353 - Earth's Tree News

--Today for you 38 new articles about earth’s trees! (353rd edition) New Format! --You can now RSS tree news in a regional format at: http://forestpolicyresearch.org --To Subscribe / unsubscribe to the world-wide email format send a blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net OR earthtreenews-unsubscribe@lists.riseup.net

In this issue:



--Washington: 1) 90 acres saved in Lily point, 2) Wild sky signed, 3) Madrone trees,
--Oregon: 4) 10’s of millions of bd. ft. sold and no enviros stopping them, 5) Logger falls in love with Sasquatch, 6) Biscuit logging was a waste of time, money, and ecology, 7) Enviros sue Elliot State Forest over spotted owl protections, 8) State wants more control of federal land logging, 9) More old growth logging plans in McKenzie river watershed,
--California: 10) Maxxam has left the building, 11) Selling carbon credits that aren’t yet worth anything, 12) Ancient tree felled as part of fire mop up, 13) Latter-day saints to destroy their own forest,
--Idaho: 14) Feds change roadless plan but Bush is likely to ignore changes
--Montana: 15) Mountain Bark Beetles kill 2 million in 2006
--Colorado: 16) Wild Connections sponsors "Roadless Roadshow"
--Illinois: 17) Tree-climbing competition, 18) Road widening to destroy 900 trees,
--Pennsylvania: 19) Allegheny NF uses incongruent policies for oil & gas approvals
--USA: 20) Rewriting species protection behind closed doors, 21) Senate & House bills, 22) Roadless Area Conservation Act,
--UK: 23) Logging too many in Hampshire woodland, 24) Prince’s new rainforest website, 25) Woodland actions for biodiversity and water, 26) No wind farms on forestland, 27) Offwell Woodland Education Centre, 28) Toxic forestland closed,
--Spain: 29) Animal dispersed tree seeds survive better than wind dispersed seeds
--Ethiopia: 30) Three Trees in the Third Millennium
--Uganda: 31) 88 year-old man can’t stop planting trees, 32) War-caused regeneration
--Tanzania: 33) Carbon funds for forests
--Ghana: 34) Industry wants pooling of resources to be competitive, 35) Forest Watch, --Congo: 35) Plans to designate between 13 and 15 million hectares of preserves
--Palestine: 36) Israel’s wall for genocide kills another 440 ancient olive trees
--Pakistan: 37) Gov plans 1% increase in forests, 38) Deforestation history,
--Afghanistan: 39) Illegal timber industry is threatening the future


1) A push by residents on both sides of the border has netted success. The Whatcom Land Trust was successful in its efforts to raise enough money to purchase 90 acres of undeveloped marine shoreline and 40 acres of tideland in the Lily Point area of Point Roberts. The effort to purchase the privately-owned parcel was picked up by South Deltans and other Lower Mainland residents who regularly visit the area.The Land Conservancy in B.C. also stepped up to help the trust raise the $3.5 million needed to seal the deal. Lily Point sits at the intersection of Boundary Bay and Georgia Strait, in the southeast corner of Point Roberts.The area boasts a dynamic assembly of ecological features: It has reefs and tidelands swept by nutrient-filled currents, riparian forests providing shade, perches and insects to the coastal environment, and eroding cliffs supplying sand and gravel for spawning forage fish and beach replenishment. The area is said to be a crucial part of the Boundary Bay ecosystem. The Whatcom Land Trust is planning on turning Lily Point into public parkland and a protected ecological site. To celebrate the purchase, the trust has planned an event today to dedicate the new Point Roberts park. http://www.whatcomlandtrust.org

2) On May 8, 2008, President Bush signed S. 2739, a package of Wilderness and land management bills. Included in this package was the Wild Sky Wilderness bill, which designates 106,000 acres of mature and old-growth forest in Washington State as Wilderness. The designation of the Wild Sky Wilderness area in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest follows eight years of efforts to grant it protection as Wilderness, the highest level of protection given public lands. The Wild Sky Wilderness Act passed unanimously in the Senate during the past three Congresses and was passed by the House of Representatives on April 17, 2007. This beautiful forest includes trees that stand more than 200 feet tall and are more than 300 years old. These old-growth stands include habitat for many endangered and sensitive species. http://www.americanlands.org and click on Eye on Congress.

3) For more than 10 years, though, the madrones in our Washington State neighborhoods have been suffering from a host of maladies. Some are fungal in nature and others involve root rots called phytophthoras. Canker can also attack the tree. More than 21 fungi have been identified as using madrone as their host plant. Some researches say there are more than 39 fungi that invade madrone. Arbutus menziesii can grow 50 to 100 feet in the wild and in our developed gardens will grow to at least 20 to 50 feet. The trees lean out on the edge of forests, hold banks together and love sun. They’re native to California, Oregon and British Columbia. Flowers appear in March through May, depending on the region. Berries follow next and each year the tree sheds — first the flowers, then the berries and what seems like hundreds of leaves. Their growing region is from shorelines up to as high as 5,000 feet above sea level. Over the past several years we’ve received quite a few calls from local gardeners about the madrones in their gardens encountering problems. Several articles have been written citing property development as one of the causes. Madrones do not like to have their roots and soil structure disturbed. Marianne Elliot from University of Washington College of Forest Resources has studied madrones extensively and has quantified and examined the diseases, fungi and cankers that attack madrones. The fungi that is the most noticeable is exhibited by spots on the leaves, which over time completely cover much of the foliage, turning it a charcoal black. Some trees die from this condition. Others will lose limbs to it, yet survive. The best way to handle this condition is to rake up and dispose of the foliage on the ground. Prune off the dead branches. If the madrone dies completely, cut it down. It will often resprout sending up new shoots from the base of the stump. The new growth often escapes the fungal disease for many years until the tree begins to mature again into a towering height. New seedlings often escape the fungi too. If you’re fortunate enough to have a healthy Arbutus menziesii in your garden or neighborhood enjoy it as long as you can. Remember too, that many species will change over time to overcome the diseases that are affecting their predecessors. Let’s all hope for the best for our native madrones. http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/kitsap/nkh/lifestyle/19478959.html


4) The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, for instance, has sold tens of millions of board-feet of timber during the past several years without a single lawyer stepping into a courtroom. The main reason for this lack of litigation is that, 15 years ago, national forests in Eastern Oregon stopped cutting live trees larger than 21 inches in diameter — the practice that spurred dozens of appeals and lawsuits during the 1980s and early 1990s. Since then, most trees cut on public lands in this part of Oregon have been smaller, younger ones rather than the old-growth ponderosa pines that were felled in their thousands during the previous few decades. Although environmental groups routinely object, in their written comments, to aspects of these "commercial thinning" projects, they haven't often filed lawsuits to stop the work. Environmentalists have on occasion even complimented Forest Service officials for designing logging jobs that will help the remaining trees reach old-growth status faster than if logging didn't happen. The Grant County deal is significant, though, because it involves cutting trees burned in a wildfire. These fire salvage timber sales are nearly as unpopular with many environmentalists as old-growth logging is. Salvage sales have precipitation several appeals and lawsuits since 1990. The settlement in Grant County, by contrast, proves that it's possible for two camps with dramatically different goals can agree that it's possible to not only selectively log scorched forests without exacerbating the damage the flames caused, but that such careful cutting can hasten a forest's recovery and — not incidentally — benefit local economies. That breakthrough was made years ago on so-called "green" timber sales — ones in unburned forests. We hope the Grant County agreement is a similar step ahead for burned forests. http://www.bakercityherald.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=6683

5) Things are not going well for logger Russ T. Sawyer: His wife left him for an environmentalist, he's unemployed and now attracted to a new female acquaintance. In Pentacle Theatre's new production, that female is "Betty the Yeti," in Jon Klein's "eco-fable." A mix of satire and realism, set in an old growth forest on the banks of the Santiam River, the play puts Sawyer (Ed Schoaps) into a dilemma: Protect nature (and Betty, a female sasquatch) or the lives of those who depend on the harvesting of lumber. "They call it an eco-fable, but it is a comedy," director Larry Roach said. "Throughout the rehearsal, I've been learning about the logging industry and environmentalism. "Good points are made on both sides, and there are silly things on both sides." Sawyer's dilemma, in a sense, is the audience's dilemma, as we also encounter the issues of coho salmon, the spotted owl and the marbled murrelet. "I really like the show that puts the audience on the horns of a dilemma," said cast member Erika Zuelke. The character names give a hint of the play's sense of humor. In addition to Betty, played by Betty Ann Prior in a hair suit, there is Sawyer's ex-wife, Terra (Zuelke), an activist now engaged to uptight and ecologically and politically correct Trey Hugger (Rob Sim). Kimm Nguyen is Iko, a ranger with the Forest Service, and Debbie Neel plays Clare Kutz, a logging contractor. There are varying levels of characterizations, some verging on stereotypes. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080604/COMMUNITIES/806040321/1107

6) A new report released today by scientists, former Forest Service employees, and conservation groups indicates that logging within the Biscuit fire area of southwest Oregon is costing the public both ecologically and economically. According to the report, the Forest Service has lost approximately $14 million in sale preparation and administration costs on the Biscuit fire area. Biscuit timber sold for about 70 percent less than the agency projected in its planning documents due primarily to low bid values received and driven by expensive helicopter logging operations. The study team found extensive damage to the area's regenerating forest, especially in the Fiddler Late-Successional Reserve (previously set aside for old-growth values), due to excessive logging. Of special concern was the loss of larger trees in logged stands, as these trees are the building blocks for future forests and are critical to fish and wildlife species. The cumulative effects of yarding, hauling, and fuels treatment on wildlife habitat, soils, and water quality will likely persist for decades. According to one of the report's authors, Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, a forest ecologist with the World Wildlife Fund, "this report demonstrates that the ecological and economic science behind post-fire logging is shaky at best." "The public needs to know that post-fire logging is a lose-lose proposition; the taxpayer loses by footing the bill and the environment loses by damaged soils and degraded fish and wildlife habitat," said DellaSala. The report demonstrates that at least for the Biscuit logging project, expediting logging would not have made a difference in dollars and cents because the Forest Service was limited by expensive helicopter logging operations conducted in steep terrain with difficult access." http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/media/press/2006/WWFPresitem830.html

7) Environmentalists are prepared to go to court over logging in an Oregon state forest and its impact on the northern spotted owl. Three groups say they filed notice Tuesday. They say the federal government should reconsider permission it gave in 1995 for logging in the spotted owl's habitat within the Elliott State Forest northeast of Coos Bay. Since then, they argue, the barred owl has begun showing up in spotted owl territory in the state forest. The spotted owl prefers old-growth forest and is protected as an endangered species. But the barred owl has begun crowding it out. Proceeds from the logging go to Oregon schools. An official of one group, Noah Greenwald, says the state could use thinning operations instead of old-growth logging to keep school revenue intact. “The Elliott could be managed to balance preservation of old forests and protection of the spotted owl with the need to provide funds for Oregon’s schools,” said Josh Laughlin, conservation director of Cascadia Wildlands Project. “The current management of the Elliott, however, does not achieve this balance.” http://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/news-25/1212516548200810.xml&storylist=orloc
al & http://www.cascwild.org

8) Of the 30 million acres of forestland in the state, roughly 60 percent are owned by the federal government and are basically out of the Oregon government's jurisdiction. These forests nonetheless have a direct effect on Oregon's economy and environment. Not surprisingly, the state would like to have a say in how they're managed. Under current conditions, federal forests in the state are facing threats from both the environmental and economic perspective, according to a preliminary report from an advisory committee to the Oregon Board of Forestry. "Problems like uncharacteristic wildfire, modified hydrologic regimes, climate change and insect epidemics may result in the loss of key ecological components," according to the Federal Forestland Advisory Committee's report outline. At the same time, insufficient timber harvests have also "resulted in diminished forest industry infrastructure with unintended economic and social losses to rural communities," according to the outline. The committee presented its conclusions to the Oregon Board of Forestry at a joint meeting June 3. For these reasons, the committee is advising the state to develop a "bottom up" program that would speed up harvest projects on federal land by smoothing out controversies and coming up with a plan before "top down" management decisions are made. The program's "facilitators" would essentially work with various groups and government agencies to avoid the legal disputes that often arise when large-scale harvest projects are planned. Large projects are needed to curb the overstocked forests and inadequate timber supply that have been the result of small-scale oriented management, said Ralph Bloemers, committee member and attorney for the Crag Law Center, a natural resources advocacy group. "You can't do it postage stamp by postage stamp," he said. The committee plans to have the full report complete by January 2009, but that may not leave enough time to draw up a funding request for the facilitation program before the Oregon legislature meets next year. For that reason, members are mulling the possibility of crafting legislation before the report is complete. http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?SectionID=94&SubSectionID=801&ArticleID=42050&TM=31450.42

9) Willamette National Forest: On the chopping block right now is "Two Bee" (with some logging planned only yards from the world-famous McKenzie River Trail), the "Trapper" logging sale (spotted owl haven), the deceptive "Bridge Thin," and something the Forest Service is calling "Big Blue" (more on this at a later date...). On Saturday, June 7 join Native Forest Council and Cascadia's Ecosystem Advocates for a hike through a unit of the proposed "Trapper" logging sale at Wolf Rock (the largest rock monolith in Oregon!) and a unit of the already-logged "Blue River Face" -- to see what could happen to "Trapper" without public resistance. Please bring water, lunch, raingear and boots. RSVP at info@eco-advocates.org or 541-302-0159.


10) After 23 long years of fighting Maxxam's destructive policies in Humboldt, we can finally wave goodbye to Charles Hurwitz. The opportunity is ripe this summer to rekindle a movement in Humboldt to protect our natural legacy. http://www.wildcalifornia.org U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Richard Schmidt announced his decision to confirm Mendocino Redwood's reorganization plan for the more than 140-year old timber company to attorneys in his Corpus Christi, Texas courtroom today. He also said he would not confirm a plan by bondholders to auction off the timberlands that secure their $714 million debt. "The credible and persuasive evidence at the confirmation hearing establishes that the reorganized entities are reasonably expected to be stable, creditworthy, able to pay their debts as they mature, able to comply with all non-bankruptcy environmental laws with regard to the regulatory approvals of ownership and operation, and assume all environmental obligations," Schmidt wrote in his ruling.
The judge did require some changes to the Mendocino plan filed jointly with Palco creditor Marathon Structured Finance Fund. Among them, Schmidt told attorneys that he wanted Mendocino to leave Palco's litigation against the state over the Headwaters Forest deal with the bondholders. Mendocino Redwood Chairman Sandy Dean said lawyers were going through the judge's 119-page ruling to make sure they understand the changes. "We're very pleased that the judge ruled in favor of our plan," Dean said. In ruling against the bond holders' plan, Schmidt said it was infeasible, and laden with conflicts of interest between the largest noteholder - billionaire investor Andy Beal's Beal Bank - and the other noteholders. He also said the plan doesn't provide enough certainty, or whether regulatory approval could be attained by the potential future buyer. http://www.times-standard.com/statenews/ci_9503725

11) The Pacific Forest Trust and BeGreen Carbon Offsets, the carbon offset division of Green Mountain Energy Company, are pleased to announce that as of today, individuals everywhere can purchase verified emissions reductions (VERs) sourced exclusively from the Van Eck Forest Project. Van Eck is the first emissions reductions project registered and independently verified under the California Forest Protocols - the rigorous accounting standards adopted by the California Air Resources Board to help meet the state's ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals. Through BeGreen's website (www.begreennow.com) consumers can calculate their household's carbon footprint and offset their emissions with the purchase of Van Eck VERs."BeGreen takes pride in offering consumers and businesses this easy option for reducing their carbon footprintsby purchasing verified emissions reductions that meet the most stringent standards in the market today," says Gillan Taddune, chief environmental officer of Green Mountain Energy Company. "The Van Eck Forest Project will not only help protect our planet from harmful carbon emissions, but also preserve this magnificent forestland for future generations." The 2,200-acre Van Eck Forest in Humboldt County, Calif., is a working redwood forest owned by the Fred M.Van Eck Forest Foundation and managed by the Pacific Forest Trust to permanently reduce more than 500,000 metric tons of C02 emissions over a 100-year period. "This is a wonderful partnership for us," says Connie Best, managing director of the Pacific Forest Trust. "We've been contacted by so many people who have worked hard to reduce their carbon footprint and want to offset what remains with Van Eck Forest emissions reductions. They have a lot of confidence in these offsets because of the stringent rules used to produce and verify them. The Forest Protocols govern certification of the Van Eck Forest Project to ensure that these reductions have real and lasting climate benefits." http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2008/6/prweb992184.htm

12) As part of their mop up operations, CAL FIRE is felling ‘hazard’ trees. According to Rich Sampson, CAL FIRE RPF heading the Felton Resource Management office and heavily involved in the Summit Fire response, burned trees that could fall on public roads and houses are being cut and left in place. Trees that were still on fire (several days ago) were also being cut down. Most ‘hazard trees’ were knob cone pines with some madrone and oak thrown in for good measure. The majority of the severely burned and cut trees I saw alongside Eureka Canyon Road and Ormsby Trail were small diameter. However, one old growth (estimated to be 175 years) Douglas fir with a fire scar (new?) was felled and left as large downed wood along Eureka Canyon. What a shame. This live tree was sited on the upslope side of the public road, but if I had to put money on it, I would argue that it would have stood for a very long time to come. And helped stabilize the road bank as well by drinking a goodly amount of water. Jodi Frediani - Chair, Forestry Task Force Santa Cruz Group Ventana Chapter, Sierra Club JodiFredi@aol.com

13) The Latter-day Saints have resubmitted their Timber Harvest Plan (THP) Land Bountiful, under the guidance of RPF, James Hildreth. The plan previously submitted by Roy Webster was returned. The 222 acre THP is adjacent to Big Basin State Park and situated in the headwaters of Scott Creek. The plan has two age classes of trees: 100 years old and 16 years old. The plan will be tractor and cable yarded with ground based equipment operations on unstable soils or slide areas, slopes over 65% and slopes over 50% with high or extreme Erosion Hazard Rating. The plan proposes winter operations, including timber falling within WLPZs and ELZs of Class II and III watercourses. The plan proposes 18 watercourse crossings. Did I mention that Scott Creek is a coho stream? The plan proposes hauling 6-8 loads of logs per day for 6-8 weeks, using Empire Grade to Hwy 1 and Highway 236 to Mt. Herman to Hwy 17. That is a maximum of about 320 loaded log trucks with over 600 log truck trips total. ftp://thp.fire.ca.gov/THPLibrary/North_Coast_Region/THPs2008/1-08-079SCR
Jodi Frediani - Chair, Forestry Task Force Santa Cruz Group Ventana Chapter, Sierra Club JodiFredi@aol.com


14) KETCHUM — An official with an environmental group that was one of 50 organizations to attack Idaho's proposed roadless plan in March says recent changes made to the plan by a federal advisory committee are an improvement but will mean little because they will likely be ignored by the Bush administration. "I think the administration will ignore any recommendations from the advisory group and go ahead with their mission to hand over the keys of millions of acres of national forests," said Paul Spitler, public lands director for the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity. The federal Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee, in a May 30 letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer, suggested moving 200,000 acres in Idaho out of the general forest category and into the more protective "backcountry restoration" category. "Management flexibility for protecting communities from fire is important," the committee wrote. But environmental groups say backcountry restoration is a catchall term that could allow logging and other uses because it allows temporary road building to protect public health and safety "in cases of significant risk or imminent threat of flood, fire or other catastrophic event." http://www.fortmilltimes.com/124/story/187351.html


15) Foresters say that Mountain Bark Beetles have killed more than two million tress, spread over hundreds of thousands of timberland acreage, in 2006. During a Thursday meeting at the University of Montana, researchers warned that the problem is only going to get worse if changes aren't made. There's almost 10 million acres of federal, state and privately owned timberland actively harvested in Montana, but how to protect it from the bark beetle is the question. "With climate change the bark beetle has become an aggressive predator on Montana's timber resources," said Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. "We believe that through history, the pine beetle ebbs and flows, and unfortunately we are in a position where they are flowing." Diana Six is a Professor of Forest Entomology and Pathology at the University of Montana in Missoul who's worked on the beetle problem for nearly two decades. "When I bring up that I work on bark beetles everybody's like, 'Oh yeah I know about those guys,' but I just think people want more information about how to manage them." Six says years ago, bark beetles would emerge in mid-July and fly for two to three weeks, so they would time when the trees were attacked. But now, Six says it's not one peak season with the beetles surviving several months and even into winter. Millions of trees are dying in Montana and Governor Brian Schweitzer says there are two choices, either let the land burn and threaten communities, or harvest the trees and restoring health forests and creating jobs. http://www.montanasnewsstation.com/Global/story.asp?S=8439126


16) In June, Wild Connections is sponsoring a "Roadless Roadshow" in seven Colorado communities. The Roadshow includes a free, public slideshow presentation on the Roadless Areas of Pike-San Isabel National Forest in Colorado. The presentation will discuss ecological values of Roadless areas, explain current management of these areas, and provide trails and hiking information. For dates and more information, go to http://www.wildconnections.org.


17) When the first such competition started in 1976, bragging rights were part of the motivation, though organizers agreed it might be nice to encourage arborists to learn to save injured co-workers stuck in trees. Sponsors suspended the competition in 1987 when no one would insure it. When the contest resumed in 1989, it included a new safety waiver and required competitors to use rock-climbing techniques, like roping themselves to trees. Europeans arrived in 1994 with alpine climbing influences and more efficient climbing tools. Twenty years ago, climbers were supposed to untie and retie six knots each time they moved to a new spot in a big tree, said Eduardo Medina, safety instructor for Davey Tree Co. Naturally, they didn't and, naturally, they fell out of trees a lot. Now they can clip and unclip a mountaineering carabiner instead. By 2000, recreational tree climbing had taken off as a subculture in the rock-climbing world, and thrill-seekers boasted about bagging California sequoias in terms formerly reserved for Himalayan peaks. "It's a profession that's become a sport," said Brian King, a Peoria arborist who is also competing Saturday. "There's a lot of people doing it." Greg Manning, 59, a retired Ohio chemist, took up serious tree-climbing only a few years ago. On Friday, he stood wearing a plastic helmet beneath a towering white oak at the Morton Arboretum, helping climbers in its branches set up an aerial obstacle course. The Illinois Arborist Association's Tree-Climbing Championship includes five events that mimic rope work used by modern arborists: rope-throwing into branches for accuracy, roped speed climb up a trunk, speed climb up a hanging rope, aerial rescue and the obstacle course called the "work climb." On Friday, judges fixed ropes and climbing tackle and tested the routes––tricky in 25 m.p.h. winds that sent branches swaying 5 feet in both directions. It will be a fast course because white oaks have knobby bark with good footing, said competition chairman Norm Hall. It takes confidence to let go of one branch and swing on a rope for another one 10 feet away and 3 feet down when both branches are at least 40 feet high. The best make it look easy. Less adept climbers make it look horrifying. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-tree-climbers_07jun07,0,3785400.story?page=2

18) The Cook County Highway Department could seek money to widen a road through the oldest Cook County forest preserve by cutting down 900 trees, under a measure approved this week. The Forest Preserve District Board approved a resolution to allow the Highway Department to seek $3.5 million in federal grants to widen Quentin Road through the Deer Grove Forest Preserve, said Cook County Commissioner Gregg Goslin, who chairs the committee. If the Highway Department receives the grant, it would have to hold public hearings on the plan. It then would have to be approved by the board, which is unlikely to pass it in its current form, Goslin said. "This is extensive; it's about 12 acres of land that would be lost," Goslin said. The two-lane road would become a 4-lane highway under the highway department proposal, but alternatives such as increasing the capacity of other nearby roads and adding only one lane for left turns would be more likely to pass muster with the board, Goslin said. The district bought the land as its first natural area in 1916, a year after incorporating. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-road-widening-both-06jun06,0,3180502.story


19) Last month, the Allegheny Defense Project (ADP) claimed that the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) staff implements different policies to regulate oil and gas drilling than other national forests. In particular, the Allegheny does not require that environmental assessments be conducted before issuing notices to proceed to oil and gas drillers in the forest, while national forests in West Virginia, Michigan, and Arkansas routinely assess environmental impacts of proposed oil and gas wells. While ADP wrote the chief of the US Forest Service, regional forester, and ANF supervisor in May asking that notices to proceed be halted until the policy is clarified, the ANF could not say when the Forest Service would respond. Ryan Talbott, Forest Watch Coordinator for ADP, said in his letter to the Forest Service officials, "It is becoming increasingly clear that the Allegheny Forest Service stands alone in its ridiculous assertion that National Environmental Policy Act regulations do not apply." Not only does NEPA require that environmental assessments be conducted, but also that public hearings be held before proposed drilling can occur. To read the full article or for more information, go to http://www.alleghenydefense.org


20) Acting behind closed doors, the Bush administration is rewriting a key policy manual for management of endangered, threatened, and other special-status species found on federal lands that would eliminate key protections currently given to the most at-risk wildlife and plants. Among the sweeping changes proposed to the Bureau of Land Management Special Status Species Manual are new policy directives that would undermine protections for endangered and threatened plants, limit efforts to protect those species officially awaiting protection under the Endangered Species Act, allow the Bureau of Land Management to sell or trade public lands designated as critical habitat, and eliminate some protections for state-protected species found on federal lands.“These changes are a cynical attempt to undermine conservation on our public lands,” said Lisa Belenky, staff attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Last month the Bush administration claimed it would not push through last-minute regulatory changes without full public review, but at the same time they were working behind the scenes to erode protections for imperiled species on public lands through changes in the management manual.” The policy changes would eliminate the requirement that the Bureau of Land Management treat all species identified as threatened or endangered by the states as BLM “sensitive species,” which are managed for conservation. In western states with large areas of federal public lands, this change could significantly undermine state conservation efforts.“The Bush administration’s short-sighted proposal would eliminate the BLM’s guidelines to conserve at-risk species on public lands at the very time when proactive management is most likely to be effective — before they decline to the point that they need to be listed under the Endangered Species Act,” said Josh Pollock, interim executive director at the Center for Native Ecosystems. “Failing to conserve state-recognized species undoes the good work the states have started.” http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/

21) US Senate: S. 2833 would designate more than 517,000 acres in the Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonlands of southwestern Idaho as Wilderness and nearly 315 miles of wild and scenic rivers. It would establish a science review panel to address management issues of rangelands in Owyhee County and closes 200 miles of roads and routes near the proposed Wilderness areas to motorized vehicle use except in emergencies. In exchange, about 190,000 acres of BLM designated Wilderness Study Areas would be subject to "soft release," opening the door to increased off-road vehicle use, mining, and grazing following BLM land-use evaluations. S. 1380 would designate parts of the Rocky Mountain National Park as Wilderness and adjust the boundaries of the Indian Peaks Wilderness and Arapaho National Recreation Area in Colorado's Arapaho National Forest. S. 570 would create several new Wilderness areas in Virginia's Jefferson National Forest as well as designate 11,000 acres as National Scenic areas. S. 2379 would provide for the end of livestock grazing on the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwest Oregon, establish the 24,000-acre Soda Mountain Wilderness, and provide for a land exchange within the National Monument that protects habitat for the endemic Jenny Creek sucker. HR 5151 would add about 37,000 acres of Wilderness in West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest through expansions of the Dolly Sods, Cranberry, and Otter Creek Wilderness areas as well as protecting three new Wilderness areas across the forest. S. 868 would designate 40 miles of the Taunton River as Wild and Scenic, from the headwaters all the way to Mount Hope Bay in Fall River, Massachusetts. http://www.americanlands.org and click on Eye on Congress.

22) In Roadless news, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) circulated a letter to Members, asking cosponsors of the Roadless Area Conservation Act to sign a letter opposing recent attempts by the Bush administration to weaken protections in some of our nation's most pristine and intact national forests - Idaho, Colorado, and Alaska's Tongass National Forest. The letter was signed by 46 Members of Congress. Support for the Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2007 continues to gather steam in both the House and Senate. At present there are 149 cosponsors of HR 2516 in the House and 19 cosponsors of the Senate version S 1478. These bills seek to provide lasting protections for all inventoried roadless areas in the United States. Click to see if your Representative and Senators are cosponsors of this important legislation. If not, click here to send them a letter: http://americanlands.org/issues.php?subsubNo=1113510651&article=1184861319 http://www.americanlands.org and click on Eye on Congress.


23) Forestry Commission chiefs have moved to reassure people about the future of a Hampshire woodland after growing fears over tree felling operations. Former tree surgeon William Patterson was worried after he noticed a dramatic increase in the number of trees earmarked for felling. But the Forestry Commission say their tree felling operations at Stoke Park Wood, Bishopstoke, are part of their long term commitment to preserve the woodland which covers more than 220 acres. Area manager Nick Hazlitt said: "Local people should not be alarmed by the thought of trees being cut down in Stoke Park Wood. The planned harvesting work is an element of our continual and ongoing forest management. Mr Patterson, 45, who lives in Eastleigh and has been visiting the woods for more than 40 years, said he has always been passionate about trees. He fears that if the felling continues it will have a devastating impact on an area which has always been a haven for wildlife. Mr Patterson took the Daily Echo into a wooded glade where many tree trunks had been marked with a circle of orange paint. Pointing to one he said: "There is nothing wrong with this tree. It has got another 100 years left. Once these trees are gone they will be gone forever." http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/latest/display.var.2325700.0.tree_crusader_sounds_the_alarm.php

24) Today I am launching the website for my Rainforests Project. On it are three films, together with the findings of some new research. The films, which The Daily Telegraph is hosting on its website today make use of compelling images from the world's rainforests, as well as animation, to describe some of the stark facts and implications of tropical deforestation. In a little less than my lifetime, we have lost 50 per cent of the world's rainforests. Every year, 32 million acres - an area the size of England - is destroyed or degraded. The message is clear: our world is in grave danger of losing its life-support system. These forests, which straddle the equator in a belt around the world, contain not only some of the richest biodiversity known to science, which is crucial to human health and survival in the future, but are also home to millions of the world's poorest people, whose livelihoods depend on them. They also play a crucial role in cooling and cleaning the atmosphere and providing fresh water and rainfall. At a time when shortages of food are being experienced the world over and population continues to rise, this rainfall is more important than ever before. Amazonia's forests alone, for instance, help to store the largest body of flowing freshwater on the planet, and they release 20 billion tonnes of water vapour into the atmosphere every day. http://www.princesrainforestsproject.org

25) Trees are known to absorb carbon dioxide, but their parallel abilities to improve water quality and prevent flooding are sharply defined in a new report commissioned by the Woodland Trust from Forest Research and the University of Newcastle – with a warning that there is no time to waste. 'Woodland actions for biodiversity and their role in water management' analyses world wide literature - the first report of its kind - to highlight the often-unheralded role that woodland can play in overall water management, a role that should be seized upon by water and land managers alike, says the Trust. The review assesses the impact of trees and woodland on water resources. It spells out how protecting, restoring and increasing native tree cover can help tackle threats posed by climate change, intensive farming and development. At present 93 per cent of river water bodies in England and Wales, and 45 per cent in Scotland, risk failing to reach their required 'good' status under new Water Framework Directive legislation. The annual cost of removing harmful pesticides and nitrates from drinking water is put at £7 for every water customer. Woodland creation in the right place can reduce pollution entering water courses by as much as 90% without putting additional strain on water resources, says the report. Sites where ancient woodland is being restored through conifer removal can also reduce nitrate concentrations by up to 90% and increase local water quantity by 20-50 per cent. As an example, 99% of nitrates draining from arable fields in southern England during winter were retained by the first five metres of woodland planted with poplar trees – with tree buffers shown to also reduce sediment, phosphate and pesticide concentrations. With flooding continuing to make headlines - and the cost of UK flood risk management put at a colossal £800m for 2010/2011 alone - there is a timely suggestion that creating woodland at bottlenecks on floodplains could significantly reduce major flood events by absorbing and delaying water flows. In addition simply retaining existing woods would continue to provide a natural prevention measure against small floods, says the Trust. http://www.farminguk.com/index.asp?show=newsArticle&id=7516

26) Welsh Conservatives will today call on the Assembly Government to abandon plans for wind turbines on Forestry Commission land. The party claims this will “open the floodgates for more major wind farm developments on some of the most beautiful parts of Wales”. However, the Conservative stance was condemned by Friends of the Earth Cymru. It warned the Conservatives were in danger of losing credibility as opponents of climate change. Last October, First Minister Rhodri Morgan said the administration would release government-owned land for the development of wind farm projects. Conservative Shadow Assembly Environment Minister Darren Millar said: “The Assembly Government is clearly at odds with itself over its sustainability and environmental strategic objectives. On the one had it is handing over significant tracts of Government-owned forestry land to wind farm developers for it to be felled. Yet on the other ministers are stressing the importance of maintaining Welsh forests because of their value to the Welsh economy and in tackling climate change..” He insisted the party was not opposed to wind energy, saying: “What we are opposed to is the imposition of large-scale wind farms against the wishes of local people, which have a devastating impact on communities and the local environment.” http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/politics-news/2008/06/04/tories-want-to-stop-forest-wind-fa

27) Offwell Environment Link has donated over £31,000 to Offwell Woodland Education Centre since 2005, but fears the rate of its fundraising abilities will not be able to match that in years to come. The centre, which boasts Forestry Commission woods and a Victorian lake, is run by Offwell Woodland and Wildlife Trust, which, since its inception, has managed to find over £1 million to develop facilities and create and maintain habitats. The Princess Royal visited the centre in 2005, when the centre faced a financial crisis. Gill Graham, secretary of Offwell Environment Link, fears another cash crisis is looming. Led by director Steve Lawson, they have set up an impressive educational resource, one that appeals to expert naturalists as well as school children and walkers. Hits on their website, a recognised educational resource across the globe, has now exceeded 1.5 million a month. Mrs Graham said Offwell Environment Link raised over £30,000 through voluntary contributions. She is keen to encourage more people to join the organisation, hoping the Link's ageing membership can be swelled with young blood and people keen to fundraise or make voluntary contributions. Mr Lawson, she said, had been a visionary, seeing the potential for the centre and bringing it to fruition. He, and others, had worked hard to help the centre. They have developed hand-held computers that take school children and walkers on a guided tour of the site. It includes pictures and videos and is being developed all the time. It is hoped the concept can one day be marketed to other organisations. Funding for an extension to one of the two log classrooms at the site has already been secured. Promoting the woodland and finding regular income are the keys to the centre's future, said Mrs Graham and Mr Tilbury. http://www.midweekherald.co.uk/midweekherald/news/story.aspx?brand=MDWOnline&category=news&tBra

28) The Friends of Newtonhill group have also pledged to challenge the validity of an investigation carried out at the site which revealed hot spots of heavy metals, arsenic and asbestos in the soil and surface water and led to the woodland's closure in March. The moves were agreed following a well-attended public meeting held at Mackay's Hotel in Wick on Monday night. It was organised by the group to discuss the future of the Newtonhill Community Woodland - a former landfill site which is owned and operated by the Highland Council. A number of options were suggested for the woodland's future including a complete restoration plan which would see the site levelled, safely capped with soil and other materials, and the start of a replanting programme. But it was agreed that this could be a lengthy and costly process, with an early estimated price tag running into millions of pounds, and one which could offer no "cast-iron guarantees" against future problems. Some members of the public who attended the meeting felt the woodland should remain open on the basis that users were made aware of the risks involved. But the Friends of Newtonhill group's chairman Billy Nicolson said that this idea had already been explored by the group which had been told by local authority officials that this would not be an option. Mr Nicolson explained: "They said they have a duty to protect the public and they can't just allow the public to decide for themselves whether to take that risk with these particular contaminants, and levels, that they've found." http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4658/Woodland_might_never_reopen_to_


29) Trees which rely on animals rather than the wind to disperse their seeds have a significantly higher chance of surviving deforestation, a study has shown. Being eaten and later excreted by animals, or getting entangled in fur or feathers to drop off later, guarantees the seeds reach locations better suited to their needs than the wind-blown varieties which are more likely to end up on barren ground. Trees with seeds dispersed by animals were shown by researchers from Spain and the United Kingdom to grow in greater numbers than wind-borne species in surviving or regenerated woodland. Researchers reached their conclusions after assesssing woodland in the Iberian Peninsula in Spain where deforestation has taken place over thousands of years. They said that their results, published by the journal Science, suggested that trees and other plants dependent on the wind were are greater risk of extinction in other parts of the world. “The differences in species responses to local forest cover are to a large extent driven by the dispersal vector used by trees,” they concluded. “Whatever the mechanisms involved, the finding that animal-dispersed tree species are more robust to the effects of deforestation has an obvious implication for conservation. “It might be expected that deforestation in other regions is more likely to threaten a given wind-dispersed, than an given animal-dispersed, plant species.” http://timesonline.typepad.com/environment/2008/06/animals-save-tr.html


30) This year's campaign to be named Three Trees in the Third Millennium is expected to mobilize more people who will be able to plant more trees the rest of the Ethiopian new year. The millennium Secretariat, in collaboration with Wise-Up, a local NGO working on HIV/AIDS, engaged over two hundred female commercial sex workers who devoted a half day planting trees around Entoto Mariam. Wise-UP designated a theme for the campaign :"One Earth, One Life Don't Waste it!!" to go along to that of World Environmental Day (WED). The idea behind the female commercial sex workers planting tree seedlings was that it would help remind everyone that not only should one endeavour to protect himself or herself from contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases using condoms only but strive to save mother earth from all its peril by planting trees, Henock Alemayehu, the director of Wise-up said. Henock added that the organization sponsored 223 female commercial sex workers to plant trees at the Entoto site. The female sex workers on the planted three trees to symbolize the launch of the project together with the other dignitaries. http://allafrica.com/stories/200806060744.html


31) At 88 years old, one would think Melchior Bakamuturaki would not consider investing in a forest that will mature when he is 100-if he makes it. But for this Bushenyi district Green, the passion for the environment is just beginning. While many Ugandans shun tree business from which they believe they will never benefit in their lifetime, Bakamuturaki has planted six acres of trees and is looking for more land. "I always had a liking for forests and now I have fulfilled my dream by planting a forest, which will mature in at least 20 years." But there is an immediate gain from the investment. Bakamuturaki will make money from a new scheme in which farmers earn money from trees in a programme championed by a charity, the International Small Group and Tree-Planting. "We have been working with farmers to plant trees that absorb carbondioxide emissions and reduce the risks of global warming," said Pauline Kalunda, the executive director. "In return, the farmers earn money since their trees act as sinks for waste gases emitted by polluting industries," Kalunda says. The Bamuturaki initiative is good news as Uganda commemorates the World Environment Day today. Last year, Bakamuturaki earned sh100,000 from the international tree planting group. He hopes for bigger fruits in future. "In future these trees will be wanted very much by people," Bamuturaki says. Right now, however, the scarcity of land in Bushenyi worries him and he hopes the National Forestry Authority can bail him out. In Uganda, over 200 small-scale farmers are working with Eco-Trust to plant trees. The number is likely to double following the success of the pilot project in Bushenyi. http://allafrica.com/stories/200806050061.html

32) In times of war, what concerns people most are the effects of the insurgency on the people, not its effects on the environment among others things. The war however, in northern Uganda has had severe effects on the environment, says a new report. Due to the conflict, there has been a change in the land cover over the last 18 years. The remote sensing analysis report shows that small-scale woodland covers have increased in the area in the past years. According to the 2005 report, the woodland vegetation cover increase occurred in the districts of Kitgum, Gulu, Pader, Adjumani and Moyo while a significant decline in the woodland cover was registered in the districts of Apac, Kotido, Lira and Moroto. Mr Samuel Okello the environment officer in Gulu District noted that the increase in the woodland vegetation occurred in places where the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) activities took place since the villagers feared to venture to such places, while the places people were able access saw a decline in the woodland. "Because people feared the LRA, you find that there was an increase in woodland in areas that the rebels tended to hide while in places where the people had access lost its woodland", Okello said. http://allafrica.com/stories/200806031165.html


33) Recently four villages, two in Morogoro district and one each in Babati and Muheza districts, managed to obtain a total of Sh8 million from a programme under the Kyoto Protocol for sale of carbon dioxide sequestered through participatory management of their village forests. The villages are Mangala and Gwata in Morogoro district, Handei in Muheza, Tanga region and Ayasanda in Babati district in Manyara region. The programme is called Kyoto; Think Global, Act Local (K:TGAL) and is one of the efforts being done to sell carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases, sequestered through participatory management of village forests. Contracts defining roles of the villages and K:TGAL programme were signed with the village governments and the money is in the process of being transferred to the villages' bank accounts. The programme has been coordinated by Prof Rogers Malimbwi and Mr Eliakim Zahabu, both academicians working with the Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation at the Sokoine University of Agriculture. Prof.Malimbwi said the programme involved participatory forest management (PFM) and entailed involvementg of local communities in the management of natural forests that would otherwise degrade or be deforested as a result of carbon emissions. The government supports PFM in an effort to reduce the current 17 million hectares or 50 per cent of the total forest land in the country which is prone to deforestation and degradation during agricultural expansion, charcoal making and timber harvesting activities. K:TGAL is a research and capacity building programme that involves research teams in three regions; East Africa, West Africa and the Himalayas and coordinates the work of local non-government organisations and conducts experiments with them in villages that are already engaged in PFM. http://allafrica.com/stories/200806030771.html


34) Professor Nii Ashie Kotey, Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, said on Thursday that current trends in the country’s timber industry required strategic innovations including the pooling of resources in order to remain competitive on the global market. He as a result, he lauded the rebirth of the Ghana International urnitureand Woodworking Industry Exhibition (GIFEX) which aims at showcasing products that would propel the Ghana timber industry to the level of fully utilising forest resources through increased utilisation of diversified wood species. Prof. Kotey said these at the launch of the 12th GIFEX at Takoradi. This year’s GIFEX is scheduled to take place at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre in Accra between 17th and 26th October, 2008 on the theme: “100 years of Forestry in Ghana: Networking partnership for sustainable development”. GIFEX, a yearly exhibition introduced in 1985 to highlight activities of the furniture and woodworking industry came to a halt in 1997. Prof. Kotey said the rebirth of GIFEX among others was an opportunity to bring key stakeholders in the industry together for networking with relevant partners to share knowledge and experience in order to make individual concerns more competitive in the world wood products trade. “Local industrialists would also have the opportunity to see and learn new developments in the industry in line with the changing dynamics in the industry,” he said.
Prof. Kotey said Western Region had been the largest producer of logs for the industry and urged companies in the region to participate in the forthcoming exhibition. http://www.modernghana.com/news/168683/1/gifex-2008-launched-in-takoradi-.html

35) Forest Watch Ghana (FWG), the umbrella body of civil society organizations operating in the forestry industry has pointed out that state complicity is to blame for massive corruption in the country's timber sector. "Out of 600 timber concessions, only five meet the requirements for timber license and I have always maintained that 100% of all the timber that leave the shores of Ghana are illegal; and in all these the State is an accomplice in the massive corruption," says Mr. Tweretwie Opoku, a legal practitioner and a member of FWG. Mr. Opoku made these scathing attacks last Friday at a civil society consultative forum on the recent Government and European Union (EU) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) negotiation. He was speaking on Legal Standard in reference to the VPA. He said the corrupt practices have contributed to making the timber sector ungovernable and regretted that a lot of the personnel in the forestry sector do not even know the laws of the sector. The meeting was under the aegis of the World Wide Fund for Nature-West Africa Regional Programme Office (WWF-WARPO), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and FWG, and brought together chiefs, lumber brokers, chain saw operators, timber merchants, NGOs, the media, among others. In December 2006, Ghana and the EU formally initiated the process of negotiations on the VPA. This agreement, an important component of the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT), when finalized, will put in place measures to ensure good governance practices in Ghana as well as reduce the trade in illegal logs between producer countries such as Ghana and the EU markets. The VPA requires the Government of Ghana to ensure that timber products entering the EU market meet legality standards agreed on by both parties. A road map for the VPA negotiation process has been developed with and it is expected that Ghana and the EU will conclude negotiations by the end of July 2008. http://allafrica.com/stories/200806021247.html


36) The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) plans to designate between 13 and 15 million hectares of the Earth’s second largest rainforest region as new protected areas. The forests of the Congo Basin in Central Africa are the Earth's second largest continuous rainforest and have a unique biodiversity. The largest part of the Congo Basin forests lies in the DRC. The entire forest area of the country, including dry forests, covers around 1 million km² (larger than the combined area of France and Germany). These forests are a treasure trove for biodiversity. They house some of the world’s rarest and most remarkable species, including the bonobo (the closest living relative of the human species) and the okapi (a unique forest giraffe) as well as the rare mountain gorilla. More than half of the 720 mountain gorillas left in the world live in Eastern DRC. But this biodiversity is under threat as a result of the decades of instability which has racked the country. The instability has taken a severe toll on the region’s natural resources and wildlife, and the situation has been exacerbated by factors including poor capacity to enforce existing wildlife laws; widespread poaching; and rapidly increasing mining activities and opening up of forests which are facilitating access to previously remote forest areas. In 2007, seven of the highly endangered mountain gorillas were killed in eastern DRC. Virunga National Park, which is at the heart of the current tensions and conflicts, has also seen its hippo population drop from an estimated 29,000 to a herd of just a few hundred. Besides combating illegal logging, for the conservation of the Congo Basin forest and its abundant biodiversity it is essential to introduce principles of sustainable management and a protected area regime for these species-rich forests. At present, 9 per cent of Congolese territory – corresponding to 22,000 km² - is conserved in various categories of protected areas. The government of DR Congo aims to extend this area by up to 15 million hectares (150,000 km²).


36) The Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration have decided to relocate some 440 olive trees belonging to Naalin residents to a nearby area, due to the construction of the separation fence in the area. The Palestinians have protested this decision, claiming that it would badly harm their livelihood. "A tree, particularly an ancient one, will not survive if you move it from one place to another at this time of the year. Thus, we estimate that 90% of the relocated trees will not be able to bear fruit anymore," said Ibrahim Aahad Khawaja, a member of the village's anti-fence committee. The IDF plans to relocate the olive trees under the supervision of a Civil Administration officer, but Naalin's residents do not intend to cooperate with the move, as they reject any act related to the construction of the fence. "They are moving the trees, but what about the land? Our experience with the Israeli occupation is not positive," Khawaja told Ynet, noting that the village residents would fight the decision and hold an anti-fence procession on Wednesday. Security sources told Ynet that the separation fence was being built according to law and that the State was doing all it could to minimize the damage caused to the Palestinian life fabric. The defense establishment is coordinating the entire construction process with the local population, they stated. "There are always those who will not approve of the State's decisions, including Israeli citizens, and will do all in their power to break the law and stop the fence construction," a security official said. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3551595,00.html http://www.peopleandplanet.net/doc.php?id=3302

37) Minister for Environment, Hamid ullah Jan Afridi on Wednesday informed the National Assembly that the government has formulated a plan to increase one percent forestation by 2015. “Under this plan, forests will be grown over one million acres of land,” he said while responding to various queries during “Question Hour.” He said that the increase in forestation will have positive impact on the living standards of the people. The Minister also informed the Lower House that effective measures are being taken to control environmental pollution. He said that policies have been made to control deforestation and ensure sanitation. http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=40393&Itemid=2

38) At the time of independence, Sindh had an area of about 500 square miles under forest. These forests were mainly on both sides of the River Indus right from Kashmore to Karachi. There were about 87 forests extending from Kashmore to the middle delta i.e. up to Karachi. These forests were narrow strips of quarter to two and from two to three miles in breadth; 25 on the western and 61 on eastern bank of the river. The larger ones were Mari, Khanot, Laikpur, Bhorti, Saduja, Andadal, Shahpur, Shikarpur, Unarpur, Viran and Buto. Besides, this government-controlled woodland, there were also some privately-owned forest especially in Khairpur. The wood of these forests comprised Babul (Acacia Arabica), Bahan (Populus cupharatica), Tali (Dalbergia sissu) though not considered indigenous and Kandi (Prosopis spicigera). Besides, there were Neem and Pipal which is a staple tree in the forest of lower Sindh. Some foreign species were also introduced by the forest department in the region such as Acacia dealbata, A. Lopantha and A. melanoxylon Trapa natans, Emblica officinalis and creatonia siliqua. During the British period, these riverine forests were looked after by the Sindh Forest Department headed by a conservator supported by full-fledged technical and non-technical sub-ordinate staff. Beside, providing jobs and habitat to millions of household living within its bound, the forests also had seasonal crops. The fertility of soil in these forests was proverbial; it provided livelihood to millions. These woodlands were sanctuaries to variety of wildlife, flora and fauna, and great source of fresh milk, honey besides wood for furniture, buildings and fuel. After the Independence however, like other government organisations forest department also gradually gave in to corruption and inefficiency. The decline that started in the 1960’s was accelerated in the 1980’s when the forests became hideouts of dacoits and the special interests got an opportunity to cleanse them. With the passage of time, the role forest department also changed from conservation to collaboration. Gradually, these forests have been completely destroyed by the builder mafias interested in cheap wood; influential lands lords interested in the virgin lands. Now 90 per cent of forests are either under unauthorised possession or leased to local influential on nominal government rates as Katcha land. http://iaoj.wordpress.com/2008/06/02/deforestation-of-sind/

347 - Earth's Tree News

Today for you 35 new articles about earth’s trees! (347th edition)
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Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com

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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

New England Coast:

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


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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

Costa Rica:

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


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

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

Solomon Islands:

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

346 - Earth's Tree News

Today for you 37 new articles about earth’s trees! (346th edition)
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--UK: 1) Beauty spot turned to 4x4 race track by “vandals,” 2) eco-group opposes 32 eco-houses, 3) New treetop walkway,
--Scotland: 4) Woodland stats
--Africa: 5) Millions of hectares will be turned to large scale biofuel plantations
--Cameroon: 6) Citizen’s get 8% of the forest and foreign countries get the rest
--Sierra Leone: 7) Timber export debates
--Congo: 8) European envoy visits forests slated for destruction
--Kenya: 9) Save Mau Complex forests, 10) More on Mau, 11) What’s left of Taita, 12) Import substitution, 13) Renewing a failed Samba system, 14) charcoal industry soon to be streamlined,
--Eritrea: 15) Replanting mangroves brings back fisheries,
--Columbia: 16) Environmental damage caused by cocaine use
--Brazil: 17) More at ease poring over satellite data, 18) Diagem temporarily freezes its exploration activities, 19) Indigenous oppose Altamira dam,
--India: 20) Satellite-linked fire alert system, 21) World’s richest bio-diversity hotspot loses its glory,
--Thailand: 22) Turning rice farmers into green desert farmers and eucalyptus history
--Bangladesh: 23) Forests endangered and indigenous people tortured for ‘development’
--Vietnam: 24) People encroach on Central Highlands province in Kon Tum
--Papua New Guinea: 25) Save the Mangroves
--Philippines: 26) Legal logging is the real problem, 27) Five bulldozers roaring like lost motorcycles in the forests,
--Solomon Islands: 28) Logging companies rob government, 29) Loggers whine,
--Indonesia: 30) Loggers traffic sex slaves
--New Zealand: 31) Government promises programs to help deforestation crisis, 32) Alternative forest products: mushrooms,
--World-wide: 34) Society for Ecological Restoration International releases report, 35) Monkey meat consumption limits natural reforestation, 36) Risk assessment of invasive species,


1) THRILL-seeking 4x4 drivers have turned a popular Mole Valley beauty spot into swampland, cutting down trees so they can illegally access protected woodland. The off-roaders have churned up large areas of earth on Ranmore Common and made it almost impossible for other vehicles and pedestrians to use byways leading up to the woodland. Residents and countryside groups are in outrage over the damage which has been caused. Rob Onslow, who lives in Fetcham, said: “There’s beautiful woodland up there that’s covered in bluebells. It really is stunning and people come from miles to see them. “But the four-wheel drivers have absolutely torn the woodland apart. It’s absolutely ruined.” The worst hit area is woodland off Drove Road and the byway itself. "Vandals" Mr Onslow, 38, said it looked as if the 4x4 drivers were using the area as an off-road course. He said: “It used to be possible to take a child’s buggy up Drove Road. Now it’s just a bombsite.The people who cause this kind of damage are simply vandals in four-wheel drives. “They have nothing but contempt for our rural woodland, which they use as a kind of playground.” As well as access issues for those who want to use the road, there are also problems with water holes, which have formed and flood on to neighbouring farmland in heavy rain. A spokesman for Surrey County Council, which is responsible for the upkeep of the byway, said 4x4s were entitled to use the road. He added: “The county council do have the right to put a Traffic Regulation Order in place but wants all residents to be able to enjoy the countryside and would rather work with all parties for an amicable solution.” http://www.surreyad.co.uk/news/2028/2028925/thrillseekers_have_ruined_beauty_spot

2) A protest group has been formed to oppose plans to build eco-houses in an amenity woodland near Nairn. Locals claim proposals by the Forestry Commission Scotland will mean the felling of up to 70 trees in Kilnhill Wood, Lochloy. They say the plans for 32 houses and eight chalets go against the local structure plan and will create an “unacceptable increase” in traffic on Lochloy Road. The commission lodged a planning application with Highland Council in February. The protest group, known as Friends of Kilnhill Wood, has gathered 400 signatures for a petition against the development and has commissioned an ecologist to look at the site, which they claim is home to various animals and birds. Spokesman Terry Cowan, 41, of Maviston Steading, Lochloy, said: “A lot of people use that wood for walking, cycling and horse riding. It is an amenity woodland. “The Forestry Commission are selling it as a ‘new community’ but it will be at the detriment of the existing community.” Ecologist Gus Jones found evidence of bats, badgers and red squirrels living in the wood, while owls and other birds of prey are also thought to roost there. Mr Cowan said that with the A96 corridor proposals due out soon, there were other more suitable sites. The Green Party recently pledged their support for the Kilnhill Wood development, saying it would give people the chance to live and work in a woodland setting. They also called for more emphasis on affordable housing and for an environmentally friendly way of dealing with sewage. http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/651310?UserKey=0

3) A treetop walkway which takes visitors 60ft up into the canopy for a close-up look at life among the leaves has been unveiled at Kew Gardens. The £3 million steel structure, which runs for 650ft through the Capability Brown woodland at the Royal Botanic Gardens aims to help show the importance of trees to wildlife and the climate. It is hoped it will be the highlight of Kew's summer festival celebrating trees. The Xstrata Treetop Walkway includes a "Rhizotron" underground exhibit to highlight the root-life of trees, follows on from the success of a smaller temporary walkway at Kew several years ago. The walkway will be open to the public from Saturday. http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5gjtFMoYrj1YeSz4PBm_EtPHRMQ_w

4) Scottish Woodlands manages more than 170,000 hectares of woodland, valued in excess of £500m, for more than 1,500 clients. As well as explaining the investment opportunities, however, Mann wants to see the forestry industry recognised for its importance to the Scottish economy. “With competing demands for land from food producers, biofuels and the like, land value is rising and woodland is rising in value too,” he said. “Our production in the UK only satisfies about 20% of our requirements, but we have the real opportunity to increase that figure and even become self-sufficient. That would have a knock-on effect for the economy.” A recent report showed that the value of the forestry sector to the Scottish economy was nearly £1 billion, with about 20,000 jobs involved. It is estimated a developed biomass industry in the UK would be almost 10 times as important as the recycling industry in employment terms, with twice as many employees as the air transport industry. Forestry Commission Scotland is targeting sales of £320m of freehold forest per year to fund a woodland creation programme, and private-sector investors are being provided with incentives to plant 8,000 hectares for increased production of commercial timber and as a climate change mitigation measure. “There was a very good rationale behind this heavy tax discounts of the 1970s and 1980s,” said Mann. “Britain was seriously short of timber and it takes about 35 years to bring a woodland to maturity. Incentive schemes remain but are geared differently.” http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article3998


5) Africa is expected to produce a relatively small but still substantial part of the global biofuel demand. Millions of hectares will be turned into large scale biofuel plantations. This will hardly take place in current agricultural areas. Especially natural areas of wetlands and rainforest - the hotspots for biodiversity - are vulnerable for this development. These are the main outcomes of the study 'Biofuel production in Africa' (1), today presented by Wetlands International at the Convention of Biological Diversity in Bonn. The report describes the expected impact of biofuel production on African wetlands and their values in 2020. Africa wide food production is not directly at risk being pushed away by biofuel production. Although millions of African hectares might be turned into biofuel production, this will largely take place outside existing agricultural areas. The African share of biofuel production for EU and North American and upcoming Asian markets is expected to remain relatively modest in the coming decades (an assumed 5% in 2020). Major consumer markets (US, EU) will preferably support their own agricultural sector to produce feedstocks for biofuels. Countries like Brazil will remain better equipped to extend its biofuel production and to serve the world markets with low production costs. A large and increasing share of European and American agricultural production is turned into biofuels. As a result, African food prices too will rise. This creates opportunities for farmers but also jeopardizes the position of the landless and urban poor when foodprices rise. http://yubanet.com/enviro/Biofuel-demand-and-Africa-threat-to-wetlands-and-forests.php


6) The trade union boss questioned why Cameroonians who are the owners and custodians of the forest should control only 80,000 hectares. "How can one explain that out of 620 forest exploiters operating in Cameroon, 600 Cameroonian exploiters control only 8 per cent of the forest whereas 20 foreign exploiters control the rest of the forest", he wondered. Nkodo Dang stated that it is inconceivable that a Cameroonian wanting to bury his or her family member lacks even wood to make a coffin. It was also with consternation that Nkodo Dang and his colleagues questioned the whole idea of forest certification which, though reserved for the Cameroonian government, has witnessed a gradual influence from foreign NGOs. The trade unionists are particularly irked by the fact that the said report has failed to carryout a comparative study of the situation and proceeded to mask the realities of the Cameroonian forest. To the retired exploiter, Nkodo Dang wondered why he could not make his report at the time he was on the field. In other words, he said, if the system is bad, then he must have contributed to it. Cameroon, according to Nkodo Dang, has 22.5 million hectares of forest of several categories: equatorial forest, savannah forest, scrub and mangrove. But how come trouble comes in only when it concerns the exploitation of equatorial forest? This is the question, Nkodo Dang asked. Of the 600 tree species in Cameroon, he said, only 30 are exploited.http://allafrica.com/stories/200805261366.html

Sierra Leone:

7) The lifting of the ban on logging which tends to suggest that while cutting down logs and perhaps producing forest products, Sierra Leoneans are not allowed to export timber. For some reason, some Sierra Leoneans have argued that they make a living out of timber export and have not viewed with favour the continuous ban on timber export as they believe that the livelihood of some Sierra Leoneans is threatened. Those who are in favour of continuing the timber export ban believe that the export on forest products is a conservative move that is designed to discourage excess logging. Excess logging itself is blamed for the scarcity of water and even for the fast disappearance of vast forests that one dotted the landscape of Sierra Leone. Those who are in favour of lifting the ban on timber export may not be aware that it is intended to encourage some sort of conservation of our forests for posterity. It is common knowledge that to deplete our forest is to invite future problems, including the scarcity of water and the consequences of excessive deforestation which terminates with desertification. Many parts of Sierra Leone are already savannah, meaning that no big trees are expected to grow there again and subsequently when grass disappears, then sand will surface. The ban on timber export is therefore a sensible move to delay desertification, enhance the availability of water and other environmental advantages. It is also interesting to note that those countries who are importing timbers andencouraging Sierra Leoneans to export timbers through cash incentives have vast forest lands in their countries which they are trying to conserve by encouraging the importation of timber. One would wonder why countries with large expanses of forest would prefer to import timber than cut down their own trees? http://forum.visitsierraleone.org/forum_posts.asp?TID=2757&PID=31644#31644


8) The envoy from Europe can hardly believe his eyes. Butterflies the size of dessert plates are fluttering around his nose. Orchids hang in cascades from towering trees. Hornbills sail across the treetops. The tropical air is filled with the saturated scent of growth and proliferation. Biologists have already tracked down more than 10,000 plant and 400 mammal species in the Congo basin. These plants and animals are part of the world's second-largest uninterrupted rainforest, one of the planet's most potent carbon storage systems. Indeed, it is for precisely this reason that Hans Schipulle, 63, is tramping around in the wilderness near the Sangha River on a humid morning in the Central African Republic. The envoy from Europe can hardly believe his eyes. Butterflies the size of dessert plates are fluttering around his nose. Orchids hang in cascades from towering trees. Hornbills sail across the treetops. The tropical air is filled with the saturated scent of growth and proliferation. Biologists have already tracked down more than 10,000 plant and 400 mammal species in the Congo basin. These plants and animals are part of the world's second-largest uninterrupted rainforest, one of the planet's most potent carbon storage systems. Indeed, it is for precisely this reason that Hans Schipulle, 63, is tramping around in the wilderness near the Sangha River on a humid morning in the Central African Republic. Bayanga, a nearby village, is living proof of the traditional conflict between protecting the environment and fighting poverty. Until recently, its residents benefited from the destruction of the rainforest. A sawmill in Bayanga provided employment for 370 people, but the mill was shut down after Schipulle and his alliance presented an urgent appeal to the government in the capital Bangui to prevent a dubious logging company from being allowed to overexploit 4,520 square kilometers (1,745 square miles) of forest. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,554982,00.html


9) The Government has sworn to act to save the Mau Complex forests. Prime Minister Hon. Raila Odinga who chaired a meeting over the Mau said the Government was treating the matter seriously and was determined to come up with a solution. “We are concerned about the situation in Mau and want to find a solution to the increased human activity there,” the East African Standard quotes him. KFWG member and UNEP Policy and Programme Officer, Mr Christian Lambrechts, gave a presentation on the status of the forests and raised alarm over the future of projects that depend on the Mau Complex. Read more on this latest development here at the East African Standard online edition. A copy of a report from an aerial survey of the Mau forest complex authored by UNEP, KFWG and Ewaso Ngiro South Development Authority can found on the KFWG website at this link: http://www.kenyaforests.org/reports/Mau%20Complex%20Forest%20Rapid%20Aerial%20Assessment%2023J
an%2008.pdf - http://kenyaforests.wildlifedirect.org/2008/05/27/high-profile-attention-on-the-mau-compl

10) As the Prime Minister, when Mr Raila Odinga visits the Mau Forest Complex Tuesday, he will be hard put to make unpopular pronouncements, but which will nevertheless safeguard the future of millions of Kenyans, who depend on the environmental services offered by the Mau. The flight Mr Odinga takes Tuesday will be over parts of the 400,000-hectare forest complex that are now reeling under widespread invasion by illegal settlers, logging and destruction of indigenous trees, hundreds of acres of forest land that are now converted into cropland, encroachment by tea plantations and pockets of thick smoke emanating from tens (if not hundreds) of charcoal burning kilns. Mr Odinga is likely to relive a tour made by Environment and Natural Resources minister John Michuki on May 8. The latter is said to have been "horrified' by the destruction of this all-important life-supporting natural system. It is believed that Mr Odinga's interest and decision to tour the Mau was occasioned by prompting from Michuki. Earlier, a combined team of conservationists from Unep, the Kenya Forestry Working Group and the Ewaso Nyiro South Development Authority had made a rapid aerial assessment, which unearthed the "mayhem" wrought on the Mau forests. The team conducted the surveillance trip on January 23, with the aim of ascertaining some complaints made of increased forest destruction after the disputed 2007 December presidential elections. The team overflew a number of forests that constitute the Mau Forest Complex -Maasai Mau, Ol Pusimoru, Transmara and South West Mau. The team later prepared a report, "Southern Mau Complex Forests Rapid Aerial Assessment", that paints a rather gloomy picture on the status of the forests. http://allafrica.com/stories/200805270188.html

11) I FIRST VISITED THE TAITA Hills a decade ago with James Mwang’ombe, the programme co-ordinator of the Taita Hills Forests Programme. Mwang’ombe was probably the best guide to have on the trip. He grew up around the hills and his late father worked in the Tsavo. As a toddler, Mwang’ombe even walked up to an elephant and touched it and has lived to tell the tale. I was mesmerised because l had not imagined such stunning, vivid landscapes. These were hills that we had whizzed by since childhood, as we drove past Voi to Mombasa, just standing there like most hills do, still and silent, carpeted in green. But in the company of Mwang’ombe, driving up and down the hills, all that changed — the hills came alive, the forests were full of creatures you won’t see anywhere else on earth, and as the evening drew on, we were enveloped in a fine mist of white — and my love affair with the mist mountains began. A decade later, I returned to the hills. Standing by a church built a century ago on the steep slope of the Bura Hill, I heard the dreaded sound of a power saw and turned to see a group of local men standing around a gigantic fig tree not less than five metres away. By the time I got there, the ancient tree had come crashing to the ground. I was stunned. I asked them why they had to cut the tree. “Because it was interfering with the powerline,” said one of them. They could have easily trimmed the branches, I thought, but when l asked what they would do with the huge old tree now lying on the ground, the answer came in a chorus: “Charcoal!” In my naivety, I had thought that nobody was cutting indigenous trees on the Taitas any more. After all, the Taita Hills are biological hotspots and the forests hold the treasures of the Taita community. It was time to make contact with Mwang’ombe again to find out what the status of the Taitas was. “It has been estimated that up to 98 per cent of the forest has been lost in the past 200 years,” Mwang’ombe explained. “However, the estimates between Independence in 1963 and now vary from 20-50 per cent depending on the forest area.” He continued: “For example, estimates put loss of indigenous forest cover of Chawia at about 50 per cent, and that of Mbololo forest at 20 per cent. In the past decade, forest cover loss has been quite minimal. “However, there has been some destruction, especially through forest fires like the ones that devastated Mwambirwa forest destroying about 300 hectares in 1997 and 2002.” The ban on timber harvesting from government forests — imposed in the 1980s — also shifted the logging from protected to non-protected areas. http://www.nationmedia.com/eastafrican/current/Magazine/mag260520082.htm

12) In the late 1960s Kenya embarked on a production regime known as import substitution. Under the scheme, the country was supposed crank up manufacturing chiefly to save on foreign currency. Unfortunately, the scheme failed as red tape starved the industries of imported inputs and machinery. Later when Kenya switched to export promotion, a Bretton Woods-driven liberalisation of the economy caught all industries napping. Subsequently, all have become fair game for competition from imports from Asia and other countries that channeled practical efforts to promoting their manufacturing for export. ONE IMPORT-SUBSTITUTION FIRM IS the Webuye-based pulp and paper manufacturer Panafrican Paper Mills (PPM). Mooted in 1969, it began operating in 1974 under the management of joint partner Orient Paper of India. However, it has been on a drastic decline, as we report in our business pages, and now needs massive corrective intervention from its shareholders. The State a week ago injected Sh140 million to stanch the cash flow crisis at the firm, in addition to lining up several other incentives for the rescue. These include ceding 18,000 hectares of forest for 18 years to the firm and significantly reducing royalties on tree-cutting. This is a godsend for the economy of Webuye, which has wallowed in uncertainty since the firm’s three-decade forest lease expired. But we ask the government to seriously rethink its joint venture with Orient. The first question it should answer is whether it is still viable. In the coming years, we will see mega-plants being built in China to take advantage of massive afforestation programmes flood the world with cheap paper. Two, does the firm have the capacity to reforest as it claims? How has it performed in the past? http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=24&newsid=124012

13) People living next to forests will be allowed to cultivate their crops in the forests, akin to what was earlier called the shamba (garden) system. Speaking at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute in Muguga Wednesday, Forestry and Wildlife minister, Dr Noah Wekesa said the reintroduction of the system is aimed at encouraging conservation among the communities. Dr Wekesa said the system would be done in a "controlled manner" to prevent further depletion of the area under forest cover. "We are already doing this in some areas and I think it is working well," he said. Previously, environmentalists had opposed the move, saying this might encourage illegal logging. Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai is on record saying the shamba system was not a good idea, as it would be difficult to control the cutting down of trees. http://allafrica.com/stories/200805211114.html

14) The Sh30 billion charcoal industry will soon be streamlined to ensure that part of its proceeds go to forest conservation efforts. The Kenya Forest Services is pushing for streamlining of the industry through new regulations governing production, transport and use. "This is a big industry worth Sh30 billion and if only a small percentage of this can go to conservation then it would do a lot," said Kenya Forest Services director, Mr David Mbugua. The industry also employs thousands in production, transport, and in both wholesale and retail trade. According to Mr Mbugua, the charcoal industry can no longer be ignored due to its huge economic significance. "Whether we want to or not, we cannot do away with charcoal since about 70 to 80 per cent of Kenyans depend on charcoal and wood as a source of energy," said Mr Mbugua. Efforts to prohibit charcoal burning have in the past failed mainly due to huge demand, lack of capacity by the relevant authorities and collusion with charcoal burners. The new drive to regulate the charcoal industry arose from the new Forest Act of 2005 which requires formulation of regulations on the production, transport and use of charcoal. Once the regulations are in place, the private sector will be able to invest more in development of the industry. "People will now deal in it as a legal business and they will improve on the technologies used in charcoal burning," said Mr Mbugua. Current charcoal making technologies are obsolete and have not been improved leading to a lot of wastage of wood. Burning 10 tonnes of firewood gives one tonne of charcoal, explained Mr Mbugua. According to the KFS director, the new rules are at an advanced stage of formulation and will soon be presented to the Forestry and Wildlife minister for gazzettment. The rules outline how a percentage from every charcoal bag will be charged. http://allafrica.com/stories/200805211045.html


15) Fisherman Ali Osman grins as he hauls a large emperor fish out of the shallow Red Sea waters off Eritrea. Other fish flop on the sea's flat surface as four young fishermen wade through the high tide to take back an impressive haul to their village, Hirgigo."If it wasn't for the mangroves, there wouldn't be so many fish," Ali says, pointing at a thick tree line marking the border of desert and sea. The forest of new mangrove trees has given fish, crabs and oysters vital shelter to feed and breed in an area where there were previously only arid mud flats. Marine life, and their human hunters, are not the only beneficiaries of an eco-project in this Horn of Africa village that has won global awards as a model for reducing poverty and feeding the hungry. Led by US scientist and humanitarian Gordon Sato, the project has transformed an area where fresh water is too scarce to support conventional agriculture. Leaves from the trees - a million mangroves grow in a 6km swathe from Hirgigo - provide fodder for livestock, so villagers no longer have to trek into distant highlands to feed their sheep and goats. The decade-old Manzanar project's low-tech, self-sustaining cycle also provides ground fishmeal and dried mangrove seeds to feed protein-hungry animals. Salih Mohamud, a 60-year-old father of four, says while watching his livestock contentedly: "I was given three sheep, now I have 15. I was a poor man, now I am rich." http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=&fArticleId=4417619


16) The British and Colombian governments have launched a joint drive to highlight the environmental damage caused by cocaine use. Colombian vice-president Francisco Santos Calderon said taking it was seen as a "victimless crime" in Europe but it was devastating his country. Some 2.2 million hectares of rainforest had been lost to cocaine production over the last 20 years, he added. Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said this was the "real price" of the drug. The two politicians were joined at the launch of the Shared Responsibility campaign in London's Trafalgar Square by Alex James, the former bassist with the pop group Blur. Mr Calderon said: "We need to show the consequences - the consequences to human beings and also the consequences to the environment." Cocaine consumption fuels exploitation, violence and environmental damage in Colombia, the world's second most bio-diverse country, he added. Drug barons were devastating the country's soils and water sources by using harmful or banned pesticides, Mr Calderon said. Mr Coaker said that although drug consumption was at an 11-year low, cocaine was the only drug that had risen in use since 1998. He said the campaign was "trying to put across the message that the real price of cocaine is not what somebody pays on the street, and not only what an individual does in the UK when they snort powder cocaine". Mr James, a former cocaine user who recently presented a BBC Panorama documentary on the effects of the drug, backed the environmental focus of the campaign. He said: "I don't know why we care more about monkeys dying than people dying but we do. So this is a really intelligent way of going about it." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7413454.stm


17) Gilberto Câmara, a scientist who leads Brazil’s national space agency, is more at ease poring over satellite data of the Amazon than being thrust into the spotlight. But since January, Dr. Câmara has been at the center of a political tug-of-war between scientists and Brazil’s powerful business interests. It started when he and his fellow engineers released a report showing that deforestation of Brazil’s portion of the rainforest appeared to have shot up again after two years of decline. Since then, Dr. Câmara, who leads the National Institute for Space Research here, has found himself having to defend his agency’s findings against one of Brazil’s richest and most powerful men: Blairo Maggi, who is governor of the country’s largest agricultural state, Mato Grosso, and a business owner known as the “Soybean King.” Governor Maggi was exercised enough by the report — which led to harsh measures stifling business in his state — that he asked for, and got, a meeting with the president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The stakes could not be higher for Mr. da Silva. Stewardship of the Amazon has always been a touchy subject, with many Brazilians fearful that world powers would try to impose their standards on the rainforest. But in recent years, the debate over the Amazon has intensified, with many outside the country seeing an intact rainforest as a key to controlling global warming. At the same time, Brazil’s economy has taken off — largely because of businesses that are claiming more of the Amazon’s land for crops and livestock, and more of its trees for logging. The space agency has two systems for measuring deforestation. A yearly satellite analysis called Prodes measures deforested areas as small as about 15 acres, while a lower-resolution system called Deter is designed to map areas greater than about 60 acres in real-time, giving law enforcement information to act quickly to stop further destruction. The controversy over the space agency’s figures have centered on the information provided by Deter. In the past, Dr. Câmara said, the agency included mostly large swaths of cleared land in its analysis. But environmental researchers have been clamoring for years for satellite researchers to expand monitoring to include areas thinned by logging and surface fires, rather than just areas that have been clear cut. The agency uses the term progressive degradation to refer to this systemic process of forest degradation that has become increasingly common in the Amazon in recent years. The agency began including it in its analysis in 2005, Dr. Câmara said. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/25/world/americas/25amazon.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin

18) Diagem Inc. temporarily froze its exploration activities in the Juina Diamond Province of Mato Grosso, Brazil and has initiated procedures to significantly reduce its Brazilian workforce until a resolution to the embargo imposed by the Brazilian Federal Environmental Agency ("IBAMA") is reached. Diagem's legal counsel in Brazil is confident that the IBAMA embargo can be nullified in a relatively short period of time as the deforestation was not performed by Diagem, but by other non-related parties prior to Diagem starting its evaluation program. Diagem is also confident that it will successfully contest an unjustified C$1.1 million fine that is considered illegal, abusive and excessive in this context. The Company is dedicating its financial and human resources to reversing the embargo. However, during this mandated standby, the Company will continue to comply with obligations to the government and other stakeholders and to maintain its surface and mineral rights, facilities and assets in good standing to the extent permitted by the law. "The Chapadao Kimberlite Project has the potential to become a major employer in the community and has the promise of a significant return for the shareholders who have long supported the Company," commented Denis Francoeur, CEO of the Company. "The goal of the Company is to rapidly resume evaluation work on the project, which is undoubtedly in the best interest of the shareholders and the community of Juina. Diagem plans to rehire the laid-off employees once the embargo is lifted". http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/industrials/diagem-temporarily-halts-field-

19) The Amazonian city of Altamira played host to one of the more uneven contests in recent Brazilian history this week, as a colourful alliance of indigenous leaders gathered to take on the might of the state power corporation and stop the construction of an immense hydroelectric dam on a tributary of the Amazon. At stake are plans to flood large areas of rainforest to make way for the huge Belo Monte hydroelectric dam on the Xingu river. The government is pushing the project as a sustainable energy solution, but critics complain the environmental and social costs are too high. For people living beside the river, the dam will bring an end to their way of life. Thousands of homes will be submerged and changes in the local ecology will wipe out the livelihoods of many more, killing their main food sources and destroying their raw materials. For the 10,000 tribal indians of the Xingu, whose lives have changed little since the arrival of Europeans five centuries ago, this will be a devastating blow. “This is the second time we are fighting this battle,” says Chief Bocaire, a young leader of the Kayapo, one of more than 600 Indians from 35 ethnic groups who gathered in record numbers in Altamira. For most it has been an odyssey of several weeks, travelling in small boats to reach the roads. “In 1989, our parents defeated a similar proposal with the help of the international media. Now it is back. But we are ready to fight again. This time we speak their language, and we are more determined than ever,” says Chief Bocaire. With so much at stake, tensions spilled over into violence this week when an engineer from the power company Eletrobras was caught up in a melee with Indians wielding machetes. Paulo Fernando Rezende had his shirt ripped from him and was left with a deep cut to his shoulder. Nineteen years ago, the Indians called on the support of the rock star Sting and the late Body Shop founder Anita Roddick. Pictures of the pair alongside Chief Raoni, with his lower lip distended by a traditional lip plate, sent their message to the outside world. The reservoir will flood up to 6,140 square kilometres (2,371 square miles). Scientists say it will cause a dramatic increase in greenhouse-gas emissions from the decomposition of organic matter in the stagnant water of the reservoir. http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/23/9155/


20) New Delhi: A satellite-linked fire alert system, developed by NASA and currently on trial in Madhya Pradesh, is turning out to be an effective tool in saving wildlife and bio-diversity from forest fires. This computer programme, called Fire Alert and Message System (FAMS), has been developed by NASA and the University of Maryland, US. With the help of the alert system, in place since April 2007, forest officials now respond to fire outbreaks faster. The reaction time has been reduced to two hours from the earlier eight hours to even a couple of days. Locating the place of fire in forest areas was difficult, said a forest department official. Such delays can cause major losses to Indian forests every year. A moderate Forest Survey of India (FSI) estimate says that timber worth Rs 35 crore is lost in fires in 63 million hectares of Indian forests every day, apart from unaccounted damage to bio-diversity. But if figures from a UN study in 1987 are calculated on the present prices, the annual loss is estimated to be around Rs 410 crores, says environment ministry estimates. FSI data shows that 50 per cent of Indian forests are fire prone. India's first system, a combination of satellite-based detection of fire and a computer programme, sends an alert to the nearest forest official whenever it detects a fire, reducing the reaction time by several hours. The system processes remote sensing data of active fire locations obtained through a satellite and then sends alerts through SMSes and e-mails from the nearest beat guard to the state's chief conservator of forests. The system also builds the database of fire locations, which can be used to identify fire sensitive zones scientifically and also to plan fire control strategy. http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1417926

21) Right under the nose of three state governments -- Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka -- the world’s richest bio-diversity hotspot is fearing to lose its glory due to massive deforestation. Environmentalists say that this thick forest in the Sahyadri range, which is also home to several wildlife, has already lost two acres of its forest to timber mafia and instances of forest fire. However, with a view to protect the forest, they have also held several round of talks with the villagers of Virdi, which has a cluster of 2,000 population in Maharashtra. "There is a need of a combined effort to curb such mass scale deforestation in important areas of biodiversity richness, but being private areas owned by villagers and given the political or social influence, authorities can do little, especially in a state like Maharashtra, whose entire Western Ghats have under pressure for years and continue to reel under the demons of rapid industrialisation and urban development," said state's renowned environmentalist Nirmal Kulkarni. Besides, it is also found that the trees are cut just next to the village in the thick forest in the Karnataka jurisdiction. Goa's state tree Mhadad (terminillia grenalata) is also found in this stretch and is being robbed away by timber lobby. Other tree species like Kinnal (terminillia panigulata) are also facing the wrath, the environmentalists say. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200805251867.htm


22) The farmers produce more logs than Advance Agro can process, so they sell them to the pole and fibreboard industries. The eucalyptus-farming scheme has proven so successful that the company contracted an additional 500,000 farmers since 2005. Some 300 schools have also joined in, growing seedlings donated by Advance Agro in school compounds and selling the trees when they mature. But things were not always so green for eucalyptus farming and the pulp and paper industry in Thailand, which have had a troubled history. In the late 80s and through the 90s, Thai villagers and activists marched against expanding eucalyptus plantations which have taken over natural forests, farms and settlements. Though not a scene typical of rural padi farms in Thailand, it nevertheless is becoming commonplace as more of such trees are sprouting up in the country’s agriculture sites. Some 1.5 million Thai farmers are growing eucalyptus trees on empty spaces around their crops, under contract with Advance Agro Public Company, maker of the Double A brand of office paper and Thailand’s biggest pulp and paper manufacturer. The farmers, scattered over the central plains, south, north and north-east of the country, nurture some 300 million eucalyptus trees to be used for paper-making. In the village of Chiangtai in Chachoengsao province in eastern Thailand, farmer Patchai Kanpawa first planted eucalyptus on unused land in his 9ha rice fields four years ago and has since harvested 3,000 trees. While Kanpawa, 67, utilises rice field embankments for his eucalyptus trees, other farmers grow them in bigger parcels of land among their plots of rice, sugarcane, cassava, corn and other crops. Such small-scale tree-farming is said to be less ecologically damaging than vast industrial tree plantations. Kanpawa says eucalyptus cultivation has not adversely affected his rice yields. He cuts the trees when they reach a diameter of 6.5cm – the minimum for pulp production. The first 1,000 trees felled earned him 100,000 bahts (RM10,000). That drew the attention of other villagers and now, half of the 150 families in Chiangtai, about an hour’s drive from Bangkok, are cultivating eucalyptus trees. Advance Agro processes the logs at its two pulp and two paper mills in Thatoom in Prachinburi province, east of Bangkok. http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2008/5/27/lifefocus/21193971&sec=lifefocus


23) Environmentalists yesterday called on the government to stop the encroachment of forest land in the name of industrialisation. They during a press conference yesterday also demanded that the indigenous people's land rights be established through an effective land commission in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and the proper implementation of the CHT peace treaty. Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa) organised the conference styled "Forests endangered, indigenous people tortured in the name of development" at Dhaka Reporters Unity to describe the current situation of the forests in danger. Speaking at the conference, Bapa President Prof Muzaffer Ahmad said forests are our national assets and the indigenous people have been conserving the forests for decades but these forests are now on the verge of destruction. He also said the forests and rivers of the country are being ruined in the name of industrialisation. This is polluting the environment and causing severe natural disasters. "Development should be human and environment friendly but some non-government and business organisations ignoring facts are destroying our common properties and are also evicting indigenous people from their lands," he said. The lone mangrove forest of the country--the Sundarbans--is being demolished to feed newspaper and hardboard factories in Khulna, he said adding that lands are being taken over by expanding industries and cultivable lands in the CHT area are losing fertility due to the effluents discharged by industries. "We are not against industrialisation but we do not want development that destroys our forests, rivers and puts the indigenous people at risk," he said, adding, "Development is for the people… not for merely development and we should not go for anything that goes against the greater interest of the ethnic people." Prof Muzaffer also said the ownership of lands should be specified and the rights of the ethnic communities should be protected. He stressed the importance of planting local species of tress instead of opting for alien species to save the biodiversity of the country. "The environment will be damaged and natural disasters will be more destructive if we do not take steps to save our forests and rivers," he added. http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=37919


24) KON TUM — People in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum are increasingly encroaching on forest land to plant cassava, rubber and coffee due to the crops’ soaring prices, says Deputy Director of Kon Tum Forestry Farm Nguyen Duc Chien. The forestry official spotlights an alarming rise in illegal logging and forest encroachment, saying that violators are using all sorts of tricks to get away with illegally exploiting the forests. Chien says that people in Kon Tum Province have infringed upon more than 4,400 ha of forest land, out of the 16,000 ha of Kon Tum Forest managed by the province’s forestry farm. In the past five months alone, more than 550 ha of forest land has been invaded by people from Kon Tum. Nguyen Khac Hien, deputy head of the forest farm’s Technical Department says the areas cleared of trees are getting larger day by day. Today, this figure is more than 4,400 ha but tomorrow it may be 5,000 ha, says Hien. Among the worst hit forests are those in Dak Kam Commune of Kon Tum Town and Ngoc Wang Commune of Dak Ha District, says Hoang Trung Dung, an officer from the farm. Rising prices for cassava, rubber and coffee have given locals extra incentive to break the law. The price of raw cassava rose to VND80,000 per 100kg from VND50,000, while dry cassava shot up to VND130,000 per 100kg from VND80,000, says Lam Thi Minh Thuy, an official from Kon Tum Province’s Agriculture Department. Prices for rubber and coffee are also rising, with rubber getting especially pricey. Rubber prices rose to VND19,000 per kg, three times higher than before, says Thuy. Farm officer Dung says loggers are using tricks such as lighting forest fires at night, to get away with cutting down trees and collecting timber illegally. In the daytime, they plant cassava, rubber and coffee on the forest land which they have just cleared, he says. But while farm officers are aware of what’s being done, Chien says he doesn’t have enough staff to adequately enforce the law. "We also lack the necessary technical means and the farm has no right to punish the people who illegally invade forest land and cut down trees," said Chien. http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=01AGR260508

Papua New Guinea:

25) Scientists are warning Papua New Guinea's mangrove forests will disappear within 20 years unless moves are made now to protect them. A marine biologist from the University of PNG, Thomas Maniwavie, says the harvesting of mangrove forests has become an unsustainable commercial industry. He says the increasing population and the rising cost of cooking fuels like kerosene, has led to the increased burning of mangrove forest wood. Dr Maniwavie, says if alternatives aren't found then mangrove forests will be wiped out because of over harvesting by 2028. "Firstly village women and elderly women were picking up firewood, in small bundles for sustainable usage, then switch to menfolk in fact chopping down trees, and then only within the last five years menfolk have come along with chainsaws and with chainsaws they've ripped down more trees than they're required," he said. "I'm quite fearful that if this rate continues we might end up having no mangroves in the next twenty years or so." http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/news/stories/200805/s2257227.htm?tab=pacific


26) Environmentalist groups claimed legal, not illegal or even illegal as it is easy to get papers nowadays as long as one have connections, large-scale logging, small-scale mining and illegal mining operations which had no permits or even have permits were major culprits in deforestation. Two months ago, a mini-gold processing plant in Rosario, Agusan del Sur whose pond tailings containing waste toxic materials like cyanide, acids, mercury used in gold processing were spilling over the streets, to farms and nearby houses were found to have no single permit at all. And it has been operating for years without environmental compliance certificate or ECC. Similar operations are found in almost all gold rush areas in Caraga Region were most if not all had no business, barangay permits at all therefore cannot be monitored that if concerned government agencies are monitoring. And wood processing plants who had no logging concession at all which were pre-requisites in operating logging business were allegedly buying illegally cut logs from illegal loggers who allegedly paying protection money all the way to concerned government agencies including law enforcers from NBI, CIDG, police and military, selected media men particularly radio stations and to the insurgents. Said revelations were exposed by three former workers of well-known illegal logging operators who were relatives or closely associated with political dynasty clans. The three who requested not to be identified for fear of their lives in their tape recorded revelations claimed the reason why illegal logging and mining are hard to stop because “everybody is benefited from government men to the insurgents operating in the area”. An Army colonel confirmed that allegedly the New People’s Army are getting its bulk of its revolutionary taxes from illegal logging and mining activities in Caraga Region. The expose’ claimed from the area where logs are cut and towed via Agusan River, there are more than twenty checkpoints. They alleged that each checkpoints get protection money that varies according to number of logs towed to Butuan City. The protection money ranges from P1,000 to P20,000 allegedly collected by each checkpoint located along Agusan River. http://www.mindanao.com/blog/?p=3713

27) LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET—Abraham Akilit, manager of the National Irrigation Administration in the Cordillera Administrative Region, was shocked to see five bulldozers roaring like lost motorcycles in the forests. Akilit led a team to inspect the Mt. Ahin watershed in the boundary of the provinces of Ifugao, Benguet and Mountain Province last month. “Like in the other national parks, the bulldozers were meant to clear the forest for vegetation,” Akilit said. Attracting most attention are the Mt. Pulag National Park that straddles Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya, and the Mt. Data National Park in Buguias, Benguet, and in Bauko, Mountain Province. “Crucial sections of Mt. Data and Mt. Pulag are becoming vegetable gardens. This is a sad development,” Akilit said. At stake in these national parks are mossy forests, the most critical portions of the country’s forests, said Manuel Pogeyed, Benguet’s environment and natural resources officer. “They provide the habitat of endangered species of plants and animals.” Samuel Peñafiel, director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Cordillera, agreed. “The mossy forests act like a sponge. They hold water and organic matter which are crucial to forest life and biodiversity. This is why mossy forests are attractive to vegetation,” he said. Pulag, the highest peak in Luzon and the second tallest mountain in the country, had been reported to host 33 bird species and several mammals believed to be in danger of becoming extinct, like the deer, longhaired fruit bat and the giant bushy tailed cloud rat (Crateromys schadenbergi). http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20080522-138043/From-mossy-forests-

Solomon Islands:

28) Logging companies in the country have been accused of robbing the government, the country, and resource owners of millions of dollars over the past twenty years by manipulating the country's determined price system for the export of round logs. A logger, who chose to remain anonymous, says that he totally supports the recent upward review by the Government of the determined export price for round logs, describing it as "still very unfair on the country and the resource owners." In response to the threat by the logging companies to withhold their log exports as a way to put pressure on the government to reconsider its decision, the logger said the Government must immediately investigate the administration of log exports by the Forestry Department up until now. "If the Government carries out a surprise audit of the way the Forestry Department has been administering log exports, the Government would find massive corruption of the export system initiated by logging companies in the last twenty years," the logger said. He stated that the corruption involved both corrupting the Forestry Department and deliberate manipulation of the system, enabling loggers to avoid paying for the right level of export duties. http://solomontimes.com/news.aspx?nwID=1823

29) An ISABEL landowner says the Government’s recent decision to increase the determined price on logs is forcing loggers to stop their operations. Konide landowner Cecil Evo said this yesterday. He said this is already happening with logging companies operating on Isabel. “One logging company has already cut down its staff and another, Green Tree, halted discussions with resource owners,” he said. Mr Evo said the move will also affect government revenue because the economy still relies heavily on logging. The Government’s decision to increase the determined price was to ensure resources owners and the government get a fair share of the revenue from logs. http://solomonstarnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1553&change=71&changeown=


30) The illegal logging destroying Indonesia’s tropical forests is fuelling another illicit trade: the trafficking of girls as sex slaves. Girls as young as 13 are being lured from their homes with promises of employment as waitresses or maids, and then pressed into servicing loggers, their bosses and forestry officials deep within the jungles of West Kalimantan, on Indonesia’s side of Borneo island. Maria, a child’s rights activist, stumbled upon the jungle brothel during a trip to West Kalimantan to rescue teenagers in illegal gold mines The girls, many of them between 13 and 17, had been trafficked from within West Kalimantan, or Indonesia’s main island of Java, 920km away, she said. “If they want to run, they’re in the middle of the forest, living beside a river, which is too deep and dangerous to swim,” said Maria, who asked that her real name not be used for fear of being tracked down by the traffickers. The girls were paid as little as 300,000 rupiah per month (Dh118), and forced to live in appalling conditions, she said. “They didn’t even have simple houses; they were living in huts or just tents made of plastic, with thatch roofs. There were no facilities for them,” Maria said. With high unemployment levels and low education, many village girls in Indonesia jump at any offers to work overseas or in other cities, particularly because salaries in foreign countries are higher. Last year about 4.3 million people, mostly women, left Indonesia for Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and the Middle East to work as maids or sometimes as nurses, collectively bringing home US$13 billion. http://redapes.org/news-updates/illegal-logging-trade-forces-jungle-brothel-in-indonesia/

New Zealand:

31) "We will be promoting international cooperation to reduce global rates of deforestation and illegal logging to support action on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development," said Jim Anderton. International action will include the development of financial mechanisms to assist developing countries to reduce deforestation; commissioning research on further steps to address international trade in illegally-logged wood and Ministerial-level engagement with key consumer countries and those countries from which there is a risk of export to New Zealand of illegally-logged wood. "We will also be supporting efforts to have the threatened and commonly illegally logged timber, kwila, listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). A listing would allow trade in this type of timber to be effectively monitored and controlled internationally." Jim Anderton said that verifying the legality of wood products at the border was not straightforward and even if documentation is supplied, verifying its authenticity is not easy. Imposing a ban on illegal timber would be impractical and ineffective if it was not backed up by reliable traceability and verification systems involving exporting countries. For this reason we need to develop cooperative mechanisms with our trading partners to prevent illegally-logged wood being exported to New Zealand. Bilateral agreements offer the best prospect, in the short term, of providing practicable mechanisms to effectively identify and prevent illegal wood from entering New Zealand. It is precisely these sorts of bilateral mechanisms that I plan to discuss with counterparts in the Asia-Pacific region over the next two months. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0805/S00555.htm

33) Juken New Zealand has come up with a new crop in its Gisborne forests that might one day outstrip the value of its trees and generate hundreds of new jobs in this district. It yesterday launched First Light Mushrooms, a company owned by the Nakamoto family and run by Sheldon Drummond, which is exporting gourmet forest mushrooms to untapped markets in Asia and Europe. Together with Food and Crop New Zealand, the company has been researching and trialling mushrooms all over New Zealand for the past eight years. It led them back to this district, which had the most friable rich volcanic soils, as well as the rainfall and the climate best suited to forest mushrooms, Mr Drummond told a gathering at the Marina Restaurant yesterday. The project had been kept under wraps until it was commercial, he said. It was now growing the first variety -- saffron milk cap mushrooms -- in commercial quantities, he said. Six others, including Perigord black truffles, bianchetto, shor, porcini, matsutake and burgundy would follow over the next few years. Mr Drummond said the company was now at the stage where things would start literally mushrooming. "At the moment we are talking in kilograms, by next year we will be talking tonnes and after that it will be tonnes per day," he said. "Over the next five to eight years we will be generating jobs in their hundreds," he said. One of the biggest challenges would be finding the people -- growing mushrooms was a complex science. http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/Default.aspx?s=3&s1=2&id=9d077854722847178d4182c9bef81578


34) Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER) released its May 2008 Briefing Note on the "Opportunities for Integrating Ecological Restoration and Biological Conservation within the Ecosystem Approach" at the Convention on Biological Diversity's Ninth Conference of the Parties held in Bonn, Germany, May 19-30, 2008. The SER Briefing Note states that the Ecosystem Approach, as developed by the CBD and others, provides us with a comprehensive framework where ecological restoration and biological conservation represent key support beams. George Gann, SER's Chair, argues that "as habitat destruction increases and the effects of climate change continue to accelerate, conservation alone is no longer sufficient in protecting the health and continuity of many species". The Briefing Note calls attention to the complementary roles of ecological restoration and biological conservation, and their potential for integration within a unified ecosystem approach. According to Keith Bowers, SER's Vice Chair, "large-scale conservation planning is now taking into account the important role of ecological restoration in preserving biodiversity, whether it is restoring critical elements of the landscape matrix or entire habitats from the ground up". In the United States, two statewide conservation plans have been built around ecological restoration principles: the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Health Plan and the Statewide Strategy for Restoring Arizona's Forests. Ultimate success will depend on avoiding top-down approaches by consulting with all stakeholders (e.g. private landowners, indigenous peoples, and government agencies) from planning to implementation and monitoring. According to Jim Harris, SER's Science and Policy Working Group Chair, "there is an increasing awareness of the fundamental interdependencies linking biodiversity and ecosystem services however the precise relationships between the protecting diversity and human well-being are not yet clearly understood or quantified, and require further research and a precautionary approach". Collaborative efforts between those working in the fields of restoration and conservation, specifically utilizing an integrated ecosystem approach, will yield synergies needed to effectively deal with the daunting challenges of preserving biodiversity while simultaneously improving human livelihoods. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Integrating_Restoration_And_Conservation_Within_The_Ecosyste

35) Monkeys are being slaughtered by the million every year to cater to the rising demand for "bushmeat," with dire consequences for the tropical forests they roam in Africa, Asia and South America. The commercialization of the practice - bushmeat fetches high prices in cities like London - along with modern hunting methods, is devastating monkey species, researchers told the UN biodiversity conference taking place in the German city of Bonn. The monkeys play a key role in spreading the seeds of certain trees, either because the seeds are better able to germinate after being passed through the monkeys' digestive systems, or because they are released from their hard pods by the monkeys while foraging. The German-based conservation group Pro Wildlife assembled 92 international researchers from the fields of ecology, botany and anthropology to assess the impact of monkey hunting and present their findings to the 5,000 delegates attending the two-week conference. The results were alarming: in many cases there are no laws against the hunting and in others the law is not applied. Monkey meat used to be consumed by indigenous peoples in a sustainable way, but now there is a lucrative trade in the meat, Sandra Altherr, a Pro Wildlife biologist, says. "In many rainforest regions, the larger monkey species have already disappeared, and the hunters have ever smaller species in their sights," Altherr says. "These days they are even shooting squirrel monkeys, which have very little meat on them," she says. Squirrel monkeys, which range through Central and South America generally weigh around a kilogram. According to Pro Wildlife, recent research shows that in those regions of the South American rain forests where monkey species have been exterminated, certain tree species have little chance of survival. "They help reforest the rain forests. If they are not there, the surrounding ecosystem can get out of balance in the longer term," Altherr says. http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/206910,dire-outcome-for-forests-as-monkeys-fall-to-hun

36) A new report, entitled "A Risk Assessment of Invasive Alien Species Promoted for Biofuels," is calling on governments to carefully weigh the risks posed by biofuel crops that stand a chance of becoming invasive species against the perceived benefits. The report, authored by the Global Invasive Species Program (GISP), identifies all the crops being used or considered for future production and ranks them according to the likelihood of their becoming invasive. According to GISP, the damage wrought by invasive species worldwide incurs yearly costs that top $1.4 trillion; the U.S. spends about $120 billion every year to control the populations of over 800 invasive species. Countries in Asia and Africa, in which so-called second generation biofuel crops are being introduced, lack the necessary resources to adequately contain invasive species. A plant like Arundo donax (the giant reed), which has been proposed as a potential biofuel crop, is already invasive in many regions of North and Central America. Not only it is naturally flammable, but it also consumes large quantities fo water -- roughly 2,000 liters per standing meter of growth. Or take oil palm, for example: The African species, which has been recommended for use as a source of biodiesel, has spread like wildfire in certain parts of Brazil -- turning diverse forest habitats into homogeneous fields of palms. While the report isn't intended to discourage all biofuel production, it is meant to serve as a useful reference for policymakers and businesses considering their use. It lists the following as potential risk-mitigating strategies: 1) Risk assessments - use of formal risk assessment protocols to evaluate the risk of invasion 2) Benefit/cost analysis - presenting business plans that can show real benefits before funds are made available 3) Selection of native/low-risk species - creation of incentives for the use of species that pose the lowest risk 4) Risk management - includes monitoring and contingency planning, such as control measures when an outbreak occurs. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/05/invasive-biofuel-species.php

345 - Earth's Tree News

Today for you 37 new articles about earth’s trees! (345th edition)
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--British Columbia: 1) GBR is being destroyed and no one’s stopping ‘em, 2)
Lodgepole pine policy maximizes carbon emissions, 3) Bring down Coleman, 4) Slowdown in third-party cutting, 5) Nothing yet done to stop carbou extinction, 6) 10,000 square kilometers of new protected areas, 7) Taser Coleman! 8) Coleman cont. 9) 1,000 people rally to regain jobs that’ll never return, 10) Industry created the Pine Beetle disaster,

--California: 11) Motorised recreation wants roadless areas kept open, 12) After 7 years Sierra Pacific wins eco-challenge in state supreme court, 13) cold weather killed trees mistaken for Sudden Oak Death, 14) Six Heritage trees to be cut via school exemption,

--Canada: 15) Three first Nations demand sovereignty from mining policy, 16) Norfolk residents given rare species checklist, 17) Grassy Narrows moratorium is a sham, 18) Don’t use the boreal, use wheat! 19) Poplar River First Nation defends land from loggers and miners, Tembec delays harvest till next fall,

--Germany: 21) Fight biopiracy, 22) Women from the Orange Bloc, 23) Via Campesina protest, 24) Biodiversity is fundamental to human life, 25) Chopping down GE trees,

--Australia: 26) New Tassie premier, new style of clever & kind double-speak, 27) Greens say new premier won’t make any changes in the near future, 28) Money to stop logging in other countries, but not at home, 29) 10,000 new Tassie hectares to be destroyed after Brown’s lawsuit fails, 30) Plantations produce 2/3rds of the wood supply, 31) I put him out of business, now we’re friends, 32) Protections in Victoria means increased logging in NSW, 33) Forest destruction as union pacifiers and political bribes, New Zealand welcomes Tassie premier, 34) $2 billion pulp mill is dead, 35) Forest and Wood Products Stats, 36) FSC criticises guidelines?

--World-wide: 37) World Bank is a major driver of deforestation

British Columbia:

1) Western Forest Products is now blasting roads into Ellerslie, Ingram, Mooto and Western lakes. This complex of large lake systems remain one of the largest, intact, contiguous low elevation rainforests left on the mainland coast. It is why, just a few years ago, front line blockades, threats of cancelled softwood lumber contracts and a host of other campaign related activities successfully stopped this road. This logging plan has little to do with EBM. The vast clearcuts and associated roads will merely keep WFP afloat in red cedar for a few more years. It is truly heartbreaking to see this happening with no opposition. -- Ian McAllister

2) The B.C government is advertising license opportunities to log and burn 4.4 million cubic metres of lodgepole pine and other species each year for a 20 year period to create of electricity. Not only will this be a major assault on biodiversity by clearcutting 44,000 hectares of forest each year, it will introduce 3,168,000 tonnes of CO2 into the skies above B.C. annually, about twice as much CO2 emission as the population of Chilliwack. This is a dramatic step backwards for a province which is trying to lead the way with tough targets for the reduction of green house gas emissions by 2020. These licences offerings come at a time when the overwhelming consensus of world scientists is that global warming beyond 2 degrees C will cause species extinction rates to soar above 30% globally and be catastrophic for human populations. To avoid overshooting this 2 degrees C threshold, we must start reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions immediately to 65% below current levels by 2050. The B.C government has reacted to this situation with good policy in terms of CO2 emission reduction targets of 33% below current levels by 2016 and 80% below current levels by 2050. In fact, the policy calls for all new electrical generation facilities to have zero net green house gas emissions. This is an ambitious, well intentioned CO2 reduction plan which needs to be given full support. However, a closer look reveals a massive flaw in part of the policy initiative. The B.C. government's new green energy strategy intends to licence a significant number of industrial "Biofuel" facilities designed to burn forests to create bioenergy, particularly electricity. The rationale is to reduce CO2 emissions by shifting from fossil fuels to trees. As well, this new policy claims it will rehabilitate the beetle-altered forest, create jobs, and help the B.C. government achieve its CO2 emission reduction targets. This whole plan rests on the government's assertion that carbon released when trees are burned does not contribute to global warming because newly planted trees will pull that carbon back out of the air as they regrow to replace the ones burned. This idea originated in the tropics where life cycles can be measured in ten or fifteen years for fast-growing plants like switch grass and other short rotation woody crops. http://chilcotin.wordpress.com

3) The Steelworkers have demanded it, and so have the NDP. It is now time for Dogwood Initiative and our supporters to publicly demand Forest Minister, Rich Coleman’s resignation. It's time to find a Forest Minister who offers real solutions for the forest industry. Early next week petitions for Coleman's resignation will be officially submitted to the provincial liberal party in a legislative session. If you haven’t already signed the petition asking for Rich Coleman’s resignation do so now at bc4sale.org, and forward this e-mail to a friend. If you want your name and comments to be submitted please sign on no later than Sunday May 25th at 5:00pm. (If you miss the deadline, you can still sign and we will send those signatures at a later date). We are up to 900 signatures, and we are aiming for at least 1200 to submit! Maurita@dogwoodinitiative.org

4) With the Prince Albert Pulp Mill continuing to sit idle, activity has also slowed in the provincial forest where mill owner Domtar has timber rights. Domtar vice-president Michel Rathier said in a recent interview there has been a slowdown in third-party cutting in the area under the Prince Albert forest management agreement (FMA). As well, there will be no tree-planting activities in the FMA this year because the company was caught up on its reforestation requirements last year. Tree-planting will continue next year, he said. "We harvested much less so we're due to plant much less," said Rathier by telephone from Montreal. Talks are continuing between Domtar and the Saskatchewan Party government over reopening the mill, which was closed by former owner Weyerhaeuser in 2006. However, few details are forthcoming from either side. http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/local/story.html?id=e2f4b0f5-7ef2-4a56-bc8c-

5) There has been no real progress in efforts to save the southern mountain caribou in B.C., according to a longtime wildlife biologist. Even though the B.C. government announced a caribou recovery plan last October, the animals are facing extinction, says Dr. Lee Harding, formerly with Environment Canada. Harding was hired by the environmental group ForestEthics to evaluate the progress of the first six months of the new government recovery plan. He found that while many teams of experts and stakeholders are working to find a way to protect the remaining herds, once again, government action is not living up to promises. "We have had three different recovery plans developed for these caribou in the last 20 years and there still has yet to be any substantial action to actually protect the caribou," said Harding on Tuesday in Coquitlam. Government constraints on habitat protection and upcoming agreements with recreation groups spell doom for the remaining animals, said Harding, because the caribou are dependent on the same old growth forests favoured by loggers, and they can't survive disturbances that come with snowmobilers and heli-ski operators. "I can imagine all of them going extinct in a few decades, and more than half of the populations going extinct very soon," said Harding. There are just an estimated 1,900 southern mountain caribou left in B.C., down from approximately 5,000 about 20 years ago, said Harding. The remaining population is spread out among 11 herds. However, three herds are so small that the government is making no efforts to save them, according to Harding. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/05/21/bc-caribou-recovery-plan-stalled.html

6) The B.C. government has added almost one million hectares or 10,000 square kilometres, to B.C.’s parks and protected areas with legislation introduced last week. The Bill 38 includes the Sea to Sky Land and Resource Management Plan, which incorporates First Nations land use plans by the Squamish, Lil’wat and In-SHUCK-ch Nations. In total, the number of conservancies in the province will double to 135 through the legislation, and 11 new Class A parks are being created, to bring the total to 604. According to Environment Minister Barry Penner, the Liberals have protected more than 1.8 million hectares of land since 2001 by establishing 57 new parks, 135 conservancies, one ecological reserve and eight protected areas, while also expanding 50 parks and six ecological reserves. In total, 13.5 million hectares of B.C. are now protected, or more than 14 per cent of the land base — more than any other province in Canada. http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/pique/index.php?cat=C_News&content=Protected+areas+1521

7) Tasering Forests Minister Rich Coleman won’t help. That, according to Coleman, was one of the suggestions tossed out by NDP hecklers last week as they devoted yet another chunk of their daily question period to calling for his head. The crisis in the forest industry is his fault, along with Premier Gordon Campbell, they shouted, as the two parties traded blame over the continuing wave of mill closures and layoffs across B.C. Coleman is taking time away from the legislature’s posturing this week to join his forestry roundtable, where industry, union, aboriginal and government representatives are looking for a way out of the woods. http://www.bclocalnews.com/opinion/19159299.html

8) Three reasons why Coleman must go! 1) Coleman?s forest policies have taken control of our valued forests and recreation grounds and given them over to corporations, including international ?asset management? companies. A clear example of this is Coleman?s decision to delete 28000 ha from Western Forest Products Tree Farm Licences, some of which has been conditional sold to developers. 2) His policies have left the forest industry vulnerable to predictable cyclical market downturns and have lead to mill closures and layoffs in the forest sector. Over 10 000 jobs have been lost?in the last?year?and his government contiues to perpetuate these problems through support for raw log exports, and other trade liberalization schemes. 3) His Coastal Forest Action Plan will further jeopardize the long term viability of our forests and forestry sector.His plan calls for the continued liquidation of old growth and shorter harvest rotations, leading to ?smaller trees and lower quality wood. http://www.bc4sale.org/Betrayed+the+Public http://www.dogwoodinitiative.org/Members/maurita/2008-05-15forestcrisis http://www.bc4sale.org/Coastal+Forest+Action+Plan

9) On Friday United Steelworkers (USW) Wood Council Chair Bob Matters spoke at a gathering of over 1,000 people rallying to save forest industry jobs in this northern Interior community, joining a list of some 20 speakers which included BC NDP leader Carole James, NDP Forest Critic Bob Simpson, CEP National President Dave Coles, PPWC President Jim King, USW Local 1-424 executive board members Alf Wilkins, USW Local 1-424 forest worker transition representative Terry Tate, and others. The crowd, which represented nearly 25 per cent of the community's population, marshaled near the union hall in town and proceeded down Mackenzie Boulevard to Centennial Drive and towards the rally site in the Alexander Mackenzie mall parking lot. Matters said the BC government must intervene to re-establish an office with the powers of the former Jobs Protection Commissioner, which it abolished after taking power in 2001. He recounted how jobs at the former Evans Plywood plant in Golden (now Louisiana Pacific LVL) were saved in the mid-90s when the commissioner worked with an investor, the government, the community, and with workers and their union to save the mill and community. Matters also took aim at Pat Bell, the MLA for Prince-George North and Minister of Agriculture and Lands, who said that logs are not being exported from the community while sawmill and pulp operations are down. Matters said that workers and the union are going to hold the government accountable on that issue now and into the future. Steelworker Alfr Wilkins read out a locally developed list of 11 demands, which include tying timber to jobs in Mackenzie and restricting log exports out of the area. http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2008/23/c3967.html

10) The BC public lost a $30 plus billion investment in ridiculously irresilient lodgepole pine silviculture and no one is pointing a finger at our forest industry's self serving psuedo science largely because trusted scientists like David Suzuki are providing comfort and cover to the forest industry because they like the idea of hanging this huge economic consequence as a foreshadowing of climate change. For sure, climate change is going to trash the resource economy but why pretend that this particular MPB catastrophe is the result of climate change? Where is your commitment to honesty and scientific rigour. The build-up of available beetle food in the lodgepole pine forests courted disasterous linked and cascading epidemic mode outbreaks. At some points in the last 20 or so years, the catastrophe became inevitable and the irreversible. The climate could have chilled significantly and the MPB catastrophe would still occur. There is absolutely no need to blame climate change unless you think delaying it a year or two might make a big difference. The fact is that the fuse was lit on the MPB bomb and anyone who was banking on cold winters putting and end to its smouldering was simply building a safe haven in a swiss bank account. Why would Suzuki get sucked into pretending that the MPB catastrophe is a consequence of climate change? StumpsDon'tLie@forestcouncil.org


11) "Once again, the motorized recreation community have little choice but to respond to attempts to close treasured access to historical roads in these 'roadless' areas," said Don Spuhler, Cal4 President. The California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs led a coalition of recreational access groups seeking to enter the latest lawsuit challenging motorized recreation in California. The lawsuit was filed by the California Attorney General's Office on behalf of the California Resources Agency, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the People of the State of California. It was filed against the U.S. Forest Service's "forest plans" for the Angeles, Los Padres, Cleveland and San Bernardino National Forests in southern California. The State contends the Forest Plans fail both to comply with various federal laws and to properly "harmonize" the State's input on "roadless area" management with the long-range federal planning vision. The Recreation Groups filed a motion to intervene on May 15th in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Case No. C 08-1185-MHP). The groups petitioning the court include the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, American Motorcyclist Association District 36, California Enduro Riders Association, and the BlueRibbon Coalition. http://www.sharetrails.org/releases/media/?story=585

12) After seven years of litigation, the California State Supreme Court released a decision today that directly affects clearcut logging plans by Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) in the Sierra Nevada region. The Court’s decision favored the lumber company in its claim that it does not need to do a more thorough job of assessing the cumulative impacts of clearcuts on wildlife across its vast timberlands in the State. Rather than ruling on the merits of whether or not clearcuts were harmful to wildlife or whether herbicide spraying caused environmental damage, the Court narrowly focused on technical points concerning adequacy of review. --Jodi Frediani, Chair, Forestry Task Force Santa Cruz Group, Ventana Chapter, Sierra Club JodiFredi@aol.com
The California Supreme Court in San Francisco rejected environmental challenges to a timber company's plans to harvest trees on about 1,400 acres of private land in Tuolumne County. Two conservation groups contended that timber harvest plans developed by Sierra Pacific Industries didn't adequately consider the broad impact on two wildlife species, the California spotted owl and a small mammal called the Pacific fisher. The California spotted owl is not listed as an endangered species, but is a cousin of the northern spotted owl, which is federally listed as a threatened species. The Pacific fisher is classified as a species of concern. Sierra Pacific Industries plans to harvest pine, fir and black oak trees on the land by clear-cutting most of the trees on the land and then replanting the forests. The procedure of logging most trees in an area at the same time is known as "even-aged" management. The high court unanimously ruled that the plans did adequately consider the impact on the Sierra Nevada region before concluding the two species wouldn't be harmed. John Buckley, executive director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, said his group is considering whether there are additional legal challenges to be resolved by a state appeals court. Buckley said his organization believes the ruling focused on a narrow procedural issue and failed to evaluate "whether clear-cutting has a significant impact" on wildlife. http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_9348910

13) Dead oak trees killed by a fast-spreading microbe have become an all-too-common sight across Northern California. But a University of California, Berkeley scientist says many oaks in the Sierra foothills and along the North Coast have been left leafless this spring because of a cold snap, not disease. Oak expert Douglas McCreary said most trees should recover after several nights of cold temperatures hit when many were just starting to leaf out. He said landowners should not assume the leafless trees are dead and cut them down. The ruthless spread of sudden oak death has killed more than one million trees and left 14 California counties under quarantine. http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_9378428?nclick_check=1

14) This summer, most likely mid- to late-June, six heritage trees at Oak Knoll School in Menlo Park will be destroyed. During the span of one-hundred fifty to four-hundred fifty years their roots have hugged the earth and through them sent nourishment up through massive trunks into far-reaching branches and leaves. In turn, the canopies of these trees – four oaks, a pine, and Joshua tree have provided shelter and food for a myriad of birds, and squirrels. For the many children who have played there, they have provided shelter from the sun and rain, and for all of us, beauty. Soon, these mighty oxygen-producing trees will be gone, and for four of those trees a grassy soccer field, with demands for water, will be their replacement. During the twenty-four years I taught at this school, the trees were always a delight for scavenger hunts, bird identification, and in the fall observation of the gathering of acorns pounded into the oaks’ individually drilled holes carved out perfectly by Acorn Woodpeckers. In the spring there was always the joy of watching birds carrying material to nests, and it would be impossible to count the many times baby birds, accidentally fallen from their nests, were brought into my classroom for rescue. I agree with Kent Steffens, Director of Public Works for Menlo Park, when he stated in a letter to the Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD), “The School District is encouraged to use every reasonable effort to preserve heritage-sized trees at Oak Knoll School.” To do so, in planning for new additional buildings, a soccer field, and parking lots at Oak Knoll School, the school board could have made the decision to adopt the Menlo Park Heritage Tree Ordinance, thereby saving the trees and planning around them. Instead, they chose to exempt itself from that city ordinance. In addition, the Board could have chosen a full-blown non-partial Environmental Impact Report, as they did at Encinal School. They chose otherwise. What the Board did choose was to adopt the Negative Declaration Report, and voted for its passage the evening of May 8th, 2008, which states in part that there will be no negative impact resulting from disposal of the six heritage trees. http://www.almanacnews.com/square/index.php?i=3&t=1451


15) Three First Nations will be calling on the province today to respect their right to say NO to mineral exploration and logging on their lands at a rally at Queen's Park. The rally, scheduled to begin at 5pm with a press conference at 4:30pm, is an event of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Ardoch Algonquins and Grassy Narrows. It is supported by over 25 environmental, social justice, student, faith, and union groups from across the province and Canada. Masters of Ceremony will be Thomas King, celebrated author and Cathy Jones, actor, writer and comedian from CBC Television's This Hour has 22 Minutes. Signifying the importance of the issue to Aboriginal rights and sovereignty, former National Chief Ovide Mercredi of the Assembly of First Nations will address the rally. A letter from Mr. Robert Kennedy Jr. to Premier McGuinty will also be read at the rally. In the letter, Mr. Kennedy asks that the Premier reform Ontario's outdated mining rules and do whatever possible to halt ongoing drilling on traditional lands of jailed First Nations' leaders. "We never surrendered our traditional lands and we never agreed to be
bound by the reserve. We will never give up our duty to protect our traditional lands that we use for hunting and fishing," said KI Counsellor Sam MacKay from jail in Thunder Bay. He and five others known as the KI Six are being detained after being found in contempt of court for peacefully opposing mineral exploration on their traditional lands 600km north of Thunder Bay in the Boreal Forest. http://www.nationtalk.ca/modules/news/article.php?storyid=9848

16) Rural residents in Norfolk will be given a checklist of rare species to watch for as part of a conservation effort across the Carolinian region. The package, which will go to about 11,000 households and farms, includes information on environmental groups that can be contacted to find out how to carry out individual conservation projects. The idea is to increase awareness of Ontario's Carolinian region, a stretch of land in southern Ontario that is home to plants and animals found nowhere else in Canada. The Carolinian region includes everything south of a line running from Sarnia to Toronto, an area with a climate warm enough to support such species as tulip trees and flying squirrels. A coalition of government and non-government groups, known as the Carolinian Canada Coalition, is organizing the checklist and will distribute it in seven counties across the region. "A lot of people still don't know what it's all about," said Nikki May, project co-ordinator with Carolinian Canada Coalition. "We want them to know about the national treasures that are in their own county." Norfolk residents will be asked to watch for the red-headed woodpecker, barn owl, gray ratsnake, and the American badger. Bernie Solymar, co-author of the factsheet, said that when local residents were asked years ago to watch for the badger, sightings soared. In two weeks, there were more reports of badgers than in the 10 previous years combined, said Solymar, who spoke to a group of environmentalists who gathered Thursday at Bird Studies Canada to mark the kick-off of the Norfolk campaign. A growing number of people, including snowmobilers, hikers and hunters, are using Carolinian forests for recreational purposes, said Michelle Kanter, executive director of the Carolinian coalition. "Everybody wants to use them," she said. "We need to engage them on how to take care of the area." http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1039395

17) Grassy Narrows still wants a moratorium on logging so the forest is protected until all the issues have been addressed, he said; but instead, ''it's business as usual out there. ... To me, it looks as if there's been an increase in harvesting.'' In an interview after the signing of the MOU, Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield brushed aside questions about the moratorium. ''We've moved forward,'' she said, adding that she's focused on the work ahead. ''We'll have the pilot up and running as we move forward to whatever the final resolution is.'' Cansfield, accompanied by Fobister, flew over the Whiskey Jack Forest May 12. Their reactions were very different. Fobister said the forest looked ''terrible'' and he was shocked to see very large clear-cuts and very small buffer zones, with little space for animals. Cansfield said she was impressed by the protected spaces known as marten cores - usually several thousand acres that the ministry requires companies to set aside for pine marten (a type of weasel prized for its fur) and other boreal forest animals that need large, undisturbed tracts of mature conifer. In fact, the Whiskey Jack Forest has an unusually low proportion of marten core - 3.7 percent, according to a 2005 study by CPAWS Wildlands League. Ministry guidelines call for 10 - 20 percent. Currently, according to the minutes of an MNR team working on the 2009 - 19 forest management plan, its estimated marten core will be a skimpy 5.9 percent in 2009, and will slowly increase over 60 years to 8.5 percent. Despite this projected shortfall, the company has been pushing the natural resources ministry to allow it to cut in several protected areas. Although ministry guidelines may permit selective cutting - no clear-cutting - of up to 30 percent in marten cores, no such harvesting was allowed under the 2004 - 09 Whiskey Jack Forest Management Plan. But the marten cores are more accessible and will save the company money, AbitibiBowater officials told the MNR team, which is comprised of ministry staff, company representatives, local citizens and aboriginal representatives. The company was unable to get approval at the Kenora district level and in January the matter was referred to regional director Al Willcocks in Thunder Bay. His decision was to ''release'' an entire marten core for harvesting, in the southern part of the Whiskey Jack Forest, outside of Grassy Narrows traditional territory, committee minutes show. http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096417371

18) Canadian Geographic is publishing its annual environment issue on paper made from wheat, a first for a North American magazine. The issue is being printed on sheets made with wheat straw — what's left of wheat after the grain harvest. The magazine says adding agricultural waste to pulp from trees could offer farmers a new source of revenue and cut the demand for pulp from the continent's boreal forests. The special issue is the result of a four-year project the magazine's staff has been working on with Markets Initiative, a Canadian environmental group devoted to the protection of the boreal forest, the Alberta Research Council and the magazine's printer, Dollco Printing. "We are all quite elated," the magazine's editor-in-chief, Rick Boychuk, said. "This has galvanized the whole company. People are thrilled to be at the forefront of an initiative of this nature." The idea was the brainchild of Nicole Rycroft, a committed environmentalist who works for Markets Initiative. "Canada's forests are disappearing at an alarming rate and if we just look at newsprint, for example, 100 million trees are logged every year in Canada just to make newsprint," Rycroft said. The wheat-straw pulp used in the making of the issue was imported from China, where papermakers have been using wheat and rice for centuries. But Rycroft hopes to sell North America's pulp and paper industry on the idea that magazine-grade paper can be made here from agricultural waste produced by Canadian farmers. According to Canadian Geographic, Canadian farmers annually produce an estimated 21 million tonnes of wheat straw, which could be turned into eight million tonnes of pulp and enough paper for 20 million magazines. That straw could be a new source of revenue for farmers willing to bale and sell it to pulp-and-paper companies. The magazine has been published by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society continuously since 1930. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/05/21/magazine-wheat.html

19) In 2004, residents of Poplar River First Nation convinced the Manitoba Government to stop all mining and logging on their traditional land, 600km northeast of Winnipeg, for the next five years. Sophia Rabliauskas is a member of this community and at the forefront of their struggle for full protection. She is now being recognized for her tenacity with one of the province's highest awards, the Order of Manitoba. "It feels great to be recognized," Rabliauskas says."It's good because it gives the whole community of Poplar River the support we need and it's also bringing a sense of pride to the community and the people." In 2002, Rabliauskas, along with several other community members developed a comprehensive land protection and management plan for their territory-a precedent setting accomplishment among First Nations in the boreal. The plan outlines core elements for the protection of the forests, such as respecting traditional knowledge; benefiting from environmental analysis; developing economic opportunities, including protection of traditional hunting, trapping and fishing activities; and creating sustainable tourism opportunities. "It's been a long process and the work continues to protect the land," she says. "We got temporary protection but what we really need is full protection of this land, and we're busy negotiating with the provincial government now to get that." Rabliauskas is working with other First Nations in the area to safeguard an even larger section of the boreal forest and declare it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. She hopes her work will be an inspiration to other First nations who face similar challenges protecting their land. Vast areas of Canada's boreal forest have been clear-cut by logging companies and subject to invasive mining development. The Boreal Forest Network reports that nearly 65 per cent of Canada's boreal forests have been slated for long term clear-cut. Environmentalists and residents fear that these boundless forests could be the next target of the world's pulp and paper industry. Gaile Whelan Enns, Manitoba Wildlands director, says Rabliauskas's involvement in her community has to do with preserving the traditional knowledge that has been passed down to her. http://www.firstperspective.ca/fp_combo_template.php?path=20080522boreal

20) Tembec today announced that it will delay the resumption of harvesting activities to late fall 2008 in the Northern Ontario West Region. Today's decision will temporarily affect approximately 100 unionized and staff employees. "Relative to present and forecasted market conditions, there is a sufficient supply of logs to meet production requirements. Given the stockpiles already in mill yards and in-bush inventories, we can delay the resumption of bush operations in the Northern Ontario West Region until November. Normal road construction and road maintenance work as well as reforestation will continue during the summer," said Mike Martel, Vice President, Ontario Division of Tembec's Forest Products Group. "To minimize the impact on our employees, we intend to start our harvesting early in November for the Gordon Cosens Forest and a few weeks later in the Hearst Forest. This harvesting suspension is another indication of the serious state of lumber market conditions, driven primarily by the dramatic fall in the number of housing starts in the United States and the related impact on lumber demand and pricing. The continued high value of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar as well as high energy and wood costs further aggravates these conditions," concluded Dennis Rounsville, Executive Vice President and President of Tembec's Forest Products Group. Management has met with employees to inform them of the Company's decision. http://foresttalk.com/index.php/2008/05/26/tembec_delays_harvesting_until_fall


21) Amongst the suits in the luxurious hotel hall, Sebastian Haji immediately catches the eye. He is small, dark-skinned, and wears a crown of feathers on his head. Sebastian is a Machineri Indian from the Amazons region in Brazil, and he is in Bonn for serious business with the suits. He is here to fight biopiracy. "Multinational companies are stealing the knowledge and resources of Amazonian people, and international institutions and our own government are just looking at the thieves," Sebastian told IPS. "And this robbery is taking place despite international conventions and alleged legal protection of our rights anchored even in the Brazilian constitution." Like many other representatives of indigenous peoples from around the world, Sebastian is in Bonn for the UN conference on biodiversity May 19-30. The conference is taking place within the framework of the UN Convention on Biological diversity (CBD), the international treaty adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio in June 1992 to protect biodiversity. The CBD's three main goals are conservation of biological diversity, sustainable economic use of flora and fauna, and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources among all countries. The last of these is a euphemism to describe the fight against biopiracy. Biopiracy means, for example, how Amazonian indigenous peoples might lose two of their traditional healing methods to multinational companies. http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42497

22) Friday evening, 23 May 2008, women from the Orange Bloc surprised the 'German Forestry Council Forest and Wood For a Future With Life of Quality Get Together' at their side event in the museum. One by one, during a cocktail and appetizer party on the museum's roof, women stood on a chair and spoke out against monoculture timber plantations, genetically engineered trees and cellulosic ethanol. Although a few of the timber industry walked out, many others applauded and stayed on to talk with the women and other members of the Orange Bloc. Besides the Orange Bloc attendance at the gathering, the leading representatives of the national and international forest and timber industries and conference delegates attended the affair. The unofficial Orange Bloc presentations came after classical music in the museum's first floor and the very strange presentation by Prof. Dr. Gerd Wegener, full professor at Holzforschung of the TU Munich. Dr. Wegner, as described in the CBD side event announcement spoke on: "What ecological, social and cultural dimensions the sustainable production and usage of wood will have in the future. Thereby, nature and technique will undergo a unique symbiosis: By means of modern technology, high performance building materials and wood based products, natural fibers for the paper and textile industry as well as sustainable energy sources, for example, will develop from materialized solar energy from the forest." [translation: use genetic engineering and other synthetic biology technologies to transform wood into agrofuels, plastics, chemicals and other products.] Where will the Orange Bloc show up next? For photos of this and other actions, please see http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/gallery.php?catID=26

23) This afternoon activists from all over the world have hung a banner, banged on teacups and handed out messages by Via Campesina during the official celebrations of Biodiversity Day at the 9th Conference of Parties (COP-9) of the UN convention on Biodiversity. They did so at the end of a message by UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon read by the Programme Officer of the Secretariat of the CBD to the distinguished delegates of the Convention. The banners read "No Agrodiversity Without Farmers" and "Nature for People Not for Business". The written message was brought to the attention of the delegates by farmers' group Via Campesina, who were refused to be part of the celebration ceremony just before biodiversity day. According to Via Campesina as well as many other present at the convention small famers are the key to both the solution to world hunger and the safeguarding of the world's biodiversity. Via Campesina also warns against corporate interests advocating for a new Green Revolution in Africa as a strategy to increase productivity. Although they use concepts such as "sustainability", "participation", and "biodiversity management", the production model is the same as that which has created the present crisis and growing loss of biodiversity Small farmers, though, have the ability to feed the world. Peasant agriculture promotes food diversity, sustains traditional cultures and does not burden the environment. Moreover, small-scale, local and ecological production is an effective and immediate way of reducing carbon emissions and cooling down the planet. After a few minutes the banners were taken away by UN police officers and officials and the people holding them were escorted out of the Maritim Hotel, and lost their accreditation badges, which are required to participate in the meetings.Members of Via Campesina were given a round of applause from the delegates when they chanted "nature for people, not for business". Prior to the banner hanging action, members of Via Campesina and their supporters disrupted an industry lunch where agro-industrialists were congratulating each other for their excellent work at monopolizing the seed supply and destroying agricultural biodiversity. http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/gallery.php?catID=26

24) Biodiversity is fundamental to human life. It meets our material and cultural needs and ensures the stability of ecosystems. Worldwide, however, there is evidence of a dramatic demise in species diversity which is primarily attributed to the way humans use the land and to climate change. In order to understand the interactions between environmental change, climate change and species loss better, it is necessary to study the role of biodiversity in ecosystems more closely. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) is therefore not only funding projects on functional biodiversity, but is also endeavouring to bolster research involved in the debate on biodiversity - for example at the UN biodiversity conference, which started in Bonn on 19 May. At the exhibition "Millions of Ways of Life - Research for Biological Diversity", where German biodiversity research will present itself alongside the UN conference, some DFG-funded projects will be among those presenting the goals of this research: to measure, conserve and promote sustainable use of species diversity. The "Biodiversity Exploratories" for example, are studying near-natural ecosystems - forests, fields and meadows - at three sites in Germany and are combining experimental and observational studies. The "Jena Experiment" project, on the other hand, is studying the function of biodiversity on the basis of artificially created grassland systems in which individual factors can be changed deliberately. A project based in Bayreuth, on the other hand, is looking at the distribution of species in various elevation zones of a mountainous region, focussing on the biodiversity on Mount Kilimanjaro. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/108444.php

25) A large number of activists today stopped and cut Genetically Engineered frankentrees that attempted to invade a tree planting ceremony outside of the meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). "We came here to this event because this tree planting ceremony is representative of corporate green-washing initiatives pretending to protect biodiversity," said Peter Gerhardt of the German based group Robin Wood. "The tree planting ceremony is symbolic of what industry is pushing--non-native, often invasive trees for monoculture timber plantations. If industry has its way, in the near future these will be genetically engineered (GE) trees for production of second generation agrofuels or pulp and paper," he continued. The activists expressed concern about the refusal of the EU and Brazil to ban GE trees. "These trees are simply too dangerous, not only to forests, but also to local communities and Indigenous Peoples who depend on forests for their existence," stated Camila Moreno of Terra de Direitos of Brazil. "Already forest dependent communities, especially women, are threatened by monoculture timber plantations and GE trees will mean more plantations and an even greater threat," stated Anne Petermann, of Global Justice Ecology Project, and the STOP GE Trees Campaign. [1] "Imposing a ban on the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment is the only sensible position, which is supported by the entire African delegation plus numerous Parties from Asia and Latin America." The environmentalists also expressed their concern about the One Billion Trees campaign of the UN Environment Program. [2] "This campaign fails to inform people that planting the wrong tree at the wrong place can be ecologically and socially harmful", stated Dr. Miguel Lovera, Chairperson of the Global Forest Coalition. For photographs of this action and other events during the CBD please go to: http://globaljusticeecology.org/gallery.php?catID=26


26) New Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett has promised to lead a revitalised "clever and kind" Government. Mr Bartlett was sworn in as Premier after a tumultuous day in Tasmanian politics yesterday. At 11.30am an emotional Paul Lennon announced he would depart politics to clear the way for "generational change". "I want to make sure we are building opportunities for the least advantaged in our community, that we are looking after the children and the elderly and that every Tasmanian shares in the social capital we are building on." At yesterday's press conference Mr Bartlett: 1) Pledged to take a "deeply considered approach based on data, information and knowledge" on forest policy and old-growth logging. 2) Said the Gunns pulp mill would have to survive on its own merits, with the proponent and financiers deciding its future. He said he had never met John Gay. 3) Reaffirmed the Government's commitment to investigating the establishment of an ethics commission. http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,23764981-5007221,00.html

27) The Tasmanian Greens today discovered that the new Premier does not expect parameters around the forest industry to change any time soon in relation to new forest protection measures and creation of additional reserves in forests of high conservation value threatened by logging. Greens Opposition Leader Peg Putt MP was critical that Mr Bartlett reverted to ritualistic name-calling on forest policy despite his early claim that he would abandon such tactics. “David Bartlett made it plain that he will not be pushing for any addition to forest protection as he looks towards the next state election,” Ms Putt said. “So much for talk of changed parameters, it all turned into more of the same hackneyed rhetoric and denigration of the Greens from a man who is apparently unaware of our proposals for better value-adding to alleviate pressure on special forests now destined for the chop. http://tas.greens.org.au/News/view_MR.php?ActionID=3030

28) AUSTRALIA will commit $4.5 million towards helping neighbouring countries reduce deforestation. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said today that up to $3 million would go to the Indonesia-based Centre for International Forestry Research. The other $1.5 million would help non-government organisations work with developing countries on large-scale pilot projects designed to reduce deforestation. "Globally, there is a shortage of research on how to reduce deforestation and Australia's support for the centre will help bridge this gap and support international efforts to take action," Senator Wong said in a statement. The International Forest Carbon Initiative, under which the money is given, builds on Australia's existing commitments to reducing deforestation and has a particular focus on countries in the region including Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. "In Bali, the international community agreed that demonstration activities were needed to show that activities to reduce deforestation could be effective, long-lasting, support local economies, and reduce greenhouse emissions," Senator Wong said. "Australia is helping get these activities up and running." http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=100485

29) LOGGING of 10,000ha in Tasmania's east was given the all-clear yesterday after Greens leader Bob Brown lost a court bid to quarantine the forest and protect the broad-toothed stag beetle, the swift parrot and the Tasmanian wedged-tailed eagle. After losing the chance to take the case to the High Court, Senator Brown blamed former prime minister John Howard and Premier Paul Lennon for uniting to defeat him. A panel of High Court judges in Melbourne ruled 2-1 in favour of Forestry Tasmania by refusing to give Senator Brown leave to appeal against a decision allowing the Wielangta State Forest, in Tasmania's east, to be logged. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23749222-5006788,00.html Australian Greens leader Bob Brown has vowed to continue fighting to protect Australia's forests, despite facing an expensive legal defeat. Last year's full court ruling overturned Senator Brown's 2006 victory in the Federal Court, when a judge found that logging in the south-east Tasmanian forest threatened some endangered species. Senator Brown says the High Court did not award costs against him yesterday, but he is still facing a $200,000 bill in relation to last year's proceedings. "The money will be out of my pocket unless some good samaritan comes along," he said. "But I would sell everything I owned and divest myself of every worldly good if it would save the Wielangta forest," he said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/05/24/2254452.htm

30) A new report card shows Australia’s forest plantations now produce two-thirds of the nation’s log supply and our forests and plantations offset around 9% of our greenhouse emissions. Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke released the five-yearly Australia’s State of the Forests Report 2008 at a timber mill in Bairnsdale, East Gippsland. The report is a comprehensive snapshot of Australia’s forests, from the tall forests and plantations of Gippsland to the open forests and woodlands of northern and interior Australia. Key findings include: 1) Australia’s plantation estate grew by 12% in the last five years and now produces two-thirds of the nation’s log supply; 2) Forestry and forest products industries are now worth $19 billion annually (a real increase of 10%) and support more than 120,000 direct jobs; 3)Other forest-related industries underpin rural and regional economies, including honey production, ecotourism and handicrafts; and 4)Since 2003, the area of Australia’s native forest in formal conservation reserves grew by almost 1.5 million hectares to 23 million hectares, with additional areas set aside through informal reserves. http://7thspace.com/headlines/282130/australian_forest_report_card_plantations_and_reserves_gro

31) Ten or 12 years ago, Roger Hardley wouldn't have been sitting out on the verandah of the Forrest pub in the Otway Ranges. Wouldn't have been game, he says: "They'd have lynched me." The ardent conservationist certainly wouldn't have been sharing roll-yer-owns, coffee and yarns with John "Bluey" Andrew, a tree-faller who'd been cutting and hauling sawlogs in the area all his adult life and still has a passion for timber that he describes this way: "I just friggin' love it." Bluey hasn't cut a tree this year and on Friday the last of the chainsaws, bulldozers and timber jinkers will fall silent as the final licence to log native forests in the Otways runs out. It is the end phase in a process started during the 2002 state election campaign when premier Steve Bracks did a U-turn on long-standing Labor forestry policy and announced he would end logging in the Otways and woodchipping in the Wombat Forest. Today Roger is welcome at the pub and he and Bluey are firm, if unlikely, friends. "The relationship is a classic Australian mateship now," he enthuses. "Bluey gives me a chop-out on different things, I help him with others. We're just quintessential Aussie mates." Still, he admits, they are something of an anomaly in that neck of the woods. "I mean, I put him out of f---in' business and now we're the best of mates." http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/hatchets-are-buried-as-the-chainsaws-fall-silent/2008/05

32) The Wilderness Society fears the creation of national parks to protect red gums in Victoria will increase logging in New South Wales. The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council is proposing around 100,000 hectares of new parks be created to protect the forests. The Wilderness Society will deliver more than 1,000 signed petitions to the Premier's office at Lakemba in western Sydney today to call for a similar move in NSW. A campaigner for the society, Peter Cooper, says the NSW Government needs to create national parks along the Murray River to protect the state's red gum forests. "With the Victorian process there, we are concerned that's going to potentially push some of the industry over into the NSW side and seriously compound the problems," he said. "We think that the area really urgently needs to be assessed by the Government". Mr Cooper says the forests stretch from Balranald in the state's south-west to Moama and include the world's largest remaining red gum forest. "The trees themselves are very sick at the moment due to over-irrigation and climate change," he said. "In some areas, up to 75 per cent of trees are either stressed, dead or dying. "This is being further compounded by the fact the NSW Government is allowing patch felling to occur predominantly for low-value products such as firewood, railway sleepers and fence posts." http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/05/27/2256674.htm

33) No matter what flavor of government has been in over the decades, our forests have been and still are sacrificed as union pacifiers and exchanged for political donations. The only thing that's being 'sustained' is the parties' submission to the logging industry."
“What they didn’t announce yesterday from the report is that Australia has 10% less forests, 200,000 hectares less old growth and more threatened species than was reported in the 2003 report. The report also admits that about 1/3rd of these important conservation forests left remaining are still allowed to be clearfelled for timber and woodchips. Yet we’re told this is sustainable. There are 1,290 forest dependent species classed as nationally rare and endangered. But the ALPs minister for forestry, Tony Burke, says he’s happy to keep the bulldozers knocking over Gippsland’s native forests. There’s been absolutely no change to more sensitive management of our environment since Ironbar Tuckey held the portfolio. Thousands of Gippsland voters are extremely concerned about climate change, the loss of our wildlife, the destruction of our native forests by logging and the loss of water that results. But unfortunately these voters can’t match the political donations given by the large logging companies and unions that seem to influence the ALP, Liberal and National’s forest policies. Tree growers in western Victoria are currently screaming out for a thousand workers to help process their wood. If jobs were really the concern, the CFMEU and the ALP would not support woodchipping but be looking at mature plantations for providing secure employment. http://forestletterwatch.blogspot.com/2008/05/media-release-major-parties-ignore.html

34) OPEN LETTER to Paul Lennon, Premier of Tasmania -- Dear Premier Lennon, Welcome to New Zealand on your climate change research trip. You have stated that you want Tasmania to become a ‘leader on climate change action’.The best way for Tasmania to cut its carbon emissions is to immediately protect its old growth forests from logging. Forestry and land-use change constitute Tasmania’s largest contribution to climate change. The New Zealand Government protected this country’s publicly owned native forests eight years ago, with the help of the Green Party. When we ended native forest logging, the economy didn’t spiral into decline and unemployment rates didn’t go through the roof, scenarios some predicted here then and being echoed by your government and Tasmania’s logging companies. Quite the opposite – tourism has become our biggest export earner and the West Coast of the South Island, the last bastion of native forest logging, has had unemployment halve since the logging stopped. Not only that, but immense national pride in these forests’ protection has grown and endures. We still haven’t got it right. Far from it. The New Zealand Government needs to take far bolder steps to tackle climate change, and the Green Party will continue to push them to do so. But we hope that if you take one thing away from this visit, it is a vision of what can be achieved by protecting forests with high conservation and carbon storage value, and the environmental and economic benefits that can flow from such a policy. While your government continues to engage in destructive logging practices that have been likened to those in developing countries, Tasmania will never achieve your aspiration to be a “leader on climate change action”. http://blog.greens.org.nz/index.php/2008/05/22/open-letter-to-paul-lennon-premier-of-tasmania/

35) Plans for Tasmania's controversial $2 billion pulp mill are dead, say the Greens, following reports the ANZ bank will pull out of funding the project. ANZ said today it had not yet made a decision on whether to finance the Tamar Valley project planned by timber giant Gunns Ltd. A report on the BusinessSpectator website today quoted banking sources as saying ANZ will not provide funding for the project because of tight credit conditions. An ANZ spokeswoman declined to comment directly but referred to the bank's standing comment on the issue, which was last updated in January. "The timing of our decision is dependent on Gunns Ltd completing a number of steps and providing us with further information to enable us to complete our ongoing assessment of the mill," the ANZ statement said. Gunns boss John Gay also told ABC radio he knows of no decision on funding. However Greens senator Christine Milne said the report was "a huge nail in the coffin of the pulp mill project". It signals the "demise" of the project, she said. "ANZ owes it to the people of Australia to come out and make clear what their position is," she said. "Clearly what they are doing is giving Gunns time to stitch up money from elsewhere before announcing they are not funding it." Senator Milne said ANZ had recognised that it was detrimental for it to proceed with such a project. Gunns would now have to scramble around for money from elsewhere but it would meet exactly the same consumer resistance, she said. "If they go to Macquarie Bank then Macquarie Bank also has a consumer base, via the Macquarie Radio network," she said. "Around Australia listeners will be very angry, and Macquarie will face a similar consumer backlash similar to ANZ's," she said. Gunns today declined to comment but Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett announced he had approved a plan to manage some of the environmental impacts of the mill project. "This means construction of the accommodation facility, located on the outskirts of George Town, can now proceed," Mr Garrett's statement said. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23741896-12377,00.html

35) The forest plantation industry is booming, leading to a 10 per cent increase in exports over the past financial year, ABARE says. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics said plantations, exports and the volume of logs harvested had all increased over year to June 30 2007. ABARE's report, Australian Forest and Wood Products Statistics, shows there was a five per cent increase in 2007 of the total area of plantation in Australia. This had been driven by continued investment in short rotation eucalyptus plantations, the report said. "In 2007, the total plantation area increased by 85,100 hectares," it stated. The report said significant investment in the plantation sector over the past 10 years was beginning to show benefits, with a 10 per cent increase in total forest product exports over the financial year. "This represents an addition of $215 million to Australia's export earnings," ABARE executive director Phillip Glyde said. "This includes a 42 per cent increase in the volume of sawnwood exports and a 13 per cent increase in the value of woodchips exported." Mr Glyde said the figures underlined the strong position of Australia's forest industry. Forestry Minister Tony Burke said the report showed Australia's forest plantations now produced two-thirds of the nation's log supply and that the forests and plantations now offset around nine per cent of the country's greenhouse emissions. He said that the since 2003, the area of Australia's native forest in formal conservation reserves grew by almost 1.5 million hectares to 23 million hectares, with additional areas set aside through informal reserves. Mr Burke said regions such as Gippsland would be critical to a modern, vibrant for Australia's forestry industry. "Victoria's forestry industry generates around $3 billion annually - or around 37 per cent of our national timber industry - and accounts for almost 30 per cent of our total wood exports," he said. He said Australia still had a $2 billion trade deficit in the trade of timber and forest products. "The Rudd government is committed to working with the forestry industry to boost global competitiveness and value-adding," Mr Burke said. http://news.smh.com.au/business/forest-plantations-booming-abare-20080521-2gyo.html

36) The Forest Stewardship Council criticised the guidelines as too broad and lacking detail but the CFMEU's National Secretary, Michael O'Connor, believes ANZ has found a balance. "Clearly we all live in a world where we want to get the balance right between social, economic and environmental values," he said. The policy's release comes as timber company Gunns Limited waits for the ANZ to approve finance for its proposed pulp mill in northern Tasmania. Australia's forestry union has praised ANZ's new policy on investing in forestry and timber processing projects. Under the policy, corporate clients will have to meet the bank's standards in areas such as pollution prevention and community consultation to receive financial backing. The policy provides investment guidelines including minimum standards in areas such as community consultation, pollution prevention and the use of natural resources. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/05/19/2249138.htm?section=business


37) The World Bank is a major driver of deforestation and climate change through its massive financing of monoculture tree plantations, industrial logging, fossil-fuel extraction, and false solutions such as large dams and carbon offsetting. The launch of its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility at the UN climate negotiations last December was met with fierce protest - the inclusion of forests in carbon markets as offsets are set to undermine the land rights of indigenous peoples. The claim that the World Bank has consulted widely is nonsense. The World Bank funds were designed without developing country participation and with the explicit intention of donor country control. This week the global debt movement celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Birmingham G8, at which a 70,000- strong protest catapulted the global debt crisis into the mainstream. It is particularly ironic, then, that Woolas and Thomas called campaigners' concerns that concessional loans are being proposed as a means of tackling climate change "outdated thinking".The debt crisis hampers the ability of poor countries to cope with climate change through the lack of funds it leaves their governments. Climate change has been driven by the rich world, but affects the developing world the most. The UK emits 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person compared with 0.3 tonnes per person in countries such as Bangladesh. We owe far more to the poor than the poor owe us. We need to cancel the debts of developing countries and give grant aid, not loans, to help countries adapt to the climate change we've caused. http://www.tackleclimatechange.co.uk/2008/05/funding-action-on-climate-change.html

344 - Earth's Tree News

Today for you 33 new articles about earth’s trees! (344th edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com

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

British Columbia:

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

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

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

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


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

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

South Dakota:

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

New Zealand:

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

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


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

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

Tropical Forests

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

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


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

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

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

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

343 - Earth's Tree News

Today for you 34 new articles about earth’s trees! (343rd edition)
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--British Columbia: 1) Unique interior cedar-hemlock rainforests threatened, 2) Less rules, more exploitation for big timber, 3) BC gives up on Caribou protection, 4) Burns Lake community forest, 5) Weyco turns sawmill into housing,
--Oregon: 6) Wholistic foresters?
--California: 7) Destroying Sierra Nevada to save it doesn’t fly in court
--Montana: 8) Mark Rey preaches to local logger choir, 9) Stimpson shuts downs mill,
--Oklahoma: 10) State and Weyco on land access permits
--Louisiana: 11) Little is sued by Red Neck Timber Co.
--Kentucky: 12) Mountain top name the roads after themselves
--Florida: 13) Cutting all the big trees in Starkey Preserve, 14) Clearcuts save species?
--USA: 15) S. 2593, 16) Green lining to real-estate cloud, 17) Who’s buying forest land?
--Canada: 18) Overview of mining claims, 19) Oil sands symbolizes deforestation,
--South Africa: 20) Family and Chief get harsh sentence for Yellowwood theft
--Venezuela: 21) They shut the door to new gold projects
--Latin America: 22) News + 6 best ecotour groups, 23) Why she helps forest people,
--Brazil: 24) New environment minister: Carlos Minc, 25) Who will steal Brazil first?
--Chile: 26) Volcano threatens nature preserve
--India: 27) Save trees by lifting ban on new natural gas connections
--Cambodia: 28) China to build great walls of never ending dams
--Malaysia: 29) Danum Valley Field Centre in Sabah,
--Indonesia: 30) Another illegal logger acquitted on all charges
--Tropical Forests: 31) Will REDD really work?
--World-wide: 32) Forests and the Biodiversity Convention, 33) Forest destruction costs us $3.1 Trillion per year,

British Columbia:

1) A Forest Practices Board investigation into a public complaint about government's management of unique interior cedar-hemlock rainforests southeast of Prince George has found that the long-term preservation of rare forest sites is at risk. "Some of these forest stands contain trees that are more than 1,000 years old. These same stands are favoured for logging, which compounds the risk of losing their contribution to biodiversity," said board chair Bruce Fraser. "Government's current legal requirements to protect old-growth and biodiversity in this area can be met without preserving any trees older than 140 years. There are very few of these ancient forest sites remaining and they need protection." The board is recommending that government develop an overall stewardship strategy to ensure high biodiversity values, such as ancient trees and rare lichens, are conserved in the inland rainforest, and that government use its existing regulatory tools to restrict logging of these sites while such a strategy is being developed.University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) researchers recently discovered lichens in the canopies of these trees that are not known to occur anywhere else in the world. http://www.fpb.gov.bc.ca

2) VICTORIA - The 90-day forestry regulatory review has identified four major steps that will enable government to immediately cut red tape to help the forest industry, Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman announced today. "Government has made substantive changes to the forest regulations and policy since 2001 to increase competitiveness in the forest sector," said Coleman. "We will continue to look for ways to help our forest industry, both short-term and long-term." Examples of actions that will be implemented immediately are: 1) Establishing defined faster approval times for cutting permits and road permits 2) Ensuring all forest districts can accept and approve digital only files of plans and permits 3) Recognizing new Ecosystem Based Management costs incurred by the coastal industry in stumpage rates. http://www.gov.bc.ca

3) Six months after the B.C. government announced an ambitious plan to protect herds of endangered mountain caribou, the project has bogged down in complex negotiations and is far behind schedule, according to an audit commissioned by 10 environmental groups. Most of the aspects of the caribou plan were supposed to be in place by early spring, but many deadlines have passed and work remains incomplete, the audit found. Candace Batycki, a spokesperson for the coalition of environmental groups, said the finding is worrying because some caribou herds have declined since the plan was formulated last year. "The audit shows that a growing number of shortcuts and setbacks are threatening the recovery of mountain caribou, with some herds worse off than before," said Ms. Batycki. She said there have been budget shortfalls, poor communication between federal and provincial governments, and calculation errors that have shortchanged the amount of land that was to be set aside. Ms. Batycki said one protected area in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region is 23,000 hectares - or 48 per cent - smaller than was planned. She said it's hoped the audit will spur the government to put more effort into making sure the caribou recovery plan is fully implemented. "The ink is barely dry [on the plan] and we're seeing the government waver in its commitments to caribou," said John Bergenske of Wildsight, which joined with ForestEthics, BC Nature, Sierra Club of Canada and other groups to fund the audit. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080520/BNStory/National

4) The hauling distances associated with getting wood waste out of the bush create expenses that are, so far, the big stumbling block to wood-fuelled bioenergy thriving in B.C. But Schroff says there's no choice but to experiment. "We don't know what the winning techniques are, but we know we have to do something...it's just trying to learn our way through it," he says. Burns Lake, population 2,000, is worth watching as an example of what a difference local management of forests can make, because it is surrounded by the largest "community forest" in the province. At 85,000 hectares, the Burns Lake community forest has more than tripled in area since it was created in 1998. That was the year the province introduced its community forest pilot program. Right now, a local contractor is at work in the Burns Lake forest just south of Decker Lake, grinding up roadside piles of timber. The resulting chips are trucked to a pellet plant 80 kilometres away in Houston. "This will extend our ability to go in and recover value and get those stands back into production," says Schroff. "But our internal calculations suggest in three to seven years we would have a significant drop in what we're doing here" as the beetle-killed wood diminishes. "And, really," says Schroff, "our land can produce a lot higher value material rather than raw fuel." The program, which has grown and changed over the past decade, grants area-based tenure to communities and First Nations, allowing them to harvest and manage forests for community economic and environmental benefit. Or would it be more sustainable to find ways to add value to logs through milling and manufacturing? "But our internal calculations suggest in three to seven years we would have a significant drop in what we're doing here" as the beetle-killed wood diminishes. "And, really," says Schroff, "our land can produce a lot higher value material rather than raw fuel." Some of the highest value products are lumber products like wood siding, panelling and moulding -- basically, "anything that is not a smoothly planed rectangle," says Russ Cameron, president of the Independent Lumber Remanufacturer's Association. The association represents 82 small companies, anywhere from 10 to 100 employees, across the province. Five years ago, membership was 120 strong. "Our guys have taken a beating," says Cameron, noting that 83 former members have since gone out of business. Cameron says the group was averaging $2.5 billion in sales in 2003, which has decreased about 30 per cent. http://thetyee.ca/News/2008/05/13/TimberTowns/?utm_source=mondayheadlines&utm_medium=email&utm_c

5) As the logging industry fades from the economic scene, forest giant Weyerhaeuser has capitalized on its 600-acre site near the town. “Weyerhaeuser is developing their former logging site into housing,” said Lyons. “But the great thing is that they offered the lots to the local residents at a discount before opening them up to the general public.” Lyons says the new residents will bring new businesses. “We are attracting some young entrepreneurial types to town,” said Lyons. “And the clothing and other items in their shops are definitely needed.” For a tourist town, though, the lack of dining establishments could be a deterrent. Gray says that he’d like to see some young couples come to town and, as partners, create those restaurants.“We also want to have young families here to support our schools,” he said. “But, as housing prices rise, it makes it more difficult for them.” Two key factors keep Ucluelet from being a West Coast tourist mecca: the long, slow highway from Port Alberni, and the deficiencies of the airport. “Our airport is an ex-WWII landing strip,” said Lyon. “It is really long and could handle fairly big planes if we had an instrument landing system. That way, people could fly in from Victoria or Seattle for the weekend.” http://web.bcnewsgroup.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=120&cat=23&id=1219791&more=0


6) Reacting to the excesses of industrial manipulation, wholistic foresters attempt to manage the woods according to the basic ecological principles of balance and diversity. Instead of simplifying the ecosystem by eliminating unwanted elements, they prefer to utilize all elements to the best advantage of the entire forest. Like industrial tree farmers, they are interested in the production of timber. Unlike industrial tree farmers, they treat the forest as a complex, interdependent system with a life of its own. But how can you make it work out in practice? If you're like most would-be foresters, you will probably be starting with land that has already been abused. If you want to grow decent timber wholistically, you will first have to make sure your soil is not going to wash away. Erosion is a most serious enemy, but it can be stopped. You can build check dams in the gullies to slow down the flow of water that undercuts the topsoil. You can build retaining walls of live brush (called contour wattles ) on the hillsides to keep those slopes from sliding away. And you can also plant a cover crop of quick-rooting, pioneer vegetation to help hold the soil in place. Wholistic forester Gerald Myers—who descends from several generations of loggers—lives in one of the fastest—eroding and most severely damaged watersheds in the country. Yet he is convinced he can grow timber on his land: Three or four years ago, I started daydreaming about taking this damaged environment and trying to put it back together. That was the first time I started thinking wholistically about this 19-square-mile watershed I live in. I decided to create a labor-intensive environmental repair project that would take the out-of-work rural poor (which we have a lot of) and the damaged woods, and put them together. One of the interesting things about this wholistic approach is that—when you look at the whole site—you find that a lot of the work fits together. For example, in timber-stand improvement you generate a lot of waste material, and that can be used for erosion control, in contour wattles and check dams. http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/1984-01-01/Wholistic-Forestry-Growing-Timber-t


7) When it adopted the 2004 Framework, the Forest Service acknowledged that logging large trees does not reduce the risk of wildfire, but it claimed that such logging was necessary to finance the removal of smaller trees and brush. Quite literally, the 2004 Framework lost sight of the forest for the trees. Our clients argued, and the Ninth Circuit agreed, that the Forest Service's failure to consider any alternative options for financing fuel reduction activities violated the National Environmental Policy Act. Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit enjoined the Forest Service from carrying out aspects of three logging projects - totaling 12,000 acres - in the northern Sierra Nevada that implement the 2004 Framework and would be inconsistent with the 2001 Framework. In our view, the Ninth Circuit's repudiation of the 2004 Framework is an important legal victory that should shift the Forest Service's attention away from the last big trees in the backcountry and back to the important fuel reduction activities that are needed around Sierra communities." http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-mountain-that-lost-its-top-831037.html


8) In a broad-ranging address Saturday to the Montana Logging Association stretching from the farm bill to the next president, U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey said better forestry management is helping slow the escalating costs of suppressing wildfires.He said firefighting accounted for about 14 percent of the U.S. Forest Service budget in the 1970s, and accelerated to about 50 percent today. Rey addressed a group of about 120 people, representing an industry particularly hard hit in recent years. Ken Swanstrom, president of the 580-member Montana Logging Association, said these have been “desperate times” for loggers and sawmills, given the sluggish housing market and low timber prices. “Three months without work is a long time. This is pretty severe economically,” he said. “Usually, it is weather-related.” Alternatively serious and lighthearted in his 30-minute talk, Rey described a quiet moment after receiving a call in October 2001 from the White House to serve in President Bush's administration. He said he contemplated his “quality time” with the Secret Service who would be part of his life in his new job, and then quickly sent up a prayer. Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist, has visited Missoula five times recently. Those visits included court appearance over the Forest Service's use of fire retardants and discussions over access to Plum Creek Timber Co. properties. “I like coming to Missoula because I have interesting times,” he said. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/05/19/news/local/znews04.txt

9) Stimson officials cite the slumping housing market, foreign competition and availability of timber as reasons for their decision. Sue Tollefson is pondering her next step after Stimson Lumber Co. indefinitely closes its Bonner plant in the next few days, ending 122 years of logging operations. After 14 years at the sawmill, she's considering a career as a radiology technician. “It's scary because it's a whole different direction,” said Tollefson, 52. “But it's also an opportunity to advance.” Production supervisor Richard Anthony has been at the Bonner plant for 38 years. He planned to talk with a career counselor after listening to brief overviews of available programs during a recent information session for Stimson workers at the University of Montana's College of Technology. The Bonner mill's heyday was in the early 1980s, when it employed nearly 1,000 workers. Stimson, a privately held forest products company based in Portland, Ore., bought the mill from Champion International in 1993. Stimson owns about 400,000 acres of timberland and has assets and operations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. While millworkers scramble to figure out their next step, several related businesses have readjusted their prospects, too. Dyrk Krueger, who runs a small logging outfit from Corvallis, said without the Bonner mill, he'll have to deliver to mills farther away in St. Regis, Deer Lodge and elsewhere. But that means taking a hit with higher fuel costs. “I don't want to make it sound like that logging in the Bitterroot is economically impossible, but it is hitting home now,” Krueger said. “I don't know what we're going to do, honestly. We're small, we're flexible and we will make it, but it is not easy.” Scott Kuehn is one of two foresters recently laid off by Stimson, where he's worked for the past 3 1/2 years buying timber from private and public lands. After several jobs with timber companies in the region, he landed a position last week as a procurement forester at Tricon Timber in St. Regis. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/05/19/news/local/znews01.txt


10) Richard Hatcher, assistant director of the wildlife department, said both the department and Weyerhaeuser remain dedicated to enhancing fish and wildlife resources, and hope to continue to provide quality public recreation in that country. "This remains a very large, contiguous area that will allow us to focus our resources and management efforts," he said. "Every dollar brought in from land access permits will go right back into that area, whether to help pay for the lease or manage the property."The public will continue to have access to some 75,000 acres of land in nearby Honobia Creek WMA, and the department says about 15,000 people have been purchasing access permits since they went into effect several years ago. "This new agreement was certainly better for the department, and the average citizen, than completely losing access to most of that country," said M. David Riggs of Sand Springs, who is chairman of the Wildlife Conservation Commission. "It's just a fact that more and more of that country -- and many other areas of our state -- are going into private leases to big corporations or very wealthy individuals."There are several other rules and regulations that will be part of the new agreement, including a very controversial law that will prohibit ATV use on Three Rivers except during deer hunting season and only by licensed deer hunters. Recreational riding will be completely prohibited on that area, but access to Honobia Creek will remain as before. http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1391218/ah_wilderness_a_new_agreement_will_raise_fees_lim


11) Little told The Town Talk, "I don't have a logging business. I'm not in the logging business." But J.D. Rudd, owner of Red Neck Timber Co., has sued Little claiming that he is owed $4,929.36 by Little Enterprises Inc. for timber that was cut and hauled off of a tract of land belonging to the U.S. Forest Service. The commercial database on the secretary of state's Web site shows Little Enterprises Inc. is an active corporation domiciled at 8784 La. Highway 501, Winnfield. A.D. Little and his wife, Kelly C. Little, of that same Winnfield address are listed as president and secretary/treasurer, respectively, of Little Enterprises. A.D. Little is also listed as a director. According to the lawsuit, Red Neck Timber contracted to harvest timber from 60 acres of Forest Service land Jan. 1, 2005, with a requirement that the harvesting be completed by Sept. 15, 2005. Rudd claims that he had to contract with others, including Little Enterprises, to complete the Forest Service job because he became ill and was hospitalized in the spring and summer of that year. The lawsuit claims Little did not live up to the conditions in the contract with Red Neck and paid Rudd less than the agreed-upon split. The lawsuit seeks $4,929.36 allegedly owed to Rudd and attorney's fees from Little and from Little Enterprises. http://www.thetowntalk.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080518/NEWS01/805180315/1002


12) The road slicing through the thickly forested hills of eastern Kentucky used to be called the Daniel Boone Parkway. It was named for the controversial American folk hero who fought his way across Indian country to settle a state where many of his descendants still live. That was before the coal industry began blowing up the Appalachian Mountains as a cheap way of getting at the black stuff below, behaviour decried by the environmental group Appalachian Voices as "one of the greatest human rights and environmental tragedies in America's recent history". Daniel Boone's road is now the Hal Rogers Parkway, named after one of the Kentucky coal industry's closest friends in Washington, a Republican Congressman of 34 years. It passes through a mountain range older than the Himalayas and is blanketed in broadleaf forests rivalled only by the Amazon basin in its biodiversity. But the canopy of trees which lines the parkway as it rises from the bluegrass horse country to the mountains is a trompe l'oeil. The lush forest gives way to scraggly trees along the ridge-line, and behind those trees is evidence of unspeakable ecological violence. In a process known as mountaintop removal an upland moonscape is being created, which is incapable of regenerating trees. As far as the eye can see, the land is grey and pockmarked with huge black lakes, filled with toxic coal slurry. The devastation being wrought on Appalachia is best appreciated from the air. An organisation called Southwinds offers people an eagle-eye view of the carnage, not readily appreciated from the road. Another way to see what's going on behind the ridge-line is to take a Google Earth virtual tour of an online memorial to the 470 mountains blown up and levelled in recent years. The act of destroying a million-year-old mountain has several distinct stages. First it is earmarked for removal and the hardwood forest cover, containing over 500 species of tree per acre in this region, is bulldozed away. The trees are typically burnt rather than logged, because mining companies are not in the lumber business. Then topsoil is scraped away and high explosives laid in the sandstone. Thousands of blasts go off across the region every day, blowing up what the mining industry calls "overburden". http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-mountain-that-lost-its-top-831037.html


13) A three-year project to restore 951 acres of the Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Preserve should be under way by the end of this week, according to the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Sand pines have taken over much of the uplands acreage because of the lack of fire, which naturally maintains the quality of a habitat. In addition, decades of vegetative debris have built up, leaving the area at risk for raging wildfires. The tall pines will be removed and sold to pay for the restoration. By reintroducing controlled burns, the forest floor will be returned to a more natural state, resulting in more grasses and wildflowers, the agency said. Those plants and acorns will provide food for wildlife that normally would live in such uplands habitats. The restoration also will allow for shrubby oaks and larger turkey oaks to again become the dominant canopy. "This project will not only restore the health of the habitats, it will also enhance the fire protection of the surrounding residential communities," said Will Van Gelder, district senior land management specialist. The project will be conducted over three years in phases, with all of the work happening south of the paved recreation trail, leaving the overwhelming majority of the park available for recreation. The first two phases will take place west of the power lines, while the last phase will be east of the power lines. The first phase involves logging an area near the Aristida subdivision. A remote hiking trail and the entire equestrian path will be closed during portions of the project. While the horse path is off limits, riders will be redirected to the Serenova entrance off State Road 52. http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/areas/starkeywilderness.html

14) OCALA - It is not uncommon to see logging trucks hauling freshly cut sand pine trees out of the Ocala National Forest all year long. What most people don't see is the aftermath. A timber operation can leave an area looking desolate, like the patch of forest along Forest Road 77 that was logged in mid-April. By harvesting the timber, the Forest Service protects the resource, generates funds and provides a useful product, but that's not the main reason. "This provides habitat for the world's largest population of scrub jays and scrub lizards," Record said. "Pretty much what drives our timber program any more is the scrub jay." The endangered bird lives in young sand pines that grow low to the ground, trees that generally are less than 15 years old. "Right after we cut it, it provides forage, food for them," Record said. Each year, about 2,500 acres of sand pine trees are harvested in the Ocala National Forest. With roughly 120 to 200 trees an acre, that amounts to about 400,000 to 500,000 trees a year. "That is less than 1 percent of the total number of trees in the Ocala National Forest," Record said. "This is the largest sand pine forest in the world." Cutting the trees actually mimics what would happen in nature, he said. Sand pines live about 80 years, and aged trees are toppled by winds. Often, the trees are struck by lightning, which causes wildfires that burn acres of forest and can endanger private homes and property. This year, the Forest Service will conduct six timber sales totaling about 2,000 acres. "There's talk we may up that to 4,000, which is still below our allowable cut," Record said. "We never harvest more in a year than what is generated by new growth." http://www.ocala.com/article/20080519/NEWS/805190312/0/sports01


15) Overaggressive fire suppression, poor forest management, and development have impaired forest landscapes across the country. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the lead sponsor of S. 2593 and Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, says the bill will lead to an overall reduction of wildfire management costs by focusing funding on collaborative and science-based forest landscape restoration program that would prioritize and fund ecological restoration treatments for forest landscapes. The bill maintains all existing environmental laws such as the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the 2001 Roadless Rule. American Lands Alliance worked closely with the drafters of the legislation and was able to secure ecological safeguards, including framing the bill in the context of ecological restoration as opposed to just thinning and requiring scientific review. In addition, American Lands was able to secure language that ensures road decommissioning and promotes watershed health. The legislation includes a prohibition on building permanent roads and requires that funds for any temporary roads be included in the project to ensure their removal. The purpose statement includes the role of reestablishing natural fire regimes as a means to help reduce wildfire management costs. Finally, American Lands was able to persuade the sponsors of the bill to remove a loophole that would have allowed agencies to implement outdated forest plans that would have allowed the logging of old growth. This revision also eliminated the exemption for logging matrix forests covered under the Northwest Forest Plan. americanlandsalliance@mail.democracyinaction.org

16) There's a green lining to the real-estate cloud: Trust for Public Land, a San Francisco nonprofit group that specializes in buying land for conservation. Now, U.S. property owners from Massachusetts to Hawaii are flocking to it. One of the latest examples involves a five-mile stretch of Hawaiian beach. Last summer, a unit of Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management LP was negotiating with a hotel chain to build a mega-resort development along Oahu's fabled North Shore. Its plan for as many as five new hotels with up to 3,500 rooms and condominium units had been one of the most intensely opposed in Hawaii in years. But a deal to develop the 858-acre property, which includes the well-known Turtle Bay Resort, languished. Last June, the company missed a $687,500 payment on a $283 million loan it obtained in 2005 from a group of lenders headed by a unit of Credit Suisse Group, according to court records. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle asked groups including the Trust and local conservation group North Shore Community Land Trust to help protect the undeveloped land and to find a buyer for the adjacent Turtle Bay Resort. Oaktree representatives contacted her office within days after her announcement saying they wanted to talk. "They need to get out of that property," she said. "We would like to see it preserved." In Portland, Ore., a developer that had approval to build 65 homes on a 27-acre parcel agreed in February to sell it for $4 million, a 20% discount to the land's appraised value before the housing market softened. In Groton, Mass., the Trust last July paid $19.4 million to preserve a 360-acre farm that was owned by a developer who abandoned plans to build 130 homes as housing there also slumped. In rural Minnesota, thousands of former Camp Fire girls rallied to stop a 71-acre camp from being turned over for development. The property had operated as a Camp Fire camp for 77 years until being closed two years ago. But last August the developer failed to secure $5 million in financing, say officials of Camp Fire USA's Minnesota Council. They have since begun negotiations to sell the property for $3.8 million to the Trust, which proposes to convert it into a regional park, says Andrea Platt Dwyer, chief executive officer of the Minnesota Council. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121028811193679127.html

17) Since mid-2006, pine sawmills have been closing across the South and prices for pine lumber and saw timber have been dropping. Now skyrocketing timberland prices have some people scratching their heads and mentioning the "bubble" word. On April 1, 900,000 acres of timberland in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas changed hands for $1.71 billion. Just 17 months earlier, the same land had sold for $1.19 billion. One simple explanation for growing timberland values is supply and demand, Clutter said. "There's $10 [billion] or $12 billion looking to find a home invested in timberland, and there's not anywhere near that much [land] available," he said. Most U.S. forest-products companies have sold their strategic timberlands. Only Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser Co. still has major U.S. timberland holdings, about 6.5 million acres. The buyers have tended to be large, tax-exempt entities like pension funds, foundations, and college and university endowments, which wanted to diversify their long-term investments. More recently, foreigners have been attracted to U.S. timberland investments because of the weak U.S. dollar. In the most recent transaction, TimberStar Southwest, a Shreveport-based real estate investment trust, sold the timberland to third-party investors of the Hancock Timber Resource Group for an average price of $1,900 per acre. Boston-based Hancock is a timberland investment management organization. On Oct. 31, 2006, Timber-Star had bought the same land from International Paper Co. forroughly $1,322 per acre. The timberland increased in value by more than 43 percent, despite recent dismal trends in the wood-products industry prompted by slumping demand for housing and chaos in mortgage markets. This Arkansas timberland, which has been "managed for intensive timber production by industrial timber companies for many decades," is of especially high quality, Ballard said. "These lands have very good road systems, well-managed timber stands with balanced age diversity and steady timber harvest potential," he said. The opportunity to buy such land "does not come around very often," Ballard said. Pat DuBose, a principal with Little Rock-based Davis DuBose Forestry & Real Estate Consultants PLLC, said he is bullish on timberland because the U.S. housing market eventually will recover. "Patient money realizes that the [timberland] prices we have today, while they may be high, will not be considered high 10 to 15 years from now, but cheap," DuBose said. http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Business/226151/


18) OTTAWA - A report and set of maps released today offer a first time overview of the extent to which mining claims staked under an outdated free entry system conflict with Aboriginal rights, private landowners, conservation, wildlife, and other values in Canada's Boreal Forest. The report calls for modernizing the mining law. Over a half-million sq km of mineral claims are currently staked across Canada's Boreal Forest under a "free entry" tenure system implemented 150 years ago during the Klondike gold rush era. Under the free entry system, mineral rights are acquired automatically without consideration of other land-use priorities or the prior and informed consent of affected Aboriginal people. Ten per cent of Canada's vast Boreal Forest is staked for mining. "We are living in the 21st century with a mining law that dates back to the colonial era. It needs to be reformed," noted Larry Innes of the Canadian Boreal Initiative, "Social and environmental objectives - such as resolving Aboriginal land claims and ensuring conservation planning before development--should take precedence but under the current system, mineral rights are given first priority." The maps released today show potential conflicts over vast regions of Canada, including areas where mineral exploration overlaps with unsettled Aboriginal land claims; mineral claims which encroach on proposed protected areas; and regions where intensive exploration is occurring within threatened woodland caribou habitat. The report offers case studies of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec to illustrate the rising conflicts fuelled by booming investments in mineral exploration and the outdated free entry mining system.

19) With the oilsands now symbolizing deforestation, climate change and corporate greed, the Alberta energy industry is up against a growing network of green activists. In 1949, when the Athabasca oilsands were still a two-bit experiment, J. Howard Pew, chairman of Philadelphia-based Sun Oil Co., summoned to his office the new head of his Alberta operation. He picked up a thick file labelled Athabasca Tar Sands and showed it to George Dunlap. "I believe the tar sands will, some day, be of great significance to the needs for petroleum in North America," the patriarch said, according to reports at the time relayed by historian Earle Gray in his book, The Great Canadian Oil Patch. "I want you to be sure that Sun Oil always has a significant position in the Athabasca tar sands area," Mr. Pew said. Seattle-based Steve Kallick, manager of the Boreal conservation pro-gram of the Pew Environment Group, said when he travels to Alberta he is quickly reminded about Mr. Pew's role in starting the oilsands industry and asked to justify his group's antioilsands stance. His response is that no one, not even Mr. Pew, could have imagined the level of activity under way in Alberta and its impact on the Canadian Boreal Forest, whose conservation is one of the top causes embraced by his charity. "The tar sands pioneers, including the members of the Pew family who were part of Sunoco or Suncor companies, were trying to figure out to extract oil from the tar sands economically," he said. "Now that we are talking about expansion over a gigantic area of Alberta, the size of Florida … all of a sudden these environmental issues that have never been addressed are becoming a real significant problem." http://www.financialpost.com/most_popular/story.html?id=522316

South Africa:

20) A family and a local chief who struck a fraudulent deal to chop down a yellowwood forest have been sentenced to hefty jail terms in a precedent-setting environmental court case. Conservation officials were greeted with a scene of devastation at the Gongqo-Gongqo State For est in Um- zimkulu, where 89 trees aged 300 to 400 years old were illegally felled in late 2001. The incident angered the then Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Ronnie Kasrils, who said the forest, which now falls within KwaZulu-Natal, could not be restored in a lifetime. Now, almost seven years later, Clive Terblanche and sons Morné and Pierre from Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal, and three members of the Malenge Tribal Authority, have been convicted of fraud and contravening the National Forests Act by the High Court sitting in Um- zimkulu. KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife investigations officer Rod Potter said fraudulent documents were drawn up to purchase the forest, a habitat of the endangered Cape parrot, from the tribal authority for R15000 — although only R10000 changed hands. The plan went awry when conservators discovered illicit yellowwood being transported to a sawmill by truck and train. Potter said the chopped logs were valued at R389000 but potentially worth R6-million to R7-million once they were sawn into planks. The Terblanche family, Chief Wilson Ntlabathi, tribal authority secretary Eric Sithole and treasurer Siphiwe Satywa were sentenced to eight years for fraud, three years of which were suspended for five years. Terblanche and his sons received an additional three-year sentence for offences under the National Forests Act related to the cutting down of indigenous protected trees in a natural forest. “Forests have this huge role to play in reducing climate change as a result of greenhouse gasses,” said Potter. “We wanted to set an example of enforcement and prosecution in this case ,” he said. The state is to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal to increase the sentences. The six men are appealing against their conviction and sentences. http://www.thetimes.co.za/PrintEdition/News/Article.aspx?id=768348

21) Mineral-laden Venezuela on Thursday shut the door to new gold projects and threatened other mining and logging concessions in a step by leftist President Hugo Chavez to tighten control of natural resources. Environment Minister Yuviri Ortega said the South American country will not give permits for any open-pit mines and will not allow companies to look for gold in its vast Imataca Forest Reserve. "Venezuela will deny environmental permits for the open-pit mine exploitation," Ortega told Reuters in an interview. "Neither private or public companies will for now explore Imataca's gold." Citing ecological damage, Ortega said the government was also revising all its mining and timber concessions. OPEC member Venezuela is one of the world's top oil exporters. With its coffers bulging from record crude prices, it feels it does not need to risk further harming its environment with more mining and logging. "For the moment we do not need to exploit these minerals; as the president says, we don't need diamonds or gold, or coal," she said, but did not give further details. Much of the Caribbean state remains largely unpopulated and it houses diverse eco-systems including a significant chunk of the Amazon rain forest. The ban on mining in the 9 million acre (3.8 million hectare) Imataca reserve and the end to permits for open pits was a blow to Crystallex and Gold Reserve. The Canadian companies have long been seeking environmental permits to exploit their concessions in the reserve. Chavez last year launched a nationalization drive, increasing state control over the country's oil industry. The U.S critic has since taken over key sectors of the economy including electricity, telecoms, cement and steel companies. He has been especially tough on foreign companies but typically pays a fair price for nationalized assets. http://venezuelawearewithyou.blogspot.com/2008/05/sweeping-new-measuresagainst-capitalist.html

Latin America:

22) Last week, Peru announced the creation of its first Environment Ministry, dedicated to protecting the nation’s Amazon rainforest; while the Brazilian government stepped up its “Arc of fire” operation against illegal logging and deforestation. All good stuff, on paper, but the resignation of Brazil’s Amazon Minister (Marina Silva), citing “difficulties in implementing the government’s environmental agenda”, reminds us that striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection continues to be a struggle. But responsible tourism and community-led conservation initiatives do offer some hope for the future. 1) POSADA AMAZONAS, Puerto Maldonado – PERU- After 20 years the lodge will be given over completely to the community; having been fully trained to run the lodge in guiding, cooking, accounts, finance and marketing. 60% of all income goes back to the community to fund education, health-care initiatives and protect the surrounding rainforest (10,000 hectares achieved) and its wildlife. 2) HUAORANI LODGE, Napo River – ECUADOR - A fantastic lodge with both community and conservation benefit, in a region which was threatened by oil companies. 3) SURAMA VILLAGE, Pacaraima savannah – GUYANA - In an attempt to stem the exodus of villagers to the capital, Surama’s “Macushi” villagers, backed by local operator Wilderness Explorers, built a rustic lodge and hammock camp to offer hiking and dug-out canoe tours in the surrounding jungle. 4) PUNTA ISLITA, Nicoya Peninsula – COSTA RICA – Set in the middle of a 50-acre private tropical dry forest reserve, all produce is locally sourced and over 85% of staff are from the local villages. There are 32 luxurious rooms, suites and villas, 5) “VOLUNTARY ADVENTURE PROJECTS” – PERU, BRAZIL & PANAMA - These projects give travellers the chance to volunteer their time as a much-needed "extra pair of hands" - assisting local conservation NGO's with field studies and lab research. 6) “COMMUNITY JOURNEYS” – PERU & CHILE - Where possible, you stay with local communities (in family homestays) rather than hotels, and are invited to participate in their daily lives - learning how they weave, cook, farm etc and helping out with their daily tasks. http://www.journeylatinamerica.co.uk/Holiday-Types/Original-

23) Developing countries rely on their resources for development by definition; hence isolating and protecting these resources was a futile attempt. Corrupt systems and the cunning ways of the big players in the oil, logging and mining industries found ways into the parks. As to indigenous people of the forest; they were tired of the philosophies of the west. They needed no one to teach them how to protect the forest. They did that for many millennia. It is important to stress the importance of indigenous people in the preservation of the Amazon. Sustainable development as a strategy is based on the understanding that a living ecosystem can produce greater economic value than the exploitation of non-renewable resources - that enlightenment that came in the mid-90s made a huge difference since conservation start making sense. We've seen green consumerism before in the last decades yet these days with the realities of global warming and its palpable peril to the planet and to the human race - I tend and hope that what we are experiencing is not a trend but an awakening. Q: How did you get involved in forest conservation? Was it a result of your experiences in the Amazon? A: Yes. I have returned to the Amazon to thank the people that were involved in my rescue and upon meeting them I realised that their life is in danger. They have asked for my help on a community-based initiation of a tourism project. Both of us weren't familiar with the term ecotourism at the time. I had no knowledge of conservation at all. However, I was in awe of their bravery and determination and decided to support it actively by moving to the Amazon and dedicating myself fully and totally in the project. I have learned a lot from the community but also delved into a deep research and soon became familiar with all major players, NGOs, government agencies, policy makers, ethno-botanists, etc. After the experience in the Amazon I have tried to go back to 'normal' life within the context of my upbringing and my society. To my distress and dismay I did not belong anymore. I was haunted by existential questions about life and the big picture, who am I and what am I doing here. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Yossi_Ghinsbergs_mantra_for_success_/articleshow/305


24) Brazil's newly appointed environment minister, Carlos Minc, is pushing to have the military patrol nature reserves in the Amazon and elsewhere, according to comments published Monday. Minc, who was named to the important ministry following the surprise resignation of his highly regarded predecessor Marina Silva last week, said he would put the proposal to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. "I am going to propose the creation of patrols or movements by army regiments to watch over the big parks and reserves," he was quoted as saying in several media. Brazil has around 300 nature parks and reserves, most of them located in the vast Amazon forest, which is under threat from illegal loggers and ranchers. Minc, 50, was previously in charge of the environment for the state of Rio de Janeiro, during which he built a reputation as a "guardian angel" of the environment Greenpeace, and an "enemy of development" for large agricultural interests. He has large shoes to fill in taking over his new portfolio. Silva, the daughter of a rubber plantation owner, was a staunch defender of the environment during her tenure. She was said to have resigned in frustration over differences with other ministers more interested in economic development than eco-protection, and with Lula's focus on developing biofuel crops. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Brazils_military_should_patrol_Amazon_new_environment_minist

25) For as long as most can remember, Brazil has gazed nervously at maps of the vast, mostly uninhabited territory of the Amazon rain forest. In the 1960s and ’70s, generals here saw the colonization of the Brazilian Amazon, which is half the size of Europe, as a national security priority. Ocupar para não entregar — “occupy it to avoid surrendering it” — was the slogan of the day. Highways were built, and Brazilians were offered incentives to conquer the land in the Amazon and transform it in the name of development. There was more behind the nervousness than idle conspiracy theory. Even then, such a unique and vast repository of riches stirred imaginations worldwide. Herman Kahn, the military strategist and futurist, pushed the idea of establishing a freshwater lake in the Amazon to transform the area into a center of agricultural production. Now, with the world focusing on the promises of biodiversity and the perils of global warming, a chorus of international leaders have ever more openly declared the Amazon part of a patrimony far larger than that of the nations that share its territory. “Contrary to what Brazilians think, the Amazon is not their property, it belongs to all of us,” Al Gore, then a senator, said in 1989. Such comments are not taken lightly here. In fact, they have reignited old attitudes of territorial protectionism and watchfulness for undercover foreign invaders (now including bioprospectors). The government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is pushing a law that would restrict access to the rain forest, requiring foreigners and Brazilians alike to obtain a special permit to enter it. Brazilian officials say it would separate bad non-governmental organizations from good ones, and deter so-called “biopirates” — those who want to patent unique substances discovered in the forest. “The Amazon is ours,” Justice Secretary Romeu Tuma Jr. said in an interview. “We want to know who is going there and what they are going to do. It’s a question of national sovereignty.” But José Goldemberg, a former environmental secretary for the state of São Paulo, echoed many environmentalists in calling the strategy “paranoid,” and evoked the way the cold war Kremlin sealed off whole areas from prying eyes. “If you try to control it, this will end up like the Soviet Union,” he said. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/weekinreview/18barrionuevo.html?_r=1&ref=weekinreview&oref=slo


26) The Chaiten volcano sits on the southern edge of Pumalin Park, a 300,000-hectare (740,000-acre) site created by the Tompkinses to preserve a swath of Patagonia said. ``If it gets worse, it could hammer in a big way the infrastructure we've built, and wipe out forests that'll take thousands of years to return, ''said Kristine Tompkins. The eruption, which started May 2, has spewed windblown ash east across the Andes as far as Buenos Aires, almost 1,500 kilometers away, and forced the evacuation of more than 4,000 people living within a 30-kilometer radius of the mountain. A 3,000-year-old hardwood forest of evergreen Alerce trees has been spared so far. About 90 percent of the now-evacuated town of Chaiten is flooded, Chile's national emergency office said on May 15. Residents probably won't be able to return for at least three months, Chilean Defense Minister Jose Goni said the same day. In an interview with Bloomberg News last year, Tompkins, now 65, recounted the steps that led him to Chile. He said he first visited Patagonia, a vast expanse of mountains, rivers and grasslands at the southern tip of South America, in the 1960s. A climbing buddy with him on that trip later started Patagonia Inc., the outdoor-apparel company where his present wife once served as chief executive officer. Tompkins himself went on to found and sell outdoor-gear maker North Face in the 1960s. In 1968, he started fashion company Esprit Holdings Ltd. with his first wife. He gave up his Esprit holdings for $200 million in 1989. Two years later, he sold his Ferrari and Amish-quilt collection and moved to an isolated cabin in Chile to work fulltime on conservation. He married Kristine, a long-time friend, in 1993. They say they have spent $200 million to acquire and preserve 810,000 hectares of land in Chile and neighboring Argentina. Pumalin, which spans the country from Argentina on the east to the Pacific Ocean on the west, is the showcase of their holdings. Its self-guided trails, rustically luxurious cabins and elegant visitors' center draw 7,000 visitors a year. In 2005, the Chilean government granted the park the status of a nature sanctuary. Since the eruption, the Tompkinses have relocated 75 people who live and work in the reserve. Kristine Tompkins said flyovers showed that flooded, debris-filled rivers threatened to wipe out livestock on several farms that they own contiguous to the park, which is owned by a foundation established by the couple. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aquTD01h_hcg&refer=home#


27) The Majority population of Himachal Pradesh has requested the Central government not to impose ban on the release of new gas connections in the state, so that the consumers do not face any difficulty in meeting their fuel requirements for cooking purposes. This request has been made in the wake of the ban imposed by the Government of India on the release of new gas connections throughout the country. The gas consumption in the state is only seven kg per month per consumer, which is very less compared to the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana, where it is 12 and 11 kg per month respectively. All India average of gas consumption is 10.5 kg per month. There is a total ban on felling of trees in the state, and use of fuel wood is being discouraged for cooking purposes for protecting forests. Banning the release of new gas connections would compel people to use fuel wood, which would result in degradation of forest wealth. http://india.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=134200


28) The Southeast Asian country will open nine dams of various sizes between 2010 and 2019 to generate 1,942 megawatts of power, according to a government report to parliament obtained by AFP. At least four of the dams will be backed by China. The US-based International Rivers Network last year said that two Chinese-funded hydroelectric dams already under construction threatened to flood huge swathes of Cambodia's protected forests. The group said the Kamchay and Stung Atay dams, unchecked by public scrutiny, will wreak havoc on local communities and slow development. The new government report said the Kamchay hydropower plant will open in 2010, while Stung Atay hydroelectric dam will open in 2012. "By 2020, all villages will have electric power. (And) by 2030, at least 70 percent of the families countrywide will have electricity use," the report said. The government also plans to build nine coal-powered plants between 2011 and 2020, the report said. Only some 20 percent of Cambodian households currently have access to electricity. Spiralling utility prices, driven by this lack of supply, are a major obstacle to attracting foreign investment, and the government has struggled to find a way to bring down the cost of power. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Cambodia_plans_to_open_nine_hydropower_dams_by_2019_999.html


29) Danum Valley Field Centre in Sabah - Perched high on treetops were parties of Green Imperial Pigeons and on subsequent days, we caught sight of a White-fronted Falconet and a Bat Hawk. The Buffy Fish Owl and Brown Wood Owl called every night. In Danum Valley, a total of 328 bird species have been recorded, including 42 Bornean endemics. We were delighted to finally see one of these rare endemics, the queer looking Borneon Bristlehead. Despite the rainy weather, we saw a total of 60 species of birds during our six-day stay, a decent haul indeed. The valley in eastern Sabah is not only a haven for birdwatchers, it is also noted for having one of the most complex eco-systems in the world. It is located within 438sq km of lush virgin tropical rainforest which hides many of nature’s wonders not often seen by the human eye. As for snakes, Danum Valley has recorded 72 species of reptiles. We had close encounters with two highly venomous snakes. A Dog-toothed Cat Snake was seen slumbering beside a house swift’s nest on a ceiling ledge of the Education Centre’s porch. It had apparently just feasted either on the chicks or the eggs in the nest and was sleeping after its hearty meal! Then we came upon a road kill, a Banded Malayan Coral snake. We could still see the beautiful black and white banded belly and its diagnostic red tail. My thoughts at that moment were that it would make a very pretty necklace or bracelet! Other rainforest denizens we came across were tree frogs, owls, giant centipedes, scorpions and many strange patterned beetles, moths and butterflies. Even as we observed a large monitor lizard swimming in the Pallum River, we were distracted by a graceful Wood Nymph butterfly and a rufous Raffle’s Malkoha rustling on the branches overhead. It gladdens my heart to know that Danum Valley is protected for future generations to still enjoy all of its biodiversity in years to come. the centre’s excellent facilities have attracted local and overseas scientists to generate, to date, more than 300 scientific studies and documentaries. From 1992, extensive forest restoration works and enrichment planting of degraded forests with indigenous species have been undertaken in logged areas of the forests in Danum Valley. In 1996, the surrounding jungles were gazetted as a Protection (Class One) Forest Reserve. Logging and other commercial exploitative activities were banned. Danum Valley Field Centre manager, Jimmy Omar, proudly proclaimed that all logging officially stopped on August 31, 2007. http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/TravelTimes/article/FeatureStory/20080518140344/Article/


30) Another timber company director pursued in a police crackdown on illegal logging in Riau province was acquitted of all charges by judges in the Pelalawan District Court last week. Managing director of PT Karunia Alam Riau (KAR), Ana Marningsih, had been accused of acquiring timber from a protected forest without the appropriate license. “We did our best to prove her guilty and demand a sentence of three years in prison, but the panel of judges held a different opinion and believed she wasn’t at fault,” Riau High Court spokesman Darbin Pasaribu told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. Riau Police raided PT KAR’s property in Sikijang Mati village in Bandar Sikijang district, Pelalawan, on Jan. 23 last year. Police found processed and sawn timber of the acasia variety stored without the required timber documents. “Ana, as director of the company, was charged with violating Law No. 41/1999 on forestry for misappropriating forest resources without a license,” Darbin said. Presiding judge of the Pelalawan District Court, Samsuddin, acquitted Ana of all charges on May 7, and said the timber found by police had originated from a community-based forest, not a preserved forest. Prosecutors have appealed against the ruling, arguing that Ana had broken the law regardless of what type of forest the timber had been taken from, Darbin said. Law No. 41/1999 defines forest as both state-owned and traditional forests, he said. “Even though the timber had been taken from a community forest, it should have come with documents. That’s the basis of the law,” he said. http://www.thejakartapost.com/node/169250

Tropical Forests:

31) "Past efforts to save tropical forests have relied on voluntary funding, and this simply has not been enough to properly value all of the benefits tropical forest provide, or to make their protection a competitive option compared to their destruction," Johns explains. "REDD offers us the chance to put a monetary value on standing forests, and could give developing countries a way to contribute more substantially to the goals of global emissions reduction, while at the same time protecting their forest resources and investing in forest-related sustainable development for their forest-dependent communities. While REDD has attracted a lot of interest among policymakers, environmentalists, indigenous rights' groups, and the investment community, Johns says that implementation still faces a number of challenges including the "readiness" of developing countries and the commitment of developed governments. "Many of the developing countries most likely to join a REDD regime currently have limited capacity to monitor and account for changes in deforestation rates and emissions, and many also do not have processes in place to support a participatory process that will incorporate the many stakeholders impacted by a REDD program," she said. "Creating the infrastructure to support REDD programs long-term and to address the rights and roles of all relevant stakeholders impacted by a REDD program is a huge challenge, and can only be met through significant commitments by both developed and developing countries; developed countries must provide financial support, technology transfer, and knowledge and experience transfer, while developing countries will need to commit through sustained political will to address issues of land tenure and traditional rights, as well as incorporate REDD into long-term planning." A well-designed REDD framework could support the recognition of the role of indigenous peoples and forest communities in forest protection, but this goal must be incorporated in the design of national REDD programs, to insure that REDD does not provide an incentive to bypass the rights of these traditional forest stewards. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0519-interview_johns.html


32) Global Forest Coalition released a major report, "Forests and the Biodiversity Convention," at the Convention on Biological Diversity today. This report contains the summaries and research undertaken in 22 countries by independent country monitors to examine whether or not Parties are implementing the decisions made through the CBD Programme of Work (POW) of Forest Biological Diversity. The civil society groups from the 22 countries who elaborated the reports presented at their findings at a press conference this morning. The Coordinator of the report and Chairperson of the Global Forest Coalition, Dr. Miguel Lovera said, "Even though isolated actions have been taken by some governments, they fall short of complying with the CBD/POW which mandates that forests be regarded as ecosystems and not as mere resources." He continued, "The consequences of this are that forest species are being lost at a rate of more than 100 a day and huge areas of forests are being lost, such as in the Amazon, Congo Basin and throughout the earth. To make things worse, governments and corporations are obsessed with promoting false solutions to climate change, like relying on agrofuels and genetically engineered trees to replace oil. Reports on CBD/POWs implementation primarily refer to ongoing activities that have started well before 2002. New activities are either lacking or insufficient. So what are they doing?" Many countries omitted implementing the CBD/POW for diverse reasons, but one outstanding example is the lack of political will as exemplified by Brazil. Hubertus Samangun, Director of ICTI, Tanimbar, Indonesia, Southeast Asia Regional Coordinator of the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests explained, "The Indonesian government is cutting down millions of hectares of forests and replacing them with palm oil plantations." Agrofuel expansion and the expansion of large-scale monocultures for both agrofuels and other agro-industrial purposes, bad forest governance and the lack of a proper definition of forests were identified as some of the main causes of forest loss in the 22 countries monitored. The report concludes that there have been some clear success-stories of forest conservation, especially on indigenous lands and territories, but indigenous peoples are still not able to participate in national and international forest policies. contact@globaljusticeecology.org

33) The destruction of flora and fauna is costing the world two trillion euros (3.1 trillion dollars) a year, or six percent of its overall gross national product, according to a report trailed by German news weekly Der Spiegel. The European Union and German environment ministry-led research, entitled "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity," will be presented on Monday at the ninth conference of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn. In its edition out Monday, Der Spiegel will present extracts from the paper, with the study's lead author, Pavan Sukhdev, a senior figure with Deutsche Bank in India, writing that "the world's poor bear the brunt of the cost." Der Spiegel also says that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will announce a sharp increase in German funding to combat deforestation in line with Norway, which ploughs 500 million dollars annually into forest retention. Deforestation -- a huge factor in species loss and global carbon emissions contributing to climate change -- is a central theme of this year's conference in Bonn, formerly the capital of West German. One in four mammal species, one in eight among birds, a third of amphibian creatures and 70 percent of all plant life made the most recent endangered list issued by another UN agency, the World Conservation Union (WCU). http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5i4Ybq3tt20c85jzLOWlzCsSCUCmQ

342 - Earth's Tree News

Today for you 34 new articles about earth’s trees! (342nd edition)
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--Oregon: 1) Bush’s latest Spotted Owl scheme released, 2) Old growth climate campaign, 3) Insanities of the last old growth loggers,
--California: 4) How does fire and thinning effect forest carbon absorption? 5) Old trees absorb as much carbon as fifty plantation trees, 6) Treesavers lose some trees, 7) More on shutting down logging plans in Sierra Nevada, 8 ) PL/Maxxam bankruptcy proceedings,
--Illinois: 9) Old man saving trees that lean too far over streams
--Maryland: 10) State’s champion trees still on the list!
--Maine: 11) Grant for “management” of nine town-owned properties in Falmouth
--Canada: 12) Mineral land claim a threat to ½ million sq. Kilometers
--UK: 13) Looking for rare Beetles in equally rare rotting wood, 14) Ancient Tree Hunter to walk 200 miles to find trees, 15) Perthshire Big Tree Country,
--Czechoslovakia: 16) Treesits resist building of US military base
--Sweden: 17) Barren alpine landscape turns green
--Russia: 18) Log export tarrifs raise valueof Sino-Forest stock, 19) Illim Pulp: vast resources & cheap labor, 20) Vegetation now growing in once vast snow-covered areas,
--Sierra Leone: 21) Loggers use poor to explain why they are upset about export ban
--Ghana: 22) Shea nut butter makers
--Costa Rica: 23) Bats to spur reforestation
--Brazil: 24) Celebration of loggers and Ag when Silva resigned, 25) Details of Brazil’s “development” plan,
--Chile: 26) International Rivers pressing Home Depot to take a stand against Dam
--Pakistan: 27) More on the Special Vigilance Team
--Nepal: 28) 1,800 hectares in Muritya lost to timber smugglers and encroachers,
--Vietnam: 29) UK’s Environmental Investigation Agency exposes illegal timber trade
--Australia: 30) Industry-government strategy in a carbon constrained future, 31) ANZ bank pressured to not Fund Gunns Pulp mill, 32) MACQUARIE Bank pressured to not Fund Gunns Pulp mill,
--Tropical Forests: 33) An appalling crisis!
--World-wide: 34) How many sheets of paper in a tree?


1) The spotted owl prefers old-growth habitat, which was eroded by intensive logging through the 1980s and 1990s. Federal agencies characterized their final plan for the spotted owl as stronger and more firmly rooted in science than an early draft that became enveloped in claims of political meddling and manipulation. But the final version released Friday lays out 6.4 million acres of spotted owl "conservation areas" on the west side of the Cascades where forests would be managed to provide for the owls. It does not designate such areas on the drier east side of the range, because they could quickly disappear in wildfires. Instead, it would look for spotted owl habitat to shift across the landscape by thinning some overgrown forests so they are available for owls in case forests they are using are destroyed. Agencies say if everything goes according to plan, the species at the center of battles to save older Northwest forests could finally recover in 30 years at a cost of $489 million. But they also acknowledged that it's doubtful everything will go according to plan and recognized that many wildlife protection and forest improvement projects are already short of funding. While the recovery plan is not a regulatory document, top federal land managers in the region agreed to use it as a guide, said Joan Jewett, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the lead author of the plan. Other key elements of the recovery plan include aggressive control of invading barred owls and thinning forests on the east side of the Cascades. It spells out the latest federal strategy to restore the spotted owl, which keeps declining after more than a decade of protection. Spotted owl numbers are declining in almost all the areas where scientists monitor them and are showing no signs of reversing the trend. Their declines are especially precipitous -- between 40 percent and 60 percent drops in the course of 13 years -- in parts of Washington and the Warm Springs area of Oregon. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1210994715185180.xml&coll=7

2) The nonprofit group Oregon Wild released a 16-page report titled: "Climate Control: How Northwest Old-Growth Forests Can Help Fight Global Warming." So the answer to the question: What can we do to stop global warming is: Protect our old-growth forests that are the natural warriors, quietly fighting the global warming battle for us! Oregon Wild is also keenly aware of the adverse impacts climate change could have on our natural treasures. From reduced snowpack, to changing habitat, global warming presents a threat to the special places we cherish in Oregon. That's why we teamed up with multiple conservation groups and the Western Environmental Law Center to sue the federal government to allow for more stringent auto emissions standards. This is new territory for us, but global warming could impact so much of Oregon's wildlands, wildlife and wild rivers that we felt compelled to act. http://www.oregonwild.org/oregon_forests/global-warming-and-northwest-forests/global-warming-new

3) With prices of commodities rocketing upward, it is a great time to be a producer of oil, gold, corn and many other natural resources. Not so for U.S. timber companies, which are experiencing a slump amid a slow housing market and often hostile public. In recent years, environmentalists have continuously battled timber firms, especially those seeking to thin out national forests in dazzlingly verdant states such as Oregon. One of those on the receiving end of such economic and public relations woes is Paul Beck, timber manager of Herbert Lumber company. The company with more than $30 million in annual sales processes "old-growth" trees 100 years old or more in the nexus of American sawmills in Riddle, Oregon. "I want to save the earth. The goal is the same; it's just how we get there," said Beck, whose 1947-founded company specializes in Douglas Fir lumber for door skins, window panes, moldings, paneling and timber-framed houses. "We've done a really poor job of educating people on what we are doing out there," Beck said during a day-long tour of his company's mill and public forests where they have cut. "Very few foresters have a clue about public relations." In his office, Beck keeps a collection of more than 150 company baseball caps, and points to one after another representing a company that went out of business since then. But today's downturn, he says, is even worse. "This is the worst time in the wood products business ever. I'm not talking 10, 20, 50 years, I'm talking ever," he said, adding some of his wood sells for 30 percent less than a just year ago. Still, Beck is optimistic that he can help change public opinion about logging, one pair of ears at a time: "I do almost feel that if I could talk to every person in the United States I could convince them that to take care of these trees, it does involve some harvesting." http://ca.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idCAN1640251420080516


4) The research is intended to examine how controlled burns and changes in forest structure affect fire risk, retention of old-growth trees, insect infestations, wildlife and soils. It involved 12 plots of about 250 acres each in the 10,000-acre Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest in Northern California's Lassen National Forest. The site was selected because stands of old-growth trees can still be found on the experimental forest and research data collected from the site dates back to 1938, one of the oldest records of manipulation of a North American forest. The scientists thinned stands so they either maintained a variety of sizes reminiscent of pre-settlement conditions or created a single canopy layer of even-aged trees characteristic of when loggers harvested the largest trees. They also completed controlled burns in half of each plot. The team found that five years after thinning occurred, tree and stand growth significantly increased, and was even higher in even-aged stands with a single canopy layer. Controlled burns had little effect on the growth of large trees, but killed or weakened some smaller ones. Bark beetles were also more likely to colonize these weakened trees and therefore cause higher tree mortality. The team also discovered a genus and species of a previously unknown ground-dwelling spider. Their research indicated old-growth characteristics intensified fire effects on spider populations because of increased forest debris. Wildlife findings included a general lack of response from birds to thinning and controlled burns when some large trees were retained and burns were of low intensity. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080516094431.htm

5) “Not all trees are the same,” said Michael Goulden, one of two University of California, Irvine, researchers who co-authored the study. “For every big tree you lose, you actually need 50 small trees to offset that amount of carbon.” Before human intervention, forest fires burned undergrowth but had little effect on mature trees. Conventional wisdom says that the greater number of trees in unburned forests would lead to greater carbon storage, but this study, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, says the most important factor in absorption is total biomass, which decreases when fires go unburned. Because of their potential effects on society, it is no longer possible to allow forest fires to take their course, said Sue Exline, spokeswoman for the Sierra National Forest in California. http://www.earthportal.org/news/?p=1146

6) An Appeals Court on Wednesday rejected a case filed by Treesavers in March and lifted a temporary stay order, paving the way for the City to begin removing ficus trees Downtown. City officials hailed the decision and said they will contact work crews to begin an $8.2 million streetscape project that calls for removing or relocating 31 of the 157 ficus trees along 2nd and 4th streets. “I am pleased that the courts have upheld the City’s position and that we may now move forward to enhance these streets and protect public safety,” said City Manager Lamont Ewell. “The City intends to proceed with the removal of 23 trees that are structurally unstable, and implement the other improvements,” Ewell said. In a statement released Wednesday, Treesavers said "environmental and community activists" are "pledging to increase their political and diplomatic efforts to save the threatened Ficus trees. …Santa Monica has an obligation to respect the will of the community, which has been shown through over 8,000 petition signatures," the group wrote. “We are disappointed, but we have in one way or another saved many trees,” said Tom Nitti, the group’s attorney. When the group filed its lawsuit last October, the City had planned to remove or chop down 54 trees. The number was winnowed down to 31 last month. The Second Appellate District Court’s decision caps a headline-grabbing battle between the City and Treesavers, a grassroots group that has staged public demonstrations, packed the City Council chambers and taken the case to court. The decision came one day after Treesavers presented the City with a settlement offer that called for saving 14 of the trees the group says do not pose an imminent danger to public safety and leaving in place the seven trees slated for relocation to other parts of the project area. http://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_site/the_lookout/news/News-2008/May-2008/05_15_08_Treesaver
s_Loses_Appeal.htm Update: There are fewer ficus trees along the streets of downtown Santa Monica after the city felled 23 of them Friday for a multimillion-dollar streetscape project.The removal capped a months-long battle between the city and members of Santa Monica Treesavers, which filed suit last year over the plan, and whose members had threatened to chain themselves to the trees. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ficus17-2008may17,0,5541713.story

7) The Bush administration's Forest Service said one of its highest priorities was reducing the danger of wildfires that have been ravaging Northwest forests. The agency increased the scope of logging and the size of trees to be cut in the forests, up to a diameter of 30 inches, and said it would use proceeds of the timber sales to pay for removal of brush and small trees that fuel fires. Environmental organizations sued in 2005, saying the plan would damage the habitat of imperiled species, including the northern spotted owl, and could actually increase the dangers to neighboring towns by removing larger trees that are more fire-resistant. The California attorney general's office filed a separate suit. The first legal test came when the Forest Service approved logging in three sites, totaling 12,000 acres, in the Plumas National Forest near Quincy (Plumas County), and announced plans last fall to award contracts to lumber companies for work that was to begin in June. A federal judge in Sacramento refused to intervene in October, citing the importance of fire prevention, but the appeals court ordered an injunction Wednesday. The three-judge panel said the government's environmental review of the plans was flawed because it had failed to consider options besides expanded logging to pay for fuel reduction. "Postponement of the Forest Service plans may increase the danger posed by fires, but the Forest Service and Congress do not appear helpless to find the funds to decrease the dangers," the court said. In a separate opinion, Judge John Noonan compared the funding arrangement to bribery. "The decision-makers are influenced by the monetary reward to their agency, a reward to be paid by the successful bidder," said Noonan, an appointee of former President Ronald Reagan. Environmental advocates praised the ruling. "The court has made it clear that we don't have to choose between community safety and environmental protection. We can have both," said Craig Thomas, director of the conservation group Sierra Forest Legacy, a plaintiff in the suit. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/05/14/BAMH10MC04.DTL

8) ”There's no doubt that if your plan is confirmable, it's going to get confirmed,” Schmidt said to Mendocino Redwood attorney Allan Brilliant. It was unclear by deadline exactly when Schmidt would rule, but he has said he's aware of Palco's financial position. But Schmidt also listened to -- and questioned -- noteholder attorneys trying to convince him that even if Mendocino Redwood's plan seems more attractive, it isn't allowed under bankruptcy law. The Mendocino plan calls for a merging of the timber and lumber operations of Palco, and a reorganization of the timber town of Scotia. It is looking to pay the noteholders $530 million in cash for the land. That plan has been recognized by the court as being the cleanest transition to getting the company operating normally again. It also has won the support of Palco and its parent company Maxxam, unsecured creditors, the state of California, and state regulators and legislators. But bondholders want to hold an auction for the timberlands, which they claim are worth $603 million, based largely on a bid by Texas investor and poker player Andy Beal -- which incidentally expires today. They have held that an auction is the only way to determine the true value of the property. Palco attorney Shelby Jordan said that the noteholders months ago put a $440 million value on the land when it suited them, then later found other experts to cook the books to find “$150 million of trees.” He also pointed out that Beal refused to show up to testify that his offer was for real. Timber baron Red Emerson's Sierra Pacific Industries recently put forward an offer to buy the mill and power plant for $27 million plus $18 million in capital, and sink $70 million into improvements. But Sierra Pacific's offer is contingent on a 15-year log supply agreement that would take all logs with whomever ends up owning the timberlands. That's something Beal Bank previously has been unwilling to consider. Marathon attorney David Neier said that with an uncertain months-long auction that requires additional financing under the noteholders' plan, bondholders could realize far less than they would get under Marathon's plan. He said that Beal's plan is nothing but a liquidation plan. ”It's Mr. Beal's own version of a Texas chainsaw massacre,” Neier said. Throughout the lengthy proceedings, Schmidt has signaled that the value of the timberlands would be key to determining how the case is resolved. He has said that if he determines a value for the claims, it can be forced on other creditors, and that bankruptcy often involves changing the structure of debt. At the same time, Schmidt acknowledged that the support of any one plan -- or its benefits to a community -- could not override the law. http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_9279465


9) Perched atop a 25-foot high bank, the trees look like they could topple into the river at nothing more than a stiff breeze. The bank upstream and downstream of the trees bear decades of erosional scars. Nearly 20 feet of bank -- an estimated 10 tandem truckloads of sand and dirt -- have been swept away by the river. Yet, the trees -- with their root systems clearly exposed -- are still standing, thanks to the innovative efforts of the 77-year-old Vasquez. Thirty years ago, Vasquez and his brother, Mark, devised a simple system to save the trees. They drilled a hole halfway up the trunk, pushed a 3/8 -inch galvanized cable through the hole and clamped it. Using a tractor to pull the trees into a more upright position, Vasquez spooled out enough cable to reach a bigger tree farther from the bank. He fastened the cable the same way he did the leaning tree. Presto! At a cost of about $15 for materials and 45 minutes of hard labor, Vasquez and his brother were able to protect their boats and dock below the tree, and the bank above their clubhouses. "It was a no-brainer," said Leonard Vasquez, who lives in Darmstadt. "Anybody could see the tree was going to fall in the river. You look up and say 'Do I want to save that tree? Yes. How are we going to do it? We have some cable, let's put a cable from here to there.' It's very simple. It's really just common sense." Vasquez' first attempt at bank stabilization came in the spring of 1978. In the spring of 2008, his plan to save trees along the Kaskaskia River is finally expanding.With the help of $5,000 awarded from Prairie State Energy Campus settlement money, Vasquez is seeking interested landowners with bank stabilization problems to sign up for the program. The landowner will need to supply a few laborers. Vasquez will supply the equipment --drills, cable capable of holding 25,000 pounds, clamps and an electric lift -- needed to properly secure the trees. He's already gotten some takers. On Saturday, he is traveling to Bartelso in Clinton County, where a landowner has 30 or so trees that are in danger of falling into the Kaskaskia near Jantzen's Resort. "This idea seems like it's low cost and if it works, fantastic," said Bob Wilkins with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Carlyle Lake. http://www.bnd.com/sports/story/340728.html


10) Maryland's veteran champions, which kept their positions on the national list, are a mockernut hickory in Upper Marlboro; a chestnut oak in Severna Park; a common chokecherry in Owings Mills; a honey locust in Ijamsville; a black mulberry in Westminster; an althea hibiscus in Arnold; a slippery elm in Frederick; a Kentucky coffee tree in Hagerstown; a box elder in Monrovia; a shagbark hickory in Edgewater; an American beech in Lothian; and an American hazelnut in Prince Frederick. Getting to see the state's big trees is not easy, Bennett said. Many are on private property, and while owners are happy to have their trees designated, they aren't always keen on having lots of visitors. So it's best to check before heading out to try to find the trees, Bennett said. The official hunt for champion-size trees began in Maryland in 1925, Bennett said, when Fred Besley, the state's first official forester, decided to develop a system to compare trees from different parts of the state. He devised a three-part system that involved measuring height of the tree, the girth of the trunk and the average crown spread, or the distances among points along the "drip line" of the tree. Maryland's program soon grew to a nationwide competition conducted by the American Forestry Association. The state foresters ran Maryland's program until early this decade when budget cuts led to its elimination. "This was devastating to a lot of us since Maryland had started the program. We didn't want to be the first state to drop it," Bennett said. Now the responsibility for ascertaining the state's biggest trees has fallen to a band of volunteers who tramp through private and public lands across Maryland each year to measure trees that have been locally nominated. Bennett estimated he put 2,500 miles on his car last year as he and others tried to verify the nominees' vital statistics. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/13/AR2008051303516_2.html


11) Falmouth has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Maine Forest Service to help the town develop forest management plans for nine town-owned properties totaling 862 acres, according to the town’s open space ombudsman, Bob Shafto. The grant was made under the Maine Forest Service Project Canopy initiative. The nine parcels include the Falmouth town forest, nature preserve and community park. “The goal is to manage these parcels, and additional parcels the town acquires in the coming years, in ways that maximize their economic, wildlife and recreational value to present and future citizens,” Shafto said. He said the first step will be to inventory each site. Maps of the type of trees the forests contain will be created, and then findings shared at a public meeting. Based on the feedback, an overall forest management plan will be developed, including management recommendations for each parcel. These recommendations will address harvesting, wildlife habitat management, endangered species, invasive species and safety issues. Southern Maine Forestry Services in Windham will be responsible for inventorying the forests and developing the individual plans. The second step will be to involve the Falmouth Conservation Corps, a group of town volunteers, in implementing recommendations included in the plan, including building and marking trails, erecting signs, controlling invasive species, and developing educational materials. The work will result in much healthier, more accessible and more sustainable forests in Falmouth, Shafto said. http://news.mainetoday.com/updates/027195.html


12) OTTAWA - Mineral land claims are threatening more than half-a-million square kilometres of territory in the boreal forest because of outdated mining laws that have not been updated since the Klondike gold rush, warns a new report to be released today. The report, published by the Canadian Boreal Initiative and the International Boreal Conservation Campaign, provides a detailed analysis of the forest, revealing that mining claims have extended to about 10 per cent of the entire ecosystem. The report says that the area of claims is expanding rapidly and provoking conflicts because of the existing laws which automatically allow prospectors to explore and drill for new minerals as soon as they stake a claim. "As a consequence, when exploration conflicts with aboriginal rights, conservation or other public interests, governments are left with few options but to either allow the activities to proceed or close areas to staking and compensate exploration companies for existing claims," says the report, Mineral Exploration Conflicts in Canada's Boreal Forest. Although a mining company would eventually need to have approval to establish a full mining operation, Larry Innes, executive director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative, said that the legislation desperately needs to be modernized in the context of booming commodity prices and escalating conflicts on staked-out territory when the companies begin exploring and drilling. "This [mining law] is something that dates back to a time before telephones," said Innes. "You see the evidence of the challenges in jurisdictions like Ontario, where explorationists are now bumping up against first nations communities, and they're bumping up against conservation priorities." http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=1a0a488d-9795-4f6b-adef-9464c


13) Many decades have been known to pass between sightings of certain types of beetles known as saproxylic because they live out of sight within the dead or dying heartwood of ancient trees. Discovering a new location involves having the expertise to spot one of the dwindling number of woodland stretches with potential – then visiting it after gales to check whether boughs newly snapped off and now on the ground are home to these rather special insects. As with the likes of wolves and bears at the extreme opposite end of the food chain, the heyday of such rot-dwelling insects in Britain was in the time of the coast-to-coast unbroken forest that formed after the end of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. Their decline has been progressing since our ancient ancestors switched from hunter-gathering to agriculture, which began the forest break-up process, and living in permanent settlements that over the subsequent millennia mushroomed into sprawling cities. "Now their final refuges are the veteran trees of the last fragments of the wildwood of long ago, which tend to be in Royal Parks and former hunting forests – although it doesn't have to be a great landscape of ancient timber", said Dr Telfer. "For instance, if anyone living near to Langley Park happens to have an ancient oak in their garden it might well be home to some of these rare and often spectacular beetles." As for the future, there is concern that their surviving habitat is under growing threat because, in this increasingly litigious age, authorities responsible for public open spaces are uneasy about the presence of rotten trees and the possibility visitors being hit by falling timber. "There are places where if a tree shows any sign of rot it is liable to be felled, but it is not impossible to manage this very special habitat alongside public access", added Dr Telfer. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/05/16/eabeatle116.xml

14) An ancient-tree hunter is to walk the entire length of Offa’s Dyke to discover the types of trees that line the Welsh-English border. Rob McBride, a volunteer for the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt, will record as many ancient trees as he can along the remains of the 8th-century embankment. The footpath is about 177 miles long but he expects to walk a bit further so he can wander off-track where he can legally do so to find trees. Formerly a software engineer, he got involved with the Woodland Trust, the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity, in late 2004 after his GP prescribed him “fresh air and exercise” to overcome a difficult period in his life. After volunteering for Shropshire County Council Countryside Service, he was soon introduced to the world of ancient trees. He became voluntary verifier with the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt, a project that aims to involve thousands of people in finding and mapping old trees across the UK. Last year he won the Woodland Trust’s Volunteer of the Year award. http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/countryside-farming-news/farming-news/2008/05/13/offa-s-dyke-tre

15) Tall trees, ancient woods, soaring waterfalls and wide views make Perthshire Big Tree Country a superb destination for an active outdoors weekend. In spring, the area is particularly colourful, with sparkling lochs reflecting fresh green foliage, and swaths of bluebells catching the eye. The landowners who really proved the commercial and landscape value of forestry were the “planting” Dukes of Atholl. During the 18th and 19th centuries, they planted some 27million conifers on Atholl estates. The majority of these were larch, which they proved would grow exceedingly well in Perthshire soils and climate. The Dukes’ legacy can be seen across great stretches of Highland Perthshire, from Dunkeld to Blair Atholl. You can wander among many of the trees they planted, for instance at the Hermitage, by Dunkeld, which was one of their woodland pleasure Similarly, the Falls of Bruar have enchanted visitors for more than 200 years. The fourth Duke planted the gorge with trees in response to a poetic plea by Robert Burns, who saw the beauty spot when only bare rock surrounded the waterfalls. Perthshire landowners became particularly keen on planting trees just as the new world was being opened up by exploration. When local lairds heard that new species of enormous size were being discovered in north America, they sponsored tree-hunting expeditions, keen to acquire them for their own policy woodlands. Among those involved in such searches were Archibald Menzies and David Douglas. Menzies grew up near Aberfeldy and worked in the gardens at Castle Menzies, while Douglas came from Scone and did an apprenticeship in the palace gardens. It was only natural, then, that the finds from their explorations were first planted out on Perthshire estates. Scone Palace’s pinetum and Diana’s Grove at Blair Castle are living memorials to the endeavours of these plant hunters. Both contain record-breaking conifers, whose soaring trunks create a cathedral-like atmosphere. http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/616161?UserKey=0


16) BRADY MILITARY BASE - Peace protesters have taken to the trees at a Czech military site where the US military wants to put up controversial anti-missile radar. For the moment the Czech authorities are turning a wary blind eye to the Greenpeace protesters at the Brdy military base who number between 10 and 20 at any one time - some in trees and some on the ground. Their presence since April 27 is sensitive however, as polls indicate two thirds of Czechs oppose the missile shield that the United States wants to place in the country and neighbouring Poland. The Czech defence ministry believes “the Greenpeace members are not committing a crime but an offence,” and has opted to seek “a non-conflict solution,” spokesman Andrej Cirtek told AFP. The protesters are camped in a forest at what military maps describe as “Hill 718,” around 100 kilometres southwest of Prague. The United States wants the radar shield at Brdy and interceptor missiles in Poland as a guard against the threat of attack from what it calls rogue states, such as Iran. Russia has strongly denounced the project however, as a threat to its own security. At night, camp members sleep in tents or in the trees. During the day they organise the site and seek to avoid the Czech military police. “They are not nasty, they come to check on us regularly, sometimes really early in the morning, they patrol the forest paths and stop anyone else from joining us but allow people to leave,” explained Lenka, a young Slovak, who supervises the camp’s tree dwellers. A man, who gave his name as Tom Tom, is one of the tree protesters. “If the army comes to move those camped on the ground, I will still be able to stay and continue the symbolic action,” said Tom Tom, who said he was a 24-year-old law student from neighbouring Austria. The protesters have erected a gigantic white banner bearing a black target on Hill 718. They have planted a totem pole for peace and constructed a log bridge, which serves as a symbolic meeting place. “We are at a crucial crossroads, we have a choice whether to opt for an arms race or not,” explained the leader of the protest, Jan Freidinger, who fires off emails to Czech politicians with a solar-powered portable computer plugged into Wi-Fi by a tree-mounted antenna. http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=112453


17) The alpine landscape is becoming generally greener and more inviting. Many mountain plants have produced profuse blossoms as well as prodigious amounts of seeds and fruits in the last few years. Plants that were previously limited to the borderline between woods and bare mountain are now rapidly climbing alpine slopes. "The changes are so rapid that plants like fireweed (rose bay) and rowan have even taken root in the gravel up on melting glaciers. Even wood anemones are appearing higher up the mountain," says Leif Kullman. The alpine flora and biodiversity are thus burgeoning dramatically. More and more plants are migrating to the high mountains since the warmer climate is conducive to them, including contorta pine and cembra pine, which are not native to Scandinavia. The distribution of the mountain landscape's various plant communities is in flux. Certain plants, such as mosses and low-growing herbs, are adapted to a short growing period after the snow melts. As the snow thaws earlier and earlier, these plants have been replaced by brush and grass heaths, which has lent the mountain slopes a steppe-like appearance. Mountain fens are drying up, which means that sedge and grass vegetation is growing denser, new species are migrating in, and in some places glorious alpine meadows are appearing. At the highest elevations, formerly the domain of sterile gravel and boulders, fens are occurring. Changes in flora impact the conditions for the mountain fauna. Leif Kullman has observed new bird and butterfly species, such as wrens and admirals, at ever higher elevations. The knowledge generated by the current monitoring system is a precondition for models that describe the development of a possibly warmer future. "The alpine world is evincing truly major changes despite the modest increase in temperature. Present prognoses of a temperature increase of three degrees by 2100 will entail considerably more sweeping changes. We can expect fewer bare mountain areas, even more lush vegetation, and a richer flora," says Leif Kullman. The studies were carried out primarily in Sweden's southern mountain regions in the provinces of Jämtland, Härjedalen, and Dalarna. Data from more than 200 sites have been recorded at various times since 1915. There is no other series of this scope in the world. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080516121650.htm


18) ``Domestic log prices will remain robust given China's fibre deficit and limited supply from domestic and nearby foreign markets,'' including Russia, the company said in the statement. Russia has been raising tariffs on exports of raw, or unprocessed, logs to encourage development of forest industries that produce high-value products. Sino-Forest rose 75 cents, or 4.6 percent, to C$16.99 as of 3:59 p.m. in Toronto Stock Exchange trading. The shares have risen 25 percent in the past year. Wood pulp is a primary ingredient in paper, packaging and consumer products such as disposable diapers. Sino-Forest said the increase in wood-fiber sales came after the harvesting of logs from 4,254 hectares (10,512 acres) of integrated plantations. There was no comparable harvest a year earlier. Revenue from wood products fell 57 percent in the first quarter to $24.2 million because of reduced imports of logs from Russia, the company said. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=aZm5e2qh8ryw&refer=canada
19) Ilim Pulp continues to pay close attention to sustainable forest management. As a pioneer in the forest certification in Russia, Ilim Pulp is actively involved in the consolidation of efforts and initiatives undertaken by the state authorities, businesses and regional governments to address this issue. Ilim Pulp, Russia's largest forest products company, considers investments in environmental projects as a powerful tool in increasing the company capitalization. In fact, equipment upgrading, implementation of advanced environmentally safe technologies, starting of new or upgrading of existing waste treatment plants and enterprises certification to international environmental safety standards have become a necessary segment of company activity rather than just a tribute to fashion. It is well known that the use of obsolete equipment raises the product cost at Russian enterprises as compared to that at similar foreign ones. Furthermore, lack of due attention to environmental items makes export markets almost inaccessible for the Russian timber industry. As a result, having vast resources and still relatively cheap manpower, many Russian timber companies that ignore the environmental content of their industrial activity are doomed to be "locked out" from the global market processes. At Ilim Pulp, there is a deep understanding that the change in approaches to the environmental responsibility of businesses is primarily related to a new attitude to the role of environmental indicators in the development of the Company's business reputation and investment attractiveness. Declaring its commitment for integration into the worldwide market, the Company accepts the international fair play rules under which environmental indicators are as important as any others. http://www.ilimgroup.com/?p=269&PHPSESSID=1c8e0597bcb6166164c57c1cddef8bfe

20) People frequently say "green" to mean "environmentally friendly." But conifer forests — really big greens — encroaching on Arctic tundra threaten to further accelerate warming in the far North. Temperatures at these high latitudes already are climbing "at about twice the global average," notes F. Stuart Chapin of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. The newest data on the advance of northern, or boreal, forests come from the eastern slopes of Siberia's Ural Mountains. Here, north of the Arctic Circle, relatively flat mats of compressed, frozen plant matter — tundra — are the norm. This ecosystem hosts a cover of reflective snow most of the year, a feature that helps maintain the region's chilly temperatures. Throughout the past century, however, the leading edges of conifer forests have creeped some 20 to 60 meters up the mountains and begun overrunning tundra, scientists report in an upcoming Global Change Biology, now available online. Conifers here now reside where no living tree has grown in some 1,000 years, points out ecologist Frank Hagedorn of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research in Birmensdorf. Ecologists and climatologists are concerned because the emerging forest data suggest that the albedo, or reflectivity, of large regions across the Arctic could change. Most sunlight hitting snow and ice bounces back into space. But convert a white landscape to open sea water or boreal forest, and the surface suddenly becomes a great collector of solar energy. After about 1900, the local Siberian larch began to switch from their creeping, multi-stem form to tall trees with a more upright posture, though sometimes with up to 20 stems, Hagedorn and teams of Russian and Swiss collaborators found. Over time, new trees emerged with a single, upright trunk, at the same time bulking up with more biomass than shrubby, same-age kin. Overall, 70 percent of upright larches are no more than 80 years old. Since 1950, 90 percent of local upright larches have been single-stemmed. This forest's movement into former tundra coincided with a nearly 1 degree Celsius increase in summer temperature and a doubling of winter precipitation. "That's a good cocktail for growth," says arctic plant ecologist Serge Payette of Laval University in Quebec. http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/32207/title/Boreal_forests_shift_north

Sierra Leone:

21) Workers of the Gava Forest Industry Cooperation have expressed frustration about government ban on timber logging and exportation, stating that, the development has greatly hindered the scale of employment nationwide. Jusu Swaray an angry worker said more than one hundred workers have been sacked. "In our villages, there are no jobs except farming.The logging activity has helped us greatly. Each log we fetched from the bush cost Le1,000. Sometimes we fetched up to fifty logs, and we raised Le50,000," she explained. Meanwhile, the angry workers have vowed to stage a strike action against Gava if their five months salaries are not paid. In mid January 2008 the government re-imposed a timber export ban because of what it said was indiscriminate plundering of forests by Chinese and other foreign companies. "They just invaded and started doing what they felt like doing," Forestry Minister Joseph Sam Sesay was quoted by the BBC. He said the ban would remain in effect until a policy was put in place to help local communities benefit from logging. He added: "A lot of them are Chinese, Ivorians, Guineans - we do have a forestry law that outlines how to do business here... this law was not complied with by most of them." "Unfortunately even though the previous government did put a ban on the logging they were not effectively enforcing it and that's why we've put the ban." The reimposition of ban on timber logging came month after newly elected President Ernest Bai Koroma declared the Gola Forest a national park. Forestry ministry official Hassan Mohammed had earlier told Reuters news agency that rapid deforestation in the north of the country had caused serious soil erosion, forcing local communities off the land. http://allafrica.com/stories/200805150809.html


22) For centuries, women across West Africa have picked the green fruit of the shea nut tree – a leafy giant of the bush similar to the walnut tree – and processed it into an unguent with a bewildering multiplicity of traditional uses, from healing the navel of a new-born child to cooking daily stews of yam. In the dark days of the region's civil wars, some guerrilla groups believed a thick application to the skin would deflect bullets. Pounding golfball-sized shea nuts with her comrades in the "Pagsum" or Ideal Woman Shea Butter Producers and Pickers Association, Mrs Anhasan said: "Our butter goes from our village to London and Tokyo. It makes me so proud to think that what we make here goes to the greatest cities in the world." From their production base in the mud-hut village of Sagnarigu and neighbouring communities in the heart of Ghana's sub-Saharan savannah, the women's co-operative churns out orders for their premium handmade shea butter to clients ranging from a US pharmaceuticals company to Britain's Body Shop. Their success is largely due to a dramatic rise in demand in the developed world for what they call pikahali, the vitamin E-rich cream with the appearance of clotted cream and the smell of the savannah that is extracted during a back-breaking, 25-stage, three-day process. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/butter-that-brought-fat-profits-to-the-mud-huts

Costa Rica:

23) Given the enormity of the problem -- millions of hectares of forest being converted for agricultural use every year -- the thought of using bats to spur reforestation efforts might seem a tad preposterous, if not downright silly. And yet, if a new study published online in Conservation Biology is to be believed, setting up artificial roosts in key areas to attract the prodigious seed spreaders could well do the trick -- while avoiding many of the problems commonly associated with more conventional strategies. The problem essentially boils down to one crucial factor: a lack of seeds. Once agricultural land becomes depleted and is subsequently abandoned, a wave of seed inputs is needed to help foster habitat regeneration. However, a lack of suitable roost sites and resources tends to keep most potential seed dispersers at bay. Attracting bats, which pollinate close to 1000 plant species and disperse their seeds widely via excretion, might then help accelerate the process -- if the right incentives are provided. To test this hypothesis, a team of scientists led by the Leibniz Institute's Detlev Kelm built and installed 45 roosts in two Costa Rican habitats -- one in continuous forest and the other on recently abandoned agricultural land a few miles away. At the same time, they also set up traps to collect bat feces as a measure to quantify seed dispersal. Their findings indicate that 10 bat species quickly colonized the roosts, five of which occupied them permanently in both forested and agricultural habitats. As was expected, seed input around the roosts rose dramatically: The researchers calculated that 69 different seed types, mostly early-successional plant species, were transported to the deforested areas. Ramping up early-vegetation succession is necessary for reforestation to occur as it attracts additional seed dispersers that help lay the groundworks for mid- to late-successional plants -- eventually returning the habitat to a climax, or stable end stage. Kelm and his colleagues believe this natural strategy could be widely applied to other degraded habitats. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/05/reforestation-bats.php


24) As soon as Brazil's famed Environment Minister Marina Silva announced her resignation Tuesday, farmers and pro-agriculture politicians started celebrating. Silva had been a passionate and, in some views, stubborn opponent of Brazil's powerful agribusiness industry and had held up hydroelectric products championed by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Then yesterday, Lula appointed Rio de Janeiro state environment secretary Carlos Minc to replace Silva. Minc is known principally for his quick approval of high-profile industrial projects such as a giant petrochemical plant he OK'd in a protected swamp in Rio's Guanabara Bay. Then, also yesterday, Brazil's National Space Research Institute projected that deforestation in the Amazon would grow this year after three straight years of declines. Already, the institute's data showed deforestation spiked the last five months of last year. You can see some of the institute's most recent photos here. http://www.dpi.inpe.br/proarco/bdqueimadas/ - http://washingtonbureau.typepad.com/southamerica/2008/05/brazilian-amazo.html

25) Seen from a small boat emerging from Puraquequara lagoon into the full flow of the Amazon River, this is a world reduced to water, trees and sky. It’s a full three kilometres to the other side and at that distance even the forest giants that tower over the canopy seem reduced in size. Amazonas state - a territory three times the size of France but with a telephone book just a centimetre thick - is 98% pristine rainforest. But it is an environment threatened by powerful forces - like the march of economic development. Former Harvard law professor Roberto Mangabeira Unger, the man charged with implementing Brazil’s new Plan for a Sustainable Amazon (PAS), is under no illusions about the difficulties he faces. “The Amazon is not simply a collection of trees,” Unger, Brazil’s minister for strategic affairs told the BBC. “It’s a group of people: 25 million Brazilians. “If those people lack economic opportunities, the practical consequence will be disorganized economic opportunity, which will hasten the deforestation. “What we must do is develop a regulatory legal and tax regime, ensuring that the forest standing is worth more than the forest cut down.” The PAS plan is a detailed, yet controversial roadmap. Environmentalists have criticized it for focusing more on development, than protecting the environment. Even the appointment of Unger to oversee the plan - rather than the former environment minister and staunch defender of the Amazon, Marina Silva - added to this impression. Ms Silva resigned on 13 May and she criticized what she said was a lack of political support to protect the Amazon among Brazil’s leaders. However, the plan’s supporters say seizing control of development in a structured manner is the best way to safeguard the forest’s future. Among the PAS plan’s initiatives are: 1) Develop the infrastructure of the region with new roads, navigable river routes and more hydroelectric dams; 2) Set up a tax regime benefiting those using sustainable practices; 3) Establish a legal framework for transferring parts of the forest from public to community control; 4) Add 3m hectares to the “officially protected” zone; 5) Seek ways of allowing the international community to help preserve the forest.


26) The group, International Rivers based in Berkeley, Calif., is asking Home Depot to pressure two of its Chilean wood suppliers to abandon a controversial dam project in Patagonia. The Chilean region is cherished by environmentalists as one of the world's last great wilderness expanses. But Home Depot believes International Rivers is barking up the wrong tree, so to speak. The disagreement over the Patagonia dams shows that though the Atlanta-based company has come a long way in its environmental evolution, it is not "green-proof" yet. In the late 1990s, Home Depot's image was tarnished when environmentalists staged in-store protests over native forest products being sold in the big-box stores. The company has worked hard to clean up its "green" image by refusing to buy native forest products, hiring an environmental czar and brokering a 2003 agreement between activists and Chilean wood suppliers. Now, activists are asking the company to prove its environmental mettle. They want Home Depot to use its clout to stop the dam project even though it isn't directly related to products sold in stores. Activists often target large companies such as Home Depot to get more attention for their causes, according to an eco-business expert. "They're being made a target not because they're bad but because they're big," said Joel Makower, executive editor of greenbiz.com, a Web site devoted to environmental business practices. http://www.ajc.com/business/content/business/stories/2008/05/16/hdgreen_0518.html


27) The Secretary to Forest and Wildlife Department, Government of Sindh, Mushtaq Ali Memon, has notified the constitution of Special Vigilance Team to check and take action against unauthorised chopping of trees from state forest lands. The team has been constituted on the directives of Sindh Minister for Forest, Home, and Prisons, Dr Zulfiqar Ali Mirza. Terms of reference of the Special Vigilance Teams are to check and verify unauthorised wood cutting, checking and verifying material coming from the revenue lands, and checking the efficiency and progress of forest check posts meant for controlling wood material. The Special Vigilance Team comprises Najamuddin Vistro, Conservator of Forests as team leader; Habibullah Nizamani, Conservator of Forests; Mohammed Anwar Baloch, Divisional Forest Officer; and Gul Hassan Daudpota, District Forest Officer, Jacobabad, as members, according to notification issued by Forest and Wildlife Department, Government of Sindh. http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=113089


28) Timber smugglers and land encroachers have felled thousands of trees planted in Murtiya and encroached upon 1,800 hectares of land. The Sagarnath Forest Project (SFP) office had planted Sisau, Masala and Tik trees in 2,600 hectares. Nowadays, trees are hard to find in Murtiya, Shankarpur and Soaltee Phant. Landless people have encroached upon these areas. District forest officer (DFO) Shekhar Kumar Yadav says deforestation is rampant in Murtiya. Police and administration should act now to prevent further deforestation, says DFO Yadav. According to Sajanlal Mahato of Ghurkauli VDC 7, people living near Murtiya began felling trees when poll fever was at its peak. Some influential persons of the village are selling and purchasing the forest land, says Mahato. A bigha of deforested land reportedly fetches Rs 20,000. According to secretary of the Federation of Community Forest Users' Group (FCFUG) Uttar Kumar Mainali, "People can be seen cultivating maize and vegetable crops around the SFP area." FCFUG president Sitaram Pokhrel says the deforestation occurred due to carelessness of SFP employees. Awareness should be raised to discourage deforestation, he says, adding that the government should form a committee to put an end to deforestation and encroachment of the forest land. According to chief of the SFP Arun Kumar Jaisawal, "The government is to blame for deforestation because it did not mobilise security personnel to stop deforestation and land encroachment. SFP employees are not behind deforestation and land encroachment." http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullstory.asp?filename=aFanata0va3qzpca4Ra2wa.axamal&folder=aHa


29) Vietnam has become a hub for processing Asia's illegally logged timber, much of which is sold in the United States as outdoor furniture, conservationists say. In a report released in March, the U.K.-based nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and its Indonesian partner Telapak warned that the illegal timber trade is threatening some of the last intact forests in Southeast Asia, especially in Laos. It is currently legal in the United States to import illegally sourced wood products. But legislation now under consideration in the U.S. Congress would ban imports of wood products derived from illegally harvested timber. EIA estimates that the illegal logging business, which the agency says is orchestrated by cross-border criminal syndicates working with corrupt officials, costs developing countries some 10 billion to 15 billion U.S. dollars a year. A rise in timber prices has prompted some wood-producing countries, such as Indonesia, to clamp down on illegal logging. Other countries, such as China and Vietnam, have taken measures to sharply reduce all logging of their own forests, while importing timber from neighboring countries for their growing timber-processing industries. Around 60 percent of the trade in tropical timber moves between the countries of southern and eastern Asia, according to EIA. "One of the biggest shifts in the timber industry in Asia over the last decade or so has been the emergence of a huge wood-processing industry in China and Vietnam," said Newman. The Mekong region—which includes Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and China—has some of the most valuable and vulnerable tree species sought by the international timber trade, including rosewood, keruing, teak, and yellow balau. Mekong forests are also home to a range of endangered animals, including the clouded leopard, tiger, and Malayan sun bear. Many of the remaining forests in the region have been so heavily logged that they are now of critically low quality. In Laos, for example, only around 10 percent of forests remain commercially viable, according to the report. \ http://www.nationalgeographic.com


30) A confidential document from the National Association of Forest Industries now circulating the Prime Minister's Office proposes a joint industry-government strategy for forests and plantations in a carbon constrained future. The association urges tweaks to taxation rules that apply to forestry-managed investment schemes to attract investment in longer, 30-year plantations. It also wants federal and state restrictions on the use of forest waste for biomass electricity production removed, claiming that waste could provide at least 5 per cent of Australia's higher renewable energy targets by 2020. Every sawmill would be carbon positive if it recycled forest waste, which is prohibited under the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, which the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, plans to increase from 5 per cent of electricity generation to 20 per cent by 2020. Forest industries are bidding for a major role in the country's climate change future, claiming forest "sinks" could absorb 20 per cent of the anticipated 60 per cent cut in emissions by 2050 and supporting the development of new pulp mills. Recommitment by state and territory leaders would help industry attract new investment in plantations, possibly leading to new pulp mills in south-western Victoria and Western Australia. The association document names climate change pressure as the new ingredient that could soften previous emotional responses to plantation growth, logging, wood chipping and pulp mills. It says forest-based carbon credits allowable under the Kyoto framework could meet up to 20 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions target of a 60 per cent reduction by 2020. Australia by 2009, it says, should be marketing an Australian plantation industry information memorandum in the northern hemisphere that encourages investment in local carbon "sinks" permitted under Kyoto. http://business.smh.com.au/forestry-industry-greens-up-its-act-20080516-2f31.html

31) ANZ Bank says it is examining whether the Gunns pulp mill proposed for northern Tasmania will destroy high conservation value forests before deciding whether to finance the project. Environment Minister Peter Garrett, his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull and the Tasmanian Government all refused to consider the impact on Tasmania's forests of the mill's appetite for up to four million tonnes of woodchips each year. However, ANZ - Gunns' banker and a proposed financier of the $2 billion project - earlier this month adopted a policy committing it to "avoiding" support for projects that destroy high conservation value forests. Yesterday, ANZ spokeswoman Sherelle Murphy said the bank was assessing the mill, proposed for the Tamar Valley north of Launceston, through the "filter" of its new forest policy. "Every decision goes through the policy filter and is judged according to the principles laid out in there in the policy," she said. "It is the same for Gunns as any other project we decide to look at. Whether that increases or decreases (the chances of granting finance), we will have to wait and see what the outcome is. That's going on at the moment." She said a decision on whether to provide finance for the project was "getting closer". Final federal approval for construction, yet to be granted by Mr Garrett, was "one of" the hurdles to be cleared before a decision was possible. The Wilderness Society and other mill opponents have targeted the ANZ, warning of a backlash if it helps to bank-roll the mill. Yesterday, TWS mill spokesman Paul Oosting said there was no doubt that vast tracts of high conservation value forests in Tasmania's northeast, home to an array of endangered species, would be logged to feed the mill. "Forests supporting threatened species, as listed under Tasmanian and commonwealth legislation, have high conservation value," he said. "Mature and old-growth forests are particularly important for habitat and as such are considered to have high conservation value providing they are not highly degraded or fragmented." http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23700261-20501,00.html

32) MACQUARIE Bank is refusing to comment on speculation it has decided to help finance the Gunns pulp mill in Tasmania. Several sources yesterday suggested ANZ Bank had decided not to act as lead financier for the project but that Macquarie had stepped in. Macquarie Bank spokeswoman Kris Neill refused to comment. "We never comment on speculation about any of our transactions," she said. "I'm not confirming or denying." Gunns also refused to comment but has made no secret that ANZ was not its only option in terms of a lead financier for the $2 billion project. Gunns executive chairman John Gay has repeatedly expressed confidence that finance would be secured, including via ANZ. Former Tasmanian premier and Gunns director Robin Gray has also said the company would have no problem finding an alternative should ANZ decline involvement, a claim backed by industry sources. ANZ spokeswoman Sherelle Murphy denied a decision had been made. "Our position hasn't changed and that position is that we are still considering it," she said. The Wilderness Society has been leading a campaign to persuade ANZ not to be involved in the mill, which it claims will consume 200,000ha of native forest in Tasmania. It last night called on Macquarie to come clean. "If Macquarie are involved then they should make that involvement public," said the society's pulp mill campaigner, Paul Oosting. "TWS is writing to all banks in Australia to seek a position on whether or not they are willing to be involved, and to express our concerns about the mill's impact on Tasmania's community, economy and environment. We are keen to find out if Macquarie are involved. We believe that no bank should be getting involved in this project because of the environmental and social impacts." http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23711039-20501,00.html

Tropical Forests:

33) "I'm going to give you my bottom-line message right now, up front, this is a super crisis that we are facing, it's an appalling crisis, it's one of the worst crises since we came out of our caves 10,000 years ago. I'm referring of course to elimination of tropical forests and of their millions of species." Dr. Myers continued, stating that when he first went to school "across the tropics there was a bright rich green band denoting tropical forests" on his atlas. "I put to you that we have lost half of all that green band and unless we start to do a far better job than we have been doing than by the time my children and so on, so on and my grandchildren are in school than they will have atlases than they will see not a bright green band across the tropics but the might have to color those atlases a dirty brown color to show that was once there has now disappeared. And what was once there, it says something super special, it is the most exuberant and colorful, and diverse expression of nature that has ever graced the face of this planet in many millions of years. That is what is at stake here." Dr. Norman Myers is a well-known and renowned British biologist. Currently, an Oxford professor, Myers has had a long history of pointing out large environmental issues before accepted by other scientists, such as the current mass extinction, the pace of tropical deforestation, and perverse subsidies which go against both the environment and the economy. Some of his books include The New Consumers: The Influence of Affluence on the Environment and The Sinking Ark: A New Look at the Problem of Disappearing Species. In looking at the reasons for current deforestation, Myers pointed to four major contributors in his speech. According to his statistics, 5 percent of deforestation was due to cattle ranching, 19 percent to over-heavy logging, 22 percent to the growing sector of palm oil plantations, and 54 percent due to slash-and-burn-farming. The conference where Myers spoke was put on by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The April conference had an estimated 600 participants from over 50 countries, including forestry officials from 33 regional nations. http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0515-hance_myers.html

World Wide:

34) How many sheets of paper come from a single tree? Some Typical Calculations 1) 1 ton of uncoated virgin (non-recycled) printing and office paper uses 24 trees, 2) 1 ton of 100% virgin (non-recycled) newsprint uses 12 trees, 3) A “pallet” of copier paper (20-lb. sheet weight, or 20#) contains 40 cartons and weighs 1 ton. Therefore: 4) 1 carton (10 reams) of 100% virgin copier paper uses 0.6 trees, 5) 1 tree makes 16.67 reams bof copy paper or 8,333.3 sheets, 6) 1 ream (500 sheets) uses 6% of a tree (and those add up quickly!) 7) 1 ton of coated, higher-end virgin magazine paper (used for magazines like National Geographic and many others) uses a little more than 15 trees (15.36). http://www.conservatree.com/learn/EnviroIssues/TreeStats.shtml

341 - Earth's Tree News

Today for you 34 new articles about earth’s trees! (341st edition)
Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com

--Alaska: 1) How Climate change kills Yellow Cedars
--British Columbia: 2) Northeast BC resource liquidation, 3) Arrested Langford activists likely won’t face any charges, 4) Archaic and scientifically untenable forest management, 5) Saying good bye to East creek wilderness, 6) Timber regulatory compliance chaos,
--California: 7) Court shuts down logging plan on Plumas NF, 8) Citizens continue reclaiming Jackson State Forest, 9) Gary Paul: worse forester in the world! 10) Turning neighborhoods into logging zones,
--North America: 11) Whitebark pine extinction
--Canada: 12) Oil sand developers may have to follow rules and laws? 13) New and improved Big Wild campaign, 14) Clearcutting creates community safety, 15) Grassy Narrows and Gov sign MOU, 16) Clueless about future world resource economy!
--UK: 17) Prince says we must stop logging? 18) "farcical" protection given to old trees,
--Scotland: 19) More on cycleway’s destruction of forest
--Germany: 20) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
--Costa Rica: 21) "Project Pacific" is led by the Monteverde Conservation League
--Brazil: 22) Gov’s leader of forest protection ousted, 23) Lula sells out eco goals, 24) Half-billion dollars to be spent on stopping deforestation? 25) BBC show on last frontier,
--Pakistan: 26) Save the Walnut trees!
--India: 27) Ceylon Tobacco converts Eucalyptus to native forest, 28) Chipko lives on,
--Bangladesh: 29) Chevron’s Seismic survey wreaks havoc
--New Zealand: 30) Movement to save Blue Lake forests grows,
--World-wide: 31) UN panted 2 billion of ‘em, 32) Small lakes not trees absorb the most carbon, 33) For sure set up to miss self-imposed goal of slowing the rate of extinctions, 34) How many tree species are there in the world?


1) The suffering cedar trees average 240 years old and almost all began growing during the Little Ice Age, a cold period lasting several centuries. The onset of dying yellow cedars corresponds with the end of the Little Ice Age in Alaska around 1890. Conditions lethal for yellow cedar have arisen especially often during the last two decades. The worst period when alternating thawing and freezing temperatures coincided with little snow on the ground was early 1987. Similarly harsh circumstances also occurred in 1997, 2001 and 2003. The 1987 episode is marked by snags dating from that time and extremely little growth in those cedars that did survive. Warming winter weather in southeast Alaska has created a combination of conditions that's eliminating yellow cedar from low-elevation rainforests. Dead yellow cedar trees cover 200,000 hectares (770 square miles) of coastal Alaska and extend into northern BC. Scientists have now directly linked weather patterns with tree response over the last hundred years to document how climate change has pushed yellow cedars into a lethal predicament. Unlike other trees in the region, yellow cedar's frost hardiness is triggered by temperature, making it particularly vulnerable to climate change. Its response to spring temperatures enables yellow cedar to get an early start on growing, giving it an edge over other northern rainforest species. There's a drawback, though. Intermittent late-winter melting can prompt yellow cedar to end its frost-hardy state prematurely. It's becoming more common for freezing temperatures to be preceded by a winter warm spell. Such a cycle destroys any unprotected fine roots. With fewer roots feeding it, the tree crown suffocates, causing foliage to turn brown and die. Eventually, the entire tree succumbs. Cedars growing in bogs where water forces them to keep roots near the ground surface are particularly vulnerable to freezing. In past centuries, yellow cedar roots were protected from cycles of thawing and freezing by an insulating blanket of snow on the ground. But as another consequence of a warmer climate, the ample precipitation in this region during winter is increasingly landing as rain rather than snow. http://www.currentresults.com/Forests/Western-NA/climate-change-yellow-cedar-805121.php?utm_sou

British Columbia:

2) Agriculture, forestry and especially oil and gas development have recently flourished across the forested landscape of northeastern British Columbia. In their wake, wildlife habitat has been restructured at an exponential rate. A University of British Columbia study examined the cumulative impacts of these disparate industries by comparing two snapshots, from 1970 and 2005, of vegetation cover and development. On one 410,000-hectare (1600 square miles) area in the Peace-Moberly region, industrial activity cleared about 10,000 hectares of boreal forest over the 35 years. Commercial timber harvesting accounted for half the cut forest, and 1000 hectares were cleared for farming. Another 4000 hectares were converted to roads and seismic lines, that sliced and diced the remaining forest. Although resource development cleared trees from 2.5% of the area, its impact on wildlife habitat reached much farther. The activity left a piecemeal landscape of forest fragments and clearings. For all types and ages of forest, patches declined in average size and became more numerous. The change was most pronounced for interior forest that's located away from the edges of clearings. The entire region has seen an 89% increase in edge habitat and a 47% increase in open, unforested landscape. Interior forest ecosystems at the same time declined by 30%. The break-up of contiguous forest by cutblocks, fields, roads and cutlines created habitat for some animals, but destroyed it for others. Many more wildlife species gained rather than lost habitat and the net result is a greater richness of species across the landscape. The effect is particularly pronounced where development was most concentrated and had created edges in boreal white and black spruce forests. The biggest beneficiaries are broad-winged hawks and Le Conte's sparrows, for whom the suitable terrain has nearly tripled. Many other birds have also gained habitat in the region, as have wood bison and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Meanwhile, species that need large tracts of mature and old-growth coniferous forests have fewer places to live as a result of industrial clearing. Environments appropriate for wolverines, fishers, pine martens, moose and woodland caribou declined. Among those most affected are grizzly bears, which in the 35 years lost 30% of their Peace-Moberly habitat. http://www.currentresults.com/Wildlife/forest-wildlife-habitat-804041.php

3) The Crown won't proceed on mischief charges for the people arrested at the site of the Bear Mountain Interchange in Langford. Charges were stayed for tree sitters Luke Woodyard and Noah Ross, and no charges were laid against Nancy Powell and Ingmar Lee. Ben Isitt will find out his fate on Thursday morning. The forest defenders are now free to return to the interchange site. An invasive species removal party and broom pull is scheduled for next Tuesday, May 20, the same day as the OCP hearing at City Hall. Details to be announced. The fight to save Garry Oak meadows, rare species and First Nations cultural sites continues. Drop a line to find out more. Big cheers! ZoeBlunt@gmail.com

4) Even though the carbon sequestering and water regulation services from BC forests are now increasing in value, BC forests remain within an archaic and scientifically untenable timber management framework. This attempted redesign of forests for timber production degrades forests and lowers their ability to provide these essential nature's services. We've known since ecological economist Robert Costanza and his team's 1997 preliminary valuation of nature's services that timber is less than one-tenth of the total value of services produced by temperate forests so how come we're still stuck in timber management? The high volume, low value-added products forest industry that evolved within this timber management continues to spiral down: providing a poor return on investment, employing ever less workers, generating less wealth and tax dollars, it's raw commodity products uncompetitive in global markets against plantation forestry in warmer climes. So how come the whole forestry debate remains focused upon band-aids for the present industry that continues to clearcut nature's services and the wealth creation potential for future generations of forest workers with each tree cut, and losing hundreds of millions of dollars to boot? Why can't we focus instead on building a forestry and industry that is truly sustainable: providing a stream of revenues today while restoring the forest health basis for future wealth creation? I've worked in the industry for forty years. My wife and I raised our family on forest industry wages in communities that were and remain to a large degree dependent upon logging and sawmills and pulpmills. At the end of the 1980s I awoke like many others to the Lysenko-esque applied science of sustained yield, the paradigm for forest management in BC, in North America, and globally in the 20th century. In this forest management framework - as mandated for BC forests by the Sloan Commissions after World War II and implemented first by a series of WAC Bennett governments and then by all subsequent governments - overmature old growth forests were to be liquidated on a schedule (the annual allowable cut) on tenure areas leased to forest companies (Tree Farm Licences, Timber Supply Areas) and replanted with trees to be logged again in seventy to a hundred years. bhenderson@dccnet.com

5) We followed a massive Grapple-Yarder Tower/Machine on a flat bed truck being towed by a giant off-road logging truck and also being pushed by a 2nd off-road logging truck. Slowly but surely this massive rig, owned by Western Forest Products, was making its way towards another fresh clear-cut to pull the carcasses off another hillside where old growth forest stood for many centuries. After driving 100km through a maze of rough logging roads west of Port McNeil we finally drove over the ridge that separates the valley of Klaskish Creek from East Creek. Both of these watersheds flow into Klaskish Inlet, which opens out into Brooks Bay just north of the Brooks Peninsula. The remote and rugged location of this virgin pristine wilderness has protected it from one hundred and fifty years of industrial logging until today!? Less than 9% of the original old growth forest remains in low valley bottoms on Vancouver Island. 85 of the original 91 watersheds have been completely devastated by logging to date. Old growth temperate rainforests are on the verge of extinction. Roads blasted through the mountainsides linked large areas of stumps along the natural watershed of East Creek. In the past few years LeMare Logging, operating out of Port McNeill, has felled most of the old growth forest in the upper watershed of East Creek.? Each of the clear-cuts is focused around a creek or tributary where the largest trees once grew. Massive stumps from ancient Yellow Cedar, Mountain Hemlock, Pacific Red Cedar, and Balsam Fir trees and line the banks of these waterways. We watched as more trees were being felled; lots of mess, and a deadly silence after the crew trucks had left the valley.? Hundreds of truckloads of logs are lying on the sides of the roads, waiting for the snow to melt so they can be hauled to the boom yards for shipping? This will happen in the next few weeks. East Creek is designated as a Special Management Zone by the Vancouver Island Land Management and was considered a Natural Disturbance type #1 by the Forest Practices Code. Both these distinctions would have the public believe that the highest standards of logging regulations would be upheld in this ancient forest. However, the “Results Based Forestry Code” leaves it up to the logging companies to report on their logging standards with no public approval process in place to monitor environmental or ecological degradation in the old growth forest. Western Forest Products holds the “Timber Lease” on the old growth trees in the lower East Creek Valley, meaning the have no obligation to work towards standards required by a “Tree Farm License” where planting, and cultivation of a second harvest would be the goal.? May 11, 2008 update by Richard Boyce

6) The board examined the number of compliance and enforcement (C&E) inspections conducted by the Ministry of Forests and Range in 2005 and 2006, and the range of alleged (not formally identified) non-compliances, in six forest districts: North Coast and Campbell River in the Coast Region; Skeena-Stikine and Fort Nelson in the Northern Interior Region; and Kamloops and Chilcotin in the Southern Interior Region. "The investigation couldn't determine precise reasons for the variations, but found that policy issues, workforce issues and variableapplication of assessment tools seem to be factors in this lack of consistency," said board chair, Bruce Fraser. "While the board generally finds high levels of compliance in our own audits and investigations," added Fraser, "if the ministry is going to rely on C&E inspections as the measure of industry compliance with forestry legislation, then it must improve its policies and ensure better inspection consistency across the province." Variations between the examined districts included: 1) One district with over 12 times more harvesting and road inspections than another district. 2) Alleged non compliance levels ranging from two per cent to 35 per cent between districts. 3) Alleged non compliance levels ranging from zero to 61 per cent between inspectors within the same district. - The main assessment tool used in the districts is the ministry's compliance information management system (CIMS). The investigation found that the CIMS system is applied and utilized inconsistently. Board recommendations to standardize inspection performance are: 1. To strengthen policy guidance for C&E inspection coverage. 2. To ensure CIMS provides information in a form more useful to local C&E management to achieve good inspection coverage and consistency in identifying and addressing non-compliances. www.fpb.gov.bc.ca


7) A federal appeals court has barred logging in the Sierra Nevada forest. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the federal government failed to explore other ways to raise money to fight forest fires when it approved a plan to award timber contracts to cut down trees on three sites. The Forest Service says the logging of commercially valuable trees is needed to help pay for thinning of less desirable smaller trees and brush. Environmental groups say the logging plan fails to protect scarce species such as the California spotted owl, martin and Pacific fisher. Attorney General Jerry Brown joined the environmental groups in appealing a lower court decision last year that authorized the government to allow the timber contracts. http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_9257513

8) The Jackson Forest Advisory Group (JAG) held its first meetings on May 9 and 10, 2008. For the most part, the meeting consisted of reviews of forest history, of the legalities of being a public body (the Bagley-Keene open meeting act applies), and of the new management plan. Noteworthy was the first public information about plans for the two timber contracts that were the focus of the lawsuits of the Campaign from 2000 forward. These two plans, one in Brandon Gulch and the other in Camp 3, are on almost 1000 acres of forest that has not been entered since the initial logging in the early 1900s. Such unentered old second growth stands are rare in Jackson Forest, and these particular stands are in the heart of the major recreation area of Jackson Forest. I'm happy to report that the state appears on course to change the objective of these plans from logging for the sake of revenue to moving these stands toward old growth conditions. This is good news indeed, as restoration toward old growth has been one of the centralAs the plans are still under negotiation among the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest, Cal Fire, and the contract holders, not all details were released, but the broad outlines were given. Both plans will be designed to accelerate "late seral conditions" (the technical term for the forest conditions found in old growth stands). Camp 3 will have an experimental design and have baseline measurements of biological and timber inventories. Brandon Gulch will demonstrate late seral development, but will not have an experimental design. Of course, the key question is, "What will be done in the name of old growth development?" In order to assure that the best scientific information is consulted and that the public interest is fully represented, a subcommittee of the JAG was established to make recommendations to the Director of Cal Fire on the specifics of marking trees for cutting. All of its meetings will be open to the public, and it will interact with the full advisory group as it develops its recommendations. Recreation values will be explicitly considered by the subcommittee. At the JAG meeting on May 10, four members volunteered to serve on the subcommittee: John Helms, chair -- forest ecosystem dynamics, silviculture / Brad Valentine -- wildlife and fisheries in the context of forestry / Linwood Gill -- practical silviculture, sustainable forest management / Dan Porter -- redwood ecology and botany, late successional redwood structures / Kevin O'Hara - UC Berkeley http://www.jacksonforest.org

9) Santa Cruz - This proposed 38 acre plan is in the watersheds of Whalebone Gulch, Deer Creek and Starr Creek (tributary to Bear Creek, a steelhead stream) north of Boulder Creek. Gary Paul is the RPF. Apparently the private road to access the property and used by multiple neighbors is a disaster and gets graded with spoils delivered directly into Starr Creek. Never mind that a portion of the existing haul road on the property runs in the creek. Or does the creek run down the road? The plan proposes to upgrade and reconstruct 1,600 feet of the existing access road on the property and to construct 1100’ of ‘temporary’ road to reach the ridge top in order to access 4’ diameter redwoods that have grown up since the last harvest around 100 years ago. (Supposedly the residual old growth will not be cut, except for one leaning over the stream.) An additional 2,000 feet of temporary ridge top road is also proposed. Portions of the new road will be in the WLPZ. “About 150 feet of existing instream road that is in very poor shape and prone to erosion will be abandoned and the channel restored.” The plan proposes to haul 140 loads of logs over 28-35 days. Maybe someone can explain to me how a timberland owner who has allowed his existing roads to go to hell in a hand basket can be allowed to construct and reconstruct close to a mile of ‘temporary’ new road? Central Coast Forest Watch - JodiFredi@aol.com

10) Santa Cruz - I continue to field phone calls from frustrated members of the public who suddenly learn that a neighbor has applied to rezone property to the Timber Production Zone. Most of the concerned calls have focused on smaller properties that submitted applications during the ‘grace period’ after the County raised the minimum parcel size for rezoning to 40 acres. Nearly all of those applications have gone smoothly through the Planning Commission and some have already received final approval from the Board of Supervisors. Two stand out as items of note. One such rezone application on Old Santa Cruz Highway was withdrawn by the applicant, without explanation after a host of his neighbors showed up at the Planning Commission hearing to protest. It appears that while the County may not be willing to stand in the way, good ole public pressure may still be effective. A second parcel (34 acres) has been recommended for denial by Planning Staff. It is located on Hubbard Gulch Road in Boulder Creek and has a contractor’s equipment storage yard on site that is not considered a ‘compatible’ use in the TP zone district. APN 089-081-21 Special Use (SU), Property located on the east side of Hopkins Gulch Road (900 Hopkins Gulch Road) about % of mile north from the intersection with Bear Creek Road. Property owner is John Jackson. Jackson has hired Dennis Kehoe (sometimes attorney for Big Creek Lumber) to argue that Jackson’s equipment storage meets the definition of the “work incidental to the growing, harvesting, cutting and removal of timber and other forest products.” I believe the county made its determination of incompatible use based in part on the fact that Mr. Jackson advertises his business in the Yellow Pages under Excavating Contractors (bulldozing, septic installation and repair, graders, backhoes, bull-dozers, cat excavator, etc.) You get the picture. Mr. Jackson claims that 85% of his business is for the timber companies. You’d think he might mention that in his ad, but then maybe word of mouth is all he needs. Most of his equipment (ascertained by County aerial photos on their website) seems to be spread around in his cleared/grassland areas. At a minimum, this case indicates that the County should not be rezoning land that grows heavy equipment and not trees. This will simply incentivize others to turn forest and grassland watershed lands into equipment yards and graveyards. Central Coast Forest Watch - JodiFredi@aol.com

North America:

11) A fungus introduced from Europe is well on its way to rendering whitebark pine trees extinct in some North American national parks, scientists warn. A large proportion of whitebark pines in Canada's and Montana's Rocky Mountains are infested with or already dead from white pine blister rust. As a keystone species, whitebark pine's absence will cause repercussions throughout the harsh mountain ecosystems it once thrived in. Its presence on exposed spots enables other plants to grow. The tree's ample seeds also nourish wildlife ranging from birds to grizzly bears. Whitebark pine seed yields have already dwindled. Long before killing a tree, the blister rust can shut down seed production. It strangles the upper branches where the cones in this species are confined. The lack of whitebark pine trees less than 1.3 metres high in 14% of the areas surveyed indicates that seed supply is substantially curtailed. Where seedlings do sprout, up to one-quarter are under attack from the rust. Once a young tree develops cankers, it usually succumbs within three years. Throughout the mountains stretching from Glacier National Park in Montana to Jasper National Park in Alberta, blister rust has infested 57% of the thousands of whitebark pine trees examined by park scientists. Out of the 170 sites inspected, 98% harboured blister rust. The numbers of dead and infested trees are rising. In Waterton Lakes National Park, where the extent of blister rust was tracked over seven years, infested trees increased by 3% a year. Blister rust had spread from 43% of the pine in 1996 to 71% by 2004. Over the same period, mortality had grown from 26 to 61% of whitebark pines. http://www.currentresults.com/Forests/Western-NA/rocky-mountains-whitebark-pine-805011.php?utm_s


12) Multibillion-dollar oil sands projects will face new legal and regulatory hurdles after the Federal Court ruled against Imperial Oil Ltd. in its battle to keep the $8-billion Kearl oil sands mine on schedule. Imperial went to court to win back a key permit for site preparation that was voided after a Federal Court found Kearl's regulatory approval to be incomplete on the issue of greenhouse gases.The loss will set back Kearl by at least several months, if not a year or more. For the energy industry, the Federal Court decision means regulatory reviews are likely to become ever-more detailed and arduous, while legal challenges will become more common. It also means that if an oil sands plan is caught up in a court fight, the project is likely to be halted as governments will be more hesitant to issue important permits early, after the Kearl experience.“[Project] proponents can expect more challenges,” said Shawn Denstedt, a leading oil sands regulatory lawyer and partner at law firm Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Calgary. “And you'll see regulators reluctant to issue permits until a court says the [regulatory] decision was satisfactory.” Mr. Denstedt said companies proposing projects will have to redouble their efforts during the regulatory review to minimize the risk of potential court challenges. Petro-Canada is the next big company to go to public regulatory hearings, starting June 23 near Edmonton, to review a proposed oil sands upgrader. Peter Symons, a spokesman, said Petrocan has prepared diligently because scrutiny is growing more intense every day. “There's just a ton of valid issues that have to be addressed,” Mr. Symons said. The court decision also has implications beyond the oil business, and could affect big infrastructure projects in any industry, said Dennis Mahony, an environmental specialist and partner at Torys LLP. Mr. Mahony said the Kearl case was watched closely across Canada by professionals working on climate change issues. Even if Imperial ultimately wins back the permit – an outcome many think is likely – the delay highlights the growing challenge of keeping big projects on schedule. The case suggests that “it's certainly possible to delay projects by several years,” Mr. Mahony said. The original challenge against Kearl was brought by environmental groups, led by Sierra Club and Pembina Institute and represented by Ecojustice. They had previously and unsuccessfully challenged Petrocan's Fort Hills oil sands mine, with the Supreme Court rejecting a leave for appeal in 2006. http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080514.wkearlstaff0514/BNStory/Business/?

13) The Big Wild, a new social movement to advance large-scale wilderness protection in Canada, is "Goin' Wild on the Streets," launching itself with a series of high-profile guerrilla marketing stunts in 11 cities across the country. The coordinated launch activities and promotions will introduce Canadians to www.thebigwild.org, a new social networking site designed to mobilize support and protect Canada's public wilderness areas. The Big Wild is founded by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Canada's only non-government organization devoted solely to large-landscape wilderness protection, and Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Canada's largest retail cooperative for self-propelled recreation equipment. "The Big Wild is a new way for everyone who cares about our country's wilderness to voice their support for protecting it," says Anne Levesque, National Executive Director, CPAWS. "The goal of The Big Wild is to establish an influential Canadian-wide movement to protect at least half of Canada's public land and water in a permanently wild state. We invite every individual and group that shares our vision to add their voice on www.thebigwild.org. Together our small voices can create big change." Created by Tribal DDB, the online division of DDB Canada, the new social networking site allows Canadians to share stories and media about wilderness experiences and learn more about the country's wild spaces in need of protection. Most importantly, it will also act as a catalyst to raise awareness and mobilize support for conservation campaigns. The evolving site will continue to have features added throughout this year and next. "More than a static site, www.thebigwild.org is where Canada's wilderness protection movement comes to life for supporters," says Cosmo Campbell, creative director, Tribal DDB, Vancouver. "With all communications ultimately directing audiences to this hub, the social networking site plays a crucial role bringing the brand to life." To support www.thebigwild.org and launch The Big Wild movement, DDB Canada's Vancouver office and ZiP DDB in Montreal established a robust, integrated marketing program, which was first revealed to MEC members in March through a print campaign in the retailer's Spring catalogue. http://www.thebigwild.org/

14) It seems those blooming tree-hugging hypocrites who purport to be running Toronto (into the ground) have quietly reduced 19 healthy, mature Austrian pines and ash trees to ugly, sentry-like stumps in Mossgrove Park, located in the tony York Mills Rd. and Leslie St. area. This latest City Hall chainsaw massacre occurred on April 15, one week before Earth Day. The deed was sanctioned by the city's tree police and ward councillor Cliff Jenkins, who claims it was done to improve "community safety" at a park where teens have been loitering, dealing drugs and conducting other "undesirable activities" for years. "This is a community safety issue ... it's not a tree issue," Jenkins told me late last week, noting 30 replacement trees, as yet unspecified, will be planted in the park. By contrast, on April 29 Coun. Mike Del Grande failed to get the two-thirds vote required from council to reconsider the case of a Grandville Ave. couple who've been told they can't take down an invasive Norway Maple infiltrating their tiny home -- unless they cough up $10,526, which includes the value of the offending tree. In fact, before the vote, the pompous Tree Emperor Joe Pantalone shouted to his colleagues to register "No." (Jenkins, to his credit, supported the couple.) While this kind of twisted logic has made it clear -- at least to me -- that Toronto's draconian private tree bylaw is being applied inconsistently and on a most selective basis, I dare say the safety excuse is the best I've heard to date for clear-cutting an entire stand of healthy trees. I can't wait for what's next. Perhaps some of those trees in downtown parks under which homeless folk tend to catch a few winks should be taken down, too, for being a safety hazard. http://www.treeworld.info/f6/toronto-city-hall-massacre-19-healthy-2230.html

15) Grassy Narrows First Nations leadership is set to sign a memorandum of understanding today with the Minister of Natural Resources, Donna Cansfield. Chief Simon Fobister released a statement Friday, saying they'd come to terms with the MNR on a process meant to find ways to protect and manage the community's traditional lands. The Memorandum of Understanding between Grassy Narrows and MNR sets in place methods for gathering information, increasing understanding and considering various options for the preservation and protection of the community's culture, as well as future opportunities for economic development. A working group will also be created through the agreement, which will help launch a pilot project designed to integrate community perspectives on land use and planning with existing forest management activities. http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/News/400224.html

16) Canada will be in tomorrow’s world economy. How can there be any cause for optimism during what is arguably the worst times in our industry’s history? Because natural resources that are produced sustainably will be the most prized products in tomorrow’s global economy. The math of where the world is heading is simple: Economists are predicting that global GDP will double in the next 20 years and per-capita incomes in developing nations will triple. This march of the world’s poor in developing countries out of a subsistence existence and into the modern economy has long been part of humanity’s dream, but it will put pressure on the planet. Just look at where we are today, with prices for energy and natural commodities rising and the evidence of the harm we are doing to the planet all around us. Now project out from today as global GDP doubles in just two decades. With increasing global wealth, global demand for paper and wood is projected to grow significantly over the years ahead. However, global levels of production of forest products will fall far short of increasing demand. In the past, the answer to growing demand was the establishment of low-cost tree plantations in the tropics. But the emerging social and economic reality will all but stop any expansion of land use for tropical plantation forestry. http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2008/05/12/forestry-has-a-bright-gre


17) The halting of logging in the world's rainforests is the single greatest solution to climate change, Prince Charles has said. He called for a mechanism to be devised to pay poor countries to prevent them felling their rainforests. The prince told the BBC's Today programme that the forests provided the earth's "air conditioning system". He said it was "crazy" the rainforests were worth more "dead than alive" to some of the world's poorest people. The world's forests store carbon in their wood and in their soils. But they are being felled for timber products, food and now bio fuels. Experts say this carbon is being released into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming. The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, published in 2006, suggested that the destruction adds about 18% to the CO2 from human sources. Prince Charles said of the rainforests: "When you think they release 20 billion tonnes of water vapour into the air every day, and also absorb carbon on a gigantic scale, they are incredibly valuable, and they provide the rainfall we all depend on." He said a way had to be found to ensure people living in the rainforest were adequately rewarded for the "eco-system services that their forest provides the rest of the world". He said: "The trouble is the rainforests are home to something like 1.4 billion of the poorest people in the world. In order to survive there has to be an effort to produce things which tends to be at the expense of the rainforest. What we've got to do is try to ensure that those forests are more valuable alive than dead. At the moment there's more value in them being dead. This is the crazy thing." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7400911.stm

18) Despite numerous reports of old trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) being cut down – often because they stand in the way of developers' building proposals – the DoE has admitted that its policy is to "negotiate" with the perpetrators, rather than take them to court. And, in what environmentalists and politicians have said is an example of the "farcical" protection given to old trees, the sole prosecution the department could point to saw the perpetrator fined £200 for cutting down several trees – just 0.6 per cent of the £30,000 total fine that could have been imposed for each tree. Northern Ireland has less tree cover than any other European country, with just six per cent of the land area covered by woodland. Responding to a written Assembly question from North Down UUP MLA Alan McFarland, Environment Minister Arlene Foster said that the only prosecution brought was against City of Derry Golf Club in 2003 for "wilfully destroying trees". In response to the revelation, Green Party MLA Brian Wilson attacked the DoE's record of protecting trees and said some developers had been "laughing at the system for years". "To only prosecute one case of violating a TPO makes a farce of the whole thing," he said. "The current system is totally ineffective and unenforceable – it's laughable that the only fine was £200 which will obviously not deter anyone." Fellow North Down MLA Alan McFarland, who raised the issue in the Assembly, said the problem of trees being cut down illegally was widespread: "Clearly the whole thing is a nonsense. "There is no point putting protection orders on trees, then letting people cut them down and not enforcing them. "People are raising this right across the constituency but to only prosecute one case, and have a £200 fine, makes a mockery of the whole thing when there are so many examples of trees being cut down illegally. "The time has come for us to take these issues seriously if we care at all about our countryside and the sensible development of our towns." http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Ulster39s-historic-trees-39under-threat39.4072118.jp


19) Wildlife is being damaged by the construction of a cycleway through one of the most precious and protected natural habitats in Scotland, conservationists have warned. Work to drive a five-kilometre track through Rothiemurchus forest in the Cairngorms National Park is putting red squirrels, wood ants and ancient Caledonian pines at risk, they say, and amounts to “environmental vandalism”. But this is disputed by the three public agencies who are overseeing the cycleway. They insist that the damage is “minimal” and that the project will bring long term gains. The construction of the last leg of a cycleway from Aviemore to Glenmore is being managed by the Forestry Commission, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Scottish Natural Heritage. Work was begun in February and is due to be completed in June. Rothiemurchus forest is one of the best preserved remnants of the ancient Caledonian woodland that used to blanket the Highlands. It is home to a huge range of endangered species, including capercaillie, crossbills and ospreys, and is under statutory protection from three separate nature designations. But according to the Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group, the forest and some of its species are under threat because of the poor way in which the track is being built. Elementary standards had not been met, said the group’s convenor, Dr Gus Jones. “Surveys for some key species like wood ants have been demonstrably incomplete, turfs and soil are not being cut and stored to allow for reinstatement following excavations, and trees are being bulldozed aside.” Jones has seen and photographed the damage, which he claimed was harming the natural diversity of the forest. “This is a national disgrace,” he told the Sunday Herald. “We are witnessing environmental vandalism at one of the most important conservation sites in Europe by the very agencies supposed to protect it.” http://www.robedwards.com/2008/05/ancient-forest.html


20) The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Alliance has launched a media advisory highlighting ten of civil society's most pressing concerns to be discussed at the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity. Almost all of the world's governments will gather in Bonn, Germany to debate, negotiate, and hopefully take decisive action for life - both human and non-human - on earth. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the leading United Nations agreement for ecological governance, covering many areas of environmental, economic and social policy, involving thousands of participants and producing large amounts of policies, guidelines and international law. The media advisory, which can be viewed and downloaded at http://undercovercop.org/media/ intends to cut through the jargon of the official CBD process and to highlight what many civil society groups believe will be the key fights at the Bonn negotiations this month. "The CBD process produces large amounts of written information that is not readily accessible to the average layperson and negotiations are often difficult to follow," explains Jessica Dempsey, co-ordinator of the CBD Alliance. "Civil society organizations - including nongovernmental organizations, Indigenous organizations, local communities, and social movements - play a crucial role at the CBD in highlighting the biggest threats and the most urgent issues that governments need to address," she continued. Civil society brings expertise and voices of those who are not always represented at intergovernmental conferences, voices with stories to tell about ecological devastation, corporate theft, wrong-headed governmental policies, and the spiraling decline of both cultural and biological diversity. Hundreds of civil society groups from the Global South and the North will be present in Germany to ensure negotiators face up to some of the most pressing issues for the equitable and socially just survival of life on this planet. ecoglobalization@lists.riseup.net

Costa Rica:

21) "Project Pacific" is led by the Monteverde Conservation League of Costa Rica and its American counterpart, the Monteverde Conservation League U.S. (MCLUS), two non-profits dedicated to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest - one of the greatest success stories in the history of rainforest preservation. Established in 1987 through the creative fundraising efforts of a classroom of young children in Sweden, the Children's Eternal Rainforest is the largest private reserve in Central America, protecting 54,000 acres of reclaimed rainforest habitat. Join green business executives, entertainment industry leaders and environmental advocates committed to rainforest preservation for an evening celebration benefiting the Monteverde Conservation League U.S. and new efforts to protect the Children's Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica. This inaugural fundraiser launches the "Project Pacific" campaign, a venture devoted to raising $10 million for the purchase and reforestation of a critical rainforest corridor extending from the mountain tops in Monteverde to the Pacific Ocean, creating an undisturbed passage and habitat for migrating animals. http://www.csrwire.com/News/11929.html


22) Environment Minister Marina Silva resigned Tuesday, ending an often stormy six-year term that put her in conflict with developers in the Amazon rain forest. Silva did not say why she was stepping down, according to her spokeswoman, Jandira de Almeida Gouveia. But Sergio Leitao, director of public policy for Greenpeace in Brazil, said the minister "is leaving because the pressure on her for taking the measures she took against deforestation has become unbearable." "Brazil is losing the only voice in the government that spoke out for the environment," Leitao said. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva picked Carlos Minc, the environment secretary for Rio de Janeiro state, to be the new national environmental minister, according to the government's official Agencia Brasil news service. The president's office has yet to comment on Marina Silva's resignation. Denise Hamu, secretary-general of the Worldwide Fund for Nature in Brazil, said Marina Silva tried unsuccessfully to coordinate environmental defense with health and transportation. The tipping point for her resignation, Hamu said, was the government's decision to give priority to a multibillion-dollar development plan and put the Ministry of Cities in charge of its Sustainable Amazon project. "The environmental area was relegated to no priority. She got tired of the thankless struggle," Hamu said. "It's a tremendous loss for Brazil, at home and abroad." Silva was a colleague of the late rain forest activist Chico Mendes, who was shot to death in 1988 in the western Amazon state of Acre. She earned a reputation for defying developers and setting stringent conditions for logging permits and environmental licenses. Her positions antagonized pro-development ministers within the government, giving rise to rumors that President Silva wanted to fire her but feared she would gain martyr status. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080513/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/brazil_minister_resigns

23) Hailed as Brazil's first "green president" when he took office, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva appears to have thinner environmental credentials than ever after the resignation of Amazon defender Marina Silva. The former rubber tapper and union activist was one of the fresh faces who marked a break from Brazil's conservative past when she was appointed environment minister in Lula's first cabinet. Her departure on Tuesday underlines Lula's long journey from firebrand union leader to business-friendly president more than 5 years after he became Brazil's first working-class leader. "He is increasingly conservative," said Christopher Garman, head of the Latin America practice at Eurasia Group. "He has caved in to the view that the Amazon has to be developed in some form or fashion." The government named Silva's replacement on Wednesday as Carlos Minc, a co-founder of the Green Party in Brazil. Environmentalists said he was well respected but could run into the same problems as Silva without stronger support from Lula. "After Marina Silva, I think anyone who takes this position will face a lot of pressure from different sectors in Brazilian society, especially from agri-business," said Paulo Moutinho, research coordinator at the Amazon Research Institute. Silva's resignation comes at a critical moment for the world's largest rain forest. Pressure on its resources from high world food prices and growing energy demands are pushing it closer to what environmentalists warn is a "tipping point" of destruction where its rain-making capacity could start to fail and affect the regional climate. Silva had become increasingly isolated inside Lula's team, analysts say, over issues ranging from the government's support for biofuels, to genetically modified crops and nuclear power. A major clash with business interests and other ministries came with her opposition to the expansion of hydroelectric power from dams in the Amazon region at a time when fast-growing Brazil is hungry for energy. http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/48350/story.htm

24) The Brazilian government will provide 1 billion Brazilian reals ($597 million) to tackle deforestation in the Amazon, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told the government news agency Radiobras Monday. Lula said the BRL1 billion will be used to tackle deforestation, allow for reforestation and control the environment. In January, the government reported a surprising 3,200 square kilometers of forest were cut down over the last five months, with a record-breaking 1,922 square kilometers clear-cut in November and December combined. Lula also said the government will establish a rural environmental register. "This is important. Producers will need to be registered if they want to receive technical assistance or credit," Lula told Radiobras. The government will also train 4,000 technical specialists to work on the initial phase of the project with 100,000 rural producers, said Lula. The Amazon biome constitutes nearly 45% of Brazil's land mass and is home to various topographies, including virgin rainforest. Most of the area is full of small landowners and indigenous Amazon tribes. Amazon deforestation could pose a serious problem to Brazilian agricultural trade, mainly with European Union nations, who have charged that Brazilian agriculture is cheap and ever-expanding because of illegal deforestation. Brazil is the No 1 exporter of sugar and coffee and the No. 2 exporter of soybeans. http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=99363
25) The Amazon, 65% of it in one country, Brazil, is now home to millions of people drawn to this last frontier by the money to be made from logging, ranching and growing new crops. The huge surge in the price of food increases the incentive for replacing forest with crops, and offers Brazil a way out of poverty and a way of responding to new demands for food. On Thursday, 15 May, BBC World Service and the BBC News website will be providing special coverage from Brasilia and various parts of the Amazon. We talk to all those involved in logging - legal and illegal - in farming and in policing and governing this vast area. We explore their lives, their motives and their concerns - and how they consider the pressure on them from across the world. We ask whether there is a way to both exploit the forest and save the forest? And we look at new ways of trying to balance the economic development of Brazil with the calls for more protection of the forest. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/7393136.stm


26) The Kalash Community is economically weak, backward and illiterate. To make both ends meet, they sell their lands as well as some other precious goods. Walnut trees are also very valuable trees. During the price-hike and inflation, they have sold these trees to contractors from all over the country and these people have started cutting these trees to carry away to sell in the market. Because walnut trees are considered suitable for the making of furniture, these trees are the only beauty of these valleys and because of their natural beauty attract tourists from all over the world. The same situation took place during the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Through an executive order Bhutto stopped the cutting of the walnut trees and allocated funds after paying to contractors all trees were returned to the Kalash people and he further imposed a ban on the cutting and selling of walnut trees. As these people have a very unique cultural and tradition for many centuries, they did not change their lifestyle and still follow their centuries-old customs and traditions, and because of their customs and traditions, they attract million of tourists, so our government as well as civil society, including NGOs, should strive to protect their community. http://thepost.com.pk/LetNews.aspx?dtlid=160493&catid=4


27) Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) has undertaken an initiative to enhance Sri Lanka’s biodiversity by converting the company’s Eucalyptus plantations into natural forests.Addressing the media, CTC Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Manager Senaka De Fonseka revealed that although the company will be making a loss out of this project they will be serving the country through the boosting of the ecosystem in the dry zone. “In 1981 CTC established a Eucalyptus plantation to combat deforestation. We covered 500 hectares in quite a number of places. This initiative was also taken to grow our own firewood and reduce depending on other trees”, he said. De Fonseka also said that CTC has become self sufficient for firewood and has also discovered that paddy husks can be utilized as a substitute for firewood. By 1997 CTC was only using paddy husks and had converted the 3000 eucalyptus barns to paddy husk storages. “Then we discovered that eucalyptus was not the best tree to plant for forests and therefore in 2004 CTC evaluated the 500 hectares of eucalyptus plantations and undertook the initiative ot transform these to natural forests”, he stated. De Fonseka added that CTC spends Rs.2 million per annum on this biodiversity project and also has assistance from institutions such as the British American Tobacco Partnership (BATP), Earthwatch Europe, Fauna and Flora International, The Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, Tropical Biology Association and the Department of Zoology. The BATP has todate invested Rs. 2 million in seed corn funding and will continue to invest until June 2009 after which it will hand it over to the University of Peradeniya. Delving into the benefits of this project De Fonseka pointed out that it will increase the natural forest with its fauna, minimize erosion and support the wildlife in the area. CTC has eucalyptus plantations in the districts of Matale, Nuwara-Eliya, Badulla and Kandy. University of Peradeniya Zoology Department Senior Lecturer Dr. Kithsiri Ranawana noted that research in the eucalyptus plantations revealed that the indigenous plant species of Sri Lanka are unable to grow due to the Monocrop. http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=14471

28) Chipko is a movement that was originally conceived of and followed by women peasants in Uttarakhand, to prevent the felling of trees in the region by the forest department. Launched in 1973, this movement by the end of the seventies, had spread like wildfire throughout the Uttarakhand Himalayas . The good news is that the movement continues to inspire people from all over the country and the latest Chipko slogans I've been reading about have been raised in my own neighbourhood. A whole lot of residents living around Haji Ali have decided to battle against the municipality which wants to chop down 84 trees as part of a plan to beautify the promenade at Haji Ali. The idea is to get rid of all these trees and replace them with Zodiac signs. Huh? Concrete Zodiac signs as part of a beautification programme?! Are there any sane people left in the municipality or are we dealing with a bunch of complete morons? Neither probably. Somebody somewhere is going to be walking away with a bulging wallet and a fat smile on his face, on account of the so-called beautification programme which according to many of us will result in a seriously hideous promenade. Anyway the Chipko movement at Haji Ali has been apparently spearheaded by one Jayashree Desai who has also agreed to adopt a tree. Several people have now said they will adopt and look after a tree and that they will stand between the tree and the axe if the municipality comes along to further its idiotic ideas. I feel tempted myself to go join them so I'm going to be finding out more about this protest, very soon. http://laidbackrebel.blogspot.com/2008/05/chipko-at-haji-ali.html


29) Chevron, US-based one of the world's largest energy companies, has completed its 3D seismic survey in Lawachhara forest in Moulvibazar amid various allegations. Chevron will complete its survey works in other two forests in Moulvibazar gas field area within this week. About 60 per cent of the total survey works and the rest would be concluded next month, according to the officials of the Chevron. About 9,000 holes, each 70-feet deep, were dug over 150 square kilometres where the total forest area accounts for 16 per cent, they said. There are three forests - Lawachhara, Chowtoli and Kalachhara - in close proximity on the Moulvibazar gas field. About 1,400 holes were dug in the three forests and of them 700 in the sensitive Lawachhara forest, they added. Chevron have successfully set off blasts in all the 700 holes until Saturday last and now the blasts are being carried out in the remaining areas of Chowtoli and Kalachhara forests, said Chevron officials. An official of the local forest department, who was present on the spot during the blast as part of his duty, said that they recorded with a machine the sounds ranging from 65 dB to 75 dB caused by the blasts. Normally the sound range remains below 70 dB. But in some places it varies up to 75 dB, which is allowable under the forest and environment rule. The forest official, wishing anonymity, said, "Chevron was conducting the survey works in compliance with the rules although initially there were some flaws as more people than required were working in the forest. But, now they are 'ok' as they reduced their manpower to allowable 7," he said. Chevron has not conducted any work that could disturb the flora and fauna of the forest. It is also not true that birds and animals are deserting the forest due to the survey activities, he said. About the allegation of cracks in mud-houses alongside the areas where the survey was is going on, he said that he was aware of such an allegation. "But I should not comment before investigation," he said. Moreover, villagers, however, alleged that the cracks on their mud-houses developed after the blasts. http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2008/05/13/news0616.htm

New Zealand:

30) A public meeting will be held today in Rotorua to discuss logging that opponents say is destroying iconic 90-year-old trees and may ruin the pristine waters of Tikitapu, the Blue Lake. National Party candidate Todd McClay has called the meeting in response to concerns about the razing of decades-old Douglas firs beside the lake's walking track. The meeting also follows warnings by a water-quality expert that felling the trees is likely to harm the sensitive lake. The Government has begun investigating whether the logging breaches a protective covenant on the forest. Forestry management company Timberlands began cutting down the trees after resource consent was issued by the Rotorua District Council, and in the past few days locals have reported seeing logs helicoptered out of the area. Mr McClay said the Douglas firs, though not native, had "iconic status" for Rotorua in terms of their scenic value for locals and economic value for tourism. "These are 90-year-old trees," he said yesterday. "It's going to take 90 years for these trees to get back to what they are now." Mr McClay wants the Government to step in and buy the cutting rights from Timberlands to save the trees. But Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick, who is also Rotorua MP, said his stance was ironic given that National usually opposed Government intervention in business. "It's not for the public to tell a private company how to forest-farm an asset," she said. Ms Chadwick said a lot of emotion and misinformation was circulating about the logging, despite it being selective rather than wholesale logging, and being done on condition the area would be replanted. However, she said the Government was investigating whether the felling breached a covenant put in place under the Crown Forests Act 1989. The covenant is designed to protect the scenic, environmental and recreational amenities of the area. The land being logged is part of the Whakarewarewa Forest and therefore also subject to the $400 million Treelord Treaty deal being negotiated with central North Island iwi. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=252&objectid=10509896


31) More than two billion trees were planted around the world as part of the UN's campaign to combat climate change, the world body's environment programme (UNEP) said Tuesday in a statement. The Nairobi-based agency said the tree planting campaign, inspired by Kenyan Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai, will help mitigate the effects of pollution and environmental deterioration. The campaign launched in 2006 saw two billion trees planted, double the original target, with Ethiopia leading the count at 700 million, Turkey at 400 million, Mexico at 250 million and Kenya at 100 million trees. The campaign set a new target of seven billion by late 2009, when governments gather in Copenhagen for a crucial climate change conference. "The goal of planting seven billion trees -- equivalent to just over a tree per person alive on the planet -- must therefore also be do-able given the campaign's extraordinary track record and the self-evident worldwide support," UNEP chief Achim Steiner said in a statement. "It is a defining issue of our era that can only be tackled through individual and collective action. I am convinced that the new target will be met -- one tree at a time," he added. Heads of state participated in the campaign, as did corporations, cities, faiths and communities, but individuals accounted for over half of all participants, UNEP said. Experts say that trees are the most cost-effective way of containing carbon that accumulates the heat-trapping gases blamed for climate change. "Trees and forests play a vital role in regulating the climate since they absorb carbon dioxide," UNEP said. "Deforestation, in turn, accounts for over 20 percent of the carbon dioxide humans generate, rivaling the emissions from other sources." http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Two_billion_trees_planted_in_UN_campaign_999.html

32) Professor Downing found that constructed ponds and lakes on farmland in the United States bury carbon at a much higher rate than expected; as much as 20-50 times the rate at which trees trap carbon. In addition, ponds were found to take up carbon at a higher rate than larger lakes. "Aquatic ecosystems play a disproportionately large role in the global carbon budget," Downing said. "Despite being overlooked in the past, it's small bodies of water that are important because they take up carbon at a high rate and there are more of them than previously thought. The combined effect is that farm ponds could be burying as much carbon as the world's oceans, each year." Ponds capture carbon in two main ways: 1) Algae and plants take carbon dioxide out of the air as they grow and the carbon remains in the pond when the plants die. 2) Water run-off brings in carbon from surrounding farmland soil. - The research estimated there are 304 million natural lakes and ponds in the world, covering an area of 4.2 million square kilometers, twice the area previously thought. As many as 90 percent of these water bodies are one hectare (two acres) or less in area. Downing's research team published its most recent findings in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles in a paper titled, "Sediment organic carbon burial in agriculturally eutrophic impoundments over the last century." The team included members from Europe, the United States and Canada. The work was sponsored by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Downing has presented invited seminars on this research to the International Society of Limnology, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, and at several major research institutions in North America and Europe. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Ponds_Found_To_Take_Up_Carbon_Like_World_Oceans_999.html

33) Governments are set to miss a self-imposed goal of slowing the rate of extinctions by 2010 and as a result are putting long-term food supplies at risk, a top environmentalist said before a U.N. biodiversity conference. Jim Leape, Director General of the WWF, told Reuters that countries at the May 19-30 U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in the German city of Bonn must admit they are doing too little and step up their commitments. "Biodiversity is essential to life and this is the only international global convention singularly focused on that precious resource -- on the need to conserve biodiversity," Leape said in a telephone interview. "There is no question that the long-term sustainability of the world's food supply depends in no small part on how we take care of the world's biodiversity," he said, noting that all crops from rice to wheat depend on wild stocks. A recent surge in food prices, due partly to booming demand in fast-growing economies such as China and India, has sparked concern among politicians all over the world. U.N. experts warn the planet is facing the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. Some estimates say a species vanishes every 20 minutes, due mainly to human activity and greenhouse gas emissions. About 4,000 experts and officials aim to agree at the Bonn meeting on how to slow the rate of loss of plants and animals. A United Nations summit in 2002 set a goal of slowing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 but experts bemoan a lack of progress. "We're not now on track as a planet to meet that target," said Leape. "There is no question that there needs to be a clarion call at the conference to governments, not just environment ministries, to step up their commitments." He said measures to conserve life had to be an integral part of policy across government and there was a need for national leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to make a stand to get the issue higher on the global agenda. Leape said countries including Brazil, Costa Rica and Borneo had taken significant steps to improve conservation. "The industrialized world needs to be supporting the global effort to achieve these targets, not just in their own territories where a lot of biodiversity has already been lost, but also globally," he said. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/5/14/worldupdates/2008-05-14T170135Z_01_NOOTR_R

34) How many tree species are there in the world? I have read estimates that go all the way up to 100,000 but the number that looks most believable to me is 10,000. I got this number in a article by James E. Reeb entitled "Scientific Classification of Trees: An Introduction for Wood Workers". Another estimate that sounded interesting was to take the total number of known plant species and then make an estimate of what percentage of these are trees based on smaller sample areas. Using this method one person that I read had estimated that there are 25,000 tree species (10% of the 250,000 plant species). The number of tree species in North America is estimated at around 1,000 (also from the article by James E. Reeb). Europe is one of the continents with the least number of tree species. http://tree-species.blogspot.com/2008/05/how-many-tree-species-in-world.html

340 - Earth's Tree News

Today for you 35 new articles about earth’s trees! (340 USA edition)
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--Washington: 1) Unthinned forests and blowdown not a fire hazard, 2) Destroying every creek habitat they build on, 3) 2,200 acre Olympic logging plan blocked, 4) What happens when you cut nearly every tree down, 5) Latest in Weyco’s empire, 6) Save Blanchard Mtn., 7) 1,000 acres saved near Alrlington, 8) Her name was Karen Fant,
--Oregon: 9) Citizens get changes to LSR logging plan, 10) Latest in wilderness protections, 11) What’s wrong with AX men, 12) Appeal settlement in Malheur NF,
--California: 13) Sierra Nevada Alliance conference, 14) Santa Cruz Blue Gum Killer punished, 15) Oak woodlands in El Dorado County, 16) Photographing activists who protest logging, 17) Tejon ranch destruction, 18) Why is Tejon ranch a scam, 19) Shame on enviros for selling out Tejon ranch, 20) "open space" doesn't mean preservation,
--Idaho: 22) A million acres of Payette NF “incinerated” since 1993
--Montana: 23) Montanans for Multiple Use, 24) Big Sky Greenwash,
--Colorado: 25) Oil and gas leases withdrawn
--Arizona: 26) McCain’s Land exchange
--Missouri: 27) Save Smith Creek, 28) 8 acre of old forest to make way for senior center,
--Ohio: 29) 400 acres of forest protected in Muskingum County
--Virginia: 30) 5,000 acres protected as Channels State Forest
--Pennsylvania: 31) Stop oil and gas wells in the Allegheny
--Florida: 32) ¾ of million state dollars supports burgeoning wood pellet empire,
--USA: 33) Green lining to real-estate cloud, 34) Suit filed against NF planning rules, 35) Conservation easements fail the smell test,


1) Ranger Lance Koch said that a fire assessment has determined there is only a “low risk” of fire and insect infestation in the wake of the massive quantity of blowdown from the savage December storm. They looked at historic patterns, noting there’s been 16 fires in the Lake Quinault area since 1970, and all but one was less than one-tenth of an acre in size. Forestwide, there’s only been 65 fires since 1930. Historically, weather in the Quinault area has only allowed one to four days where the potential exists for wildfire to spread if ignited. “What’s to our benefit here is that this is a wet area and is, in fact, the wettest area in the continental 48 with 140 inches of rain a year,” Koch said. About the only danger of fire is if a human caused it, Koch said, adding that lightning strikes in the area are rare. And, as a result, Koch said there are no plans to allow any more salvage operations or logging in the national forest than there would have been before the storm toppled nearly 500 acres worth of forest. That figure includes 120 acres in the Lake Quinault area alone, Koch said. The National Forest Service had allocated a 19 million board feet limit for the forest before the storm and the ranger said that figure has not changed as a result of what some in the forest industry say could be as much as 50 million board feet of timber lying on the ground. The quota of timber mainly is comprised of thinning parts of the forest, but Koch said a few million board feet will be in the form of salvage sales, including 15 acres of solid blowdown in the Cook Creek area of Quinault. He said in order to get an increase in the quota, it requires legislative effort. Koch said he can’t make the request himself. Koch and Olympic National Forest spokesman Brandan Schulze said they were unaware of anyone in Congress making that request. George Behan, a spokesman for Congressman Norm Dicks, said he didn’t think Dicks had made that request and thought even if the congressman did, it might be too late to do anything about it. http://www.thedailyworld.com/articles/2008/05/10/local_news/02news.txt

2) It happens one creek at a time as bulldozers and pavement disrupt the natural flow of water through the ecosystem, destroying habitat and sending billions of gallons of polluted runoff into the Sound. The loggers arrived in July, toppling 35 acres of Douglas firs and cedars. The bulldozers and excavators followed, scraping away the topsoil and leveling the land to golf-course smoothness. At McCormick Woods the next victim is Anderson Creek, once one of the most unspoiled streams flowing to Sinclair Inlet. Today, there are plans to build hundreds of homes around it. "Bye-bye, Anderson Creek," said Ed O'Brien, a stormwater engineer for the state Department of Ecology. By this summer, the first of 166 homeowners will move here, to a place called McCormick Woods, west of Port Orchard in Kitsap County and a mile upstream from Puget Sound. It's an unremarkable transformation that happens every day. And it's one of the biggest threats to Puget Sound. Bigger, more affordable homes are one reason why people are drawn to places that were recently forest land, such as McCormick Woods. The way we grow is undermining our promises to protect and restore Puget Sound, and could hobble a new rescue plan on which we may be asked to commit as much as $18 billion on top of the $9 billion we already expect to spend by 2020. Even as we continue to push to protect Puget Sound, the entire effort is up against the fact that we also need to make room for as many as 4 million more people who could move here this century. And as we do, we are gradually eating away at the Sound's finely tuned water-cleaning system by leveling as much as 10,000 acres of forest every year. -- 1) Efforts to regulate stormwater are politically toxic, and state officials have balked at tougher, more costly controls. 2) The developments we allow lag behind the latest stormwater designs, because many county and city goverments are still using 16-year-old rules. 3) Even the newest engineering standards, some of the strictest in the country and ones that could add thousands of dollars to the cost of a home, aren't enough to stop the damage. 4) Perversely, developers who try promising new approaches to addressing stormwater face red tape that creates costly delays or hurts effectiveness. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004405985_growth_stormwater20m0.html

3) A federal judge has blocked a plan to log 2,200 acres in Olympic National Forest. U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton says the National Forest Service approved the Bear Creek Saddle logging operation under changes the Bush administration made to the Northwest Forest Plan in 2004. Those changes, which weakened environmental protections, have been struck down as illegal. Leighton sent the matter back to the Forest Service to conduct a new environmental assessment of the logging's impact. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420ap_wa_olympics_logging.html

4) "All of our public institutions that were supported by this economic activity began to crumble," said John Calhoun, director of the Olympic National Resources Center, an entity created by the Washington State legislature that brings together industry, environmental, government and native groups to forge sustainable forest and marine policies. "It was devastating not only economically, but it was devastating philosophically," Calhoun said, "and it was a depression in people's attitude, about the world being turned upside down for reasons they couldn't understand or agree with." "Logging had a certain appeal, a romance if you will," said Ted Spoelstra, 89, who began working in the industry in the 1940s. "It was a sad day, there's no question about that, and it still is," he recalled about the ruling in 1990. "There was a lot of environmental pressure coming from the Department of Natural Resource people and they started that spotted owl stuff. They thought that old growth was sacred." Allowable harvests in the Olympic National Forest dwindled and the unemployment rate in Forks shot up to just under 20 percent in 1991. Now just 4.5 percent of the jobs in Clallam County, which houses Forks, are related to forest products, according to the Washington Forest Protection Association. "Logging had a certain appeal, a romance if you will," said Ted Spoelstra, 89, who began working in the industry in the 1940s. "It was a sad day, there's no question about that, and it still is," he recalled about the ruling in 1990. "There was a lot of environmental pressure coming from the Department of Natural Resource people and they started that spotted owl stuff. They thought that old growth was sacred." Allowable harvests in the Olympic National Forest dwindled and the unemployment rate in Forks shot up to just under 20 percent in 1991. Now just 4.5 percent of the jobs in Clallam County, which houses Forks, are related to forest products, according to the Washington Forest Protection Association. http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1542183/

5) Weyerhaeuser Corp.'s $6 billion divestiture of its container board, packaging and recycling business to International Paper Co. received Department of Justice clearance on Monday. The deal is part of a radical reshaping of the forest product giant spawned by unprecedented declines in the housing market and driven by president Daniel S. Fulton, a 32-year veteran of Weyerhaeuser who took over in January. Like many companies whose fortunes are tied to the housing market, Weyerhaeuser has seen demand evaporate for many of its wood products. On May 2, the company reported that first-quarter sales dropped to $3.4 billion from $4.5 billion a year earlier. It was the fifth-consecutive quarterly drop in revenue. As a result, Fulton and his deal team, including vice president of acquisitions and divestments Theodore W. Cozine, have been in nearly nonstop deal mode. As Fulton told shareholders in April, the plan is to get 108-year-old Weyerhaeuser refocused on what it knows best, trees. "In the future, we'll operate on a world-class scale and profitability in Timberlands. We will have other businesses, but we will only manufacture products where we have the technology, a unique skill or opportunity, and the ability to do so in a capital-efficient manner. This is how we are positioning Weyerhaeuser to grow in areas that present the greatest opportunities for value creation."
The $6 billion divestiture to International Paper is by far the company's biggest strategic move, but since January 2007, Weyerhaeuser has: 1) Sold dozens of building materials distribution centers in Canada and the U.S. 2) Combined its fine paper business with similar assets of Domtar Inc. to form Domtar Corp., 3) Restructured its international joint venture holding, 4) Announced a strategic review of its commercial construction sales business, 5) Shuttered at least a dozen mills, and 6) sold or reduced production at a handful of others. http://www.thedeal.com/corporatedealmaker/2008/05/coverage_of_the_housing_crisis.php

6) Blanchard Mountain towers more than 2,200 feet above Samish Bay -- along with adjacent Chuckanut Mountain it's the only place where the Cascade Range touches the briny tidelands. Here on the dome of stone generations of hikers have paused to sit and snack on sandwiches or crackers and cheese while taking in with wide eyes panoramic views of Samish, Guemes, Lummi, Cypress, Orcas and the other San Juan Islands. On the clearest days, you can gaze from the Oyster Dome to the Olympic Mountains and even Mount Rainier. Trails climb Blanchard Mountain from Chuckanut Drive at its bottom and circle its slopes from trailheads on the south, to Lily and Lizard lakes, Raptor Ridge, North Butte and other points. Sandwiched between the fast-growing cities of Bellingham and Mount Vernon, hardly more than an hour's drive from Seattle and snow-free virtually year-round, Blanchard Mountain is heavily hiked, ridden by mountain bikers and equestrians, and serves as a premier launch site for hang gliders and parasailors. So if you want to see Blanchard Mountain as it is, you might want to do it soon. "It's an outrage," says Frank Eventoff, a resident of Bow just south of there. "Here we have this gem, this treasure that we live around. In 50 years it will all be old-growth. It will be priceless. It's used by so many for recreation. I'd like to see it protected for conservation and recreation, and managed responsibly." The Washington Department of Natural Resources, which is required to generate revenue from its lands for the state school trust, insists that it will be managed responsibly. In 2003 the DNR convened a panel of diverse interests to develop a strategic plan for the 4,827 acres it controls there. Some 1,600 acres would become a "core area" managed primarily for mature forests, recreation and habitat, where timber harvest would be allowed only to enhance the quality of same. "There's no question (Blanchard Mountain) is very important to the local recreational community," says Bill Wallace, the DNR's Northwest Region manager. "Part of what the Blanchard Strategies Group did was put in the core the areas most favored by the recreational community, in terms of the viewscape and the hiking experience." However, many area residents, hikers and conservationists consider the size of the core area and the overall plan's protection of recreation and habitat inadequate. Two groups have filed suit against the DNR in King County Superior Court. They are the Chuckanut Conservancy, a group dedicated to protecting the two mountains, and the North Cascades Conservation Council, the 51-year-old group that was instrumental in the creation of North Cascades National Park. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/getaways/361963_blanchard08.html

7) Almost 1,000 acres of forest land east of Arlington will be preserved from development under a purchase agreement approved Tuesday by the state Board of Natural Resources. The $4.15 million acquisition of a working tree farm is the largest in a program created by the 2007 Legislature to buy up to $70 million of forest land facing conversion to housing or other nonforest uses. The 985-acre property was also given high priority because it is adjacent to existing state trust land. Conservationists praised the purchase and said the state fund created to preserve at-risk forests is doing what it was intended to do. "The biggest threat to forest lands is its conversion to other uses, even in places once considered as remote as this," said Gene Duvernoy, president of the Cascade Land Conservancy. Since the Legislature approved spending the money last year, the Department of Natural Resources has focused on purchasing threatened forestland from willing sellers. The state targets land that, if lost to development, would threaten the viability of surrounding working forests."Washington is losing its working forests to housing developments and other uses at an alarming rate," said Doug Sutherland, commissioner of public lands, in announcing the purchase agreement. Once the purchase is finalized, the land will become part of the state's school-trust lands. The proceeds from timber sales on the land go toward school construction.The property, currently operated as the Bear Creek Tree Farm, is about five miles east of Arlington and 10 miles east of Interstate 5. It lies just east of Jim Creek and an area known as Arlington Heights that is quickly becoming a commuter suburb of Everett and even Seattle. Hardy Davidson, an Arlington Realtor who represented the owners in the purchase negotiations, said there are few small, private timber operations left in the area. "A lot of things could have happened to this land to move it toward development if the owners weren't conscientious about keeping it green," Davidson said. The owners, Lee Taylor and his sisters Mary Ellen Hogle and Nancy Taylor Mason, were caught by surprise by the state's announcement of the sale, which has not yet been finalized. Taylor said the land has been on the market for about five years. The family did not want to sell to a developer, but until the state approved the fund to preserve threatened forests it hadn't been able to buy the property. The sale price was determined by an independent appraisal. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004399976_bearcreek08m.html
8) Her name was Karen Fant. Cofounder of the Washington Wilderness Coalition in 1979, Fant was the embodiment of a conservation community mantra: endless pressure, endlessly applied. Not one to settle for waiting, she made great things happen as the most skilled and dedicated grassroots organizer I've ever met. A leader when the 1984 Washington Wilderness Act passed, Fant's intelligence and good humor shined out as brightly as her unforgettable smile more than two decades later. When asked to help, Fant always answered the call. In summer 2001, Fant and I drove to Index to help piece together the route and itinerary for the upcoming initial community visit of Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Rick Larsen to launch the Wild Sky dialogue. We found the perfect Cascade summer day -- warm but tempered by cool breezes swaying the trees, sunlight scattering across the river's surface like a thousand tiny brilliant lighthouses. How could Murray and Larsen not love this country? They couldn't. That's the magic behind Wild Sky Wilderness. Citizen activists such as Fant offered elected officials, opinion leaders and neighbors a chance to know and fall in love with Wild Sky. President Kennedy would have admired Fant and her disciples. She died far too soon in 2006. Perhaps they've met by now and are looking down -- smiling -- and admiring their shared vision of good people doing good work. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/362768_wildsky13.html


9) Thanks to folks like you and the eagle eye of KS Wild, the Klamath National Forest has amended their original proposal and developed a project that will have restorative benefits to forests on the southside of Mt. Ashland. The southside Mt. Ashland Late-Successional Reserve project was first proposed in 2005. While much of the project was thinning dense second-growth fir stands that were the result of previous logging and fire suppression, it also included nine (9) miles of new road construction along Beaver Creek. A tributary of the ailing Klamath River, Beaver Creek already has far too many logging roads that fragment wildlife habitat while bleeding sediment into the creeks and streams. In response to this proposal, KS Wild and many of our supporters wrote the Klamath National Forest to applaud the proposed understory thinning of trees in fire-suppressed forests as a good first step towards restoring old-growth conditions on these logged over lands. However, we also heavily discouraged any new road construction. Over the next year, KS Wild staff spent many hours in the field with the Forest Service and we are pleased to see that the public process contributed to a better proposal. The amended project was released last month and will thin nearly 4,000 acres of dense forests. The new temporary road construction was reduced from 9 miles to 1.7 miles (less than a 1/3 of their draft proposal), while they close 9.3 miles of road and decommission an additional 9 miles of existing road. The project also proposes to reintroduce fire to 3,747 acres in the planning area (more than a two-fold increase from their original proposal), which is an extremely valuable effort in restoring these forests to a more natural condition. Thanks to those of you who submitted comments on this project. Your voice made a difference! We are pleased with the process and look forward to future collaborative efforts that result in restorative activities on public lands in the Klamath-Siskiyou. http://www.kswild.org

10) Momentum continues to gather in Congress for Wilderness protections for several Oregon areas. This time, it's a hearing for Soda Mountain. Just a quick note on Wilderness happenings in Congress today. Sometime today, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will likely unanimously pass a bill that contains protections for 23,000-acres in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument known as Soda Mountain. That means this ecological wonder will join Copper Salmon and the Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness bill as Wilderness areas ready to pass the Senate floor. You might know by now that they have to make it past the infamous Dr. No, but there is a light on the other side of the tunnel since Senate leaders finally figured out a way to move legislation around Senator Coburn (they just did it last month to get Washington's Wild Sky Wilderness through). So, if everything comes together, all of your hard work advocating for new Wilderness across the state could be coming to fruition soon. As always, we'll keep you updated. http://www.oregonwild.org/about/blog

11) I was watching a little television before bed last night and ran across a new series called Ax Men on the History Channel. It follows four logging crews through a season in the remote forests of northwest Oregon as they work in one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. As I watched, the little hippie inside of me silently shed a patchouli-scented tear as each tree was felled, then hauled up the mountain at breakneck speed (literally). The one-armed, prosthetically enhanced logger had defeated tree-after-old-growth-tree, and another house would soon begin construction. After getting out of my morning shower the visions of falling timber stick stuck to the back of my head, so I decided to see what the show was doing in terms of sustainable practices. At the end of a long day, it sure looked like the Ax Men were simply clear-cutting the side of the mountain at random, but what did I know? I'm a mid-Western bike commuter with clean fingernails. He had, well, only five fingernails. I googled and blogsearched, and while numerous interviews and reviews hint that the show is doing what it can to promote environmental stewardship, they don't, however, say how/why/who/when/what they're doing. There isn't any promotion of replanting, any exhibition of responsible forestry, or any environmental stewardship whatsoever. Actually, the majority of the interviews seem to reiterate this comment made by one of the loggers, "The media has beat us up pretty badly, and I don't think a lot of people are really educated on how the woods are regulated." We are doing something because we know environmental degradation is bad. But what? What exactly are you doing? Who's watching you do it? Who recommended you to do it? Who's following up on how you did it or what affect it had on the environment? http://insourceoutsource.blogspot.com/2008/05/back-in-minute-i-need-to-greenwash.html

12) The Sierra Club and its environmental partners reached a settlement with the Malhuer National Forest over the Thorn post-fire timber sale proposal. After a seven hour appeal resolution meeting in John Day on May 8th, a few more hours of meetings and calls before and after this meeting, and a full day of non-stop phone conferencing and meetings on May 9th - with our attorneys and representatives staying consistent and strong, we have an agreement that drops all of the Thorn unroaded, wilderness quality unroaded area from logging entirely. Agreement details will be forthcoming for all to review. There is a Wednesday May 14th meeting in John Day with all parties to finalize the agreement, followed by review by all of our respective boards and agency officials. Thanks for all your help and support! Thorn Post-fire timber sale: Located near Dayville spanning 7,456 acres from north facing Aldrich Ridge roadless area to Fields Creek. On March 7, 2008 the agency signed a decision for logging 21.9 million board feet from 2,529 acres of forest and another 870 acres of roadsides, including logging within the wilderness quality "unlogged" Aldrich roadless area. Fire burned through the area's forests in August 2006. This project is in appeal period, with appeals due April 26. The Sierra Club has approved appeal and litigation to stop this ecologically harmful timber sale, with a team of volunteers, allies, and attorneys involved in this ongoing effort (see the Positions and Resources page for the appeal document). If negotiations are unable to resolve conservation issues, a lawsuit will be filed to stop this sale later in April or early May. http://oregon.sierraclub.org/groups/juniper/index.asp - ecoglobalization@lists.riseup.net


13) Clearcutting the Climate or Carbon Sequestration - What's our Future?"* Come find out how timber harvesting activities in the Sierra are affecting climate change. Learn whether the reassurances of the timber companies "hold water." Discover the best strategies for our forests in a climate-altered Sierra. (Comment from TH: I didn't see anything in the Sierra Nevada Alliance conference that suggests how their wonderful ideas could be widely implemented. Lots of intellectualizing, but not much practical proposals for making them happen. More preaching to the choir, although at least it looks free of greenwashing. The Aspo folks aren't grassroots, but they do have some elite players involved. Some "intel" types, too.)

14) The issue: 1) we and our neighbors live near a grove of blue gum eucalyptus, AKA "gasoline trees"; 2) summer is approaching and so, too, is the risk of urban wildfire; 3) after 20 years of debate, issues are still unresolved… So there was the headline, “The killer of killer trees is out on a limb in Santa Cruz... with a lead, “Robert Sward, 68, of Santa Cruz, doesn’t look, sound or act like a tree murderer.” The paper, The Sacramento Bee, after a few kind words about my poetry (“his verse, more lovely than any weed tree...”) went on, “One might suppose Robert would obey the city ordinance that protects ‘heritage trees.’ Instead, he flings it down and dances upon it.” Yes, much as I love the city, I’ve been at war with the Santa Cruz city fathers, the majority of whom defend all trees no matter where they came from or what idiot planted them in the wrong hemisphere because only God can make a tree. “These so-called progressives speak in a way that would delight Lewis Carroll,” I am quoted as saying. “A local version of the Duchess recently told me, ‘Diseased or not, two blue gum eucs constitute a grove... and the tree you removed was a member of a grove.’ All that was missing from our exchange was a queen to declare, ‘Off with his head!’” The blue gum eucalyptus—or ‘gasoline tree,’ as firefighters call it—is an invasive exotic from Australia that evolved with fire. Fire doesn’t kill blue gums. Instead, it clears out the competition and opens their seed pods. Soon after murdering a tree, I stood before Santa Cruz City Council, our lawyer present, facing a $9000.fine. For what? Removing one euc and lopping off a few branches from another. The grove in question, the four or five shallow-rooted, fire-prone monsters endangering our home, is situated on our property, property on which we pay taxes. Our property, our trees, our taxes. It all started in 1991 with the Oakland Hills/Berkeley fire which killed 20 people and caused more than $5 billion damage. Fire officials determined the blue gum euc was a key cause of that tragedy and also the fire storm that later struck Australia. http://drswardscureformelancholia.blogspot.com/2008/05/killer-of-killer-trees.html

15) A plan to protect oak woodlands in El Dorado County while allowing property owners to remove trees to develop their land has been approved by the Board of Supervisors. The oak woodland management plan, the subject of numerous workshops and hearings over the past two years, allows landowners to take advantage of a fee option available under the 2004 general plan, the county's blueprint for growth. Until now, property owners had the choice of compensating for tree removal by planting trees elsewhere on the property or at another site. With the oak woodland management plan in place, they have the alternative of paying a fee toward the purchase of conservation easements to preserve oak woodlands elsewhere in the county. The management plan identifies priority conservation areas where easements might be purchased from willing landowners. It also establishes a $4,700-per-acre fee to cover the costs of acquiring, monitoring and maintaining the conservation easements. The board voted 4-1 on Tuesday to approve the plan, noting that it will be incorporated in a more comprehensive integrated natural resources management plan yet to be developed. Supervisor Ron Briggs dissented. "I think the plan is a good plan," he said, "but my fear is that we're taking it out of sequence with the (integrated natural resources management plan)." Planner Peter Maurer said the oak woodland plan addresses one aspect of natural resources that could be affected by development in the county. Developers also have to compensate for projects' effects on other resources such as rare plants and red-legged frog habitat, he said. http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1376941/plan_approved_to_protect_el_dorado_county_oak_woodl

16) A good idea for a photojournalism project must have relevance, immediacy, cause controversy, touch a topic outside of the mainstream media and should affect the emotions of the viewer. Pair that with beautiful photography, images that drive the narrative with beautiful aesthetics, and the result is work that causes a broad reaction, work with significance and impact. I am describing "Forest Defenders" by Christopher LaMarca, a great project that exemplifies all these qualities and has served to launch further Christopher's career, with numerous awards and publications. In this project, Christopher LaMarca has been photographing environmental activists who protest logging in the once protected areas of pristine national forests. These days I am particularly sensitive to logging and the destruction of trees. Few weeks ago I went to "my" canyon for a run in the afternoon to find it fenced, access totally restricted, the trees destroyed and cut in pieces, and all the signs of new multi-million dollar houses coming in. It happened in few days, just few days to destroy it. Anger is not enough to describe what I felt. A sense of loss that I will not forget. Remember the "qualities" when you search for ideas of your next project: relevance, immediacy, controversy, unconventional, emotional. This will be a good start for the project. I have been photographing these activists and loggers since the summer of 2003. My connection to this project revolves around the passion and endless work that consumes these people who live in the back-country for months at a time; and who are willing to sacrifice their comforts' to stand up for their beliefs. Although these activists are often seen as radicals or eco-terrorists, little has been documented about their activities outside of these stereotypes. These stunning landscapes will continue to be decimated due to political pressure and lack of education, these are some of last truly wild places left in America.- Christopher LaMarca http://exposurecompensation.com/

17) Almost 90 percent of one of Southern California's best-known ranches — long the property of one of the state's best-known newspaper families — will be kept permanently free of development under the terms of a deal announced on Thursday between the ranch corporation and five major conservation organizations. "This is the Holy Grail of conservation in California," said Joel Reynolds of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Bill Corcoran, the senior regional representative of the Sierra Club, added that the property, known as the Tejon Ranch, which reaches from the firs of the southern Sierra Nevada across the dry Tehachapi Mountains and west to the coastal range, "is the keystone for protecting Southern California's natural legacy." In return for the commitment to allow easements on roughly 240,000 acres, the groups, including the Sierra Club, Audubon California and the Natural Resources Defense Council, will give up their opposition to industrial, resort and residential development on another 30,000 acres near Interstate 5. The agreement brings to an end a standoff between Tejon Ranch, a publicly traded company formed after the Chandler family heirs, onetime owners of The Los Angeles Times, sold the land more than a decade ago, and conservation groups that wanted to prevent the ranchland, with its varied ecosystems, from becoming part of the sprawl of greater Los Angeles. "What this agreement does today is it clears the way for us to go ahead" and seek permits for development from local and state environmental and land-use authorities, said Bob Stine, the executive director of the ranch, 60 miles north of Los Angeles. "That process can now go ahead without the environmental groups opposing it." The lands to be put under conservation easement would be governed by a new nonprofit entity, the Tejon Ranch Conservancy. This group would ensure the permanent protection of about 178,000 acres "through a combination of dedicated conservation easements and designated project open spaces," according to a statement released by the ranch and the groups on Thursday. In addition, about 10,000 acres would be set aside for 37 miles of the Pacific Coast Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada and would be rerouted to the ranch's land. The conservation groups would have the right to buy — almost certainly with the aid of a state-sponsored bond issue — another 62,000 acres within three years. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/09/us/09tejon.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

18) There are so many inconsistencies on how much land is proposed to be preserved..their feel good video on the home page says 100,000 acres..the press release 240,000 acres, LA Times says 270,000. This is all such BS, but such a media hype and propaganda without any environmental docs, scientific studies made available for the public to review...and how much money to subsidize the development projects? No ITP application, No draft HCP, No state EIR and FWS is only now taking comments on a draft EIS for what?What project is there on paper? Why isn't the rest of the environmental community outraged? -- Leeona Klippstein leeona@earthlink.net

19) Shame on NRDC, Planning & Conservation League, Audubon and Endangered Habitats League. There is no peer reviewed science to support the loss of at least 92,000-habitat acres and no guarantees of having 178,000-acres conserved. All the organizations know that there are no available funds to pay off the Tejon Ranch developers. When a species is endangered it needs more habitat in order to recover, not less. Shame on you all! The fact that these environmental groups and state agencies have been "negotiating" outside of the law, with Tejon Ranch corporation, is completely unethical. Until the Tejon Ranch corporation submits all documents required under environmental laws, including adequate scientific information in a public forum, these environmental groups, state agencies and the Governor should not be making predecisional approvals. The groups say that they have two years of science, but that scientific information has not been scientifically peer reviewed or made available to the public. Tejon Ranch corporation and this handful of environmental groups, a minority, claim that 178,000 habitat acres will be conserved for future generations. If you step back and examine this "agreement" as reported by the media, it quickly and clearly becomes development propaganda. Do the math and the 90% conserved is not accurate. The Tejon lands are 270,000 acres and if 178,000 were acquired for conservation it still would not be 90%. Then from the 178,000 acres subtract 62,000. (116-acres), because the PUBLIC would have to actually purchase this amount and therefore subsidize the development of the 92,000-acres by the Tejon Ranch Corp. Then subtract again, 49,000-acres to be used as a State Park if the public gives additional money to the corporation. If the public and State and Federal Government come up with all the money -- an unknown amount -- then the endangered Condor and dozens of others will possibly get a preserve of 128,000-acres and 49,000-acre State Park, totaling 177,000. It looks like the Tejon Ranch corporation know how to work the media with a bunch of spin doctoring. Not a word on how much public money they intend to get to subsidize the destruction of at least 92,000-acres of habitat and killing of rare and endangered species. Leeona Klippstein, Executive Director
Spirit of the Sage Council www.sagecouncil.com leeona@earthlink.net

21) STAMPING land as "open space" doesn't mean it will stay untouched. In fact, even labeling land as a preserve, a park or as part of the federal national forest won't prevent strip mining, oil drilling, timber harvesting, the erecting of electrical towers or high-rise condos. That's because development pressures have spilled over from private to public lands, leaving public lands more vulnerable to environmental degradation than ever before. Today, a road is proposed through Chino Hills State Park. Oil drilling is being considered on preserved land within the Whittier/Puente Hills. Massive housing tracts are proposed for a Significant Ecological Area in Rowland Heights. That's why it makes sense to take some of our most precious park and open space - the Arroyo Seco, Eaton Canyon, the Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park above Sierra Madre, Deukmejian Wilderness Park near La Crescenta and Hahamongna Park near JPL - and give them National Park status. Rep. Adam Schiff's bill which is part of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act, won't make that a certainty. Even though it was signed by President Bush last week. However, it begins the process for these West San Gabriel Valley parks and preserves, along with 492,000 acres of foothills and other. parklands rimming the Santa Susanna, Verdugo and San Gabriel Mountains and San Rafael Hills, to become part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The latter was designated as a federal park by Congress 30 years ago and has acted as a bulwark against hillside development, while allowing for flatland development and commercial growth elsewhere in the region. It has also provided San Fernando Valley and Westside residents with a plethora of stunning views and glorious hillside hiking trails. Here in the San Gabriel Valley, our precious open space is scattered. Some is overused. Others have been neglected, tossed aside like discarded trash. Some open-space preserves are disconnected from the populace by poor roads, poor signage, multi-jurisdictional confusion or just poor resource planning. While some 655,387 acres have been set aside as our most notable land preservation - the Angeles National Forest - that's still not a park. http://www2.sgvtribune.com/opinions/ci_9219740


22) Since 1993 over a million acres of the Payette National Forest have been incinerated. In 1994 300,573 acres burned. In 2000 343,347 acres burned. In 2006 over 70,000 acres burned. And in 2007 a whopping 470,529 acres of the Payette NF went up in smoke. That’s 1.27 million acres in 4 of 14 years (I don’t have data for the other intervening years). The Payette NF is 2.3 million acres in size, so using the data available, 55 percent has burned in the last 14 fire seasons. I have been told but cannot confirm (because I don’t have all the data) that the actual burn percentage is 70 percent .The nearly half million acres of the Payette that burned in 2007 was more or less deliberate on the part of the US Forest Service. They planned it, and then carried it out.Following the 2006 fire season (70,000 acres) USA Today ran the following article [here]: Forest fire strategy: Just let it go, USA Today, November 2006 In the worst year for wildfires in nearly half a century, it may seem odd to celebrate how well some of them burned. But the Payette National Forest in central Idaho is doing just that. “It was a real long season, but we got some nice fire effects,” says Sam Hescock, a fire management officer on the 2.3-million-acre forest where more than 150 fires this summer and fall burned about 70,000 acres. “We’re pretty happy with what we got.” http://westinstenv.org/sosf/2008/05/09/the-incineration-of-the-payette/


23) There’s no mincing words for Fred Hodgeboom. He believes in active forest management, and he says the U.S. Forest Service doesn’t do enough of it. The president of Montanans for Multiple Use has put his words into action, spearheading a lawsuit against the Flathead National Forest that recently was denied by a federal judge in Washington, D.C. Hodgeboom hasn’t given up; the court’s ruling is being appealed. “We gave it a try and we’re still trying,” said Hodgeboom, a former planner with the Flathead National Forest who firmly believes that the forest has run afoul of federal planning rules and the public’s trust. http://www.dailyinterlake.com/articles/2008/05/12/news/news01.txt

24) For a group billing themselves as "environmentalists with common sense" the Big Sky Coalition sure has a funny way of being green. In April, the BS Coalition's executive director - a former Forest Service Supervisor - gave testimony before the House Resources Committee in Washington, D.C. calling for "large, landscape scale" logging of our national forests to be accomplished by suspending the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the congressionally-mandated public appeals process. For those who don't know, NEPA is our nation's bedrock environmental law that basically requires the federal government to analyze the potential environmental impacts of their proposed actions. A few weeks later, according to the Missoula Independent , "State Sen. Rick Laible (R-Darby) used his position as chair of the state's Fire Suppression Interim Committee to pimp his personal agenda." You see, Senator Laible just happens to be a board member of the Big Sky Coalition, something he apparently didn't plan on disclosing to the public, despite the fact that Senator Laible's hand-picked agenda included two speakers from his very own Big Sky Coalition. Now, the Ravalli Republic has a story detailing that, "Ravalli County is alleging that one of the founders of the Big Sky Coalition built his house in the floodway of the West Fork of the Bitterroot River. County officials believe that Tom Robak’s house sits in the actual floodway, not just the floodplain, and that 'significant' amounts of fill have been placed." Maybe this latest revelation helps explain why the Big Sky Coalition was spending thousands of dollars last fall running large newspaper ads against Ravalli County's proposed streamside setback ordinance. Regardless, it seems as if Kermit the Frog had it right...it's not easy being green. http://www.newwest.net/citjo/article/big_sky_coalition_founder_built_home_in_floodway/C33/L33/


25) Federal officials are withdrawing most of the proposed oil and gas leases up for sale in a May 8th auction. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Friday that it will defer offering leases on 144,000 acres out of the original 175,430 acres. The parcels withdrawn are in the Rio National Grande Forest in southern Colorado. BLM officials say the parcels could be auctioned later. They'll go over the analysis of the sites with the Forest Service. The decision comes on the heels of a request by Rep. John Salazar and his brother, Sen. Ken Salazar, to defer consideration of the leases. Rio Grande and Saguache (suh-WAHCH') counties and the towns of Del Norte and Crestone had raised concerns about the areas eyed for energy development. http://news.aol.com/story/_a/blm-withdraws-proposed-energy-leases-in/n20080502184409990031


26) A land deal near, but not so dear, to our hearts came up on the front page of the Washington Post today in connection with candidate John McCain. From 1999 to 2005, Western Lands worked with environmental groups and citizen activists in Arizona to challenge a land trade between Yavapai Ranch and the Prescott National Forest. The swap proposal energized hundreds of residents in the Verde Valley, where national forest land would be converted into commercial and retail development near the towns of Camp Verde and Clarkdale. Citizens mounted a strong and intelligent campaign against the deal. McCain called "town hall" meetings to mollify them, but even after hundreds showed up, asking him to drop the trade, McCain barrelled on through. A generous contributor to McCain's campaign stands to benefit by the trade. Read the Washington Post article by Matthew Mosk here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/08/AR2008050803494.html?hpid=topne
ws - http://westernlands.org


27) The Cedar Creek District of the Mark Twain National Forest is much-used and much-beloved. And no portion of the Cedar Creek District is more special or better loved than the beautiful and still surprisingly remote Smith Creek proposed Wilderness Area above and below the old Rutherford Bridge connecting Boone and Callaway Counties. For more than 25 years, conservationists have worked with the Forest Service to respect and protect the authentic wilderness character of Smith Creek’s streams, bluffs, pinnacles, forests, wildlife, and solitude. In 2007, Smith Creek was included in a statewide proposal along with six other Missouri areas for designation as a federal Wilderness Area. But now Smith Creek is threatened as part of the proposed Southwest Project. Through this project, the Forest Service plans extensive management and development within the proposed Smith Creek Wilderness. Because of their significant impacts, such activities would effectively and permanently preclude future Wilderness designation of the recently acquired Epple Tract, a critical part of the proposed Smith Creek Wilderness with frontage on Cedar Creek. Activities proposed in the Epple Tract of Smith Creek include: 1) Even-aged logging (Shelterwood/Seed Tree) 2) Uneven-aged logging, clearing groups up to two acres, 3) Road development, 4) Construction of two parking areas and a boat access, 5) Cattle grazing, fence construction, and fertilizer applications, 6) Prescribed fire. -- While some management may be of benefit to the overall landscape, much of the Southwest Project, including Smith Creek, emphasizes even-aged management, such as clearcut and shelterwood (two-stage clearcut) logging. Even-aged logging does not mimic natural processes in this area, and serves only the interests of subsidized resource extraction from our public lands. The economy in Boone and Callaway Counties, unlike much of the Ozarks, does not rely on timber, making it even more inappropriate to promote this type of management here. Please fill out all blanks in the form and then press the "send comments" button at the bottom. https://www.heartwood.org/action.html?id=148

28) Standing before the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission last night, northeast Columbia resident R.L. Garnett didn’t have the words to express her opposition to a proposal to replace 8 acres of climax forest with a 275,300-square-foot senior living facility near her home. Instead, she let the forest speak for itself in a six-minute slideshow of pictures detailing the trees, flowers and leafy hills on the property now. The slideshow was set to Samuel Barber’s "Adagio for Strings." "Please consider this my statement on behalf of the trees that will be destroyed," Garnett said. Concerns from nature-loving neighbors aside, commissioners voted 6-0 to recommend that the Columbia City Council approve the project. "I understand your concerns," Chairman Jeff Barrow told the few residents who attended the meeting to get more information about the project. "If I lived with that forest, I would be really sad to see it go, too." Oklahoma-based developer SOCH LC asked to rezone about 11 acres off Berrywood Drive, between Columbia Regional Hospital and the Woodridge neighborhood, from single-family residential to planned office. The project, Silver Oak Senior Living, will include a 100-unit independent living facility, a 75-unit assisted living facility and two medical office buildings. Allen Hahn, chairman of the Woodridge Neighborhood Association, said he reluctantly supports the project but appreciates the developer working with the neighbors since July to try to answer their concerns. "We’re disappointed at seeing the forest occupied by anything but climax trees, but we don’t own it," Hahn said. "The feeling of the board and the neighborhood was this is probably the best thing we could expect." A "climax forest" is defined by the city as a woodland area of more than 25,000 square feet that primarily consists of hardwood trees such as oak, hickory, sugar maple and sycamore. http://www.columbiatribune.com/2008/May/20080509News008.asp


29) ZANESVILLE - More than 400 acres of forest in Muskingum County is now permanently protected by the federal Forest Legacy Program. The 436-acre, privately-owned forest is the first Ohio forest to be permanently protected by the program. The forest is owned by Superior Hardwoods of Ohio, Inc. The Wellston-based company manufactures and exports hardwood lumber and logs, buys standing timber, saw logs and veneer logs. Emmett Conway Jr., president of the company, said the land was acquired by Superior Hardwoods in 1988. "I think the program is excellent," he said. "That was the purpose of purchasing the land, to preserve it." The forest is located on Boy Scout Road, on the north end of the Tri-Valley Wildlife area along the Muskingum River. A one-time payment is made to the land owner in exchange for voluntarily agreeing to permanently maintain the forest as a managed forest. The program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and coordinated in Ohio by the ODNR Division of Forestry. Permanently protecting the land consists of prohibiting it from being developed, guaranteeing public access to it and preservation, according to David Lytle, chief of the Division of Forestry for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. "This has provided us with a lot of experience and the opportunity to raise the profile for the program. We know it works and we look forward to working with other land owners," he said. Gene Wells, a real estate administrator with ODNR, said it took two years to complete the program because there's so much federal paperwork. "The conservation easement is a layer of the ownership of the land we're purchasing to help maintain the property as a whole, so it's not broken up and sold in parts," he said. The total value of the easement is $349,000, of which the U.S. Forest Service paid $261,750 and the remaining $87,250 was donated by the landowner. http://zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080509/NEWS01/805090343/1002


30) Virginia is protecting nearly 5,000 acres of rugged woodland from development in far southwest Virginia. The state has dedicated 4,836 acres known as Brumley Mountain in Washington and Russell counties as Channels State Forest. Part of the Clinch Mountain Range, the forest contains the 400 million-year-old Great Channels, a narrow sandstone passageway through which hikers walk. "To truly appreciate the tremendous conservation success Virginia has achieved with the protection of Brumley Mountain, you need to stand among the ancient, weathered sandstone boulders and take in the long mountain views," said Brad Kreps, director of The Nature Conservancy's Clinch Valley Program. The Virginia Department of Forestry purchased the land from The Nature Conservancy for nearly $3.8 million. It consists mostly of hardwood forests and several steep slopes. The addition of the land to the 18 other state forests will ensure that future Virginians can enjoy the natural scenery, said Joe Maroon, director of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. Channels, the only state forest in the region, is already open for those with state forest hunting permits. Trails will be developed to better accommodate hiking and horseback riding, said John Campbell, spokesman for the Department of Forestry. He said 720 acres, including the Great Channels, have been designated the first Virginia Natural Area Preserve in the state forest system. The designation will help the state protect plant species such as the Carolina saxifrage, as well as the examples of Southern Appalachian northern hardwood forests and high-elevation cove forests, Campbell said. http://www.wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=1401759


31) The Forest Service is proposing to lease 101 acres of federally-owned mineral rights to Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) for drilling at least six oil and gas wells in the Salmon Creek area of the Allegheny National Forest. The Forest Service dubbed Salmon Creek as one of the "most threatened landscapes" in the Allegheny just a couple years ago due to the high amount of oil and gas drilling that has already occurred in this area. Now, the Forest Service wants to increase those impacts by leasing the federal minerals it owns. The Forest Service originally proposed this lease last year but cancelled the project after the Allegheny Defense Project pointed out that the agency violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by relying on outdated environmental analyses to approve the lease. Unfortunately, instead of scrapping the lease altogether, the Forest Service found a loophole called the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Forest Service is now proposing to categorically exclude the leasing of these federal minerals pursuant to the Energy Policy Act. This means there will be no analysis of the environmental impacts of the drilling and no opportunity for public comment pursuant to NEPA. The Forest Service is bending over backwards to lease these minerals to PGE. Please contact the Forest Service and tell them to cancel this ill-conceived proposal once and for all. For more information: http://www.alleghenydefense.org


32) Governor Charlie Crist and Tom Pelham, Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) granted $750,000 of state funds to benefit a foreign company who will manufacture wood pellets for the European power industry. Green Circle Bio Energy Inc., owned by the Swedish company JCE Group, will get water and sewer connections to their new industrial complex, thanks to Florida taxpayers. JCE Group, a wealthy Swedish offshore oil rig and shipping company, will set up an industrial wood pellet operation in Jackson County. The new facility is scheduled to go on stream at the end of 2007. Their planned production output is 550,000 tons of wood pellets a year for export. JCE Group will ship these vast quantities of wood pellets to several European power plants from the port at Panama City. Wood pellets are becoming an energy commodity traded worldwide. North Florida woodland is a prime target. The Swedish company will have access to Florida's 16 million acres of forest land. DCA and the governor approved the money for Jackson County to benefit JCE through a Small Cities Community Development Block Grant. JCE Group, headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, was founded in 1971 by J. Christer Ericsson, who is active in the shipping and offshore oil rig business. The JCE Group wood pellet plant will be the largest in the world. The company will use Swiss and Canadian high performance pelletizing equipment. Trees will be logged out of forests, cut, crushed in hammermills, pulverized, dried and made into combustible pellets. Florida Department of Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson hosted the Swedish company at the recent Florida Farm to Fuel Summit. Bronson would like to see Florida as the biggest producer and exporter of biomass in the U.S. Jimmy Cheek, senior vice president of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dept. at UF and IFAS` administrative head, said shipping pellets to Europe is great for Florida and the world, on a recent visit to Jackson County. http://alachuapost.com/


33) There's a green lining to the real-estate cloud: Developers are dropping plans to build on some choice pieces of land and instead are selling it for such uses as public parks and nature preserves. One of the big beneficiaries is Trust for Public Land, a San Francisco nonprofit group that specializes in buying land for conservation. The Trust often struggled during property-boom years to find sellers among land owners near urban centers. Now, U.S. property owners from Massachusetts to Hawaii are flocking to it. The Trust's financial muscle to make acquisitions is growing. Its planned budget for this year is $102 million, up from $90 million last year. With the real-estate slump, "We're trying to make lemonade out of lemons," says Will Rogers, president of the Trust. In addition to the Trust, the Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Va., is among the national groups working on similar deals. Their purchases tend to be larger -- involving thousands of acres. "Two to three years ago, local farmers and ranchers were eager to sell off their land and cash out," says the Nature Conservancy's Cristina Mestre. "Now, we're being approached en masse" to buy development rights. In rural Minnesota, thousands of former Camp Fire girls rallied to stop a 71-acre camp from being turned over for development. The property had operated as a Camp Fire camp for 77 years until being closed two years ago. But last August the developer failed to secure $5 million in financing, say officials of Camp Fire USA's Minnesota Council. They have since begun negotiations to sell the property for $3.8 million to the Trust, which proposes to convert it into a regional park, says Andrea Platt Dwyer, chief executive officer of the Minnesota Council. She expects a deal to close by December. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121028811193679127.html

34) A coalition of conservation groups represented by Earthjustice sued in federal court today to overturn the Bush administration's latest attempt to weaken rules governing management of America's 155 national forests and grasslands. The new rules, issued April 21, repeal key protections for national forests. The Bush administration rule being challenged mirrors one issued in 2005 which was thrown out by a federal court. Like the 2005 rule, the current one eliminates mandatory protections in place since the Reagan administration that require the national forests to be managed to guarantee viable wildlife populations, to preserve clean, healthy streams and lakes, and to protect diverse natural forests. The Bush rule also sharply reduces public participation in decisions about the management of our public forests. Prior forms of the rule from 1982 and 2000 contained enforceable standards for forest plans that protected wildlife, water, and the forests. The earlier rules also provided opportunities for public involvement and required analysis of environmental impacts of forest plans on the national forests, impacts that result from plan decisions regarding logging levels and other extractive uses of forest resources. Earthjustice attorney Trent Orr said, "This is the Bush administration's parting gift to the timber industry. These regulations remove vital checks and balances on logging while minimizing the role of science and the public's say in maintaining wildlife and other natural resources. We've returned to court to insure that the Forest Service protect these invaluable resources and allows full public review of and participation in its decisions about how our national forests will be managed." http://media-newswire.com/release_1066062.html

35) In short, what’s there not to like about conservation easements? Many things, it turns out. Land trusts and public agencies are often quick to trumpet the additional acres they add to their portfolios each year, but are less concerned with the quality of the lands they protect (not all open space is equally valuable) or the quality of the easements that are sold as a public benefit. For instance, there are opportunity costs that come with easements since there is usually only a limited pot of money. What parcels didn’t get bought by outright fee acquisition because funds were expended on an easement instead? Because conservation easements are nearly always celebrated as a public good, there is little scrutiny of the specific terms of easements, nor a public review of the costs/benefits of any particular land conservation easement. The lack of public transparency in easement creation and maintenance is a potential long term problem associated with them. Though the public has a financial stake in all conservation easements, it often has no one with direct responsibility to watch-dog for the public interest. Why should the public care? For one, it’s our money that is subsidizing easements. With few exceptions, nearly all conservation easements come with significant government funded subsidies. These include, but are not limited to, a tax deduction for the individual(s) land owner, as well as reduced real estate property taxes for the landowner and estate. These losses in tax revenue are all made up by other citizens who must pay higher taxes to maintain services. Increasingly with the larger conservation easements such as those involving big timber companies like Plum Creek and other large land owners, federal or state funds are being used to directly fund the easements. Yet because these funds are often funneled through second parties like land trusts, there is little public review of the agreements and/or cost benefit analysis. There is a further problem associated with conservation easements. In order to qualify for IRS tax deductions, a property must possess “significant conservation value.” Because groups often gain funding based at least partially on how successful they are in obtaining new easements, there is a tendency to go for acres whether or not the lands in question serve any or little real conservation value. Despite all the criticisms I’ve leveled about conservation easements, I still believe they are a useful tool for preserving and conserving ecological values. http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/conservation_easements_the_need_for_closer_scrutiny/C38/L3

339 - Earth's Tree News

Today for you 35 new articles about earth’s trees! (340th edition)
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--Myanmar / Burma: 1) One of world’s Deadliest Cyclones due to deforestation
--Vietnam: 2) Videos of illegal loggers
--Mumbai: 3) 50% of its forest lost in 30 years
--Solomon Islands: 4) Forests sold below value, 5) Macroeconomic strategies needed,
--Malaysia: 6) Forests preserves on the Thailand border, 7) Paddy Farmers losing their crop water to loggers, 8) Illegal logging in 650 hectares of Forest Reserves,
--Borneo: 9) 1,300 species of trees and plants planted becomes ecological miracle,
--Indonesia: 10) IP goes against their own greenwash rules, 11) “Model” conservation villages to be built around reserves, 12) 10 million hectares of forests converted to Palm oil since 2000, 13) Forest protection / destruction stats, 14) Using radio shows to save forests, 15) 70 million who live in or near forests survive on less than a $1 a day, 16) Stop mining in protected forests, 17) Shift of "biodiversity paradigm" to "carbon sink paradigm," 18) Palm Oil industries’ plans and stats, 19) STB and Crestino Intl. to build 100 palm oil mills,
--New Zealand: 20) Kyoto’s wicked problem, 21) Save the edges of Rotorua's Tikitapu (Blue Lake), 22) Cont.
--Australia: 23) Weyco sells holdings to Carter Holt, 24) Thousands of Red Gums saved with 17 billion liters of water, 25) Buffer zone restoration for Coffs Creek Flying Fox Camp, 26) Sawmill ruined by State’s Native Forestry Code of Practice, 27) Hobart’s bushfire smoke fallout continues, 28) GUNNS gets $15 million if they can’t log everything they want to log, 29) Help save Lower Weld Valley, 30) Social costs of new dam that will flood Williams Valley,
--World-wide: 31) MAP saves Mangroves, 32) Book: “Forests: The Shadow of Civilization” 33) 56-page report: Carbon Finance, 34) Resist GE trees, 35) Nature of most logging operations in undeveloped parts of the world,

Myanmar / Burma:

1) After the dead are finally counted in Myanmar, the cyclone that hit on May 2nd will go down as one of the deadliest cyclones of all time. Currently seventh on that list is the 1991 cyclone that killed 138,866 people in Bangladesh. Some estimate the Burmese death toll will be around 100,000. The reports are streaming in about how many dead, how many injured, how many missing, how many homeless and, worryingly, the relief organizations’ frustration at the sluggish acceptance of foreign aid by the country’s authoritarian military leaders. But one report is not making the current top headlines and may not merit mainstream news coverage even after the dust in Myanmar has settled. And that’s the fact that if the country’s mangrove forests hadn’t been cleared over the years, many people would have survived this disaster. Mangrove forests -- which grow along shorelines and up to a few miles inland -- provide a natural barrier against giant waves. After the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, it was found that mangrove forests protected coastal communities in several countries in the region. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) looked at the death tolls in two Sri Lankan villages that were hit by the tsunami. They found that only two people died in the village that was protected by dense mangroves, while the other village, with no similar vegetation, lost 6,000. Several countries have established trade embargos against Myanmar. In 2003, the United States put into law the Burma Freedom and Democracy Act, which bans all Burmese imports. European Union sanctions include restrictions on the import of Burmese timber, metals and gemstones and the prohibition of EU investment in Burmese mining and logging industries. But the success of sanctions from the West is questionable, especially when the Burmese dictators enjoy an unfettered trade with their neighbors that helped the nation to a 2.9 percent growth rate last year. Thailand gobbles up almost 50 percent of Myanmar’s exports, with most of the rest taken by India, China and Japan. And people who live in places that do not have import sanctions in place against Myanmar can think twice about eating Burmese shrimp and buying Burmese teak. These may seem like small gestures, but at these increasingly interconnected times, we all would do well to ponder again the famous question asked by meteorologist Philip Merilees in 1972: Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? http://13point7billion.blogspot.com/2008/05/shrimp-effect-does-eating-shrimp-in.html


2) The videos show sawing machines, falling trees and people loading logs onto trucks as they laugh and talk. Although illegal logging has been occurring for several years, Tien said the destruction escalated early last year. Every day, hundreds of valuable trees are cut down by illegal loggers and transported to Dong Xoai, the provincial town, for sale. Using the digital video cameras he bought to expose the logging, Tien has even videotaped interviews with hamlet leaders, asking for their comments on his recordings of two uniformed forest rangers ordering five young men to cut down trees and load the logs on a truck. The interviews were recorded in parts of the forest destroyed by illegal logging. Tien sent copies of the most startling parts of his videos to many provincial agencies but the deforestation has not been stopped. “They said I film at one place and talk about another place,” Tien said. After seeing some video clips, Thanh Nien reporters asked Tien to show them the destruction of the forests. More than 100 meters from warning signs, in a primeval forest of about three hectares, hundreds of trees the size of an adult’s thigh had been felled and were lying on the ground, leaves still green. Further off, newly-cut wood being burnt popped like firecrackers. Four or five people had started a fire. Tien said they had been hired to burn all traces of the illegal logging. Near the fire, there were hundreds of felled trees, two trucks, a crane and more than 10 people working hurriedly. “The wood from the forest is brought here and loaded on the trucks, with the big wood hidden under the small wood, to be transported to Dong Xoai,” Tien said. Hundreds of hectares of forests had been destroyed. http://www.thanhniennews.com/features/?catid=10&newsid=38406


3) Experts say that over the last 30 years, Mumbai has lost of over 50 per cent of this unique eco-system. In 1975, the city had a cover of 50 sq kms of mangroves. Today, merely half of them are left. Environmentalists allege that the politican-builder lobby systematically destroyed the mangroves. ''They don't allow the water to enter and gradually they begin dumping rubble around the mangrove, killing it and then they declare the land arid,'' said Dr Quadros. But though urban planners agree a balance needs to be struck, they say the paucity of land in Mumbai is putting greater pressure on the environment. ''A lot of exaggeration is being done and developers are therefore being considered anti-development. But if you want Mumbai to be the financial capital of South East Asia, you cannot stop development,'' said Rajiv Mishra, urban planner, IAG Consultants. ''When it comes to a land parcel for development, the model that Mumbai has adopted is that of land sharing. You've got to give up something to get something. There is no clear thumb rule which says you've to destroy so much of environment to get so much of development,'' he added. http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080049282&ch=5/8/2008%208:11:00%20PM

Solomon Islands:

4) It is a big concern for the government when logs from the natural forest are gone in the not too long distant. This indicates lack of strategic planning by successive governments over the past years since Solomon Islands got its independance to be able to visualise the trend of the countries important resources such as that of the forest. The government relies heavily on round log export duty thinking that the forest will be stable over time but in our case "not". The government continue to embark on selling its owned forest plantations for a few million dollars some years ago which really did not reflect the real value of the forest plantations at that time. Had the government hang on to its forest plantations which were located in different parts of the country and had the government serious about reforestation programs on government own lands and in customaryland, the trend in revenue collected from log export would be stable. Because when the merchantable forest is gone, the next succession crop should be ready in ten years time, this is if logging operations are controlled and done according to the Solomon Islands code of harvesting practice in which the forestry department has sole responsibility over. The transission period that it takes to wait for the next natural forest harvest would be eased by harvesting trees from government plantations and even from community or family owned forest stands. I suggest that the government of the day take drastic measures to maintain only genuine logging companies, forster natural regeneration in concession areas to speed up the next available crop, re-enforce strick monitoring and avoid logging companies getting away with super small logs which are our next harvest and assist reforestation programs in all provinces. http://solomontimes.com/letter.aspx?show=298

5) At the launching Mr Lilo said Government had already taken the first step to ensure the country receives a fair return on the extraction of forest resources. He said this is by increasing the determined value for export round logs. However, Mr Sogavare said what is not clear in the CNURA Government's medium term strategy regarding the forestry sector is the specific measures the government is taking. He said this is important to ensure the remaining harvestable logging area are sustainably developed so that the country continues to earn the much needed revenue from round log exports. “Our immediate concern is that the CNURA Government’s new forestry policy will create a hole in the 2008 Budget and thus it must actively find alternative source of revenue,” he said. He said the Opposition Group would want to see well-researched macroeconomic strategies to address the country’s preparedness to face the challenges looming in the medium term. The Opposition Leader added that the need for a bridging revenue support would also be necessary if the Government is considering a major reform in the forestry sector. http://solomonstarnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1425&change=71&changeown=


6) The 300,000ha forest complex in Hulu Perak is bounded by the Malaysia-Thailand border and is linked to the Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary and Bang Lang National Park. The East-West Highway from Ipoh to the East Coast divides the forest reserve into two parts – the Upper Belum (to the north) and the Temenggor Forest Reserve (to the south), which includes Lower Belum. The forest is known for its rich bio-diversity. It is home to more than 100 species of mammals, including the Asian elephant, Malayan tiger, leopard, sun-bear, Sumatran rhinoceros and Malayan tapir According to the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), all 10 hornbill species of Malaysia can be found within the forest complex, including the endangered Plain-pouched Hornbill. Last year, the Royal Belum State Park was gazetted and granted fully protected status. The Federal and State governments also announced that logging would be phased out in the Temenggor Forest Reserve by 2008. This was achieved through a partnership with The Body Shop in postcard campaign, whereby 80,000 signatures were collected in support of the effort. The 117,500ha Royal Belum is managed by the Perak State Parks Corporation and guarded by the army. It comprises tropical rainforest with many river systems, small grassland areas and Tasik Temenggor, a large man-made lake. However, the battle to Save Belum-Temenggor is only half-won, and to create greater awareness of the need to save Malaysia’s green heritage, the Body Shop and MNS recently organised a nature trip into the wild. The journey began in Pulau Banding, which is the gateway to the forest complex. http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/5/8/central/21032350&sec=central

7) More than 9,000 padi farmers in Selangor face the possibility of losing their crop because illegal loggers have felled timber in a water catchment area of the Raja Musa Forest Reserve which is a source of water to their padi fields. The illegal loggers, who are suspected to have been operating there for two years, have levelled the area in the 650-hectare reserve. Besides the Raja Musa Forest Reserve, the Bestari Jaya Forest Reserve near Universiti Industri Selangor (Unisel) and the Hopeful Estate Forest Reserve are also sources of water supply for padi-growing areas in Tanjung Karang, Sabak Bernam, Sekinchan and Kuala Selangor. It is learnt that land in the logged area of the Raja Musa Forest Reserve was sold illegally for between RM8,000 and RM8,500 for every two acres, and that about 100 people had bought plots. Illegal logging is also said to be going on in the Bestari Jaya and Hopeful Estate forest reserves.

8) More than 650 hectares of forest reserve and state land, at three different sites, have been ravaged and logged under the noses of the Forestry Department.The Selangor government has launched a full-scale investigation into the scandal. The ravaged sites at the Raja Musa and Tanjung Karang Forest Reserves are important water catchment areas. Their destruction can adversely affect rice yields in Tanjung Karang and Sekinchan. Selangor executive councillor for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Entrepreneur Development Yaakob Sapari said the destruction was irresponsible and illegal."This has been going on for between two and three years. "However, the authorities have not done anything to curb it." Yaakob said an investigation was under way to find out why authorities had turned a blind eye to the destruction. "The Forestry Department had issued fines and seized excavators of the culprits but nothing concrete was done to stop the deforestation." Yaakob yesterday toured peat swamps, which had been devastated at the Raja Musa Forest Reserve, with Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Swee Lim. The site borders padi fields in Tanjung Karang, while Sungai Tengi, which flows through the area, is an important water source for farmers. "I have ordered the department to cordon off the entrances into the encroached sites and to immediately start reforestation activities." Yaakob said all relevant authorities would be ordered to monitor the sites to prevent further destruction. Ng suspects politically-linked syndicates were behind the deforestation. "It is learnt they logged the area before selling small lots to unsuspecting buyers for between RM8,000 and RM8,500." The buyers were then assured they would be able to obtain temporary occupation licences for the land, from the previous state government. Ng said he has received several complaints from those who have been hoodwinked into buying the land but they were afraid of the syndicate and have refused to lodge an official report. http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Wednesday/National/2233614/Article/index_html


9) From this ruined landscape a fresh forest has been grown, teeming with insects, birds and animals, and cooled by the return of moist clouds and rain. It is a feat that offers hope for disappearing and ruined rainforests around the world. The secret was to use more than 1300 species of local trees and a fertiliser made with cow urine, says Dr Willie Smits, the Indonesian forestry expert who led the replanting. “The place became the scene of an ecological miracle, a fairytale come true,” says Smits, who has written a book about the project. Rainforests are home to half the world’s 10 million species of plants, animals and insects, store more carbon than the Earth’s atmosphere, clean air and water, and regulate temperatures and rains. The United Nations estimates that every day more than 14,000ha of primary rainforest are cut down - a figure campaigners warn is “conservative”. The area around the small town of Samboja was like a “moonscape” when Smits first visited it nearly a decade ago. The rainforest had been cut and burned and the land was covered with grasses. Without the forest, the rains disappeared and temperatures rose. Streams dried up, harvests failed, fires broke out, jobs disappeared and ill health soared. “The only thing I saw was this huge sea of yellow, waving grass; there was wind, but there was no rustling of leaves,” Smits said. “There were no birds, not even insects, nothing but this damned grass.” Smits raised money to buy 2025ha and six years ago set about planting seeds collected from more than 1300 species of tree, more even than would have lived in the original forest. These were planted with a fertilizer made from sugar, excrement, food waste, sawdust and cow urine. Already Smits and his team from the Borneo Orang-utan Survival Foundation claim the forest is “mature”, with trees up to 35m high. Cloud cover has increased by 12 per cent, rainfall by a quarter, and temperatures have dropped 3-5C, helping people and wildlife to thrive, says Smits. Nine species of primate have also returned, including orang-utans. “If you walk there now, 116 bird species have found a place to live, there are more than 30 types of mammals, insects are there. The whole system is coming to life. I knew what I was trying to do, but the force of nature has totally surprised me.” People have benefited from being given land around the forest to plant crops, providing food and income. “It was the poorest district in the area, now it’s above average,” said Smits. “It can be done anywhere. The principles are that you must have scientifically sound approaches, work with local trees, and you have to have the respect of local people - that’s the key.” http://jungaling.com/Malaysia/?p=194


10) Rainforest Action Network and ForestEthics today condemned a proposal by U.S.-based International Paper to build a pulp mill and establish 1.2 million acres of plantation forest in the heart of the Indonesian rainforest. The groups urged International Paper, which is holding its Annual General Meeting today, to not violate its own paper policy and to abandon its plans to expand into Indonesia, a global warming and biodiversity hot spot. The policy,[1] announced in 2003, states: “International Paper will not procure or use wood that originates in biological hotspots or endangered, native forests in Indonesia or other parts of the world designated by Conservation International, as biodiversity hotspots or major tropical wilderness areas. We will assure that any wood procured from within the boundaries of these special areas comes solely from plantations and that our procurement practices do not jeopardize the ecological integrity of these hotspots. Most Indonesian wood is either harvested illegally or taken without consent from the country’s Indigenous peoples,” said Brant Olson, director of Rainforest Action Network’s Old Growth Campaign. “A move by International Paper to break its own commitment by sourcing from Indonesia would be a major setback for the climate, biodiversity, and Indonesia’s forest communities.” International Paper is among the world’s biggest pulp and paper producers. In 2003, it joined home builder Centex Homes and home improvement retailer Lanoga in announcing it would stop buying Indonesian wood products until the Indonesian government sufficiently addressed illegal logging within its borders and respected the property rights of its Indigenous populations. Since then, logging practices have further deteriorated, Indonesia’s small farmers and Indigenous groups continue to be pushed off their traditional lands, and the country’s carbon-rich forests and peatlands are disappearing at the alarming rate of more than 2.8 million hectares a year. http://www.commondreams.org/news2008/0512-15.htm

11) The Forestry Ministry together with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced more model conservation villages to be built around protected forests and nature preserves. There are currently 182 conservation villages in West Java, Central Java, East Java, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam and North Sumatra, Forestry Minister M.S. Ka'ban said here Wednesday. "Those villages are located in upstream areas close to nature preserves," he said. "Through the conservation villages project, we hope local people will help us to preserve forests." The conservation village project is a community empowerment initiative involving local people. It aims to protect forests and wildlife habitats by reducing deforestation and watershed pollution. There are around 22 million hectares of conservation area in Indonesia. However, according to the ministry, the areas are endangered by deforestation, forests fires, illegal logging and illegal trading of rare plants and animals. Deforestation has damaged some 59 million hectares out of the country's 120.35 million hectares of forest. According to the ministry, 2,040 villages with 660,845 inhabitants, who live adjacent to protected areas, are dependent on the forests for their livelihood. Darori, the ministry's director general of forest preservation and nature conservation, said the conservation village model aims to educate local people about forest rehabilitation and ecosystem restoration. "As a start, we must give people who live nearby the protected areas the correct information about forest preservation so as to maximize the benefits through conservation," he said. "People must understand they will gain greater access to clean water through environment preservation," he said. According to the director of Basic Human Services of USAID, Alfred Nakatsuma, the five-year project, which started in 2005, is having a positive effect. "So far we're very happy with the results and we're planning future activities. Hopefully, the conservation village models can soon be implemented nationwide," he said. http://old.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp

12) Forest conversion has reached an alarming level in Indonesia with more than 10 million hectares of protected forest converted for business use since the inception of regional autonomy in 2000, a study says. The study, conducted by the Greenomics Indonesia environmental group, found most regional spatial plans do not aim to protect forests. “In fact, some existing spatial planning … expedites forest conversions,” Greenomics executive director Elfian Effendi told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. “The area of converted forest now exceeds 158 times the size of Singapore.” Indonesia is the world’s third-largest forestry country, with over 120 million hectares of rainforest. The government has set aside about 40 million hectares for both protected and conservation forests, where plantation, agriculture or logging activities are not allowed. “However, as forest conversion remains common practice, only 30 million hectares of protected forest are now left. They will disappear in the short term unless the government takes actions to stop forest conversion,” Elfian said. The issue of forest conversion made the headlines when the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested lawmaker Al Amin Nasution for allegedly accepting a bribe to facilitate the approval for forest to be converted on Bintan Island, Riau, last month. The Bintan administration requested the government’s permit through the House of Representatives to convert around 200 hectares of a 7,300-hectare protected forest for an office complex project. The Greenomics study found that in the last two years alone, there were at least 40 cases where forest land was converted into plantations and agricultural land, covering about 195,000 hectares of protected forest. Greenomics found some 327,000 hectares of its protected forest has been converted under forest concessions in North Sumatra, while in Aceh about 160,000 hectares of protected forest was turned into plantation and agricultural areas. http://redapes.org/downloads/green-economics-group-indonesian-forest-conversions-alarming/

13) There are around 22 million hectares of conservation area in Indonesia. However, according to the ministry, the areas are endangered by deforestation, forests fires, illegal logging and illegal trading of rare plants and animals. Deforestation has damaged some 59 million hectares out of the country's 120.35 million hectares of forest. According to the ministry, 2,040 villages with 660,845 inhabitants, who live adjacent to protected areas, are dependent on the forests for their livelihood. Darori, the ministry's director general of forest preservation and nature conservation, said the conservation village model aims to educate local people about forest rehabilitation and ecosystem restoration. "As a start, we must give people who live nearby the protected areas the correct information about forest preservation so as to maximize the benefits through conservation," he said. "People must understand they will gain greater access to clean water through environment preservation," he said. According to the director of Basic Human Services of USAID, Alfred Nakatsuma, the five-year project, which started in 2005, is having a positive effect. "So far we're very happy with the results and we're planning future activities. Hopefully, the conservation village models can soon be implemented nationwide," he said. Aep Saefudin, a conservation village resident living in Sukatani, Cianjur, West Java, said he was excited about the project. "The field school, one of the programs within the project, has given us greater knowledge of how to benefit from the land properly," he said. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailnational.asp?fileid=20080509.H04&irec=3

14) Radio was the ideal medium with which to draw attention to the problem, as it is the most popular form of media in Indonesia. Along with the Indonesian partner station Radio KBR68H, and with support from the German Development Ministry, the forest conservation project went into action. For Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle and its Indonesian language radio department that was a good reason to raise awareness of the problem in the country itself. The aim of the project was to make a feature series of 10-minute reports to broadcast on about 400 local radio stations during the climate summit. For the journalists involved, it was a rare opportunity to do some solid on-the-spot research – something their limited resources usually don’t allow, says Ade Wahyudi, program manager at KBR68H. “In the provinces in particular, journalists don’t have the technical or the financial capacity for fact-finding trips,” he said, adding that the complex topic of forest conservation can best be communicated to listeners when presented in a lively way and told from the perspective of those affected. The project yielded some interesting results. Some of the journalists went to the island of Kalimantan, looking for Sebuku elephants. Only a few dozen of them have survived the destruction of their habitat in the forests of East Kalimantan. In eastern Java, project members found a village where every single resident earns a living from illegal logging. Not even the police dare to go there. Another team went to Poso and Palu in central Sulawesi, places famous for the black wood of the ebony tree. Officially, ebony is protected and the trees must not be felled. But the violent conflict in the region makes the rules hard to enforce and prevents reforestation programs. The decades-long conflict in Papua between the local population and the central government with its huge army presence has also had an impact on the environment. The military, foreign companies, local officials – there are many different parties earning money in the timber trade. http://spreadthehopes.blogspot.com/2008/05/defending-nature-with-microphone-and.html

15) Indonesia has nearly 70 million people living in or near forest land, many of them living on less than US$1 per day. Illegal logging operations cause widespread destruction of forests and, although it does earn short-term gains for a few, it destroys the livelihoods of people who depend upon the forests. Just after we left, Indonesian officials cracked down on smallholder illegal logging in the region. But having smallholders thrown into jail is not necessarily a success. Many of these imprisoned are people living under a US$1 per day. They often live in miserable circumstances and are trying to make a living. They are not the buyers or the people who are driving the illegal deforestation. Undoubtedly, as soon as the police leave, new illegal loggers will replace the old ones and the long-term gain will still be missing. Law enforcement is needed, but it must be done with smart planning and development—not by simply throwing people out or arresting them. Why? 1) Indonesia is one of the largest tropical timber producers, with an estimated 80 percent of timber exports being illegal. This poses serious environmental and economic concerns. 2) The Indonesian government fails to capture over US$100 million per year in tax revenue on illegal logging and exports. 3) The cheap and plentiful supply of timber from illegal sources depresses timber prices worldwide by 2 percent to 4 percent and thus also impacts the U.S. timber industry. 4) Deforestation in Indonesia accounts for 4 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. And thus deforestation in Indonesia is a major contributor to climate change. http://www.wri.org/stories/2008/05/first-hand-account-illegal-logging-indonesian-rainforests

16) Our president had the power to stop mining in protected forests,” said Rully Symanda of Indonesia’s environmental protection alliance WALHI. “He did not. Nice speeches are followed by contradictory policy, influenced by the powerful mining lobby.” Symanda was still optimistic in December, because Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had given a wonderful speech then at the climate summit in Bali. “We are gathered here to fulfill the hopes of over six billion people,” Yudhoyono said. “Every nation must become part of the solution, not part of the problem.” After Brazil, Indonesia has the world’s second-largest rain forest. Deforestation releases carbon dioxide, accounting for one-fourth of the global rise in the concentration of greenhouse gases. Therefore, making forests disappear is the second deadly sin against the Earth’s climate following the burning of fossil fuels. “Forests are our only option for carbon sinks,” Yudhoyono said to enthusiastic applause. “Those blessed with forests must do all they can to preserve and expand their forest cover.” Yet, only two months later, and away from the public eye, Yudhoyono allowed 13 firms to continue open pit mining in protected forests. http://redapes.org/downloads/indonesia-should-be-ashamed-of-itself/

17) If the shift of "biodiversity paradigm" to "carbon sink paradigm" gains more support among foresters, the pressure from forest industries to harvest more timber in natural forests will get stronger. Forest industries are very willing to promote the controversial idea of Patrick Moore (a former Greenpeace activist who established Greenspirit, a consulting firm on the environment and natural resources) to use more wood because a rise in wood demand would supposedly trigger the market to plant more trees. Local government officials and parliament members will be very happy to hear this idea because they will have a strong argument to clear-cut natural forests and get a lot of money from the timber. Not only natural forests in production forest areas, but also in conservation forest areas will likely be harvested since the central government has little power to protect it. These companies just want to get money from the timber and not to make plantations. The government has little power nor political will to punish these companies. If the forest companies want to make tree plantations in order to get more wood and absorb carbon at the same time, they can do so in degraded forest areas, which account for about 60 million hectares, and in critical land within and outside forest areas, which is 41 million hectares. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detaileditorial.asp?fileid=20080513.E04&irec=3

18) Executive director of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI), Didiek Hadjar Goenadi, said here Monday palm oil companies would focus on utilizing idle land, including former forest concession areas, to maintain Indonesia as the world's largest crude palm oil producer. "We realize the environmental impacts by opening all our forests so we will stop touching the forest and just concentrate on abundant lands which have not been cultivated yet," Didiek told reporters during a break in a a seminar on climate change, agriculture and trade. There are currently 6.7 million hectares of oil palm plantations in the country -- half belonging to private firms, while the rest are operated by small-scale farmers. Only about 600,000 hectares are managed by state-owned enterprises. Didiek estimated there were about seven million hectares of idle land across the country that could be used to plant oil palms or rubber trees. He said the association's members had applied the so-called roundtable on sustainable palm oil (RSOP), an international initiative promoting sustainability up and down the palm oil supply chain. "But since many oil palm plantations are operated by farmers, many of them are still unaware about the RSOP regulations. It is the government's task to educate them," he said. Indonesia's crude palm oil production reached its highest-ever level of 17.2 million tons last year, passing Malaysia, which produced 16 million tons. Environmental activists have stepped up protests against the country's palm oil companies, accusing the firms of expanding their operations by clearing formerly forested land. http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailheadlines.asp?fileid=20080513.A07&irec=6

19) Sitt Tatt Berhadon Friday said its wholly-owned unit, STB Technologies Pte Ltd, has teamed up with Crestino International Limited to build and operate palm oil mills in Indonesia. On May 9, STB Technologies signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Crestino to participate in the project by investing RM20.0 million. The sum will be paid to Ithmaar Development Company Limited to enable Crestino to fulfill the pre-condition for the approval in principle by IDC to finance the business, Sitt Tatt said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia on May 9. On 25 May 2007, Crestino was awarded the rights to construct and manage 100 palm oil mills in Indonesia by PT Permodalan Nasional Madani Techno Venture. Crestino will establish a marketing/trading company in Singapore to handle the marketing and trading of the final products of the palm oil mills, the statement said. Crestino will establish a marketing/trading company in Singapore to handle the marketing and trading of the final products of the palm oil mills, the statement said. http://redapes.org/downloads/deforestation-continues-malaysian-companies-to-build-palm-oil-mill

New Zealand:

20) Forest owners are angry that Government plans to defer the inclusion of transport fuels in the emissions trading scheme will leave them with carbon credits they will struggle to sell. "We look around and we don't see a lot of other people in the ETS," NZ Forest Owners Association David Rhodes told members of Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee yesterday. In the early years of the scheme, oil companies would have been the biggest buyers of carbon credits which the owners of post-1990 forests fought long and hard for. Following a backdown by the Government last week, that demand will now be deferred until 2011. NZFOA chairman Peter Berg said: "There is a sense among foresters that anything is liable to happen in the future, so why invest in forestry." Concerns about the market for devolved carbon credits come on top of existing concerns about the treatment of pre-1990 forests arising out of provision of the Kyoto Protocol. If landowners want to switch to another land use, such as dairying, upon harvest, they face a prohibitive liability for the carbon in the trees, which is deemed to be emitted then and there. The effect is to lock the land into forestry, which might not be its best use. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/3/story.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10509688

21) Logging on the edges of Rotorua's Tikitapu (Blue Lake) could kill off the iconic lake, a professor warns. Environment Bay of Plenty chairman Professor David Hamilton has warned the popular lake is close to a disastrous tipping point, and sediment resulting from planned logging could ruin its pristine waters. Mr Hamilton said the logging could have disastrous effects if they were carried out similar to what had been done at Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake). Timberlands, which manages the cutting rights of the forest, is to undergo selective logging around the lake which would see about half of the trees removed and the popular walking track around the lake closed for a short period. Helicopters are being used for the felling. Timberlands forest risk manager Colin Maunder told the Daily Post last month it intends to replace the entire area with redwoods in 25 years. However, Mr Maunder would not answer Daily Post questions yesterday, only saying "the operations were recently inspected by Environment Bay of Plenty and considered to be compliant with council standards". Mr Hamilton said Tikitapu's surface water was pristine, but oxygen levels in the lake's depths had dropped. The waters were completely devoid of oxygen at the end of summer. He said the loss of oxygen had been the first obvious indicator of the decline of water quality in other Rotorua lakes, such as Okaro, Rotoiti and Rotorua. "Actions that increase sediment and nutrient inputs to Lake Tikitapu will hasten this decline." Mr Hamilton said a Master of Science study was carried out this year at Waikato University on Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake), which has recently been logged extensively by Timberlands. He said the study found substantially increased sediment concentrations in the lake water during and following the period of logging. http://www.dailypost.co.nz/localnews/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3772085&thesection=localnews&thes

23) The Labor Government has been asleep at the wheel in regards to the logging of 90-year-old forests on Crown land surrounding the Blue Lake, Tikitapu, in Rotorua, says National’s Environment & Conservation spokesman, Nick Smith. “These magnificent trees offer far more to New Zealand and Rotorua for their scenic and recreational value than as timber and pulp. They are part of the popular Blue Lake walkway and the stunning scenery that is the backdrop to the busy tourism highway to Lake Tarawera and the Buried Village. “There is deep and widespread concern in the Rotorua community about the impacts of this logging on tourism and recreation. However, the Rotorua District Council can’t fix it without Government support.” Dr Smith says the 90-year-old douglas fir trees are on Crown land, but the cutting rights are owned by Kangaroa Timberlands, a company jointly owned by Harvard University and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. The company is planning to selectively log the trees over the next two months in a process that will require the closure of the Blue Lake track. “Private property rights must be respected. However, the Nature Heritage Fund could be used to purchase the rights at reasonable market rates in an agreement with the local council and the forest owner. “In my view, retaining a forest like this with conservation value in one of New Zealand’s major tourism destinations should be a higher priority than some of the other projects this so-called conservation-minded Government gets itself involved in. And frankly, it also makes commercial sense in terms of our tourism industry. “Just because these trees are not native trees, does not mean there is no conservation value in this instance. The plantation forests of the Whakarewarewa area, including the majestic redwoods and these massive douglas firs, are part of Rotorua’s rich heritage of forestry experimentation. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0805/S00137.htm


23) Weyerhaeuser Co., the largest North American lumber producer, plans to sell its Australian sawmills to Carter Holt Harvey Ltd. to help stem losses from slowing U.S. housing markets. Carter Holt, based in Auckland, didn't say how much it will pay for the units. Global Forest Partners LP may buy a half-share in 20,000 hectares (49,400 acres) of forest as part of the accord, Federal Way, Washington-based Weyerhaeuser said in a statement. Weyerhaeuser, which last week reported a worse-than expected $148 million first-quarter loss, is selling assets and closing mills amid falling U.S. demand for lumber used in homebuilding. Carter Holt, part of billionaire Graeme Hart's Rank Group, will eliminate a competitor by buying the units. ``The parties are now working to complete the preparation of sale and purchase agreements,'' said Michael Edgar, Global Forest's Auckland-based Asia-Pacific director. He wouldn't comment on prices and said the timetable for completing the transaction will be determined by regulatory decisions. West Lebanon, New Hampshire-based Global Forest manages about $2 billion of trees worldwide. It last year bought Weyerhaeuser out of a New Zealand forest and sawmilling venture in Nelson. Carter Holt last year sought bids for its board and lumber mills in Australia and New Zealand after being approached by a potential buyer. The opportunity to buy the Weyerhaeuser assets arose during that process, Rank said in a statement today. A purchase ``represents the best immediate strategic step in improving the combined business,'' Rank said. The company wouldn't comment further. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=aPdCUp1ytH9I&refer=australia

24) Thousands of red gums on the brink of death have been saved — temporarily at least — after 17 billion litres of water were released from dams to boost Victoria's ailing Murray wetlands. The water sparked an immediate response from the environment. Hundreds of frogs spawned, waterbirds arrived and tortoises laid eggs. Many of the areas targeted had not seen water for two years. Numbers of waterbirds have dropped by two-thirds during the 11-year drought. About 10,000 red gums — some 500 years old — would have been dead within a year had the environmental flow not occurred, said Dr Jane Doolan, from the Department of Sustainability and Environment. Water has flowed through the wetlands and creeks for two weeks. Recent studies have found that 70% of red gums in northern Victoria are dead or dying. This month's watering will cover only 900 hectares, or 1.4% of the state's river red gums. The environmental allocation consists of 6 billion litres from the Murray-Darling Basin Commission's Living Murray program and 11 billion litres from Victoria's pool of environmental water. It is flooding the Gunbower Wetlands north-west of Echuca; Little Lake Boort west of Echuca; the Lindsay-Walpolla site in the Mallee; and the Reedy, Kinnaird, Black and Moodies swamps near Shepparton. State Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings said the water had prevented ancient forests from turning into red gum graveyards. "Some of the river red gums were alive when Columbus discovered the Americas. They are part of all Victorians' heritage," he said. The Murray remains bleak, however. Dried-up wetlands and creeks in the lower parts of the river in South Australia have started to turn acidic and leach heavy metals, including high amounts of aluminium and arsenic, zinc and lead. The $12.9 billion water package to save the Murray has been finalised, but water specialist Mike Young, from the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, has warned that time is running out and the Federal Government must act quickly to use $3 billion to buy back the 1500 billion litres the river system needs to be healthy. The Bureau of Meteorology winter forecast for the basin, released last week, suggested another dry El Nino phase could be on the way and there was little hope of good rainfall. The basin commission's chief executive, Dr Wendy Craik, described the situation as not terribly optimistic, but dam levels were slightly higher now than at this time last year. http://www.theage.com.au/news/environment/parched-forests-get-an-overdue-drink/2008/05/10/1210

25) Work is set to begin in mid May on the vegetation management plan designed to create a buffer zone around the Coffs Creek Flying Fox Camp to alleviate its impacts on local residents. The strategy was adopted after extensive consultation with residents and the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) – which is the regulatory body – and issued Council with a license to carry out the vegetation work. This consultation is ongoing and includes workshops with residents and regular meetings of the Working Group. DECC will also continue to provide technical advice and support. The vegetation management plan aims to consolidate the flying foxes in the centre of the reserve, away from residential properties. This will be achieved by creating a vegetation buffer zone around the camp. Tall and fruit-bearing trees, which attract flying foxes, are to be removed from the periphery of the reserve and low-growing natives planted in their place. Native species will also be planted throughout the core of the camp to encourage roosting in the centre. In addition, exotic weeds are to be cleared from the area to aid the growth of native species. The ultimate goal is a screen of native vegetation around the perimeter of the camp that discourages bat occupation, reduces noise and odour levels by limiting air movement, but enhances the visual amenity of the area for the residents. The first stage of the plan – due to begin in mid-May and go on until October – involves the clearing of specific trees from the periphery of the creek reserve area and private properties adjoining the reserve. In addition, under-storey weed control will be carried out and infill planting of trees in and around the centre of the flying fox camp. The work itself can only be carried out at the end of the breeding season. The timetable had to be postponed as there was a late season this year due to the long periods of rain. DECC has recently advised Council that the breeding and maternity season is at an end and work can begin in mid-May. http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=98895

26) Tamworth sawmiller Garry Frazer is expecting to lose his home today thanks to the State Government’s Native Forestry Code of Practice. The JT Frazer and Co sawmill closed its doors on December 22 last year. Changes introduced as part of the code had rendered the once thriving local industry worthless. Mr Frazer, who has rejected a “paltry” offer of $14,200 compensation from the NSW Government, was forced to sell the land on which the mill stood to try to recover some of his losses. Because of the introduction of the code it had proved impossible to source wood to mill. “I went from receiving two semi loads of logs a week to one load a month,” he said. Mr Frazer estimates that between August and December last year he lost from $60,000 to $70,000. “These changes have totally devastated my life. I have lost everything,” Mr Frazer said. Since closing the mill he has been forced to sell other family assets – including property – to make ends meet. His home phone was disconnected this week and restrictions have been placed on his water service. He is expecting the bank to foreclose on his home loan today . Mr Frazer took over as the owner/operator of J.T. Frazer and Co Sawmill in 1993. He was the third generation of Frazers to run the family business, set up in Westdale by his grandfather on May 13, 1953. Member for Tamworth, Peter Draper, a long time campaigner against the new forestry management regime, said yesterday it had proved to be a disaster. “Two out of three local sawmillers have closed or are in the process of shutting up shop,” he said. “Despite repeated representations... there is still no acceptable exit package.” The new code has created a maze of regulations and red tape that make it more trouble than it is worth for landholders to continue supplying timber to regional mills such as Mr Frazer’s and the Bendemeer Sawmill. http://tamworth.yourguide.com.au/news/local/news/news-features/squeezed-out-timber-mills-get-th

27) Bushfire smoke that blanketed the sky above Hobart late last month graphically marked an abrupt turn in the public debate about forest management. Environmentalists were quick to make the link between forest regeneration burns and carbon emissions, and to argue that old growth should be saved to serve as carbon stores. Indeed, this debate was anticipated in February at a conference in Hobart on management of the world's old forests; by co-incidence that week Government adviser Ross Garnaut released his interim report on Australia's possible response to global change. Like it or not, carbon and the forestry debate are now firmly linked. Peppered throughout Garnaut's report are references to how land cover change, and especially de-forestation, is connected to worsening climate change. Garnaut advocates re-forestation and forest conservation to providing breathing space for new technologies to "de-carbonise" our economy in the next decade before we trigger dangerous climate change. This would be a brave new world for forest managers and forest conservationists, both battle-scarred following decade-long debates about biodiversity conservation, aesthetics and wood production. While hard-won agreements for greater reservation and changed forest practices have been achieved, simmering tensions remain over old-growth forests and the development of pulp mills. Suddenly the game has changed. The catch is that rules of the new carbon game for forests are far from settled. Factoring forests into national and international carbon trades will be devilishly complicated, as complicated as the global carbon cycle itself, the full understanding of which remains on the frontiers of ecological science. To make matters worse for Australia, the life cycles of eucalypt forests have peculiar attributes, especially the need for wildfires to initiate regeneration. This compounds the problem of neatly quantifying the carbon biomass in forests. The fact that our giant eucalypt forests arise from occasional intense fires is often forgotten. We need a coherent and comprehensive national monitoring framework which properly values carbon in wood products, and establishes a sensible baseline for forests and the forestry sector. We need to end the "forest wars" and focus on future challenges. Garnaut may be the trigger for this renaissance in forest management. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23655530-30417,00.html

28) GUNNS will be eligible for up to $15 million compensation if the wood supply to its pulp mill is cut off. Treasurer Michael Aird yesterday revealed the State Government had four months ago signed a tripartite sovereign risk agreement with Forestry Tasmania and Gunns. He said Gunns had required the agreement for its potential financiers, but it was "highly unlikely" that the Government would have to pay any compensation. "It will only be considered if both Houses of Parliament pass a law that directly results in Forestry Tasmania failing to supply wood under the terms of the wood supply agreement," he said. Forestry Tasmania has a 20-year deal to supply 1.5 million tonnes of pulpwood from native forests and plantations each year to Gunns' Tamar Valley pulp mill. The Tasmanian Greens were scathing of the sovereign risk agreement, saying it would impose a "huge financial penalty on future taxpayers" if forestry practices were changed. "Tasmania is in the box seat to gain a big financial windfall when carbon trading gets underway to counter climate change, as there is a very real prospect that we will make a lot more money from keeping forests growing as carbon stores than logging them for pulp," said Greens leader Peg Putt. "But Lennon has made this unacceptable deal to try and lock in logging against the changes we need to make to battle climate change and leave the legacy of a decent life for our grandchildren and their grandchildren." Mr Aird denied the agreement was another example of the Government looking after the big end of town. http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,23653069-3462,00.html

29) Please write to the below people expressing your concern about planned logging operations in the Lower Weld Valley. Feel free to print and sign this letter, write your own (best) , or email Julie Collins, Peter Garret, and Kevin Rudd. Calling their offices is also very worthwhile. Remember, these people work for you! If you do write a letter, please photocop two copies(or write separate letters) and send them to Peter Garrett and Kevin Rudd. It is important that both local members and cabinet decision makers are aware of the strength of community opposition to the destruction of the Weld Valley. Email/Phone Contacts: Julie Collins: Julie.Collins.MP@aph.gov.au (03) 6263 5050. ; Peter Garrett: http://www.petergarrett.com.au/send-enquiry.aspx (02) 9349 6007 ; Kevin Rudd: http://www.pm.gov.au/contact/index.cfm (07) 3899 4031 See Form Letter at: http://www.huon.org/forest_info.html#weldletter

30) I can only tell my own story in order to explain why being well compensated financially, and perhaps buying somewhere else in the area, is not the point. As I mentioned before, Mum grew up at Munni House but lived most of her adult life in Sydney. But in the year 2000 she moved back ‘home’ to the Williams Valley. Her place is the small property just past the windy bits after the Tillegra Bridge. We looked down on it today when where we walking to the trig point. Mum was an enthusiastic supporter of the local Landcare initiatives and had begun planting trees on her property. When she died in 2002 we planted a ‘Memorial forest’ for her and scattered her ashes on the seedling trees. It was bloody hard yakka planting those trees, all one thousand or so of them! Many of them are now four or five times my height with some almost as high as the established casuarinas at the river. The other day, I was excited to see an Azure Kingfisher on the gate to our shed where we stay - that’s the first time I have ever seen one away from the protection of the river. Sitting on the verandah of our shed and hearing the birds singing their little hearts out is the most beautiful sound. It is one we have only started to hear in the last year or so, since the trees have grown into a small forest. If this dam happens, we will all lose some of the most beautiful and the most viable agricultural land in this country. But those people, who are connected with this land personally, will lose their history, their roots, their sense of belonging. My cousins and I will lose the place where the ashes of my grandfather and grandmother were buried. My cousin Phillippa will lose her home, in the valley where she grew up. Her mother Naida, will lose the valley she almost gave her life to save. For my Uncle Snow and his children, he will lose the dairy he put so much of his life into even, though he lived in Sydney. His children will lose the place that has always been part of their lives, that they love with a fierce passion. For me, I will lose the place where we scattered my mother’s ashes and the place where we planted a forest in her memory. I will lose the vision I had for my children, to feel this continuity with their past and their future in this connection to place. For all of us in the proposed inundated area, we will lose our valley. http://www.notillegradam.com/?p=80


31) MAP is dedicated to reversing the degradation of mangrove-forest ecosystems worldwide. We promote the rights of local coastal peoples, including fishers and farmers, and encourage community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources. We are based in the U.S., with regional offices in Thailand and Indonesia, and another office opening soon in Brazil. Mangrove forests are vital for healthy coastal ecosystems -- their salt-tolerant trees and other plant species provide nutrients for the marine environment and support immense varieties of sea life in intricate food webs. Yet for too long, these vital wetlands have been undervalued, called mosquito-infested, muddy swamps, worthless and remote. They're being lost to the charcoal and timber industries, shrimp farms, tourism, golf courses, and ill-planned urban expansion. We've got a mangrove-y kind of love. The loss of these wetlands has made coastal regions vulnerable to tsunami waves and hurricane winds, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and billions of dollars in property, as tragically evidenced in the tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004, in which more than 250,000 people were killed. Most recently, it is believed that loss of coastal wetlands along the Mississippi Delta contributed to the immense devastation from Hurricane Katrina. If mangrove forests and related coastal wetlands are kept in a healthy state, they can offer a protective greenbelt to buffer against such otherwise devastating tsunamis or storm surges. http://www.grist.org/comments/interactivist/2005/10/03/quarto/?source=daily

32) I’ve been reading the extraordinary book Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, in which Robert Pogue Harrison describes how our imaginations are wooded from pole to pole. “If forests appear in our religions as places of profanity,” he writes, “they also appear as sacred. If they have been considered places of lawlessness, they have also provided havens for those who took up the cause of justice . . . . If they evoke associations of danger and abandon in our minds, they also evoke scenes of enchantment.” Forests have done much work in the human imagination and in our material world as well, furnishing not only shadows and havens, but food and fuel. We may have come down from the trees, but we never stopped seeking their shade and wood; our ancestors learned to coax both game and gardens from the glades. But the work that forests do isn’t limited to the human commonweal. By absorbing sunlight and carbon, they temper extremes of climate as well. From the taiga of the far north to the rainforests of the tropics, forests play a crucial role in sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide, trapping the gas in solid form where it can’t contribute to the warming of the planet. Since the evolution of bark-bearing trees, forests have been managing the carbon cycle; the CO2 released when we burn oil and coal was trapped by trees in the carboniferous age, 350 million years ago. Deforestation, then, deals two blows to our climate. By reducing the number of trees, we limit the amount of carbon that can be trapped safely; by burning many of those trees, we release the carbon they’ve already stored back into the atmosphere. Deforestation has immediate effects on climate and environment, too; deforested places are hotter, drier, and more prone to devastating events like floods and wildfire. In Forests, Harrison shows how deforestation is written into the DNA of civilization. Gilgamesh, the first hero in world literature, embarks on a quest to kill Humbaba, the demon of the forest, who lives in the mountainside cedar groves harvested to the last by the ancient Sumerians. (It’s telling that Humbaba offers to become Gilgamesh’s slave if he will spare his life.) Actaeon and Artemis; Romulus and Remus; Hansel and Gretel’s sylvan witch–our oldest stories stir with the antipathy between town and timber. And as the ancient forests fell, so did those civilizations that both feared and depended upon them. The Mediterranean basin is sunstruck and bereft of shade today because of the deforestation wrought by the Mesopotamians, Greeks, and Romans–in the process bringing about climate change that did as much as barbarian hordes and new religions to unwork civilization. http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2008/05/our-fate-in-forests/

33) The latest issue of Environmental Finance is now available, including a special report on the carbon markets. The 56-page special report, produced in conjunction with Carbon Finance, examines how the carbon markets are evolving, with a particular focus on the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. It also includes articles looking at how carbon finance is beginning to be applied to preventing deforestation, and how a post-2012 climate change agreement could better embrace the forestry and land-use sector. The report examines how the US, Japan and Australia are embracing – or considering – emissions trading schemes to tackle carbon emissions, and looks at opportunities in the fast-growing carbon jobs market. Elsewhere in the issue, two leading socially responsible investment (SRI) specialists examine the real story behind the growth in SRI assets under management, and we profile Michael Eckhart, the head of the American Council on Renewable Energy. Other features include: 1) How to finance a boom in biodiversity businesses; 2) An examination of the trends in corporate social responsibility reporting; 3) The evolution of wind farm finance; 4) Why environmental liabilities could soon loom larger in M&A deals. http://www.environmental-finance.com/onlinews/0508new.html
34) The timber industry has joined forces with the oil industry and the biotechnology industry to rapidly advance their work to commercialize GE trees for pulp and paper as well as agrofuels. They plan to develop huge plantations of genetically engineered with traits such as reduced lignin and insect resistance. GE tree plantations will have catastrophic implications for forests, forest-dependent peoples and wildlife. The agrofuels boom is driving this rapid advancement of GE tree technology. GE tree-based agrofuels are being promoted as the answer to climate change, though use of GE trees for agrofuels will damage forests and their ability to store carbon, accelerate deforestation around the world and lead to more and larger monoculture tree plantations. All of these will worsen climate change. Please join the STOP GE Trees Campaign and help us stop the commercial release of GE Trees. http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/

35) Everett Young writes: The existence of a population of several logging companies logging the same forest leads almost certainly to the companies racing to clear-cut the forest as fast as possible, because each company "knows" that if it does not cut as many trees as possible, the competition will. How do they know the competition will? Because they know that the competition knows this same thing about them. Everyone knows that everyone knows that everyone knows, so every corporation must race to clear-cut the forest as fast as possible. This requires no free will and no consciousness. A non-conscious computer could run the corporation based on purely logical, rational principles, and would come up with the same strategy without a need for "evil" uncaused intent. There is only one solution, of course, to this tragedy of the commons: every corporation must be held responsible for over-cutting the forest--including disincentives, such as financial penalties. The corporations can only fulfill their chartered purpose if they are held responsible. This, without their even being conscious beings, let alone entertaining illusions of being free. http://centerfornaturalism.blogspot.com/2008/05/collective-rationality-of.html