. Yet more evidence of the project’s negative social and environmental impacts is provided in the recent ‘Carbon Connection’ documentary. Produced by the environmental group Carbon Trade Watch, the film finds evidence of water scarcity and a resultant reduction in native biodiversity. After three attempts, the Plantar project was approved by the CDM Executive board last August. However, the scheme is now registered under altered criteria based on methane sequestration during the eucalyptus-burning process. http://www.climatechangecorp.com/content.asp?ContentID=5305


35) The socially conscious citizens in Hyderabad held a protest rally against the cutting of a centuries old Banyan Tree in front of Paigah palace, an heritage monument in the city and till recently it was the office of the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and now temporarily housing the US consulate, scheduled to start functioning soon. Promienst citizens like Dr. P.M. Bhargava, Narendra Luther, Dr.Kulsum Reddy, Prof. C Ramachandraiah, Mrs.Bharati Surya Rao and Sajjad Shahid were present in the protest. Forum for a Better Hyderabad (FBH) president M Vedkumar led them. Last Monday, a 200 years old huge banyan tree, was mercilessly axed except for its bare trunk, by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) authorities at the request of the U.S.Consulate for road widening. Along with that 32 Ashoka trees within the approach road were also chopped off for a price of Rs. 50 each were also axed. Road widening cannot be a valid reason for chopping the banyan tree. Road widening plan could provide for skirting around such an ancient tree, which gives a character to the location, as is done in the case of religious structures. With a little imagination and expertise, this could have been done. Unfortunately, these type of decisions not merely reflect a lack of these qualities, but also exhibit a dangerous trend toward insensitivity and violence toward nature. Further, the authorities never consult the civil society organizations on these difficult issues, they have enough time to do so as road widening plans are not made in a day but over months and years, and the planners would precisely know the blocks to road widening much in advance. Instead, they prefer unilateral action which is irretrievable. http://www.mynews.in/fullstory.aspx?storyid=4670

36) Kullu - Over 35,000 trees are being cut down to facilitate the construction of the 192 MV Allain Duhangan hydro power project in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh.
Villagers are protesting the massive deforestation. As such they are protesting against such power projects since a couple of others have also been planned elsewhere in the State. They allege that the Government did not inform them about the felling of trees.
Around 1200 trees have already been illegally cut by the personnel associated with the Allain Duhangan project. "They did not give us any information or asked us our consent to build these power lines. They did it on their own with some middle men being involved in it. The environment department gave NOC to them and asked them to take suggestions and with a proper enquiry with the Panchayat and the villagers to set up the project. But they purposely have fitted power lines between the orchards and the fields which is not acceptable," said Lal Chand, a farmer. The entire Kullu District, Nalagadh region and Mandi areas will be affected with the felling of trees. "Forest Department says that around 10,000 trees will be cut which itself is a huge lot. The Government should realise that the condition of the state, jungles would not exist at this rate of trees being chopped," said Daulat Bharti, an environmentalist. There are other such projects on the pipeline, which will also require felling of trees in large numbers. On this score, Minister of Forests, Jagat Prakash Nadda said that the engineers of Allain Duhangan project did not evaluate the consequences. The Government will try to build a common transmission line for the other projects, which are also coming up. This common transmission will be beneficial to transmit electricity and there wouldn't be much loss." http://www.dailyindia.com/show/238111.php/Deforestation-in-Kullu-for-the-Allain-Duhangan-hydr


37) Federal Minister for Environment, Mr. Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi said Government is committed to initiate new projects for development of the forests so as to mitigate the environmental threats in the area. He expressed these views while talking to the Provincial Minister for Irrigation and Power, Mr. Muhammad Humayun Khan along with Member Provincial Assembly Muhammad Ali Shah who called on the Federal Minister for Environment, Mr. Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi on Wednesday. They discussed matters pertaining to environmental issues of the province particularly Batkhela and Dargai areas, here today. The Provincial Minister said that there is a need to develop park and establish Zoo in the Kali toria Batkhela areas. Speaking on the occasion the Federal Minister said that Government is committed to initiate new projects for development of the forests so as to mitigate the environmental threats in the area. He assured the provincial minister for all possible support would be extended for tackling the environmental issues particularly fencing the Sawat canal to make it safer for humans and animals. http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=127754
06 May 2008 @ 01:01 pm
Today for you 32 new articles about earth’s trees! (337th edition)
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--Washington: 1) Finally, Wildsky is a signature away from being wilderness,
--Oregon: 2) Enviro supported fire salvage, 3) Tree Farm or subdivision? 4) The next giant trees? 5) Trees have rights too! 6) small scale logging grows to $1 million a year,
--California: 7) More on women fined for cutting FS trees, 8) To clearcut or not to clearcut: logger-facts vs. Enviro-facts 9) 30,000 acres a year converted to brush, 10) Mendo Redwood Co. is likely heir to PL/Maxxam wasteland,
--Arizona: 11) Heal Your Body, Heal the Planet tree planting scheme
--Minnesota: 12) Rebuttal to ignorant logger rant
--Illinois: 13) 340 trees lost for “flood control” for new ball fields
--Maine: 14) Nothing left except maybe wood pellet businesses?
--USA: 15) Refusing peer review of “credible” owl plan, 16) Dogwood Alliance and FE’s new markets campaign, 17) Record paper recycling in ’07,
--UK: 18) Expanding Robin Hood’s last scrap of forest, 19) Developers lie to neighbors, then cut 100 year old trees, 20) Wales forests must change to tackle climate change, 21) Unilever backs down & starts greenwashed promises,
--Ireland: 21) Angry Irish want FSC fraud put to an immediate end!
--Nigeria: 22) 85% of forests cut illegally
--Ghana: 23) “Schools-Under-Trees”project
--India: 24) Threatened green cover of Shimla
--Fiji: 25) Twelve landowning companies not receiving royalty from loggers
--Indonesia: 26) Preserving North Sulawesi is popular
--World-wide: 27) 83% of Earth’s land under direct human influence, 28) DNA mapping of all the world’s trees, 29) Protected areas with lots of people do as well as super remote areas, 30) Seasonal leaf growth correlates to a 7 PPM rise / decline of carbon in atmosphere, 31) Legal logging just as bad as illegal logging, 32) Chinese take over world,


1) After a gestation period of 3,405 days, Washington's newest wilderness area has won overwhelming approval from the House and heads to President Bush's desk for his signature. "I have learned so many of life's lessons with this bill," exclaimed Murray, D-Wash., who has championed the Wild Sky Wilderness Area. The new 106,000-acre wilderness is in the front range of the Cascades, north of the U.S. 2 Stevens Pass highway. It reaches from the north fork of the Skykomish River, a few hundred feet above sea level, to the 6,200-foot summits of Mounts Merchant and Gunn above Index. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/connelly/361153_joel30.html The new wilderness designation would shield the vast area inside the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest from the kind of changes that environmentalists fear most: logging, mining, and even cars and off-road vehicles. The federal Wilderness Act bars virtually all motors. You can't even fire up a chain saw. The land that would wind up inside the Wild Sky boundaries isn't a top hiking destination. Still, some advocates hope the new designation will mean more visitors — and federal money to improve trails. "It really opens doors," said Jonathan Guzzo, advocacy director for the Washington Trails Association, a hiking advocacy group. "When we're talking to our [congressional] delegation, when we're talking to members from other states, we can talk about the level of commitment to this area. The legislation will direct the Forest Service to come up with a trail plan for the wilderness and surrounding land. What's outside the proposed wilderness, meanwhile, is in some ways as important as what was kept in. With an eye toward winning over potential opponents, the boundary was drawn to leave out 4,000 acres in an area popular with snowmobilers, and the trail to Barclay Lake, a route heavily used by Boy Scouts and other groups. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who championed Wild Sky, said it was "an example of wilderness done the right way," with support from local groups and elected officials. The Senate OK'd the designation April 10. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens, who represents the area, called the House's 291-117 passage of Wild Sky, which was part of a large package of proposals concerning public lands nationwide, the "end of a long hike." http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004382079_wildsky30m.html


2) The two salvage logging sales are the subject of a proposed agreement between the timber companies and environmentalists that would log about 38 million board feet of timber in Grant and Harney counties. "The conservation community, the timber industry and the local elected officials in Eastern Oregon have proposed an agreement that will salvage valuable timber, provide needed product for local lumber mills and aid the ailing economies in a rural area of my state," Wyden, D-Ore., said in a letter Tuesday to Mark Rey, the undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the Department of Agriculture. Eastern Oregon's timber industry has been teetering during the recent downturn in new home construction. One of Grant County's three mills shut down last year. Another, Malheur Lumber in John Day, furloughed its 80 employees more than two weeks ago and has been idle since because of a lack of logs, said Mike Billman, the mill's timber manager. The quarter-century-old pine mill, which supplies lumber for window and door manufacturers, gets about 10 percent of its logs from the surrounding Malheur National Forest. In 2006, about 16 million board feet were cut from the Malheur National Forest. That's about 5 percent of what it was 20 years ago. Environmentalists traditionally oppose salvage logging, citing harm to soils and habitat. Tim Lillebo, east Oregon field representative for the group Oregon Wild, said his organization is making an exception in this case because it wants to ensure that local mills survive the present economic downturn so the timber industry can perform future thinning and conservation projects on public lands. Under the proposal, conservation groups would support some salvage logging parts of the Malheur National Forest burned by the Shake Table and Egley fires. In return, the timber companies would agree to not log in sensitive areas. http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2008/04/sen_ron_wyden_is_asking.html

3) Portland author Molly Gloss wrote "Jump-Off Creek" almost 20 years ago about a pioneer woman homesteader on Mount Emily near the northeastern Oregon town of La Grande. Now a vast tree farm on the same 6,040-foot mountain where Gloss' fictional mule-riding heroine Lydia Sanderson homesteaded in 1895 is in the cross hairs of a land-use conflict. At issue is whether the 3,669-acre tree farm should become a high-end subdivision for homes or be preserved for recreational use, wildlife habitat, logging and grazing. Union County voters will decide in an advisory vote in the May 20 election. If it becomes a subdivision, "we can look for locked gates and 'No Trespassing' signs," and an end to a century of public access, warned Union County Commissioner Nellie Hibbert. She favors public ownership but has pledged to abide by the advisory vote. The county's two other commissioners support acquiring the land. Only five minutes from downtown La Grande, the tree farm is on the south end of the 15-mile-long mountain. Residents have found solitude among its meadows and dense fir, larch and ponderosa pine forests. They ride horses and bicycles on a maze of roads and trails, bird watch, cross-country ski, pick huckleberries and wild mushrooms, jog, hike, hunt, and ride motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, there. "Folks have had the use of this for so long, they just assume it's publicly owned land," said Hanley Jenkins, Union County planning director. "It would be an incredible loss to this community." User groups got worried three years ago when landowner Boise Cascade Corp. sold the tree farm to the Boston-based Forest Capital Partners as part of a five-state land transaction. Now it's for sale again, and this time a development group wants to subdivide it into 15 upscale 240-acre homesites. "Once Forest Capital sells it, it's going to be closed to the public," said Mark Barber, a member of the 180-member Eastern Oregon ATV Association and the 500-member Mount Emily Recreation Coalition. The coalition was formed to keep the land in public use. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/120978872135970.xml&coll=7

4) The interest in large, old trees is a natural human inclination. Here in the Northwest, marveling at trees that shoot hundreds of feet into the air is a cultural birthright. The question is, will future generations have any big trees left to look at? The Klootchy Creek Sitka spruce was estimated to be 750 years old and died a natural death. However, across Oregon we have millions of acres of old-growth forests, ranging in age from 100 to over 1,000 years old, that face the threat of a very unnatural death at the whirring blades of a chainsaw. Our forests have faced a consistent onslaught over the past seven-plus years as the Bush administration has ignored science and the public will in an attempt to increase logging of our old growth. Their most recent plan is the Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR). This scheme would increase clear-cut logging of old-growth forests by 700 percent on over 2 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forest in western Oregon. That means the Bush administration wants to drastically increase logging of trees-some older than the Klootchy Creek giant-even while the broad majority of Oregonians want these trees protected. Luckily, the Bush WOPR plan isn't the only game in town. In recent months, Representative Peter DeFazio and Senator Ron Wyden have been talking up plans to put forest management agencies on a path towards a sustainable future. Both Oregon officials say they want to protect the old growth we have left as a legacy for future generations and focus work in our forests that restores the natural landscape. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080505/OPINION/805050302/1049/OPIN

5) "It sometimes pains me to think that we have no ability to control their destiny -- that a private landowner can take this tree down on a whim. So I think somewhere, woven into all this, is that we establish more of a notion that trees have rights, too, that trees have rights. And that's what we're looking at in terms of some of the enforcement policies that we're working on and the continued designation of more heritage trees for their protection where we have willing property owners but I do think we have to look where we don't have willing property owners . . . ." Where to start here? Is it Saltzman's notion that "trees have rights, too"? Is it his obvious appetite to control the destiny of trees that their owners can take down on a whim? (Question: If trees have rights, too, how can Saltzman arrogate unto himself the control of their destiny?) Is it his condescending notion that Portlanders are too impulsive and arboreally insensitive to recognize the importance of the trees on their property? Is it his itch to use the force of law to bring "unwilling landowners" into line? Or is it the fact that this "trees are people, too" mumbo jumbo comes from the City Council's most measured member? It's an odd calculus Saltzman has in store for us. The rights that Saltzman wants to give trees will come at the expense of the rights that Americans have long held, even in Portland: property rights that allow private landowners to tend to the trees, shrubs, grass and rocks on their piece of heaven. Which reminds me: If trees have rights, on what philosophical grounds can we deny shrubs, bushes and rocks rights? They can be as "incredible" and "show-stopping" as a mighty oak, a towering elm or a broad maple. If you go in for extending rights to nonhumans, isn't Saltzman guilty a kind of speciesism? Or some other "isms"? Lookism and ageism? After all, it's hard to believe that Saltzman wants each and every tree to have rights. It's likely that only gorgeous trees will get them. Or heritage trees that, as Saltzman said, "have been there long before us." But shouldn't plain or young trees have rights, too? At least in the moral universe of our Thomas Jefferson of trees? Or maybe not. Here's the most unsettling aspect of the "trees have rights, too" talk: Saltzman would have sparked a real firestorm if he had dared to say that Portland's unborn children should have rights and protections, too. The ultimate ageism. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/david_reinhard/index.ssf?/base/editorial/120977432925

6) "I was a passive activist against clear-cutting when I was younger," says Schattler, who was raised in Sacramento. "When I first started cutting, people on the environmentalist side thought I had sold out. Loggers thought I was crazy because I was leaving all the money trees behind." Over time, his methods have grown on the environmentally minded and won respect from loggers. " Schattler, 51, moved to the Applegate area in 1985 and encountered eco-forestry. Not long after that, he encountered Orville Camp, who wrote the Forest Farmer's Handbook, in Selma. Soon he was putting his new practice to work, thinning, cutting small-diameter trees, restoring and enhancing habitat as well as doing blackberry removal and riparian jobs for the Applegate Watershed Council. "I try to educate private landowners about healing and treating property that has been logged and damaged," Schattler says. "At the beginning, I'd do one job and people would ask who did it and then I'd get the neighbor's job — it just spread." Five years ago, he branded his venture Out of the Woods Eco-Forestry and today he has a crew of 12 that works in a landscape he holds dear. "It's gone beyond whatever I thought it would be at this point," says Schattler, whose annual revenue is nearing $1 million. A significant component of eco-forestry is utilizing resources near the extraction site. Out of the Woods' mill is on Yale Creek, where the firm does custom milling, operates a drying kiln and a molder-shaper-planer to produce barn siding, dimensional lumber, peeled poles, finish wood and hardwood. Because the machinery is mobile, Out of the Woods can produce poles on a client's property to build unpermitted structures such as barn annexes and storage sheds. "With a 6-inch tree, you can't mill a 2 by 4, but you can take bark off and use the poles as structural elements," says Aaron Krikava, a foreman for the company. "We hike into areas that don't have roads, but when we do fuel reduction we are within an area people can see or drive." Although Schattler wants to keep his crew as active as the next, he's philosophically opposed to expanding beyond his own community. "My major focus is on micro (forest) management," Schattler says. "There is plenty of work to do in this area. Driving clear to Glendale or two hours a way to do a job in Roseburg or something like that is inefficient when there is a lot of work to be done in the local community." He says work has been spurred by Oregon Department of Forestry grants that cover a third to a fourth of private landowners' fuel-reduction costs, or $330 per acre. http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080501/BIZ/805010332


7) An Incline Village woman who hired a company to chop down trees on national forest land to enhance her view of Lake Tahoe agreed Thursday to pay $100,000 restitution and do 80 hours of community service in a plea deal with federal prosecutors that likely will keep her out of prison. Patricia Marie Vincent, 57, was indicted in January by a federal grand jury in Reno on felony charges of theft of government property and willingly damaging government property. She faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of those original counts if convicted. But in exchange for her guilty plea on Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Rachow agreed to drop the felony charges and charge her with one misdemeanor count of unlawfully cutting trees on U.S. land. That crime carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a $100,00 fine and possible restitution. But Rachow said under the plea agreement, she would face a year of probation, 80 hours of community service and pay $100,000 in restitution -- with $35,000 going to the U.S. Forest Service and $65,000 going to the National Forest Foundation. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-me-tahoe2-2008may02,0,5017693.story Wow! Three trees? Not that she shouldn't pay a substantial fine, but... 1) Michael Milken, yep that creep, cut down ten old growth Sugar Pines on his Tahoe waterfront in the very same town. But, as it was private property, nothing happened. He even got away with installing a fence that goes out 100 feet into the water, so no one can walk the beach. 2) In 1993, Weyerhaeuser stole 88,000 trees worth $5 million off the Winema NF with the added crime of Forest Service personnel tipping off Weyerhaeuser of the investigation and destroying documents. Instead of big fines and jail time for the perps, those two Big Green darlings - Bill Clinton and Jack Ward Thomas - responded by disbanding the Timber Theft Task Force that had unearthed the crimes and no one was ever held accountable. 3) It gets worse. Here's the whole story, complete with more despicable examples: http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair03062004.html

8) Spotted owls, silted streams, raging wildfires - there has been no shortage of fuel for the timber wars over the decades. Add climate change to the mix. Loggers will return to the forested lower Sierra Nevada this spring armed with a peer-reviewed study that says "intensive" forestry practices - including clear-cuts - may ultimately assist in the battle against rising worldwide temperatures. No way, environmentalists say. Their own report, released one week after the industry's, says precisely the opposite: Larger, older trees will remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Neither side will budge from its position. "They're not telling the whole story," said Susan Robinson, a forest activist who lives in Arnold. "They're way off base," said Mark Pawlicki, a spokesman for Sierra Pacific Industries. The timber giant owns 74,000 acres, or about half of the forestland, in Calaveras County. No one disputes that trees are among the greenest of Earth's features, in color and behavior. Forests suck carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere and essentially store it in tree trunks, branches, leaves and pine needles, keeping the rest of us nice and cool. The study by Sierra Pacific suggests that more "intensive" logging practices can speed up the storing of carbon by up to 150 percent. This is because young trees grow faster and take in carbon more rapidly, according to the scientists who prepared the company's study. "We were surprised at the difference," Pawlicki said. Cutting and replanting all of the company's 1.6 million acres over 80 to 100 years would remove enough carbon dioxide from the air to offset 877,000 cars, says the study, which Pawlicki said will be submitted to a scientific journal for publication. Even after the harvest, at least some carbon remains sequestered in wood products - furniture, your back deck, or your home. But the timber company has glossed over a few details, the environmentalists counter, citing other studies and reports. In the long run, an old-growth forest will have the greatest carbon capacity, says ForestEthics, an international conservation group. Clear-cutting releases carbon through soil erosion, the burning of logging debris and the decay of exposed roots. The resulting plantations of same-aged trees, meanwhile, are especially fire-prone - and in a fire, all of that banked carbon is released right back into the atmosphere. "The timber company is ignoring the emissions," Robinson said. "They tell a half-truth." http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080504/A_NEWS/805040321/-1/A_NEWS07

9) The Forest Foundation of Auburn CA and the National Association of Forest Service Retirees have issued a joint review of California forests. Their finding is that the lack of reforestation following forest fires is responsible for converting an average of 30,000 acres per year of forest to brush. Nearly 150,000 acres of forest has been converted to brush over the last seven fire seasons in CA, not including conversion that has occurred in wilderness areas. Recent homilies about “renewing the forest” with wildfire as uttered by obsequious government functionaries and power-grasping eco-terrorist BINGOs are supercilious, pusillanimous, and specious. Wildfires do not “renew” forests, they decimate and destroy forests and convert them to tick brush. Blood-sucking, disease-carrying tick populations thrive, but forest creatures lose their habitat when wildfires ravage forests. Those vegetation changes are permanent without intervention, because fire-type tick brush generates yet more fires that exclude trees. http://westinstenv.org/sosf/2008/05/05/california-forests-are-being-converted-to-tick-brush/

10) Pacific Lumber Co. and its parent company, Maxxam Inc., have struck a deal with the Mendocino Redwood Co. and a key creditor, and raised the ante with an all-cash offer for the Scotia company's timberlands. The deal was announced in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Thursday. Palco and Maxxam will now support the Mendocino Redwood and Marathon Structured Finance Fund plan of reorganization, which calls for the timberlands and the Scotia mill to be operated as a single entity. Jordan said that Palco's position is to support the plan that best preserves the town of Scotia, the Palco mill and its employees, and one that keeps the timberlands tied to the mill. As part of the deal, Maxxam apparently would get $2.25 million in exchange for tax protection measures, and Mendocino Redwood would buy logs Maxxam has purchased in recent months, said an attorney for Marathon. The Palco-Mendocino pact now offers $530 million in cash to the noteholders, up from a package of $175 million in cash and $325 million in notes. ”We believe we have enhanced the valuation to the full extent we can,” said Mendocino Redwood attorney Allan Brilliant. The arrangement moves significant support to the plan proposed by Marathon and Mendocino Redwood, which already enjoys broad support from unsecured creditors and state and federal agencies. Palco subsidiary Scotia Pacific has held out, and is presenting witnesses to back its own plan, which banks on a value of $900 million for the land. Judge Richard Schmidt will have to decide whether to confirm the Mendocino plan, another pitched by Scotia Pacific, or another backed by bondholders, whose $714 million is secured by Scotia Pacific's 210,000 acres. Testimony was taken from forestry experts Thursday, and from Gary Clark, a Palco vice president who resigned as an officer of Scotia Pacific Wednesday. Clark testified that Palco should have enough cash to continue operating through May 20. Waiting possibly months to allow the noteholders to hold an auction -- should their plan be confirmed -- would likely find Palco out of cash, he said. ”My understanding is the mill would probably shut down,” Clark said. He also testified to an expected $8 million to $10 million in road work and environmental work coming due for Scotia Pacific, and questioned whether that entity could count on selling significant numbers of redwood logs if the mill were closed. While the parties continue to brawl over their positions, Schmidt seemed to feel that progress had been made. http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_9129189


11) In the Southwest United States alone, nearly two million acres of forest are now gone, destroyed by recent catastrophic wildfires. An estimated 1.2 million hectares of Brazilian Amazon rainforest have been destroyed by illegal soya bean farming. And throughout Honduras, Panama, Belize, and Nicaragua, slash-and-burn farming is the leading cause of rainforest destruction in that region. This ongoing destruction upsets many land and water-based ecosystems, which in turn will take many, many years to replace. Plus, the loss of millions of trees increases the negative effects of carbon dioxide (CO2). Trees act as a carbon sink by removing the carbon from carbon dioxide and storing it as cellulose in the trunk while releasing the oxygen back into the air. One healthy tree stores around 13 pounds of carbon each year, or some 2.6 tons per acre every year. Jigsaw Health, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based provider of nutritional foods, dietary supplements, educational information, and functional self-assessment testing materials for those suffering from chronic illnesses, has recognized the importance of helping restore the fragile ecosystems in areas devastated by wildfires and poor farming practices. The company, led by founder and CEO Pat Sullivan, is taking steps to help the environment through their new "Heal Your Body, Heal the Planet" tree planting program as well as introducing a company-wide "Going Green" initiative. http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=851436


12) I’ve seen plenty of poorly-considered and ill-informed editorials before, but Bill Hanna set a new low in the Mesabi Daily News last Sunday with his diatribe entitled: “Don’t let the Canadian Lynx ruin our future.” To hear Hanna tell it, the sky will literally fall on our region if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moves ahead with its proposal to designate much of the region as “critical habitat.” Mining operations, logging, and even recreation could be literally shut down if the proposal is approved, warns Hanna. Here’s my real beef. The fact is (and, yes, it’s a real fact), the critical habitat designation currently being considered by the Fish and Wildlife Service will have almost no detectable impact on anything in our region. Period. Here’s why. First of all, the provisions of the Endangered Species Act, under which the critical habitat designation is required, pertains only to federal projects or actions, or projects involving federal funding or permits. It will not apply to private property or state or county lands, unless a project involves federal funding or permits. And even in those cases, the effect of this designation is still essentially zero, because virtually every federal agency in our area has been managing as if the region is critical habitat already. In our region, of course, we’re primarily talking about the US Forest Service, within the confines of the Superior National Forest. And the Forest Service has been managing the Superior as critical habitat since the lynx was first listed as threatened in 2001. That’s not a matter of opinion. It’s a simple fact. And its impact on the management of the national forest has been minor to say the least. Far from crippling its timber program, the Superior is planning a significant increase in the number of timber sales it issues this year. None of this should come as a surprise. While Mr. Hanna didn’t tell his readers this, most of our region was designated as critical habitat for the eastern gray wolf way back in 1978. Any logging or mining operations shut down as a result? Of course not. In fact, the Forest Service routinely used the wolf’s endangered status as a reason for additional logging, because they argued that younger forests were better for deer, the wolf’s primary prey. Much the same arguments can be used with the lynx, which prey almost exclusively on snowshoe hare, another species that favors dense, younger forests. http://www.timberjay.com/current.php?article=4312


13) Over the objections of many local residents, the Village of Glen Ellyn and the Glen Ellyn Park District are moving ahead with plans to cut down more than 340 trees at Ackerman Park this spring as part of a stormwater control project. The affluent suburban village lies about 20 miles west of Chicago. The area at issue is between Lenox, Riford and St. Charles roads and is characterized by woods and wetlands. Although the project was approved by the village and park district boards in November, residents who have showed up at public information meetings about the project hope they can still put a stop to it. Opponents plan to turn out to the next Park District Board meeting on Tuesday, May 6, saying this project "must be stopped immediately." Construction is expected to begin in June. The Park District owns the land and is letting the village use it for stormwater retention from the 5-Corners commercial area. In exchange, the village is permitting the park district to build two soccer fields on land that is now heavily wooded area with trees over 30" in diameter. Resident Melissa Creech started a website to express opposition to the project at http://www.saveackermanwoods.com - http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2008/2008-05-04-092.asp


14) If Maine is going to sprout new and successful business ventures, it's likely that more than a few of them will be based on local resources and local traditions. The new will have its roots in the old. So it's no surprise that Maine's third wood-pellet mill began operation a couple of weeks ago on the edge of the northern forest in Athens. That's where Maine Woods Pellet Co. is making small slugs of compacted pulp wood and sawdust to be burned as fuel. In what's called a vertically integrated operation, the pellets are made from the leftovers -- tree limbs and tops, for example -- of the logging operations run by two of the project partners. As long as those logging operations continue, there will be a guaranteed source of material to manufacture the pellets. Maine Woods Pellet Co. plans to expand production to 100,000 tons of pellets per year. Now, they're making 120 tons daily and, so far, they have one large industrial customer, Sappi Fine Paper of Skowhegan. Two other mills in the state, in Corinth and Ashland, together produce 95,000 tons of wood pellets. Another mill is slated to begin operation this fall in Strong, on the site of the former Forster Manufacturing toothpick mill, which closed in 2003. And at a recent meeting of the Maine Pulp and Paper Association, state Conservation Commissioner Pat McGowan said the state has the capacity to annually produce 900,000 tons of pellets based on the wood fiber that's left in the woods after harvesting. http://morningsentinel.mainetoday.com/view/columns/5025223.html


15) The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) refused direct requests made by both Chambers of Congress to allow for scientific peer review and public comment of the soon to be released Northern Spotted Owl recovery plan. This blatant disregard of Congress came on the heels of the release of a report by a panel of experts assembled by the Sustainable Ecosystems Institute (SEI) in Portland that found the draft spotted owl recovery plan underestimates the importance of protecting old-growth forest habitat, compared to the threat from a competing species, the barred owl. The review was commissioned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service after the draft owl recovery plan was flunked by three organizations who also conducted peer review on the plan, the Society of Conservation Biology, the American Ornithologists Union, and the Wildlife Society. "By refusing a legitimate request for independent scientific review of the recovery plan, the Administration has once again demonstrated its disdain for relying on science to make decisions on threatened and endangered species," said Randi Spivak, Executive Director of American Lands Alliance. "Instead, they prefer to manipulate the science to suit their agenda." The Northern Spotted Owl was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1990, and critical habitat was designated in 1992. Recovery of the owl is about more than this one species. Like a canary in a coal mine, the owl is an indicator species of the health of the remaining old-growth forests, clean water, salmon, and habitat for many other species. In 1994, the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) became the cornerstone for conserving the Northern Spotted Owl on 24.4 million acres of federal forests in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. The Bush administration has been trying to increase old-growth logging on these public lands for the past eight years by dismantling the Northwest Forest Plan. A weak owl recovery plan is needed by this Administration to meet timber industry demands to significantly increase old-growth logging on federal forests. Reducing old-growth forest protections for the spotted owl would also allow the Bureau of Land Management's proposal for a 700% increase in old-growth logging in Southern Oregon to move forward. http://www.americanlands.org/index.php

16) A recent USA Today ad placed by environmental groups Dogwood Alliance and ForestEthics highlighted the forest-related paper practices of Corporate Express, FedEx Kinko’s, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples. The groups say Staples, which just last month switched all of its 1,400 Copy & Print Centers in the U.S. to recycled paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, is making significant progress in their paper purchasing, while OfficeMax, which had probably hoped the campaign against it by Dogwood Alliance and ForestEthics ended last year when it introduced a new paper procurement policy, “has been doing the least to back up its green spin with concrete actions.” In addition to several other cities, the ad ran in USA Today’s New York City edition, where paper industry executives were gathered for the American Forest & Paper Association’s annual “Paper Week.” The environmental groups released their latest Green Grades report card with the ad. “While no office supply company is perfect, Staples and FedEx Kinko’s are making real progress and lead the sector overall,” said Daniel Hall of ForestEthics. “The two companies have been the industry’s most responsive in shifting their paper sourcing from Endangered Forests to more sustainable sources.” The “Green Grades” report card also notes that Office Depot and Corporate Express are making strides in some areas, but the jury is still out on key questions. In February, Staples joined other retailers,Office Depot being one of them, in no longer doing business with Asia Pulp & Paper due to environmental concerns The groups released their last Green Grades report in September. http://forestethics.org/article.php?id=2112

17) A record 56 percent of the paper consumed in the United States was recovered for recycling in 2007, it was announced recently by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). "Paper recycling is a great American success story," said Patrick J. Moore, chairman and CEO of Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, an AF&PA member, the world's largest paperboard and paper-based packaging company and one of the world's largest paper recyclers. "Americans already recycle a large percentage of two paper grades, corrugated containers and newspapers, so achieving AF&PA's 60 percent recovery goal by 2012 will require focus on increasing recovery of other grades including printing and writing papers, catalogs, and direct mail, as well as extracting additional fiber from our country's waste stream." Smurfit-Stone is investing in advanced waste sorting line technology to extract more fiber from the waste stream. This enhanced sort-system technology allows Smurfit-Stone to dig deeper into the municipal solid waste stream to recover more fiber and other recyclables using a series of mechanically separating screens, discs, magnets and air currents to separate various recyclable materials into their base components. Placed at landfills or municipal waste transfer stations, Smurfit-Stone's systems help communities and waste haulers reduce their tipping fees, landfill expansion requirements, and fuel emissions related to waste processing. Total paper recovery reached 54.3 million tons in 2007, equaling 360 pounds of paper for every man, woman, and child in America. That's enough paper to fill the Empire State Building 100 times. http://www.pulpandpaperonline.com/content/news/article.asp?docid=eaf5a077-95de-478a-8da0-fb7432


18) Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest must be turning over in his grave. The beautiful forest in England, which played safe house for his merry men, is all but vanished. Sherwood Forest once covered about 100,000 acres, a big chunk of present day Nottinghamshire. Today its core is about 450 acres. Experts say urgent action is needed to regenerate the forest and save the rare and endangered ancient oaks. Over the centuries, the forest was carved up for farms, mines, towns and logging. Now the ravages of age and climate change are taking their toll. The forest is beloved for its connection to Robin Hood, the legendary 13th century bandit who supposedly hid there from the Sheriff of Nottingham. One of Sherwood's oldest and most celebrated trees is Major Oak near Edwinstowe, the town where legend has Robin marrying Maid Marion. Historians believe it and other Sherwood oaks could have been saplings back in Robin's time. Park rangers say the collection of ancient oaks is one of the greatest in Europe. But sadly enough, they see an increase in the trees rate of decline. While both Robin and Marion would be shocked to see the demise of their beautiful Sherwood Forest, they would also be happy to hear of the plan to save it. A comprehensive rescue plan is now being prepared, which will focus on planting 250,000 trees to knit the parts of the forest back together. It's almost a once in a lifetime opportunity to save this particular forest. While we don't have a Sherwood Forest here in this province, AbitibiBowater and the provincial government recently signed two agreements to provide long-term investment in the forests of Newfoundland and Labrador. These investments are akin to creating a possible safe haven for the industry the same as Sherwood Forest did for Robin Hood. A new four year cost-sharing agreement will see investment of $12.3 million spent on silviculture projects. The silviculture treatments will include tree planting, pre-commercial thinning and plantation maintenance. http://gfwadvertiser.ca/index.cfm?sid=131810&sc=294

19) Powerless neighbors watched in dismay as six ancient trees along Gypsey Bank were torn down this week to make way for a new development. The trees, which are believed to be over 100 years old, stood in the grounds of Beechwood house between St John's Avenue and Medina Avenue. The area is due to house a new 49 unit residential complex and locals were invited to an open consultation last moth to discuss the development but were not told that the trees would be a casualty of the new complex. "I think the whole street is upset about it," said St John's Avenue resident Katherine Redshaw, "It was a lovely view. "The trees were something for our children to see and enjoy but we are just destroying things that can't be replaced." She added that had the neighbourhood known that the trees would be removed completely she felt sure they would have got together to try and prevent it from happening. "At the meeting we were told that the trees would just be trimmed," said Mrs Redshaw, "I think it has all been done very sneakily, you just cannot replace 100 year old trees." http://www.bridlingtonfreepress.co.uk/news/Anger-as-trees-are-cut.4034957.jp

20) Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones yesterday outlined how forests in Wales need to change to help tackle climate change and give rural communities an economic boost. Addressing the UK Forest Products Association (UKFPA) annual meeting, she said: “First, forests will need to become more resilient and better adapted to the challenges that might develop through a changing climate.“Secondly, some woodland might be better as different habitat and some agricultural land might deliver more as woodland.” UKFPA president Gordon Callander added: “It is vitally important we see an increase in commercial forestry in Wales, to enable the industry to prosper and to deliver more benefits to the nation.” Wales’ forests cover 14% of the nation’s land area. http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/wales-news/2008/05/02/seeing-the-wood-for-the-trees-91466-2

21) Anlgo-Dutch food and consumer goods giant Unilever said Thursday it would back a moratorium on further palm oil deforestation in Indonesia and intended to use only fully traceable palm oil by 2015. The company, the target of environmental protests in Britain and the Netherlands last month, said it would start using palm oil from certifiable sources in the second half of this year as it becomes available and would try to ensure that oil it uses in Europe is certified as sustainable by 2012. Unilever markets such products as Dove soap, Omo and Surf detergents, Knorr food products and Lipton tea. "Palm oil is an important raw material for us and the whole consumer goods industry," said chief executive Patrick Cescau, adding that the company for the past 10 years had been trying to "build an industry consensus on criteria for sustainable palm cultivation." "Now we need to take the next step. Suppliers need to move to meet the criteria, by getting certified both the palm oil from their own plantations and the palm oil they buy from elsewhere," Cescau said. "We also intend to support the call for an immediate moratorium on any further deforestation in palm oil in Indonesia." Indonesia is this year expected to surpass Malaysia as the world's number one palm oil producer. The two countries combined supply 85 percent of the world's palm oil needs. Environmental protesters dressed as orang-utans targeted Unilever on April 21, accusing it of contributing to the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest. About 40 members of Greenpeace entered the multinational's factory in Merseyside, northwest England, where they said they had chained themselves to machinery to halt production. A dozen demonstrated outside Unilever's headquarters in London, with some scaling its external walls, while another 20 held a protest outside the Rotterdam offices of the company. http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Unilever_backs_call_for_moratorium_on_palm_oil_deforestat


22) Coillte, the Irish state forestry company, has impacted on many a wild Irish bog, mountain and wetland, including from planting in the last few years more than a million acres of pesticide-laden, monocultural and exotic Sitka spruce plantations. What is as dismal as the trees, though, is that this "green desert" was certified by the Soil Association and the Forest Stewardship Council as "sustainable forestry". Now the Irish are revolting. "We call on the Soil Association and FSC to immediately withdraw this abomination of a certificate, and we call on all environmentalists everywhere to help us in our struggle," says a group writing to Eco Soundings and calling itself the Irish Environmental and Social Stakeholders http://www.fsc-watch.org


22) Illegal felling of trees for wood fuel accounts for 85 per cent of deforestation in Nigeria, a senior government official said Tuesday in Abuja. Mrs Halima Alao, the Minister of Environment, Housing and Urban Development, made the statement while flagging off the National Climate Change Awareness and sensitisation Exercise (NCCASE), tagged “Abuja Climate Change City Storm’’. Alao, who attributed the statistics to the World Bank, said the activity had left fewer trees to absorb and store up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thereby changing significantly, the balance of gases in the atmosphere. She explained that greenhouse gases were now being generated through the increased use of fossil fuels by the burning of fossil fuels and the cutting down of forests. “The more heat trapped, the warmer the earth becomes and the greater climates across the globe will change. “Climate change is already affecting and will continue to affect the whole world’s land, water and air. http://www.thetidenews.com/article.aspx?qrDate=05/01/2008&qrTitle=Illegal%20tree%20felling%20a


23) Mr Mireku said the project dubbed “Schools-Under-Trees” seeks to provide decent school block and accommodation for teachers to help improve the standard of education especially in the rural areas. At Tontro and Nobi, Mr Asihene inaugurated a three classroom-block with stores, office and computer centre for each community at the cost of GH¢35,000 each and four units teachers quarters at Obodan at the cost of GH¢52,000 all funded from the GETFUND. The Municipal Chief Executive addressing separate durbars said, Government was committed to the welfare of the people and rejected claims by the opposition parties that, Government was insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians. He said Government had put in place a lot of programmes to improve the welfare of the people and cited the School Feeding Programme and the Capitation Grant as some of measures. Mr Mireku urged the people to have confidence in Government and continue to vote for the NPP to continue the good works it had started. Mr Joseph Boakye Danquah-Adu, the Member of Parliament for Abuakwa North said the Constituency had benefited from a lot of development projects such as electrification, school buildings, and clinics roads to improve the welfare of the people. http://www.myjoyonline.com/education/200805/15972.asp


24) The threatened green cover of Shimla, always vulnerable to constructions coming up within the town and its peripheral belt, has witnessed yet another onslaught near Ragyan, a village witnessing a construction boom. After complaints of a local resident, Atma Ram Sharma, who has alleged serious violations and encroachment on the forest land, the Town and Country Planning Department two days back stopped the construction. However, just 24 hours after officials sent a compliance department to the Chief Minister’s office, the construction resumed. The complainants say some of the full grown deodars and a dense forest will fall victim to the construction soon as the forest is not even at a distance of five metres from the new construction site. Today, when TCP officials raided the spot, they faced strong resistance of the women, alleged an official. Earlier in Shimla town, more than 100 trees have been damaged by recent constructions in Jakhu, Khalini and Navbahar areas in the past three months. http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Threat-to-forests-Despite-govt-crackdown-construction-


25) The Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption is investigating logging companies in the Northern Division after twelve landowning units complained of not receiving royalty after their forests were logged. FICAC Manager Investigations Sanaila Seru says initial enquiries indicate companies that defaulted on royalty payments continued to be granted logging licenses – as a direct breach of the Code of Logging Practice. Seru says FICAC is also investigating the lack of reforestation programs and other breaches of the logging code causing environmental damage. Some of the loggers have not paid royalties and by virtue of that they should not be given a license unless they have cleared their royalties but what’s been happening they don’t pay royalties and after a while they are given their license and jump to another mataqali and in the end it’s the mataqali who’s suffering but the sad thing about this that some members of the mataqali are in collusion with the companies and all corruption involving mataqalis some are involved because they are easily bought of. http://www.radiofiji.com.fj/fullstory.php?id=11108


26) The number of Indonesians concerned with preserving North Sulawesi's flora and fauna -- one of the country's most precious natural treasures -- has been rising amid the uncontrollably high rate of deforestation. Beginning with an awareness on how to maintain the existing wealth for the benefit of all, their selfless acts are aimed at protecting the Tangkoko-Batuangus Nature Reserve in Ranowulu district, Bitung regency, North Sulawesi. This is in stark contrast to some government officials who view the existing forests merely as a quick source of easy cash. The environmentalists, on the other hand, see far beyond that in wishing to preserve the forests for future generations. The groups' activities also put to shame the conduct of certain members of the House of Representatives who abuse their influence by withdrawing protected status for preservation areas, hence turning them into prime targets for development projects, in return for bribes. Corrupt government officials and legislators fail to see the forest for the trees in an attempt to enrich themselves by any means necessary, as seen in the case of legislator Al Amin Nur Nasution, who was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for allegedly receiving bribes to change the status of protected forests in Bintan regency, Riau province. A number of other legislators admitted to having received similar kickbacks for the redevelopment of other nature reserves, including in Bandarlampung and Banyuasin in South Sumatra, for proposed construction. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailfeatures.asp?fileid=20080506.T01&irec=0


27) Human are transforming the global environmental. Great swathes of temperate forest in Europe, Asia and North America have been cleared over the past few centuries for agriculture, timber and urban development. Tropical forests are now on the front line. Human-assisted species invasions of pests, competitors and predators are rising exponentially, and over-exploitation of fisheries, and forest animals for bush meat, to the point of collapse, continues to be the rule rather than the exception. Driving this has been a six-fold expansion of the human population since 1800 and a 50-fold increase in the size of the global economy. The great modern human enterprise was built on exploitation of the natural environment. Today, up to 83% of the Earth’s land area is under direct human influence and we entirely dominate 36% of the bioproductive surface. Up to half the world’s freshwater runoff is now captured for human use. More nitrogen is now converted into reactive forms by industry than all by all the planet’s natural processes and our industrial and agricultural processes are causing a continual build-up of long-lived greenhouse gases to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years and possibly much longer. Clearly, this planet-wide domination by human society will have implications for biological diversity. Indeed, a recent review on the topic, the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report (an environmental report of similar scale to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports), drew some bleak conclusions – 60% of the world’s ecosystems are now degraded and the extinction rate is now 100 to 1000 times higher than the “background” rate of long spans of geological time. For instance, a study I conducted in 2003 showed that up to 42% of species in the Southeast Asian region could be consigned to extinction by the year 2100 due to deforestation and habitat fragmentation alone. Given these existing pressures and upheavals, it is a reasonable question to ask whether global warming will make any further meaningful contribution to this mess. Some, such as the sceptics S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery, see no danger at all, maintaining that a warmer planet will be beneficial for mankind and other species on the planet and that “corals, trees, birds, mammals, and butterflies are adapting well to the routine reality of changing climate”. http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=35

28) Researchers are about to embark on a global project in which they hope to capture DNA from thousands and thousands of tree species around the world to create a database that catalogues some of the Earth's vast biodiversity. The leader of the effort is none other than the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx — better known to the general public for its orchid shows and colorful blossoms than its world-renowned environmental research. The garden is hosting a meeting this week that brings participants from different countries together in New York City to lay the groundwork for how the two-year undertaking will proceed. The project is known as TreeBOL, or tree barcode of life. As in a similar project under way focusing on the world's fish species, participants would gather genetic material from trees around the world. A section of the DNA would be used as a barcode, an identifying marker that is similar to the way a barcode on a product at the grocery store is scanned to bring up its price. The resulting database will help identify many of the world's existing plant species, where they are located, and whether they are endangered. The results are crucial for those interested in conservation and protecting the environment in a world of increasing population and development, said Damon Little, assistant curator of bioinformatics at the Botanical Garden and coordinator of the project. "If you don't know what you're potentially destroying, how can you know if it's important or not?" he said. "We know so little about the natural world, when it comes down to it, even though we've been working on it for hundreds of years." It's a massive undertaking — trees make up 25 percent of all plants, and Little estimates there could be as many as 100,000 species. The participants hail from far and wide, countries such as South Africa, India, and of course the United States. In order for the database to be useful, the same section of DNA must be used in all the samples, so that comparisons can be made across species. Part of the work of this week's meeting is to figure out which part to use, as well as other logistical issues among the more than 40 participating organizations. The garden received a two-year grant of nearly $600,000 to coordinate the project. http://www.silive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/news-33/1209703786235700.xml&storylist=simetro

29) "What is exciting is that while remote protected areas seem to be protected quite well simply because they are inaccessible, protected areas located in areas of high human pressure also seem to be maintaining their legal boundaries," Lucas Joppa of Duke University told environmentalresearchweb. Joppa and colleagues Scott Loarie and Stuart Pimm looked at protected areas in the Amazon, Congo, South American Atlantic coast and West Africa. "The first two are the last remaining moist tropical forest wilderness areas in the world, while the last two are biodiversity 'hotspots' – areas with high biological diversity as well as intense human pressure," said Joppa. While the two wilderness regions had very low levels of fragmentation around their protected areas and low levels of deforestation, the hotspot regions were markedly different. "Protected areas in both regions showed a marked decrease in deforestation at their boundaries, but the West Africa region showed very low levels of fragmentation outside of protected areas, simply because deforestation was so high that no forest was left to fragment," said Joppa. "The South American Atlantic Coast region, however, showed high levels of fragmentation outside of protected areas, meaning that the opportunities to connect those fragments is potentially quite significant." But there is one major caveat – while the two wilderness areas have many large protected areas, the researchers say that the two hotspot regions don’t have enough protected areas, and many of those areas are too small to conserve species effectively. According to the team, protected areas are generally protecting against deforestation but major geographical considerations come into play. "This geographic variation must be incorporated into the way that the global network of protected areas is considered," said Joppa. "Also, we could find no evidence that management category within a region shaped our results. This should calm fears that the distribution of management categories somehow affects the way protected area boundaries interact with deforestation." http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/futures/34007

30) Several trends pop out of the data, says Ralph Keeling. First, in the Northern Hemisphere the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide rises and falls about 7 parts per million over the course of the year. The concentration typically reaches a peak each May, then starts to drop as the hemisphere's flush of new plant growth converts the gas into sprouts, vegetation and wood. In October, the decomposition of newly fallen leaves again boosts CO2 levels. Populations of algae at the base of the ocean's food chain follow the same trend, waxing each spring and waning each autumn. A second trend is that each year's 7-ppm, saw-tooth variation in CO2 is superimposed on an average concentration that is steadily rising. Today's average is more than 380 ppm, compared with 315 ppm 50 years ago. And it's still rising, about 2 ppm each year, mainly from burning fossil fuels. Largely because CO2 traps heat, Earth's average temperature has climbed about 0.74 degrees Celsius over the past century (SN: 2/10/07, p. 83), a trend that scientists expect will accelerate. In the next 20 years, the average global temperature is projected to rise another 0.4 degrees C. Squelching additional temperature increases depends on limiting, if not eliminating, the rise in CO2 levels, many scientists say. And, Keeling says, "It's clear that if we want to stabilize CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, we need to stop the rise in fossil fuel emissions." But halting the increase in amounts of CO2 in the air doesn't necessarily mean doing away with fossil fuels. Many experts suggest that capturing CO2 emissions, rather than only reducing them, could ultimately provide climate relief. Some researchers, including Ning Zeng, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park, seek to harness the prodigious carbon-storing power of forests. Right now, forest floors worldwide are lined with coarse wood — everything from twigs and limbs shed during growth to entire fallen trees — containing about 65 billion tons of carbon, says Zeng. Left undisturbed, that material would return its carbon to the atmosphere via decomposition or wildfire. Bury that wood in an oxygen-poor environment, however, and the carbon could be locked away for centuries. Furthermore, Zeng notes, each year the world's forests naturally produce enough coarse wood to lock away about 10 billion tons of carbon. Burying just half of that amount would significantly counteract the estimated 6.9 billion tons of carbon released into the atmosphere each year via fossil fuel emissions. http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/31431/title/Down_with_Carbon

31) It is easy to rail against “illegal” logging, when in fact typical “legal” commercial logging is far more extensive and destructive in total to the world’s biodiversity, climate, water and biosphere. Both liquidate life giving natural habitats, and more people are realizing they are mostly ecologically indistinguishable. Ancient primary forests industrially harvested for the first time are in fact destroyed — in terms of being a fully intact ecological system with a unique, unimpaired evolutionary trajectory — regardless if society considers it legal or illegal. Natural and planted secondary forest ecosystems managed industrially as tree farms become further ecologically diminished with each successive harvest including continued toxification, soil diminishment, species and genetic loss, reduced carbon and water holding potential, and so many other symptoms of ongoing biological homogenization. Humanity’s relationship with all forests must be transformed if we are to stop the hemorrhaging of lost species and halt transformation of the atmosphere. Industrial forestry is incompatible with sustaining the full range of natural forest values — from species to genes, from soil microbes to local microclimates, from a forest stand to the Earth system and everything in between. Solving the biodiversity, climate and water crises requires a new forest protection paradigm that optimizes ecosystem, biodiversity and climate values while ecologically sustainably harvesting the annual growth increment (minus ecological restoration of natural capital to account in the future for past damage). To maintain an operable biosphere while achieving equitable and just global ecological sustainability, the forest protection movement must unite behind a rigorous set of goals know to be actually sufficient to stop forest and climate decline. This includes ending ancient forest logging and all industrial destruction of relatively intact natural ecosystems, gaining permanent protections for all remaining primary and old-growth forests (with appropriate compensation and continued small scale use for local peoples), promoting the ecological restoration and certified management of regenerating and planted natural forest ecosystems, and assisting local peoples with small-scaled, community-based eco-forestry projects based upon regenerating secondary and standing ancient forests. http://redapes.org/news-updates/legal-logging-destroying-the-earths-biodiversity-climate-wat

32) In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a Chinese telecommunications giant, ZTE International, has bought more than 7 million acres of forest to plant oil palms. In Zimbabwe, state-owned China International Water and Electric Corp. reportedly received rights from the government to farm 250,000 acres (101,174 hectares) of corn in the south. Indonesia is moving to develop biofuel plantations with The China National Overseas Oil Corporation. The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency, an advocacy group, believes other deals are in the works, often through proxy companies because of long-running anti-Chinese sentiment in the country. The group says the project would destroy natural forest. In Myanmar, rubber concessions have gone to at least two Chinese companies, Ho Nan Ching and Yunnan Hongyu. Refugees fleeing Myanmar's military regime say troops are forcibly evicting farmers to make way for rubber plantations, including some run by Chinese enterprises. A Chinese-Cambodian joint venture, Pheapimex-Wuzhishan, converted land of the Phong tribal people into a tree plantation 20 times larger than allowed by law in Cambodia, according to the environmental group Global Witness. The group says the concession in Mondulkiri province encroached on grazing grounds, destroyed sacred sites and used toxic herbicides. Another Chinese enterprise in Kratie province circumvented the size restriction by registering as three separate companies, Global Witness says. "The Chinese companies do everything in their power to take advantage but they are also taken advantage of. The system is corrupt and there are loopholes and sometimes it works in their favor and sometimes against them," says Weiyi Shi, an American economist who recently completed a study on the rubber industry. The study found that when the China-Lao Ruifeng Rubber Company moved in, the frontier village of Changee lost most of its rice fields and grazing land and its burial grounds were desecrated. The pleas of villagers got no result and some protesters were reportedly held at gunpoint, with the Chinese using coercion through local authorities. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/05/04/asia/AS-FEA-GEN-China-Farming-the-World.php
05 May 2008 @ 08:14 pm
Today for you 37 new articles about earth’s trees! (336th edition)
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--British Columbia: 1) 100% industry and no citizenry, 2) Coleman sucks, 3) Cont., 4) Save Sooke potholes from housing developers, 5) Pope and Talbot’s sale to APP falls through, 6) Clayoquot aboriginals get approval to destroy last ancient forests,
--Haiti: 7) Deforestation and reforestation in the Ochos Rios watershed
--Brazil: 8) An "activist of ideas," 9) Shutting down plans for Chapadao diamond mine,
--Venezuela: 10) Spokane, Washington-Based Gold Reserve Inc. loses permit
--Bangladesh: 11) Solutions to deforestation
--Nepal: 12) Buddha and Sal trees
--Brunei: 13) Loggers talk about how much loot they wanna get
--Laos: 14) All the Rice fields turned into Chinese forest plantations
--Japan: 15) Running out of room to plant trees?
--Philippines: 16) Mapping and planting to prevent landslide deaths, 17) Nine villages of Dinalungan against logging plans, 18) Putting a stop to timber smuggling, 19) Northern Aurora opposes logging so secretary order review, 20) 97% forest loss in one century,
--Solomon: 21) Loggers have to conduct public report, 22) Loggers complain about taxes,
--Indonesia: 23) Pelalawan Police bust Alam Lestari timber firm, 24) Man has no other purpose but to restore Mt. Arjuno,
--Borneo: 25) Rainforest grown back in only 6 years? 26) Orang catches fish with stick,
--Malaysia: 27) Palm greenwashing attempt fails miserably
--New Zealand: 28) Enslaw One’s plantation is now 100,000 hectares, 29) Maori’s new forest treaty, 30) Palm kernel feedstock imports increase,
--Australia: 31) Liquidating Aboriginal Rainforest Council’s 900,000 hectares, 32) Bulldozing house lots in rare rainforest, 33) Legal challenge against Gunns pulp mill can go forward, 34) Update on Mt. Rae Forest and the firewood baron, 35) Another treesitter arrested in Little Dennison Valley, 36) Xao Xiang Yu fined $25K for cutting trees, 37) Clearing their last native forests while claiming to fight climate change?

British Columbia:

1) Forestry Roundtable: It’s an exclusive party, and you can’t come. So say Gordon Campbell, Rich Coleman and Pat Bell. This Forestry Roundtable has been carefully crafted to exclude thousands of British Columbians whose family futures depend on our forests. Why does this government want to hold a closed-door meeting on the future of our forests? Pat Bell says the doors should be closed because “some players are more comfortable having an open discussion in a closed-door session.” If Campbell, Coleman and Bell aren’t comfortable talking about what matters in our forest with those who matter in the forest, they should be embarrassed. It’s no secret that since the inception of this government, thousands of forestry jobs have been lost, mills everywhere closed and our precious timber has been plundered. It’s no secret the pine beetle has shattered B.C.’s backbone, and this government is breaking B.C.’s legs by selling timber rights and fibre access to multinationals with no ties to our communities. This government’s policies on renewable forest tenure licences deliberately favour multinational corporations, not the people who built this country. This government thinks exporting massive amounts of raw logs every single day is perfectly acceptable practice. Campbell’s government is discussing “significant issues” this weekend, but they don’t include us. http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/20080504129674/opinion/letters/forest-talk-excludes-stakeh

2) Another string of closures and layoffs in the forest industry, another bad week in the legislature for Forests Minister Rich Coleman. The Opposition started it off with a challenge to one of his earlier decisions, freeing Western Forest Products to sell some of its forest lands on Vancouver Island. Coleman had defended the removals as a way of shoring up a troubled company and protecting jobs in its remaining operations. "Since those statements, what have we seen?" challenged New Democratic Party MLA Doug Routley, who hails from one of the Vancouver Island ridings in the heart of WFP territory. "We've seen four Western Forest Products mills close," continued Routley, answering his own question. "The minister failed. He failed the workers by not getting assurances for their jobs. He failed the people of B.C. when he allowed this removal without any compensation." Coleman wasn't about to admit any of those things. As the troubles multiply in his ministerial bailiwick, he's become increasingly hostile to the critics on the other side. "I don't know why this member hates Western Forest Products," the forests minister returned. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=101a6f93-c53e-491d-97d7-888dd23f4735&k=10

3) Leonard Krog, NDP MLA: "This Forests Minister has told us that selling off B.C. forest lands is a strategy to protect jobs. A thousand jobs lost - 1,000 people on this island who are not going to have their mortgage payments met or their rent payments made. They're going to be facing EI. The only thing that this government has delivered is a do-nothing round table. My question to the minister: Were 1,000 jobs lost yesterday enough of a wake-up call?" Rich Coleman, Forests Minister: "Well, you know, on Vancouver Island there are seven sawmills and three reman plants run by Western Forest Products. They curtailed some of their logging yesterday. Some of it is going to go back as early as May 20, some on June 2 and some of it as late as June 24. They have actually told the people what days they can expect to come back to go back logging. This is what happens in the marketplace, honourable member." http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080502.BCBLUES02/TPStory/National

4) Angry property owners in rural communities on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island say they were duped into supporting downzoning of forestry land, not realizing smaller parcels of land would be affected. A new organization calling itself Residents Establishing Process, Access and Independent Records, or REPAIR, has 300 signatures on a petition to the Capital Regional District asking that zoning bylaws and official community plans for East Sooke, Otter Point, Shirley and Jordan River be rescinded. The group is also asking the ombudsman for an investigation into the process that led to the zoning changes and is planning a class-action lawsuit if they do not get satisfaction. "People have had it, and they are now unwilling to have the unfair process rip them apart yet again. This is the line in the sand where people will make their stand to protect their land," said organizer Cleo Gardener of Shirley. If the lawsuit goes ahead, it will be the second sparked by the land-use changes. The Association of B.C. Landowners is asking for the bylaws to be struck down because of the unusual voting system that decides land use in the sprawling Juan de Fuca electoral area. The land-use controversy began last year when the provincial government allowed Western Forest Products to remove about 28,000 hectares of private land from tree-farm licences on Vancouver Island. The tree-farm arrangement had seen the company follow stringent, government-set logging rules on its land in exchange for access to timber on Crown land. With the land removed from the licence, WFP provisionally sold 2,500 hectares to developer Ender Ilkay. Fearing that Ilkay's development ran counter to the Regional Growth Strategy and would see development in traditional recreational areas, the CRD responded by passing bylaws to restrict the lot size of the vast majority of forest and resource land to 120 hectares. However, the bylaw changes also stopped the practice of allowing four strata lots on four hectares and tightened the rules on subdividing lots into smaller properties. http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/story.html?id=c07fe827-14b9-46b5-87d3-f5e386c2ad76&

5) An Asian paper giant has terminated its agreement to buy the three remaining pulp mills from the bankrupt Pope & Talbot Inc. PT Pindo Deli in February agreed to buy Pope & Talbot pulp mills in Nanaimo and Mackenzie, British Columbia, and Halsey, Ore., for $105.3 million. The deal included the assumption of debt and inventory concessions, bring its value to $225 million. The company is a subsidiary of Asia Pulp and Paper, which is owned by Indonesia's Sinar Mas Group, Asia's largest paper producer. The deadline to close the deals passed on Wednesday. In a news release late Thursday, Pope & Talbot said PT Pindo Deli delivered a written termination of the asset purchase agreement. PT Pindo Deli, along with Columbia Pulp and Paper Inc. and Columbia Pulp and Paper Ltd., the companies assigned the rights of the mills, said it would be willing to to discuss alternative transactions, Pope & Talbot said in a news release. Meanwhile, Vancouver, British Columbia-based International Forest Products Ltd. on Wednesday announced it had concluded the $69 million purchase of Pope & Talbot mills in Castlegar and Grand Forks, British Columbia, and Spearfish, S.D., as well related timber tenures in southern British Columbia. Pope & Talbot, a 160-year-old Portland-based wood products company, filed the third-largest bankruptcy in state history in November after fighting a losing battle with the slumping housing market, a strengthening Canadian dollar, and high debt levels. In order to secure an emergency $89 million loan, the company subsequently agreed to sell all of its assets by mid-February. http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2008/04/28/daily50.html?jst=b_ln_hl

6) A historic agreement that more than a decade ago gave first nations power over land use in Clayoquot Sound was extended Friday with the help of a $700,000 cheque from the province. As wood smoke curled from the firepit on the Esquimalt Reserve, the interim measures extension agreement, or IMEA, was signed by Aboriginal Relations Minister Mike de Jong and leaders of the five Clayoquot Sound bands. "It is one step further along the path of reconciliation," de Jong said. "The days of pushing ourselves apart, of separation, of divide are over. We understand we can accomplish great things if we work together."http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=1148708c-bbd0-4a
62-b5d8-b6b73cb246f7 -- At the core of it all," says Kent Goodyear of Ecotrust, "we encourage the notion of people relating to where they live, and trying to live in a sustainable manner. This is the underlying principle that makes FSC a valuable conservation tool in my work." How does this warrant FSC certification? It is a recipe for blowdown and slides on these weatherbeaten coastal mountains, not to mention the drastic loss of salmon. It took two of these monster barges to take out the bundles of old growth forests here in Rankin Cove in Clayoquot Sound, basically high-grading cedar. http://www.fsc-watch.org/archives/2008/03/26/Logging_at_Clayoquot


7) The level of deforestation that has existed in the Ocho Rios watershed area is heart-rending. Just over three years ago, Rani Sittol and I, along with other members of our school's environment club and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the wider Ocho Rios area, planted hundreds of trees in the Bogue area. This was because of the removal of trees for, among other things, charcoal burning. Ocho Rios is not the only place that will face this problem if the ministry with responsibility for the environment continues to refuse to take corrective measures to address the problem effectively. We cannot wait until a disaster of this nature happens for the country to spend a hundred million dollars and forget about the problem until we need to spend another hundred million dollars. The ministry must forge partnerships with the NGOs that exist and supply the requisite funding for an extensive education programme for persons living in these areas, some of whom are squatters. Here, we recognise that this is a multifaceted problem which requires a multifaceted approach. The law must also be allowed to take its full course, despite political affiliation or advantage. We must teach our citizens to be futuristic and not short-term thinkers. The expansion of the Schools' Environment Programme into these areas can be an avenue through which this problem can be addressed. We should not just sit back and wait for the problem to recur before additional steps are taken. This problem has continued for far too long. The Fern Gully/Harrison Town fiasco is shameful. I have watched millions of dollars being spent over the years to resurface the roadway in the same old way and as soon as it rains, even lightly, it goes back to square one. No insight, no vision. Let's see what approach will be taken this time as we continue to rev up the national debt doing the same things the same old ways. http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20080430/letters/letters1.html


8) Regular columnist and co-creator of Brazil's environmental news website, O Eco, Sergio Abranches has great credibility in Brazil's eco-awakening. A professor of political science, Abranches uses his unique talents to reach a widening audience in Brazil for environmental, energy, and climate change news and discussion. He speaks expertly on any number of topics: from Amazonian deforestation to the current food crises to economic and political transformations for a warming world. Calling himself an "activist of ideas", Sergio Abranches spoke to Mongabay on many issues, including the current state of the Amazon. He calls for a zero deforestation program in five years though he is doubtful that Brazil's current administration will tackle the issue effectively. As to the Atlantic Forest, where Abranches has worked for years, he states that well-meaning NGOs must work together towards a more comprehensive goal. In addressing REDD (Reduced Emission through Deforestation and Degradation) in regards to these Brazilian forests, he believes that any such program must include tangible benefits for local population, including education and technology, in order to be effective. Each of these conservation issues leads to climate change, which Abranches sees as global society's overriding challenge. Abranches says that the world must approach climate change according to the worst-case scenarios: "We should pay attention not to contrarians' critiques of the IPCC reports. We should be more concerned with the scientists that are saying that the IPCC underestimated some of the risks, because if they are right we may face an even greater challenge ahead. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0429-hance_abranches_interview.html

9) Diagem Inc. reported that the Brazilian Federal Agency of the Environment (IBAMA) halted drilling and bulk sampling at Chapadao diamond mine. "The notification relates largely to deforestation caused by third parties prior to Diagem gaining access to the property," the company reported today. "Diagem had documented the deforestation which had occurred prior to the commencement of the recent drilling and bulk sampling program and is providing this information to the relevant authorities. Diagem's legal counsel reviewed the IBAMA notifications and concluded that: The notifications are not in compliance with Brazilian law and amount to malicious prosecution on the part of the IBAMA agents involved; The procedures initiated by IBAMA are abusive and excessive and disproportionate in relation to the alleged wrongdoing; Due to their non-compliance with environmental regulations and laws, the procedures initiated by IBAMA should be declared null and void. As a result of legal arguments, the company is requesting an immediate suspension of the IBAMA notifications. "This Chapadao project has the potential to become a major job creator for the community and has the promise of a significant return for the shareholders who have long supported the company," the statement read. Aside from this, Diagem recovered a 6.23 carat gem-quality diamond from bulk sampling at Chapadao recently. The sample held some 102 commercial-size diamonds, weighing in total 24.5 carats for a grade of 0.36 carats per cubic metre. http://www.diamonds.net/news/NewsItem.aspx?ArticleID=21461


10) Toronto-based Crystallex Corporation announced Wednesday that the Venezuelan Ministry of the Environment denied a key gold mining permit for the company’s operation of the Las Cristinas mine, one of the largest gold deposits in Latin America. The same day, Spokane, Washington-Based Gold Reserve Inc. reported that the ministry also plans to rescind an environmental and social impact approval, which had been granted to the company in March 2007, for the neighboring Las Brisas gold and copper mine. According to statements released by both companies, the ministry based its decision on issues regarding the indigenous peoples, the small miners, and the environmental health of the Imataca Forest Reserve in Venezuela`s mineral-rich southeastern Bolívar state where the mines are located. Crystallex stocks plunged nearly 50% in Toronto following Wednesday’s news. They had already suffered a 26-day decline due to investor speculations on the ministry’s position, according to the Toronto Star. Gold Reserve’s stocks dropped 24%. Despite investor attitudes, the president of Gold Reserve, Doug Belanger, said “the company has not been formally notified of this decision and is working with various government officials to solve this matter.” “We are prepared to protect our rights to Brisas through the Venezuelan legal system and, if necessary, other avenues,” Belanger stated on behalf of the company’s board of directors. Crystallex is also “committed to defending its rights in the Las Cristinas project and intends to respond to this matter vigorously,” the company statement prepared by company spokesperson Richard Marshall affirmed. The Las Cristinas project is owned by Venezuela’s state mining corporation, the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana (CVG), and has been contracted to Crystallex since 2002. Before Wednesday, environmental impact studies, bonds, and tax permits had been approved for the mine, and the company was awaiting the final nod of permission from the ministry. http://www.netnewspublisher.com/venezuelan-ministry-of-the-environment-puts-breaks-on-gold-min


11) It is common knowledge in Bangladesh that our forests have been decimated in recent decades. Less apparent than the loss of forests is the loss of other goods and services that forests provide particularly to the neighboring poor people whose well being and livelihoods depend on these forests. Rural homesteads all over the country have vastly increased tree production in recent decades, but according to knowledgeable people the collective production of households will never be enough to meet the energy or construction needs of a fast growing population. Commercial fuel wood sellers hire the poor to comb through existing Reserve Forests and Protected Areas to extract whatever they can for sale. Brick-fields are constructed inside or next to Reserve Forests to use wood as a primary energy source. Disappearance of mature commercial timber is as serious as the wood supply situation. The problem of over-extraction has been accentuated by land-grabbers, often with powerful political protection and bureaucratic support. The deep forests of Bhawal have now been legally titled for factories, homestead and other private uses. Other forests have met with similar fate in varying degrees. I understand from experts and concerned persons that as of now, many of our forests are already "dead", meaning that there are no saplings in the lower and middle story to replace them when the older trees die. The following is a "short list" of actions that are most urgent and necessary if we are to recover the healthy and productive forests that we once had: 1) Enable poor communities to invest in forest protection and benefits; 2) Enable private investment in commercial timber production; 3) Allow forest benefits to be kept by beneficiaries at the time of transaction; 4) Publicly end the revenue targets implicitly handed to the forest department; 5) Quantify and communicate the enormous non-cash economic contributions of forests; 6) Make our forests carbon production centres for the poor in rural areas; 7) Recognized and accept the existence of a profound and persistent bias against ethnic minorities in forest areas; 8) Make "transparency" and formal "participation" the two leading characteristics of the entire forest sector. http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=34688


12) When the Buddha arrived in Kusinara and lay down between two Sal trees, they burst into flower out of season and sprinkled their petals over him. Ananda expressed amazement that the very trees were revering him, the Buddha said: “Ananda, these Sal trees burst into flower out of season in homage to the Tathagata and covered his body…But the monk or the nun, the lay man or the lay woman who lives practicing the Dhamma properly and perfectly fulfills the Dhamma, he or she honors, reveres and respects the Tathagata with the highest homage” (D.II,137-8). Being Vesakha I thought it appropriate to say something about Sal trees. The Sal tree (Shorea robusta) is sala in Pali and occasionally assakanna because the leaves resemble a horse’s ear (Ja.VI,528). Sal is a majestic tree growing up to 45 meters in height and having a girth of 3.6 meters, with ovate oblong leaves and pale yellow flowers. Its difficult to find huge Sal trees today, they are almost always cut down before they become what the Buddha called “forest monarchs” (vanaspati, S.IV,302). Once I saw one on the edge of Corbett National Park that must have been about 40 meters and I am told that there are still giants growing in Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal. The tree is described as having dark green leaves, a straight trunk and being beautiful to see (Ja.V,251). In the light of this story and the belief that the Buddha passed away during Vesakha, it is interesting to note that the Sal usually blossoms in March-April and occasionally in May, if there has been a lot of rain. The huge Sal trees that grew in the lower reaches of the Himalayas had leaves and foliage, bark and shoots, soft wood and heart wood (D.III,152). http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2008/05/sal-tree.html


13) "Demand is very slow this year because government projects are slow to begin, but we will still be able to survive," he said. KH Lee, director of Twinwood Kiln Dry Treatment Industries, said government rules on land allocation for the industry also affects supply. "We are given timber quotas every year. There is 97,000 cubic metres of land which divided by 24 saw milling companies, if you are talking about quantity it is a problem," he said. "We cannot do anything as the government is doing its part in preserving the forests for future generations," he added. He said Brunei used to import a lot of timber from Miri and Sarawak in Malaysia but timber from neighbours is usually those of low quality as good quality timber is already exported to other countries. "Our local timber is still of very good quality and cheaper than imported timber," he said. Twinwood Kiln Dry Treatment Industries has not been importing timber for seven years. "We are not importing temporarily because the prices are too high due to the international market shortage. It is not easy to import," Tan said. With imported timber it is also impossible to compete with local products, said the managing director. Among other concerns that were raised was the issuance of approved import permits by the forestry department and the tax imposed on imports. "Sometimes it is not easy to obtain the permit," he said. Mahmud Yussof, the Acting Deputy Director of the Forestry Department, said the tax was under the jurisdiction of the customs department and not his. "(But) there should not be any problem in applying for the permit. Companies can approach the forestry department. We can issue it in three days," Mahmud said. "They can import from wherever they want. The procedures are easy. I myself approve these permits," he said. http://www.brudirect.com/DailyInfo/News/Archive/May08/020508/nite31.htm


14) The rice fields that blanketed this remote mountain village for generations are gone. In their place rise neat rows of young rubber trees their sap destined for China. All 60 families in this dirt-poor, mud-caked village of gaunt men and hunched women are now growing rubber, like thousands of others across the rugged mountains of northern Laos. They hope in coming years to reap huge profits from the tremendous demand for rubber just across the frontier in China. As Beijing scrambles to feed its galloping economy, it has already scoured the world for mining and logging concessions. Now it is turning to crops to feed its people and industries. Chinese enterprises are snapping up vast tracts of land abroad and forging contract farming deals. This quest raises both hope and criticism. Laos' communist regime touts rubber as a miracle crop that will help lift the country from the ranks of the world's poorest nations. China is expected to consume a third of the world's rubber by 2020, become its largest car market and put 200 million vehicles on the road. But some Laotian farmers are losing their ancestral lands or being forced to become wage workers on what were once their fields. Chinese companies are accused of getting rubber concessions from officials and not compensating farmers. They are also accused of violating laws, human rights and the environment, under conditions described by experts as "anarchic." "The Chinese companies in the north are a bunch of thugs," says Charles Alton, a consultant in agronomy for international agencies in Laos. However, Alton says, the "unpoliced, unregulated situation" in northern Laos is ripe for exploitation. The Chinese deny or don't comment on such allegations. "I haven't heard of the bad behavior of Chinese companies abroad, but Chinese companies which intend to expand abroad must know it is important to have a good relationship with the local people," says Ju Hongzhen, president of the China Rubber Industry Association. China's State Forestry Administration last year issued guidelines for Chinese firms running overseas plantations. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is also scrambling to put out guidelines for a fast-moving global scenario. From Southeast Asia to Africa, the Chinese are farming oil palm, eucalyptus, teak, corn, cassava, sugar cane, rubber and other crops. As in Laos, the industrial-size farms are variously viewed as an ecological nightmare or a big step toward slashing poverty. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/05/04/asia/AS-FEA-GEN-China-Farming-the-World.php


15) A movement to better maintain domestic forests, which can absorb carbon dioxide, and promote the use of domestically produced timber as part of the effort to tackle global warming is gaining ground in both public and private sectors. As a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, the government has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 6 percent from its 1990 level between fiscal 2008 and 2012. The government aims to have forests absorb 3.8 percent of the amount of emissions the country is obliged to reduce. The Kyoto Protocol holds that forests can absorb increased amounts of CO2 if they are thinned appropriately. Therefore, participating countries are allowed to count their existing forests' increased CO2 absorption capacities, as well as newly planted trees, against CO2 targets. Because few areas remain in Japan for new forestation programs, the government launched a program in fiscal 2007 to maintain the current level of national and private forests of 3.3 million hectares. The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry also started a campaign in February 2007 to encourage the use of timber produced domestically. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Japan supports the ministry's campaign. At theaters where sneak previews of the company's film "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," scheduled to be shown to the public in late May, were held, mock forests made of timber produced through the ministry's program were erected to depict the forests in the film. Amid the government's efforts, major lumber dealer and homebuilder Sumitomo Forestry Co. began to sell a new custom-built house called Taiju. The homes use domestically sourced timber as their major structural materials. The company's major brand, My Forest, also uses domestically produced timber for 51 percent of its construction materials. The Taiju house is about three times more expensive than the My Forest house. However, the company promotes the Taiju brand as environmentally conscious. The company claims that through the use of Taiju, customers will support the reduction of greenhouse gases and overall environmental improvement. Ministop Co., a convenience store chain operator, sells a 5 yen set of disposable chopsticks at about 1,200 outlets, 60 percent of its stores across the country. The chopsticks are made of Yoshino-sugi cedars in southern Nara Prefecture. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080503TDY04303.htm


16) Hazard mapping conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional office for Bicol based in Legazpi City identified several points covered by four other villages here as landslide prone areas. Arambulo said, priority concern is being given to Bgy. Aguada Norte, a densely populated village near the town center where over a hundred families are threatened by soil erosions due to a wide and deep crack left by the recent rainfalls on a large portion of a hill overlooking the residential area. These families are being evacuated to safer grounds everytime heavy rainfalls take place, Arambulo said. Vegetations that would hold back the soil have to be restored in these areas declared as landslide prone to prevent more tragic incidents, he said. "We planted hundreds of new trees on these areas yet we do not consider this an immediate remedy but a long term solution. When these trees grow up, it would certainly prevent soil erosions," the mayor said. The Labor Day tree-planting affair was not actually in form a hard labor for the officials and local government workers as it was done in a festive mode. Ragrario said, "the observance of Labor Day calls for a celebration in honor of the working class that labors hard to render services, produce foods and all the commodities we need for our daily living and build structures for our shelter and convenience among others." The planting activity was done like a picnic as the municipal government prepared foods for lunch and snacks eaten together by the participants while camped along a river where fresh and crystal-clear water flows, Ragrario added. http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1492962/

17) An information caravan in the nine villages of Dinalungan, Aurora, started to gather support on Monday for the protest against the approval by Environment Secretary Lito Atienza of a five-year logging plan by a firm in the province. Fr. Ceferino Valenzuela, the town’s parish priest, said the caravan mounted by the Concerned Citizens of Dinalungan started at 8 a.m., holding short programs in every village it passed. The 200 participants were expected to reach the logging areas of Industries Development Corp. (IDC) in Barangays Ditawini and Abuleg in Dinalungan, Dinadiawan in Dipaculao town, and at the Aurora-Quirino boundary before dusk. IDC vice president Michael Ong and general manager Isaias Noveras have not replied to the Inquirer’s calls and text messages since Sunday seeking reactions to the protest. Romulo Palma, IDC chief security officer, promised to alert Noveras on the request for interview. Noveras has yet to call on Monday. Registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1961, IDC holds two Integrated Forest Management Agreements (Ifma). Ifma No. 14 covers 9,466 hectares and Ifma No. 2001-06 spans 48,877 hectares in Dinalungan, Casiguran and Dilasag. The areas covered by the two Ifma are more than half of the 110,228 hectares of forests in the three towns, documents showed. Of the nine companies that have obtained Ifma for 150,774 hectares in Aurora, IDC manages a large portion of Aurora’s forest. Following the deadly landslides in the province in November and December 2004, former Environment Secretary Michael Defensor allowed IDC to harvest logs on Aug. 17, 2005, after a review team found its performance “satisfactory.” http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20080430-133507/Protests-growing-over-A

18) An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here recently met with the Provincial Governor of South Cotabato in order to consolidate efforts in putting a stop to timber smuggling. Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Geronimo L. Sequito of the DENR in South Cotabato conferred with Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes on what the DENR is doing and what needs to be done in the fight against the movement of illegal forest products. Sequito's move was prompted by the pronouncement of Governor Fuentes published in a national newspaper regarding the helplessness of governors in the apprehension of forest products passing through their areas of jurisdiction. It can be recalled that the governors aired their sentiments during a dialogue with DENR Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. at the 3rd annual meeting of the League of Provinces of the Philippines at the Manila Hotel last April 15. Moreover, the provincial chief executives expressed their readiness to support the DENR in its campaign against environmental criminals which was gladly accepted by Secretary Atienza. In the said meeting with PENRO Sequito, Gov. Fuentes agreed to request the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the province to pass a resolution banning the passage of logs, poles, or lumber from naturally-grown species without authority to transport from the DENR. An exception to this rule are forest products from trees cut from titled lands which are only covered with Self-Monitoring Form (SMF) and Certificate of Tree Plantation Ownership (CTPO). Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports reached the DENR that Region XII is used as a transshipment point of illegal forest products coming from other regions. Some timber smugglers devise some ingenious ways to conceal their hot cargo or use container vans which can only be opened upon presentation of a search warrant. http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=12&fi=p080430.htm&no=37&r=&y=&mo=

19) CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Environment Secretary Lito Atienza ordered a review of the five-year operation plan of a logging company in northern Aurora on the heels of protests by residents and appeals by local officials, Environment Undersecretary Manuel Gerochi said on Wednesday. "Yes we are reviewing," Gerochi said, referring to the integrated annual operation plan of the Industries Development Corp. (IDC). Atienza approved the renewal of IDC's plan in June 2007, but Dinalungan Mayor Tito Tubigan and Fr. Ceferino Valenzuela of the Concerned Citizens of Dinalungan (CCD) said they learned about it only in early April. The approved plan covered IDC's Integrated Forest Management Agreement No. 2001-06 that spans 48,877 hectares in the neighboring towns of Dinalungan, Casiguran and Dilasag. It has another Ifma for at least 9,466 hectares. But Gerochi, who heads the lands management sector of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, clarified that a review "did not mean that we are agreeing [with the opposition]." In disputes, DENR would decide on "valid, scientific grounds," he said. "The problem is we are putting emotions in issues," Gerochi said. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20080430-133765/Atienza-orders-review-of-

20) At the start of the millennium, we had less than 600,000 hectares of old-growth forest left. This means that in one century, we cut down close to 97 percent of our original forest. This may sound alarmist, but only because a national mapping of forests done after the millennium has changed the definition of “forest.” Following a globally-applied Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) formula, a hectare of land with trees over 10 percent of its area is now classified as “cover.” In other words, 10 percent now equals 100 percent. As a result of this dubious shift in definition, the government can claim that we have over seven million hectares of cover left. This may be possible but in truth, we do not have a lot of forests left. Unfortunately, bad data leads to bad decisions. Forests perform critical functions. They are watersheds. They also retain soil and manage erosion. Most importantly, they are storehouses of biodiversity that provide the natural mechanism for forests to restore themselves. The use of the FAO definition means that our capacity to restore forests, recharge aquifers, retain soil and manage erosion may actually be only 10 percent of what we think. Our water supply is at risk. We may not have that much water left. Forests are also the base of an agricultural value chain that contributes to our national rice output. Unfortunately, all administrations since martial law have regarded forests as a source of timber and as potential mining sites. Although we have an estimated 240 watersheds throughout the archipelago, barely 10 percent of these watersheds have been properly mapped, much less properly managed. Without viable watersheds, of what use are irrigation systems? Let us put first things first. http://globalnation.inquirer.net/mindfeeds/mindfeeds/view_article.php?article_id=133599

Solomon Islands:

21) The Solomon Islands government has stepped up efforts to save the country's forests from over-exploitation. The minister for Environment and Conservation, Gordon Darcy Lilo, has announced new, tighter controls on the logging and related industries, with the forestry minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza. Mr Lilo says these include a requirement for all companies in the logging, mining and agriculture sectors to conduct a public environment report before beginning operations. Sir Allan says the government has also ordered the the Foreign Investment Board not to consider any new application for logging operations in the country. He says the plan is to tighten existing legislation relating to logging operators, so that only a few good and reputable companies remain in the Solomons. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/news/stories/200804/s2230411.htm?tab=latest

22) The Solomon Islands Forest Industry Association has petitioned the government against the increase on export duty on round logs. The Minister for Forestry, Sir Allan Kemakeza confirmed that he had been informed about the petition but he was yet to sight the report. He said he will wait for the association’s submission before calling a meeting with them and other stakeholders. The new determined price on log exports was implemented on April 30th, sparking concern amongst logging companies in the country. Some are reportedly laying off workers and others have stopped operating. Logging has been the biggest revenue earner for Solomon Islands since the early 90s, but there has been widespread criticism of the effects of industrial logging and the poor returns to landowners and government. http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=39550


23) A timber company in Riau objected to charges that the thousands of logs discovered by Pelalawan Police in its concession area originated from illegal logging activities. A lawyer representing CV Alam Lestari timber firm, Juniver Girsang, said the logs impounded by police had accompanying legal documents issued by authorized agencies. "The logs were part of the remaining stock from the 2006 production year, and according to our working plan, which was the basis for felling the trees, had been authorized by the Riau Forestry Office," Juniver told the media in Pekanbaru on Tuesday. He stressed that CV Alam Lestari had paid forestry resource taxes amounting to Rp 2.14 billion (approximately US$237,000) and reforestation fees of $1.29 million for the 23,000 cubic meters of timber in police custody since April 18. "Our client paid its dues for the timber, but cannot use it because of restrictions in forestry operations in Riau since 2007," he said. Juniver played down the controversy surrounding the forestry permit issued by the Pelalawan regent in January 2003 to CV Alam Lestari to manage a concession area spanning 3,300 hectares, despite the fact it violated a ministerial decree prohibiting regents from issuing forestry licenses from June 2002. "If it's not legitimate, why did the local forestry office not point it out when the company applied for a license? There was also no problem with the timber tax and reforestation funds. Bear in mind that each and every permit held by CV Alam Lestari has never been revoked and is still valid and binding," said Juniver. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailnation.asp?fileid=20080430.G01

24) Villager Muhammad Yassin may not be aware Indonesia has reached a new record, it's fastest deforestation rate ever, clearing an estimated 1.8 million hectares of forest each year.But the 59-year-old villager of Jatiarjo, East Java does care about the forests on the slopes of Mount Arjuno, near his home. Every morning, the grandfather of five leaves his home, walking to the forest three kilometers away. In the afternoon he returns home, carrying bundles of grass for his three cows. Along the edge of a forest owned by state forestry company Perum Perhutani Unit II, Pasuruan, Yassin cultivates a plot of land some 250-square-meters in area. The former game hunter gained a permit to farm in the company's vulnerable forest areas by growing various trees. "I have no other ambitions. I just want to see this forest lush and green again, like it was before. I'll be planting whatever seedlings I can get from the village or this forest, on this plot," Yassin told The Jakarta Post. Yassin now grows jackfruit, coffee, avocado, banana, papaya, guava, kapok, candlenut and bay trees, which he planted in around 2004. Yassin is one of 17 members of the Forest Village Community Institute (LMDH) in Ngudi Lestari, Jatiarjo. Its members joined the program by applying for the so-called "foster forest concept". The "foster forest concept" was first introduced as a pilot project in 2004 by the Yayasan Kaliandra Sejati (YKS), a non-governmental organization dealing with the environment (which also operates the Center for Nature and Culture Education on the slopes of Arjuno) in Pasuruan. In the wake of the reform drive in 1998, thousands of hectares of forests on the slopes of Mt. Arjuno and nearby Mt. Welirang were targeted for deforestation by unscrupulous profiteers. Hundreds of thousands of logs from various trees including pine, casuarina, mahogany, bay and acacia were looted. Some forests were denuded completely and left without any coverage to retain rainwater, making areas vulnerable to landslides and erosion. Mt. Arjuno is an important area because it also serves as the water catchment area for more than 20 percent of the population of East Java. Yassin and other villagers affiliated with the LMDH-Ngudi Lestari program were determined to restore the forest to its previous state. The idea of village community based reforestation emerged in 2004, LMDH-Ngudi Lestari chairman Faturrohman said. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailfeatures.asp?fileid=20080429.N01&irec=0


25) There's new hope for conservationists after a rainforest in Borneo miraculously regrew in just four years. Dutch scientist Willie Smits replanted the rainforest at a reserve in Samboja Lestari using soil containing microbiological growth accelerators. He said: "We've planted over a thousand different tree species already and some of these trees are now 36 metres high." A species of orangutans have now returned to the area and tourists find it difficult to believe this was once wasteland scorched by periodic fires. Mr Smits said: "I was looking as far as the eye could see. Just one big sea of yellow grasslands waving in the wind, but no sound of insects. It was hot and sweaty, but especially the dead silence. This was a dead zone." Although saving the orangutans was Willie Smits' inspiration for recreating a living rainforest, birds and insects have started to resettle and rainfall has increased 20 per cent. http://www.itv.com/News/Articles/New-hope-for-endangered-rainforests-97747860.html

26) The male orang lives in a sanctuary on the island of Kaja in Borneo which rescues animals driven out of their traditional rainforest home by loggers and palm oil plantation owners. The great apes, which share 97 per cent of its genes with humans, are routinely slaughtered if they get in the way of workers. Often they are butchered and their meat sold in shops with the animal's decapitated head used as an adornment. But those lucky enough to be brought to the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) are lovingly cared for and nurtured in the hope that can eventually be rehabilitated and returned to the forest. Orangutan translates from the Indonesian into Man of the Forest. The beguiling creatures are great imitators and having seen local people fishing with sticks they are quick to try for themselves. The orangutan used one of the fishermen's poles to try and spear the fish as they swam by but didn't quite have the necessary dexterity. Instead he used the stick to hook out fallen fruit as it floated by. Another orang used a fishing stick to pick out fish trapped in lines set by locals. The relentless demand for land for agriculture, the continuing loss of invaluable rainforest and the worsening plight of the orangutans are told in a new book, Thinkers of the Jungle. It tells of the work of Dr Willie Smits who set up a charity in 1991 that evolved into BOS. It warns that unless something is done quickly orangs may disappear from the wild within 10 years. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/04/28/eaorang128.xml


27) As palm oil prices boom, Malaysia has mounted a campaign to counter allegations that the crop is responsible for habitat destruction, air pollution from slash-and-burn farming, and pushing orangutans towards extinction. It insists palm oil is only grown on legal agricultural land and that criticisms are an attempt by competitors in Europe and the United States to undermine growing demand for the commodity. But environmentalists say that while virgin rainforests are now off-limits, tracts designated as "secondary forests", which are also valuable habitats teeming with wildlife, are not being spared. Junaidi Payne from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said the government's stance is misleading and that the race to fulfil demand for palm oil risks causing further deforestation, both legal and illegal. "It is actually a red herring to say that Malaysia does not convert rainforests to oil palm plantations," Payne said at a recent conference on palm oil sustainability in Sabah state on Borneo island. Payne said that in the past 25 years, previously virgin forests which have been partially logged were downgraded to secondary forests, which are then deemed to be legal agriculture land. "What bothers me is the current sustained price of crude palm oil," he said. "The success of palm oil production will have an impact on forest conservation as more land is set aside to cultivate the crop." The charismatic orangutan, the flagship species for the forest conservation drive, is found only in Borneo -- which is shared between Indonesia and Malaysia -- and Indonesia's Sumatra island. An estimated 41,000 orangutans live on Borneo, including Indonesia's Kalimantan and Malaysia's Sabah and Sarawak states, while Sumatra is home to 7,500 Sumatran orangutans, a sub-species of the red-haired ape. The gentle animal is now threatened with extinction due to a loss of natural habitat, say experts who point out that most of Malaysia's orangutans live in secondary forests. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jFCBmUC9nYbjgoM0H6g4Nc3kbjFQ

New Zealand:

28) North Island forestry company Winstone Pulp International has been bought for $117 million by Malaysian-owned Ernslaw One after Overseas Investment Office approval. Ernslaw One is owned by interests linked to the family of Malaysian timber billionaire Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King. The purchase of the Ohakune company's 3900 hectares of freehold forest and licences for 10,000 hectares of leasehold forest in the Central North Island takes Ernslaw One's forestry plantation to 100,000 hectares. This makes it the fourth-largest forest owner in New Zealand. The deal included Winstone's Karioi pulp mill and its sawmill at Tangiwai. Winstone employed 300 staff. Ernslaw managing director Thomas Song was unavailable for comment on his company's plans for Winstone's former assets and its staff. Ernslaw One owns forests in Otago, Manawatu and Gisborne, timber mills in Naseby in north Otago and Tapanui, west Otago. http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaruherald/4505732a6435.html

29) The Government and Central North Island Maori have reached agreement on the use of forest land in the area to settle their Treaty of Waitangi claim. Iwi this month put a proposal to Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen, which today he said was fair to everyone. The agreement is the latest step towards a final deed of agreement over the $400 million worth of forestry assets. The Central North Island iwi collective, which has about 110,000 members, proposed the largest-ever Treaty deal -- dwarfing the commercial fisheries Sealord deal. As a result it has been dubbed "Treelord" by some. At the heart of proposed settlement are nine central North Island forests -- Kaingaroa, Horohoro, Whakarewarewa, Crater, Waimihia, Marotiri, Pureora, Waituhi and Taurewa. The forests are administered by the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, which also holds about $240 million in rental revenue collected from foresters renting land in the nine forests. Under the proposed deal, Tuwharetoa will be offered the chance to buy the Lake Taupo and Lake Rotoaira forests from the Crown. It has taken 20 years for the iwi to agree on the plan, with three previous attempts made to hammer out a deal over Kaingaroa forest since 1990. Along with Ngati Tuwharetoa, the iwi group includes Ngati Whakaue, Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Rangitihi and Ngati Whare. There has been speculation a settlement of the magnitude being contemplated could trigger relativity clauses in previous settlements, as it could push the total value of settlements past a $1 billion envelope agreed to between iwi and the previous National government. That would potentially give tribes like Ngai Tahu and Tainui the right to return to the negotiating table for a top up. Some others who have claim to the forests and are not included in the collective are also unhappy about the deal. Dr Cullen said the proposal provided the Government to hold on to some of the forest for settling those claims. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4503612a8153.html

30) Russel Norman, Greens co-leader, said palm kernel imported as supplementary feed had soared from 408 tonnes in 1999 to 455,000 tonnes in 2007. In the first three months of this year New Zealand had imported 185,000 tonnes of palm kernel meal and a recent Rural News article said some traders estimated 700,000 tonnes would be landed this year. "While we understand the summer drought has made feed scarce in some parts of the country, we urge farmers and the Government to look at alternatives to palm kernel." Dr Norman said increased consumption of palm kernel mixtures or cakes over the last seven years, excluding this year, would require up to 900,000 hectares of rainforest to be cleared for palm oil. "This is equivalent to clear-felling rainforest four times the size of Te Urewera National Park." Plantation owners were recording big increases in demand for palm kernel which was driving the profitability of the palm oil industry, he said. "The palm oil industry is knocking down rainforests and burning peat across Indonesia and Malaysia to expand production to meet the increased demand. This is resulting in the release of massive amounts of greenhouse gases and the destruction of the habitat of endangered animals such as the orang-utan." http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/3/story.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10507873


31) A liquidator has been appointed to oversee the Aboriginal Rainforest Council (ARC) in north Queensland and allow projects to continue. The ARC represents 18 tribal groups between Cooktown and Paluma north of Townsville. It was incorporated in 2001 and was designed to represent Indigenous interests across 900,000 square hectares. However, last month the Supreme Court in Cairns appointed Foreman's Business Advisers as the liquidator. A spokesman from Foreman's says the council recognised it was facing severe financial difficulties and applied for a liquidator. He says it means the company's cultural heritage mapping project can continue under the control of Terrain Natural Resource Management.The liquidator is trying to collect outstanding debts totalling more than $100,000. A report is expected to be ready for creditors by the middle of this month. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/05/02/2233635.htm?site=northqld

32) Daubtree landholders are bulldozing rainforest in a bid to lock in development rights and drive up the sticker price on their properties, a conservation organization claims. Swathes of the World Heritage listed rainforest in the Daintree, 100km north of Cairns, have been labelled conservation areas and are barred from development. But up to 100 properties set aside as "rainforest residential" areas retain their development rights. And owners of rainforest residential lots at Forest Creek Rd and adjacent to Cape Tribulation Rd, near Cape Kimberly are using earth moving equipment to clear rainforest from their blocks, Rainforest Rescue Daintree project officer David Cook said. The clearings, while legal, are motivated by a bid to drive up the asking price for the land, Mr Cook alleged. "It adds to the value of the property," he said. "It proves there's a house site there and makes it easier in the mind of the potential buyer that there is a house site as opposed to looking at a jungle for trees on the hillside and wondering how you get a house on there." Clearing also locked in council-granted development rights which expire after two years if no work is carried out on the land. "The development authority can run out if you don't do something," Mr Cook said. Rainforest Rescue, which uses public donations to buy rainforest properties and turn them into nature refuges, is now calling for the State Government to step in and order a buyback of the remaining lots. "We would like for no more trees to be cut down, for no more house sites to be created," Mr Cook said. "If the Government extended a buyback, they'd become part of the national park." Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation Minister Andrew McNamara said the State Government appreciated Rainforest Rescue's efforts to preserve the Daintree. But he said Government had already spent more than $9 million on buying back properties in the Daintree, snapping up 173 allotments. "A further 12 blocks totalling 22ha were purchased by the Australian Rainforest Foundation with State Government funding at a cost of about $680,000," Mr McNamara said. http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2008/05/03/3587_local-news.html

33) A legal challenge against federal approval of the Gunns pulp mill will go ahead after the Federal Court ruled yesterday that the group launching the action did not have to provide abond. Judge Shane Marshall rejected an application by Gunns for an order that Lawyers for Forests provide a $100,000 bond to cover the company's legal costs should the group lose. Justice Marshall ordered costs against Gunns for its failed application, estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars, and set the legal challenge for a full hearing. This is likely to take place in July or August, taking it close to the time that construction on the $2billion mill is expected to start. Lawyers for Forests counsel Vanessa Bleyer said that Gunns would run a great risk by proceeding with construction before the judgment. "That is a risk that they can take," she said. "I think it's a risk they should not take because if Lawyers for Forests are successful, Gunns would have to undo what they had done and that could be a costly exercise." She joined environmental groups in welcoming the broader implications of yesterday's ruling. "This decision vindicates the rights of a community group to seek review of a minister's decision without the impediment of costly security bonds - this is an important precedent," said Greg Ogle, Wilderness Society legal adviser. A three-day hearing will test the Lawyers for Forests' claim that then environment minister Malcolm Turnbull breached the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act when approving the mill last year. The group claims Mr Turnbull failed in his duty to have sufficient information on which to make a decision, and breached the act by approving construction while making the mill's operation conditional on the successful completion of a range of studies.The most important of these is a study to show the likely dispersal of the mill's 64,000 tonnes of dioxin-containing effluent into Bass Strait. Documents show Mr Turnbull was warned that threatened species, including whales, may suffer from the pollutants. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23625752-5013871,00.html

34) The future of the Mt Rae Forest is again in contention, pending an appeal to the Land and Environment Court. 'Firewood Baron' Bernie Smillie has lodged an appeal with the Land and Environment Court against the Upper Lachlan Shire Council's decision to deny him the right to fell the timber in his portion of the Mt Rae Forest. The Council upheld the community's wishes and saved the Mt Rae Forest, near Taralga, from logging at its ordinary February meeting. The Crookwell Gazette reported on Tuesday that Mr Smillie had originally been granted permission to take any fallen and windrowed timber on his property, but not to fell any growing trees. For the full story, please Friday's Goulburn Post, available from our front office in Auburn St, or at all leading newsagencies across the Goulburn area. http://goulburn.yourguide.com.au/news/local/general/mt-rae-forest-firewood-saga-heads-to-court

35) Another forest activist has been arrested in the Little Dennison Valley near Ranelagh in Tasmania's south. The man was perched on a tree platform which was attached to logging machinery. Warwick Jordan from the Huon Valley Environment Centre says more than 80 people are taking part in the blockade in a bid to prevent the destruction of old growth forests. "The community is very concerned that a complete disregard is being shown for the high significance of the forest locally," he said. Police arrested four people at the site on Monday. Forestry Tasmania says the area is being harvested in accordance with forest regulations. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/29/2230865.htm

36) An Auckland property developer has been fined $25,000 for felling and trimming protected trees. Xao Xiang Yu was fined in the Auckland District Court after the Auckland City Council prosecuted him for breaching district plan rules on protected trees, sediment control and earthworks. For Auckland City Environment, Jackie Wilkinson said the developer destroyed, pruned or topped several protected trees on his Hillsborough site. He had obtained resource consent for development of the site, but made no application for resource consent for the tree work. Earthworks were also done in excess of district plan limits for the zone and without adequate sediment control measures. The council served two abatement notices on Xao, but he failed to fix the matters, which led to the charges under the Resource Management Act 1991. Judge Brian Dwyer said the evidence showed that Xao had "decimated the significant and protected trees" on the property. Judge Dwyer accepted most people would not be familiar with district plan rules, but said that by deciding to undertake the business of property development, Xao was obliged to be familiar with the rules, even though he was a sole operator subdividing his own section. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10507209

37) Australia continues to industrially clear their last native ancient forests, even as their government promotes forest protection internationally to combat climate change. Australia's new government led by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has ratified Kyoto, appears genuinely committed to global climate change policy, and speaks often of how Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the world must protect primary forests to solve global climate change. Yet in an act of unseemly doublespeak, the country that is perhaps most impacted by climate change continues to log its last centuries old trees found in ancient forest ecosystems vital for holding both carbon and water. Why is forest protection a good idea internationally but not for Australia's much reduced and climate impacted natural habitats? Despite being largely arid, Australia still contains relatively small areas of intact, unfragmented native forests which are vital for regional water, climate and wildlife. Unfortunately, large scale first time industrial logging and other clearing of these important ecosystems continues nationwide. The nation's few remaining natural forest ecosystems continue to face first time clearance including illegal land clearing and continued old-growth logging in New South Wales, tropical rainforest clearance for agriculture in Queensland, and logging of rare jarrah in the southwest's precious Gondwana forest remnants. Nowhere is first time ancient forest logging more problematic than in Tasmania where woodchipping giant Gunns Ltd. continues to clearcut ancient forests for export as woodchips to make paper, and is close to constructing a pulp mill that will indefinitely continue this dreadful legacy. The Tasmanian forest is ancient, beautiful and irreplaceable. Tasmania has the tallest flowering plants on Earth, with trees reaching over 90 meters in the Styx valley, and contains Australia's greatest tract of temperate rainforest in the Tarkine wilderness. Australia’s intact Eucalypt forests are carbon rich, storing on average 650 tonnes of carbon per hectare, much more than typical temperate forests. http://www.ecoearth.info/alerts/send.asp?id=australia_tasmania_climate
30 April 2008 @ 11:17 pm
Today for you 36 new articles about earth’s trees! (335th edition)
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Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com

--British Columbia: 1) Qualicum Beach demands moratorium on forest land sales, 2) Even young pine plantations destroyed by beetles, 3) Only 200 canoe trees remain? 4) Forest minister rejects calls for resignation, 5) Last giant western red cedar slaughter, 6) Loggers back off in Blackwater,
--Canada: 7) New add campaign against oil sands, 8) Logging parks for public safety? 9) Please God, make this industry something we can be proud of, 10) Nipissing and Tembec’s 10-year plan for logging in Ontario area, 11) RIP: Martha Kostuch,
--UK: 12) Protest at Unilever House, 13) Contaminated woodland problems when trees fall, 14) Restoring the forests of Avon, 15) Tree felling in Newton Aycliffe, 16) Do yourself a favor: Look up! 17) Trees in Finchley nature reserve cut down,
--EU: 18) Maybe a new law against illegal timber?
--Russia: 19) Finland responds to tariffs by moving industry investments into Russia
--Turkey: 20) See the blooms of the Judas tree before it’s too late
--Palestine: 21) 1,400 olive trees pulled up
--Congo: 22) Stakeholders of Congo Basin Forests meet in Yaounde
--Liberia: 23) Twelve logging companies might be barred
--Cameroon: 24) 17 million hectares still forested
--Ghana: 25) Forest plantation development
--Costa Rica: 26) Reforestation: Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Sciences (BTI)
--Columbia: 27) Speak out for the Nukak Indians
--Brazil: 28) Do we rebuild the trans-amazon highways? 29) Judge stalls dam that will flood 204 sq. miles of forest,
--Asia: 30) The ruin of the land where 2/3 of the planet’s people live
--India: 31) Tigers everywhere you look? 32) Pine trees threatening apple trees, 33) Male Mahadeshwara Hills,

British Columbia:

1) When the Town of Qualicum Beach presented a motion calling for a moratorium on the sale of land in the E&N land grant, they received overwhelming support at the AVICC. Delegates at the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention on the weekend gave the motion 100 per cent support. The motion called on both senior levels of government to declare a moratorium on the sale and land transfer of all land currently zoned as forest or resource land. Further, it called for a moratorium on development approvals within the lands within the E&N land grant area. The idea of the moratorium was to give governments time to create legislation that would ensure land management decisions are made in an orderly, sustainable and biologically defensible manner. “There was unanimous support,” said Qualicum Beach Mayor Teuni Westbroek. “Nobody spoke against it. The province has to protect the public interest.” Westbroek said the E&N land grant, which constitutes 23 per cent of Vancouver Island, were not given carte blanche. “There was as commitment that came along with that, and it wasn’t just to speculate,” he said. The motion noted forestry licensees paid reduced taxes on their private lands as a result of entering into tree farm licences and entered into a social contract with citizens whereby in exchange for sole access to public timber, with the objective of stable employment in resource-dependent communities. For the land to be sold off for development, the motion said, is a breach of that social contract/ http://www.google.com/search?q=Land+protection+motion+on+the+mark%3A+WCWC&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=

2) According to Ministry of Forests and Range data from a 2007 aerial survey, 157, 360 hectares of young pine stands across the province have been affected by mountain pine beetle. These young stands represent just a fraction of the total affected area, which equals more than 10 million hectares, but they are an indication of what may become of any future forest stands -- and it's not a pretty picture for long-term investment. Licenses holders fund reforestation through their stumpage payments. Stumpage is a complicated formula that basically determines how much a company must pay to the Crown (or First Nations, or another entity) for harvesting on their land. A portion of this stumpage fee remains in the licensee's possession in order to fund silviculture activities, but in the current market slump these have been curtailed along with logging and mill operations. "Right now silviculture is being driven by the lumber markets," says Wilson. "It shows up on the cost side . . . it's being practiced aggressively when markets are good, when they're not it's not being practiced very aggressively.' "In my opinion, that's not the way to manage a system for future growth." If license holders don't log, they aren't obligated to reforest. Now there are concerns that major tenures will simply become inactive as forest companies pull out of British Columbia and invest in mills elsewhere. http://thetyee.ca/News/2008/04/28/ReviveForest/

3) A shocking statistic quoted in our office, is that there are only 200 canoe grade cedar trees (>1.6 meter diameter) on the 1 million hectares of Haida Gwaii forest lands, and although the CHN surveyed these and licensees are required to leave them, windthrow from inadequate buffers takes many down. We have also come to realize through growth and yeield modelling we are doing that it will take 1,000 years to grow a monumental cedar (>1 meter diameter, straight wood for totem poles, etc). Three factors which will ensure cedar extinction, if strong actions are not taken: (1) Highgrading: In recent years about 50% of trees logged on the BC Coast are cedar - whilst the profile in the forest may be roughly 20% cedar (locally much higher on the west coast) So with an Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) based on forest growth where 80% of trees are hemlock and 20% Cedar, on the Coast 50% of the trees logged are cedar. The AAC should be partitioned by species to force companies to log a sustainable profile. Rather they are encouraged to high grade by stumpage policies. Futher because past logging removed readily accessible timber so the old growth left is too expensive to access and of lower average value. (2) Irresponsible Regeneration (minimal cedar): Licensees are allowed to plant any one species that occurs in an ecosystem - and they mostly plant the one species that will reach the free to grow height the fastest, without any concern for biodiversity or security. Nearly all interior sites are planted with lodgepole pine and in Haida Gwaii we have hemlock and spruce monoculture plantations - almost no cedar planted. Browse impacts on cedar occur throughout the coast, but most severe on Haida Gwaii, due to the epidemic of introduced deer eat every cedar seedling, unless it is planted in a plastic tube, and the companies are loathed to pay $2 for those. MOF data for Haida Gwaii show that although 37% of old growth was cedar, only 2% of second growth is cedar. (3) Climate Change: UVic professor Richard Hebda and UBC Forest genetics prof Sally Aitken's research shows cedar is threatened in its current range by climate change. Dr Hebda believes that cedar on vancouver island is already dying back, though I don't believe that his observations are widely recognised yet. Climate change is however recognised to be a factor in the deceline decimating yellow cedar in South East Alaska and perhaps in some areas on the BC coast. The reduction in snow has allowed a fungus to thrive that is involved in the decline. Conclusion: Without intervention by ENGOS and First Nations, old growth cedar is slated to go the way of the atlantic cod. geza@vamos.name

4) B.C. Forests Minister Rich Coleman is rejecting calls for his resignation. The United Steelworkers Union, representing most forest workers in the province, says Coleman should quit for failing to help the forest industry, which is struggling under the weight of a high dollar and depressed lumber markets. The union accused the B.C. government of being part of the problem with policies that have given forest companies a free hand and allowed the export of too many raw logs. But Coleman is refusing to step down, saying the government is working with stakeholders, including unions, to find ways to make the industry work better in the future. "We're going to take this time to actually look at the future of forestry and work really hard to see what will make it tick in the next generation," he said. NDP leader Carole James said she's appalled by Coleman's stance. "For a Liberal government to throw in the towel on a major industry that supports jobs, that supports communities, that support tax base and small businesses, it's just unbelievable to me that they would do that," she said. "They seem to think that the forest industry is part of our past and not part of our future". Coleman said he's also considering the steelworker union's 10-point plan to help the industry. That plan calls for changes in the softwood lumber deal with the U.S., halting raw log exports, and more incentives to encourage domestic timber processing. http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5hPlyN3U_OxGJr9_pUl0kKt_CTzDA

5) Almost half the wood that comes in is western red cedar. It's one of the few products that is still in demand in a global wood-products market reeling under the collapse of the U.S. housing industry. But the rush this spring to get cedar out of the Coast's mountainsides and into luxury homes in the U.S. has created worries that a short-term, supply-side glut could hit this one bright spot in an otherwise depressed coastal forest industry. "Cedar is all that's keeping the Coast afloat," said falling contractor Mike Hennigan, co-chair of the Western Fallers Association. "That means all the companies are pushing. They are saying, 'Get all the men you can out there to knock it down so we can yard it. Give us the wood because if we can get our cedar to market first, we are going to be okay.' " Fallers say they are working steep hillsides in deep snow in some cases so companies can get as much cedar as they can to market while prices remain strong. There's no question that the cedar market is healthy, said Dave Lewis, executive director of the Truck Loggers Association. Two-thirds of North America's supply of cedar comes from B.C., so producers here typically set the price, rather than being price-takers as is the case with lower-valued commodity lumber. Last year's strike, coupled with a late spring this year -- there is still up to five metres of snow on some mountains -- has led to a supply-side shortage that has pushed prices for premium-grade deck planks to record highs. Madison's Canadian Lumber Reporter quotes this week's price for premium two-by-four decking at $975 US per thousand board feet. Commodity lumber two-by-fours are selling for $210 US a thousand board feet. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=29597c92-4ff3-4cae-82ca-8fd5094c

6) Lizzie Bay Logging has given up its rights to log in a controversial area of Blackwater Creek. A Ministry of Forests and Range spokesperson this week confirmed the company had decided not to harvest timber in tree licence area BL002. While there are no plans to re-sell the licence at this time, said the spokesperson, it can be re-sold in the future. That’s good news for the community and the Blackwater Stewardship Group. The group grabbed headlines close to a year ago when it set up a protest camp near the proposed logging area. Protesters wanted to save a 17-heactare area where traditional medicinal plants and valuable pine mushrooms were regularly harvested. They claimed that there had not been proper consultation between the residents in the area, the N’Quatqua First Nations band, and B.C. Timber Sales. “We have started to dialogue with B.C. Timber sales and they have been really open to communicate and hear our concerns and they have expressed their intent to continue to meet with us periodically,” said Blackwater Stewardship Group member Mariko Kage. “We were able to confirm last Friday that, yes, indeed Lizzie Bay has returned its licence and they do not plan to have any harvesting this spring or summer.” Kage, while pleased with the development, said it is most likely the result of trouble in the timber industry as a whole, which has seen a steady decline in lumber prices, the downturn in the U.S. housing market and the appreciation of the Canadian dollar. “We are happy that we were part of delaying the process a little bit to the point where market concerns took over,” said Kage. http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/pique/index.php?cat=C_News&content=Blackwater+reprieve+1517


7) Conservationists will be rolling out an advertising campaign and dispatching polar-bear-suit-clad protesters this week in an attempt to derail Alberta's mission to Washington that is aimed at propping up the province's environmental image south of the border. Ron Stevens, Alberta's deputy premier and Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations, said he will stress his province's commitment to “environmentally sustainable development of the oil sands” when he meets with U.S. government officials, industry representatives and policy analysts this week. But he will also be trailed by protesters and a full-page newspaper ad featuring an oil-soaked maple leaf that describes Canada's oil sands as a major contributor to global warming and a supplier to the United States of the “world's dirtiest oil.” The $12,000 (U.S.) ad that will run Tuesday in Roll Call, Washington's congressional newspaper, is backed by a coalition of environmental groups, which also criticize Alberta's soon to be launched $25-million advertising campaign aimed at improving the province's “brand” and “perception.” “We can't compete with a $25-million PR budget that the Alberta government's allocated to try and convince lawmakers in Washington that everything's okay,” said Aaron Freeman, policy director of the Environmental Defence, a Toronto-based advocacy group that is backing the U.S. advertising. “But at the end of the day, we don't need that kind of budget because you can't paint a black hole green and the tar sands is a very big, black hole.” Industry plans to spend $100-billion over the next decade in northern Alberta's oil sands with an eye to tripling oil production. Meanwhile, a fraction of that has been spent on developing clean and renewable energy. Still, Mr. Stevens plans to tell U.S. officials about Alberta's commitment to clean energy, its greenhouse-gas reduction policy and its $148-million investment in developing technology that could capture and store emissions. http://forestethics.org/article.php?id=2132

8) The City of Westmount has assured residents that a recent tree-cutting operation in Summit Park was undertaken in the interest of public safety. As the last of the snow was melting on the summit towards the end of last month, some visitors to Summit Park may have noticed that a considerable amount of tree cutting — reducing a few tall trunks to stumps in some cases, and leaving behind piles of logs — had taken place around the entrances to Summit Park's main paths. The matter was also raised by resident John Johnston at this Monday's city council meeting. "I've noticed in the last few days a number of trees that have been cut down in that area," Johnston said during question period. "I'm not sure why they've been cut up. They're not rotten. I looked at them myself. Certainly, there are bundles of trees around. But why? Has the path been widened?" City Councillor George Bowser, who chairs the Community Safety Committee, said he was told the trees were taken down in places where they were deemed to be a danger because of their proximity to where people walk. "When they're taken down, the resulting logs are left to decompose in situ," Bowser said. "I'm sure that in every case they were deemed to be unsafe. It would be beyond my comprehension that someone would take a tree down for no reason at all. http://www.westmountexaminer.com/article-208154-Summit-Park-trees-cut-down-for-safety-reasons.

9) LITTLE RAPIDS — The federal government is helping ensure that forestry stays alive and well in this province. Senator Ethel Cochrane, on behalf of Gary Lunn, minister of Natural Resources, announced the next five-year phase of the Model Forest of Newfoundland and Labrador (MFNL) Thursday. Cochrane said Canada’s Forest Communities Program is spending $1.475 million through MFNL over the next five years. She said the program will bring people, industries and knowledge together. She said that will help develop ideas and innovations and to better use our forests. “The model forest has been going on for 15 years and now what we’re doing is extending it,” Cochrane said. “We’re extending it beyond Newfoundland and we’re going to be able to get ideas and share ideas with other provinces and international partners. By the sharing of knowledge, we’re going to really progress.” She said five years ago the province had three pulp and paper mills going strong, but the modern picture is a bit different. “Today we have one in Stephenville that is gone. We had an announcement made yesterday (Wednesday) in Grand Falls-Windsor that they laid off 13 people. “We have to find innovation. In the next five years, please God, we’ll find this industry — the forest industry — hopefully, become an industry we can be very proud of.” Dr. Muhammad Nazir, president of the Model Forest, said the program will help forge better partnerships within the communities that use the forests and have a traditional stake in the industrial sector. “Rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador depend a lot on the resources,” Nazir said. “In the past they worked individually with the forest industry. “With the increasing mechanization they have a sense of loss in those communities. They’ve lost jobs, they’ve lost control of the resources, so there is a feeling the communities are not being sustained — the ones who used to depend on the forest. This program is an attempt to ensure ways and means are found to make those communities who depend on the forest resources more sustainable.” Dr. John Richards, director general of the Atlantic Forest Centre of the Canadian Forest Service, said the new program is supported by the Canadian Forest Service. http://www.thewesternstar.com/index.cfm?sid=129190&sc=23

10) Representatives from the Province, Nipissing Forest Resources Management and Tembec Lumber presented a ten year plan for logging in the area. The meeting was well attended by interested residents. One of the major concerns presented by the residents dealt with safety along Hawthorne Dr. As well, some people were concerned with the damage the logging trucks would do to the road and single lane bridge. Representatives of the Province indicated one of the values of such logging plans and public meetings was the opportunity it presents to ensure the local concerns are covered within the restrictions of the plan. They feel these concerns can be ameliorated with appropriate controls to be added to the management plan. Residents were encouraged to send their concerns in writing by June 23, 2008 to: Ministry of Natural Resources North Bay District 3301 Trout Lake Rd. North Bay, ON P1A 4L7 Fax 705-475-5500 Attention Guylaine Thauvette, Nipissing Area Forester 705-475-5539 Email: Guylaine.thauvette@Ontario.ca http://computerfella.wordpress.com/2008/04/24/nipissing-forest-resources-management-mtg-2/
11) EDMONTON — Longtime Alberta environmental activist Martha Kostuch has died at the age of 58. Kostuch had fought for decades to preserve Alberta’s pristine wilderness from development and had recently urged the government to take time to figure out the social impacts of oilsands projects before pushing forward. She had said that one of her greatest achievements had been helping to fight the Oldman River dam in southern Alberta. The dam was completed, but the Supreme Court issued a ruling saying large projects in Canada could not go ahead without environmental impact assessments. Kostuch, who worked as a veterinarian, came to Alberta from Minnesota more than three decades ago. Kostuch was also known as a habitual tree hugger. Her son Mark remembers her hugging trees throughout his youth. "When your mom goes out and hugs a tree when you have your friends over, it's embarrassing," he said. He's long past that now. "Everyone in my family is hugging a tree right now." Kostuch asked that people not give money to charity on her behalf, but instead do what they can to help the environment -- change a light bulb, recycle more or just hug a tree. http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/Alberta/2008/04/23/5367381.html http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?id=6935ae6e-f9c1-438f-b44c-869887596f4f+&p=2


12) Demonstrators have staged a protest at Unilever House in London to highlight the destruction of the rainforest. A Greenpeace group scaled ladders on to a balcony at the Victoria Embankment site, while a second demonstration took place at a factory in the Wirral, on Merseyside. A spokesman said the protests coincided with a report released by Greenpeace called Burning Up Borneo. http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5i6MoflTz4-DgpmzlXmi-R9TD2I_g

13) The woodland had been attracting over 21,000 visitors a year. Now, its future is uncertain as the council's contamination unit awaits the outcome of new tests on the unwelcome legacy left by the dump. The concern about how the pollution may be coming to the surface was aired in a private briefing to local councillors by the consultants who did the initial investigation. Councillor Bill Fernie, Wick, was among the majority who supported the move to close off public access. He said yesterday: "We were told that there were potentially dangerous chemicals within the site. We didn't get any details about the extent of the pollution. "We were, however, told that it could be coming to the surface when the boles and roots of trees become exposed or when tyres float to the surface. The site is prone to quite a lot of underground movement, which is a concern." Mr Fernie said that at the ward business meeting, the majority of local councillors were in favour of closing the woodland to err on the side of safety. He said: "I certainly wasn't prepared to take the risk of leaving it open if there was the slightest chance that somebody could be endangered." The consultants are carrying out further work to find out more about the presence and spread of the pollution. Mr Fernie said it could be that the woodland reopens but with parts of it fenced off. Twenty-five neighbouring householders have been assured that they are not at risk from methane and other gases associated with the tip. But the year-long initial probe, which involved 26 boreholes and 25 trial pits, did find raised levels of heavy metals and arsenic as well as the presence of asbestos within the soil and surface waters. http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4457/Uncertain_future_for_woodland.

14) The Forest of Avon covers 410 square miles in and around Bristol. The long-term goal is to increase woodland to cover 30 per cent of Avon within 40 years - that would mean 15 million trees being planted. More than a million trees have been planted since 1992 and the Manor Road site is part of that long-term goal. Mr Bonner said: "Of course the more trees we have, the better it is for climate change and the environment. But trees also do a lot more than that. They give a sense of well-being. "We work with developers to advise them on how they can incorporate green space and woodland into their designs, because that's what people want. "People want places on their doorstep where they can see trees and feel a sense of being close to nature and the environment. "If you take anyone who is feeling stressed and put them in a woodland or glade, it changes the way you feel and think straight away." The Forest of Avon is funded by the Countryside Agency and the Forestry Commission and works in partnership with all four local councils. When the Evening Post ran a promotion alongside Forest of Avon to invite people to sponsor trees at £5 each, readers applied in their thousands for the chance to create the woodland, and 4,000 volunteers donned their Wellington boots to plant more than 2,000 trees. Mr Bonner said: "The reason they are so popular is because people feel they are actually doing something. "A lot of people are worried about the environment and you can give money to charity but if you can go out and plant a tree and look at it later on and see a woodland created out of it, it gives you a great sense of achievement. "Now there are people there all the time walking through beautiful woodland." In 2000, more than 6,000 people turned out to plant 3,000 trees in the Millennium Woodland - another Forest of Avon site near Siston Common, and the 2001 project was instigated because of its success. In 2001, the project received an award from council officials. The Change 21 Award, given by Bath and North East Somerset Council, acknowledged the commitment to a sustainable future to improve the quality of life in local areas. The Forest of Avon is building community forests to improve the environment, assist economic growth and enhance people's health, well-being and quality of life. http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=144913&command=displayContent&sourceNode

15) I would like to thank Newton News for mentioning the alarm over tree felling in Newton Aycliffe. They are being felled and lopped all over the area and it’s distressing to see good young healthy trees being destroyed. They are alive and beautiful. Like us they were created for a purpose, to provide homes for birds, insects and animals, and help prevent flooding. When trees are felled or lopped their wounds should be treated, I have never seen that done here and that is extreme cruelty, it’s the same as having a finger taken off and being sent home without any treatment. Thanks for letter and photographs sent to Newton News. Those trees were behind the Bluebell Garage on the "Aycliffe Way", and were planted many years ago as a symbol to what "Aycliffe Way" is all about, something to enjoy. One fine evening last summer I decided to go out on my "Buggy". and made my way through Bluebell Wood turning left to join the "Aycliffe Way" behind the Bluebell Garage. It’s lovely countryside with birds, rabbits and trees in abundance. To my horror I had to pull up because my way was blocked with dozens of sawn down trees. It resembled an earthquake, no warning, no sign to say tree felling was in operation, the workmen had gone home, and this is a popular, well used public footpath. The Avenue of trees had been there for many years, so now they have gone and we are left with a hundred yard long damaged footpath and no trees. I ask myself, WHY?, For me it was organised vandalism, and someone should answer for it. People like the Woodland Trust and the RSPB, work their socks off to keep our countryside beautiful and actions like this must make them feel they are wasting their time. I was round there again last week and more trees have been cut down and piled up at the side of the path. I get the feeling no trees are safe in this area. The Council say the trees and doves are not native to this country, but these trees were a few years old, and native or not they were healthy and thriving. So what was the problem? There are gardens in this country filled with trees and shrubs from abroad, so I am afraid that excuse is hollow. http://www.newtonnews.co.uk/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=436&mode=thread&order=0&thol

16) It's fanciful, of course it is, especially now most of us only have the street, the house, or the block of flats; and we can never know. But we do know that when the trees that grace our street, our road, our courtyard, are threatened with toppling, we do not like it one bit. At least now there is a system, thanks to the London Tree Officers' Association – that gives tree-lovers a chance to fight back when the insurance company or the council sends someone with a chainsaw. In the car at the red traffic light, feeling your blood pressure start to mount as you see that, on the other side of the junction, the traffic still isn't moving, do yourself a massive favour: look up. What may swim into your line of sight is greenery. We've been without it for five months, do you realise? And now it's back. Those things called trees, those tall roadside posts that for the whole winter long you haven't glanced at, that have seemed no more than dark straggly alternative streetlamps without the lighting, have suddenly in the past 10 days sprouted life, and now, this week, are at their most intense. For example, look at the horse chestnuts, the conker trees beloved of schoolboys, if you live in an area lucky enough to have them. Go on, look. Once you do, you'd have to have a soul made of concrete not be stirred, for right now, at least in southern Britain, the buds have just burst and the leaves have poured forth and they are of a quite spectacular colour. It's green, of course, but it's a special green, it is more than emerald, it is iridescent, as if the leaves were fresh-painted, as if they were glowing from the inside; and in the next few days they will be joined by giant upright white blossoms, big as a bunch of bananas, commonly known as Roman candles. The whole thing then looks like a living firework display, and it's free, and no streetlamp ever looked like this. It's not just the horse chestnuts; cherry blossom and apple blossom is out now in gardens, as are the lilacs, and in hawthorn hedges there is a green mist of leaf wrapped around the branches. Is there perhaps something in us that goes far, far back, to account for our love of trees, something more than beauty or utility? Some deeper attachment formed during the aeons when we lived in the forest? Is there perhaps something in us that goes far, far back, to account for our love of trees, something more than beauty or utility? Some deeper attachment formed during the aeons when we lived in the forest? http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/green-giants-our-love-affair-with-trees-815329.

17) Hundreds of trees in a Finchley nature reserve were cut down last summer in what has been branded an "environmental crime". Around 500 trees on the Glebeland Nature Reserve, in Finchley, were cut down and shredded into chippings by tree surgeons, according to volunteer conservationst Dr Oliver Natelson, who spends his weekends maintaining the reserve. Dr Natelson discovered the damage in October last year. He immediately began a survey and has submitted a report to the council based on its findings. "Everybody who helped me with the survey is shocked at the devastation," he said. "It's generations of trees that are 50, 60 years old and it's absolutely catastrophic." "There were also some smaller trees that were cut to about chest height and had all of their branches removed. They're just stumps now.The large canopy trees were cut down to the ground. "I've surveyed the site completely and there was a massive area stripped of vegetation. What was in seed is now coming up but there are very, very few trees." The trees stood along the border of the North Circular, where the reserve begins, and Dr Natelson says they formed a natural barrier to noise, pollution and rubbish that now drifts in off the busy A-road and threaten to damage the ecosystem. "There are huge numbers of plastic bags blowing in to the area now," he said. "Some marked 'biohazard' that could have needles or blood or anything in them." http://www.hendontimes.co.uk/mostpopular.var.2217864.mostviewed.hundreds_of_trees_cut_down_in_


18) The European Union has no region-wide law preventing the import of illegally logged wood products, and there can be a wide gap in price between products made from well-managed forests and products from poorly managed forests. That soon could change. Stavros Dimas, the EU environment commissioner, plans to propose a regulation at the end of May that would require importers and many retailers of wood products to show how the wood was obtained and where it is being sent next in the supply and production chain. The regulation would put the onus on EU governments to stop importers and retailers buying or selling wood from illegal sources, said Barbara Helfferich, a spokeswoman for Dimas. To stay in compliance, companies would probably be able to rely on some existing methods, like certification by the Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, an international nonprofit organization that sets standards for responsible forest management, she said. To become law, the proposal would need the approval of EU governments and the European Parliament. But the effort already has important supporters, including Jean-Louis Borloo, the French environment minister. Borloo has vowed to use the French presidency of the EU, which begins this summer and runs for six months, to support moves to push through a law to help fight illegal and unsustainable logging. Environmentalists say stricter regulation is urgent because deforestation is responsible for about one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions - more than from the world's transportation sector. Environmentalists also say that Europeans who fuel demand for hardwoods have a responsibility to do more to help stop illegal logging if they are serious about tackling climate change and biodiversity loss. http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/29/business/greencol30.php


19) Finnish forest industry group UPM and Russian Sveza Group have today signed an agreement to form a joint venture company. The target is to build a state-of-the-art forest industry facility in the Vologda region of Northwest Russia. The letter of intent on the project was signed on December 19, 2007. Each party will hold 50 percent of the share capital of the new company, OOO Borea. Mr Andrey Kashubski, Managing Director of Sveza Group will act as the first Chairman of the Board in the new company. The chairmanship will rotate between the companies. The start-up of the company operations is still subject to approvals by the relevant competition authorities, including the EU Commission. The planned industrial complex would include a modern pulp mill, a sawmill and an OSB building panels mill in the community of Sheksna, in the southern part of Vologda. The planned capacity of the pulp mill would be 800,000 metric tonnes, the sawmill 300,000 cubic meters and the OSB mill 450,000 cubic meters. The joint venture will continue with the feasibility study and permitting process of the project. Ensuring sufficient logging rights on financially sound conditions is the essential precondition for future investment decisions. In addition, the Russian Federation should confirm financing of the infrastructure projects in the region. http://www.fordaq.com/fordaq/news/UPM_Sveza_joint_venture_16879.html


20) The Judas tree goes through an amazing transformation. In the spring, out of a seemingly bone-dry body and branches, flowers blossom as if to assert the vividness of life. But these rare flowers have a life of only 20 days. Their time has come and will go in an instant. Their purple flowers have blossomed everywhere. This year, the Judas trees came into bloom on April 10 due to the early arrival of warm weather, and their flowers will be blown away by the wind in three to five days. A rainfall of Judas tree flowers will sweep through Atiyan, Hisar and Fenerbahçe parks. If you get a chance to see these trees on a windy day, you will be amazed by the purple rain sure to follow. The days we are in now are some of the last days of this year to see the carnival of Judas tree blossoms, so let us go walk down a path lined with Judas trees as a reminder. For İstanbulites living on the European side, the western side of Yıldız Park, Rumelihisarı, and the Emirgan Woods are ideal places for such a walk. On the Anatolian coast, you will find many Judas trees in the Fenerbahçe foreland, the Fethipata Woods, the Vaniköy Woods and Kanlıca’s Mihrabat Woods. Set off at once for the place closest to you and if you still have time as the evening approaches, try to visit the Judas tree exhibition in the passenger hall of the ferry dock in Karaköy. Of course, this feast is not specific to İstanbulites. Many people from several Anatolian cities come to see Judas trees in İstanbul. In Rumelihisarı, a grandmother says that she and her 25-year-old grandson came from Ankara to see the Judas trees. An academic working in Bolu consulted Erguvanistanbul Association Chairman Hüseyin Emiroğlu prior to his arrival to get an idea of an ideal tour. http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=140381


21) It was difficult for 87-year-old Jamil Khader to discover that nearly all of the 1,400 olive trees his extended family planted in February had suddenly gone missing, having been uprooted and stolen. "He became very ill when I told him. He was hospitalised and was in bed for a week," his son Khalil, from the small town of Jeet in the northern West Bank, told IRIN. The family reckon that the trees were uprooted in March but they did not find out about it until 16 April, when they got to the land, which they do not do regularly because of itsproximity to the nearby Israeli settlement of Kedumim. "We only go to work the land in coordination with the [Israeli] military. I am afraid to goalone, as the settlers have pulled guns on me in the past," Khalil said. The family and aid workers blamed settlers from Kedumim for the missing trees. "There have been many violent incidents against Palestinians in that area of the West Bank," said Emily Schaefer, a lawyer from the Israeli rights group Yesh Din, which specialises in such cases. "In the three years we have been operating, not a single [Israeli] was convicted for uprooting or damaging Palestinian olive trees," she said, noting that from her research she was doubtful anyone had ever been brought to justice by the Israeli authorities for such crimes. Jamil was born in Nazereth, in what is now Israel, in 1922. During the spring of 1948, as the first Arab-Israeli war waged, his family became refugees. "We left Nazereth with nothing at all," he said, retelling his life as a policeman with the British during World War II, a soldier with the Arab armies in 1948 and later as a police officer with the Jordanians when they ruled the West Bank. The last job gave him enough money to purchase the plot of land near Nablus, which has become the family's most important possession. They, like others, have become increasingly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood as harsh restrictions on movement have cut them off from their former jobs as labourers inside Israel. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/a3f698dd0bd7571862c2a8d5508de050.htm


22) Stakeholders of the Congo Basin Forests met in Yaounde on April 24 to celebrate Forest Day. Initiated by the Central Africa Regional office of the Centre for International Forestry Research, CIFOR, the Forest Day aims to bring together regional stakeholders to chart ways of stemming the tides of a phenomenon that remains a bane of progress to humanity. Observers hold that it was incumbent on the stakeholders to hold such discussions given that deforestation and degradation of tree-based systems contribute about 20 to 25 percent of green house gas emissions. Speaking at the occasion at the Yaounde Conference Centre, the Regional Coordinator of CIFOR, Cyrie Sendashonga, said the meeting offered an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss the concept of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, REDD. To her, the meeting was charting stakes and plight of a region that has the second largest rainforest in the world. Given that this region, whose populations depend largely on natural forest resources, is likely to be hard hit by climate change, the over 100 forestry stakeholders focused their debate on forest and climate change in Central Africa. During discussions, participants highlighted the adverse effects of climate change on human health and food security, especially. It was noted that 1.7 billion tons of carbon is released annually due to land use of which the major part is tropical deforestation. According to the intergovernmental panel on climate change, this represents 20 to 25 percent current emissions and more than the amount produced by the World fossil-fuel intensive transport sector. However, the REDD strategy can only work if local communities are given alternative ways of sustaining their livelihood and made to turn away from the forests. Given the role they play, people of the Congo Basin should have compensation from the rest of the world. It is a way of encouraging them to look away from the forests. http://allafrica.com/stories/200804281848.html


23) Barely a few months to the official resumption of logging activities in the country, there are reports that the Management of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) concession Reviewed Committee has recommended that twelve logging companies be barred for their alleged involvement in the Liberian civil war. Our reporter visited the head office of the FDA in Congo Town yesterday to ascertain the status of the twelve companies but, management could not lay hands on the documents on grounds that a committee member took the report to do some work on it. However, the Managing Director, Mr. John Woods instructed his Administrative Assistance, Madam Getrue Koryan to assist our reporter by furnishing him with the list of affected companies but to no avail. Moment's later, madam Koryan pleaded with our reporter to make the documents available today for perusal. It can be recalled that during one of the series of discussions on the new forest review and concession contract in Liberia with emphasis on Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), the Managing Director of FDA, Mr. Woods made a startling revelation at the Monrovia City Hall when he disclosed that twelve logging companies have been barred. Although, he did not name the companies at the time but sources said that most of the logging companies barred were operating in the South Eastern region of Liberia prior to the decision. http://allafrica.com/stories/200804290984.html


24) The lives of the people in forest areas are deeply linked with the forests that surround their villages. They gather fruits, food, bush meat and honey there, and their local medicine comes from the forest. Some tree species have very high local value. For example, the Moabi (Baïllonela toxisperma) bears fruit that is eaten by humans as well as by gorillas, elephants and monkeys. Oil is extracted from the seed of the fruit and used for cooking and for making cosmetics. The bark is used for medical purposes, for example to treat backache. Pygmies use this tree’s powder to make a camouflage potion that they cover themselves with in order to become invisible when they are hunting. They also use the bark of some tree species in the same way that we use onions, to flavour their food. Another example of an important tree is the Bubinga. There are no other trees in the area surrounding a Bubinga due to its mystical powers. Villagers regard their local Bubingas as sacred places, and believe that the trees contain the spirits of their ancestors. The Bantu people gather under the Bubinga to judge someone suspected of witchcraft, and they also sit under the tree to solve problems. They believe that those who cut down the Bubinga will face troubles. For example, the tree might fall upon you and kill you, or your chainsaw will fail to start up. The species is extremely slow growing, and some trees are more than 100 years old. Bubinga is highly appreciated by forest exploiters because of its hard, red-coloured wood, which is used to make furniture in Europe and Asia. These are only a few examples to give you an idea of the major social and cultural impacts that forest exploitation in Cameroon has upon the local population. The total area of Cameroon is an estimated 475,000 square kilometers, and some 17 million hectares of this is forested. The deforestation rate in Cameroon is more than 100,000 hectares per year, and the major cause is logging operations by both local and foreign companies. Logging activities are focused on few species such as Sapelli, Ayous, Iroko, Azobe, Tali, Moabi, Movingui and Ngollon. These species are being exported overseas to Europe, Asia and the rest of the world at a rapid rate. There will be no primary forest left in Cameroon in ten years if major changes are not made. Illegal logging is an enormous problem, and the government does not enforce its own regulations. Of the 100,000 hectares logged each year, at least 40 percent of them are illegally deforested. Logging companies regularly exceed their concessions and export as much as they can with no oversight from the authorities. http://achirricishmael.wordpress.com/2008/04/26/klept-au-crats-and-the-forests-beyond-the-glas


25) Government has embarked on forest plantation development, including development of the bamboo and rattan industry, to reduce the pressure on natural forest and slow the process of deforestation. The bamboo and rattan development programme (BARADEP), has been adopted as a national policy to complement the President's Initiative on Forest Plantation with a secretariat to co-ordinate issues on bamboo and rattan development, processing and marketing. Mr Andrew Adjei Yeboah, Deputy Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines, announced this at a two-day workshop on bamboo for 15 furniture manufacturers and woodworkers from the Greater Accra Region. The workshop organised by the Ministry with support from the Accra TechnicalTraining Centre and the Pioneer Bamboo Processing Company Limited, is expected to expose manufacturers to the general uses of bamboo through production of various furniture and other office and household equipment. Mr Adjei Yeboah noted that deforestation had been identified as a major global problem, saying, its impact on environment, sustainable development and poverty alleviation was immense. He said government had taken prudent steps to promote bamboo and rattan plantation and industry development to help reduce the pressure on timber and also create employment for rural and urban poor. Mr Anderson A. Mensah, Director of Pioneer Bamboo Company, noted that bamboo had the potential to create jobs for the youth and encouraged them to venture into the sector. He said bamboo products were of higher quality and more durable than normal wood and could be used for many household and office equipment. Mr Theophilus Opare Anoh, Principal of Accra Technical College (ATTC), said experiences showed that the industry was a lucrative one and urged participants to give of their best to ensure productive sessions. http://www.modernghana.com/news/163584/1/Government-taking-action-to-reduce-pressure-on-forest

Costa Rica:

26) Half a century after most of Costa Rica's rain forests were cut down, researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Sciences (BTI) on the Cornell campus are attempting what many thought was impossible -- restoring a tropical rain forest ecosystem. When the researchers planted worn-out cattle pastures in Costa Rica with a sampling of local trees in the early 1990s, native species of plants began to move in and flourish, raising the hope that destroyed rain forests could one day be replaced. Ten years after the tree plantings, Cornell graduate student Jackeline Salazar counted the species of plants that took up residence in the shade of the new planted areas. She found remarkably high numbers of species -- more than 100 in each plot. And many of the new arrivals were also to be found in nearby remnants of the original forests. "By restoring forests we hope not only to be improving the native forests, but we are helping to control erosion and helping the quality of life of the local people," said Carl Leopold, the William H. Crocker Scientist Emeritus at BTI. He pointed out that drinking water becomes more readily available when forests thrive because tree roots act as a sort of sponge, favoring rainwater seepage and preventing water running off hills and draining away. Fully rescuing a rain forest may take hundreds of years, but Leopold, whose findings are published with Salazar in the March 2008 issue of Ecological Restoration, said the study's results are promising. "I'm surprised," he said. "We're getting impressive growth rates in the new forest trees." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428133928.htm


27) One hundred and thirty Nukak Indians, some of the last nomadic Indians in the Amazon, have fled their rainforest homes after becoming caught up in Colombia’s civil war. The group make up around a third of the surviving Nukak population, and are now camping on the outskirts of the town of San José. After fighting two years ago between the army, paramilitaries and left-wing FARC rebels in their remote territory, the Indians had hoped that their rainforest home was now safe. Those hopes have been dashed. Many of the Indians fleeing the current fighting have never left the rainforest before. In the latest incidents, FARC rebels shot at Nukak Indians and forcibly displaced seven families from their homes after a Nukak man was used by the Colombian army to locate a rebel settlement. All sides are fighting for control of the lucrative coca crop, the raw material for cocaine. The remoteness of the Nukak territory makes it an ideal location for growing coca. The latest Nukak exodus comes after the recent death of the oldest surviving Nukak woman, Ewapa. Her husband, Kerayi, the oldest Nukak man, described the future for his people as ‘bleak’. Most Nukak of middle age and above had already died from the devastating illnesses that swept the tribe after they were first contacted in 1988. More than half the population have now died. Ewapa died from malaria and malnutrition after fleeing the jungle because of the civil war. She spent the last years of her life in San José, where she was desperately unhappy. She found it difficult to eat and by the time of her death had grown extremely thin. Survival’s director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘The Nukak simply want to live in peace, in their own territory. They have nothing to do with Colombia’s civil war, yet the army and guerrillas seem incapable of leaving them alone. Contact with the outside world has brought the Nukak tribe twenty years of misery, death and exile.’ http://www.survival-international.org/news/3268


28) Nearly four decades after they were first planned, three highways through the jungles and swamps of Brazil’s Amazon region are being rebuilt. Neglected in the past when they became economically obsolete, they are once again a focus of environmental criticism. The original road, completed in 1973, faced the problems of hostile natural surroundings and high costs, but there were no environmental objections. Indeed, quite the reverse. At that time, deforestation was synonymous with development, and there were plenty of incentives, since peopling the Amazon was a national security priority during the 1964-1985 dictatorship. Today, however, active environmentalist and social movements are keen to prevent mega-projects, especially highways which have the effect of spreading environmental destruction. The perils of climate change also fuel strong international pressure for the conservation of the Amazon rainforest. The BR-319 passes through 885 kilometres of tropical jungle, between Porto Velho, the capital of Rondonia state, which is on the frontier of clearcut deforestation in the centre-south of the Amazon, and Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, the largest Brazilian state, where only two percent of the territory is deforested. The rebuilding of the highway is still an uncertain prospect, as it requires authorisation from the environmental authorities after the submission of an environmental impact study. But Braga said the study should be ready in May. Opposition by the environmentalist lobby is based on fears of deforestation in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. Such disasters have happened before, in the wake of highways built since the 1950s in the southern and eastern Amazon region. In recent years the Environment Ministry, under pressure from environmentalists, has designed a mosaic of conservation areas all along the highway to reduce deforestation. The Brazilian government’s Growth Acceleration Programme (PAC) also provides for the recovery of stretches of highway BR-230, known as the Trans-Amazon highway, a 5,000-kilometre project of pharaonic proportions, which the military regime in the 1970s intended to unite the country’s northeastern Atlantic coast to the western border of the Brazilian Amazon. The road was abandoned before it was half-built, and has not withstood the fragile soil and invasion by the forest in the eastern Amazon region, where the population itself, which has been numerous for decades, is calling for its paving. A large part of its area of influence has already been deforested, so resistance from environmentalists is more muted. (END/2008) http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42158

29) A Brazilian judge has issued a restraining order on a controversial dam in the Amazon basin, reports International Rivers, a conservation group. In the decision, issued April 16 in response to a suit brought by the federal attorney’s office, Judge Antonio Carlos Almeida Campelo ruled that the government illegally awarded technical and economic feasibility and environmental studies for Belo Monte Dam to Brazil's three largest civil construction companies. There was no competitive bidding process for the contract. At 11,181 megawatts, the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River would be the world's third largest dam in terms of generating capacity. But the project has faced opposition from a coalition of indigenous groups, scientists, and environmentalists who say the dam will cause environmental harm by flooding large tracts of rainforest and blocking key migration routes for fish. To voice their concern over Belo Monte and other hydroelectric projects in the Amazon, more than 1,000 indigenous representatives are expected to gather in the city of Altamira from May 19-23. A protest last June saw the Enawenê Nawê, a tribe of around 450 members, block a major highway in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso to protest the planned dams on the Xingu river. The planned dam for the Madeira river has also seen widespread opposition. The 6,450-megawatt project, expected to be operational in 2012, will flood 204 square miles of rainforest. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0430-xingu.html


30) Growth of Asia’s factories are turning forests into grasslands and both booming China and India are to blame for this mass erosion of green cover. Forest experts have warned the soaring demand for timber, food, energy and commodities are all great contributors to the depletion of rainforests in Asia. More recent reports show that the loss of forest continues to grow in Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Australia and Papua New Guinea amongst others. Although new forests in China, India and Vietnam have been planted to reduce the loss of forest, ecologists say this will not aid the problem. New forests are being noted as man-made and therefore are said to lack the natural varieties of plants found in forests as well as species which are extremely endangered due to the heightened demand for logging. “Many plantations, in terms of biodiversity, are green concrete,” said Peter Walpole, head of the non-profit Asia Forest Network. There is a fear that the solution to the problem of rainforests being lost throughout Asia will not easily be found as both China and India imports of wood form furniture to paper have grown in the past 10 years. Asia’s boom economies have seen billions of dollars enter their economies through imports. Imports to China increased from 53 billion dollars in 1990 to 561 billion dollars in 2004. China is now recognized as the worlds leading furniture exporter. On the other hand India too follows in China’s footsteps whereby imports of wood products which include paper rose from 750 million dollars in 1990 to US$3.1 billion in 2005, said the FAO. In order to preserve rainforests and decrease the illegal logging and timber trade, solutions to the ongoing problem are being looked into at present. One suggestion to monitor the timber trade has been a universal timber certification system as well as rewarding countries for offsetting pollution through a carbon credit rewards scheme, the FAO continue to wait for some action to be taken before all of forests in Asia are lost to the demands of manufacturers. http://www.2point6billion.com/2008/04/30/asia%E2%80%99s-rainforests-face-depletion-from-over-lo


31) Just two years ago, Thapar had declared that "the tiger had been placed in its coffin." But today Ranthambhore, in his view, is a prime example of what can be done, if someone puts their minds to it. "Tigers everywhere you look," he says estatically. He says the credit for this goes entirely to chief minister Vasundhara Raje. She hired 200 ex-army men to increase protection, she put in place good rangers and took a personal interest in the problems facing the park. But Ranthambhore has a tiny population of 30 tigers. For the bigger and wilder majority, there's little hope. Thapar estimates the current tiger population in India at somewhere between 1,200 and 1,400. In 1973, he says, there were 1,800. Painstakingly, this was doubled to around 3,600 five years ago. But in the last four years, rampant poaching and poor protection have brought the number down by 2,300. Thapar is at his wits' end with the approach of the government which, he's convinced, is absolutely wrong. He says he's worked on at least 150 committees and sub-committees (since 1992, when Kamal Nath created the Tiger Crisis cell) of the government relating to tigers which have "all been a waste of time". He says all the money in the world can't save the tiger unless there's a change in tack. He also squarely blames the state governments. "The Centre can only provide money and guidance. But the state has to do the day-to-day running of the park," he explains. Forest guards are treated "like dirt" in an era of "brainless governance and absolute ignorance". I know I risk Thapar's wrath, yet I mention the task force on tigers set up in 2005. The task force was a "mess" consisting of a "strange bunch of people" who, in his view, had "no understanding of the tiger. If they want to deal with people's problems, they should set up a people's task force or a tribal task force, not a tiger task force." Thapar dissented with the final report of the task force which suggested people and tigers can co-exist. Hogwash, he says. "Between 1850 and 1950, 30,000 tribals and villagers were killed by tigers and 100,000 tigers were killed by man and you're trying to tell me the two can co-exist! There's no harmony here," he adds. Today, he stands vindicated. "Now, they are struggling to relocate villages as they realise tigers and man do not co-exist!" http://www.business-standard.com/common/news_article.php?leftnm=lmnu4&subLeft=3&autono=321386&ta

32) Apple growers in the Himachal's Kullu valley are a worried lot due to the increased acreage of pine forests in the region that has led to rise in temperature and ultimately affected the apple cultivation. While pine vegetation is commercially important, as it is valued for timber and wood pulp across the world, it also has its demerits that affect horticultural activity in the valley. Apple cultivation is a major business in Himachal's Kullu valley and is done on both sides of the River Beas in Himalayas. Pines were introduced in Kullu valley in the seventies. Apple growers, however, blame the forest department for the increased pine tree acreage in the Kullu valley. "The vegetation in this area is mainly of broad leaved tress. Unfortunately, these have been cut off and replaced with pine trees. The ratio should ideally have been 23 per cent pine trees with the remaining being broad leaved trees. The department, however, erred and most of the freshly planted trees are pines and due to this the environmental temperature has increased," said Ami Chand Bhandari, an apple grower. Orchard owners also lament the fact that the chilling hours that are crucial for apple cultivation have been seriously hampered, as pine forests have destroyed the naturally conducive temperature levels. http://www.dailyindia.com/show/233154.php/Pine-forests-eating-into-apple-belt-in-Kullu-valley

33) The hazy blue of distant mountains crystallise into sharply rising, steep sided slopes as one enters the area of Male Mahadeshwara Hills. Contiguous with the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary to the east and bridging over to the Bandipur and Nagarhole National Parks, the forests that cloak these hills offer a verdant sight for the eye that hungers for green. As one proceeds from the Kollegal side, the scrub vegetation gives way to dry deciduous forest. The ascent up the curving ghat road to Devarahalli town provides an interesting and eclectic spectacle of habitat types. The deciduous forest changes from dry to a more mixed type with some good tracts of bamboo and riparian vegetation in Madeshwara Malai and Kaudalli reserve forests. The Gopinattam and Hogenekal areas are again dry deciduous landscapes with the east flowing Palar River demarcating the state boundary. Home to charismatic carnivores like the tiger, leopard, hyena and dhole, these forests are a repository of wildlife wealth. Walks along the many game trails that criss-cross the forest yield reveal the presence of a variety of herbivores and carnivores. Sambhar and muntjac are seen quite frequently. Muntjacs are more often heard than seen and Chital is seen more around the drier and flatter landscapes of the Kollegal and Gopinattam areas. These forests form an important ecological entity; in contiguity with the forests of B R Hills, they comprise a bridge between the eastern and western ghats and therefore represent an immense diversity of habitat types and biodiversity. It is also a vital elephant corridor and herds numbering up to 20 to 25 animals have been reportedly sighted during the drier months on the banks of the Palar river. Common palm civet, slender loris, the endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrel and Mahaseer are some of the rare species found here. These forests also boast of an impressive collection of avian fauna with around 200 species found. Rare and wonderful species like the Rufous Bellied Hawk Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Osprey, Lesser fishing eagle, Oriental honey buzzard, fairy bluebird, Rufous tailed lark and Paradise flycatcher are seen here. However, like so many other wild areas of this country, these forests too have to cope with an immense degree of anthropogenic biotic pressures that threaten the integrity of this landscape. The burgeoning population of the villages around is a huge drain on forest resources. Rampant harvesting of vast quantities of minor forest produce such as firewood, bamboo, gooseberry, tamarind, honey, etc. deplete the woods of valuable biomass. Grazing of village livestock imposes a huge drain on the food resources of wild herbivores, besides increasing the possibility of disease transmission to the wild ungulates. http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Apr292008/environmet2008042965316.asp
30 April 2008 @ 12:37 pm
Today for you 32 new articles about earth’s trees! (334th edition - USA)
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--Alaska: 1) Industry no longer prosperous.
--Pacific Northwest: 2) Timber export stats, 3) When will industry ruin soil viability?
--Washington: 4) Just like big tree forests, UW forestry school almost gone, 5) GP task force’s plan for restoring volcano country,
--Oregon: 6) Politicians want big timber on public land, 7) Shameless Ethanol advocate,
--California: 8) A hundred mature trees lost to protect concrete, 9) Oak grove treesit raid imminent, 10) UC Berkeley cop’s have already arrested hundreds of treehuggers / history of UC cops, 11) History of Aussie Blue Gum in CA., 11 1/2 Harrison Ford gets chest waxed for rainforest, 12) County lawsuit against PL thrown out for last time, 13) Maathai speaks in LA,
--Idaho: 14) Last of the Caribou must be saved!
--Colorado: 15) Bill Ritter plans to unprotect roadless areas,
--New Mexico: 16) Reforesting state’s riverbanks
--Michigan: 17) Nature Conservancy’s “working forest” fantasy unravels in lawsuits
--Louisiana: 18) Mulch madness, save the Cypress!
--Mississippi: 19) Demanding new rules so builders protect forests
--Arkansas: 20) More mills and loggers shut down by lack of Diesel prices
--Southern Forests: 21) 60% of US paper comes from most endangered forests
--Indiana: 22) Powerful I-69 protests poised and ready to begin
--Pennsylvania: 23) No one wants to buy Bethleham water’s prized black cherry trees
--Maryland: 24) Traditonal Irish wake for trees murdered for a highway
--Florida: 25) National Conference on Urban Ecosystems
--USA: Baucus want less capital gains tax for loggers, 27) Rules of public right-of-ways shift from logging to housing, 28) Bush’s Billion dollar slush fund for big timber illegal? 29) Survey of Forestland Conservation Easements, 30) Excellent forestry? 31) Bull Trout protections might survive latest ESA challenge, 32) Sidewalks no easy place for trees to live, 33) We’re recycling 56% of our paper,


1) These are not prosperous days for Southeast's timber industry. The mills are starving and the loggers have left town. "The patient is very ill," said Jack Phelps, a former industry spokesman, who now works for the state's wood products program. Timber provided 378 direct jobs in Southeast Alaska last year, about 1 percent of the jobs in the area. That's down from more than 3,500 jobs at the industry's peak in 1990, according to state numbers. Those in the industry now debate whether the patient can recover. After a decade of litigation and rewrites, the U.S. Forest Service has released a plan for how timber sales and all the other uses of the Tongass National Forest will be managed over the next 10 years. Alaska Forest Association Executive Director Owen Graham hasn't found much to love in the new plan. He says it will never allow the Forest Service to sell the amount of timber the industry needs to survive or thrive. Tongass Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole said he respects Graham's position, but his own is different. "Our mandate is multiple uses," he said. He also doesn't have the funding to prepare such large sales, he said. Nonetheless, he'll release a five-year plan in the next few weeks that he says will allow the industry to stabilize. "I think this plan is something we can actually implement for a change," he said. Most in the industry said they couldn't see Southeast Alaska returning to the days when timber sold in the billions of board-feet. Not everyone laments smaller harvests, of course. Russell Heath, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, spent years fighting timber harvests he said would harm the Tongass. SEACC has never wanted the industry to disappear completely, he said, but it should be appropriately sized. "The industry should be fitted to the resource, not the resource to the industry," he said. But pockets of hope remain for timber, in small-scale sales and high-value or novel uses of this renewable resource. Wood could, some say, even solve Southeast's energy crisis. http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/042708/loc_272761976.shtml


2) A total of 879.9 million board feet of softwood logs was exported from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska in 2007. The 2007 volume was up 11.6 percent from the 2006 total of 788.4 million board feet, according to Debra Warren, an economist at the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. “ Some 546.8 million board feet or 62.1 percent of the west coast softwood log exports in 2007 went to Japan, 264.8 or 30.1 percent went to South Korea, 42.4 million board feet or 4.8 percent went to China, and 7.2 million board feet or 0.8 percent was exported to Taiwan,” says Warren. …Other statistics included in the report are: Log exports for 2007 from Washington and Oregon totaled 673.0 million board feet, up 26.0 percent from the 2006 volume of 534.3 million board feet. A total of 457,000 board feet of logs was exported from northern California, up from 75, 000 board feet in 2006. Alaska exported a total of 206.5 million board feet in 2007 compared with 254.1 in 2006. Douglas-fir accounted for 53.7 percent of the 2007 log exports; western hemlock, 13.6 percent; Sitka spruce (out of Alaska), 17.3 percent; and other softwoods made up the remaining 15.4 percent. The total value of 2007 log shipments was $544.1 million at port of exportation, and the average value was $618.40 per thousand board feet. Douglas-fir averaged $780.17 per thousand board feet; western hemlock, $521.92; and other softwoods, $460.77. http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/news/2008/04/softwood.shtml

3) Many sources agree that, “Some 90 percent of the Pacific Northwest’s old growth forests have been destroyed in the past century.” Many enraged environmentalists, however, marched into battle to save what is left of these old trees. But timber companies plug on and continue to cut, while pollution spews from the mills. Sure, companies plant trees after clear-cutting, but they’ll never wait for an old growth forest to grow before they harvest. “In 200, 300 or 400 years, these new ecosystems will collapse because the soils will collapse,” according to an article in Borealis magazine. Hundreds of animals depend on the undergrowth, and when the old trees are destroyed, the animals’ habitats are gone forever. Some timber companies argue that the young forests they plant soak up more carbon dioxide and release more oxygen than the older trees. But that’s where many scientists disagree. Oxygen decreases without these old trees. And, without old growth forests, more carbon ends up in the atmosphere. Still, logging continues and even increases. Why? According to the Environment News Service, “The Bush administration is making it easier to cut old growth trees for an industry that funded its re-election campaign. The industry donated more than $1 million dollars to the president and his party and the payback is log trucks loaded with our biggest trees.” http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?cid=96201&sid=41&fid=1


4) Washington students just don't seem interested in studying forestry anymore. The state may soon find itself without an accredited undergraduate program in forestry — despite being half-blanketed in trees and home to forest-product giant Weyerhaeuser, and its $16 billion-a-year business. Washington State University appears likely to cut its only forestry program before next fall, because of declining demand. The University of Washington, meanwhile, graduated the last of its forestry engineers in 2007. In the future, companies like Weyerhaeuser may look more to universities such as Yale, the University of California, Berkeley, and Oregon State for forestry managers and experts. "It sounds almost impossible that this state would find itself in that position," said Bruce Bare, dean of the UW's College of Forest Resources. "For some reason, students today just don't view the woods as a place they can engage in a meaningful career ... we just don't get the enrollment interest from the day they are freshmen." The UW forestry faculty this month voted 28-16 in favor of continuing talks with Provost Phyllis Wise that could result in the college being absorbed into a new UW environmental college, perhaps as soon as the fall. The UW forestry college has struggled to survive in the modern era. Undergraduate numbers have fallen from about 800 in the early 1970s to just 175 last year, when the college celebrated its centennial. Four years ago, the college stopped accepting new students into forestry engineering. As a result, its undergraduate program lost accreditation from the Society of American Foresters. The UW has retained a five-year master's program in forestry, which remains accredited. About a dozen students are taking that course. To take the place of forestry, the college introduced a new major: environmental science and resource management. That has helped revive enrollment this year to 220 students. Bare thinks just having the word "environmental" in the title helped. Students today are interested in a wide range of issues, from water production to habitat, he added. But they aren't necessarily qualified to manage big forests, either for companies like Weyerhaeuser or even for conservation agencies such as the Cascade Land Conservancy. http://www.google.com/search?q=Fewer+students+choosing+forestry&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.m

5) The Task Force recently published “Restoring Volcano Country—A Plan for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.” The restoration plan is the Task Force’s vision for the future management of the 1.3 million acre Gifford Pinchot National Forest. “Restoring Volcano Country” outlines priority areas for implementing restoration activities over the next twenty years, such as road removal, weed eradication, and de-fragmenting habitat. The plan also calls for management policy changes. Its implementation will require collaboration with diverse interests, new partnerships, creativity, and the ability to adapt as new information or tools become available. The GP Task Force is excited to turn this vision into reality by implementing restoration work to create stable family-wage jobs that will lead to streams thriving with salmon, unbroken expanses of ancient forests teeming with diverse wildlife, and wolves once again howling in the woods. You can learn more about the restoration plan and even download a PDF version at: http://gptaskforce.org/article.php?id=225. If you would like to learn more about the plan or its implementation or if you would like a physical copy of the plan please contact Lisa at lisa@gptaskforce.org. Also here’s the link to The Columbian article about our restoration plan from today’s news: www.columbian.com/news/localNews/2008/04/04242008_Gifford-Pinchot-Task-Force-proposes-20-year-f


6) Peter Defazio’s and Edward Shepard’s pro-con guest viewpoints in the April 9 Register-Guard are not in opposition to each other. Both are trying to increase the fraudulent taxpayer-subsidized logging of publicly owned trees from already overcut public lands to profit the logging industry. Yes, there were a few minor differences. Congressman Defazio says that old growth is “important to environmental groups” but knows that native forest is critical for the climate, weather and other natural services it provides. This fight has nothing to do with brokering “wins” for “environmental groups.” It’s also clear that Shepard, Oregon-Washington director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, couldn’t care less about trees and the life-giving complex ecosystem they make possible. Both DeFazio and Shepard demand that the subsidized destruction of our life-giving watersheds continue. Both want to spend tax money to take the public’s trees, soil, air and water. They merely argue over details and distract us from far more serious questions. Questions such as whether logging is the highest and best use of our remaining forests. Questions such as how to best to deal with the full environmental, economic and social costs of industrial logging. The truth is, we live in a closed system. What we have is the Earth, whatever we can responsibly extract from it, and the sunlight that falls here. Using the Earth is OK; using it up is not. We get to choose. At least for what’s left. Where will we draw the line? Where do you draw the line? http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?cid=97155&sid=5&fid=1

7) Industry lapdog. Dishonest shill. Shameless profiteer. These are some of the names I’ve heard people call Martin Jack Desmond after his April 20 guest viewpoint pushing cellulosic ethanol as a solution to the rising cost and dwindling supply of gasoline. As former director of the Northwest Reforestation Contractors Association, which has profited from the conversion of natural forests to industrial fiber farms, Desmond is in no position to tell us what’s good for Oregon’s forests; a circumstance best summed up by Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Whether he realizes it or not, Desmond has become a soldier of Big Timber, which — having conquered all but the last islands of old growth — has declared woody biomass as the new frontier of forest liquidation. Already, Weyerhaeuser and Chevron have joined forces to develop “treecell technology” to manufacture cellulosic ethanol. As you read this, ethanol factories are popping up across the United States like gaping mouths hungry for a constant supply of forest. And, conveniently, just when industry develops the technology to exploit even the smallest tree for profit, the Forest Service announces that “more than half of Oregon’s 29.7 million acres of forest lands” are overgrown and in need of “thinning” to keep down fire risk. What a coincidence! While science suggests that densely planted tree farms and some fire suppressed forests in the Southwest are likely to burn hotter than natural forests, the fire suppression argument is of little relevance to Oregon’s healthy native stands. Historically, much of Oregon’s forests have gone centuries between rejuvenating wildfires. Industrial fire suppression has been around for only about 50 years — leaving these forests well within their natural fire cycle and in no need of “fixing.” Of course this hasn’t stopped Desmond’s Biomass Study Group from eyeing our rainforests as feed stocks. The truth is, thinning can’t even reduce the risk of severe fire, as demonstrated by ecologist George Wuerthner’s observations of 2002’s Biscuit fire: “Many of the low-density, widely spaced Jeffrey pine growing on serpentine burned up even though their natural stand density is much lower than what you are left with under even aggressive thinning.” When drought, high temperatures, low humidity and wind combine — which we’re seeing more of with climate change — a fire’s going to burn, no matter how many stumps are in its way. http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?cid=96663&sid=5&fid=1


8) People who live in the west Bakersfield community said frustrations grew throughout the day as City of Bakersfield crews cut down more than a hundred mature trees. One resident tells me she has lived in her Bakersfield home for about 15 years. When she saw city crews at work this morning, she knew she had to do something to save the trees that have lined her backyard for years. Large stumps will replace trees that once lined Stockdale Highway. Bakersfield resident Marcia Bryant said she was disappointed and frustrated when she learned the trees behind her home would be cut down. Bryant said, "It was 5 p.m. on Friday and I thought what can I do? Should I sit in the tree until they come cut it down? I didn't know what to do." Bryant was so frustrated that when she could not reach city officials she posted a sign instructing city crews not to touch the large trees behind her yard. Bryant said, "I think they would be better at telling us what trees are going to be cut down, when and for what reason." Diane Hoover of the City's Recreation and Parks Department said the trees have to come down. Hoover said as part of Bakersfield's right tree- right place program the city is working to replace 111 large trees on Stockdale Highway near Allen Road because the roots are ruining the sidewalk and threatening the block wall and the irrigation system. http://www.kget.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=00636ed7-2920-4884-916c-53ce9f9980be

9) Red alert mode has begun! If you love the oaks, please read this... A decision is expected any day in the lawsuit against UC's construction plan. No matter what the judge's ruling, UC Police Chief Harrison has stated that she intends to remove the treesitters from the grove immediately after the ruling is announced. If UC obtains a favorable ruling, they also plan to clearcut the grove immediately. Now is the time! If you love the Oak Grove, here are two ways you can help: 1) Treesitters have asked for folks to join "The Oak Grove Emergency Support Team." You can email oakgroveteam@gmail.com to join the team. Please include your contact info. 2) Day to day, the Oak Grove treesitters have asked for additional folks who can be at the grove to keep vigil. If you're interested, call the oak grove ground support phone at 510 938 2109 or email citizyn@riseup.net

10) "To protect and to serve" has never been UCPD policy when it comes to student protest. Back in 1969, police enforced UC policy on People's Park. UCPD failed, and today we have a park, not a parking lot. In 1999, when hunger strikers defended Ethnic Studies, UCPD attacked the protesters. Again they failed, and today ethnic studies has tenured faculty. Recently, UCPD has made nearly 100 arrests at the oak grove and conducted numerous raids, stealing activists' personal property,blankets, food, water, and even leaflets, making a mockery of their alleged respect for free speech. Michael Schuck, a former student who withdrew from in protest of UC's misguided policies, climbed a tree near Wheeler Hall in early March to raise awareness. UCPD's response was to violate the Geneva Conventions by denying food and water to a peaceful protester. Several students were arrested for tossing Schuck water bottles. UCPD malfeasance extends into racist targeting of people of color. Recently UC Police Chief Harrison met with me to discuss UCPD's harassment of tree-sitters and the possibility of UCPD opening the gates to the oak grove to accommodate the Longest Walk, a Native America cross-continental trek to defend sacred sites and promote Native rights. After I went into the office to meet with Captain Beckford, I was arrested for an outstanding warrant-one that I had never been informed of because UCPD mailed the citation to an incorrect address. The warrant charged me with violating the court order against the treesitters as well as obstructing a police officer. UCPD attempted to videotape grandmothers sending food and water to the treesitters on Dec. 2nd -the one-year anniversary party for the protest. My "Native American Burial Ground" banner allegedly interfered with their ability to spy on senior citizens armed with pies. UC Executive Director of Public Affairs Dan Mogulof assured us that UCPD would not interfere with the party. The fact that UCPD targeted me -a woman of color-was not only a violation of this commitment, but also a racist action. Many others held the banner, but only Native Leader Zachary RunningWolf and myself were charged. Furthermore, UCPD abused its discretion: They could have simply informed me of the warrant. I unnecessarily spent the night in Santa Rita Jail instead of studying for midterms, and I'm wasting time with numerous court appearances.UC has tried to spin the truth about UCPD behavior at the grove. Mogul of claims that UCPD actions, such as building fences with barbed wire and cutting traverse lines, are for the sake of safety. However, Chief Harrison admits they are "making life difficult" for those
living in the trees. http://www.dailycal.org/article/101354

11) "After the 1849 Gold Rush, transpacific shipping was booming. Seeds of the Australian Blue Gum Eucalyptus from Southern Victoria and Tasmania were imported in San Francisco in 1853; by 1860 the young Blue Gums had reached 50 feet. Californians started planting and hyping the incredibly fast-growing trees; thousands of newly planted acres were sold as investment property. In 1876, state Sen. Ellwood Cooper promoted their use in ‘Forest Culture and Eucalyptus Trees,’ in which he wrote about his experimental plantings near Santa Barbara. But the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania in 1859 led to the gradual replacement of wood with oil for industrial energy use. When it also became known that weed from young Blue Gum trees makes good firewood and pulp, but poor lumber because it is very difficult to cure, the instant-gratification plantation bubble burst. Still, we are left in Southern California with two thousand miles of Blue Gum hedges that protect citrus orchards from cold winds and we see thousands of older ornamental specimens in our cities. Notoriously fire-prone because of its ethereal oils, the tree usually resprouts after a fire. It is aggressively invasive in coastal Northern California, but barely here in the Southland because our climate is too dry. Blue Gum is one of the most widely planted trees worldwide for the production of hardwood, pulp, firewood, honey, and the essential oils contained in the leaves. These are used in the manufacture of cleaners, deodorizers, food, insect repellents, and many medical purposes. For our urban forest we have far better choices available among the 600+ Eucalyptus species than the Blue Gum, although during the last 10 years many new Eucalyptus pests such as the sap-sucking, aphid-related psyllids have become established here. Thank UC for continuously introducing small predatory wasps to fight these pests the natural way." http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laland/2008/04/tree-of-the-w-3.html

11 1/2)Environmental campaigner HARRISON FORD has had his chest waxed in an effort to showcase the pain involved in deforestation. The Indiana Jones star - who is the vice chair of the global environment group Conservation International - subjected himself to the painful beauty treatment in a bid to raise awareness about the conversion of global forested areas Former Spice Girl Melanie Brown was a spectator as the event was filmed by Access Hollywood. http://www.pr-inside.com/ford-has-chest-waxed-for-the-r554485.htm

12) The California Supreme Court has refused to hear Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos' major fraud case against the Pacific Lumber Co. The court turned down the DA's request to review a scalding decision handed down in January by the California Court of Appeals' First District. ”Further, we conclude the state has failed to prove, on its third try, a reasonable possibility that the operative pleading's defect can be cured by amendment,” the three-judge panel wrote for the First District. The Supreme Court ruled without comment. It also denied Gallegos' request that the First District decision be depublished, which would have prevented it from being a precedent-setting opinion. The 2002 suit alleged that Palco secured a overly liberal long-term logging plan when it agreed to sell the 7,400-acre Headwaters Forest and other groves for $480 million. The company submitted false data on landslides in one watershed and didn't correct the record until the last minute -- which prompted the California Department of Forestry to adopt a less stringent logging strategy, the complaint held. The suit was filed shortly before an effort was launched to recall Gallegos, a campaign that was largely funded by Palco. The recall failed. Palco is now in bankruptcy. ”The trial court, the appellate court and now the California Supreme Court have all recognized this case to be more an exercise in spite and sloganeering than an action of any substance or legal merit,” said Palco Vice President and General Counsel Frank Bacik. Gallegos did not return the Times-Standard's phone call by deadline. http://watchpaul-articles.blogspot.com/2008/04/ts-supreme-court-wont-reverse-palco.html

13 "It doesn't have to start with big things; start with small things, start with ourselves," she said. Maathai's appearance in Los Angeles was part of an Ecological Justice Day of Awakening sponsored by the Women's Global Resource and Development Initiative, an organization that seeks to promote self-esteem in women and children through self-help projects around the globe. "When you are talking about healing the earth, you are talking about healing the quality of life for all who share in the earth," said the Rev. Cecelia Williams Bryant, executive director of the organization. Minority communities in Los Angeles, Bryant said, need to look at the rise in asthma that stems from air pollution, and childhood obesity as an outgrowth of fast food diets. "Children are full, but not well-fed. If you send children to school hungry and ill-equipped and tired, you are sending them as fodder to respond negatively to a stressful environment." In addition to honoring Maathai, the program paid tribute to Anna Marie Carter, a local environmentalist known as "The Seed Lady" for her work promoting organic gardening in Watts and Long Beach. "We are kindred spirits," Carter said of Maathai. "We do the same work, but on opposite sides of the planet." As part of the event, Million Trees L.A., a joint project of the city and community groups, distributed free trees to those in attendance. In front of an audience of more than 300 people, L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks welcomed Maathai and described her as a courageous woman who had risked her life on several occasions to save the environment. "We can live in a home without furniture, but we cannot live in a place where there is no food or water," she said. To take part in the Green Belt Movement, each new member must plant at least one tree. "If the tree dies, your membership lapses," she said. In Kenya, the Green Belt Movement has taken up several environmental issues, including the fight to reduce the use of plastic bags. "There were so many that people thought it was the native flower," she said. During this trip to the U.S., Maathai said she wanted to "try to get young people to understand the value of protecting the environment and the value of thinking about the environment that is not just in their neighborhood but far from where they live. "Most communities are concerned about survival and their immediate needs rather than the long-term effects brought by climate change that affect us all, whether rich or poor," she said. "It's important to understand that if things are bad, they can get worse." http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-nobel27apr27,1,3379094.story


14) The freezing alpine world below is home to the mountain caribou -- the most endangered large mammal alive in North America. The airplane, contracted by Panhandle National Forest caribou biologist Tim Layser, banked and made a second pass over the tracks. Then another, and another. There are few other large mammals adapted to live this high in the Selkirks, but some moose and other animals wander across the mountain tops, making the job of deciphering tracks from hundreds of feet above an extremely difficult one. According to Layser, no one knows just how many mountain caribou historically lived in the U.S. But researchers know through the 19th century, herds spanned mountain ranges across the northern tier of the United States, as well as much of Canada. In Idaho, caribou lived as far south as the Salmon River. In 1950 the Selkirk herd numbered an estimated 100 animals. By the 1980s that number had dropped to 25. Now, only a few herds live north of the Canadian border, and only one south of it in North Idaho and a sliver of Eastern Washington. Rough estimates indicate there are about 1,200 to 1,400 mountain caribou alive on the planet. Mountain caribou are a type of woodland caribou -- a subspecies that includes two other "ecotypes," said Wayne Wakkinen, IDFG biologist. While there are small genetic differences between woodland caribou and the barren ground caribou that cross northern tundras in staggering numbers, there are only behavioral differences between the ecotypes. The primary difference being the mountain caribou's choice of habitat. During winter months when deer, moose, elk and other herbivores are driven down slope, the caribou follow to lower elevations. But only for a short time. When mountain snows harden, they return to using the firm snow as a platform to reach strands of lichen that drape across high tree branches that were unreachable before. In that habitat they are removed from competition over food, and they are guarded against predators. But that survival strategy has its drawbacks, Wakkinen said. "Their whole evolutionary behavior has been to live where nothing bothers them, that's why they're up on the top of a mountain," he said. "They're actually pretty docile. If they see people they're not just going to fade into the trees and get away from you. It's actually one of their downfalls. Wakkinen said declines in Caribou populations likely resulted from destruction of old growth forest through logging, development and wildfire. http://www.cdapress.com


15) As an avid fly fisherman and outdoorsman, Gov. Bill Ritter said he appreciates Colorado's natural treasures. That didn't mollify environmentalists who said April 11 they are upset with his plans to revise the roadless petition submitted by his predecessor, Gov. Bill Owens. "The 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule has been reaffirmed as the law of the land and it's the best way to ensure protection for our last wild forests. Despite what Governor Ritter may say, his state-specific roadless petition is not only unnecessary, but it aims too low in terms of protecting Colorado's roadless areas," Vandermark said. Dave Peterson, a spokesman for Trout Unlimited, said Ritter's proposal fixes some problems in Owens' petition but it also leaves too much leeway for road-building for timber and grazing. "There is no restrictive language and it would allow roads in roadless areas," Peterson said. Brian O'Donnell, public lands director for Trout Unlimited, said Ritter's petition leaves hunters and fishermen at risk of losing the protections they have now. http://www.hpj.com/archives/2007/may07/may7/Rittersubmitsrevisionstoroa.cfm?title=Ritter%20sub

New Mexico:

16) Lowe and dozens of volunteers spent a recent day planting native trees along a half-mile stretch of the Santa Fe River that has been reduced to a dry, sandy wash. “We’ve got to do something and this is one little place we can do it,” Lowe says, wiping sweat from her brow. “And if we multiply that by thousands of other places around the world, think of what we can do.” Federal agencies, states, tribes and concerned citizens are spending millions of dollars and thousands of hours on waterway restoration projects to reverse decades of poor management and combat the mounting threats of population and climate change. Nationally, there are more than 37,000 river restoration projects underway, costing more than $1 billion annually, according to a study released this month by Colorado College. The Bureau of Land Management has spent close to $15 million in the last couple of years on its Restore New Mexico program, which includes oilfield restoration as well as work on the rivers and streams that flow through BLM land. The U.S. Forest Service spent about $500,000 on watershed work in New Mexico and Arizona last year and plans to spend just as much this year, said Penny Luehring, watershed improvement program manager for the agency’s southwest region. Just weeks ago, the agency and its partners finished planting willow trees along the Centerfire Creek in western New Mexico as part of a comprehensive plan that included removing cattle and building culverts for a road that crosses the creek. Land managers agree that cooperation has been essential in trying to treat entire river systems rather than just a stretch at a time. “We’ve been very successful in telling the story to all different kinds of groups - industry groups, conservation groups, other agencies - and they’ve all been very willing to join with us to try and fix some of these past mistakes,” said Linda Rundell, state director for the BLM in New Mexico. The work has resulted in more wildlife habitat, fewer invasive species, less erosion and the recharging of the aquifer in many areas. And managers say those benefits can’t be realized soon enough. Federal researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque predict that the fresh water supplies of more than half of the nations in the world will be stressed in less than 20 years, and that by 2050 three quarters of the world could face fresh water scarcity. The U.S. is no exception, said Michael Hightower of the lab’s Energy Systems Analysis Department. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080423/ap_on_sc/rescuing_rivers


17) Fred Jr. and Janet Roth, through their attorney Donald J. Molosky of Petoskey, filed a complaint and demand for a jury trial against the Conservancy on Thursday, April 17 in 13th Circuit Court. Molosky also filed a motion to dismiss the Conservancy’s lawsuit against the couple. The Conservancy on March 13 filed suit in Circuit Court against the Roths and Lonnie Sparks, owner of a timber company in Kalamazoo, to stop Sparks from cutting select trees on the 43-acre parcel that surrounds an access way into the Whaleback Natural Area. Conservancy officials objected to a planned harvest of trees on the parcel, which they claimed violated the conservation easement agreement between the property owners and the land preservation group. The Roth’s suit alleges misconduct by the Conservancy for violating terms of the conservation easement, further contending that Conservancy officials or their representatives may only enter the property at reasonable times and may not interfere with the Roth’s enjoyment of the land. The suit also contends the Conservancy has no right to permit others to enter the property for purposes unrelated to the conservation easement, and the general public is not allowed on the property. In addition, the suit alleges the Conservancy has made false statements and representations that it owns the property. Also alleged: fraudulent and innocent misrepresentation; interference with business relations; termination of the easement agreement and quiet title; trespass; defamation; and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Speaking from their seasonal residence in Scottsdale, Ariz., Tuesday, Janet Roth said the Conservancy’s suit was very aggressive, and she and her husband felt they had to respond in like fashion. “Their suit was unnecessary. Since they sued us, it is our obligation to do the same because they have slandered us with (an Enterprise) article and their lawsuit,” she said. Roth said they were also upset that the article stated the couple declined to comment on the suit. She said they were never contacted by the newspaper. In fact, the Enterprise contacted the Roths for comment, but received a return call too late to be included in that week’s edition. “All they want to see is their rights protected,” Molosky said. “The Conservancy jumped the gun with their lawsuit.” http://www.leelanaunews.com/blog/2008/04/28/couple-responds-sues-conservancy/


18) If you've read Michael Behar's "Mulch Madness," you already know that the sale of cypress mulch is threatening to destroy Louisiana's best defense against hurricanes and one of the country's most diverse ecosystems. And once destroyed, Louisiana's cypress will never return. So what can you to help? Wherever you live, making sustainable choices in your own garden is a great first step. 1) The first question to consider when planning to mulch your garden is whether you need to buy mulch at all. One of the biggest myths about cypress mulch is that it is especially rot resistant. In fact, the young trees that are being harvested are just as susceptible to rot as other species. So instead of buying mulch, take a lesson from Mother Nature, and consider using fallen leaves or pine needles in place of commercial mulch. 2) If you must buy bagged mulch, question your supplier closely to make sure you are not buying Louisiana cypress mulch or any other mulch that is not sustainably harvested. A good alternative to cypress is pine, which has many of the same properties but is far more abundant and harvested as a byproduct of the pine lumber industry. 3) Wal-Mart, Lowe's, and Home Depot are the largest commercial sellers of mulch. Wal-Mart has already agreed not to sell Louisiana cypress mulch, Lowe's has a moratorium on cypress harvested from certain parts of Louisiana, and Home Depot is still crafting its policy, but all three can take steps to ensure that whatever mulch they do sell is sustainably harvested. Learn More and Take Action: http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2008/03/Mulch-101.html


19) Clearcutting is a method of logging that collectively refers to the removal or destruction of a significant area of forest for the purpose of land development or cultivation. Mississippi is one of very few states that still allows this technique of tree removal despite the known detrimental effects on the environment. Trees can be considered natural "air scrubbers" so that when they are cut, the amount of garbage in the air increases. Given this, clearcutting yields increased CO2 emission contributing to global warming, the death of millions of flora and fauna in the canopy and underlying soil and a drastic decrease in the aesthetic value of the area, according to the National Resources Defense Council. Instead of wiping out an entire plot of trees, we propose the great state of Mississippi follow the following building plan, which has proven to be economically stimulating and ecologically mindful. A friend from New Jersey, Bob Green, a professional engineer with over 33 years in site design and construction says: "Instead of bringing an inner city look into the pine forest the new housing areas can be designed in harmony with the natural environment. Apartments can be clustered leaving large areas of virgin woodland in-between. "Single family houses can be sited on lots that leave most of the trees intact on the sides and rear. Even the streets can be laid out to leave rows of original trees (i.e. not cut) on both sides. "This is not hard, it just takes commitment. Working around the existing trees and land creates a "win-win" situation for builders, buyers, passers-by and the surrounding ecosystems. Buyers will want to live in a more natural setting instead of looking at brick, concrete and vinyl all around them. "The developer wins because the units will sell faster, they won't have to purchase saplings to replant, and preservation of the environment benefits itself and ultimately our health and well being." http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080427/OPINION01/804270339


20) Wahl, 49, a contract logger for Potlatch Corp., said, "There's no simple solution. We've all got to be more efficient." Diesel fuel prices of more than $4 a gallon have only exacerbated the problems caused by the current downturn in lumber demand, he said. Potlatch, which owns about 470,000 acres of pine timberland in south Arkansas, announced last month the permanent closure of its Prescott sawmill in Nevada County, which produces dimensional lumber. When the mill finally closes its doors next month, a total of 182 sawmill jobs will be eliminated. Timber is especially important in Nevada County, said Darwin Hendrix, chairman and chief executive officer of the Bank of Delight, which is based in neighboring Pike County. "It's all we've got down here, you know," Hendrix said, referring to the timber industry. "We've got some chicken houses and some cattle, but we're primarily timber country." The difference between a lumber boom and a lumber bust is easy to see in Prescott, he said. "Three years ago there were log trucks going by my window every 15 or 20 minutes, and now, nothing," Hendrix said. The Prescott mill already has stopped buying sawtimber, cutting log demand in the area by 120 to 140 truckloads per day, Wahl said. Stewart, of Forest2Market, says the Potlatch closure is part of a much larger equation. "Collectively, in that marketplace, demand I'd say conservatively is down 35 or 40 percent," Stewart said. "The loggers certainly are taking it on the chin," he said, but forest landowners also are seeing a reduction in pine sawtimber demand. South Arkansas pine stumpage prices, which reflect the value of standing timber used to make lumber, averaged more than $50 a ton during the first quarter of 2006 but fell below $38 a ton during the first quarter of 2008, according to Forest2Market. http://www2.arkansasonline.com/news/2008/apr/29/housing-slump-taking-whack-out-logging-20080429/

Southern Forests:

21) The Southern forests of North America supply 60% of US and 15% of global paper demands. Deforestation for wood and paper products, along with urban sprawl, has resulted in a total decline from 356 million acres in colonial times to 182 million acres today. The South contains more threatened forest ecosystems than anywhere else in the US. A major perpetuator of deforestation in the South is the fast food industry. With nearly 100 paper packaging mills in the South and thousands of restaurants worldwide, major fast food retailers such as KFC and Taco Bell are leaders in paper consumption and subsequent waste. The Dogwood Alliance (dogwoodalliance.org), a nonprofit organization formed to increase awarness of the importance of Southern forests and the threats their survival, has launched a new campaign at nofreerefills.org which specifically targets the paper packaging practices of the fast food industry. "Southern forests are (among) the most bio-diverse forests in the world", says Dogwood Alliance Media Outreach coordinator Lauren Barnett. "These forests contain high concentrations of rare and endangered species." The Southern forests also function as major carbon sinks, regions that are incredibly important in their ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in trees and soil. Not only are carbon-gathering trees being felled to create products which ultimately find their way to landfills where they decay and release carbon into the atmosphere; "the large-scale industrial forestry practices that are used to supply the fiber that is turned into fast food packaging are major contributors of carbon emissions since bound carbon is exhausted from the soil when forests are cleared and managed intensively with chemical fertilizers." Overall, the Southeastern US has the highest number of endangered ecosystems in the country. More than 30 percent of all native Southeastern plant communities have become critically endangered due to habitat loss and degradation. Many Southern forest communities are now limited to only a small fraction of their original range, resulting in 25 endangered and 14 critically endangered communities. Because of this, 18 mammal, 20 bird, 40 reptile, and 54 amphibian species are now classified as imperiled. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0428-davis_nofreerefills.html


22) Protesters are in action as the I-69 project continues to make headway. Some are singing, some posting banners, while others are laying low for now. What used to be two neighboring homes is now just empty lots. Construction for the anticipated I-69 is underway.. leaving in some areas, nothing but tree stumps..and that's reason enough for some to protest. David Rovics is a music artist known for his political music. He'll play at Penny Lane coffee house in a benefit for the anti-I-69 group, called CARR. Thomas Tokarski, a member of CARR, tells it's to raise money to hire lawyers for homeowners who will lose their homes to the project. Another group, we found, came all the way from Bloomington to protest on site. Two were knocking on doors and two were sitting by a cut down tree. None of the group members would speak to us on camera, but after hearing from Tokarski, it's the five thousand acres of farm land that will be turned to concrete and the two thousand acres of forest that will be leveled that has them protesting. INDOT officials we spoke with say they've studied the project as well--- for more than ten years. And they tell us the road to building I-69 is being conducted with the least environmental impact as possible. That doesn't satisfy Tokarski or Rovics... And whether it's through music... Or silence... These protesters want to be heard. http://tristatehomepage.com/content/fulltext/?cid=6237


23) Around this time of year, black cherry trees blossom with clusters of yellow-white flowers that attract not only bees but loggers looking to score some valuable hardwood before the humid summer. The bees have come this year. The loggers have not. With a weak housing market, Bethlehem water officials have had a hard time creating a buzz among loggers to chop down some of the authority's prized black cherry trees on its 23,000 acres in the Poconos. In fact, they received no offers last week for a Monroe County stand they believe is worth $99,000 in timber. It's the second bid in a row that loggers passed over. ''I think the economy is playing a major factor,'' mused Steve Repasch, executive director of the Bethlehem Authority. ''Definitely. There's no question about it.'' Logging in Pennsylvania, the nation's leader in hardwood lumber production, is getting tougher. The home-building market is on a downward spiral, cutting the demand for new logs. Loggers say they expect things to get worse. 'The mills aren't looking to buy as much, and with fuel prices rising, it's hard to haul the logs away,'' said Bob Hobbes, owner of Hobbes Forestry in Tunkhannock, Wyoming County. ''I've heard from guys who got jobs, and just had to stop in the middle of them because they can't afford to keep going. They're taking early vacations, hoping the market will pick up in the fall.'' http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-a1_4timber.6371724apr27,0,6215555.story


24) On Sat, April 26, the Shady Grove Woods Homeowners Association held a traditional Irish wake for the trees killed by spreading ICC highway construction in the neighborhood. In addition to the wake and the speeches, trees were planted near where the ICC will pass but outside the "limits of disturbance" in a symbolic attempt to heal the wounds the ICC is opening in the land and in our communities. At least 80 people by WTOP radio's estimate were present. It is very rarely that you see a street protest in a suburban residential neighborhood-and even rarer that half of the protesters live in that neighborhood! One speaker blamed Governor O'Mally for the spreading mess, saying "the buck stops here." She quoted O'Malley as saying prior to election that former governor Erilch's decision to pursue the ICC was threatening Maryland's financial future. Now, of course, MD Governor O'Mally has "talked" to rich businessmen with sacks of cash just like Fenty did, and just like Fenty he now supports things he ran against-like the ICC. The wake procession featured a traditional bagpiper just like in any other Scottish or Irish traditional funeral. http://dc.indymedia.org/newswire/display/143091/index.php


25) The growth of the Human Network is rapidly overwhelming the Natural System on which it depends. Reconciling these two systems so that their interactions minimize conflict and maximize efficiency is the focus of the 2008 National Conference on Urban Ecosystems. National Conference on Urban Ecosystems -> May 28 – 30, 2008 | Orlando, Florida… This session will lay the foundation of the Natural System and the Human Network. Nature has been evolving for 4.5 billion years. Its tens of millions of species, processes and interactions have evolved into a highly efficient system that uses the sun’s energy to produce food, water, climate, flora and fauna. The human network is much younger and much less refined. It has been developing for only 2,200 years - the first global trade began with the Silk Road from Asia to the West. While it does not have the efficiency of the natural system, it is the focus of almost all of the human activity and is the delivery system for our goods and services that make up our economy. The conference opening session will demonstrate how the Natural System and the Human Network can be understood and analyzed so that these two systems can be reconciled. The Piedmont Crescent in the Southeastern United States will be used as an example. Speakers: 1) Michael Gallis, Principal, MGA, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2) Michael Flaxman, Assistant Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts, 3) Gary Moll, Senior Vice President, American Forests, Washington DC http://www.americanforests.org/conference/conf_08.php


26) Mr. Baucus's volte-face arrives in the form of a plan to lower the tax burden for U.S. timber companies, which he is trying to graft onto the farm bill now moving through Congress. Timber sales are treated as capital gains, taxed at 15%. Timber companies, however, face the full 35% corporate tax rate. So to pay the 15%, many companies have restructured as real-estate investment trusts or transferred holdings to individuals. But not all. So Mr. Baucus wants to equalize the tax treatment of all timber concerns, regardless of the corporate structure. Even better, he wants to effectively lower the top rate to 15% from 35%. Fair enough: As Mr. Baucus notes, everyone deserves the same standard in a competitive market. It also seems right to treat timber income as capital gains, given long growth cycles, high front-end costs and vulnerability to natural risks. But hold on. Isn't that also true of the financial partnerships that have Mr. Baucus so worked up? The lord of Gucci Gulch claims it is unfair that some of these partnerships pay only the cap-gains rate. But the corporations owned by these partnerships already pay the corporate tax rate when their profits are earned, so it makes sense to treat as cap gains the dividends that are passed on to their owners. These are, also, risk-based investments. If the risks don't pan out, there's no income to tax – just as if, say, a natural disaster wiped out some timber forest. But apparently some businesses are more deserving of special treatment than others. While all politicians have favored constituencies, at least Mr. Baucus has had the courtesy to acknowledge his arbitrary assault on private equity. Still, this is no way to write tax policy. The larger point is that America as a whole would be far better off if all U.S. companies paid the same low corporate tax rate – if not 15%, then no more than 25%. If the rate were lower for everyone, neither timber nor private-equity interests would need to lobby for a special, lower rate. More important, fewer U.S. companies would feel obliged to build their next plant in Ireland or other low-tax countries. Let's hope Mr. Baucus's timber exception is the beginning of his tax awakening. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120934099382148443.html

27) For decades, the U.S. Forest Service and private timber companies have shared logging roads, negotiating access across one another's ground and agreeing to split the cost of shared roads. The intent of those agreements was to enable both the agency and the companies to cut timber and haul logs. But that intent was not spelled out in any specific way. Instead, the easements were written with the broadest of language. Now, the breadth of that historic language is causing headaches for modern land managers, as forest values and uses change. In 1999, Plum Creek Timber Co. restructured as a real estate investment trust, turning to residential land sales to bolster its bottom line - and turning logging roads into subdivision gateways. The Forest Service viewed the easements narrowly: logging use only. Plum Creek viewed them broadly: all uses, including residential access. Neither wanted to test its opinion in court, however, because there was too much at stake for the loser. And so they talked. Beginning in fall 2006, the agency and the company embarked on closed-door negotiations aimed at hammering out a middle ground. They succeeded, but just as they were finishing, word of the talks leaked. County governments, among others, became alarmed. They worried the plan paved the way for wholesale conversion of forests into subdivisions. They worried about impacts to lumber mills, recreationists, wildlife and wildlands. They worried about wildfire and future forest management. The counties, in particular, worried taxpayers would get stuck paying to provide emergency services and infrastructure maintenance to rural forest neighborhoods. And so the door has not quite closed on the true nature of those decades-old road easements. The Forest Service has its legal opinion but others have theirs, as well. And now that the discussion is out in the open, the road rights are being tested, right here in Missoula. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/04/27/news/local/news03.txt

28) Is it an illegal $1 billion slush fund for Bush administration friends in the timber industry, extorted from Canada and designed to evade congressional oversight? Or is it a fairly negotiated end to an expensive trade war that's "the best thing that has happened to private forest land conservation in the United States in 100 years?" It depends on your point of view. Now, a federal lawsuit filed in Seattle is bringing more scrutiny to the controversial deal. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is spearheading a Senate effort to get more information about who got the money and what they're doing with it. The deal had its roots in the administration's decision six years ago to slap tariffs on Canadian lumber. Echoing the U.S. timber industry, the administration contended that Canadian timber companies were selling their wood in the United States at unfairly low prices. Over the next five years, the tariffs collected and held by the United States grew to more than $5 billion, including interest. The Canadians fought back in U.S. and international courts, winning most of the decisions in a drawn-out process. The U.S. lost before NAFTA panels, and two rulings by the U.S. Court of International Trade. Rulings at the World Trade Organization were mixed. But despite the largely favorable rulings, the Canadians were being starved into submission by the continuing U.S. tariffs, said Elliott Feldman, a lawyer representing Canadian timber interests. And with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government seeking a closer relationship with the Bush administration, the Canadians finally agreed to a U.S. proposal: We'll stop fighting you in court and send you back the $5 billion, if you wire $1 billion back across the border to the U.S. timber industry and timber-friendly groups. The U.S. Trade Representative's Office arranged the deal to get the money paid directly to timber companies and nonprofits, including one hastily organized entity dominated by timber industry insiders. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/360970_timber29.html

29) A Survey of Forestland Conservation Easements in the United States: Implications for Forestland Owners and Managers -- Internationally, conservation easements are increasingly popular land management tools for private landowners, government agencies and non-governmental organizations seeking to preserve forests and other natural settings. This paper reports a study of the design and use of conservation easements by organizations and public agencies in the USA. More than 355 conservation organizations and 16 state agencies holding at least 3,598 forestland easements were identified. Demonstrated shortfalls in baseline forest inventories, record keeping, and professionally-developed management plans were evident on working forest easements. Failure to address these shortcomings runs the risk of jeopardizing the legitimacy of the easement approach even where favorable legal and tax conditions exist. Management restrictions varied broadly, with a minority of respondents prohibiting such techniques as clearcutting and salvage logging. Concerns for the use of chemicals, best management practices, and streamside management zones were commonly reflected in easement language, whereas logging road design and the cultivation of old-growth conditions remain largely undeveloped. Implications from the US experience, where easements are relatively well-developed, highlights the need for professional forestry advice—particularly for non-industrial or small-scale forest owners—in both easement development and implementation, the need for careful planning, and the need to carefully consider the respective goals of the forest landowners in crafting the easement documents. In the cases of developing nations, consideration of the differing needs of landowners may require increased flexibility in management documents. http://www.springerlink.com/content/x60h2306824l4h41/fulltext.html

30) Excellent forestry goes beyond meeting minimum best management practices and places the long-term viability of the forest above all other considerations. It uses nature as a model and embraces the forest’s many values and dynamic processes. Excellent forestry recognizes the forest’s intrinsic value as well as human dependence on forest products and services. Many Guild members have found that excellent forestry produces quality, high value forest products, and a strong return to landowners while also maintaining wildlife habitat, soil structure, water quality, and other forest values. Guild members are located throughout the United States and Canada, and include many consulting foresters who provide services to private landowners. Others work for land trusts, government agencies, Native American tribes, and privately held corporations where the well-being of the forest is not sacrificed for short term profit. We also include faculty, scientists, and students, as well as citizens who care about forests and want to support restoration and improved management of our forests. http://www.forestguild.org/#

31) Bull trout were designated as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1998 and 1999. A member of the salmon family, they are typically found in high mountain streams, where the water is clean and cold. Human encroachment, mining, grazing, logging and overfishing over the past 150 years have reduced the species to about 45 percent of its range. Five-year reviews have been rare since they were required by 1978 amendments to the Endangered Species Act. This one was requested by former Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne - now U.S. secretary of the interior - and the Idaho congressional delegation, who contend the species is thriving in Idaho and that restrictions on logging, mining and other activities that can degrade water quality are not needed. Environmentalists had complained the review was motivated by politics, not science. The review concluded that multiple distinct populations of bull trout might exist and that the agency should evaluate whether these require different levels of protection. "The health of bull trout populations varies by location but overall, the species in the United States still needs protection," said Ren Lohoefener, director of Fish and Wildlife's Pacific Region. Studying individual populations will allow the agency to focus resources on those in trouble, remove regulatory burdens where they are not needed, and provide local incentives to help recovery, Lohoefener said. Michael Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, a Montana environmental group, said that retaining threatened status for the fish was good news. "I think they should now focus on recovering the population to remove it from the ESA, rather than divert resources to considering if it should be listed as five distinct groups," Garrity said. "That is a delay tactic by the Bush administration to delay recovering the bull trout." Arlene Montgomery, of Friends of the Wild Swan in Montana, said draft recovery plans have been sitting idle since 2002 while this review was conducted. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420ap_wst_bull_trout.html

32) "The city sidewalk can be one of the most hostile environments for a young tree," a cramped cell of garbage soil surrounded by smothering asphalt, says Gregory McPherson, a scientist with the federal Center for Urban Forest Research. "A virtual conflict zone," as one arborist put it, beset by disease, pollution, drought, insects -- not to mention drunk drivers and staple guns and trip-and-fall lawsuits. Trees are the new potholes. On his first day in office, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa helped pat moist mulch around a golden medallion sapling, the first in an audacious promise to transform this dense, dirty, dry city by planting 1 million new trees. That was almost three years ago. Lessons learned? "We have learned that a million is a really big number," says Nancy Sutley, a deputy mayor who oversees the mass reforestation project, which has experienced some serious growing pains. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino last year promised to add 100,000 trees by 2020, a goal that sounds almost humble compared with those of his counterparts. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels envisions a new tree for every man, woman and child in the city -- 649,000 maples, sweet gums and cherries over the next 30 years. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, announcing his "Tree by Tree" project, is going for a million by 2025. A million just has that aspirational ring. Indeed, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon is calling his bid "One Million Trees for One Million People." The state of Nebraska is shooting for a million in a decade. New Mexico recently unveiled its "Plant a Million More" campaign. The Sacramento region is betting it can add 5 million. Going global, the United Nations launched the Billion Tree Campaign. (Less numerically ambitious programs are underway in cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Indianapolis and Washington.) Not be outdone, on Earth Day last year Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised New Yorkers a million trees in 10 years. The cost of planting a single street tree in Manhattan? About $1,000. Estimated cost of the urban reforestation project is $600 million, annual maintenance not included. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/24/AR2008042403952.html?hpid=topne
28 April 2008 @ 10:12 pm
Today for you 36 new articles about earth’s trees! (333rd edition)
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--Chile: 1) Energy costs limit industries’ investment plans
--Brazil: 2) Five causes of deforestation, 3) Farmer who snitched on timber thieves is killed, 4) Texan rancher builds alliance with tribe, 5) Military to regulate enviros and other non-citizens, 6) Illegal farmers resisting removal from indigenous areas, 7) BP buys $60 million worth of biorefinery stock,
--Argentina: 8) Soil is not property of landowners but law can be ignored by corporations
--Taiwan: 9) Tengjhih National Forest Recreation Area
--Burma: 10) Spiritual beliefs have strong link to land management
--India: 11) Rhinos returned to recovering forests
--South East Asia: 12) Shocked by reports of widespread illegal timber trade
--Vietnam: 13) Gov wants to strengthen biodiversity and silvic methodology?
--Fiji: 14) Medicine man thrives on eco-tours, 15) Why they can’t log 25 yr. old pine,
--Philippines: 16) Dwarf cloud rat may help with forest protection, 17) Industry challenges land rights for indigenous, 18) Logging resumes in town where 300 killed by landslides, 19) Legal logging is the real problem, 20) Investigating mangrove logging,
--Malaysia: 21) Royal Belum forest is 130 million years old, 22) Rainforest to rice-bowl,
--Indonesia: 23) How primates grow trees, 24) AP Forestry conference, 25) cont.
--Papua New Guinea: 26) Illegal logging a threat PNG-Aussie agreement
--Australia: 27) Ave. of Honor trees almost gone, 28) 20 protestors halt logging in SW Hobart, 29) 4 arrests for stopping logging in SW Hobart, 30) Smoky air from slash burns is not the fault of loggers, it’s landowners burning yard waste, 31) And buy the way Gov wants someone to make electricity out of their slash piles,
--World-wide: 32) Leaders of world's 370 million indigenous meet, 33) Unilever makes Dove soap with palm oil, 34) Healthy forests make communities resilient to economic and environmental shock, 35) More on the problem with Palm oil,


1) Chilean forestry and paper company CMPC SA CAR.SN said on Friday it would invest around $340 million in 2008, and will scale back investment in coming years due to energy shortages. "We are coming down from an average of more than $500 million (in annual investment) because we are coming out of a period of high investment," CMPC Chairman Eliodoro Matte told reporters after a shareholders' meeting. Chile is among the world's five largest wood pulp exporters and CMPC is the nation's No. 2 pulp exporter after Copec COP.SN. CMPC also produces paper. Chile has been squeezed by an energy shortage that has forced industry to turn to expensive-to-run diesel generators. http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN2547856620080425


2) There are five major causes of Amazon deforestation: 1. slash and burn agriculture; 2. non-native colonization; 3. commercial logging; 4. cattle ranching; 5. soy/sugar-cane cultivation. - Of these, soy and sugar-cane cultivation is the newest and potentially most destructive. Brazilian sugar-cane cultivation is mostly for producing ethanol as biofuel for North American consumption. So, the onus comes back to us. Brazilian soy cultivation is for producing feed for cattle and ethanol as biofuel, and most of both Brazilian beef and Brazilian ethanol are for North American consumption. The onus likewise. And of course the Brazilian cattle industry also need new land, whose main customer is North America. The onus likewise. Of course this "new land" means the Amazon rainforest, or what remains of it. As if these are not tough enough, now there is a new pressure: world food shortage. So the sugar cane and soy have to feed millions of hungry human mouths too. World food shortage is not exactly unexpected, but as in most "unproven" concepts, no global plan exists to first prevent it, and second to remedy it. So, the knee jerk reaction is, you got it, to hack up the Amazon some more to plant more food crops. The Amazon is not just a sea of green. It contains one quarter to one third of the world's biodiversity. Considering 20 million existing species worldwide, we are talking about 5-7 million species. The Amazon is already under immense pressure from global warming (drying); it doesn't need more direct human assault. How much more is the Catholic Church going to promote and enforce the "go forth and multiply" policy?
Meanwhile, what we little people have to do include: 1. Do not eat beef; 2. Do not use ethanol as fuel; 3. Do not drive gas guzzlers; 4. Do not use Brazialian lumber; 5. Please sign the Global Green Fund petition and add a powerful comment. Go to:

3) An Amazon farmer who received death threats after reporting illegal logging to authorities was shot to death as he left his house, Brazilian media reported Saturday. Emival Barbosa Machado, 50, was shot three times Friday in the eastern city of Tucurui, the Globo TV network said. No arrests have been made. Machado had often reported illegal logging and shipments of lumber in Para, a largely lawless state where American nun and rain forest defender Dorothy Stang was killed in 2005. Machado told the environmental protection agency Ibama that locals were forced to deliver wood to loggers and were killed if they refused. "He made various complaints to us, and we seized lumber and boats thanks to his reports," Anibal Picanco, Ibama's superintendent in Para, said in a televised interview. Phone calls to police in Tucurui went unanswered Saturday. Para has been targeted in a government crackdown after satellite photos showed illegal logging in the Amazon was on the upswing. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iXv0x2O1xRW1LO55HOVclsQgiRBQD909NUKG1

4) It was into this region – an area he now calls “the eye of the hurricane” – that John Carter flew his single-engined aeroplane across the Gulf of Mexico in 1996 to start a new life. The 30-year-old Texan had met his Brazilian wife, Kika, at a ranch management programme at the Texas Christian University at Fort Worth three years earlier. On a visit to Brazil, Kika’s father took them to see a property he owned near the BR-158, a federal “highway” that crosses the Amazon north to south (here, highways are little more than elevated dirt roads). They drove up from Parana state in southern Brazil, where Kika’s father had sold a 2,000 hectare ranch to buy his new 8,000 hectare property. “It was forest nearly all the way, from Ribeirão Cascalheira,” Carter recalls. Later, John and Kika bought 4,700 hectares from Kika’s father, named it Fazenda Esperança and made it their home. “For the next six years, this was Brazil for me,” says Carter. “We were completely isolated. There was no electricity or telephone and no neighbours. We got up at 5.30 every morning and worked until dark.” Carter describes himself as an outdoorsman, a lover of nature and of the rancher’s way of life. During those first years, pairs of blue macaws were an everyday sight. Jaguars came from the woods to take young cattle. He let 1,300 hectares grow back to comply with a law that made landowners retain 50 per cent of their properties as forest reserve. Ranchers and farmers are also expected to maintain permanent protection areas (APPs) on hillsides and by waterways. More than preserving the forest, these areas reduce pollution and soil erosion and bring other environmental advantages. Including APPs, Carter’s ranch is about 60 per cent forest. “We didn’t buy the land. We just took it over. But we weren’t seen as invaders. We were colonisers. Now I’m looked on as a devastator.” Carter’s initial response was simply to stay within the law and try to encourage others to do the same. That resolve met severe tests. He soon discovered that members of the Xavante tribe – one of the most warlike in Brazil – were stealing his cattle. He drove to their nearby reservation in his pick-up with a Kamayura indian as liaison. “They surrounded us. I was sure that was the end,” he says. Struggling to conceal his fear, Carter asked to meet the chief. “I told him that if he came on my land again I’d shoot him full of bullets, but if he stopped stealing my cattle, we’d be good neighbors and I’d help him and his people. That’s when we became friends.” http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a9738b3e-1007-11dd-8871-0000779fd2ac.html

5) Brazil's military will regulate environmental, religious and other foreign groups working in the Amazon region under a law being drafted to assert sovereignty over the often lawless rainforest, the defense minister said on Thursday. "There is this concept that the Amazon is some free place for anyone, but the Amazon is sovereign Brazilian territory," Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said at a media briefing. Many international non-govermental organizations, such as the environmental group Greenpeace, have offices in the Amazon region and campaign to halt the destruction of the rainforest by loggers and agricultural interests. Human rights groups work to help Indians and peasants in an vast area where violent land seizures are common. The 7 million sq km (1.7 billion acre) Amazon Basin is home to an estimated one-third of all species on Earth. But Brazil's booming economy, soy farming and cattle ranching has put pressure on land prices and fueled deforestation. Justice Minister Tarso Genro said on Wednesday that many NGOs were involved in bio-piracy and were trying to influence Indian culture to expropriate land. The justice and defense ministries plan to send a new Foreigners Bill to Congress in June to curb NGOs from serving as fronts for illegal activities in the Amazon. It would require foreign individuals and groups to get permission from the Justice Ministry and register with the regional military command. If the foreigners were working without approval or in an illegal way, the Justice Ministry could revoke visas, deport and fine individuals and groups between 5,000 and 100,000 reais ($3,000 and $60,000). http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN2483164

6) The farmers, who are illegally occupying the Raposa Serra do Sol indigenous territory, have been resisting removal since the police operation began at the end of March. They have injured an Indian leader by throwing a homemade bomb into his home, and threatened others with death. They have also burned three bridges leading to the territory, and blocked roads with tractors. Brazil’s President Lula signed Raposa Serra do Sol into law in 2005, after a long campaign by the Indigenous Council of Roraima, Survival and other organisations. The area is home to the Makuxi, Wapixana, Ingarikó, Patamona and Taurepang Indians, who have suffered decades of violence and harassment at the hands of farmers and ranchers illegally occupying their land. Most of the illegal occupants have already left Raposa Serra do Sol and have been resettled and compensated, but a small and powerful group of rice farmers, connected to politicians in Roraima state, have refused to move and have continued to threaten and intimidate the Indian communities. Their violent actions in recent weeks are in response to an operation launched by the Brazilian Federal Police, Operation Upatakon 3, to finally remove them from the area. The Indians of Raposa Serra do Sol have written an open letter, dated 9 April, saying, ‘For more than thirty years we have suffered the painful process of regaining our land, which we believed the Brazilian State would make a reality, in accordance with the federal constitution, the rights of indigenous peoples and the President’s decree signing our territory into law. ‘We cannot accept that the authorities have waited three years to act, that they have allowed the terrorism of the last eleven days in Raposa Sera do Sol, and that the Supreme Court has even suspended the removal operation. We reject the attitude of the state government, which chooses sacks of rice to the detriment of the lives of 18,992 Indians.’ http://www.survival-international.org/news/3233

7) BP is paying its partners $60 million for a 50 per cent stake in Tropical Bioenergia, which is building an ethanol refinery in Goias state, northwest of São Paolo, due to come on stream in the summer. A second ethanol plant is also planned, which will raise capacity to almost 1 billion litres of ethanol by the middle of 2010. The two refineries will cost the joint venture about $1 billion. Phil New, head of BP Biofuels, said the joint venture would produce its own sugar cane. “We will produce 80 per cent of our feedstock from land leased by the joint venture.” He said the area farmed would be pasture land and would not affect the Amazon rainforest. “It is 600 miles from the edge of the rainforest,” he said. BP distributes biofuels, blending 763 million gallons of ethanol in its American road fuel business but has not previously invested in manufacturing or farming new energy products. Mr New said the investment was analogous to the oil industry and BP’s strategy of securing control of the supply at the wellhead. “If you just act as a purchaser and refiner of commodity feedstocks, you will get utility returns. It makes better sense to be upstream with the lowest cost and sustainable production.” Brazil is a leading producer of ethanol, harvesting 528 million tonnes of sugar cane and refining 21 billion litres of ethanol a year. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article3811697


8) This soil is not "property" of the landowners but rather, as a natural resource, as stated by the constitutional reforms of 1994, it is a shared cultural heritage of all Argentines. It is worth remembering Article 41 of this constitution: "All habitants enjoy the right to an environment that is healthy, balanced, and suitable for human development, that production activities satisfy the present necessities without compromising future generations, and they have the duty of preserving it ... The authorities will provide protection to this right for the rational use of natural resources, the preservation of this natural and cultural heritage, the biological diversity, and environmental information and education." On the other hand the same constitution states in Article 17 the recognition of the "ethnic and cultural pre-existence of indigenous Argentine peoples" and the promise to "guarantee respect for their identity, and to assure their participation in the management with regard to natural resources and the other interests that affect them." As of today, none of these obligations has been fulfilled by the Argentine state, leaving this as one of the principal internal debts to society as a whole as much as it is to the indigenous peoples. Not one of the rural entities that are protesting today has done anything to protect these common goods. In fact, they have done the opposite—each producer has advanced as far as he could (including up to the shoulder of the highway) with the green soy desert. Of course the "fathers" of the model, the large agro corporations (Monsanto, Syngenta, and Cargill) remain silent and have not issued any statements or opinions, and are not present in the highway blockades. However it has been these corporations, as Raul Montenegro defines it,2 that have made us "hostages of Monsanto" with the invasion of transgenic soy that today represents 99% of all soy cultivation in Argentina. While Argentine soy producers were blocking the highways, Monsanto announced on March 25 in New York an increase in their earnings forecast for 2008, "citing the strong demand for corn and soybeans and the greater demand of herbicides,"3 and at the beginning of 2008 they reported that they had tripled their earnings compared to the same trimester of the previous year.4 Evidently they do not seem very worried about the retentions in Argentina. Neither Cargill, Dreyfus, ADM, nor Bunge are part of the protest, although as the Grupo de Reflexion Rural5 clearly shows, they are the true exporters and those who stand to assume the costs of the retentions. http://americas.irc-online.org/am/5184


9) Standing atop a wooden viewing platform at 1,804 meters, the highest point of Tengjhih National Forest Recreation Area, the wilderness that covers much of Taiwan's interior is suddenly revealed in all its breathtaking beauty and sheer enormity. It's a miracle that it takes less than an hour's walk to reach this magical spot. Short of organizing an often-strenuous backpacking expedition into the wilds, there's no better way to experience the remote, untouched expanses of the island's interior such as this than paying a visit to one of the 18 National Forest Nature Reserves dotted around the island. A visit to any one gives an unsurpassed introduction to the wilderness of Taiwan. Of the 13 I've got around to visiting so far, my favorite is probably at Tengjhih, set deep in the mountains of Kaohsiung County not far from the town of Liuguei. We have the Japanese to thank for initially opening up remote areas such as this to easy access, either to carry out logging of the area or to keep the local aboriginal population under control. With the return of Taiwan to the Chinese however, some of the tracks piercing deep into Taiwan's interior were left to be slowly reclaimed by nature and today exist only as lines on maps. Others, however, were kept open as logging continued, or to provide access for Taiwan Forestry Bureau personnel stationed deep in the forest on the lookout for illegal logging or forest fires. http://www.chinapost.com.tw/travel/taiwan%20south/kaohsiung/2008/04/24/153474/Enchanted-forest.


10) Spiritual beliefs often have a strong link to sustainable land management. When a Karen baby is born, the umbilical cord is hung on a tree in an area of sacred forest. They believe that not only will the child grow up to be strong like the tree, but will always protect his or her own tree. With dense green forests on both banks, and a clear blue sky overhead, the Salween River is peaceful when the motor of our long, narrow boat is switched off. This river is the main artery of Karen State in eastern Burma, and an almost completely unspoilt, incredibly biodiverse environment. The peace, however, is deceptive, as this area is essentially a war zone. I have crossed into Burma illegally from Thailand because the repressive Burmese regime does not grant visas to foreign journalists. The authorities certainly do not want the outside world to have access to Karen State, a division of Burma that borders Thailand. The Karen opposition forces have been fighting for self-determination against the government for almost 60 years. They have few areas of control left; the Burmese military regularly launch attacks on villages in an attempt to force people to relocate to Burmese-controlled areas. The area's natural environment plays an important role in the conflict. The Karen have a unique way of managing their resources, especially their forests. They practice a form of rotational farming which involves burning areas of forest for planting. They hunt wild animals and gather plants for food and medicine. Large-scale logging by the Burmese government, and in the past by the Karen leadership when they controlled more of the state, has damaged some parts of the forests. However, the indigenous conservation knowledge of the Karen people has helped to preserve much of it intact. As villagers flee to relatively safe areas controlled by the KNU, these areas become too crowded, and the carefully balanced farming practices are abandoned. Local environmental groups like the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN), which is based in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, take great risks going deep inside Karen State to work with villagers, helping them retain their indigenous knowledge. KESAN director Paul argues that protecting resources is crucial for the survival of the Karen. He adds that they can't wait for the civil war to end before taking action: "If there are no forests, there will be no Karen." Currently, the "500lb gorilla in the room", as Thailand-based environmentalist Jeff Rutherford describes it, is the plan to build four hydropower dams on the Salween River, three of which will be on the stretch of the river that runs through Karen State. They are being built with funding from the Thai State Electricity company (EGAT), along with the Burmese government and with investment from China. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7363778.stm


11) The return was an emotional moment for local residents, who lost their last rhinos a decade ago during a 20 year period of civil disturbance that wrecked infrastructure in the famed Manas National Park and allowed poachers free reign. A 55-year old local woman said, “The arrival of gainda (rhino) is like a Bihu (a local festival) gift to us”. She added, “My son is one of the volunteers who will be monitoring the rhinos in Manas. It is a great moment for all of us”. It was an emotional moment too, for translocation organizers from WWF India and the government of the State of Assam, who saw the successful translocation as a successful launch to Indian Rhino Vision 2020, an ambitious plan to give India a population of 3000 rhinos, spread over seven Assam protected areas by 2020. The release was not without its dramas, either. Elephants were used to help round up the rhinos in Pobitora Wildlife sanctuary. But tranquillisers used to sedate the rhinos were well worn off after the difficult and slow 240 km transport convoy to Manas. In his first hand account of the operation, Sujoy Banerjee, WWF India’s Director of Species Conservation said the second rhino “came full charge out of its crate, turned a full circle and banged the side of the truck that had been carrying it for the last 14 hours”. “Then it galloped and vanished into the thickets, to loud applause from the crowd.” “As we drove back, covered in a mix of sweat and dirt from head to toe, the significance of this episode dawned on me. It was not merely a shifting of some rhinos into a place where rhinos once existed, we were bringing back the lost glory of this world heritage site, which the local people were once proud of.” http://www.panda.org/index.cfm?uNewsID=131121

South East Asia:

12) Government delegates from Asia Pacific countries say they are shocked by reports that illegal timber trade remains widespread in the region despite policies in place against it. The British-funded Telapak Indonesia said Thursday it had carried out intensive investigations over the past 10 years and found that illegal wood trade was still common in the region. "All countries of the Asia Pacific still suffer from illegal logging and trade activities," Telapak forest campaigner Timer Manurung told participants at the Asia Pacific Forest Week forum in Hanoi, Vietnam. He said the organization's recent investigations showed about 600,000 cubic meters of logs were harvested illegally in Laos in 2006 and then smuggled to border areas -- mainly Vietnam -- and made into furniture for export. The report was published in March after one year of investigation. "We also found that Thailand and Malaysia are still consuming illegal timber from Laos," he said. In Indonesia it is still common to find logs cut from unsustainable forests in addition to illegal logging activities, said Timer. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailheadlines.asp?fileid=20080426.B08&irec=7


13) Apart from boosting preservation of biodiversity, Vietnam will strengthen silvicultural methodology, said Deputy Director of International Cooperation Department under the MARD, Tran Kim Long, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week and the 22nd session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission in Hanoi . In terms of policy, Mr Long said, a strategy on forestry development by 2020 has been approved, which has given an impetus for improving effective management of forests. Dr Daniel Murdiyarso from the Centre for International Forestry Research, said the strategy is a promising start to improvement and provides a solid policy tool to support further work. Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Jan Heino also commended Vietnam's approach so far in sustainable forest management. Vietnam has developed a number of programmes and projects to protect and develop forests, including Programme 327 to "green" wastelands and bare hills, and a project to plant 5 million hectares of forest from 1998-2010. In addition, the law on forest protection and development was amended in 2004. As a result, Vietnam has increased its forest acreage from 9.3 million ha in 1995 to 12.87 million ha in 2006. The forest coverage now is 38% of the country as compared to over 20% in the 1990s. The Asia -Pacific Forestry Week and the 22nd session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission is being held from April 21-25. The event attracted the participation of over 400 representatives from 33 members of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission, over 30 non-governmental organisations, research institutes and businesspeople. (VNA) http://www.nhandan.com.vn/english/life/260408/life_v.htm


14) We tried to keep up with Niumaia, the 69-year-old Fijian medicine man, as he nimbly made his way barefoot down the steep jungle path, pointing out as we went the many healing plants used by his tribal mountain people. Unfortunately, about half way along our rainforest hike, Niumaia got a chance to put his natural medicines and healing powers to the test . . . on me. Climbing past a cascading waterfall, my sneakers slipped on the same wet rocks Niumaia had just scrambled over shoeless, leaving me flat on my face with my right knee scraped raw. Niumaia Kavika is a man of many talents; medicine man, blues musician, and cultural host at Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort. Referring to himself as a "bushman," Niumaia moved from his mountain village, where his mother was chief, in 1950 and is now the resort's ambassador to traditional Fijian culture and customs on his island home of Vanua Levu. Though he might not mention it, Niumaia has been awarded the Fiji Excellence in Cultural Tourism Award. http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/travel/story.html?id=46607978-df42-4665-9436-7f4de1cb

15) The pine and hardwood intermingled in the forests were planted 25 years ago and are in their prime. They are just waiting to be logged, sawn and exported. But the pine forests are still standing, beautiful. They call it Bua's green gold but at the moment, they may never get to see any cent from all that gold. I have been there in a pine forest and it was an experience. I once was "lost" and walked for three hours, one way, across a pine forest in Bua with an uncle, Ta Noke. It seemed I was taken for a stroll through a pine forest belonging to the Nabukewairua clan of my grandmother and thought it was huge. Then I saw a map of the whole forest and they showed me where we had gone walkabout and it was just a tiny patch. There are 13,000 hectares of pine forests in Bua. Of that, the district of Lekutu has 8000 hectares. If converted to its monetary value, the total pine in Lekutu alone would bring between $400million and $500million. The other tikina in Bua "put in" for the remaining 5000 hectares of pine. The question here is why has the pine not been logged? The answer was told me last week by the man working for the Bua Landowners Association to clear some matters with the Native Land Trust Board. He said landowners who had pine on their land had agreed to stop the logging of the forests until they were compensated. The main item of grievance is the overplanted areas. Apparently, when Fiji Pine led the pine-planting schemes in villages 25 years ago, some of the pine were planted on mataqali land without the consent and knowledge of the landowners. What those mataqali members wanted is to cut the pine which had "encroached on to their land" for themselves but Fiji Pine brought in the police and things were at a standstill. http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=87546


16) “The Philippines may have the greatest concentration of unique biological diversity, relative to its size, of any country in the world,” Heaney told reporters here on Friday. Samuel Peñafiel, Department of Environment and Natural Resources director in the Cordillera, said the dwarf cloud rat’s rediscovery could boost government efforts to protect the region’s threatened watersheds and mossy forests. He said the findings of Heaney’s team meant that there is still a wide range of rare animal life worth saving in the region’s mountains and forests. Danilo Balete, a research associate of the National Museum and Heaney’s co-team leader, said the dwarf cloud rat, known by its scientific name Carpomys melanurus, was found in a patch of mature mossy forest on Mt. Pulag. “It was found in the canopy of a large tree, on a large horizontal branch covered by a thick layer of moss, orchids and ferns about five meters above ground,” he said. Balete described the rat as “a really beautiful animal with dense, soft reddish brown fur with a black mask around its large dark eyes, small round ears, a broad and blunt snout and a long tail covered with dark hair.” It weighed 185 grams, he said. Mt. Pulag is Luzon’s highest peak at 2,922 meters above sea level. It straddles Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya. Emerita Albas, DENR’s Mt. Pulag park superintendent, said the park’s mossy forests had been gradually degenerating due to the encroachment of vegetable farms. Based on initial assessment, Heaney said the rediscovery of the dwarf cloud rat indicated that “it required a pretty much undisturbed mossy forest” to be able to survive. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view/20080426-132920/Team-finds-rare-c

17) A major paper and pulpwood company has asked the Supreme Court’s Third Division to reverse its decision that could lead to the virtual breakup of the country’s forest reserve areas into “independent enclaves.” In a motion filed before Supreme Court, Picop Resources Inc.—the country’s pioneer paper and pulpwood firm—said that unless the high court reverses the decision of its Third Division, 12 million hectares of the country’s forest reserves “will be divided into independent enclaves beyond jurisdiction of the state agencies.” “As incidents in various countries have shown, such independent enclaves ultimately result in the breaking up of a country and result in failed states,” Picop said in a 37-page motion which seeks to elevate its case to the Court en banc. The country’s pioneering firm in paper and pulpwood production is contesting the Court’s Third Division decision voiding the Presidential Warranty given Picop to develop the forest and harvest pulp in the Agusan-Davao-Surigao Forest Reserve to boost the growth of the paper industry as a mere timber license. Under the Indigenous People’s Rights Act law, ancestral domains are “the private but community property” of indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities in whose areas the departments of agriculture, environment, interior and local government, justice, education, national defense, energy, among others, will no longer have authority. Picop said the decision opens “12 million hectares of the country’s forest reserves, 40 percent of the country’s land area, to CADTs where the above-listed government agencies have no legal basis for jurisdiction and may have the unintended consequence of such areas being independent enclaves with their own armed components.” http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=politics1_april28_2008

18) llegal logging activities have resumed in Dingalan, a town in Aurora that was battered by landslides that killed more than 300 people and displaced nearly 1,000 families in November and December 2004, a leader of the Task Force Sierra Madre said on Friday. Four 10-wheel trucks have been coming weekly since March to haul at least 65,000 board feet of wood from three lumberyards in Barangay Paltic, according to Fr. Pete Montallana, head of the TFSM-Dingalan chapter. A yard is located at the Basco compound, another is beside a chapel, while the third is across the river where one contractor, identified as “Gatdula,” docked a ship. Montallana said residents have suspected that the first yard is linked to Jackson Padiernos, a son of Mayor Zenaida Padiernos, because the compound’s owner is a friend of the mayor’s son. The TFSM, he said, has no evidence yet to validate the reports of the residents. But Mayor Padiernos denied reports that her son is involved in illegal logging. A check in the archives of the Central Luzon office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources showed that Jackson was convicted of illegal logging in early 2004 but an appeal to a higher court stopped his detention. Montallana said TFSM volunteers saw “mini-sawmills” in those yards. These are borne on trucks that go around the villages. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view/20080426-132921/Illegal-logging-re

19) Legal, not illegal, large-scale logging is the major culprit in deforestation. Lisa Ito of the Kalikasan-Philippine Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE), during her presentation on the Philippine environmental situation for the Southern Mindanao Conference on the Environment held at the Holy Cross of Davao College Friday, said that in the 1900s, forest cover was estimated at 21 million hectares of 70 percent of the total land area. Yet a few decades of "development aggression" wiped out two-thirds of the forests. By 1999, forest cover was reduced to 18.3 percent of 800,000 hectares and is still decreasing at present. In the Philippines, Ito said deforestation was a result of "colonial plunder of natural resources." "Since the American occupation, corporate and large-scale logging for exports and massive forest conversion were carried out as a government policy through Timber Licensing Agreements (TLAs)," Ito said. From 1920's to the late 1930's, the Philippines became a major exporter of tropical wood to the US and Japan. Forty-seven percent or 9.9 million hectares of original forests were destroyed in the period alone. "Philippine forests were nearly wiped out under the Marcos dictatorship under an unregulated logging industry caused by a combination of corruption, greed, and weak political institution. TLAs were liberally dispensed to Marcos cronies, relatives, military allies, and elite interests," Ito said. By the late 1980's, the Philippine was one of the most severely deforested areas in Asia but Ito said this state has worsened under the Arroyo administration. "The government has yet to implement a genuine and comprehensive reforestation program. It has one by one lifted log bans and farmed out commercial logging permits - TLAs and 23 Integrated Forest Management Agreement (Ifma) contracts from January 2001 to 2004," Ito said. Ito explained that Ifmas cover a total land area of 191,250.60 hectares and an Ifma contract allows the holder not just the right to timber but to all other forest products within the concession area. Ito added that as of their last check, the government has issued 201 Ifmas as of 2003 covering around 714,000 hectares of forestland. http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/dav/2008/04/26/news/group.legal.logging.decimates.forests.html

20) Since no one claims ownership, the Cenro-east is conducting investigation to determine the people responsible in cutting down the mangrove trees, which is prohibited under the law. Cenro-east chief Tito Gadon disclosed that the Pagatpat and Bungalon trees were sighted by his personnel when they went Tuesday to the mangrove area of Talon-Talon village to plant Bakawan in time for the observance of the World Earth Day. The mangrove area in the village of Talon-Talon that extends up to the nearby village of Mampang measuring several hundreds of hectares is being maintained and preserve by Cenro and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The cutting down of mangrove trees such as Pagatpat, Bungalon and Bakawan species is prohibited under Presidential Decree 705, according to Gadon. He said it is high time they have to keep the people informed that cutting down mangrove tree species is prohibited under the law and that "we are serious in our campaign." Gadon said they learned from some of the people in the vicinity that the Pagatpat and Bungalon are being cut down to be sold as firewood. A bundle of firewood is sold at P8. He said appropriate charges will be filed against the people behind, once their identities will be known, the cutting of mangrove trees. http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/zam/2008/04/25/news/cenro.east.seizes.truckload.of.cut.down.man


21) If Royal Belum State Park in Perak was a Hollywood production, it would be the mother of all prequels. At 130-million-years-old, it is the world’s oldest forest — older than the forests of Amazon and Congo. As for its inhabitants, it — figuratively! — has a cast of thousands in the form of flora and fauna — 3,000 species of flowering plants; 274 species of birds, more than 100 species of mammals; 168 species of butterflies, and a host of other terrestrial and aquatic life forms. But Royal Belum is only half the story. The other half is the Temenggor Forest Reserve. Together, these 300,0000 hectares of forest, located next to each other, make up the Belum-Temenggor Rainforest Complex (BTR). To behold the BTR at dawn, with clouds of mists on the tree canopies, is to be transported back into a world that is stress-free and full of fresh air. At present, the paradise that is BTR can be accessed via Pulau Banding which acts as the gateway to these ancient forests. Between Royal Belum and Temenggor Forest Reserve, it is safe to say that the former is still in pristine condition as it has been an off-limits area for the longest time because northwards, the Malaysia-Thai border runs through it. In recognition of Royal Belum’s practically virgin forest state, the Perak government gazetted Royal Belum in May 2007, granting it a fully protected status (i.e. free from human encroachment and logging activities). In order to enter Royal Belum, visitors must first register with the Perbadanan Taman Negeri Perak (State Parks Authority) for permits and then report to the army control centre on site each time you enter this highly protected forest area. International visitors need to submit their passport details seven days in advance and Malaysians (name and identity card number) require three working days notice. The Malaysian Nature Society strongly feels that eco-tourism is a more rewarding and sustainable option, as it is a multi-billion dollar industry, and infinitely preferable to logging. MNS is hoping that Temenggor will also be gazetted by the Perak government and accorded due protection. http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Thursday/Features/20080423155311/Article/indexF_html

22) Limbang town is about 30 minutes by speedboat from Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei, which sits on the coast where the Brunei and Limbang rivers meet the South China Sea. Getting there requires navigating through a maze of marshland before traveling up the Limbang River. Just 10 years ago, river travel was precarious. The long, narrow speedboats easily capsize if they hit floating tree trunks, which may be invisible or look deceptively benign. Now Limbang district, which is situated between two parts of Brunei on the island of Borneo, appears destined to become the site of Malaysia’s newest gigantic project. This is an area ceded by Brunei to the famed White Raja, James Brooke, and even today the sultanate would like to wrest back the fertile estuary and the rainforest which lie upriver. More recently, Limbang came under the international media spotlight when indigenous nomads protested against logging companies in the late 1990s. Malaysia, however, has identified the river estuary as one of the sites for large scale rice cultivation as part of an ambitious RM4 billion project to turn the rainforest-covered state of Sarawak into a new "rice bowl" to make Malaysia self-sufficient in face of the global food crisis. What it mainly has done is raise concerns among environmentalists and NGOs that it will generate another land grab on Borneo on the magnitude of the Bakun Dam. Details are sketchy and the plan seems to have been pushed through with little forethought. Land Development Minister James Masing, the Sarawakian politician who was in charge of resettling native tribesmen from the site of the Bakun Dam, reportedly said that parts of Sarawak's 5 million hectares have been identified for rice cultivation, mostly in the central coastal areas and river deltas in the north. The area identified for cultivation is close to half of Limbang's total land mass of about 124,450 square km. Rampant deforestation has already wiped out most of Limbang’s primary forest. What is left is in the more mountainous regions. But Masing said forest would not be cleared as the identified sites are in the lowlands. Prime Minister Ahmad Abdullah Badawi approved funds for the project after speaking to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, who has benefited handsomely from the Bakun Dam, which wiped out 23,000 hectares of virgin rainforest, delivered the timber into the hands of timber barons and displaced 9,000 indigenous people. http://asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1168&Itemid=31


23) Orangutans are primarily frugivorous and that they are experts at moving through the forest canopy. The combination of these factors makes the orangutan an excellent seed disperser. Also, because of their large size, orangutans are able to eat bigger-seeded fruit which other species in their ecosystem aren’t able to. Orangutans thus play a crucial role in propagating fruit trees. As orangutans move through the canopy they will inevitably bend or break branches, opening up the forest canopy. This allows light to reach the forest floor thus helping seedlings to grow and the forest regenerate. Truly, orangutans are a vital cog in the working of the rainforest ecosystem. The interdependence between orangutans and the forest has huge implications for conservation. I think I have written before that Indonesia has the world’s highest deforestation rate; it also has the world’s highest number of threatened mammal species (146 species); is number two in the world for threatened bird species and remains high up there for the remaining taxonomic groups. To save the orangutan, you have to save the forest and when you save the forest you save everything else. (For better or worse, that includes spiders!) An example closer to my heart is the proboscis monkey, which is only found on Borneo. Tanjung Puting National Park has one of the largest remaining populations. Why? Because of our orangutan conservation work. As an aside, proboscis monkeys are fascinating in their own right. The males have a spectacular nose! Another special thing about the proboscis monkey is that they swim, a rare behaviour amongst primates. Proboscis monkeys actually have slightly webbed hands and feet and are able to swim underwater for about 20 metres. http://orangutanfoundation.wildlifedirect.org/2008/04/24/part-3-protectors-of-the-rainforest-eco

24) The experts, speaking at the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week conference here Tuesday, said climate change, soaring fuel prices and poverty, combined with increasing demand for forest products, would pose unprecedented challenges to the forestry sector in the Asia-Pacific region. "Meeting the challenges requires enormous growth in skills and knowledge and reinvention of many existing forestry institutions," head of forestry for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Jan Heino, said. "We must change. Forestry can't continue on the same path as in past decades." More than 600 forestry experts and government officials from across the region are attending the conference, which will run until Saturday. The conference, organized by the FAO, aims to identify ways to resolve forestry-related problems, such as enforcing laws against illegal logging and reducing poverty among communities living in forest regions. According to renowned ecologist and author Norman Myers, the world has not made protecting forests a priority, with only US$20 billion per year allocated to conservation. "Globally, countries are spending at least $200 billion each year on perverse subsidies that destroy biodiversity habitats, while the entire expenditure on conservation is less than a tenth of that amount," the author of The Sinking Ark told the conference. Indonesia, which has the world's largest amount of rainforest with 120 million hectares, has come under pressure to improve the management of its forestry sector, especially given claims illegal logging is benefiting the rich. Norman Jiwan, a researcher at Sawit Watch and a representative of an indigenous community of Kerambai people in Sanggau district, West Kalimantan, said government policies had destroyed local communities. http://old.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp

25) Forestry nations must change their forest management policies to help counter the effects of climate change and skyrocketing prices of food and fuel, leading forestry experts have said. The experts, speaking at the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week conference here Tuesday, said climate change, soaring fuel prices and poverty, combined with increasing demand for forest products, would pose unprecedented challenges to the forestry sector in the Asia-Pacific region. "Meeting the challenges requires enormous growth in skills and knowledge and reinvention of many existing forestry institutions," head of forestry for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Jan Heino, said. "We must change. Forestry can't continue on the same path as in past decades." More than 600 forestry experts and government officials from across the region are attending the conference, which will run until Saturday. The conference, organized by the FAO, aims to identify ways to resolve forestry-related problems, such as enforcing laws against illegal logging and reducing poverty among communities living in forest regions. According to renowned ecologist and author Norman Myers, the world has not made protecting forests a priority, with only US$20 billion per year allocated to conservation. "Globally, countries are spending at least $200 billion each year on perverse subsidies that destroy biodiversity habitats, while the entire expenditure on conservation is less than a tenth of that amount," the author of The Sinking Ark told the conference. Frances Seymour of the Center for International Forestry Research said Indonesia was a globally significant source of greenhouse gas emissions because of peat fires. "New interest in forests because of climate change provides an opportunity to shift the political economy of forests," she said. Seymour said climate change was likely to increase the probability of high-intensity rainfall events, which would in turn increase the risk of landslides. "Maintenance of forest vegetation can help stabilize the slope for some types of land movement," she said. http://old.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp

Papua New Guinea:

26) While the spirit of this partnership is to be applauded, for it to be successful the PNG Government must address the serious issues of illegal and destructive logging and corruption in the forestry sector, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner Dorothy Tekwie said. Otherwise it will be difficult for PNG to convince global carbon trading markets that they have the capacity and willingness to monitor and enforce forest carbon protection. The problem of illegal and destructive logging in PNG is well documented. Just last week the PNG Forest Minister, Beldan Namah, admitted that logging companies routinely flout laws with the help of corrupt officials saying Ive noticed a lot of corruption going on within the Forest Department. The Australian Institute of Criminology also released a report last week that said between 70 and 90 per cent of logging in PNG is illegal. The report said, given the scale of illegal logging in PNG, it is estimated that timber resources will be depleted in 10 years if logging continues at the present rate. PNG cant expect to benefit from the potential billions of dollars in carbon financing while continuing to destroy its forests, Ms Tekwie said. Australias pledge of $3 million for forest carbon monitoring is a small step in the right direction but it is also vital that Australia makes any financing conditional on forest governance reforms that stamp out illegal and destructive logging. http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1443092/


27) University of Adelaide researcher and PhD student Sarah Cockerell said several hundred avenues of honour were planted throughout the country after both world wars. The earliest was at Eurack, in south western Victoria, in 1916. She said more than half of the avenues still standing were in Victoria but many had been lost elsewhere because of poor management, urbanisation and natural causes. "The few that remain in good condition form valuable heritage landscapes, with local and national significance," Ms Cockerell said. "The tree is a commonly used symbol of life, as well as the cycle of life, death and renewal. "Therefore, it's only natural that trees are used as long-lasting memorials." With the drought and water restrictions now threatening urban trees, Ms Cockerell said the role of the community was crucial to ensuring the avenues of honour survived as long-lasting memorials. "These avenues were almost always planned, organised, paid for and planted by local community groups," she said. "They symbolise a community's grief over the losses of war as well as the community's pride in their people and their town. "The survival of avenues of honour is very much dependent on the value placed on them by local community groups, including schools, churches, RSL branches and local councils. "Whenever community support fades from lack of interest or the fading of community memory, the trees are in greatest danger." Ms Cockerell said new generations of Australians also had a role to play in helping maintain, restore or renew the avenues of honour just as young Australians were helping to reinvigorate the Anzac Day marches. http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23591762-5005961,00.html

28) Twenty protesters have halted logging in an old-growth forest south-west of Hobart. One activist was sitting in a tree 30 metres above the ground on Monday morning, while another protester was chained to logging machinery at the forest in the Little Denison Valley, 35km west of Huonville, a spokesman for the group said. Huon Valley Environment Centre spokesman Warrick Jordan told AAP some logging contractors left the site Monday morning when faced with the protest. "The local community is determined to stop this logging operation," he said. "People are sick and tired of seeing these last remaining areas of forests destroyed to line the pockets of Gunns Limited and Japanese paper companies," he said. Mr Jordan accused the state and federal governments of cosying up to the woodchipping industry. He said he expected protesters would remain at the site for the rest of the day. Comment was being sought from Forestry Tasmania. Forestry Tasmania acting managing director Penny Egan refused to comment directly on the protest. In a statement through a spokesman, she said: "Seventy-nine per cent of Tasmania's old growth forests are in reserves, including 10 million old growth trees permanently protected". "Less than one per cent of state forest is harvested for wood products and regrown each year." http://news.smh.com.au/protesters-block-logging-in-tasmania/20080428-28yp.html

29) Four people have been arrested while protesting against logging in a southern Tasmanian forest. About 20 protesters attempted to stop logging of an old-growth forest in the Little Denison Valley, 35km west of Huonville, southwest of Hobart. A spokesman for the Huon Valley Environment Centre, Warrick Jordan, said those arrested had been unfairly threatened but police say they had violently resisted. "Forest defenders engaged in legitimate, peaceful protest do not deserve this treatment,'' Mr Jordan said. "Local police, without warning, arrested three activists as they were preparing to leave the forest blockade, and threatened them with pepper spray and pushed them into a police car. "A Lucaston woman was also arrested after being removed from logging machinery.'' Police spokeswoman Jodi DeCesare said police responded to a call from Forestry Tasmania complaining about protesters allegedly blocking access to the area and securing themselves to machinery. "One of the males resisted being placed in the divisional van and was told that OC spray would be used if he continued to kick violently while resisting arrest, risking injury to himself and/or others,'' she said. "He then followed police directions, OC spray was not deployed.'' Four people - two women and two men - were arrested and are expected to be charged with failing to comply with the directions of a police officer, wilfully obstructing police and resisting arrest, Ms DeCesare said. One activist sat in a tree 30 metres above the ground while another was chained to logging machinery at the forest. The forest is valued by the protesters for its giant eucalyptus regnans trees, while wedge-tailed eagle nests are also found in the forest, Mr Jordan said. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23611606-12377,00.html

30) Forestry's general manager, Bob Gordon, says many land owners have been burning off organic waste, and Forestry's regeneration burns are not the cause of the low level smoke haze. He says Forestry burns send smoke high into the atmosphere. "Other people have also been burning and if you've driven round Hobart or the Northern Midlands you would have seen land owners lighting up and their smoke tends to drift at ground level," he said. "Whereas the objective with out high intensity burns is for that column of smoke to go up into the jet stream 20,000 feet up and basically go out to sea or disperse. Conservationists have expressed concern at Forestry Tasmania's plans to use clear-felled logs as fuel in biomass energy plants. Forestry Tasmania has suggested large logs be disposed in biomass plants, because they are causing much of the harmful smoke in regeneration burns. Vica Bayley from the Wilderness Society, says Forestry thinks it has come up with an enviromentally friendly idea. But he says it does not counterbalance the damage Forestry's logging is doing to the environment in the first place. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/24/2226024.htm?section=business

31) Forestry Tasmania wants an electricity investor to build a $70 million burner to put the debris from clearfell logging into energy, rather than smoke, generation. "It is the large pieces of wood which often smoulder over a number of days which have contributed most to the smoke haze around the state," Mr Gordon said. "Biomass energy is part of the solution. These bigger pieces should instead be going into biomass plants. It is a win-win. We can reduce the smoke going into the atmosphere and also generate renewable power." He said the company would still conduct forest burns to create ash beds but the burns would be less intense. "Forestry Tasmania roll out the biomass plant idea every year when they are under public pressure about burning in the forests," Mr Bayley said. "The majority of Tasmanians are upset about the smoke because of what it represents, not just the nuisance factor." Investment in renewable energy has slumped with uncertainty over Australia's renewable energy target scheme. Mr Gordon said Forestry Tasmania had received interest in its plans. He said it would take 12 months from the time an investor put money on the table to get a plant up and running. A plant of the scale proposed would need 10,000 tonnes of wood to generate 10 megawatts of electricity. Mr Gordon said there was enough waste wood in Tasmania to fuel the plants without having to clearfell more forests. http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,23590745-5007221,00.html


32) Leaders of the world's 370 million indigenous peoples are calling for the United Nations to include their voices in its future talks on climate change. "Both the climate change and its solutions are concerns for indigenous peoples," said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, chairperson of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Currently, the Forum, which includes 16 representatives -- eight nominated by governments and eight by indigenous representatives -- is holding its seventh annual meeting in New York. The meeting is being is being attended by more than 3,300 delegates from around the world. "The indigenous peoples contribute the smallest ecological footprints on Earth," according to Tauli-Corpuz, "but they suffer the worst impacts from climate change and mitigation measures, such as the loss of land and biofuel production." Despite representation from nearly 500 aboriginal groups worldwide, the Forum is not empowered to enact laws; it can only advise the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), a 54-member U.N. body, whose members are elected by the General Assembly every three years. Last year in September, the General Assembly passed a historic resolution calling for the recognition of indigenous peoples' right to control their lands and resources, but fell short of saying the "Universal Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples" was legally binding. Indigenous leaders they want both the governments and private corporations to incorporate the declaration into their national economic, political, cultural and environmental policies, so that indigenous people can participate in the process of development in a meaningful way. "The indigenous peoples have observed and felt the impact of climate change before anybody else," said Tauli-Corpuz. "They are becoming 'environmental refugees' [because] small island states are sinking due to rising sea-levels." According to Fiu Elisara, executive director of the Ole Siosiomaga Society of Samoa island, climate change has become "a life-and-death" issue for the Pacific island states, also known as the "liquid continent". "One cyclone is enough to completely wipe out one island state," he said, adding that 90 percent of the people in the Pacific are indigenous who have nowhere to turn to for help because most of their rulers have not signed the declaration. Indigenous leaders say many of their communities in mega-biodiverse countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brazil are greatly suffering due to extensive use of their lands and forests for biofuels in the name of carbon-trading and climate change mitigation. http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42103

33) We've made maps, videos and reports to identify the emergency facing the forests. Now we're turning to the company who needs to help stop the destruction: Unilever, the huge multinational corporation behind Dove soap and other household brands containing palm oil. Unilever buys its palm oil from suppliers who destroy Indonesia's rainforests for their palm plantations, leading to further climate change and killing orang-utans and other endangered species in the process. By their own admission, Unilever is the biggest single user of palm oil in the world, which is why they can't wash their hands now of this problem. We mustn't let them. A truly responsible company would not buy from suppliers who trash forests. But Unilever needs to be moved into action, which is what the international Dove campaign is about. Come watch the 1-minute video and take action online today. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/forests/asia-pacific/dove-palmoil-action

34) Healthy forests enable surrounding communities to be resilient to economic and environmental shocks such as drought. Forests and biodiversity are also important to many people for their spiritual and aesthetic values. Unfortunately, tropical forests face a number of threats, including conversion to agriculture, illegal logging, unsustainable extraction of timber and other forest resources, climate change, pollution, and policies that subsidize forest conversion to other uses. Deforestation is a significant contributor to climate change: Scientific studies have estimated that 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to deforestation. Each year, approximately 10.4 million hectares of forest are lost. To put this into perspective, that is equivalent to losing an area roughly the size of Virginia each year. The World Bank estimates that illegal logging represents a loss of $10-15 billion per year to developing countries. Illegal logging also fuels corruption and in some countries finances conflict. Loss of forest cover, riparian buffers and mangroves also represent a significant increase in regional and local vulnerability to climate variability and climate change. To address these concerns and to ensure that forests and biodiversity continue to play an important role in sustainable development, USAID supports programs around the globe that aim to improve the conservation and sustainable management of forests and biodiversity. http://www.usaid.gov/press/speeches/2008/ty080422.html

35) Go to www.TheProblemWithPalmOil.org to see the new Retail Strategy webpage. On May 5th, this page will go live to everyone—not just our supporters—and you will be able to enter the barcode numbers of products that either contains palm oil or palm oil free alternative products. Every time you enter a product that has not been entered before, you will get points, which will be tracked on the webpage. The people, or groups, who enter the most points will not only be doing the most to help us locate the products destroying the rainforest and their alternatives, but will also win cool RAN gear. So! As an Understory faithful, you get a head start. Check out the products in your home and supermarket and write down the 12 digit barcode number on the products that either contain palm oil, or are palm oil free alternative products. All the details of what to do are online now at www.TheProblemWithPalmOil.org. The easy products will get identified quickly, so get them in early. This is only the first step of a major new campaign push for Rainforest Ag. This will be the first step in a path that will lead to a major new strategic launch in September—targeting a major food or soap manufacturer that uses palm oil. And we need your help to decide who that will be. To learn more about how this fits into our new long term strategy, go to http://www.TheProblemWithPalmOil.org
23 April 2008 @ 10:33 pm
Today for you 34 new articles about earth’s trees! (332nd edition)
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Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com

--British Columbia: 1) Mt. Robson Provincial Park falls to oil pipeline, 2) 11 new provincial parks and 66 conservancy areas? 3) Pine Beetle belches carbon bubble,
--Tennessee: 4) Stop the I-3
--Canada: 5) Bioenergy set to destroy big timber, 6) 11,400 square kilometres for oil?
--North America: 7) Grim destructive pressures on forests
--UK: 8) Save Old Pool Bank near Otley, 9) Woodland burials jepordised by Newt? 10) Recylcling waste wood,
--Scotland: 11) People are very passionate about their local forests: meeting planned
--Ghana: 12) To deal with perennial and pervasive problem of illegal logging
--Nicaragua: 13) Now he’s in it for the trees (conservation)
--Columbia: 14) Help us find forest defender José Abelardo Salgado
--Bolivia: 15) Evo Morales condems capitalism!
--Ecuador: 16) Bush’s Columbia killing the people of Ecuador’s forest
--Brazil: 17) 40,000 human murders a year, how many trees? 18) Amazon makes S. Brazil’s rain, 19) More on Cops chasing loggers,
--India: 20) Mines in Keonjhar don’t replant trees
--Philippines: 21) Investigate economic zone, 13,000 trees at stake
--Indonesia: 22) Police discovered 200,000 cubic meters of illegal logs, 23) Biodiversity of birds and butterflies in primary forests, 24) Calls for a moratorium,
--Solomon Islands: 25) We lost $40 million to logging industry, 26) Greenpeace report,
--Papua New Guinea: 27) First government admission of corruption in forestry
--Australia: 28) 14 year rotations is a profitable victory? 29) Tasmanian greens rant,
--World-wide: 30) Avoided-deforestation relies on stable governments, 31) With an eventual 9 billion of people we must accept complete ecological destruction and start to grow lots of food, 32) FSC is the “Enron of Forestry,” 33) Next five years a paradigm shift in how we look at trees, 34) FSC certifies bad environmental practices,

British Columbia:

1) Construction crews will soon be digging trenches and laying a major oil pipeline along the scenic route through Mount Robson Provincial Park, which covers 224,866 hectares through the B.C. portion of the Rocky Mountains. Once the project is complete, it will allow Kinder Morgan Canada, the company building the pipeline, to ship an extra 40,000 barrels of oil each day from Alberta to markets in the Lower Mainland, the U.S., and Asia. That will increase the capacity of the existing pipeline from 260,000 to 300,000 barrels per day. The expansion was pre-approved more than 50 years ago, according to Wayne Van Velzen, the parks supervisor at Mount Robson. "A park that is associated with wilderness … to have an industrial project of this magnitude going through both parks … if it wasn't something ordered in 1952, there would probably be some pretty serious opposition," said Van Velzen. Kinder Morgan is spending $443 million dollars on the Anchor Loop project, running 159 km over the rugged terrain through the Rockies, is one phase of its expansion of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system. The development expands an existing historic pipeline that already runs through the parks. Ninety-six percent of the pipeline expansion is adjacent to the highway, the rail line, or the existing pipeline. Pipeline construction through Jasper National Park is almost complete, while trenching and brush clearing in Mount Robson Provincial Park has just begun. Intensive construction will begin in Mount Robson Provincial Park in May, 2008, and is expected to be completed by November. Both Robson and Jasper Parks are part of the Rocky Mountain World Heritage Site. Tourist season will be affected as the area is turned into a temporary construction zone. The project will bring hundreds of temporary workers into the Robson Valley into towns like Valemount, B.C., for the summer. Construction may slow traffic on the scenic Yellowhead Highway through the Rockies, and will affect the Lucerne campground. http://www.cbc.ca/news/credit.html

2) Premier Gordon Campbell said yesterday the province will introduce legislation this spring to create 11 new provincial parks and 66 conservancy areas. They include the so-called Great Bear Rainforest. "These new parks and conservancies will build on the work we've already done to safeguard B.C.'s wilderness, including preserving the largest intact rainforest on Earth -- the Central and North coasts," he said. The new Class A parks include six new parks in the Morice River area of northern B.C., one on the Central Coast from privately-donated land and four new parks in the Okanagan-Shuswap. The 66 new conservancies are mostly on the Central and North coasts, along with nine in the Sea-to-Sky land plan, two on the Queen Charlottes and in the Morice River region. B.C. will have 604 Class A parks and 131 conservancies if the bill passes. But NDP environment critic Shane Simpson pointed out that the announcement is old news. "We're always happy to see new parks and protected and conservancy areas," said Simpson. "But all of these are re-announcements. None of them are new. They've all been announced, some time between 2001 and last week." Meanwhile, Gwen Barlee of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, said more money should be spent on running the existing park network of 14-million hectares, which have been "absolutely starved for cash over the past five years." The park system only has 10 full-time rangers in B.C., she said, and suffers from chronic short-staffing. Vicky Husband of the Coalition of B.C. Parks called it an important step that should protect land from development. "The expectation of the B.C. public is that these [parks] would remain inviolate, that these are protected in their pristine nature forever." http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=04f1fbc9-dd67-45b3-83fa-99f5b981445d

3) British Columbia's pine-beetle devastated forest is belching out enough carbon to equal Canada's average annual forest fire emissions, says a new report from scientists at the Ministry of Natural Resources Canada. Instead of manufacturing oxygen as it should, the damaged forest is becoming a source for global warming, putting more pressure on the need to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The study, released Wednesday, calculates it will be much harder for Canada to meet global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when a huge section of B.C. forests is putting out carbon dioxide. "What we're saying is what has historically helped us attain moderate growth rates of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is, at least temporarily, in this region interrupted by the beetle," said Werner Kurz, the study's co-author. Kurz, a senior research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada, has been working on the equation of carbon input and output of Canada's forests since 1989. The model works so well he's training academics in Russia, Mexico and North America, on how to calculate the carbon balance of forests. The study, which will be featured in the science journal Nature this week, adds a new dimension to the world-wide debate on global warming. "For the first time we are able to isolate the impact of the beetle by creating the model infrastructure that allows us to represent the landscape with and without the beetle," Kurz said. Last month, the B.C. government announced that the voracious pest has destroyed nearly half of British Columbia's marketable pine forest. Approximately 13.5 million hectares of lodgepole pine in the province have been infested - an area more than four times the size of Vancouver Island. The beetle is now push east past the Rocky Mountains and into B.C.'s southern interior region. Researchers estimated that from 2000 to 2020, a 374,000-square kilometre area of B.C. forest (an area larger than Labrador) would produce 270,000 megatonnes of carbon. http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5gxxqtnTiAeofTtkegYFDdL6MHeKA

4) Will Skelton writes: "We were absolutely astounded that anyone would think a road should (or even could) be build up the mountain from the east. It would have to ascend a very steep and high mountain wall, then descend and cross numerous valleys as the mountains and ridges are generally running north and south, while the road would run east to west. I understand a big proponent of the road, always takes people in from the western end at Greasy Creek (TN 30), where the climb is more gradual. And that the steepness of this eastern side of the mountains is why TDOT rejected the route four years ago." Photos are available at the website below. They show the precipitous nature of the Kimsey Highway, and how high up it goes (one of the photos has a red circle; the next photo shows, via telephoto, what's within that circle way down in the valley below)." As well as keeping up public momentum to stop I-3, we are monitoring “Corridor K," which could destroy the beautiful Ocoee Gorge in Tennessee, as well as the recently resurrected Northern Arc in north metro Atlanta. We believe that the transportation needs of our communities can be met without destroying our environment and the unique qualities of our region. http://www.stopi3.org/


5) The growth of the bioenergy industry may be a cause of concern for some large forestry companies, which will have to contend with rising demand and prices for fibre. Some firms, however, see an opportunity to transform themselves from pulp companies into diversified forestry companies, producing a range of specialized products, including energy. "Our commitment to increase our environmental performance has two big drivers behind it," said Shawn Wasel, the director of environmental resources, for Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. "Environmental performance is closely tied to economic performance. The company, which operates a pulp mill in northern Alberta, was the first Canadian forestry firm to go carbon neutral, doing so last year. To achieve that, Alberta-Pacific produces its own power by burning wood waste, selling the excess power to the Alberta electricity grid and expanding its poplar tree plantation, which acts as a carbon sink, sequestering carbon dioxide. Wasel says the company will continue to integrate environmental performance into its business plan by exploring bioenergy projects and by seeking environmental certification for its wood products. "The sector as a whole is looking at innovative ways to get more value out of the logs we bring out of the forest." Or, in the case of British Columbia, out of trees that are too damaged to make it to the mills. In February, B.C. Hydro issued a call for proposals for small-scale bioenergy projects to create electricity using pine beetle-ravaged trees. David Godkin understands the value of wood waste. As general manager of P.E.I. Energy Systems, Godkin oversees a district heating system that provides heat to some of Prince Edward Island's largest buildings. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=a3789711-767c-4cbe-9065-9465b87f0b8c

6) The Alberta government has postponed acting on an early call to preserve 11,400 square kilometres of forest in the Fort McMurray oilsands region. But the green idea is still alive and poised to grow up into a formal plan supported by industry and conservationists alike, the scheme's sponsoring coalition said Monday. In a letter dated March 7 and released by the Pembina Institute on Monday, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development promised only to review a recommendation to suspend sales of new bitumen production leases in three proposed green areas. The delay amounted to refusal, said institute oilsands director Simon Dyer. Pembina is one of 48 conservation, industry, aboriginal and local government members in the Cumulative Environmental Effects Association (CEMA) that made the request in January. "We haven't finished our process yet," CEMA spokesman Corey Hobbs said. The Fort McMurray-based environmental coalition will vote in June on a land management program that includes proposed green zones, he added. "We're not saying hold off on oilsands development," Hobbs said. "We're calling for areas of protection." About $1.5 million has been spent putting together an oilsands region land-management strategy over the past 30 months, he said. The province helped create CEMA and officially encourages the group to settle oilsands environmental conflicts as a "multi-stakeholder organization" advising regulatory agencies. In eight years, the province has adopted six policies devised by the group, including 2007 recommendations on controlling water use. Reports that CEMA sought a development moratorium whipped up a brief political storm in late February, when a preliminary recommendation was leaked in the closing days of the March 3 provincial election campaign. The initial forest protection plan divided CEMA's industry members. But a majority recommended a three-year halt to oilsands lease sales in the proposed protected areas during further work on an overall land management strategy. A detailed conservation blueprint was scheduled for completion in 2011. http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/business/story.html?id=be3ddbba-b346-4e75-b86c-d1d

North America:

7) Healthy forests are like clean air and water; we take them for granted until a crisis or disaster occurs. A forestry crisis decades in the making is looming, and a widespread lack of public awareness has the potential to bring about a true catastrophe. We should pay attention. The 2008 presidential election gives us an opportunity to help combat threats to our forests -- by extension, to our air and water. Even as a perfect storm is brewing, of grim, destructive pressures on forests, bipartisan cooperation needed to counter these elements may be possible, simply because it's necessary. Consider this: "The biggest environmental issue of our day, for all of the eastern United States and Canada, is a tragedy in progress. Exploitive timber harvesting practices, which began in earnest in the 1970s and expanded during the 1980s and 1990s, have become so pervasive today that they threaten the very existence of responsible forestry." This is not a squeamish tree hugger talking; it's Ralph Nyland, distinguished service professor of silviculture at the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. "This exploitation threatens the eastern forests themselves and the well-being of the people who live in this part of the world," he says. "And I don't understand why there is not a widespread expression of outrage among members of environmental groups." Three acres of forest per minute are being harvested in New York alone -- exploitation harvests in the great majority of the cases, with no regard for the future of the forest. Real estate parcelization is swallowing up open space and forestland in eastern North America like a voracious Pac-Man. Almost 100 acres a day in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, 40 acres in Massachusetts. Finally, other major threats to the forest like high taxes, white-tailed deer, and invasive plants and insects illuminate an even more dire picture. So why is most of the general public still in the dark? After all, we read global headlines about the slashing and burning of the world's tropical rain forests. We see dramatic photos featuring millions of forested acres going up in smoke, taking sequestered carbon with it. In contrast, news about the degradation of forests occurring in eastern North America is almost completely under the public radar. http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=682076&category=OPINION&newsdate=4/21/20


8) Residents are celebrating a decision which will stop any more trees being felled in a "wildlife corridor" at Old Pool Bank near Otley. Householders were stunned last November when workmen arrived in Cabin Road and started felling part of the neighbouring ancient woodland. They immediately notified Pool Parish and Leeds City Councils, and a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) was placed on the site. Now Leeds Plans Panel (West), however, has confirmed the order - to the delight of residents in Groves Terrace and Cabin Road. John Riley of Groves Terrace, said: "This is absolutely fantastic, great news and we do hope the protection will be permanent for that piece of land, so we can do something about putting some deciduous trees back in there." http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/newsindex/display.var.2211933.0.delight_as_trees_sav

9) A woodland burial site is being planned as an extension to Penwortham Cemetery because of a lack of room to bury the dead. But the £30,000 bid by Penwortham Town Council has been held up once again by the Great Crested Newt. The newt – already the scourge of many new developments in and around Preston – is protected under EU and British law, making it illegal to capture or disturb its habitat. Lancashire County Coun Howard Gore, who represents Penwortham South, hopes to be buried at the new site, which has received £10,000 in lottery funding. He said: "I'd like to think that by the time you are dead and buried, newts are the last of your worries. I think the major concern would be worms! "I have had it written into my will that I have a 'lot' ordered at Penwortham Cemetery. "I'm a big supporter of the new form of burial – I think it's just more natural." Penwortham town manager Steve Caswell said: "We have had to develop a management plan to protect the species. http://www.lep.co.uk/news/Newts-could-halt-woodland-burials.4002615.jp

10) Waste wood, which would previously have been sent to be buried in landfill sites, is being looked at in a new light. Rather than just being thrown away to decompose, it is being chipped or ground into pellets and burned in water boilers of a variety of sizes to heat factories, schools, swimming pools and even homes. A remarkable 10 million tonnes of waste wood - about the same weight as a forest of 10,000 giant redwood trees - is produced in the UK every year. Government estimates suggest two million tonnes could produce 2.6 terawatt hours of electricity, around two thirds of the 4.19 terawatt hours produced by the nuclear power station in Hinkley Point in 2006. Not all waste wood is suitable and it requires energy to convert even the 'good' waste wood into a usable form. But as anyone who has seen a log fire burn will know, with a carbon content of 50 per cent, the potential energy release of wood is huge. And because the burning of it involves the combustion of carbon already in the atmosphere then it is considered a sustainable form of energy - as long as the trees used to produce the wood are replaced. Waste wood is one form of a larger family of biomass resources and Bristol is leading the way in using it as an energy fuel. The Government has announced that by 2010 petrol from our pumps will contain five per cent biofuel.


11) Environment Minister Michael Russell said: "I know people across the country are very passionate about their local forests and woodlands and all have their own ideas about what they want from the national forest estate. "We want to hear as many of those views as possible and I would urge anyone with an interest in Scotland's forests to take part in this important consultation." The meetings will also look at issues like felling and replanting. Brent Meakin of the Forestry Commission Scotland added: "We are taking the opportunity to highlight our plans. "They set out how the local managers plan to get the most out of their woodlands by balancing operational needs with those of recreational use and biodiversity." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/display.var.2214405.0.talkin_on_future_of_local_forests.php

12) The Forestry Commission has called for a united effort to deal with the perennial and pervasive problem of illegal logging which is causing great damage to the country’s forest cover. The Corporate Customer Services Manager of the Commission, Agyeman Prempeh Koranteng made the call on a Radio discussion Programme in Sekondi. He said illegal logging accounts for about 85% of decrease in the forest cover which stood at about 8.2 hectares at the turn of the century. Mr. Agyeman Prempeh Koranteng said, illegal logging has caused the virtual collapse of the timber industry and loss of revenue to both the state and landowners in the form of taxes and royalties. In addition it is directly responsible for the destruction of wild life and ecosystem which serve as a priceless national resource support base. Mr. Koranteng said since 2000, a series of global efforts have been initiated both at regional and international levels to combat illegal logging and this led to the European Commission hosting an international workshop to discuss how it could contribute to measures to combat the problem. This, he said has led to the formation the Voluntary Partnership Agreement by the EU of which Ghana is a member. http://gbcghana.com/news/19791detail.html


13) Donn Wilson went to Nicaragua for the surfing. He bought land there for the business opportunity. Now he’s in it for the trees. The San Diego native is one of eight landowners who have volunteered a chunk of their property in a Nicaraguan conservation corridor for reforestation. The program, launched by a group of nonprofit organizations, aims to restore native species to more than 850 acres of forest land — an area about the size of New York’s Central Park — while offsetting about 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. “The vision is primal forests,” said Wilson, who operated a chain of surf shops before moving to Nicaragua and who has taken an active personal role in the $500,000 project. “My kids hate me when it’s 5 o’clock in the morning and it’s dark and it’s raining and they have to put their boots on and plant trees. I tell them, ‘You’re going to bring your grandchildren here one day,’” Wilson said. Because the continuing destruction of forests accounts for nearly 20 percent of the globe’s carbon emissions, planting trees has become a key element in combating climate change because trees help to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. But accounting for just how much CO2 trees can sequester over time remains a tricky business, and experts said the Nicaragua project stands apart as one of only a handful that meet a new rigorous international standard for carbon offset eligibility. The nonprofit group leading the effort, Paso Pacifico, plans to unveil the project tonight at the Nicaraguan Embassy. Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs holds a hearing today to examine the effects of global deforestation on climate change. Paso Pacifico’s director, ecologist Sarah Otterstrom, said that the project began in 2006 with a single homeowner interested in restoring abandoned cattle pastures to forest land. Otterstrom said she quickly realized the effort could extend far beyond a few hundred trees on a single property. In order to qualify for carbon offsets, the group had to conform to a set of standards, set out by a group called the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance, which required a stack of studies on carbon biomass, local biodiversity and ways in which the surrounding local community would benefit. The idea behind the standards, Otterstrom and others said, is to ensure that projects go beyond just planting trees. http://www.earthportal.org/news/?p=1058


14) CENSAT Agua Viva (Friends of the Earth Colombia) need your help to secure the return of José Abelardo Salgado, an environmentalist who disappeared on 31 March 2008. At the time of his disappearance Mr Salgado was on his way to provide environmental consultancy services in Cerro Azul in the Valle del Cauca region in Colombia. A committed environmentalist, Mr Salgado is a member of a local Colombian environmental group FEDENA (Fundación Ecológica Fenicia Defensa Natural). He has worked on many environmental projects and issues in his community and the region for the last 15 years and has earned a high degree of respect in these areas. Please take 2 minutes to visit our website and send an email calling on the Vice President of Colombia, Dr. Francisco Santos Calderón, to do everything in his power to ensure the swift return of Mr Salgado. Please don't forget to send this message on to your contacts and ask them to join the call for the safe return of José Abelardo Salgado. If you have a website please link to these actions. http://www.foei.org/en/get-involved/take-action/jose-salgado


15) Bolivian President Evo Morales has told a UN forum that capitalism should be scrapped if the planet is to be saved from the effects of climate change. "If we want to save our planet earth, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system," he said. Opening an UN meeting in New York on the rights of indigenous people, he also said the development of biofuels harmed the world's poorest people. The forum's theme is the global impact of climate change on native people. Mr Morales gave the keynote address at the opening of the seventh session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. As a descendent of the Aymara people, he is Bolivia's first indigenous president. Bolivia's left-wing president said unbridled industrial development was responsible for the pillaging of natural resources. Speaking through an interpreter at the UN headquarters in New York, he had this uncompromising message: "If we want to save our planet earth, to save life, to save mankind, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system." Mr Morales also argued against biofuels, crops which are used to produce alternative energy rather than food. Biofuels resulted in poverty and hunger he said, and were very harmful to the poorest people in the world. In a side swipe at Brazil, major manufacturers of the biofuel ethanol, he said some presidents were putting cars ahead of people. The forum is scheduled to run until 2 May.


16) Wisps of evaporating water rise from the dark green Amazon rainforest as an Ecuadorian military helicopter swerves along the San Miguel River. Each day, slim boats with outboard motors ferry dozens of people between the hamlets of Puerto Nuevo, Ecuador, and Teteye, Colombia, across the brown and winding border waterway. Most are doing business or visiting relatives. But this year boatmen are increasingly carrying Ecuadorian mourners to retrieve the bodies of loved ones. Most, they say, were killed by Colombian troops because they were suspected of aiding the Marxist guerrillas known as the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces, or FARC. One was Antonio Jimenez, shot a month ago. Insists one Puerto Nuevo woman who knew him well, "He just went over to buy banana seedlings." Border life inside the dark green Amazon rainforest is murky and dangerous enough without guerrilla politics mingled in. But along the San Miguel River, communities are feeling squeezed as never before by the FARC, which makes a habit of encamping inside Ecuador, and the Colombian military, which for the first time ever has the FARC on the run. Now, in its pursuit, the Colombians feel emboldened enough to ignore the frontier. Last month Colombian special forces made a raid into Ecuador and killed the FARC's No. 2 comandante, Raul Reyes. That incursion spurred an Andean diplomatic crisis: an angry Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa severed relations with Colombia, and the Organization of American States called the attack a violation of sovereignty. But conservative Colombian President Alvaro Uribe accused Ecuador and its left-wing government of harboring the FARC, which has fought the Colombian government in a bloody civil war for 44 years. Uribe claims that data on Reyes' laptop computer reveals ties between the FARC and Ecuadorian Security Minister Gustavo Larrea. Correa vehemently denies it, insisting his military has removed FARC camps inside Ecuador and that Colombia — whose own military is often accused by human rights groups of killing innocent civilians in its hunt for FARC rebels — is being too lax about policing its own side of the border and preventing the rebels from seeping into his country. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1732271,00.html


17) In general, Brazil is a violent country. Over 40,000 murders a year has earned Brazil the not-so-distinct United Nation's status of being a country at war. But in the middle lands of Pará we're not talking about massive crime filled cities where drug lords dance with the police and government over power, control and money. We're talking about areas with populations less than that of a small stadium crowd. Millions too are at stake, but the contraband here is what the locals call ouro verde, or green gold: mahogany for example. On board with us during this protest were three men, all with price tags on their heads and all equally committed to not necessarily preserving the Amazon forest by putting a bubble over it, but the prevention of its foreseeable destruction. They search for solutions that will allow the forest, in a sustainable way, to benefit all and improve the quality of life for millions who call the Amazon home. 29-year-old Tarcísio Feitosa da Silva works with CIMI (Conselho Indigenista Missionário—Indianist Missionary Council) and is the coordinator of MDTX (Movimento pelo Desenvolvimento da Transamazônica e Xingu—Transamazonic and Xingu Development Movement). Tarcísio is also currently filling the shoes of a coworker who was gunned down at home in front of his wife and kids in August of 2001. Ademir Alfeu Federicci was the leader of MDTX that is based out of Altamira. Prior to his death, loggers would jest that he himself should invest in the logging trade, because he would need wood to build his own coffin. Sadly the police treated the threat lightly, but those behind the threats did not. On a typically humid and hot Amazonian night Federicci and his wife slept leaving the front door open to catch what little air moves in the unforgiving tropics. Two men entered their house and shot him dead. http://www.brazzil.com/p112jan03.htm

18) It can be summed up in three words: carbon, rain and biodiversity. Two Brazilian scientists have also shown convincingly that the Amazon provides the rain for southern Brazil and northern Argentina, destined to be one of the world’s breadbaskets, and argued that deforestation in Amazonia is causing a reduction in that rainfall. Also, Brazil gets 80 per cent of its energy from hydroelectric dams on rivers flowing north into the Amazon. That’s the same rainwater. So the country could be jeopardising its wealth and its future by destroying its rainforests. We have no moral right to destroy and burn the ecosystem that has the greatest number of species on the planet — and which absorbs so much carbon. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/artsandculture/1586214/John-Hemming-the-rainforest-man.html

19) A convoy of six black sport utility vehicles pulled into a lumberyard unannounced here one recent morning. Out popped about two dozen members of Brazil’s security and police forces, packing sidearms and rifles. But the weapon the foreman feared most was carried by a separate group of agents of Brazil’s national environmental agency: bright yellow tape measures. This is Operation Arc of Fire, the Brazilian government’s tough campaign to deter illegal destruction of the Amazon forest. It is intended to send a message that the government is serious about protecting the world’s largest remaining rain forest, but so far it has stirred controversy for its militaristic approach to saving trees, and the initial results have been less than promising. Already, the authorities have issued $25.9 million in fines, made 19 arrests and seized more than 51,140 cubic yards of wood, which has been transferred to local governments, said Kézia Macedo, an analyst with the federal environmental agency, known as Ibama, in Brasília. But the challenges are daunting. The Amazon is vast, with some 1.3 million square miles still forested. The 48 police officers and two dozen environmental agents involved in Arc of Fire here seem minuscule for the territory in northern Mato Grosso. That is one reason the agents are mostly concentrating on bottlenecks where the wood must be transported, catching loggers coming in and out of Alta Floresta, a city of about 50,000 people in northern Mato Grosso. Illegal loggers prefer to travel deep in the night, he said. With moonlight forcing its way through the clouds, the agents gathered in a circle and smoked cigarettes and traded stories about their hometowns. “Rodrigo, are we are doing the right thing?” asked Paulo Iribarrem, a burly 17-year Ibama veteran, breaking a momentary silence. “Don’t worry, pal, this is just the first stage” of the operation, Mr. Almeida replied. “There is more to come.” The agents stopped one passenger car, and a motorcycle or two passed by. But after nearly two hours, with no trucks hauling wood, they called it quits and headed home. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/19/world/americas/19brazil.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin


20) While the mineral resources are excavated after cutting vast number of trees, the compensatory plantation hardly takes place, they alleged and added that with no trees on the top soil and only iron and manganese ores lying in the open, results in this high rise in temperature. A Keonjhar-based historian and environmentalist Dr Bimbadhara Behera echoes with them. Apart from deforestation, rapid mining activities, transportation and construction also contribute in temperature rise, he pointed out. “While earlier Titilagarh was the hottest place in the state, now four other regions including Keonjhar have earned the dubious distinction of the Heat Islands”, he said. If the situation prevails for long, the district would be the ‘Deserted Hot Island’, not just the ‘Hot Island’, he cautioned. And the consequential effects of this soaring temperature are also very destructive, he noted. He said, while once the district’s cold climate was conducive for tea and coffee plantation, now with changed climate, certain medicinal plants available only in Gandhmaradan Mountain are feared to disappear for ever. The environmental change may also have its bad impacts on fauna. Some animals and birds known to survive in cold climate would die, if such temperature rising continues for some more time, he warned. And the worst problem is the scarcity of water, which is slowly felt here. It is learnt that ground water level have gone down to such a level that bore wells of about 200 feet depth draw no water this summer. It is also feared that the tributary rivers would also become dry. The working capacity has also been badly affected, some opined. Sources said, in Keonjhar, it is almost a curfew-like situation during the day time. From 11am the roads are devoid of any commuters. People choose to remain inside than venturing out. However, the vendors dealing with ice creams, sugar cane juice, water melon and sarbat have reasons to thank the Sun God, even as their business and profit go up with temperature rise. http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=9&theme=&usrsess=1&id=200854


21) The Senate should investigate the planned setting up of an economic zone in Baguio City that will reportedly lead to the cutting of 13,000 trees, Senator Ma. Ana Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal said Tuesday. In Senate Resolution 361, Madrigal asked the Senate committees on environment and national resources and on tourism to investigate, in aid of legislation, the "pending massacre" of the trees, mostly pine trees, within Baguio’s Camp John Hay, which is to be developed into an export processing zone (EPZ). The Camp John Hay Development Corporation has entered an agreement with the Philippine Export Processing Zone Authority (PEZA) to develop the export zone inside the former American military facility. The EPZ will host the expansion of businesses, including an aircraft parts manufacturer. But Madrigal said Camp John Hay is "still classified as a forest land" and therefore "cannot be leased for development without an act of Congress." "There is a need to prevent [the] indiscriminate cutting of trees and destruction of forests in Baguio City to preserve its main tourist attraction," she said. The northern Philippine city is touted as the country’s summer capital because of its cool temperature. Madrigal said the trees help maintain Baguio’s climate. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20080422-132028/Madrigal-Probe-imminen


22) Riau Police have discovered nearly 200,000 cubic meters of logs believed to have been illegally harvested in Pelalawan regency, Riau, the largest such finding in two months. Pelalawan Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. I Gusti Gunawa said Monday the logs were found in at least 3,872 stashes next to five canals at a timber estate project in Sungai Ara village. The findings started two days ago when police officers spotted a number of trucks transporting logs in the area. "This aroused suspicion as there are no longer permits to harvest logs here," Gusti said. In March the police also discovered hundreds of logs, allegedly illegally harvested, that had been buried and then exposed by major flooding. No suspects have been named yet, but the police said they were questioning executives of two wood companies. Gusti said that along the first canal, officers found 311 stashes of logs, each approximately 50 cubic meters in size, and another 626 stashes along the second canal, 819 along the third, 754 along the fourth and 1,217 along the fifth. "The discovery site is located adjacent to natural peat forests," Gusti said, adding that he thought the logs were stolen from nearby protected forests. He further said his officers had summoned several witnesses from a number of forest concession holders near the finding site. In order to cover the thefts, he said, their owners had tried to grow Acacia mangium plants at the harvested sites. "The Acacia mangium trees are between three months and one-and-a-half years old. We're investigating the case with the assistance of a number of experts," he said. http://old.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp

23) Dr Wilcove and his colleague Dr Lian Pin Koh have been studying the bio-diversity of birds and butterflies in primary forests, logged forests, rubber and palm oil plantations. “We found a 77 per cent decline in forest bird species upon the conversion of old-growth forest to oil palm plantations. For butterflies, the decline was 83 per cent,” he explained. “By comparison, 30 years after logging secondary forest retained roughly 80 per cent of the original forest species,” Dr Wilcove said. “The focus of new oil palm establishment should be on degraded and cultivated lands like grasslands and rubber plantations,” he said. “Both primary and secondary forests are important for the persistence of biodiversity.” Indonesia already has a huge availability of suitably cleared land but new palm oil plants do not produce a crop for 4 years. This leads companies to subsidise these non-productive years by clearing forested land and selling the timber. However there is an argument that preserving virgin rain forest and bio-diversity could actually benefit the palm oil industry by reducing the need for pest management. “Doing so may not only lower production costs but could also reduce the damaging effects of pesticides to both plantation workers and the environment, as well as satisfy a growing consumer preference for oil palm products produced through environmentally-friendly practices,” said Dr Wilcove. http://redapes.org/news-updates/palm-oil-boycott-alone-will-not-protect-rainforests/

24) Greepeace called for a moratorium Monday on the expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia's rainforests and peatlands, warning that soaring world demand is creating an environmental crisis. It said a two-year investigation into the health of the country's rainforests and peatlands showed "wholesale" destruction driven by demand from food, cosmetic and biofuel companies. "Given the urgent nature of the crisis the only solution for the global climate, the regional environment, the wildlife and the forest-dependent communities ... is a moratorium on oil palm expansion into rainforest and peatland areas," the environment watchdog said in a statement. It accused Anglo-Dutch food group Unilever, one of the largest palm oil corporate consumers in the world, of being behind the destruction of forest and peatland in Central Kalimantan province on Borneo island. It said Unilever annually consumed 1.3 million tonnes of palm oil or palm oil derivatives with over half coming from Indonesia."Unilever has failed to use its power to lead the palm oil sector toward sustainability, either through its own palm oil purchasing or through its role as leader of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil," Greenpeace said. Satellite data shows Unilever suppliers are behind the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations in Central Kalimantan, where orang-utans are on the brink of extinction, it said. http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Greenpeace_wants_moratorium_on_oil_palm_expansion_in_Indone

Solomon Islands:

25) Logging has been an on-going issue that has been widely documented by a few Solomon Islanders like Dr. Tarsicisus Tara and other scholars like Dr. Ian Frazer, Peter Dauvergne and Dr. Judith Bennett. Some well respected scholars who have carried research on the logging industry in Solomon Islands, unearthed that transfer pricing, under reporting of log prices, and tax exemptions were common practices used to reduce tax payments and in country profits.Further, in 1993, Solomon Islands lost about US $40 million from the logging industry. This was mainly attributed to the fact that there were under-reporting of log prices and underpayment of duties. The question(s) are: “Who are the ones responsible for this? Does this involve our ‘big boys’?” I do not know the answer. But there is a saying which goes like this: “Things done in the dark will be shown in the light.” One of the recurring themes that characterize Solomon Islands politics is the logging industry. This industry in its short history after Solomon Islands gained independence in 1978 has a tremendous impact on the political scene. The involvement of our politicians in various stages of the entire logging process since independence is to some extent questionable. It is a long story but let us keep it short. Large-scale commercial logging in the Solomon Islands started prior to independence in 1978. It started in the 1920s. Ian Frazer identified two periods. The first period was from 1963 to the 1980s. The main characteristic of this period was that logging operations were mainly done on government land or customary land leased by the government. The second period is from the 1980s to this day. There are two significant features of this period. First, commercial logging shifted to customary land from government land or customary land leased by the government. Second, in the economic context, Solomon Islands had come to depend heavily on the logging industry. In Solomon Islands the main players in the logging industry are the logging companies, the state apparatus and the land owners. All of them play significant roles in that their decisions and actions have one way or the other affect the socio-economic and political environment in Solomon Islands. The logging companies are noteworthy because of the impacts they caused on the natural environment. Similarly, they are significant because some of their common corrupt practices: transfer pricing, under reporting of log prices and tax exemption, undervalue the amount that should be gained by Solomon Islands. http://solomonstarnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1064&change=103&changeown=

26) Greenpeace launched a report yesterday detailing the impact of logging in the country. The report entitled 'Securing the future: An alternative plan for Solomon Island Forests and Economy' provides a proposal for the Solomon Islands government to follow in the event that log exports decline. The report compared the value of industrial logging for round wood export to small-scale sawmilling for timber export and local use. The report found that overall community ecoforestry for sawn timber was 58 percent more profitable to landowners and government than round logs are for export. The report identified the following spin-offs from sawn timber processing. 1) Additional 'spin off' benefits towards economic activity. 2) Considerable village employment, particularly for young men, 3) Allow local communities to retain control over their forest resources, 4) Provide permanent house building materials, and 5) Maintain the forest for existing customary uses. 6) The report also found that if the stored carbon of the estimated 250,000 ha of unlogged commercial forest remain, that is if it were 'carbon financed' (instead of logging the forest) then it could provide an immediate minimum value of US$159 million to the Government and landowners. The report recommended that: 1) The Solomon Islands Government places an immediate moratorium on all new logging licenses and cancels any licences that breach their conditions or are not in compliance with the law. 2) By the end of 2008 the Solomon Islands Government should phases out log exports in favour of maximizing local processing and value capture by the nation. 3) The Solomon Islands Government should set a goal of Zero deforestation by 2015. This would include opposing all conversion of forests for plantation and seeking forest carbon finance incentive payments. http://www.solomontimes.com/news.aspx?nwID=1674

Papua New Guinea:

27) In the first admission of its kind by a PNG Government, the country's new Forest Minister, Belden Namah, has told the PNG parliament in Port Moresby that logging companies routinely flout laws with the help of corrupt officials. Mr Namah said "most" of his departmental officers responsible for monitoring forestry operations had ignored the laws and that many were "in the pockets" of logging companies. "I have noticed a lot of corruption going on within the Forest Department," he said. He said he had suspended two forestry licences and that no permits would be issued for log exports after 2010. "Now that we are facing climate change, we must move to sustainable management of our forests," he said. The Madang summit follows a series of high-level talks about how the PNG-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership - announced by Kevin Rudd during his visit to Port Moresby last month - will operate. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said protection of rainforests and a reduction in forestry were the main objectives of the partnership. "The partnership aims to help PNG reduce its emissions from deforestation," Senator Wong told The Australian. "An important part of this is helping PNG prepare to enter future international carbon markets. These are intended to create financial incentives to retain forests rather than deplete them." Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Duncan Kerr indicated that agreements under the partnership would be closely monitored. "The robustness of a monitoring mechanism will be obviously crucial to the credibility of what is put in place," he said. An agreement to protect the Kokoda Track, where more than 600 Australians died fighting the Japanese, would confirm Australia's support for the World Heritage listing of the trail and the surrounding Owen Stanley Range. "We have constantly stressed to PNG how important Kokoda is to Australia because of the sacrifices of our soldiers, especially leading up to Anzac Day," Mr Kerr said. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23584521-30417,00.html


28) "When these trees were planted just over 14 years ago, it was estimated in the offer document that the harvest would yield 375 cubic metres of wood per hectare. In fact, we now estimate that the total yield will exceed this amount," said Mr White. "In addition to the increased volume, grower investors will also receive financial returns as a direct result of FEA's recent investment into value adding, with an estimated 60% of the clearfall logs being of sawlog quality. These sawlogs will attract a price premium over pulp logs." Mr White also noted that the grower investors in these plantations also received returns from a partial harvest when the plantations were thinned in 2003. In 2005, FEA developed EcoAsh, Australia's first plantation grown hardwood suitable for sawn timber production. FEA has also invested in a $72 million purpose-built sawmill, which has recently commenced production of sawn timber as part of the commissioning process. This sawmill will further process and add value to FEA's plantation grown sawlogs, which is creating value for both growers and shareholders. "Fifteen years ago it was anticipated that all the trees harvested would be sold for lower value pulpwood," said Mr White. "But now with our unique ability to convert many of these young eucalypt trees into higher value sawn timber, the returns to grower investors will be higher than originally anticipated. This is because a considerable proportion of their timber is sold as sawlogs and not pulplogs. When coupled with the better than expected growth rates, this is an outstanding outcome for our grower investors in this 1993 project." "I believe that the returns from our first project will further strengthen our track record as a forest manager and processor", said Mr White. http://newsstore.smh.com.au/apps/previewDocument.ac?docID=GCA00834930FEA

29) The Tasmanian Greens today raised concerns about proposed logging of trees along the Tarkine Road (Western Explorer) following the major fire in the area, saying that they fear that along with clearing trees posing a danger to travellers salvage logging could target forest areas not normally accessible for logging. Greens Opposition Leader Peg Putt MP said that the following questions must be urgently answered: 1) Who is doing the logging? 2) Will any of the wood be milled or sold commercially? 3) Are any trees to be logged from conservation reserves? 4) Is there a Forest Practices Plan for the logging operation? 5) What independent oversight of operations is planned? 6) Will logging equipment make new snig tracks and otherwise affect the environment? “We are worried that a concern for safety of travellers on the Tarkine Road will transmute into a salvage logging operation that targets areas normally off limits for logging and may involve removing trees from reserves,” Ms Putt said. “Forestry Tasmania or the Department of Infrastructure and Resources should answer the questions that arise from their stated intention to log along the road, in particular whether it is planned to use the wood commercially, whether reserves are targeted, whether Forest Practices Plans are in place, and what independent monitoring will occur. Following wild fires in Victoria some years ago a scandal erupted over salvage logging conducted subsequently on the pretext of safety but going much further and affecting areas not normally allowed to be logged whilst evading usual planning processes, and we don’t want anything like that happening in the Tarkine. Windfall profits are believed to have been made from that operation. There must be no commercial imperative attached to the logging plans or the profit motive may lead to more logging and environmental impact than strictly necessary. If trees are to be logged out of reserves it must be restricted to the bare minimum, no commercial sale of the timber should occur, and a thorough assessment against the conservation management plans for the reserve must occur with appropriate community input. The environmental damage inflicted on the area by this ill-conceived road continues to snowball, first the road, then inevitably a major wild fire was started by a road user, and now forest areas adjacent to the road are to be cut allegedly to ensure traveller safety,” Ms Putt said. http://tas.greens.org.au/News/view_MR.php?ActionID=2955


30) An avoided-deforestation market relies on stable governments for its functioning — like carbon markets generally, only more so. A government cannot promise to preserve a forest unless it controls that forest. That, to some, is the idea’s great weakness. “I’m bearish toward that particular section of the market,” says Cindy Dawes, who trades carbon credits in the European market. “The main obstacle is governance, because most of these activities are in markets that are politically difficult.” Indeed, the biggest recent news in avoided deforestation is the certification by conservation groups of a plan to preserve, and generate carbon credits for, Indonesia’s vast Ulu Masen forest, an extreme example of “politically difficult” — it is in Aceh province, which has seen decades of insurgency. But it is in just such places that the battle against climate change may be won or lost. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/magazine/20wwln-essay-t.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

31) French hydrologist Emeritus Professor Ghislain de Marsily has told an international water conference in Adelaide that the world population is likely to increase to nine billion by 2050, but the current rate of food production will not be enough. He says if production were to stop, the world would only have two months of food supply available. "The population is growing on the one hand, climate change is changing the distribution of rainfall over the continents, so we have to do things to produce food on a larger amount and distribute or get that food to the people wherever they are," he said. "We are going to destroy the planet, we're going to destroy all the ecosystems and have very little biodiversity left on earth. "But what's the alternative? We have to feed the people who are coming." Professor de Marsily predicts soil and ecosystems will become more of a worldwide concern than access to water. He says Asia and Africa will move toward having no land left for conservation because it will be needed for food production and other continents will also have to help meet booming Asian demand. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/17/2219832.htm?section=justin

32) Simon Counsell, director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, requested a chance to respond to the FSC's interview in-depth. In his response, he states that the FSC has created a "'race to the bottom' of certification standards", alleging that the "FSC really has become the 'Enron of forestry'". Counsell, a Founder Member of the FSC, has been monitoring the organization since its creation in 1993. The problems with the FSC are not new says Counsell: "Not long into the FSC's existence, we started to hear worrying reports... In some cases, certificates were being issued to companies that had a very poor environmental and social record. In 2000, we commissioned a series of local and international experts to investigate and write up a series of case studies about such problems from a number of countries. The results were alarming, and we realized that these were not just isolated cases of 'bad' certificates, but the result of systemic problems within the FSC." Counsell believes that many of the FSC's drawbacks are due to its tendency to look at each individual logging operation as a separate entity while ignoring the big picture of what industrial logging is doing to rainforest ecology. "Whilst a logging concession might appear to be 'sustainable' at this small-scale level, the whole development model that accompanies industrial logging concessions might be highly non-sustainable and destructive," Counsell says. He continues with examples from the Amazon and Indonesia: "Research in the Amazon has shown that, over a period of years, commercial logging greatly increases the overall propensity of the forest to dry out, burn, and disappear. This happens regardless of whether the logged areas are certified or not. In Indonesia, local environmentalists and indigenous rights experts have long said that it is no use just certifying the odd 'exemplar' logging company here and there, because the whole system of industrial logging concessions needs dismantling, and that most of the forest should be returned to its rightful owners, the indigenous communities." Another problem that Counsell sees as detrimental to the credibility of the FSC is there certification of products from 'mixed sources', which "allows up to 90% of the wood fibre in some FSC-labeled products to come from forests or plantations that are not actually FSC-certified, but are supposedly 'controlled sources'. The truth is that these sources are not 'controlled' at all - and hence many FSC products are likely to include material that is from illegal operations, or felling in High Conservation Value forests, or areas that are claimed by indigenous people. The Mixed Sources policy is allowing the laundering of unacceptable wood into the FSC system." http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0417-hance_interview_counsell.html

33) "I think the next five years are going to be a real paradigm shift in how we look at trees," Mr. Christensen says, launching into an enthusiastic account of how business opportunities in carbon sequestration and biofuels could raise the value of timberland for investors. Make no mistake about it. The president of Hancock Timber Resource Group, a Boston-based subsidiary of Toronto insurer Manulife Financial Corp., is no tree-hugger, although he does call himself a conservationist. He is also a savvy deal maker. Mr. Christensen took the reins at Hancock Timber in 2004, the same year Manulife purchased John Hancock Financial Services Inc. Since then, Hancock Timber has more than tripled its assets under management to $9.1-billion (U.S.). It is now the largest timber management investor in the world, overseeing 4.6 million acres in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. And that makes Manulife a big player in timber. Betting on trees seems to pay off. Hancock Timber pegs its historical returns, on an after-fee basis, at around 13.9 per cent a year. The U.S. economic slowdown has accelerated a rush toward alternative hard-asset investments like timberland. In a bid to diversify their portfolios, pension plans, university endowments and other financial investors are snapping up acres of woods. Timberland is an attractive option for long-term investors because it's a relatively low-risk, renewable asset that acts as an inflation hedge. Sustainably harvested woods can provide cash flows forever, and when timber prices are low, owners can choose not to cut and let the inventory keep growing. Over time, timberland generally becomes more valuable and small chunks can be sold to developers. And because it tends not to move in lockstep with other investments, such as stocks or bonds, it can reduce a portfolio's volatility. Hancock Timber's most recent acquisition, which closed on April 1, was flagged for them by Goldman Sachs, iStar's investment banker. Eventually, they struck a deal to pay $1.71-billion for timberland in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, which iStar had picked up in 2006 from International Paper Co. for $1.19-billion. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080419.RDECISION19/TPStory/Business

34) World Rainforest Movement, for example, reports that the FSC has certified bad environmental practices like large-scale monoculture tree plantations. Other seals can similarly mask other bad practices, which puts into question the science and accountability behind certification. The variety of seals with their own set of standards and ambiguous labeling techniques completely obscures the notion of sustainability. Furthermore, when Rainforest Alliance claims certification can increase plantation productivity by as much as 20 percent, but gives no evidence that certification standards improve environmental or social sustainability, its credibility is diminished. Considering whether or not the private sector could ensure that sustainable products become mainstream, Horrell explained that for the private sector, sustainable production would depend on how companies evaluate demand for certified products. In the context of increasing food prices and decreasing purchasing power, cheaper prices will be preferred to commodity quality. Unless a miracle occurs and certified products become as cheap as regular ones, responsible consumption will remain marginal and so will its respective slice of sustainable environment. As long as consumers and producers avoid their responsibilities, public regulation will inevitably be necessary for companies to fully internalise the costs of environmental destruction. If sustainable development is to become a priority, public authorities will have to get into to the driver’s seat. There are currently more questions than answers about certification, but the concept allows certified products to gain a market share now. The 45 million out of 450 million hectares of world forest Rainforest Alliance has certified FSC, in addition to the 430,000 farm families it claims are enjoying the benefits of its worker protection programmes as a result of PPPs are both illustrations of areas in which public intervention has been lacking. These private initiatives should, therefore, help steer government policy on sustainable development. http://www.neurope.eu/articles/85748.php
23 April 2008 @ 06:30 pm
Today for you 35 new articles about earth’s trees! (331st edition)
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Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com

--USA: 1) Lieberman-Warner bill, 2) Forest Landscape Restoration, 3) FLAME Act,
--Washington: 4) State acquisition of depression era forets, 5) Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative, 6) State Murrelet protection in the Olympics, 7) Loggers don’t get what they want, 8) State of Puget sound, 9) RAN hits Weyco, 10) Defazio’s legislation is bad news for old forest protection,
--Oregon: 11) Community Forestry Plan within city limits, 12) Nine experts say spotted owl plan fails, 13) Corvallis City may oppose BLM plan, 14) Save the Rogue River,
California: 15) Wild misleading attempts of an industry, 16) Making money off the Lorax, 17) Ebbets Pass Forest Watch predicts dire future for Sierras,
--Montana: 18) 3 logging projects on the Bitteroot NF 19) Stop Beetles by leaving trees alone in Spring, 20) On 50th MWA makes deal with devil, 21) Comment on BD plan,
--Idaho: 22) Trees can grow higher up mountain now
--Minnesota: 23) Kandiyohi forest is blueprint for state’s future forests
--Michigan: 24) Loggers’ view of forest diversity
--Ohio: 25) Neighbors destroyed our wonderful view of trees
--Indiana: 26) Bulldozers arrive to build I-69, 27) World’s “Preservation Pathway,”
--Pennsylvania: 28) Gettysburg Tree Massacre, 29) Allegheny NF to log 1,000 acres,
--Massachusetts: 30) New Sudbury Valley Land Trust
--Tennessee: 31) 8,200 acres damaged in storm
--Tanzania: 32) Norway gives Tanzania $100 million over five years for forest protection
--Cameroon: 33) Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary
--Congo: 34) Hundreds of unmapped villages
--Thailand: 35) Guarding the crops from forest elephants


1) The Lieberman-Warner proposal would allocate 2.5 percent of the U.S. emissions account to the State Department, which can then distribute its credits to foreign countries. Those countries would then be able to sell the credits, which will represent commitments to avoid deforestation, to companies who need them to offset their carbon production. According to David McIntosh, a Lieberman staff member who helped with the bill, this 2.5 percent would amount to $28 billion in the period from 2012 (when the Kyoto accords expire) to 2020. But beyond this simple transfer payment to forested countries, the connection of U.S. carbon credits to avoided deforestation would, it is hoped, stimulate the development of a global market in avoided-deforestation credits. “Our bill,” McIntosh says, “is essentially calling upon the U.S. to be an early mover in developing this market.” Developing countries tend to be wary of avoided-deforestation programs. But that is changing. Indonesia has been a leader in such programs, and Congo and Brazil have been coming around. For such heavily forested countries, the choice seems to be between entering an infant market in avoided-deforestation carbon offsets — or accepting that their forests will steadily be cut down. The trade-offs are rarely simple: some rain forests are being cleared to make way for palm-oil plantations because of the increased demand for palm oil as a biofuel alternative to petroleum. An avoided-deforestation market relies on stable governments for its functioning — like carbon markets generally, only more so. A government cannot promise to preserve a forest unless it controls that forest. That, to some, is the idea’s great weakness. “I’m bearish toward that particular section of the market,” says Cindy Dawes, who trades carbon credits in the European market. “The main obstacle is governance, because most of these activities are in markets that are politically difficult.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/magazine/20wwln-essay-t.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

2) On February 5, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced the Forest Landscape Restoration Act (S. 2593). Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced companion legislation (HR 5263) in the House of Representatives. The bills aim to restore damaged forest ecosystems by establishing a collaborative, science-based forest landscape restoration program that would prioritize and fund ecological restoration treatments for forest landscapes. The legislation would authorize ten restoration projects, and hopes "to foster community collaboration and involvement in restoration projects while creating jobs in rural communities." American Lands Alliance worked closely with the drafters of the legislation and was able to secure ecological safeguards, including framing the bill in the context of ecological restoration as opposed to just thinning and requiring scientific review. The bill maintains all existing environmental laws. However, a significant issue with this bill is that the "old-growth" and large-tree protections are lifted from the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. This language needs to be strengthened by eliminating the loophole allowing agencies to implement outdated forest plans instead of protecting old growth, adding dead or downed trees to the definition, and including protection for mature trees. Additionally, American Lands is concerned over the dependence on biomass for funding the restoration projects, which without appropriate safeguards could lead to inappropriately scaled biomass facilities. Click here to read American Lands' analysis of the bill. A hearing on the Senate bill (S. 2593) was held on the bill on April 1, 2008. Click here to view an archived videocast of the hearing. A hearing on the House version has not yet been scheduled. http://www.americanlands.org/index.php

3) The Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act (FLAME), HR 5541, was introduced by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Representative. Nick Rahall II (D-WV); Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Chairman of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee; and Representative Norm Dicks (D-WA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies of the House Appropriations Committee. The bill would establish a new fund that the Forest Service could use to suppress certain kinds of particularly costly fires. This would reduce the burden placed on the agency by the ever-increasing costs associated with fighting fires, lessening the amount of the agency's budget it has to take away from other functions ranging from campground maintenance to managing wildlife habitat. This is an important step forward and will hopefully allow the Forest Service to focus on restoration activites, rather than putting all its energy and money towards suppressing wildland fires. However, it is critical that Congress recognizes that wildland fire is part of the natural processes that help build stronger, more resilient forests. The FLAME Act was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee on April 17, 2008. Click here to read testimony from the hearing.


4) In the 1930s Great Depression, thousands of acres of private forest land were forfeited to the counties for unpaid taxes. The Legislature consolidated management of this "forest board" land into the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In exchange for giving up title, the counties were promised timber receipts "in lieu" of the lost taxes. Unfortunately, this arrangement led to an unhealthy dynamic of local pressure for timber cutting for revenue regardless of the environmental impacts. Some counties have become more enlightened. There’s King County’s world-class recreation and "working forest" at Tiger Mountain and Mt. Si Natural Resource Conservation Area (NRCA); Whatcom County is currently negotiating return of its "forest board" lands around Lake Whatcom for park purposes and to protect Bellingham's water supply. Blanchard Mountain is a unique block of county "forest board" land—the only place in the state where the Cascades come down to the Sound. Blanchard contains the largest intact coastal forest on the east side of the Sound. It provides important habitat for threatened marbled murrelets and other late successional ("old growth") dependent species. Skagit County, beneficiary of the largest acreage of "forest board" land in the state, would not countenance non-timber-focused management on Blanchard Mountain. Local environmentalists have pushed back for 20 years. Under increasing pressure to resolve the conflict, Lands Commissioner Sutherland appointed an advisory committee to come up with recommendations. Excluded from the invitation list, however, were the long-time local activists. Conservation Northwest was appointed to represent them. In short order, DNR, Skagit County, and the other members of the committee, many of them beneficiaries from timber sales, agreed upon a "consensus" recommendation that allocates 1/3 of DNR's land to a core area, and leaves the rest for timber harvest as the primary goal. DNR conducted a minimal SEPA review, and declared that the impacts of the Blanchard "Strategies" would be "insignificant." number of local activists objected to DNR's conclusions, including the Mt. Baker Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Bellingham Mountaineers, Coast Watch, North Cascades Audubon, Chuckanut Conservancy (Chuckanut), and North Cascades Conservation Council (N3C). After DNR adopted the Strategies without substantial change or analysis, the latter two groups filed suit in King County Superior Court in September 2007. http://olympicforest.org/newsletters/april_2008.pdf

5) The Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative (WWRI), composed of the State Departments of Ecology and Fish and Wildlife and 13 conservation groups, is proud to announce that through the efforts of Congressman Norm Dicks, Senator Maria Cantwell, the WWRI and a number of other conservation organizations in other western states, the Fiscal Year 2008 Omnibus Bill contains $39.4 million for a nationwide program of road/trail repair and maintenance, road decommissioning, removal of fish passage barriers, and road repairs required because of recent storm events. The Olympic National Forest received $1.187 million of the total amount. Although no end date was tied to the use of these funds, the Bush administration, as usual, interfered in what Congress intended. They not only added a stipulation that the money must be used by the end of the fiscal year—September 30, 2008— but they basically ignored the section that focused on allocating the money to national forests suffering the worse aquatic damage. It is thus scattered willy-nilly throughout the United States.

6) Back in 1997, when the DNR signed a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries, too little was known about marbled murrelets to write long-term management plans. A five-step Interim Plan for study and protection was initiated (Habitat Deferrals, Habitat Relationships Studies, Habitat Reclassification, Surveys and Release of Some Unoccupied Habitat for Harvest, Long-term Conservation Planning). In the Straits District—but nowhere else on DNRmanaged lands—the first four steps are done. The survey identified more than 14,000 acres of “reclassified” murrelet habitat and released nearly 4,000 acres of low-quality habitat as unoccupied. The remaining 10,000 acres make up the only area protected from harvest (except 18 acres of high-quality spotted owl habitat to be protected until 2014 under the Settlement). At least this level of protection should continue through the Long Term Planning process. My educated guess is that the 10,000 acres protected significantly exceeds what DNR had hoped for a decade ago, when the HCP was finalized. The maximum release allowed was 50 percent, but other protections made it only 27 percent returned for harvest. In the Olympic Experimental State Forest (OESF), all reclassified habitat is protected until the Long Term Plan is complete. What about the Long Term Conservation Planning? DNR started this process by scoping for the EIS in 2007. The Conservation Caucus submitted extensive comments and requested that the process stop pending completion of the interim steps. But DNR has continued, at least partly because reclassification and surveying in other Regions has taken much longer than anticipated and is not yet complete. The Draft Report of the independent Science Team was released in late February and is on the Web at http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/lm_mamu_sci team_ report.pdf. More info will be coming, and the EIS should be out in 2009. OFCO is pleased that Seattle Audubon will be taking the lead in review and comment on the Long Term Plan. http://olympicforest.org/newsletters/april_2008.pdf

7) This past February, the timber industry hastily arranged a meeting at the usually placid Lake Quinault Lodge to discuss their desire to salvage-log old trees from the adjacent South Quinault Ridge roadless area. Portions of this primeval forest blew down during a vicious December storm. The Aberdeen Daily World newspaper covered this meeting in some detail and shortly afterward published an op-ed from the industry to the same effect. This media interest precipitated OFCO contacts with Olympic National Forest Supervisor Dale Hom and District Ranger Lance Koch. Both men assured us that they had no plans or desire to log in this (or any other) Inventoried Roadless Area. As Mr. Hom was quoted in the Daily World, the salvage operation sought by the timber industry would require an act of Congress before it could legally ensue. In coordination with six other regional conservation groups, OFCO followed its communication with the Forest Service by sending a cautionary letter to Senators Murray and Cantwell, as well as to Reps. Dicks and Inslee. It is our understanding that the timber industry has asked the delegation for support to enter South Quinault Ridge. Given that there is no ecological basis for salvage, no increase in fire risk to structures, and little economic benefit to be had, we expressed our strong opposition to entering this—or any other—roadless area. http://olympicforest.org/newsletters/april_2008.pdf

8) I'm going to do my best to keep you from closing your eyes, curling into a fetal position and sucking your thumb. But Puget Sound — not just the body of water itself but the basin, and the ideas it represents — is a subject so large and difficult that it is an act of will to confront it. This is not an easy topic to tackle. Like a subconscious id, Puget Sound is a repository not only of all the runoff of pollutants and problems from the crest of the Olympics to the Cascades, but of the hopes and fears of Pacific Northwest civilization. It reflects, unmercifully, who we truly are: stewards or wastrels, deep thinkers or merely deep-sixers. THE POPULATION OF the Puget Sound basin has doubled since 1960 to 4 million, and we're projected to grow to about 5.5 million by 2025. Never before has nature been asked to absorb this many people, this quickly. An example: Between 1991 and 2001, 190 square miles of Puget Sound basin forest were converted to housing and stores. We also know what flows downhill. Puget Sound is our chemical toilet, and we hope it all sinks out of sight. Except it doesn't. Puget Sound is in danger of becoming a liquid desert, its sun-lit surface hiding the fact that what's underneath is increasingly dominated by ratfish, a bottom-feeding species one biologist estimated now makes up three-fifths of the fish biomass of our waterway. PUGET SOUND SHOULD BE an ecological showcase. It is in a temperate climate zone of incredible biological productivity. Counting the Northwest Straits region of the San Juan Islands, it has 2,500 miles of shoreline, or enough to reach across the United States, and is the deepest estuary of its kind in the Lower 48. Carved by Ice Age glaciers, the Sound averages 450 feet deep and is fed by 14 major rivers and 10,000 small rivulets. The Sound has 2,800 square miles of water but is one arm of an inland sea in which three quarters of the tidal water pouring through the Strait of Juan de Fuca goes north into Canada. To the pioneers, the system must have seemed inexhaustible. The Sound still plays host to a $3 billion fishery, gets 2,500 cargo-ship visits a year and has 30,000 moorage slips for boats. It's a highway and a playground. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=2004356032&zsection_id=2004

9) The largest logging company in the world was caught off guard on Thursday morning when three activists from Seattle Rainforest Action Group and the Rainforest Action Network locked down together in front of the entrance to the company's annual shareholder meeting in Federal Way, demanding "Native Rights Now!" for the people of Grassy Narrow's First Nation, whose traditional land in Canada is being destroyed to fund Weyerhaeuser's profit margin. Arriving shareholders were shocked to see the blockade while security officers huddled to try and find a way to remove the protest and restore the meeting's deteriorating sense of legitimacy. Meanwhile, other SeaRAG folk went inside the building, chanting and holding a long banner reading "Wake Up Weyerhaeuser!", just to make sure the message got across. When they were booted by security, the team rallied on the sidewalk to greet more shareholders as they arrived (and the cops even drove by, honked and waved!). Oh yeah, and to top it all off, more of our people attended the actual meeting and directly condemned Weyerhaeuser's top management before the large audience. This is the fifth year that SeaRAG and RAN have made life miserable for Weyerhaeuser at their shareholder meeting. Our concerns stem from the company's use of lumber from the traditional and sacred territory of the people of the Anishinabek people of th Grassy Narrows community who have been native to northern Ontario, Canada, for thousands of years. This logging is occurring despite their protests, including a long-running road blockade, and is destroying their means to gather food and sustain their culture. Amnesty International considers this situation to be a human rights issue. http://www.myspace.com/searag

10) Members and friends, take heed: There's some bad legislation heading our way. We and other conservationists have seen two drafts of a bill from Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) that would dismantle the Northwest Forest Plan, while seeming to keep the Aquatic Conservation Strategy in place. Decisions on timber production on each national forest would be put into the hands of a select group of individuals, known as Resource Advisory Committees (RACs), appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. You can be certain that groups like OFCO will not be asked to serve on the RACs, but even if we were, we do not believe in cutting the public out of public land decisions. The concerns of citizen activists like us would be heard by the RACs, which would decide whether to accept an appeal on a sale. Of course there would be little expertise on these RACs to even begin to fulfill their mission. Promoted as a way to lower conflict on national forests, this new modus operandi, at least in Washington state, would appreciably raise the level of conflict. While the bill includes language to "protect" old growth, the definition is unclear; on drier eastside forests, old-growth logging would be allowed under some circumstances. The bill promotes a major increase in thinning sales with no protection given to aquatic resources. Thinning, of course, is better than old growth clearcuts, but increased thinning with no real clamp on roadbuilding is very bad news for aquatically damaged national forests. http://olympicforest.org/newsletters/april_2008.pdf


11) JACKSONVILLE — Logging and forest management within city limits will be more strictly controlled under a proposed Community Forestry Plan. Council members reviewed the plan — which has been 10 years in the making — and accompanying rules at their April 15 meeting and are expected to pass them with minor changes on May 6, said City Administrator Paul Wyntergreen. He estimated that about 20 percent of the land within the city is forested. About half of that is public land and the other half is private. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Jackson County, as well as the city, own forested lands. "Because of our large woodland area we will on occasions get logging requests," said Wyntergreen. The current logging code is just one page long. "We've tried horse logging and all kinds of different treatments in the past because it is so difficult to log within a city," said Wyntergreen. "What we ran into problems with in the '90s was a logging plan so vague you really couldn't control things in terms of erosion and other impacts. We want to get something in place that will protect all the neighbors." http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080422/NEWS/804220310

12) According to the 150-page review obtained by The Associated Press, a panel of nine experts assembled by the Sustainable Ecosystems Institute in Portland found the draft recovery plan for spotted owls underestimates the importance of protecting old-growth forest habitat, compared with the threat from a competing species, the barred owl. "We view the continued conservation of (old growth) forests to be paramount for Northern Spotted Owl recovery," the reviewers wrote. The spotted owl was declared a threatened species in 1990 primarily because of heavy logging in the old-growth forests where it nests and feeds. While old-growth forests suitable for owl habitat have increased, owl numbers have continued to decline, recent research shows. The spotted owl faces a new threat from a cousin, the barred owl, that has been invading its territory. In 1994, the federal government came up with the Northwest Forest Plan, which cut logging in Oregon, Washington and Northern California by more than 80 percent while setting up old-growth forest reserves to protect habitat for the spotted owl and salmon. The Bush administration has been trying to boost logging by changing environmental constraints against logging. The new owl-recovery plan was initiated to satisfy a timber-industry lawsuit over owl habitat and is an essential element in Bureau of Land Management plans to scrap the Northwest Forest Plan to increase logging in western Oregon. The review said the draft owl-recovery plan does "not use scientific information appropriately" in some places. "We identified several areas where we thought their science could be improved," said Steven Courtney, Sustainable Ecosystems vice president, who led the review. "Some of those areas were relatively important. However, in other areas, they did a pretty good job." The reviewers wrote that it can no longer be assumed that protecting old-growth forests will protect spotted owls, because of the threats from the barred owl, but they added that for reserves to protect owls, they must be places owls are known to inhabit. The review was commissioned by the Fish and Wildlife Service after the draft owl-recovery plan was flunked by two organizations contracted to do a peer review, the Society of Conservation Biology and the American Ornithologists Union. Criticism largely centered on increasing concern over the barred owl and de-emphasizing the need to protect old-growth forest habitat from logging and wildfire. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/359993_owl22.html

13) If local forest advocates have their way, the Corvallis City Council will adopt a resolution criticizing federal forest management plans. Members of the Coast Range Association approached the council in March to build political clout in opposing changes in forest protections. The council sent the matter to its legislative committee, which recommended the council approve a resolution on Monday. Much of the reasoning behind the decision stemmed from the proximity of city property on Marys Peak to federal Bureau of Land Management forests. The Rock Creek Reservoir and treatment plant supply between 30 percent and 40 percent of the city’s drinking water. “We’ve got the land up there, and we manage it with the intention of protecting the water,” said Ward 8 Councilor David Hamby, who is a member of the legislative committee. “I don’t want to adversely affect the plan we have in place for our property.” The Coast Range Association argued that revisions being considered by the BLM could increase logging, especially in areas of old growth, while reversing wildlife protections. Monday’s resolution is essentially the same as one adopted by the Eugene City Council in mid-February. It calls for the federal government to reject changes to its policy. It also asks Congress to protect mature and old-growth trees while adopting forestry projects aimed at restoring forests. City councilors will also hear public comment at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the city’s low-income housing grant programs. The public hearing surrounds a five-year plan setting goals and priorities for how the city will spend $1.4 million in federal funds. http://www.gazettetimes.com/articles/2008/04/20/news/community/1aaa02_council.txt

14) Oregonians received one of those 3 a.m. phone calls last week when a prominent conservation group listed the Rogue River at No. 2 on its annual list of the most threatened United States rivers. That the iconic Rogue made American Rivers top 10 list, much less was listed in second place behind the Catawba-Wateree River that flows through the Carolinas, should rattle the sensibilities of every Oregonian. That includes those fortunate enough to have boated, fished or hiked along this magical waterway and those who have admired it from a distance as they drove past on Interstate 5 or read about it in a travel guide or Zane Grey novel. The listing was prompted by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s plans for logging in hundreds of acres along key Rogue tributaries in the Zane Grey Roadless Area. If the BLM’s Kelsey Whisky Project is allowed to proceed, the construction of new roads and logging of old growth would take a dismaying toll on the main Rogue, silting salmon streams and stripping forests that are integral to the watershed’s well-being. The Rogue should not be threatened by the Bush administration’s rush to increase logging in the national forests in the final months before it leaves office. The river’s remarkable features, including the free-flowing tributaries and the prime salmon and steelhead habitat they provide, must be protected for this and future generations. Oregon Congressmen Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer recently proposed legislation that would help provide that protection. Their wilderness bill would expand the quarter-century-old federal wild and scenic river protections on the Lower Rogue River to include 143 miles of tributary streams, which are vulnerable to resource extraction activities such as the Kelsey Whisky Project. The DeFazio-Blumenauer bill would block roughly half of the planned logging in the Kelsey Whisky project. The lawmakers can ensure that the project is completely blocked and the Rogue more fully protected by expanding the existing Wild Rogue Wilderness by 60,000 acres, as recommended earlier this year by a coalition of conservation groups, including American Rivers and Oregon Wild. The Rogue never again should appear on any listing of America’s most endangered rivers! http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?cid=95647&sid=5&fid=2


15) The recent Other Voices by Tom Bonnicksen in “The Union” is a wildly misleading attempt by the timber industry to promote increased logging of California's forests under the guise of reducing wildland fires and mitigating climate change. Bonnicksen fails to mention that logging is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions (Schlesinger, "Biogeochemistry: an analysis of global change," Academic Press, 1997). Also, Bonnicksen's Ph.D. is in forest policy, not forest science. The computer model he created, which he discussed in his Other Voices, has not been peer-reviewed or published in any scientific journal. Bonnicksen is not a working scientist but, rather, is a spokesperson for a timber industry group called the Forest Foundation. Predictably, his opinion piece does not cite any scientific studies to support his claims. Bonnicksen's computer model is fatally flawed because it makes grossly inaccurate assumptions. For example, Bonnicksen's model is based upon the assumption that no natural growth of forest will occur after a wildland fire. In fact, some of the most productive forest growth occurs after fire, including in high severity fire areas in which most or all of the trees were killed (Shatford and others 2007, Journal of Forestry, May 2007). The rapid forest growth following wildland fire sequesters huge amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the new post-fire tree growth. Whatever carbon emissions occur from combustion during wildland fire and subsequent decay of fire-killed trees is more than balanced by forest growth across the landscape over time. The California Air Resources Board's data reveals that current emissions from forest fires in California are less than 1 percent of those from fossil fuel consumption in this state, and that carbon sequestration from forest growth far outweighs carbon emissions from fire. Bonnicksen's model also incorrectly assumes that, when fire-killed trees fall and decay, essentially all of the carbon in the wood is emitted into the atmosphere. In reality, much of the carbon ends up in the soil (Schlesinger 1997, see above). Bonnicksen greatly exaggerates the percentage of trees killed by fire, and provides no source for his estimates. He assumes roughly 90 percent mortality of large trees. However, the Forest Service's own data shows that, contrary to popular myth, low and moderate severity effects (where most large trees survive) dominate current wildland fires in the Sierra Nevada (Miller and Thode 2007, Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 109; Odion and Hanson 2008, Ecosystems, Vol. 11). http://www.johnmuirproject.org

16) As the world's rain forests disappear, one of Dr. Seuss' most powerful and controversial characters has been summoned back into action to issue a post-millennium warning. The Lorax, the story of a furry-cheeked little creature who fights to save the environment from the greedy Once-ler, has been a perennial favorite of kids and parents since it was published in 1971. Now, Dr. Seuss Enterprises is teaming with Conservation International and Random House to use The Lorax to help save the forests. The book is being reprinted with a special environmental message that describes "The Lorax Project," which is being launched today in honor of Earth Day. Ten percent to 15% of profits from the book and from Earth-friendly consumer products featuring the Lorax's image will be used to stop deforestation in Madagascar, Brazil and China. It's time to remind people of the Lorax's message, says Susan Brandt, executive vice president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises in California, which owns the rights to the works of author Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), beloved for such quirky children's books as The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2008-04-21-lorax_N.htm

17) The report, highlighted in a press conference on Thursday conducted by Ebbets Pass Forest Watch, predicts a dire future for the Sierra's forests, wildlife and water if the logging company continues with its plans to clear-cut and farm trees on plantations cut from the forest. Sierra Pacific Industries, or SPI, is the state's largest logging company, and the company disputes the report's conclusions. SPI recently issued its own study contradicting the ForestEthics' findings. Ebbets Pass Forest Watch and Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center have separate lawsuits against SPI and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), SPI's state regulator, that have been working their way through the state court system. A California Supreme Court decision is expected shortly, but the court decisions will pertain only to SPI's forestry practices on its lands in Amador County. However, the timber clear-cutting issues the lawsuits challenge are the same as those in Calaveras County. The report, “Climate of Destruction: The Impact of SPI on Global Warming,” and the press conference focused on the impacts of SPI's past decade of clear-cutting Sierra forests and the company's stated intentions to continue on the path of methodically converting forests to plantation farms in order to harvest bigger trees. http://www.calaverasenterprise.com/articles/2008/04/19/news/news02.txt


18) “People have been telling us for quite sometime that they want us to do something to reduce the amount of fuel in the wildland/urban interface around Darby,” said Oliver, the Bitterroot National Forest's Darby district ranger. Last week, the Bitterroot National Forest released three decisions designed to reduce hazardous fuels, provide logs for local mills and improve forest health. The largest of those three is the Trapper-Bunkhouse Land Stewardship Project just west of Darby. Close to three years in the making, the project would use thinning and prescribed burning to reduce fuels on about 4,500 acres. “About 93 percent of that work would be in the wildland/urban interface,” Oliver said. “The 800-acre Tin Cup fire is within the project boundaries.” The project also includes watershed restoration projects and some decommissioning of roads. There is some commercial logging proposed, but Oliver said the volume of logs that will produce hasn't been figured yet. The funds generated from those timber receipts will be used to help pay for non-commercial thinning and other work. “The amount of thinning that's proposed will far exceed the amount of value in actual timber receipts,” Oliver said. At this point, there isn't any other money set aside to pay for the project. “We'll start with the salvage portion from last year's fire and we'll do as much as we can from the funds generated from that,” he said. “We've prioritized the work.” The Rocky Mountain Research Station helped design the fuel reduction portion of the project. “We used a lot of modeling that helped us predict where fires might spread and where fuel treatments would have the most impact,” he said. The project includes a research component put together by the University of Montana-based research station that will look at issues like the response of noxious weeds and soil compaction to thinning and prescribed fire. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/04/21/news/mtregional/news08.txt

19) Spring burning and thinning pine stands can often breed harmful insect infestations, according to Bitterroot National Forest officials. Agency foresters are warning private landowners that thinning pine stands or burning spring slash may inadvertently provide breeding grounds for insects, specifically, the pine engraver bark beetle. Also known as the ips beetle, the pine engraver bark beetle searches for damp or moist wood to burrow, eat and ultimately breed large numbers. Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Community Forester Kurt Gelderman said the beetle often thrives in spring’s newly damp wood. Like the ips beetle, the mountain pine beetle also attacks and kills pine trees under the bark. According to the Forest Service, mountain pine beetle epidemics contribute to widespread tree mortality that can alter a forest ecosystem. “The problem is the ips beetle leaves trees more susceptible to the mountain pine beetle,” Gelderman said. “That only adds to the infestation cycle.” Gelderman said he’s received several phone calls from property owners, wondering why their pine trees are dying. More often than not, it’s the ips beetle.” Bitterroot National Forest Forestry Program Manager Sue Macmeeken said although the ips beetle is not serious threat, they do cause future damage. “What we generally see is the ips beetle either killing small trees or the tops of large trees,” Macmeeken said. “There are three other bark beetles that often follow the ips, although they concentrate on the bottom-half of the tree. Ips beetles are not considered a serious problem, but because it’s been so dry in the valley for consecutive years, there are a number of dead trees that began with ips infestations.” To avoid such infestation, forest officials recommend property owners leave piling and burning of slash to the fall months, allowing time for wood to dry. If property owners are currently thinning pine trees, officials recommend burning materials while thinning, instead of stock-piling wood waste. Waiting to stock pile firewood is also recommended. http://www.ravallirepublic.com/articles/2008/04/23/news/news74.txt

20) As the Montana Wilderness Association gathers in Great Falls next week to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary, some of its members are wondering whether their leaders have sold out the organization’s grassroots soul to turn into a million-dollar corporation. Longtime MWA members Paul Edwards and Russ Titus say they’re dismayed over activities in recent years, which include the firing of former executive director Bob Decker in 2004, the closing of three field offices in 2006 and a proposed deal with timber companies that would allow logging in portions of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in exchange for the first wilderness designation in Montana in 25 years. “The character of the board has changed in regards to the hard edge of its drive for wilderness,” Edwards, a former MWA board member, said. “The whole idea has become to ingratiate themselves with those in political power, and do everything they can to court them so they can get some good results. “I appreciate MWA’s anxiety and misery with the endless rejection of (new wilderness designations), but I don’t think the answer is to collaborate with those who have no desire to see wilderness preserved for its own sake. … I think they’ve made a deal with the devil.” The Weasel Salvage and Underburn Project would allow commercial logging to salvage bug-killed trees on 249 acres. It also proposes to use prescribed burning on 771 acres and non-commercial thinning on 64 acres. The goal is to restore an open ponderosa pine forest on the site, said Sue Macmeeken, the Bitterroot National Forest's silvaculturist. On the Stevensville District, the Bitterroot forest wants to treat fuels and harvest timber on about 1,396 acres in the Haacke and Claremont Creek drainages in the Sapphire Mountains. The Haacke-Claremont Vegetation Management Project would allow for commercial timber harvest on 715 acres and non-commercial thinning on 447 acres. The project would create some scattered openings less than two acres in size and a few larger ones up to 12 acres where patches of decadent lodgepole pine exist. http://www.helenair.com/articles/2008/04/20/top/top/50st_080420_mwa.txt

21) The comment period for the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Draft Revised Forest Plan has been extended to April 30, 2008. The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest contains the largest unprotected roadless lands remaining in Montana, as well as some of the most intact critical habitat for sensitive species outside Yellowstone National Park. Advocates of off-road vehicles have pushed for the exclusion of many of these lands from Wilderness designation. Without lasting protection as Wilderness, these landscapes will be overrun by the explosive growth of off-road vehicles that spread noxious weeds, stress wildlife, and wound the landscape with illegal motorized routes. Year after year new illegal routes are carved through the forest.Take Action! Tell the Forest Service to support lasting protections within the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest Plan. Click here to send your comments to the Forest Service. http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1158/t/141/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=24337


22) Trees are now surviving at heights in the Intermountain West where scientists previously said they couldn't. For the past 13 years, Idaho State University associate biology professor Matt Germino has planted evergreen seedlings on regional mountain tops, and the evidence he's gathered by studying them shows significant change in Idaho's climate. The speed at which a long-standing rule of nature seems to be breaking down is hard to fathom, even for a researcher who seeks the evidence. When he started his alpine study in 1995, Germino's seedlings required man-made structures designed to bump up the temperature to live in the windy and cold conditions above the tree line. But in more recent years, the seedlings have grown fine without help. Scientific instruments and a spiderweb of wires covered the baked-mud infield of the baseball diamond by ISU's new Rendezvous Center. On a breezy Monday afternoon, the propeller of an anemometer — a device used for measuring wind speed — whirled steadily, sending data to a computer system inside a metal box. The computer also simultaneously recorded radiation levels and 70 different temperature readings relayed by the wires. Several of the wires ran below coffee table-like inventions with clear, Plexiglas surfaces. Germino, an athletic 37-year-old with short brown hair, designed the structures to mimic the effects of global warming. "This is the guts of experimental climate change research," Germino said, surveying his project. A few of Germino's tables had flat, clear surfaces designed to magnify the infrared radiation enough to generate an extra 30 watts per meter squared of radiant energy. Other devices researchers use to replicate global warming are cumbersome or require electricity. Germino's tables, however, are cheap to make, easy to transport and particularly useful in remote areas. Since 1995, when he started climate research at tree lines within the Snowy Range of Wyoming, the design has served Germino well. But he pointed out one major deficiency: The solid, flat top doesn't allow rain or snow to penetrate to the seedlings covered by the structures. http://www.idahopress.com/news/?id=7692


23) Frelich stated, "The Kandiyohi forest at the edge of the prairie, with its elms, oaks, American basswood, hackberry and Kentucky Coffeetree, is the best blueprint we have for future forests in Minnesota under a warmer climate. These tree species also grow in eastern Kansas, which has a climate like that we think Minnesota will have by the end of the 21st century with a 'business as usual' scenario." Elaborating on how the climate change would affect the southern region of Minnesota, Frelich spoke of how the invasive species and high deer populations will transform our forests over the next century. His comments explained that exotic earthworm invasions are creating new forest ecosystems in Minnesota by altering the structure of the soil. "European earthworms are the master invaders in our ecosystems because they change the structure of the soil so that it is warmer, drier, and has low nutrient availability," commented Frelich, "Earthworms exacerbate the impact of warming climate on forests and a warmer climate will help exotic earthworms spread faster." The extensive research Frelich has done on boreal
forests in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and his work in the area of patterns of tree height in the eastern United States set him in a position to recommend strategies for Minnesotans to consider. --Mary Whalen, Spring Grove Herald http://www.selco.info/programs-services/rural-sustainability/>www.selco.info/programs-services/r


24) Selling timber is not the only reason for understanding some basic ecological characteristics of a forest. Certainly, species composition, wood volume, and forest density are key components of establishing a timber sale, but they are also essential to assessing forest health and condition. There are practical ways for a forest owner to learn more about their forest. Species composition means, in part, an ability to identify the trees. It's rather difficult to fully appreciate a forest when you don't know who lives there. Michigan has some of the most diverse forests on the planet. Composition also includes factors such as ages, relative species abundance, variability across the landscape, and where a forest lies in the time continuum. Kinda cool stuff, and it gets better. Traditionally, the volume of wood in the trunk up to a specified top diameter has been considered "merchantable". Of course, merchantability also depends upon nearby markets. Diverse markets translate to better merchantability, improved tree utilization, more management options, and healthier forests. http://www.gtherald.com/columns/local_story_113183045.html?keyword=secondarystory


25) Sometimes we don't know the impact a few well-chosen words to a friend can have. Mojo's letter got me through the logging, got me through the snarling chainsaws and the shrieks and cracks of dying trees. Did I enjoy it? No. Would I allow it to be done to our forest? Never. But I repeated Mojo's wisdom to myself over and over throughout February and March; I repeated it to Bill and the kids; kept it in my head as I spoke respectfully to my neighbor, and it truly got me through. This old earth is a renewable resource, bouncing back after unthinkable injury and insult. Our neighbor is logging his woods. We listened as the bulldozers and chainsaws moved closer each day. One by one, the big trees fell. The loggers were taking everything over 18” in diameter, leaving the smaller trees to mature. After three weeks, there was only one giant left, the tulip tree we called the Privacy Tree. We called it that because it shielded our house from the road, made it feel like a secret. I knew the logger was saving the biggest tree for last. He couldn’t have overlooked it. It was time to say good-bye. I walked out through the snow, meaning to wrap my arms around it, and had to spread them for a good-bye hug. I know, I’m a tree hugger. But it’s something, in this cut-over, degraded forest, to find a tulip tree that’s 36” at breast height. “Can’t we ask them not to cut the Privacy Tree?” asked Phoebe, her voice plaintive. “Doesn’t the logger have a heart?” Well, no, honey, we can’t ask him. A 36” tulip is worth money, and it’s on our neighbor’s land, and that, dear, is that. http://www.juliezickefoose.com/blog/2008/04/for-mojo-man.html


26) The Bulldozers have arrived, and clearing has begun in preparation for the construction of I-69, the NAFTA superhighway, in Southern Indiana. Under contracts totaling more than $25.3 million from the Indiana Department of Transportation, Gohmann Asphalt and Construction of Clarksville, Indiana, has demolished homes and trees along the first 1.77 miles of the proposed mega-highway, and will soon begin the actual road construction. This is the same Gohmann Asphalt and Construction that was fined $8.2 million this past December for defrauding the public with false asphalt density tests on road projects. This Earth Day, April 22nd, Please take the time to call Gohmann at (812) 282-1349 and politely ask them why they are accepting the state's blood money to build a highway that 70% of Indiana residents don't want -according to INDOT's own research! Or fax them at (812) 288-2168 and remind them of the 400 families, 5,300 acres of farmland, 1,510 acres of forest, 400 acres of unique underground karst features, and 95 acres of wetlands that will be lost to this gigantic government pork project. If the phone at Gohmann is busy, try calling the Indiana Department of Transportation at (317) 232-5533 and question their wisdom at spending $3.5 billion to reduce travel times between Evansville and Indianapolis by a mere 10-15 minutes. Of course, they might tell you about the need to provide multi-national corporations a more cost-effective way to move goods and capital throughout the continent, and allow them to cheaply exploit the natural resources of Latin America with a network of massive infastructure projects of which I-69 is only the first step. Call Early, Call Often! Really, call often. Visit http://stopi69.wordpress.com for info and updates…

27) Gurney and co-author Leigh Raymond, a Purdue associate professor of political science, detailed the Preservation Pathway approach in a paper that was published March 24 in the journal Carbon Balance and Management. Raymond, who also is an associate director of Purdue's Climate Change Research Center, said the approach allows countries to choose what will work for them and provides an incentive for participation. "The Preservation Pathway allows countries to select how much of the existing forest it will save," he said. "The greater the amount of forest preserved, the more credits the country earns. A country must also show a deceleration in deforestation of forest not set aside." Raymond said the paper is a commentary to start discussion on the policy recommendation. "Carbon emissions and stored carbon are the two big issues of climate change policy," he said. "The big question is how to deal with stored carbon in forests. Should a country get credit for the forests that exist on its land? Is that fair?” The ultimate goal of the Kyoto treaty is to have the whole world involved and actively working to reduce emissions that cause climate change, he said. "The emissions and practices of one country affect the entire world," Raymond said. "We must get the developing countries on board. This approach enables that and also opens up the credit trading system. This will help the developed countries obtain the carbon credits they need and will improve the success of policies because more players are involved." Gurney said the approach has technical advantages over current proposed deforestation policies that would create a baseline and compare deforestation rates relative to it. The Preservation Pathway approach would use satellite imagery to measure success. Satellites could be used to monitor the forests' canopy cover, which allows for measurement of relative change from one year to the next. "The Preservation Pathway would only require a relative rate of change and not precise measurements," Gurney said. "It is extremely difficult to reliably measure the emissions from large forest expanses. To accomplish that would require someone on the ground taking measurements, and there are tropical forests where few people have ever set foot. "This approach relies on the tools we have now and what we know, and it avoids what we don't know," he said. "It gets around some of the technical problems and scientific uncertainties that often slow policy-making." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422115016.htm


28) Even though he spends his time guiding tourists through the nooks and crannies of a Civil War-era house, retired librarian Harry Conay believes that nature can trump history. He’s watched in horror as the National Park Service has tried to make the Gettysburg National Military Park look more like it did on three July days in 1863. Officials are nearly a third of the way through cutting down 576 acres of trees that didn’t exist back then. Another 275 acres will be replanted with trees and orchards that disappeared over the past 15 decades. But it’s not enough to please Mr. Conay, who says the battlefield’s history is partly told through the healing of the earth. After all, the trees managed to thrive on land ravaged by a deadly struggle between two immense armies. “During those 140 years, this has become something more than a battlefield lesson,” Conay says from behind the gift-shop counter at the historic house where he serves as a guide. But the trees continue to fall, despite a flurry of protests amid preparations for this month’s opening of a $103 million visitors center and museum. And as the 150th anniversary of the Civil War approaches, at least one other battlefield is poised to restore history by chopping down countless trees. The park, in southern Pennsylvania, draws about 2 million visitors each year to marvel at a crucial and bloody battle. The South, which had come close to forcing the North to the bargaining table, lost the battle and never recovered. Dozens of tour buses traverse the 6,000-acre military park each day, bringing visitors to admire hundreds of statues and monuments and view battle landmarks such as Little Round Top and the Peach Orchard. http://civilwarcavalry.com/?p=745

29) The Forest Service is proposing to log over 1,000 acres near a section of the Allegheny River populated by the critically endangered northern riffleshell mussel. This mussel survives in less than 5 percent of its former range. Dams and reservoirs have flooded most of the northern riffleshell's habitat and intensive logging and oil and gas drilling pose serious additional threats. Erosion caused by logging and road construction for oil and gas drilling adds silt to streams and rivers which can clog the mussel's feeding siphons and even smother it. Oil and gas drilling has already taken a heavy toll over the past several years in this area. Nearly 1,000 oil and gas wells have been drilled in this area and some portions of the project area have an oil or gas well every seven acres. This has resulted in average road densities exceeding 9 miles of road per square mile of land in some drainages. The Forest Service even admits that many of these oil and gas roads "are contributing large volumes of sediment to the streams." Frankly, it is reckless for the Forest Service to propose more intense logging within watersheds that have already been so heavily impacted by previous logging and drilling. What this area needs is immediate restoration to protect and restore water quality in an effort to recover the northern riffleshell mussel as well as the clubshell mussel which is located downstream of the project area. Please contact the Forest Service and tell them to withdraw this senseless proposal and instead develop a comprehensive watershed restoration plan for this area. http://www.heartwood.org/action.html


30) Bill and Ann Rawstron own 101 acres of these wooded hills, meadows and fields, parts of which are visible from nearby Rte. 290. The Rawstrons put 62 acres of their land into permanent conservation trust through Sudbury Valley Trustees, and hired Plourde to prepare a stewardship plan for the entire property. "I think our feathered and furry friends appreciate it," said Bill Rawstron Privately owned forests, like the Rawstrons', make up 78 percent of the 3 million acres of forests and woodlands throughout the state, according to the Council of Massachusetts Foresters. However, only 17 percent of those land owners use licensed foresters to evaluate the land and implement forest management plans, said Council of Massachusetts Foresters director John Newton. "There's an awful lot of misunderstanding and lack of awareness of what a forester actually does," he said. Plourde knows how many acres of woodland he works with (7,000 to 8,000) better than he knows how many land owners he works for (maybe 100?) throughout Worcester County. He has been a forester for 17 years and works for Broad Arrow Forestry out of Worcester, which does land management, conservation, development and design. The Rawstrons found Plourde through advice from the Sudbury Valley Trustees, and began working with him a few years ago. Plourde evaluated the Rawstron land and wrote a land-management plan that included steps to harvest trees in a healthy, sustainable way on 22 acres. "It's like weeding a garden," said Plourde. "Really good forestry is trying to encourage the growth of good, quality trees and regenerating the forest." Foresters look to encourage a diversity of tree species that will be beneficial to the wildlife, said Plourde. The Rawstron land has a mix of oak, maple, hickory, pine and beech trees. Two summers ago, as part of the land-management plan he wrote for the Rawstrons, Plourde marked trees for loggers to remove. Some areas remain thick with trees, while others are less dense, which allows the sunlight to reach the forest floor and help seedlings thrive. The branches and tree debris left by logging break down and provide nutrients for the soil and the young seedlings. The logs were trucked away to be made into saw logs, pulpwood and firewood. And while logging is sometimes looked at in a negative light, thinning the Rawstrons' forest makes it healthier and is being done in a sustainable way, said Plourde. http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/multimedia/x2124111849


31) On Thursday, the state Department of Agriculture announced that more than 8,200 acres of forest were damaged in the storms. The estimated value of all that timber is more than $10 million, and state officials said they worry that insects and disease could hurt the trees that are left. State workers are holding workshops in Lewis County on Monday and in Macon County on Tuesday to address the concerns. http://www.wsmv.com/community/15914957/detail.html


32) Norway will give Tanzania $100 million over five years to cut deforestation in the east African country and try to reduce carbon emissions blamed for climate change, according to a deal signed on Monday. Norway, the world's number five oil exporter, plans to make its economy "carbon neutral" by 2030, partly by buying emissions quotas abroad to offset its own greenhouse gas production. As part of the agreement with Tanzania, Norway will support research, education and the development of pilot areas for reducing deforestation. Norway will also help develop ways to measure the amount of carbon captured by forests. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said the agreement would make Tanzania an example for other countries of incorporating forests into fighting climate change. "How to do it, and how to combine the idea of rural development with creating new sinks for carbon dioxide by planting new trees is exactly what we are going to do in Tanzania," he said in Dar es Salaam after the deal was signed. His office estimated that emissions of greenhouse gases from Tanzanian deforestation -- at around 100 million tonnes a year -- were roughly twice as much as Norway's annual emissions. In terms of forest destruction, Tanzania was surpassed only by Sudan and Zambia, it said. Norway has in the past reported slow progress in finding investments in developing countries which could cut production of the greenhouse gases blamed by many scientists for global warming. Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said the effects of climate change were already visible in his country with the melting of glaciers on Mount Mount Kilimanjaro, the appearance of salt water in fresh water wells and the shrinking of lakes. http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSB737486


33) The government of Cameroon has established the first sanctuary exclusively for the world's rarest type of ape: the Cross River gorilla, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which helped support the project. The Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary — created by Prime Minister Ephraim Inoni's decree — covers 19.5 sq km in a mountainous region of Cameroon. WCS estimates the area is home to 20 of the world's remaining 300 Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). The Bronx Zoo-based group says that the gorillas of Kagwene have been protected from the poaching that otherwise affects apes in the region by the local belief that gorillas are people. The consumption of gorilla meat is therefore taboo. Kagwene, the Cross River gorilla has been greatly affected by habitat loss and fragmentation due to logging, forest conversion for agriculture and grazing lands, and road construction. "The creation of this sanctuary is the fruit of many years of work in helping to protect the world’s rarest gorilla subspecies," said Dr. Roger Fotso, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Cameroon Program. "Hopefully, this and other sanctuaries like it will give us time to protect and learn more about the world’s rarest great ape," added Dr. James Deutsch, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Africa Program. WCS worked with the Cameroon Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and used funding from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service to create Kagwene. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0418-gorillas.html


34) Hundreds of unmapped villages have been discovered in a Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) rainforest, it has been revealed. Those embarking on gap year travel to the DRC could now have the opportunity to visit these unexplored pockets of culture, which were previously not recorded on maps or satellite images. It is thought that the country's five-year war, which ended in 2003, prevented proper ordinance from being conducted in the thick forest areas. According to Cath Long of the Rainforest Foundation, which is responsible for the latest effort to find unregistered villages, recognising their existence is essential to their preservation from logging contracts. She told the BBC: "In one of the sectors of the territory that the groups are mapping at the moment, there are something like 190 villages but on the official map there are about 30." The rainforest could also be home to rare and protected wildlife such as mountain gorillas. DRC has adopted the growing ecotourism industry as one method of preserving such species from extinction in places like Virunga National Park. http://www.hostelbookers.com/info/news/18564224


35) The gathering was so pleasant that we almost forgot why they were here - to prevent wild elephants from the jungle coming to eat crops on the farm. "They are very intelligent animals. They will wait until no cars are passing and then cross the street," said one officer. It takes 10 of them to surround the invaders and drive them away with firecrackers. They are here almost every night in the dry season, from November to March or May, when the ripening corn or sugar cane crops lure elephants with their irresistible smells. Elephants usually pay a visit to farmlands at night, from about 8pm onwards, because it's quiet and they're less likely to be disturbed. Perhaps the herd knew they were going to be ambushed that night, and they stayed away. Luckily for the farmers, their crops were safe for another night. But only for one night. The crop raids, or what the Elephant Conservation Network (ECN) calls "human-elephant conflicts" (HEC), are a common problem found across the world, including Africa and South Asia. In Salakpra, the first incident was reported in 1982 and has persisted for more than 25 years, with more damage incurred in the last five years. "It happens throughout the year, sometimes more than 30 times a month," said Jittin Ritthirat, manager and coordinator of the ECN, who has conducted research on the issue in this district. At the beginning, the affected areas were in the vicinity of the sanctuary, before spreading southwards to the city of Kanchanaburi. Most of the farms grow single crops such as mango, papaya, sugar-cane or corn, all food that elephants love to eat. When the elephants raid the farms, they not only devour crops but also destroy trees over a vast area. "After eating, they usually wander around, causing more damage. It's their habit," said Somchoke Arayawattanavej, owner of more than 48 hectares of sugar-cane plantation, who admitted that the damage is sometimes almost unbearable. There is no need for a formal study to show that elephants are being deprived of habitat, food and water, and are consequently being forced to raid farms to survive. The average daily food requirement of an adult bull elephant is about 150kg, and the crops offer an abundant food supply for the giant mammals. Also, some new farmland is located on well-used elephant tracks, so it's not surprising that these creatures of habit eat the food found on their familiar routes. http://www.bangkokpost.com/Outlook/21Apr2008_out47.php
22 April 2008 @ 10:55 pm
Today for you 36 new articles about earth’s trees! (330th edition)
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--British Columbia: 1) What saved the Pitt river, 2) Life with the Mcallister’s, 3) Obfuscating Caribou extinction, 4) End of the industry begins, 5) BC Land Conservancy
--Canada: 6) Why are Pew protection campaigns based in Seattle? 7) 50% cut in treeplanting funds, 8) Public consultations on our forests are starting soon,
--UK: 9) Britain’s most valuable tree worth £750,000, 10) Furniture recycling, 11) Targeting Unilever, 12) Unilever can’t prove chain of custody, 13) Arnos Vale Cemetery, 14) Birds depend on coppicing?
--EU: 15) Saving biodiversity limits wood harvest, 16) New guidelines for Firefighters,
--Finland: 17) As many as 25,000 jobs may be lost to Russian tariffs
--Turkey: 18) Forest of Istanbul’s ancient water supply
--China: 19) Endangered trees, endangered species
--Singapore: 20) Smoking habit much like deforestation habit, 21) Bukit Timah Reserve,
--India: 22) Resistance to Bauxite mine continues
--Philippines: 23) Save John Hay forest as well as 2 other forests, 24) ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, 25) Political party’s view of deforestation,
--Borneo: 26) Legacy of Bruno Manser
--Malaysia: 27) Kelau dam, 28) Forests always go into Taib Mahmud’s pocket,
--New Zeland: 29) 3500ha more trees were cut down than planted
--Australia: 30) Logging shut down in Styx valley, 31) Cont. 32) Logging industry’s slash burning is climate vandalism, 33) Banner hang: NO ANZ PULP MILL, 34) We want a new 18,400 hectare national park, 35) Students Against the Pulp Mill, 36) A3P distances itself from illegal logging,

British Columbia:

1) After hearing from the company at the beginning of the meeting, it was the public's turn, led off by stirring speeches from river advocates Mark Angelo and Rafe Mair (Save our Rivers), followed by many others. Highlights from the meeting were broadcast across the country and it became clear that saving the Upper Pitt had captured the imagination of people in every corner of the province. The great public support on this issue was also due to an incredible 2-year campaign led by groups such as the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, The Burke Mountain Naturalists, Save Our Rivers, the River Alliance, the Outdoor Recreation Council, Watershed Watch, ARMS, the BC Wildlife Federation and many, many others, all working together! Individuals, such as lodge owner Danny Gerak, also played a key role. Not coincidentally, on March 26th (the day after the public meeting), the BC government made an announcement that, for all intents and purposes, killed the project. While there are many lessons to be learned from the Upper Pitt, perhaps the most important is that, in the end, the public can make all the difference when it comes to protecting local waterways. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-VztnGlrSY

2) They live on a roadless island with a population of 80 people. Their home is accessible only by boat. They rarely drive. They recycle. And they hunt and fish for the majority of the food they eat and also feed to their children, Callum, 5, and Lucy, 2. Ian, 38, earns money as a writer and a photographer to keep the family a float."It doesn't cost much to live here," he says. "We eat a lot of salmon. Candied salmon. Dried salmon. Jarred salmon." The kids are home-schooled, but they also attend the local native school in nearby Bella Bella where they're learning the language of the Heiltsuk First Nations.The McAllisters are also big-picture people who were drawn to what has become known as the Great Bear Rainforest because, in their minds, it needs and deserves protection from trophy hunting, industrial forestry and pipeline developments. Due to the family's lobby and public awareness efforts, local politicians have committed to protect 30 per cent of this 50,000-square-kilometre area, which is rich with untouched ecosystems that include unique fur-bearing animals such as the Kermode or "spirit" bear, a white subspecies of the black bear. They have also drawn attention to a little-understood West Coast wolf pack -- an ochre-coloured, ocean-swimming pack of wolves who feed on the likes of shellfish, salmon and beached squid, seals and whales. To raise awareness about the plight of these elusive animals, Ian recently photographed and wrote The Last Wild Wolves: Ghosts of the Great Bear Rainforest (Greystone, $45). His book -- one of the loveliest and most important publications I've seen in a long time --deserves the attention it's getting nation-wide. The book has just been nominated for several awards, including the Canadian Book Association Libris Award for Non-fiction and the Banff Mountain Book Award. http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/reallife/story.html?id=ef89162d-caf2-42e8-b1fe-c302ec0f

3) MLA Michael Sather, an NDP member strong on environmental protection, cornered Minister Bell on the scamming of the Central Selkirk Mountain Caribou protection and on the who Mtn Caribou plan. The exchange is in the Hansard for April 10, 2008: >M. Sather: I want to move on to the question of the 1 percent cap of timber-harvesting land base that was announced after the celebratory announcement in October. Groups like ForestEthics have expressed concern that that 1 percent cap on the effect on the forestry land base was announced afterwards. Could the minister tell us why it was announced after the celebratory event that happened here in October? > Hon. P. Bell: I want to touch on the first question, if I may, just for a moment. I think it really speaks to the integrity of the mountain caribou recovery plan. One of the key themes is, I think, that you need to be held accountable, and I think that you need to have a very transparent, open process for the activities. The member well knows that this was a very collaborative process, with ForestEthics and Wildsight representing ten different environmental organizations that have an interest in this area. Although there are some other environmental organizations that disagree with the decisions that have been made, I would suggest that when you bring ten environmental organizations on board in a collaborative process, you've done very well. I certainly have a lot of respect for ForestEthics in the work that they've done, and Wildsight - Candace Batycki and John Bergenske - deserve a lot of credit for being willing to be open and work with government. Part of openness and transparency falls to the progress board that's being established. I have every confidence in the world in Candace's ability and John's ability to speak up and say if they don't believe the government is meeting their objective. It would be foolish to think that we would appoint individuals from the environmental community to a progress board if we didn't want to be held to account. ...To the second question that the member asked, about the 1 percent cap on habitat of the THLB, 1 percent of the THLB in the region works out to 115,000 hectares, and the commitment was to 77,000 hectares. So the ability for us to deliver on the commitment of 95 percent high suitability winter habitat can be met easily within the 1 percent cap. There was no, to the best of my knowledge, formal announcement around that, but the 1 percent cap certainly gives us the ability to deliver on the criteria that were established. http://leg.bc.ca/Hansard/

4) A former sawmill site near Chemainus is to be transformed today into a massive auction where the machinery that powered the once-mighty coastal forest industry will be sold off to the highest bidder. More than 450 pieces of equipment are to be sold regardless of price, said Jake Lawson, regional manager of Vancouver-based Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, the world's largest auctioneer of industrial equipment. "It's an unreserved auction, so everything is sold to the highest bidder on sale day regardless of the price," Lawson said. Everything from grapple yarders, log loaders and road graders to pick-up trucks are going under the hammer at the fast-paced auction, he said. One bankrupt logging contractor, Munns Lumber, is selling 50 to 60 pickup trucks alone, along with grapple yarders and excavators. Another company, Ted Leroy Trucking, which is operating under creditor protection, is also selling off equipment. But other companies with equipment at the auction are simply downsizing, Lawson said. "There's lots of change out there right now. Companies are re-aligning their fleets to be more efficient," he said. Loggers from the West Coast and from as far away as New Zealand, where similar logging methods are used, have been browsing the Chemainus site looking for buys, Lawson said. The auction is taking place at the site of an old Doman Industries sawmill adjacent to the Island Highway. Lawson said although the forest industry is down, there's still lots of logging going on, and there's still lots of local demand for the machinery. "We are sitting right on the side of the Island Highway here at Chemainus, and you can't count five minutes without another log truck going up and down the road. There's still lots of people working. Without a doubt, there's been some pressure on the industry, but there's still wood to be pulled out of the bush," he said. "Lots of West Coast loggers will be here for sure. A lot of those guys will be here to upgrade. There's lots of late-model equipment.” Construction contractors, who can use the graders and excavators in their own industry, are also expected to be bidding, he said. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=a1fabdca-a6ca-410f-adb2-9e5647255

5) "Once conservation lands have been protected, the ongoing management of those lands is always a challenge," said Bill Turner, executive director of The Land Conservancy of British Columbia. "The government is to be commended for listening to the needs of the conservation groups and for responding with this new funding. It will make a difference." The B.C. government has designated 23 wildlife management areas (covering 232,000 hectares) and has acquired administration and management of an additional 240 sites for fish and wildlife conservation purposes. Together, these conservation lands for fish and wildlife comprise approximately 258,000 hectares. The Ministry of Environment continues to work with many non-profit and government partners in acquiring and managing these conservation lands. The Nature Trust of British Columbia, along with other large non-profit conservation organizations in the province such as Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, The Land Conservancy of British Columbia and many smaller land trusts, continues to acquire and manage conservation lands. These presently include approximately 680 privately held conservation lands protecting about 43,000 hectares and a large number of conservation covenants, stewardship agreements,
grazing rights and other interests that help to protect habitat values on a much larger scale. http://www.gov.bc.ca


6) It's one of the three great wilderness forests left, along with the Amazon and Siberian taiga. I was hired 10 years ago by the Pew Charitable Trusts' Environment Group to do forest conservation. We decided to make the boreal a priority because, of these three, it's the only one in a country with a tradition of conservation, so the most likely to be protected on a scale to preserve the ecosystem and yet allow people to benefit from the natural resources... Why a Seattle headquarters? Pew's based in Philly, and there's no boreal here. There's an enormous, slow, quiet movement of conservation groups to the Northwest. Not just regional but international efforts. It's easier to travel to Asia, the Far North, even South America than from the East Coast, which is so congested ... Plus, funny enough, people really wanted to come to Seattle for meetings. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/pacificnw/2004356030_footkallick20.html

7) When the government tabled its new budget last month, there was an unexpected 50-percent cut in silviculture funding, which means that the government is intent on planting fewer trees. The impacts of this decision are being felt in communities throughout the province. Communities that have been built on and around the forestry sector are now facing economic uncertainty. Families are now being forced to make difficult decisions about whether they remain in their homes or uproot themselves from the communities where they have spent their entire lives. The New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners estimates that this single decision on silviculture will cost the province at least 1,000 jobs. I know of a company in the Miramichi area that has been planting and thinning trees for more than 15 years and which has 20 employees. The company is closing its doors and throwing everyone out of work because there is simply not going to be enough work as a direct result of these government cuts. These 21 families need not to suffer in this way! I have to wonder how on earth this decision to slash funding in half for a successful silviculture program, a callous cut that will negatively impact thousands of New Brunswick families, was accepted by the minister of natural resources. It is even more baffling to me that this minister would then pitch the idea to his cabinet colleagues and that the whole gang then supported the decision, with the exception of Local Government Minister Carmel Robichaud, who has publicly stated that she voted against the decision at the cabinet table. (Whatever happened to cabinet secrecy and solidarity?) Most worrisome is the fact that Premier Shawn Graham, who should have a better understanding of the forestry industry, voted to cut the program. Shawn Graham, of all people at that table, should have seen how devastating these cuts would be. He had been his father's assistant when his dad was minister of natural resources for so many years. Through his experience in dealing with those in the industry, Shawn Graham should have known better, but he still allowed the gutting of the program to go ahead. I have to wonder why the Premier has decided to turn his back on the forestry sector. Why he has decided to hurt thousands of families? Why he was willing to make such a poor decision, knowing exactly what the consequences would be? Essentially, the government has thrown an industry into even further turmoil with a decision to cut $4 million from the province's nearly $7 billion budget. Rather than make a choice to spend the $4 million on silviculture, the government has chosen to spend nearly $5 million on a new luxury aircraft and another $5 million on a golf course. http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/272447

8) Concerned about clearcutting? Worried about the forest industry? Want to shape the future of Nova Scotia’s forests? Public consultations on our forests are starting soon. Voluntary Planning, an arms-length agency of the Nova Scotia government, will be traveling the province to document Nova Scotians’ concerns and values on the future of FORESTS, MINING, PARKS and BIODIVERSITY. This is the time to speak up about our forests and forest industry. These consultations will help shape the government’s new Natural Resources Strategy. See www.gov.ns.ca/vp and follow the link to Natural Resources to learn about the process. Consultations will take place from May 12th to June 12th throughout Nova Scotia. What’s at Stake? Our Forest and Forest Economy Because of heavy cutting and land clearing over many decades, Nova Scotia’s native, unique Acadian Forest is threatened. Our forest is degraded and the forestry industry is struggling. Mills are closing, forestry jobs are declining, the tourism industry is negatively affected and our forest is increasingly vulnerable to climate change. With progressive forest policy, however, we can promote a naturally diverse forest that provides wildlife habitat, clean water, a place to appreciate nature, and high-quality timber. With sensible management, we can promote a forest industry based on value-added manufacturing, providing diverse and stable employment. With intelligent fore-sight, we can best meet the challenges climate change will bring to our forest. http://spanishinhalifax.blogspot.com/2008/04/want-to-shape-future-of-nova-scotias.html


9) A plane in Mayfair has been valued at £750,000, making it Britain’s most valuable tree. The valuation of the 6ft-wide tree, which has graced Berkeley Square since Victorian times, is based on a new system devised by local authority tree officers. It takes into account size, health, historical significance and the number of people living near by to enjoy it. This valuation system, known as the capital asset value for amenity trees (Cavat), is to be adopted by every local authority in the country to prevent the massacre of trees blamed for subsidence in buildings. In future, the high value of trees will demand extra engineering work by insurers to prove a link between a tree and subsidence. Other common causes for subsidence are broken drains and dry weather. Healthy mature trees are being felled by risk-averse insurers and councils because of suspicion that they are causing damage to neighbouring properties. In future a well-loved street tree will only be felled if an insurance company can prove that it is the real cause of the subsidence. There are many valuable oaks scattered throughout Central London. An oak in Southgate, North London, has been valued at £267,000 and a plane in Epping High Street £200,000. Most street trees are worth between £8,000 and £12,000. In the past five years London councils have chopped down almost 40,000 street trees, including some more than 100 years old. Some were just old or dying but 40 per cent were removed because of insurance claims. A report commissioned by the London Assembly challenged this figure and said that only 1 per cent of tree removals were justified. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3792556.ece

10) Its formula for social betterment might start with a nondescript conference table. On reaching the end of its useful life with a FTSE 100 company, Green Works will take it, save it from the landfill and help the environment. The company will then sell it at a discount to any number of charities, materially aiding their operations, or will dismantle it and recycle its components. The truck carrying the table away from the large corporation's offices might be driven by an ex-homeless man; Green Works tries to recruit its workforce from marginalised communities and rehabilitate them in their day-to-day work life. Mr Crooks started the company seven years ago while working as an environmental consultant. "In environmental consulting, I found that the most difficult, immutable waste stream was from furniture," he says, adding that an estimated 400,000 tonnes of furniture is dumped every year in the UK, clogging landfills. "At the same time I was a councillor for Lambeth - my night job," he says. "Every community organisation I went to see had a desperate need for office furniture. Their chairs would be tattered and of bad quality, and some didn't even have a filing cabinet. "There was an obvious market opportunity." Green Works, a recipient of a Queen's Award for sustainable development, is a social enterprise structured as a not-for-profit organisation. It receives public grants. But it also generates revenue. Last year, its turn-over was £2.1m, enough to break even. It makes money by charging clients - often City banks and law firms - to take away their furniture when they move offices. The priority for these companies, says Mr Crooks, is not resale value but prompt, efficient disposal - often of cubicles and chairs that number in the hundreds. When furniture reaches Green Works' warehouses, the company's carpenters often rework them. Chipboard cubicles become coffee tables, and cedar conference tables become bureaus. Any member of the public can buy such re-modelled furniture from the warehouse at competitive prices. "The furniture that offices use now is robustly made and will last a long time, but the ownership cycle has shortened - from 20 years to, say, five or 10," says Mr Crooks. "Furniture has become like a fashion accessory, easily thrown away. It would be a travesty not to encourage people to re-use this." http://facilities-manager.co.uk/total-fm/the-future-with-green-removals-policy.html

11) Environmental demonstrators targeted Unilever across Europe on Monday, entering plants and scaling walls, including those of its London headquarters. About 40 members of Greenpeace entered the multinational's factory in Wirral, Merseyside, while about a dozen dressed in orang-utan outfits demonstrated outside its London headquarters, with some climbing its front walls. About 20 demonstrated outside the Rotterdam offices of the Anglo-Dutch corporation, while protests also took place at smaller offices in Rome. They are demonstrating against the source of Unilever's palm oil, an ingredient in foods and soaps as well as a bio-fuel added to diesel for cars. Greenpeace says the peatland forests of Indonesia, one of the last remaining habitats of the orang-utan, is being damaged to provide palm oil. Greenpeace Executive Director John Sauven said: "Greenpeace is demanding Unilever publicly calls for an end to the expansion of palm oil into forest and peatland areas and stops trading with suppliers that continue to destroy rainforests." The group says there are alternative sources of palm oil which it is urging Unilever to use. Unilever is a member of the multi-national Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). It owns many household name brands in foods, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products and buys some 1.3 million tonnes of palm oil a year, making it, according to Greenpeace, the world's single largest buyer of the product. http://uk.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUKL2153984120080421

12) Unilever has admitted to Greenpeace that it can't trace the origin of palm oil supplied by firms operating in Indonesia. The relevation suggests that efforts to improve the sustainability of Indonesian palm oil have stalled as large tracts of rainforest continue to fall for the establishment of new oil palm plantations on the islands of Borneo, New Guinea, and Sumatra. "Unilever acknowledges that it has no idea where about 20% of its palm oil comes from," states Greenpeace in a new report on palm oil production in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo. "Of the remaining 80%, it knows the group supplying the palm oil, but not necessarily the concession areas from which it originates." "Unilever pretends to be a responsible company, but what it's really responsible for is profiting from rainforest destruction," Tim Birch, Greenpeace International forests campaigner, said. "If they invested as much in sorting out their suppliers as they do on greenwashing their brand, they could fix this problem for good." http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0421-greenpeace.html

13) Arnos Vale Cemetery is a great place to enjoy your own 'springwatch'. Recent woodland clearance in parts of the 45-acre cemetery has opened up more of the grounds and led to even larger swathes of the spring flowers. But in recent months the primroses' flowering pattern has also offered evidence of more worrying change - global warming. Mary Wood, Arnos Vale trustee and an ecologist, said the primroses did not seem to stop flowering this winter. She said: "The primroses don't seem to have been out of flower - some appeared in the autumn and have flowered ever since. "It is the first time they have been out for so long. "Usually they are dormant because it's too cold and there isn't enough light for them to flower during winter months, but that obviously hasn't been the case this year. "This does seem to be evidence of climate change. Luckily, it doesn't seem to be a problem for the plants and doesn't stop them growing in the future … and they do look beautiful at the moment." Signs of spring came early to many other parts of Britain this year, with horticulturalists at Kew Gardens in London noting the first daffodils opened on January 16 - a week earlier than last year and 11 days earlier than the average for daffs in the last 10 years. Mary said: "Thinning out the woodland and encouraging more flowers to grow will, in turn, lead to more butterflies and insects in general. And climate change may also influence what we can see in Arnos Vale. For example, the red admiral butterfly is a migrant to this country but in recent mild winters some have remained and over- wintered here. http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=144913&command=displayContent&sourceNode

14) Successful living space for several bird species in British woods has long depended on a traditional type of woodland management, many hundreds, if not thousands of years, old: coppicing. This means cutting trees down to ground level, and then letting new shoots grow back up from the resultant stumps, or stools. Coppicing provides a steady supply of long straight wood poles, traditionally used in fence making and for firewood, but for birds, it also provides, in its early stages, a dense shrubby layer, similar to the garrigue, the aromatic bushy landscape of Mediterranean countries, which is perfect for species such as nightingales and warblers to nest in. From about the middle of the 20th century, however, coppicing began to be abandoned. When that happens, the shrub layer disappears; but not only that. When the trees grow up, eventually the canopy closes, shutting out the light; and the rest of the undergrowth, the brambles and bushes and plants that form the layer of ground flora, where other bird species love to forage and breed, dies off. Undoubtedly the abandoning of coppicing has played a part in woodland bird decline. And unfortunately, its negative effects are being strongly reinforced by another factor: deer. Virtually all species of deer in Britain are steadily increasing in numbers, led by the muntjac, a pint-sized Bambi introduced from China, whose speciality is breeding all year round. In many of Britain's woods, the browsing of deer is now so extensive that it is causing large-scale structural changes to the vegetation: in effect, Bambi and his pals are eating the undergrowth to bits. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/the-sound-of-silence-britains-lost-birds-8093


15) European biodiversity protection is impacting the supply of wood from the Continent's forests to the tune of 68 million m³ a year, a new study has found. The Impacts of Biodiversity and Landscape Diversity Protection on the Wood Supply in Europe report, published by the European Forest Institute, looked at the numerous felling restrictions in place across Europe and compared them to the varied demands from across the wood-based industries. It reported that around 29 million ha of forest is covered by protective measures, with 49% of the volume in forest areas protected for biodiversity unavailable for felling and 40% in forests protected for landscape diversity. This equates to 68 million m³, or the volume of roundwood produced by Germany and Italy combined in 2005. Biomass was one of the main markets that the authors said would be impacted by the biological and landscape protection. "Protection of biological and landscape diversity in forests clearly has an effect on potential supply of wood from European forests said authors Pieter Verkerk, Giuliana Zanchi and Marcus Lindner. "Forest biomass has become increasingly important for bio-energy production. Though there is a potential to substantially increase wood removals across European countries, limitations on wood supply set by biodiversity and landscape protection may conflict with these developments in the long run." http://www.ttjonline.com/story.asp?sectioncode=17&storycode=54929&c=2

16) Around 600 firefighters from France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece were concluding exercises on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Italy, on Saturday -- using new guidelines drawn up in English. The training is a part of an EU Rapid Intervention Force (FIRE) initiative launched to combat blazes which devastate between 300,000 and 800,000 hectares (750,000 and two million acres) of forest and grassland in the region each year. During the exercises, French firefighters under Italian command followed instructions issued in English, in front of observers from Algeria, Malta, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Russia. Portuguese, Greek and Italian firefighters were also trying to work through English commands -- although with less enthusiasm, it seemed. "The important thing is to explain to the men what the Italian commander wants," said Portuguese chief Elisio Oliveira. "The idea is that countries with different methodologies are able to work together." However, according to the head of the Greek specialist unit, Antonis Panagiotakis, "the principal problem is communication between teams on the ground, and the main reason behind that is the language". Different tactics also exist, for example the Spanish clear the perimeter around a forest fire with tools using very little water while the French go for "direct action" with engines carrying up to 10,000 litres (2,200 gallons) for fires which threaten to swallow up populated areas. The Sardinian exercise also simulated the evacuation by sea of around a hundred children. "It's a realistic scenario considering fires reach the water every year in Sardinia, and it's a situation we've also encountered in the south of France," said Henri Masse, head of the French delegation. The World Wildlife Fund warned at a conference of climate change experts this week in Athens that forest fires similar to the 2007 outbreak which killed 67 and devastated large areas were set to become the norm due to global warming. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/EU_funds_multi-nation_forest_firefighting_exercise_in_Sardini


17) The Finnish forestry industry could face the loss of 25,000 jobs if wood export duties planned by Russia are put into force in full next year, the head of Finland's Forest Industries Federation said on Friday. Russia, a key wood source for Finnish paper producers, increased wood export duties from April to 15 euros per cubic metre from 10 euros, in a series of planned increases, and plans to hike them to 50 euros from the beginning of 2009. Finnish paper and pulp makers have warned they are being forced to cut paper and pulp capacity as the rising wood costs are hurting their already low profits. "With the multiplicative effects, the wood tariffs when put in force, could cause the loss of about 25,000 jobs," said the federation head Jussi Pesonen, who is also chief executive of top magazine paper maker UPM-Kymmene. Finland is also home to the world's top paper and board maker Stora Enso and fine paper maker M-real. http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssIndustryMaterialsUtilitiesNews/idUSL1891732920080418


18) We are gazing down on Istanbul from one of the Forestry Department’s helicopters. With us is Yüksel Yüksel, Director of Forest Protection. Below us lies a sprawling city so huge it appears endless, so busy it appears never to sleep. A city surrounded by forests on the north and water on the south. An historic metropolis that breathes through the tiny parks and groves it harbors within it. In a little while we will land deep in nature, in this enormous city’s rarely seen green area with its endemic vegetation and flowers. But in terms of Istanbul’s plant geography its true plant type is the forest. It is possible to see examples of pristine forest on both shores of the Bosphorus today. The Alemdað forests on the Anatolian side and the Belgrade forest on the European are damp, mixed-leaf forests. Their dominant tree species is the oak, three species of which - English oak, sessile or durmast oak, and Hungarian oak - are spread over a broad area. Oriental beech is observed in areas near the Black Sea coast. Other species entering into the mix in these damp forests include hornbeam, Anatolian chestnut, quaking aspen, alder, common hazel, hedge maple, beech-maple, smooth elm, field elm, broad leaf linden, goat willow and grey willow. At 5,442 hectares today, the Belgrade Forest is one of Istanbul’s most important forested areas. The fact that, according to one view, it has supplied the city’s water needs since 375-395 A.D. lends it a special significance. Far from supplying any water needs today, however, it is used more as a recreational area. Similar in structure, the Çatalca, Kanlýca and Alemdað forests continue to produce firewood and lumber. But the Istanbul forests are not limited only to these natural forests. Since the 1960’s especially, various units of the forestry service have been experimenting with different types of reforestation with fast-growing exotic (foreign) species in the city’s vast vacant areas. Reforestation with the maritime pine (Pinus pinaster), known throughout the world as a fast-growing industrial tree, has however unfortunately failed to produce the desired results. General Director of Forests Osman Kahveci, whose views we sought on the subject of such artificial forests, had this to say: “Istanbul is 44% forest. These areas are quite rich in tree species, herbal plants and wild life. http://www.turkishpress.com/travel/view.asp?id=226310


19) Forty million years ago the dawn redwood was among the most abundant tree species growing in the Northern Hemisphere. Today about 6,000 trees remain in the wild, and all of them are in south-central China. Dozens of modern plant and animal species share a similar history—once widespread, they are now restricted to the booming Asian country. China is home to more than 31,500 plant species, about 10 percent of the world's total. Several species, including the dawn redwood and the maidenhair tree—also called ginkgo—are as old as the dinosaurs. But 20 percent of these plants are at risk of extinction due to human pressures, according to Peter Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. "By the end of the century, over half the species in China could be extinct or at the verge of extinction," he said. "That's a very serious problem." Raven chairs the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.) The committee has funded more than a dozen grantees, many of them Chinese, to perform botanical studies in China. China's national park and nature reserve system is currently one of the most poorly funded per unit of land of any developing country, he pointed out. "That leads to a situation—especially if [the parks] are not well integrated with the needs of the local populations—where the forests and natural resources of the area can disappear more rapidly than you would think," he said. Wen said increasing public awareness about the value of these plants is critical to the success of the plant conservation strategy. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080416-chinese-plants.html


20) In Singapore, every cigarette pack has a grotesque picture showing health related problems due to smoking. Yet most of the smokers remain indifferent towards the warning even though they know that the threat is genuine. Similarly, despite knowing that deforestation, which is defined as the conversion of forested land to non-forested land for human purposes, is linked to global warming and resource depletion, logging continues to happen in South-east Asia. This is presumably because of the insatiable need for resource, land and revenue fuels the force of deforestation.As mentioned earlier, deforestation is partially due to the never ending demand for raw materials that are derived from forest. Wood, which is one of the most abundant resources found in forests, has become necessities for every human society. In traditional civilizations, wood is primarily used as fuel and raw material for furniture. Whereas people nowadays extend its use to papermaking and even weapon making. And due to the increase in human population and urban development, demand for timber continues to rise. http://lch1471.blogspot.com/2008/04/academic-essay-cause-of-deforestation.html

21) Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) is one of the two last remaining places in Singapore which contains areas with primary dryland forests, the other place being the Central Catchment Nature Reserve(CCNR). The BTNR primary dryland forests are of the hill dipterocarp forest type, of which the large dipterocarp trees, which are members of the meranti family (Dipterocarpaceae), are the most common tree species. Unfortunately, much of BTNR was actually covered by secondary vegetation, and primary vegetation only occupy about 24 percent of the area. At the edge of the reserve, patches of tiup tiup (Adinandra dumosa) can be found (must confess that the above tree was a roadside tree though... :P). Usually found in secondary forests, the tiup tiup of the tea family is a small tree bearing alternate leaves with leathery, elliptical leaf blades and almost indistinct veins. The flowers are cream-coloured with a long style each, and never open fully. The flowers are often pollinated by carpenter bees, while the fruits are eaten by fruit bats.
Interestingly, the tiny seeds eaten by the bats with the fruits are usually defecated and thus dispersed away from the parent plant about 10-15 minutes later when the bats are in flight, due to their short digestive tracts. Secondary forests dominated by tiup tiup are also called adinandra belukar, where "belukar" means forest in Malay. http://tidechaser.blogspot.com/2008/04/bukit-timah-nature-reserve.html


22) On one side sits the government of India, the state government of Orissa and the Indian subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Plc, a FTSE-100 British mining corporation. They are applying for permission to dig up the Niyamgiris - rich in bauxite, the base mineral used in the manufacture of aluminium - at the rate of three million tons a year and then pour them into a £400 million alumina refinery, which has already been constructed at the foot of the hills. This important work, Vedanta and its supporters in the Indian government argue, is vital for the development of the new Indian nation and will bring jobs and infrastructure to some of the poorest people on the planet. Opposing them is a coalition of environmentalists, social anthropologists, left-wing politicians and - perhaps uniquely - the court's own 'centrally empowered' fact-finding committee. Digging up the Niyamgiris will be a social and environmental catastrophe, they say, destroying rivers and streams on which tens of thousands of people depend to irrigate their crops, polluting rivers with the toxic 'red mud' that is a by-product of aluminium manufacture and - most importantly, according to the anthropologists - wiping out the Dongria Kondh, who worship the sacred hills named after their god, Niyamraja. The cause of the Dongria protesters is not without hope. Twenty years ago a similar alliance of tribal people, Dalits (formerly Untouchables) and Hindu activists succeeded in blocking plans to mine bauxite from the Gandhamardan mountain range in Orissa on environmental and religious grounds. Today only a derelict compound built for workers stands as a reminder of that victory, which was won after hundreds of protesters had endured police beatings as local women laid their children on the ground to stop the advance of the heavy mining plant. But today's protesters are fighting for their mountain in a more modern India - a country hungry for raw materials and ever mindful of creating a favourable investment climate for foreign investors and multinationals. Back in those lush hills, in the village of Gortha, the court's dry deliberations seem a world away. http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEQ20080419025236&Page=Q&Title=ORISSA&Topic=0


23) The John Hay forest is one of three wooded areas in Baguio that is facing destruction to make way for high-profile development projects in the city. New building plans are in the pipeline to accommodate the investments of Ayala Corp., which recently joined the Fil Estate consortium that has been developing Camp John Hay. Eyes are focused on a forested area of Camp John Hay here, which could lose from 800 to 13,000 trees if the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) pushes through with its plan to clear the area for industry expansion. Peza leased 65,253 square meters of John Hay land from the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) in January 2007 to host the expansion of aircraft-parts manufacturer Moog Controls Philippines Inc. Samuel Peñafiel, Cordillera director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said Peza and BCDA officials relayed the information to him on Monday when they requested for information about how to process permits for clearing this forest. “They did not give me any numbers. They just said they will need to clear a substantial number of trees,” Peñafiel said. Foresters employed by the DENR, however, estimate that between 800 and 13,000 trees were likely to be cut in the expansion plan. The BCDA has started a new inventory of trees covered by the 300-hectare reservation, according to a BCDA official, who wanted anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose information. Only the “built-up areas,” covering 246.9 hectares of the original baseland, have been leased to the Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco), the consortium developing the property. Tree-cutting permits of this magnitude would have to be brought to the DENR undersecretary for field operations, said Peñafiel.A technical team from the DENR Environmental Management Bureau is reviewing the project. “I wanted to find out the status of this property because this used to be classified as forest land. So why is an industrial entity coming in?” Peñafiel said. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view/20080419-131315/Massacre-of-trees-a

24) The ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB) yesterday called for intensified environment conservation in Southeast Asia, as it declared a “red alert” for the region’s rich biodiversity. The ACB noted that the ASEAN region, while occupying only three percent of the earth’s surface, contains the natural habitats of up to 40 percent of all species on earth. The region also has one-third or 84,000 square kilometers of all coral reefs. However, the ACB also said that the region is home to seven of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots. It pointed out that from the 64,800 known species, at least 1,300 are endangered, while 80 percent of its coral reefs are at risk due to destructive fishing practices and coral bleaching. “Without a concerted effort to protect and conserve biodiversity, Southeast Asia’s 580 million people and the entire human race are in danger,” the ACB said. Fuentes said loss of biodiversity in Southeast Asia could be primarily blamed on forest conversion in the region. He said forest conversion is driven by large-scale deforestation for timber by commercial logging activities, shifting cultivation, large-scale mining, and agricultural expansion. He said these lead to loss of habitat for many birds, mammals and other animals; reduced pollinator activity; decline in species richness and populations and overall reduction in biodiversity. Meanwhile, the ACB said incidents of forest fires in the region in 1997-1998, 2002 and 2006, resulted in the population decline, and high infant and juvenile mortality in many animals, as well as reduced seedling and sapling population for many tree species. “Biodiversity loss could trigger enormous effects on food security, health, shelter, medicine, and aesthetic and other life sustaining resources,” Fuentes also said. Aside from forest conversion, the ACB said wildlife hunting and trade for food, pet, and medicinal purposes also contribute to biodiversity loss in the ASEAN region. Overall, it said, wildlife was extracted from forests at more than six times the sustainable rate. Moreover, the ACB said that increasing human population and poverty, climate change, and lack of financial resources likewise contributes to biodiversity loss. http://www.philstar.com/index.php?Headlines&p=49&type=2&sec=24&aid=2008042088

25) She points to her party’s pin on her lapel to explain her party’s politics—three figures linking arms, each with a different color. Party-list Representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel of Akbayan explains, “Red is for socialist, green for environmentalist and purple for feminist. We have an environmental platform in our party that guides both our launching of and support for local campaigns as well as our legislative work here in the house.” Logging: “We pointed out what happened in Akbayan communities in Aurora and Quezon provinces because of the denudation in the mountain areas. When the storms came, there were flashfloods. It was a nightmare,” she recalls. Flashfloods in the Aurora-Quezon area and mudslides in Leyte in 2003 and 1991 killed at least 176, 200 people and 6,000 people respectively. Rampant logging in watershed areas led to both tragedies. Logging consistently dries up aquifers, streams and other sources for irrigation and drinking water. It also causes land erosion, river siltation and irreversible loss of soil fertility. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, less than 3 percent of the primary forest cover of the Philippines remains and secondary growth forests are being destroyed at 480 hectares a day. Deforestation threatens not only plant and animal species unique and endemic to the country, but also the food security and the access to potable water of Filipinos. “Together with the NTFP [nontimber forest product], we really have to preserve the timberlands. These have to be rehabilitated and protected from large-scale mechanized logging,” declares Rep. Hontiveros. “We have a bill to strengthen the EIA or environmental impact assessment system, especially what requirements development corporations must pass before large projects are implemented in environmentally critical areas, whether these are primary forests, watersheds or ancestral domain areas. This covers all environmental issues,” the congresswoman notes. http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-OvqIBFQ5eqjRLpknBTwnExL_Zt4-?cq=1&p=1005


26) The pictures are rare documentation of the nomadic Penan peoples from the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo. Swiss environmentalist Bruno Manser proved an unflinching and passionate advocate for the Penans in the 1990s as their territory was increasingly deforested by industrial logging companies. Bruno Manser lived among the Penan peoples from 1984-1990, during this time he became intimately aware with their struggles. Deforestation was rampant in Borneo, destroying the rainforest along with the livelihood of the Penan people. Lukas Straumann, Director of the Bruno Manser Fonds, believes the photos to be an important legacy for Bruno Manser work. "They document the culture of South East Asia's last hunter-gatherers in a crucial moment when their culture came under pressure through large-scale systematic destruction of their ecosystem," Starumann told Mongabay.com, adding that "apart from their socio-cultural value, the pictures could also become important evidence in land rights litigations for Penan communities who struggle to have their land rights legally recognized by the courts." The non-profit organization, Bruno Manser Fonds, based in Basel, Switzerland, has spent three years preserving, digitalizing, and inventorying Manser's massive collection of photographs. Despite such setbacks—and the continuing destruction of the forest—Lukas Straumann is not without hope. He believes that some of the decade's worth of damage can be undone: "We should not forget that some of the secondary forests, which were logged in the 1980s, have regenerated and can still play an important cultural and environmental role." He also sees new possibilities in the photos to reach-out to Malaysians and Southeast Asia in general. "I think these pictures will help raise global awareness on the Penan's struggle and their yet unresolved problems. The power of images can hardly be overestimated. By making them public on the internet, we also want to enable the Southeast Asian public to get access to them. The electronic media are in a position to break the monopoly of the Malaysian, and in particular the Sarawak print media, many of which are controlled or influenced by the timber industry." The photographs will be available through the Bruno Manser Fonds website: http://www.bmf.ch/en/ - http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0417-hance_manser.html


27) The Kelau dam project involves the transfer of raw water from the Kelau river in Pahang to Selangor, by tunneling through the main range. Besides inundating forested land, the project also involves the relocation of the Orang Asli (indigenous minority peoples of Peninsular Malaysia) in Kampung Temir and Bukit Cenal. Watch the revealing video on the Kelu dam project at http://www.coac.org.my - http://www.wildasia.net/main.cfm?page=msg&messageID=1899

28) Since 1981 the Chief Minister has been Taib Mahmud, a man whose personal fortune, derived from logging, has made him one of the wealthiest men in Malaysia. According to a February 7, 1990 report in the Asian Wall Street Journal, " He lives in a well-guarded palatial home in Kuching, and rides in a cream-colored Rolls Royce. A dapper dresser, he is partial to double-breasted suits and sports a ring with a walnut-sized red gem surrounded by small diamonds." That his office has been used for personal financial gain became clear during the run up to the State elections in April 1987. At a press conference on April 9, 1987, Taib Mahmud announced the freezing of twenty-five timber concessions totaling 2.75 million acres belonging to relatives and friends of the former Chief Minister Rahman Yakub. Estimates of the value of these holdings ranged from US$9 billion to US$22 billion. As it turned out, each of Rahman Yakub's eight daughters was the owner of a logging concession. In retaliation for these revelations, Rahman Yakub told the press the names of politicians, friends, relatives and associates connected to Taib Mahmud who controlled 3.52 million acres of concessions. Ironically the two antagonists were themselves related, Taib Mahmud being the nephew of Rahman Yakub. Between them, these two quarreling factions of the elite controlled 6.38 million acres, a figure that amounted to over half of all logging concessions and a full third of Sarawak's total forested land. So great is the potential for graft, and so high the financial rewards of securing government office, that politicians have been known to spend as much as US$24 million competing for the support of the 625,000 eligible voters in the state." http://tbsbidayuh.blogspot.com/2008/04/born-to-steal.html

New Zealand:

29) Carter Holt Harvey is reviewing the future of its coastal forestry land in the Nelson region but has no plans to reforest blocks where trees - some immature - have been felled and cleared. Nelson MP Nick Smith blames bad economics and government policy for record high levels of deforestation throughout New Zealand. Final figures won't be available until May but preliminary estimates suggest that 3500ha more trees were cut down than planted in Nelson during the last year, he said. "2007 would have been the highest level of deforestation in Nelson's history," he said. Carter Holt Harvey's Nelson-based land manager Phil Wright said he couldn't say exactly how much land the company had cleared. Felling was occurring on a "scattering" of blocks, he said. Carbon tax credits provided no incentive to retain the land in forestry because they only applied to forests that had been put into rotation or planted after 1990, he said. He wouldn't comment on speculation that the company was planning to plant vineyards and said all options were being looked at. Dr Smith said the return on forestry compared with dairying, lifestyle and pastoral farming meant other land uses were more economic. "There's huge uncertainties and liabilities associated with the Kyoto forestry rules," he said. Clearing forestry land is expected to attract "huge carbon liabilities" of $13,000 per hectare. The Government intended to apply this tax from January 1 this year but the rules were still being debated in Parliament, Dr Smith said. "There's some element of people saying, `We'll have a crack at it and hope the legislation ends up in trouble'." He raised concerns about New Zealand's ability to meet its Kyoto obligations as it was 24 percent over 1990 emission levels, with deforestation making matters worse. Under the protocol, countries are liable for emission credits and liabilities from January 1 this year. Dr Smith said blocks being felled in Nelson tended to be more lifestyle areas and he was confident about forestry's long-term future as one of four pillars - the others being fishing, fruit and tourism - underpinning the local economy. A 2007 survey found about 600ha of Nelson-Marlborough land was expected to be deforested between 2008 and 2020, the commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The land was primarily being converted to lifestyle and grape use, it said. http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelsonmail/4484894a6510.html


30) Forest campaigners have halted logging in the Styx Valley this morning after staging a mock visit from Federal politicians in the Weld Valley near Huonville at the weekend. Activists from the Huon Valley Environment Centre paraded 6m-high cut-outs of Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong in the Lower Weld Valley to coincide with Forestry Tasmania burn-offs in the area. Meanwhile, 11 forest activists halted logging in a forestry coupe near the base of Mount Mueller this morning to protest against the continued destruction of Tasmania's old growth forests. An activist is perched in a treesit high up in the canopy of the forest, which is located 100m from the boundary of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. "We are calling on Peter Garrett and Penny Wong to take immediate action against these ongoing climate crimes and protect Tasmania's irreplaceable old growth forests," said Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson Ula Majewski. "Some of our most significant carbon sinks are being destroyed and burnt at a disturbing rate, rendering Tasmania's forestry practices an international disgrace once again." "The ongoing devastation of these unique ecosystems is a critical global issue." "Protecting Tasmania's ancient forests is a simple, cheap and intelligent climate change solution." http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,23572571-3462,00.html

31) A protester suspended in a tree-sit connected to forestry machinery has halted logging in Tasmania's Styx Valley. The action is part of a protest against the logging of old growth forest at Mount Mueller. Spokeswoman, Ula Majewski, says 11 protesters set up camp there early this morning. "We would just like to broadcast the message that in this era of dangerous climate change it is completely unacceptable that Forestry Tasmania, the Tasmanian Government and the Rudd Government continue to endorse the logging and burning of our ancient forest," she said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/21/2222828.htm?section=business

32) The Greens deputy leader Nick McKim has described Forestry Tasmania's annual burn-offs as climate vandalism. The burns take place every autumn. Mr McKim says the burns are not necessary and have a negative environmental impact because they release carbon into the atmosphere. He says the practice should be stopped, but the Greens are not against other burn-offs to reduce the danger of bushfires. "We have always supported fuel reduction burns if life and property is at risk," Mr McKim said. "But I want to be very clear. The burns that are the cause of the nicotine stained skies around the entire state are not fuel reduction burns. They are part of Forestry Tasmania's harvesting activities," he said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/20/2221933.htm

33) Climbers today hung a 15 meter long banner reading “NO ANZ PULP MILL” from a light tower at the ANZ sponsored stadium at Homebush, prior to a NRL rugby game between the Dragons and the Sharks. The banner was dropped from the 30 meter high tower on the outside of the stadium with no interruption to the game. By hanging the banner, environmental campaigners highlighted the role the ANZ bank may play in financing the deeply unpopular pulp mill, opposed by a majority of Tasmanians. The ANZ are currently bankers for Tasmanian woodchipping giant Gunns, and are considering financing the pulp mill, projected to consume 4.5 million tonnes of wood each year. Logging needed to feed this mill would contribute at least 2% to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to adding an extra 2.3 million extra cars on the road each year. Gunns own figures show that the mill will dump up to 30 billion litres of toxic effluent into Bass Strait each year. “The ANZ bank has an opportunity to act in accordance with its environmental and social policies by refusing to finance this destructive project,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society. “Governments have let down the public by failing to adequately assess the pulp mill’s impacts on the environment. The ANZ has a chance to do the right thing by the community of Tasmania by rejecting this pulp mill.” ANZ recently took over sponsorship of the stadium at Homebush, described on the website as “Australia’s Home Ground”. According to its own website, the ANZ is the “number 1 bank for corporate responsibility on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2007”. “‘ANZ Stadium’ has a positive ring to it, but ‘ANZ Pulp Mill’ will sound less appealing, especially once the mill’s polluting and forest-consuming impacts are felt.” “Financing a pulp mill which would destroy 200,000 ha of native forest, contribute to climate change and pollute Bass Strait will seriously undermine the ANZ’s credibility in the eyes of the public,” concluded Mr Bayley. http://www.wilderness.org.au/campaigns/forests/tasmania/gunns_proposed_pulp_mill/MR050408/

34) The creation of a new 18.400 hectare national park in south-west Victoria will provide vital protection for biodiversity and a boost for local economies, leading environment groups said today. The Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) and The Wilderness Society (TWS) congratulated the State Government’s announcement of the new Cobboboonee National Park and Forest Park near Portland. “The protection of the Cobboboonee Forest was a desperately needed addition to Victoria’s National Park system. It is the highest form of protection we can give to our threatened Victorian flora and fauna,’’ Wilderness Society Campaigns Manager Gavan McFadzean said. “This is a good result for the protection of a stunningly diverse natural area,’’ VNPA executive director Matt Ruchel said. “National parks are great assets and this will provide an important legacy for future generations and a likely boost to the local economy.’’ Mr Ruchel said increasing the level of protection for Cobboboonee “not only gives appropriate protection to that important area, but it also gives added security for the natural values of Lower Glenelg National Park’’.“National parks protect wildlife and their habitat, indigenous values and water catchments, as well as promoting a range of activities such as camping, hiking, bird watching, bicycling and photography.’’In the lead up to the November 2006 Victorian election, the Bracks-led Government made a promise to add most of the Cobboboonee to the existing Glenelg-Hopkins National Park and turn the remainder into a ‘Forest Park’. Mr McFadzean said it was important that the 8600 hectare Forest Park was managed by Parks Victoria to give it the best conservation protection. “The Cobboboonee lies in a region so severely cleared of its original forests and grasslands since European settlement that less than 13 per cent remains. It provides critical habitat to threatened species such as the iconic Powerful Owl, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Spot-tailed Quoll, Southern Brown Bandicoot and Grey-headed Flying Fox. “We hope that this announcement is a sign that the Labor government intends to deliver on its other election promise to protect old growth forests in East Gippsland from woodchipping.’’ http://www.wilderness.org.au/campaigns/wildcountry/national%20park/

35) For Mel Barnes of the Tasmania-based group Students Against the Pulp Mill (SAPM) and Resistance, “young people have the authority to decide our future”, and they can inspire others to take action. Barnes was speaking at the Climate Change — Social Change Conference in Sydney, April 11-13, on a panel with other young environment activists. Barnes recounted how the student strikes, organised by SAPM, have inspired others, from different generations, to take action against the Gunns’ pulp mill planned for the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania. She argued that as bad forest practices and land clearing are Tasmania’s biggest contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, the anti-pulp mill campaign is linked to the campaign against climate change. Simon Cunich, Newcastle Resistance organiser, took up the debate over strategies for winning. “While concern about climate change is high, this is not matched by a very high level of movement organisation. Because of this, some activists believe we can take shortcuts to stop the climate crisis: some say we should spend our time convincing politicians of the seriousness of climate change. Others believe that small groups can act on behalf of broader communities. “But really, the best chance to force real action on climate change is to work on transforming the high level of concern into widespread community action”, Cunich said. As the Your Rights at Work campaign showed, that’s what scares the corporate polluters and their friends in government. http://www.greenleft.org.au/2008/747/38651

36) A3P CEO Mr Neil Fisher said “A3P is the only national industry organisation that currently has guidelines on stopping imports of illegally logged forest products into Australia. Mr Fisher was responding to a report from the Australian Institute of Criminology which found that 9% of all timber imports to Australia are coming from illicit sources. Mr Fisher said “Our guidelines recognise the problem of illegal logging and deforestation in many countries and provide a proactive response to bring these practices to an end. “Furthermore our guidelines provide A3P member companies with a practical framework for demonstrating legality and control within their supply chains including importers, Australian forest managers and Australian processors”, he said. A3P member companies create and sell more than $4 billion of product each year and employ more than 13,500 people. A3P is also the only Australian association to have endorsed the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations' (ICFPA) global CEO Leadership Statement addressing illegal logging and other sustainability issues. The statement was signed by 56 industry leaders representing forest products companies and associations from 25 countries, meeting in Rome, 2006. http://forestnewswire.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=125:a3p-stands-alone-in
18 April 2008 @ 07:43 pm
Today for you 35 new articles about earth’s trees! (329th edition)
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--Alaska: 1) Indian Creek timber sales planned on Prince of Wales Island --British Columbia: 2) Failure of a forest minister does PR stunt for reforestation, 3) Marbled Murrelet still doesn’t have protection? 4) Resource Road Act might actually create rules for roadbuilding? 5) Great Bear Rainforest deadline nears,
--Washington: 6) Annual arrests at Weyco headquarters, 7) Weyco genocide in Canada,
--Oregon: 8) Restoration of Fremont-Winema NF, 9) Oregon wild lobbies for eastside forest restoration, 10) The juniper wars, 11) Landslide liars,
--California: 12) Legal update: 1999 Headwaters Deal
--Montana: 13) Corporate welfare History of Plum Creek Timber
--Colorado: 14) More subsidies for beetle caused clearcutting
--New York; 15) Ithaca college’s forest preserve to be logged at any moment
--USA: 16) Terminate the Federal Timber Sale program, 17) Potlatch’s plan,
--Canada: 18) Timber industry tries to discredit carbon bomb truth, 19) Protesting BP,
--Germany: 20) Demo in front of Brazilian Embassy,
--Sweden: 21) World's oldest recorded tree is a 9,550 year old spruce
--Greece: 22) Climate change instead of Arson will lead to more Mediterranean fires
--Cameroon: 23) Logging creates 40 million euros in tax revenues annually
--Kenya: 24) Officers who collude with timber traders, 25) Furniture seller makes 5 billion tree promise to Wangari Mathai,
--Congo: 26) Where our fine hardwood dining tables and coffee tables come from
--Mexico: 27) Jalisco has seven million hectares of pine, oak, eucalypts
--South America: 28) Speak out against the Roundtable on Responsible Soy
--Brazil: 29) More proof measures to limit logging aren’t working,
--Indonesia: 30) Wild west of carbon trade begins, 31) Research of palm oil scourge begins, 32) Police chief investigated, 33) Sarawak’s enforcement against illegal logging,
--Australia: 34) 4,000 year old trees to make way for windmills? 35) Save Red Gum with new national parks,


1) KETCHIKAN - The state Division of Forestry has released a preliminary use plan decision for Indian Creek timber sales. The state is proposing to offer nearly 13,500 board feet of timber over 466 acres on Prince of Wales Island. The sale consists of Western hemlock, Sitka Spruce, western red cedar and mixed species utility logs. The plan proposes constructing just over five miles of new road for the sale. Public comment is being accepted on the plan until May 5. http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=8172666

British Columbia:

2) KELOWNA - Premier Gordon Campbell and Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman were joined by local community and industry leaders in a ceremony today to celebrate the planting of the six billionth tree in British Columbia since reforestation programs began in the 1930s. "This tree represents an incredible milestone in our ongoing commitment to sustainable forest management here in British Columbia," said Campbell. "British Columbia's forests are a critical economic engine for our province, a treasured part of our natural heritage and a powerful ally in our fight against climate change. Since reforestation began in the 1930s, we estimate the seedlings planted have sequestered two billion tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime. As we move towards our goal of net-zero deforestation in B.C., we'll further build on this legacy of reforestation, and further strengthen our forest resource." Premier Gordon Campbell announced almost $25 million for reforestation, forest health initiatives and to market British Columbia's forest products in B.C., across Canada and around the world today at the Council of Forest Industries annual meeting. "The future of British Columbia's forest industry is dependent on both the health of our forests and how we market and promote our world-class forest products across Canada and around the world," said Campbell. "The funding announced today will not only help grow our forests, but also help develop new markets to sell B.C. products." http://www.gov.bc.ca

3) B.C. still doesn't have a clear plan for protecting the threatened marbled murrelet, a small seabird that nests in old-growth coastal forests, the province's forestry watchdog says. In a report released yesterday, the Forest Practices Board says the province has yet to set goals for how many birds would constitute "recovery" or how much habitat needs to be set aside. "The bottom line is we really don't have a target and we really don't understand what we really need to do to conserve the bird population," board chairman Bruce Fraser said in an interview. Agriculture Minister Pat Bell expressed surprise at the board's findings, noting that census figures show the bird's population jumping from 66,000 in 2002 to 106,000 last year. Bell said there has been talk of removing the bird from B.C.'s "red list" of species that are threatened or endangered. "Our sense was the species is actually well on its way to recovery," he said. But Fraser cautioned against assuming that a jump in the birds' population suggests everything is fine, particularly when so little is known about what influences their numbers. "If you get a micro-fluctuation in the population of birds, do we step back and say, 'OK, everything's fine,' and then go on and log their nesting habitat? What's the right answer here? The fact is that the answer isn't very clear." Fraser said the province's current guidelines are based on limiting the impact of conservation efforts on the timber supply. "Which doesn't tell you anything about how well that will do for the birds," he said. Fraser said the province's current guidelines are based on limiting the impact of conservation efforts on the timber supply. "Which doesn't tell you anything about how well that will do for the birds," he said. The board's report, which examined marbled murrelet habitat on the Sunshine Coast, concluded that forestry company Interfor is taking pains to protect the bird's habitat in that region. But the company isn't getting much government direction and as a result struggles with whether it's doing enough. More troubling, the report says, "unless the province sets aside designated areas in a timely manner, this licensee's efforts won't protect habitat from future harvest by other licensees." http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=9d24fd23-3a41-4858-9642-a18ee5708

4) The new Resource Road Act will consolidate existing regulations in five separate acts as well as introduce consistent standards that all resource road users -- whether loggers, miners or guide-outfitters -- will be required to follow. "This looks like a good start to help set up the framework for what we need to do to make our resource roads safe," said MaryAnn Arcand, of the safety organization TruckSafeBC. The problems, she said, are that there are few standards that all industrial users must follow. Mining, oil and gas, and logging all have different standards of construction and maintenance and use. "There's a growing mix of users on the roads now, using a system that was designed over 50 years ago primarily for the use of the forest industry," she said. Safety advocates have been calling for new legislation for several years, but Arcand said the recommendations from an inquest into the 2006 death of a logging truck driver in the Mackenzie area were critical in giving the issue a higher profile. Logging roads were identified by Forest Safety ombudsman Roger Harris as the No. 1 killer of forest workers in a report he released in February. Neufeld said it will take up to a year to develop the regulations to govern resource roads. http://www.canada.com/ch/cheknews/news/story.html?id=394479f8-5df8-4cd6-bf46-8a95e938e29a&k=772

5) We need your help to make sure that Campbell and his government are still standing with us. There is less than one year left for the BC government to develop and implement an overall regional plan to ensure ecological integrity and human wellbeing in the Great Bear Rainforest -- one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. Tell BC Premier Gordon Campbell and Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell to keep their promises! On March 31, 2008, ForestEthics and its allies unveiled a billboard on a main stretch of highway in BC that will count down the remaining months that Campbell and Bell have to live up to their commitment. The billboard message is clear -- we're closing in on the deadline to save the Great Bear Rainforest. Send a message to BC Premier Gordon Campbell and Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell. http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/281/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=24260


6) Federal Way Police have arrested four protesters who chained themselves to a flower pot in front of Weyerhaeuser Co. headquarters, as shareholders were streaming into an annual meeting. The Rainforest Action Network says the one woman and three men went to the meeting Thursday morning with the expectation they would be arrested. The group wants to draw attention to a situation in northern Ontario, Canada, where indigenous people are trying to stop the forest products company from logging in their territory. One of the people arrested is from San Francisco, the others are from Washington state. Brant Olson of Rainforest Action Network says the group had about 20 protesters in front of the building, including five shareholders who went inside to the meeting. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420ap_wa_weyerhauser_arrests.html

7) Canada's new logging frontier is Ontario, where vast swaths of boreal forest are under assault. One particularly violent section cuts across a 2,500-square-mile stretch in northwest Ontario that is home to the Grassy Narrows First Nation. Twenty-eight hours by car from Toronto, the Grassy Narrows traditional territory is off the beaten track. Washington-based Weyerhaeuser Corp. has used that geographical remoteness as cover for business practices that most Americans condemn. Weyerhaeuser is the primary purchaser of wood from Grassy Narrows, where heavy logging violates the land and the human rights of its indigenous residents. Canadian First Nations have a constitutional right to maintain their territories for traditional activities such as hunting and fishing. The provision is not merely a nicety: Many First Nations rely on these activities for food and cultural expression. Unfortunately, provincial laws that govern permitting for logging and mining companies have not kept pace with Canadian and international law, allowing companies to strip First Nations of their natural resources and force them into legal maneuverings few can afford. As Weyerhaeuser conducts its annual shareholders meeting this week, it is important to remember that the company profits heavily from this legal loophole. Logging in Grassy Narrows, which supplies a Weyerhaeuser mill, has continued for nearly a decade since the community first sued to stop it. Weyerhaeuser continued to buy wood from Grassy Narrows after the community established a peaceful blockade in 2002, which is still in place today. It continued to buy wood after Amnesty International issued a report last year concluding that logging in Grassy Narrows violates the community's human rights. Amnesty's report was enough to prompt Boise Inc., the other major U.S. buyer of Grassy Narrows wood, to commit to suspending its logging contract for the area unless community consent can be established. Weyerhaeuser continues to buy wood from Grassy Narrows to build Quadrant Homes throughout the Puget Sound region even now that the Ontario provincial government has intervened, appointing a former Supreme Court justice to negotiate a solution to the community's predicament. In fact, community members report that logging has accelerated since they began negotiations. Weyerhaeuser seems intent on collecting every splinter of wood it can before its activities in Grassy Narrows are officially deemed illegal. Nor is Weyerhaeuser's exploitation of the Grassy Narrows people the only example of its rapacious forestry. The company is appealing a court ruling requiring it to stop logging the old-growth forests that provide habitat to the endangered spotted owl. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/359512_weyer18.html


8) The Fremont-Winema National Forest is currently planning a fuels reduction project to “enhance old-growth forest characteristics” on the slopes of one of Oregon’s most beautiful mountains. Long prized by recreationists, Pelican Butte is a haven for Northern spotted owls, bald eagles, and a key watershed for recovery of at-risk fish populations. For years the Forest Service has constructed logging roads, removed old-growth trees and suppressed fires on and around Pelican Butte. Large Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir trees made the easiest pickings and the largest profits. Less than half of the once-plentiful “late-successional” old-growth trees in the area remain. Dense second-growth white fir stands have benefited from the combination of logging and fire suppression and now present a dangerous fuel hazard. The forests and watersheds of Pelican Butte could greatly benefit from a restoration proposal that (1) thins small-diameter white fir stands; (2) retains existing large-diameter old-growth trees; (3) avoids the excessive use of tractors and bulldozers; and (4) decommissions unnecessary logging roads. The Forest Service is in the process of developing its “proposed action” for Pelican Butte. Now, before the agency has committed to a specific restoration plan, is the time when your letters can make the most difference. Please submit a letter prior to the April 21st deadline. Click here for a sample letter and email address: http://kswild.org/GetInvolved/ActionAlerts/pelicanbutte

9) In recent years, the Bush administration and other logging-industry-supported politicians have attempted to exploit past mismanagement in our forests to justify future clear-cut logging. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the subject of fire. For a century, federal land management agencies have suppressed fire in our dry eastern Oregon forests, leading to dense, overgrown, and fire-prone underbrush that threatens old-growth trees and the communities that neighbor them. The Bush solution to this problem has been typically wrongheaded, arguing that chopping down the oldest, most fire-resistant trees far away from homes would somehow lead to increased "forest health." Here at Oregon Wild, we just couldn't stand it anymore. We had to show the folks in the Bush administration the right way to restore a forest. Our work on the Siuslaw National Forest and with the award-winning Clackamas Stewardship Partners has shown us that the best way to convince the Forest Service to protect old growth and manage the land responsibly is to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Our Eastern Oregon Wildlands Advocate, Tim Lillebo (pictured), set about designing a restoration plan for 1,200 acres in the Deschutes National Forest adjacent to Black Butte Ranch. Initially a partnership between the Warm Springs Tribe, Oregon Wild, and the Forest Service, the project has expanded to include input from local residents, birders, loggers, and plant and wildlife advocates. Tim has led over 20 tours of the project area, helping to refine the plan. the three main goals of the Black Butte/Glaze restoration project have been to protect all old growth, reduce the risk of fire for homes, and restore a more natural landscape where low-intensity fires can once again play a natural role in maintaining the health of the land. Along the way, we have made sure that the area's wildlife will see the greatest possible benefit. It is exciting that this project is now so close to fruition. Please let the Forest Service know that you support their efforts to restore the natural landscape in eastern Oregon. Now, it's time for the Forest Service to execute that plan, but first, they need to hear from the public. http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1780/t/430/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=24273

10) For 20 years, the Foster family has been fighting to keep Western juniper trees from taking over their rangeland and causing streams and pastures to dry up. Like many ranchers across Eastern and Central Oregon, Don Foster, along with his father, Wayne, and brother, Cal, have logged many hours using chain saws to cut down invading juniper trees. Don Foster said removing the trees restores streamflows and revives pastures that sustain cattle as well as deer, elk and other wildlife that frequent the family ranch in Bowen Valley a few miles south of Baker City. On Tuesday, about 60 ranchers, agency representatives and others from Baker County and as far away as Bridgeport, Bend, John Day, Ontario and Kennewick, Wash., gathered for the Baker County Juniper Management Workshop. The workshop and field trip to the Foster ranch included presentations on juniper management options ranging from prescribed burns and chain saws to mechanical harvesting. Ed Akers, a retired rancher who makes his living bulldozing juniper trees, said that within 8 hours after he cleared 10 acres of juniper near Kimberly, in Grant County, water was running in a draw that had been dry for years except during winter runoff. "A fellow who lived in the area said that was the first time he'd seen water in that creek year-round," Akers said. While fire is considered the most economical method of controlling juniper, Akers said it's also the most risky, due to the potential for a fire to spread out of control and damage neighboring property. Joe Hessel of the Oregon Department of Forestry warned those attending the workshop that burn permits are required for most areas of Baker County for prescribed burns and use of power machinery for juniper management projects. http://www.bakercityherald.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=6364

11) Expert reviews of the December landslide that inundated U.S. 30 and homes west of Clatskanie found that the chain of events started on slopes clear-cut by Oregon State University's College of Forestry but no evidence the logging caused the collapse. Instead, the reviewers said extremely heavy rainfall reactivated ancient, deep rifts in the ground that existed prior to the logging and had slid long ago. Clear-cutting has been found to increase the risk of rapidly moving landslides, also called debris flows, and the state enacted rules to limit logging on slide-prone slopes. The OSU land above Woodson was not steep enough to trigger those rules. Another examination by Department of Forestry geotechnical experts did not say so clearly that logging did not contribute to the landslides. It said some research shows that logging can increase the risk of deep landslides like those above Woodson. The reviews highlighted weaknesses in Oregon planning that leave homes in danger zones such as the area west of Clatskanie, where landslides have struck before and probably will again. A separate administrative review by the Oregon Department of Forestry, almost finished, has found that when reviewing the OSU logging the state should have better recognized the history of landslides in the area and the homes in danger below. "Clearly we didn't capture that -- our tools weren't strong enough," said Mike Cafferata, policy unit manager at the Department of Forestry. Even if logging did not contribute to the slides west of Clatskanie, state foresters might have identified other factors that raised the risk in different ways, he said. Either way, both Schlieder and the Forestry Department team concluded that debris from the OSU land plugged the culvert intended to let water pass beneath the railroad crossing. That turned the crossing into a dam that caused water and debris to back up into a lake about 1.5 acres in size that finally broke loose, the Forestry Department team wrote. The lake held enough water to fill about 10 Olympic-size swimming pools, plus logs and tree root wads carried from the logged lands. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1208487309210950.xml&coll=7&this


12) Oral argument in the Headwaters litigation is scheduled before the California Supreme Court on Thursday, May 8 at 9:00 a.m. at the State Building, located at 350 McAllister Street San Francisco in the courtroom on the 4th floor. The 1999 Headwaters Deal, while promising to ensure sustainable forest practices and protection of fish and wildlife resources, did just the opposite. Since the deal was inked, EPIC and the Sierra Club have pursued litigation challenging its state approvals, including the Sustained Yield Plan, a state Incidental Take Permit, and a Streambed Alteration Agreement. We won in the trial court, and are now asking the California Supreme Court to uphold that decision. Meanwhile, Pacific Lumber’s unsustainable practices have forced it to bankruptcy. This case is critically important to how forestry is practiced in California, for protection of California's timber, water and wildlife resources, and to require agencies to maintain their obligations under the law. This is true no matter what happens in the Pacific Lumber’s bankruptcy. We are the first case on the calendar for that day. Generally it is a good idea to get there at least a half hour early, as you have to go through separate security before entering the court room, and the courtroom may be crowded. scott@wildcalifornia.org


13) These lands that are now owned by Plum Creek were originally public land that belonged to all Americans. However, between 1850 and 1970 the Railroad Land Grants gave the equivalent of 10% of the entire land base of the lower 48 states to railroad companies to help finance and operate the transcontinental railroad and telegraph systems. The largest of the Railroad Land Grants was to the Northern Pacific Railroad: 40 million acres in a 100-mile wide band running 2,000 miles from the Great Lakes to Puget Sound. A century later, much of this land is controlled by Plum Creek Timber, Weyerhaeuser and other timber and mining corporations. It's interesting to note that President Abe Lincoln had been a lawyer for the railroads before becoming president. The Northern Pacific Railroad Land Grant (again, the one that covers Plum Creek lands here in W. Montana) was signed by Lincoln on July 2, 1864. To learn more about this issue, go to www.landgrant.org/. Also, a good book on the subject is called Railroads & Clearcuts: Legacy of Congress's 1864 Northern Pacific Railroad Land Grant. But make no mistake, Plum Creek Timber Co selling off these former public lands for real estate development is one of the biggest multi-billion dollar boondoggles in US history. Millions of acres of public land intended for homesteaders was instead given to timber, mining, and real estate corporations. The failure of the railroad land grant policy is the cause of many of today's economic, political, and environmental problems, including deforestation, toxic waste, and taxpayer subsidies. http://www.newwest.net/city/article/forest_service_plum_creek_conspire_on_road_use_for_real_est


14) A Senate committee voted for the measure (House Bill 1269) Friday, moving it on to the full Senate for debate. The House has passed the bill. It would exempt all lumber, furniture and wood chips made from infected trees from the 2.9 percent state sales tax. Cities and counties could also waive their sales tax on such products. Democratic Sen. Dan Gibbs of Silverthorne said there are 1.5 million acres of dead pine trees in the state, many of them near populated areas and watersheds. If they're cut down within five years of dying, Gibbs said the blue-stained wood from the trees is just as strong as wood from trees that haven't been infected. http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20080418/NEWS/705139793

New York:

15) Ithaca College’s gorgeous Robinson Preserve (towards West Danby) is slated to be logged, supposedly just for diseased trees, at any time. This 78 acre woodlands with year-round stream valley is one of the most undisturbed mature woodlands with great native biodiversity in the area. Some of us have walked here for 15+ years, and we’re very sad that logging machinery will be going where no log roads yet exist with the threat of bringing in invasive plant seeds that are proven threats to native biodiversity, like garlic mustard. IC’s “reserve” across the road was already commercially logged last spring. Some of us neighbors living next to the preserve are gathering next Sunday April 20 at 12:30 p.m. to bless and honor the forest, much of which will look very different once logging begins. Beautiful walking routes will be torn up by machinery dragging out around 150 trees. Although glad that the Robinson Preserve will not supposedly be commercially logged over the years, we’re disappointed that IC is allowing logging, unlike Finger Lakes Land Trust and Cornell preserves, which contain diseased trees, too. If you’d like to join us, drive south from Ithaca on Routes 34/96, turn right on Piper Road and go sever-tenths of a mile (bearing left at fork). Park along the road at mailbox 149. Drums and voices welcome. If logging hasn’t begun, you can check the logging route. http://theithacan.org/am/publish/letters/200804_Celebrating_the_college_s_forests.shtml


16) Native Forest Council and our 2,000 national members know that public land logging provides short-term financial benefits for industry at the expense of economic and ecological benefits for the rest of the citizenry; it is therefore in the American taxpayers’ best interest to terminate the Federal Timber Sale program. Recreation’s economic benefits alone are worth dozens of times the value of logging, while the publicly-owned asset value of nature and nature’s services is worth hundreds of times more than that. With the 21st century understanding we have of unlogged forests’ vital roles of attracting, storing and filtering clean drinking water; regulating rainfall and moderating regional climate; storing and sequestering carbon to combat climate change (northeast forests store the 2nd greatest levels of carbon of any forest region in the US); creating fertile topsoil and preventing erosion; ensuring the survival of fish and wildlife, etc., there is no honest justification for further asset stripping and logging in our public forests. If we had not liquidated all but 5% of our nation’s native forests, with over one-third permanently deforested for cities, agriculture, roads and other development, logging might still have had a small role in our public forests today. But the liquidation of our country’s 1.082 billion acres of native forest over the centuries demonstrates a clear need to place our publicly owned national forests (and many other forest lands) under the strongest protections possible, banning all forms of resource extraction, as a form of “ecosystem insurance.” http://www.forestcouncil.org/tims_picks/view.php?id=1320

17) Potlatch owns 1.65 million acres of forestland in Arkansas, Idaho, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and operates 12 manufacturing facilities that produce lumber and panel products and bleached pulp products, including paperboard and tissue. The company, which employs 3,600 people, also conducts a land sales and development business. Potlatch, a verified forest practices leader, is committed to providing superior returns to stockholders through long-term stewardship of its resources. Chairman, President and CEO Michael J. Covey of Potlatch, said, "If pursued, a spin-off would provide shareholders with direct ownership in two public companies, each uniquely focused on different businesses. One would be essentially a pure-play timber REIT and the other would be an independent, solidly positioned pulp-based manufacturing company, consisting of our Consumer Products and Pulp & Paperboard segments, businesses which continue to generate historically strong operational results. We are excited about the prospect of evaluating this potential opportunity for shareholders, customers and employees and intend to move as expeditiously as possible. We are confident that this is the right time to seriously consider this strategic move." http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1390697/


18) A spokesperson for the forest products industry said it agreed that there was a need to protect more areas of the forest from climate change, but disagreed that it was contributing to the problem, noting that it has adopted sustainable logging practices. "Our report refers to almost 200 peer-reviewed science papers and it's been reviewed by outside scientists that are independent and it has been validated," said Christy Ferguson, a Greenpeace forests campaigner. "Logging can continue in Canada, but it should be kept out of the intact areas." Sean Thomas, an associate professor and Canada research chair for Forests and Environmental Change at the University of Toronto, said that he wasn't entirely comfortable about endorsing the strong language and warnings in some parts of the Greenpeace report, but said that there was a lot of uncertainty regarding the impact of logging activity in new regions which has not been adequately addressed by government and the industry. "If you go in and you use the wrong kinds of (logging) methods in the wrong places, there's a serious worry and there's not enough known, particularly about the far northern systems sitting on peat," said Thomas. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=4e704453-a5c9-40ce-bb19-593bf70a456d&k=

19) Environmental groups will join the chorus of voices against BP Whiting's air permit with a Saturday event in Whiting. Capitalizing on the upcoming celebration of Earth Day on Tuesday, a Canadian activist and members of the Global Community Monitor and the Rainforest Action Network will highlight their concerns Saturday over BP's $3.8 billion expansion. Dissension is growing among the groups over BP's plan to refine Canadian crude and increase greenhouse gas emissions, said Denny Larson, executive director of the Global Community Monitor. "And Greenpeace isn't far behind," Larson said. Larson said a chief problem with BP's project is the Canadian tar sands from which the company will extract oil, which he called destructive to the environment. Larson and others say they've lost hope that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will fix what they deem are problems with BP's air plans, accusing the agency of being irresponsible and rushing the permit. BP spokesman Tom Keilman said the groups have not shared their concerns with the refinery, and called their complaints about IDEM's permitting inaccurate. "The process has not been rushed," Keilman said. "We believe we have followed all the necessary and required regulatory requirements to move forward with the permit." IDEM spokesman Rob Elstro said the agency's process, including its responses during comment periods, has followed state rules requiring the agency to issue permits within a set time frame. "The agency responded to those requests by extending the comment period to give the public more time to review the permit and submit appropriate comments," Elstro said. Larson said BP could increase its production and lower its effect on the environment by not refining the harder crude. He recommended its new permit include using a flare recovery system that would capture gas and help minimize vapor emissions. Keilman said officials have discussed installing such a compressor system and other ways to help reduce overall flaring at the plant. http://www.thetimesonline.com/articles/2008/04/17/news/top_news/doc5f102d756c263c128625742e00


20) On Monday, April 14, Greenpeace organized a demonstration outside the Brazilian embassy in Berlin to protest over-exploitation of tropical rainforests. According to a recent Greenpeace study, five hectares (12.4 acres) of forest are destroyed in Brazil per minute, with every hectare of forest burnt down releasing between 500 and 1100 tones of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The problem of illegal logging is particularly acute in Indonesia, allegedly the world's third largest producer of greenhouse gases. Once hailed as one of the best solutions to saving the planet from greenhouse gases and global warming, rising demand for palm oil has resulted in local companies burning woods and peat lands to make way for palm oil plantations which supply European markets. It's a similar story in South America, spurred on by the biodiesel boom in Europe and the EU's controversial 2003 Biofuels Directive, which requires all member states to have 5.75 percent of transportation run by biofuel in 2010. "This leads to further destruction of the rainforests," argues Celia Harvey from Conservation International. Earlier this month, German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel scrapped government plans to raise compulsory bioethanol blending levels in fossil gasoline, citing the fact that the bioethanol used for blending in Germany was imported largely from third-world countries where deforestation may have taken place to expand farmland. Less well-documented is the destruction of Scandinavia's forests, where logging is generally legal. The World Bank, however, estimates that approximately 50 percent of worldwide logging is illegal, while a recent report by Friends of the Earth also asserted that "half of the timber imported by the EU from high-risk areas [including Central Africa, the Amazon, Russia and Indonesia] has been logged illegally." With the EU being the biggest importer, environmental groups are calling on Brussels to introduce a tropical rainforest conservation law. "European governments have to ensure that only legally sourced timber and timber from sustainable forestry reaches the markets," said Corinna Hölzel from Greenpeace. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3273972,00.html


21) The world's oldest recorded tree is a 9,550 year old spruce in the Dalarna province of Sweden. The spruce tree has shown to be a tenacious survivor that has endured by growing between erect trees and smaller bushes in pace with the dramatic climate changes over time. For many years the spruce tree has been regarded as a relative newcomer in the Swedish mountain region. Scientists found four "generations" of spruce remains in the form of cones and wood produced from the highest grounds. The discovery showed trees of 375, 5,660, 9,000 and 9,550 years old and everything displayed clear signs that they have the same genetic makeup as the trees above them. Since spruce trees can multiply with root penetrating braches, they can produce exact copies, or clones. The tree now growing above the finding place and the wood pieces dating 9,550 years have the same genetic material. The actual has been tested by carbon-14 dating at a laboratory in Miami, Florida, USA. In the Swedish mountains, from Lapland in the North to Dalarna in the South, scientists have found a cluster of around 20 spruces that are over 8,000 years old. Although summers have been colder over the past 10,000 years, these trees have survived harsh weather conditions due to their ability to push out another trunk as the other one died. "The average increase in temperature during the summers over the past hundred years has risen one degree in the mountain areas," explains Leif Kullman. Therefore, we can now see that these spruces have begun to straighten themselves out. There is also evidence that spruces are the species that can best give us insight about climate change. The ability of spruces to survive harsh conditions also presents other questions for researchers. Have the spruces actually migrated here during the Ice Age as seeds from the east 1,000 kilometres over the inland ice that that then covered Scandinavia? Do they really originate from the east, as taught in schools? "My research indicates that spruces have spent winters in places west or southwest of Norway where the climate was not as harsh in order to later quickly spread northerly along the ice-free coastal strip," says Leif Kullman. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080416104320.htm


22) Greece's lethal forest fires of last year are set to become the norm across the Mediterranean thanks to climate change, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned Thursday. Nearly 70 people were killed and 150,000 hectares (370,000 acres) of forest burnt to the ground in last August's fires, which were exacerbated by failings in the Greek firefighting emergency services. "The most immediate and obvious repercussion of climate change for the Mediterranean forests is an increase in fires, which will also become more intense and widespread," a regional official from the WWF, Nora Berahmouni, said at an Athens conference. The meeting of more than 30 experts on the subject agreed unanimously that higher temperatures, prolonged droughts and fierce storms would leave the forests more combustible. Berahmouni called for action before it was too late to halt a "vicious circle" where less forest coverage due to climate change risks exacerbating the effects of global warming. "Protecting forests must also now mean allowing them to adapt to global warming," said Greek forester Aristotle Papageorgiou, pleading for both more money and a root-and-branch reorganisation of the entire system of fighting forest fires. Serious failings in the Greek system were blamed for not extinguishing the fires sooner, although a dry winter and a succession of heatwaves were contributing factors. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hBwFCPsh30VU--CldXPLJhrJ6DTg


23) The logging industry is a mainstay of Cameroon's economy, generating nearly 40 million euros in tax revenues annually. Timber exports are valued at 120 million euros. And the sector provides employment to 25,000 people. But these benefits are offset by the impact logging is having on Cameroon's forests, believes Samuel Nguiffo. "My sense is that the trees have less value than the rest of the forest," he says. One of the other reasons for the high levels of illegal logging in Cameroon is corruption. Even logging permits that appear to be legitimate are often fake, says Samuel Nguiffo, the director of the Centre for Environment and Development. "You may have the right signature and the right stamps, but the permit is still illegal. The system is so corrupt that it's difficult to say what is legal or illegal." In recent years, there has been growing talk of sustainable logging, but this is an illusion says Samuel Nguiffo. "What we understand as sustainable logging is logging where the operations can be carried out on the same scale, while preserving the same species forever and ever. And this doesn't exist in any tropical forest in the world." One of the main ways of extracting timber illegally is through short-term logging permits. These are granted by the authorities for development projects such as building a country road or a palm oil or pineapple plantation. The companies that clear the land for the project can then sell the timber. But often times, the development projects don't materialise. In fact, says Albert Barume, "people are using these permits simply to access timber." http://www.radionetherlands.nl/radioprogrammes/earthbeat/080416eb-deforestation


24) The government will take stern measures against officers who collude with timber traders to destroy forests. The deputy PC Nyanza province Mrs.Asha Indiaha told a stake holders meeting on environment at Kisumu hotel that some government officials have allowed destruction of forest cover in their areas and they will not be spared. The officer singled out Rachuonyo district where she claimed wanton destruction of forests was going on unabated and urged the area district forester to take charge. The government forests were destroyed during the post election period when people descended on the trees which they later sold to brick makers in the region. http://africanpress.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/pc-decries-wanton-depletion-of-forests-in-nyanza/

25) ABC Home, the ne plus ultra of New York furnishing stores, is ramping up its environmental stewardship by partnering with 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai's Green Belt Movement on its Carbon Poverty Reduction Program. The outreach is part of an international effort to measurably reduce global warming by planting five billion trees over the next 50 years. For every piece of furniture purchased from ABC Home's Goodwood furniture program, a tree will be planted in Kenya to help replenish rapidly diminishing biodiversity. "For hundreds of years, when farmers cut down trees, they planted new ones with the intention of replenishing natural resources and restoring natural balance," says Paulette Cole, CEO and creative director of ABC Home. "Inspired by the wisdom of our forefathers, we seek to continue and maintain the practices embedded in our culture's heritage." The Goodwood program, originally developed over two years ago in partnership with the Rainforest Alliance, seeks to protect against illegal logging practices by requiring that wood be sourced from responsibly managed forests and reclaimed salvaged sources that protect old growth and endangered forest species. Today ABC Home offers more than 650 Goodwood furniture options and each participant in the program will receive a certificate to acknowledge their support of responsible sourcing practices and recognize their effort to replenish depleted forests and offset carbon emissions. http://www.interiordesign.net/id_newsarticle/CA6552529.html


26) The storm was right on top of us. A flash of lightning illuminated the Niari River and the railroad bridge we had driven across earlier that afternoon in stark black-and-white. The thunder that followed almost instantly was not a rumble or even a clap, but the sharp crack of a whip. Rain came down in sheets, clattering onto the tin roof with enough noise that we had to shout to be heard over it. We were a group of nine overlanders, traveling the length of Africa in our own vehicles. We had made contact with Alan, the owner of a logging company in the Republic of Congo, who had generously offered us a place to stay. Normally we would have been content to sleep in our vehicles, but tonight we were very happy to be watching the storm play out from the dry verandah of the company’s guesthouse. Alan’s Congolese chef, Luc, had even prepared an excellent meal for us. Alan’s company has concession from the Congolese government to log about 50 square kilometers, or 300,000 hectares, of the Congo River basin. The company harvests an average of one tree per hectare and takes about 40 trees per day generating 2500 cubic meters of hard and soft woods per month. Because of the high cost of transporting the timber 150 kilometers to the coast for export, only species that fetch high prices on the world market are exploited. The next day dawned clear and Alan offered to take us to the forest for a firsthand look at where our fine hardwood dining tables and coffee tables come from. We followed him in our vehicles as we made our way slowly up into the concession along muddy, water covered roads. Alan employs Congolese pygmies to identify trees for harvest based on type and size. He introduced us to a team of five laborers who were about to fell a tree that had been previously identified. They hacked a footpath through the forest with machetes for us as we followed them for about 30 minutes into the forest. At one point I looked back and realized that even with the crude path, I would be hopelessly lost without our guides to show us the way back to the road. Our group looked on quietly as four of the team used machetes to clear the bark around the base of the tree so that it wouldn’t foul the chainsaw. One man, wielding the chainsaw instead of a machete, sat quietly on the ground with a file sharpening the blade of the saw. http://achirricishmael.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/a-travelers-perspective-selective-logging-the-


27) Jalisco has seven million hectares of native pine and oak forests and extensive plantations of eucalypts, several national and state parks, and is the only place where tequila is produced in the world. Guadalajara is also the home of the mariachis (groups of Mexican string and brass minstrels) and a thriving cultural centre for the performing, visual and fine arts. “If successful, the exchange program would see short and longer term visits at UNE by employees of the Ministry for Rural Development of the state government of Jalisco, and UNE student and staff opportunities to work and study in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco, and Mexico’s second city,” Professor Reid said. While Walcha’s timber industry is primarily made up of softwood plantation and native eucalypt forest, in the State of Jalisco they manage native pine forest and eucalypt plantations. “The group were impressed when they were shown native forest harvesting at Doyle’s River State Forest that is certified to the Australian Forestry Standard, producing a range of certified sustainable forest products including sawlogs, salvage and pulp,” Mr Fuller said. http://walcha.yourguide.com.au/news/local/general/forestry-delegation-looks-at-local-industry/1

South America:

28) One week before the third meeting of the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Global Forest Coalition, a worldwide coalition of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Indigenous Peoples Organizations, have published an open call to NGOs to withdraw themselves from the RTRS process. "Soy monoculture covers 21 million hectares in Brazil, the second largest world producer and exporter of soybean, soybean oil and soybean meal, and the largest exporter of value added soy as poultry, pork and beef. Soy also accounts for 80% of the raw material used to produce biodiesel in Brazil to date, " said Camila Moreno from Terra Di Direitos in Brazil. She adds: "Soy is indisputably recognized as the main driving force of deforestation over the Amazon and Cerrado and a root cause of the escalating rural violence and human rights violations associated to land issues in our country. Soy expansion and soy greed has allowed Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) illegally into the country, smuggling seeds from Argentina. That gives precedent to the legalization of other GMOs leading to peasant and family farm indebtedness in southern Brazil." The standards for "responsible" soy as currently proposed do not even exclude genetically modified soy, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of consumers in Europe rejects genetically modified crops. Elias Diaz Peña of Sobrevivencia in Paraguay adds: "We entirely reject the irresponsible insistence on such an oxymoron as sustainable soy. Soy is the cement of an all western way of life and diet, and as we see all around, there is no criteria but profit to its expansion. Even more scandalous than soy's devastating effects over biodiversity and traditional food cultures is the hypocrisy of northern consumers and their governments that refuse to accept the bare truth." According to Dr. Miguel Lovera, the chairperson of the Global Forest Coalition, "The support of civil society organisations to this Roundtable is legitimizing a corporate-dominated process that attempts to give a green veneer to further soy expansion in South America and other regions instead of promoting more sustainable consumption patterns that would take away the need for further expansion." info@globaljusticeecology.org


29) Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon may be on the rise, according to high-resolution images released by an agency of the Brazilian government. The images suggest an end to a widely hailed three-year decline in the rate of deforestation and have spurred a public controversy among high-level Brazilian officials, writes Tim Hirsch, author of "The Incredible Shrinking Amazon Rainforest" in the May/June 2008 issue of World Watch magazine. Deforestation accounts for approximately one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions and is responsible for significant species loss worldwide. Recent anti-deforestation measures under the administration of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva have led to a marked drop in the rate of forest loss over the past three years. "What matters most to people is whether deforestation is coming under control, or whether this magnificent ecosystem is doomed to relentless decline, with all the implications for the millions of unique species it harbors, for the survival of precarious indigenous cultures, and for the global climate," writes Hirsch. Using satellite imaging, the Brazilian National Space Research Agency (INPE) estimated a probable rainforest loss of 7,000 square kilometers between August and December 2007, a figure on track to surpass last year's total of 11,000 square kilometers. The announcement by INPE garnered conflicting reactions from government officials. President Lula expressed doubts regarding the validity of the findings, while Governor Blairo Maggi of Mato Grosso, the state which accounted for more than half the deforestation registered by the images, accused the INPE of releasing false information. Discussion of financial incentives to reward developing countries that protect their forests suggests that a downward trend in deforestation may one day prove profitable for Brazil. As an emerging economic force, and as a candidate for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, Brazil has much to lose if the rate of deforestation increases. "It is too soon to judge whether the emergency action taken by the Lula government in the Amazon will be sufficient to do what it claims is possible: bear down strongly enough on deforestation to keep the annual rate below last year's figure," wrote Hirsh. "One thing is certain: this is a crucial turning point for the Amazon, and the outcome matters hugely to us all." http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5708


30) Sun, a former Internet entrepreneur, is frank about his motives. "The more hectares we manage, the more land we 'farm' carbon on, the more money we make," he says. "Our goal is to be the amazon.com of the Amazon." This week, Merrill Lynch (MER, Fortune 500) announced that it will invest $9 million to help save a tropical forest in Aceh, Indonesia. It's the first time a Wall Street firm has invested in carbon farming, and let's be clear: this isn't philanthropy of public relations; it's strictly business. Speaking by phone from Jakarta, Dorjee Sun says he has pitched large-scale avoided deforestation projects to more than 200 banks, hedge funds, pension funds and conservation groups. He's working with governors in Indonesia and Brazil, and came to the U.S. last fall where he pitch deforestation projects to Howard Schultz of Starbucks and investor George Soros. In fact, the man who put the deal together to save the 1.9-million acre forest, called Ulu Masen, believes it could be a very big business. "It will be the biggest carbon project in the history of the world if we can pull it off," says Dorjee Sun, the 31-year-old founder of an Australian startup company called Carbon Conservation. "This is uncharted territory," says Abyd Karmali, global head of carbon emissions at Merrill Lynch. "That's part of the risk that Merrill is taking. How much appetite will there be for credits from projects of this type?" Here's how the deal will work: Merrill will pay villagers in Aceh, a province on the island of Sumatra, to stop logging their forests. Aceh, of course, is the place that was devastated by a tsunami in 2004 and, before that, wracked by civil unrest. It's also home to Sumatran tigers, clouded leopards and orangutans, and therefore of special interest to environmentalists. The money will be used to train the villagers in alternative livelihoods, like growing coffee, cocoa or palm trees for oil. In exchange, Merrill will get carbon credits, which are also known as carbon offsets -- that's the "crop" in carbon farming. The credits will meet quality standards set a group called the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), whose members include environmental groups Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and the Rainforest Alliance, and companies as BP, Intel and SC Johnson. The alliance functions as a regulator, albeit without legal clout. Merrill will pay about $4 per credit for 500,000 credits per year over the next four years --$8 million in all. (The other $1 million buys an option to acquire more credits.) Merrill then hopes to sell them for a profit to companies that want to voluntarily offset their carbon emissions. http://money.cnn.com/2008/04/17/technology/carbon_farming.fortune/?postversion=2008041810

31) I just arrived in Kuching, Malaysia, after 20 grueling hours of travel from San Francisco. I’m here to take part in a fact finding mission organised by Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), Tenaganita, People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) and Pesticide Action Network Asia-Pacific (PAN AP). Over the next week, we’ll be visiting communities threatened by proposed palm oil plantations to learn more about what’s happening and find out what we can do to help. During my trip, I had time to do some background reading. Here’s what I found out: 1) Between 1990 and 2000, Malaysia lost an average of 78,500 hectares of forest per year. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest destruction increased by 85.1%. 2) Malaysia is one of the world’s leading carbon emitters – not because they’re a major industrial power, but because the rapid rate of deforestation is releasing all of the carbon that those forests had captured for centuries. 3) The state of Sarawak is the largest state in the Malaysian federation located on the island of Borneo. Of the 2.2 million people in Sarawak, 60% belong to Indigenous groups collectively known as the Dayak people, who have settled in the area for centuries. 4) The way that land rights work in Malaysia, Indigenous groups must prove that they have used the land continuously since 1958 in order to establish their right to the land. With the current interpretation of the land rights law, the state government has stopped approving applications for Communal Reserves and has granted 60 – 90 year leases and concessions known as Provisional Leases to logging and plantation companies; usually closely related to people in the governing elite. 5) The Dayak people won a victory last year when the Federal Court in Kuala Lumpur (the highest court in Malaysia) recognized the pre-existence of native customary rights over land before any statute or legislation. Despite the Federal Court decision, the state government continues to grant Provisional Leases to logging and plantation companies. 6) Native communities and leaders who act to protect their land rights are persecuted, arrested and imprisoned to try to get them to give up their claims to the land. The industry also sends thugs to industry to harass the local community. Tomorrow, our delegation will head out to some of these threatened communities and find out more about what’s going on. http://understory.ran.org/2008/04/17/on-a-mission-to-expose-the-human-costs-of-palm-oil/

32) The National Police will launch an internal investigation into the possible role of former West Kalimantan Police chief Brig. Gen. Zainal Abidin Ishak in several illegal logging and timber smuggling cases in the province. “ We will go ahead with the investigation, but as of this moment, we have yet to find any convincing evidence of his involvement in the cases," National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Abubakar Nataprawira told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. National Police chief Gen. Sutanto on Tuesday replaced Zainal with Brig. Gen. Natakusumah, former head of operational control at National Police Headquarters in Jakarta. Zainal was removed from his post following police investigations into illegal logging in Ketapang regency, which ended with the detention of three officers, including former Ketapang Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Akhmad Sun'an. Zainal has been accused of negligence that allowed illegal logging and timber smuggling to flourish in the province. "This (replacement) is punishment for Zainal. The National Police chief will not accept regional police chiefs who are unaware and have no grasp of what is happening in his or her jurisdiction," spokesman Abubakar said. Zainal has been transferred to National Police Headquarters, where he will serve as an expert staff member. "The replacement is expected to encourage a new monitoring system in West Kalimantan to prevent further cases of illegal logging and timber smuggling there," Abubakar said. "The National Police chief hopes the cases in Ketapang are the last to happen in the country." http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailheadlines.asp?fileid=20080417.A08&irec=6

33) Sarawak has beefed up its enforcement efforts against illegal loggers, said newly appointed state Forest Department director Datuk Len Talif Salleh. He said this was done by consolidating the resources of Sarawak Forestry Corporation and Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC). “Illegal logging is still a concern. We’re trying to miminise it,” he told reporters after opening a seminar on STIDC Industry Updates at Wisma Sumber Alam here on Thursday. Sarawak police have said that local criminal gangs were involved in illegal logging activities. Len Talif, who declined to say where most unlawful log extractions have taken place, said the state authorities had set specific targets to reduce illegal logging. He said a special 24-hour toll-free hotline would be set up soon to enable the public to report illegal logging activities, the hunting of protected wildlife and other timber-related offences to the authorities. “With the people as our ears and eyes, we will be able to act promptly,” he said. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/4/17/nation/20080417120510&sec=nation


34) A stand of ancient trees, some up to 4000 years old, is under threat by a proposed wind farm development by AGL at Mount Bryan. The Eucalyptus bicostata trees, growing in a small circle, form the only known patch of this species in South Australia and west of the Murray-Darling drainage system, making them geographically unique. Although these trees are widespread in Victoria and southern New South Wales, the age of the Mt Bryan stand is significant. AGL has acquired the development rights to their third South Australian wind farm, planned for Mt Bryan, comprising about 30 wind turbines with a capacity of up to 90MW. The company already owns two other wind farms in the area at Brown Hill (95MW) and Hallett Hill (71MW). When fully operational AGL anticipate the Hallett 3 (Mt Bryan) wind farm will generate enough renewable energy to power about 43,000 average Australian households, avoiding up to 265,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. My Bryan, which gets snow most winters, has five distinct ecosystems, plus local springs which are important to the town, according to Hallett resident, artist and gallery owner Felicity Martin. She said she believed a tree within the stand of blue gums may be one of the oldest in South Australia. “… and provides an important link in the formation of this continent, with this tree providing a link to Tasmania,” Ms Martin said. “It is now under serious threat due to a large wind turbine development, which is going to have one turbine placed right next to it.” She said the consequent damage done by extensive earthworks impinging within 10-20 metres of the tree stand was also a significant issue. Researchers from the University of Tasmania School of Plant Science visited the Mount Bryan site about eight years ago to study the trees. Rebecca Jones from the University visited Mount Bryan in December 2006 as part of her PhD work and supports the consideration of the significance of the trees by the wind farm developers. “My PhD work (unpublished) has shown that it is genetically deviant from other populations and therefore of high conservation value,”she said. http://clare.yourguide.com.au/news/local/general/ancient-trees-under-threat/1224692.html

35) An environmental conservation group wants the New South Wales Government to commit to protecting the river red gum by creating more national parks. The newly signed Murray-Darling Basin agreement includes the protection of the trees as one of its outcomes. A spokeswoman for National Parks Association of NSW, Georgina Woods, says the red gums in the state's Riverina region should be preserved. "There are internationally significant wetlands in the Barmah-Millewa Forest and the Koondrook-Pericoota in particular, but there are there are a number of other red gum forests in the region," she said. "At the moment, we're just looking for the State Government to make some indication that they will create large new national parks." Ms Woods says the protection of river red gums is the easiest part of the Murray-Darling Basin agreement for the NSW Government to fulfil. "We don't want to take anything away from the really important water initiatives that have to be gone through as part of this agreement also," she said. "But as a first step, protection of the flood-plain river red gum wetlands forests in the region is actually quite a simple measure." http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/17/2219986.htm