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204 - Earth's Tree News

Today for you 37 news items about Earth’s trees. Location, number and subject listed below. Condensed / abbreviated article is listed further below.

Can be viewed on the web at http://www.livejournal.com/users/olyecology or
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--British Columbia: 1) Sunshine Coast blockade, 2) Haida Nation makes logging unprofitable, 3) BC Ornithologists make historic stand, 4) Bert Brink rocks, 5) already lost 49 known species and subspecies,
--Pacific Northwest: 6) Spotted Owl extinction plan to be accelerated,
--Oregon: 9) Salvage logging is the real fire hazard
--California: 8) 50,000 acres of forest bought for conservation, 9) UCSC to cut 150 acres of mature redwoods for a sport field, 10) Monterey’s course proposal shut down again,
--Pennsylvania: 11) $21 million for 38 counties for land conservation
--USA: 12) Shift in forestland ownerships, 13) Biomass pilot project,
--Canada: 14) effects of forest harvest
--UK: 15) Save the Red Squirrel
--Scotland: 16) New species of tree found
--Cameroon: 17) Ngambe-Tikar forest reserve being logged
--Congo: 18) Logging the frontier
--Uganda: 19) Tobacco Farmers light up the forest
--Ghana: 20) 75,000 hectares of forests is depleted annually
--Kenya: 21) lifting of a ban on charcoal burning?
--Galapagos: 22) Sea Shepherd defends Mangroves,
--India: 23) Ecotourism reaches capacity in Karnataka,
--Bangladesh: 24) Long live Eugene Homrich, Only 5% of country has trees,
--Cambodia: 25) leaders fearful because people can speak out to the world
--Vietnam: 26) One arrest for logging of ancient trees in Quang Nam, 27) international conference for non-timber forest products,
--Solomon Islands 28) Consequences of government inaction
--Philippines: 29) Seedling don’t stop deforestation, 30) Green Mindanao Foundation
--Indonesia: 31) Old World Monkey is gone, 32) forest Defense Mascot, 33) Orangutan, --Australia: 34) logging tallest trees for the shame of the Japanese, 35) 30% success rate
--World wide: 36) Songbird populations on the decline, 37) Nitrogen pollution grows trees quicker which helps combat global warming,


British Columbia:

1) There has been ongoing struggles on the Sunshine Coast to protect some of the remaining forest and to protect our watershed. Recently Western Forest Products began pushing roads deep into the Chapman Creek watershed. Last Monday several people began a blockade of one of the logging roads going into the watershed. On Thursday June 14, (yesterday) some representatives of WFP showed up, accompanied by the police, and gave the protesters a letter saying if they did not remove their blockade they would be sued by WFP. These people do not know what to do at this point, and would appreciate any advice anyone can offer in this situation. If anyone has any ideas or advice please let me know and I will pass it on to them. Rick O'Neill rick_oneill@sunshine.net


2) The draft land use agreement between the provincial government and the Haida Nation could make it too expensive for forestry companies to operate here in the future, says Husby Forest Products Ltd. president Bob Brash. Mr. Brash said he has serious concerns about the agreement, although some aspects of it are not clear yet. “In general, it's not pointing in a favourable direction,” he said. Mr. Brash said he was surprised that the agreement chopped the new allowable annual cut here to 800,000 cubic metres, to be shared among all forestry interests on the islands. He said the amount is “arbitrary… it came out of the blue.” Husby currently has an allowable annual cut of 230,000 cubic metres, he said, and before the Duu Guusd area was protected the company's cut was 340,000 cubic metres. There's no information yet about how the new 800,000 cubic metre cut will be distributed, he said. Mr. Brash said he is even more concerned about the standards the agreement proposes for ecosystem-based management, or EBM. He said Husby already practices a form of EBM, but the agreement sets out a more severe form which will drive up costs so much that the company will eventually have to stop operating. “It's an untested and draconian and unrealistic form of EBM,” he said. “I can't see any operation being able to absorb those costs.” Mr. Brash said he has read studies that conclude that implementing EBM results in a 15 to 20 percent hike in expenses.
It's not just Husby that will find it impossible to operate under the new rules, he said. Any company, including one operated by the Haida Nation, will face the same challenges.
http://www.qciobserver.com/articles.aspx?article=2713

3) At their Annual General Meeting in Lillooet on 26 May 2007, the BC Field Ornithologists (BCFO) adopted a position on the fundamental conflict between economic growth and biodiversity conservation. The BCFO addresses the study and enjoyment of wild birds in British Columbia through research and conservation efforts to preserve birds and their habitats. The timing of the vote was opportune as Birdlife International announced the previous week that 22% of the planet’s birds are now at increased risk of extinction. A total of 1,221 bird species are presently considered threatened with extinction and an additional 812 species are considered Near Threatened, an increase of 28 species from last year. In British Columbia, 43 avian taxa are considered extirpated, endangered, or threatened and a further 48 species are of special concern. Dr. James Ginns, BCFO President, noted that “Our position statement is precedent setting in that the BCFO is one of the first conservation organizations in British Columbia to focus attention on the causes of biodiversity declines rather than simply focusing on the symptoms as most environmental organizations are doing today. Unless the causes of the problem are addressed, biodiversity declines are likely to continue.” One of the causes for these declines is economic growth. The economy grows by appropriating natural capital from the economy of nature (ecosystems) and using it for the human economy. As the human economy expands it removes resources, displaces healthy ecosystems, and degrades remaining ecosystems with waste. Thus, economic growth reduces the quality and quantity of bird habitat when it’s converted as throughput to the human economy. It’s this growth that tends to swamp any gains made through conservation and policy efforts. http://www.bcfo.ca/index.php.

4) Back before there was David Suzuki, back before there was Greenpeace, back before environmentalists were rock stars and radicals, there was Bert Brink. You've probably never heard of him, but many say he's done more for the conservation movement in B.C. than anyone since, well, since long before they began calling it a movement. Which is why there was a good crowd on hand Monday to see the 94-year-old receive the B.C. Lieutenant Governor's Conservation Award at Government House. They say Brink, born in Calgary but raised in Vancouver, has had a hand in virtually every significant B.C. conservation initiative of the past 60 years or more, protecting Burns Bog, driving the growth of the provincial parks system, fighting for the Fraser River basin and the grasslands of the southern Chilcotin. Chairman of the plant sciences department at UBC, his understanding of the natural world was legendary. One of the original members of the B.C. Land Commission, he was instrumental in founding groups and initiatives ranging from the Nature Trust of B.C., Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary to the Alaksen National Wildlife Area and the Federation of B.C. Naturalists. "There was a time when the land and waters of our province were thought to be so abundant that little care was required to ensure their conservation," Lt.-Gov. Iona Campagnolo told Monday's crowd. "Let nature take its course' was an ethic of that time, but Bert Brink saw through that sophistry toward the reality of today's needs and well before there was any thought of sustainability, he led distinguished colleagues and friends in processes of ecosystem protection and conservation." Paul George of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee recalls driving to the south Chilcotin with Brink, the latter rattling off the names and properties of every plant they passed. "He's about the most knowledgeable person I've ever met about ecosystems," George says. "He was way ahead of his time." If there's an irony, it's that Brink himself eschewed the kind of public activism embraced by some of the people he inspired. "I like to yell and scream at government people, but he's not that sort," says George. "He reasons." http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/story.html?id=f074998d-994b-48f9-ab46-a315f6ce63ca&k=11362

5) B.C. has already lost 49 known species and subspecies, like the western pond turtle and the Greater Sage Grouse, in a less than a century and a half. This will continue to happen unless adequate legal protection is put in place.” Rich Wildlife, Poor Protection, which also appears next week in the scientific journal Biodiversity, examines the more than 3,600 terrestrial and freshwater species that call B.C. home. The report uses government data to analyze the levels of endangerment across all major wildlife groups, such as mammals, birds, frogs and fish. Among its findings, the study reports 67 per cent of all reptiles and turtles are at risk of local extinction from the province. Meanwhile, 17 per cent of the province’s birds, including the critically imperiled Northern Spotted Owl, are also at risk of disappearing.“Species like the mountain caribou are more than just icons for the province. By protecting species and their habitat, we can also protect the health of our ecosystems and the direct benefits they provide for all of us, such as clean air and clean water,” says Dr. Moola.Of the hundreds of species at risk identified in the report, only 68, less than 5 per cent, are protected under B.C. laws. Though the province hosts 76 per cent of Canada’s bird species, 70 per cent of Canada’s freshwater fish species, and 66 per cent of Canada’s butterflies, it is one of only two provinces without endangered species legislation to protect its wildlife. “B.C. can be distinguished in Canada for both its biological richness and for the sorry state of its laws to protect this incredible natural legacy,” says report co-author and Sierra Legal lawyer, Devon Page. “To address increasing extinction and ensure that our plants and animals are preserved for future generations, we must, as Ontario has recently done, pass a strong law to protect species and their habitat.” Hailed by leading Ontario environmental groups, Ontario’s new Endangered Species Act balances a strong, science-based approach to protecting endangered plants and animals with the flexibility needed to address socio-economic concerns. Rich Wildlife concludes with a call to create a similarly strong endangered species law in B.C. that will prioritize the protection of species and their habitats. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Conservation/Endangered_Species/British_Columbia/default.asp
Pacific Northwest:

6) The Bush administration Tuesday proposed cutting 1.5 million acres (610,000 hectares) from Northwest forests considered critical to the survival of the northern spotted owl, reopening the 1990s battle between timber production and wildlife habitat on public lands. The owl, which became a symbol of the decline of the Northwest's timber industry, was declared a threatened species in 1990 due primarily to heavy logging in the old growth forests where it nests and feeds. Recent research has noted that while old growth forests suitable for owl habitat have increased, owl numbers have continued to decline, and that the owl faces a new threat from a cousin, the barred owl, that has been invading its territory. The proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was published in the Federal Register. It calls for cutting critical habitat for the owl from the 6.9 million acres (2.79 million hectares) designated in 1992 to 5.4 million acres (2.19 million hectares). It comes on the heels of a new recovery plan for the owl that suggests killing some barred owls to see if spotted owls will benefit. Under court order, timber production on national forests in Washington, Oregon and Northern California was cut by more than 80 percent in 1994 to protect owl habitat, contributing to mill closures and job losses that were particularly painful in rural areas with no other industry. Since then, the Northwest economy has turned to other industries, particularly high-tech, retirement and tourism, but some rural areas continue to struggle. Since taking office in 2000, the Bush administration has been working to change the Northwest Forest Plan to allow more timber production, but has been largely stymied by court rulings, including several that tossed out plans to log in critical habitat for the owl. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003744639_webowl12m.html

Oregon:

7) The Biscuit Fire of 2002 burned more severely in areas that had been salvage logged and replanted, compared to similar areas that were also burned in a 1987 fire but had been left to regenerate naturally, a new study concludes. The analysis, one of the first to ever quantify the effect of salvage logging and replanting on future fire severity, is being published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a professional journal, by scientists from Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the USDA Forest Service. It found that fire severity was 16 to 61 percent higher in logged and planted areas, compared to those that had burned severely and were left alone in a fire 15 years earlier. The study was done in areas that had burned twice – once in the 1987 Silver Fire, and again in the massive 2002 Biscuit Fire, one of the largest forest fires in modern United States history. “Many forest managers in the past have assumed that salvage logging after a severe forest fire, along with replanting new trees, will reduce future fire severity,” said Jonathan Thompson, a doctoral student at OSU in the Department of Forest Science, and lead author on the study. “This is based on the assumption that removing dead trees reduces fuel loads and planting conifers hastens the return of fire-resistant forests.” “However, those assumptions have never really been tested,” Thompson said. “This analysis showed that, after accounting for the effects of topography, Silver Fire severity and other environmental variables, the Biscuit Fire severity was higher where they had done salvage logging and planting.” It’s not completely clear from these data, Thompson said, what the causative mechanism is – the tree removal, the addition of more fine fuels to the forest floor during the logging operation, or the growth of new trees that for several decades may be very vulnerable to new fires. The study is not, researchers said, an indictment of salvage logging – it may still have value for economic purposes or to assure the establishment of desired tree species. However, “the hypothesis that salvage-logging, then planting, reduces re-burn severity is not supported by these data,” the scientists said in their report. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-06/osu-slr060607.php

California:

8) With 100% financing from the Bank of America, a nonprofit conservation group has purchased 50,000 acres of redwood forest along the Mendocino County coast north of Fort Bragg for $65 million and plans to use it for commercial timber harvesting while shielding the land from development. "We know that this property without protection would have been subdivided into smaller parcels," Art Harwood, a sawmill operator and president of the Redwood Forest Foundation, told reporters Thursday in the redwood grove outside the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. "Every year in the U.S., millions of acres of forest are bought and sold, and the pressure is particularly high in Northern California." Bank and foundation officials said the deal is the first of its kind that relies entirely on private financing. However, much of the debt is to be paid through the sale of a conservation easement to another nonprofit group that plans to seek state funding. Harwood said the land, acquired from Hawthorne Timber Co., was heavily logged in the 1980s and '90s and now consists primarily of second-growth redwood and Douglas fir. "There are a few old-growth trees scattered out there, but we will not be cutting them," he said. Foundation officials said they plan to do very little logging at first, and never on more than 3% of the property a year to ensure a long-term supply of jobs and timber. The Redwood Forest Foundation, which is dedicated to restoring working forests, plans to use logging revenue to help pay off the 20-year loan. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-forest15jun15,1,208139.story

9) UC Santa Cruz is preparing to cut down approximately 150 acres of trees on upper-campus to make room for all the new buildings that are part of the much-criticized expansion plan. This would be one of the most serious logging operations on UCSC's campus in decades, meaning the loss of well over 1,000 trees — mostly 2nd generation redwoods and mixed evergreens. In 1991, approximately 100 redwood trees were logged on a 14-acre campus forest called Elfland. 42 people (including a KSBW reporter and a legal observer) were arrested by dozens of UC Police from Berkeley and Davis as students protested UCSC and Big Creek's destruction of the sacred Ohlone ground. Colleges 9 and 10 now stand where Elfland was. A commentor writes: "Once these trees are logged, there's no going back on UCSC's Expansion. For all those that care about preserving the alternative nature of UCSC, ensuring that students get quality education, and protecting the City of Santa Cruz, this logging cannot happen." CalFire will hold a public meeting on the UCSC Timber Harvest Plan at 6:30 p.m.on Wed., June 13, 2007 in the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors chambers. People concerned about the issue should attend. http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/06/12/18427084.php

10) They didn't make his day. Members of the California Coastal Commission on Wednesday denied Clint Eastwood and a cast of celebrity investors in the Pebble Beach Co. permission to cut down more than 15,000 Monterey pine trees to make way for another golf course — the ninth — in the Monterey Peninsula's Del Monte Forest. The commission's 8-4 decision came after years of politicking that pushed through a local ballot measure in favor of the development, sought key supporters in the state capital and worked on lining up a majority of votes on the powerful commission, which was established 30 years ago to protect the coast from excessive development. Pebble Beach Co.'s owners, including Eastwood, Arnold Palmer and U.S. Olympic Committee board Chairman Peter Ueberroth, had personally lobbied commissioners since they and their investors bought the company from Japanese owners in 1999 for $820 million. But in the end, commissioners were unsettled by the proposal, which would have removed trees, filled wetlands and altered fragile coastal habitat that is safeguarded by the state's coastal protection law. "In my 20 years of attending the Coastal Commission's meetings, this is the most egregious example of development trying to circumvent the Coastal Act," said Commissioner Sara Wan of Malibu. "It amounts to wholesale destruction of the environment, [and] destroys the essence of the Monterey pine forest." http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pines14jun14,0,803684.story?coll=la-home-center


Pennsylvania:

11) Pennsylvania residents in 38 counties will benefit from a $21 million investment in land conservation projects designed to protect open space, rivers, greenways and the state's natural resources, Governor Edward G. Rendell said today. "This investment will fund 82 projects and help preserve more than 10,800 acres of land and enhance what we treasure in Pennsylvania -- our beautiful fields, forests, waterways and natural areas," Governor Rendell said. "Across the state, we are investing in headwaters and watersheds, wildlife habitats, expanding and enhancing existing parks and open space, and creating new opportunities for people to get outside and enjoy nature. "These investments bolster our vision for the health of our families, the vibrancy of our communities, the strength of our economy and our quality of life in Pennsylvania," the Governor said. Projects range from $1.5 million to the Wildlands Conservancy for the purchase of more than 2,300 acres in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties for forest land and watershed protection and recreation, to $24,000 to Scott Township in Allegheny County for the acquisition of two acres to preserve a natural area and greenway. "Our local partners -- including municipalities, counties, land trusts and conservancies -- are critical to our successful efforts to protect our natural areas," the Governor said. "Our grants help them meet the vision they have for their communities and regions." http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=10246


USA:

12) Jane Revesz, left, and Pete Revesz, far right, of Clark County, Wash., are planning for the transition of their 560 acres, which have been in the family for more than half a century. There is a crisis brewing in America’s vast forest lands, but it has little to do with the health of the woods: the acreage is essentially the same as it was a century ago, and there is over 30 percent more wood volume per acre than in 1952. At stake are large tracts of private forest that are at risk of falling into mismanagement, subdivision or being sold for development. “It’s a ticking time bomb” said Brett J. Butler, a research forester with the United States Forest Service Family Forest Research Center in Amherst, Mass. He says the situation could jeopardize things like the wood used to build homes, jobs, and clean water and fresh air. Nearly 60 percent of the nation’s forests are privately owned, the majority by families and individuals and most of these owners are 55 or older. A huge swath of forest land is about to change hands as aging landowners pass the land to heirs or buyers. “Without a doubt, it is the largest intergenerational transfer of forest land in our nation’s history,” said Al Sample, president of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, a nonprofit environmental policy research organization, “and we are not ready for it.” Already, he said, forest land is rapidly disappearing. “We’re losing four acres a minute; were not talking about the Amazon here.” The institute, in cooperation with the Forest Service, recently completed a survey of the next generation of family forest owners and found that heirs who will inherit the land are often professionals living far away in cities, have weak bonds to the land, and have little involvement in management of family forests. High taxes were a top reason heirs cited as deterrents to keeping the land. “The first time Wal-Mart or a developer makes an offer, they are going to take it,” Mr. Sample said. “They often feel that they have no choice.” http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/14/business/smallbusiness/14sbiz.html

13) On Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee will be voting on amendments to the Energy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007, HR 2337. Of particular interest to forest activists is Section 309, which sets up a Biomass Pilot Project, allowing for the creation for biomass facilities utilizing woody biomass from public lands. Section 309 includes important public lands safeguards, including a prohibition on using woody biomass from roadless areas, as well as an important scale assessment provision, which requires ecological study to determine how large a facility can be and where a facility is best located. Representative William Sali (R-ID) has offered an amendment to remove the roadless protection from Section 309. If passed, this amendment would allow biomass to be taken from roadless areas. Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has offered an amendment to strike the entire biomass provision, which would eliminate any and all public lands safeguards for biomass utilization in this legislation. Call as many Members of the House Natural Resources Committee and urge them to vote against the Sali and Gohmert amendments to the Energy bill (HR 2337) in Committee, especially Members of Congress from your state and region. The vote will most likely take place on Wednesday, June 13, so make your call today! For a list of Members of the House Natural Resources Committee, click here: http://americanlands.org/documents/1181665399_House%20Resources%20110th%20Members.pdf http://www.americanlands.org/index.php

Canada:

14) University of Alberta and Canadian Forest Service researchers found that after an area of forest was harvested, many species, including rove beetles, decreased dramatically. As the forest regenerated, it never fully replicated the full characteristics of the older forest it replaced. "We felt beetles were excellent candidates for this study because they are abundant and diverse, easily sampled, inhabit a variety of niches and are very sensitive to habitat change," said Professor John Spence. Once the forest was harvested the overall abundance of rove beetles declined, while the diversity of species increased. The scientists also discovered most mature forest-dwelling species became much less abundant or disappeared completely immediately after harvest. "This study is significant because it indicates a new forest will not hold the same biota as an old forest, so we must ensure that forest managers conserve adequate patches of old forests or make adequate long term plans for their full recovery," said Spence. The research recently appeared in the journal Biological Conservation. http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/index.php?feed=Science&article=UPI-1-20070613-12181300-bc-canad
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UK:

15) Eden Valley, Cumbria -- I live on the outskirts of a small village next to the Village recreation ground. This area although moderately used has been left to its own devices for a number of years. There are now a small group of Red Squirrels living and nesting - as far as I can tell- in this area, I know because I have a small feeding station set up behind my house on the edge of the small woodland area. This summer a group of locals have decided the rec ground needs an overhaul and have been tidying up and painting. My neighbour now informs me that one of them has told him that they are intending to chop down a number of trees, for cosmetic reasons rather than anything else. When he protested at this he was basically told that they would do what they wanted to do.I haven't yet been able to speak to any of the people involved in the tree chopping to find out exactly what is planned, and whether its just some pruning or some major chopping down. Obviously my concern is that they chop down trees that the squirrels are using, perhaps for nesting.Before I do speak to anyone I would like to have my facts straight as to whether they are allowed to do something which would affect the squirrels habitat which this may well do. So does anyone have any knowledge of these matters......I would be grateful for any experience anyone may have had in a similar situation. It may well be Chinese whispers but I would like to be prepared......... http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/forums/environment/12643-tree-cutting-red-squirrel-habitat.htm
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Scotland:

6) A TREE that only grows on Arran has been identified as a new species by scientists. The Catacol whitebeam, named after the glen in which it was found, is believed to be the rarest tree species in the UK, with just two known mature examples. Three trees were discovered in the 1990s but DNA tests had to be done before the species could be formally recognised and given a Latin name, Sorbus pseudomeinichii. Since then one tree has died. Of the others, one is thought to be close to death while one is healthy. A seed has grown to a sapling at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and cuttings have also been taken in order to preserve the species. The new species is a product of several generations of interbreeding between rowan trees and different types of whitebeam. The Catacol whitebeam is a cross between a rowan and a cut-leaved whitebeam, itself a cross between a rowan and an Arran whitebeam, which was a hybrid of a rowan and a rock whitebeam. Graeme Walker, an area officer for Scottish Natural Heritage, said the evolution of the whitebeams could be tracked through its genes. "We have this fantastic example of the evolutionary process documented with all the different stages, which is absolutely fascinating," he said. "It is a clear example of how the species can change and how it happens in a natural environment. http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=936532007

Cameroon:

17) NGAMBE-TIKAR - From outside, Cameroon's Ngambe-Tikar forest looks like a compact, tangled mass of healthy emerald green foliage. But tracks between the towering tropical hardwood trees open up into car park-sized clearings littered with logs as long as buses. Forestry officers say the reserve is under attack from unscrupulous commercial loggers who work outside authorised zones and do not respect size limits in their quest for maximum financial returns. "I lack words to describe what is going on here," says Richard Greine, head of the local forestry post, 350 km (220 miles) north of Cameroon's capital Yaounde. "Both illegal and authorised exploiters have staged a hold-up on the forest." From central Africa to the Amazon basin and Indonesia's islands, the world's great forests are being lost at an annual rate of at least 13 million hectares (32 million acres) -- an area the size of Greece or Nicaragua.
The timber business is worth billions of dollars annually, and experts say few industries that size are as murky as the black market in wood. Evidence of rampant deforestation around the globe points in one direction: booming demand in China, where economic growth is fuelling a timber feeding frenzy. In just the past decade, China has grown from importing wood products for domestic use to become the world's leading exporter of furniture, plywood and flooring. Chinese firms might not be chopping down the trees themselves, but their insatiable appetite is driving up prices, spurring loggers to open more tracks like those torn through Ngambe-Tikar and drawing huge global investment to the companies. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N11482533.htm


Congo:

18) Central Africa is steadily giving way to industrial logging, a new research report shows. The report, published today (8 June) in the journal Science, highlights the rapid expansion of the logging frontier in the Congo Basin, including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo. It shows the need to conserve forested landscapes while also sustaining timber production crucial for Central African nations. Central Africa, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo, contains the last frontiers for logging expansion in Africa, Nadine Laporte, a scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in the United States and one of the authors of the report, told SciDev.Net. In Central Africa as a whole, 600,000 square kilometers of forest -- 30 per cent -- has been conceded for logging, whereas only 12 per cent is protected. Laporte and colleagues use satellite remote sensing to track the expansion of logging roads for the three decades preceding 2003. Road development provides a measure of the amount of logging that is taking place in forested areas. They analysed four million square kilometres of the region, using over 300 Landsat satellite images. The highest densities of logging roads are in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, where 15 per cent of the forest has been disturbed. The most rapidly changing area is in northern Republic of Congo, where the rate of road construction roughly quadrupled between 1976-90 and 2000-02. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, which contains 63 per cent of the remaining forest of the region, only one per cent of forest has been disturbed by logging trails and tree-felling. But the analysis also reveals evidence of a new, expanding logging frontier, with an increasing rate of logging-road construction since 1986. "[People] believe in the concept of having inexhaustible natural resources, and the implication is that we are reckless to our environment and it is showing in the way we are losing biodiversity." http://allafrica.com/stories/200706081042.html

Uganda:

19) As you drive through Arua, Koboko, Yumbe, Terego and Moyo, the only sign of modern times, are the towering tobacco curing barns. The only gardens that are fresh and well-cultivated are hundreds of acres of tobacco The region is perhaps the most popular for its tobacco-growing culture and its warm people. However, its best asset, tobacco, has been its worst enemy, eating away the regions' previously-endowed natural resources, leaving the people spell-bound in poverty and backwardness. The thick natural vegetation that partially covered Murchison Falls national park down to the plains in Pakwach and Arua has slowly been destroyed as a desperate population searches for wood fuel to cure tobacco and burn charcoal for sell. According to the MP for Terego in Nyadri district, Kasiano Wadri, West Nile alone produced 10 million kilogrammes of tobacco. A kilo of high grade cured tobacco costs sh1,800 according to the locals. The average price for tobacco is sh1,500. This means, for a good price, it fetched sh18b from tobacco last year alone and at a throw-away price, it must have walked away with sh15b because all the tobacco was bought. This income, however, is not reflected in their lifestyle. "The cultivation of tobacco is labour intensive and destructive to the environment as it requires wood fuel for its curing, but...we have no alternative," Wadri said. http://allafrica.com/stories/200706111026.html

Ghana:

20) About 75,000 hectares of forests is depleted annually in the country through many factors and activities, Mr Thomas Osei-Owusu, Coordinator of the Green Earth Organization has stated. He said a research conducted by the Forestry Commission, indicated that if the trend of depletion continued there would be no forests in the country by the year 2010. Mr Osei-Owusu was speaking at a symposium organized by the Green Earth Organization to mark the World Environment Day celebration in Kumasi at the weekend. He said some of the causes of the depletion are over logging, illegal activities of chainsaw operators and subsistence farming practices. Mr Osei-Owusu appealed to the law enforcement agencies to team up with the Forest Services Division to check such practices to help conserve and preserve the forests for posterity. http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/200706/5590.asp

Kenya:

21) The lifting of a ban on charcoal burning will not only provide income for dealers, but will also ensure better forest resources management. The move follows introduction of new forest laws that allow individuals and communities that have been involved in illegal charcoal business to do it under the law. In the past, traders in charcoal have carried out their business, both domestic and commercial, without a proper legal framework causing massive destruction of the environment. Commercial charcoal is defined as charcoal produced in excess of five bags and intended for sale while subsistence charcoal production means producing charcoal for domestic use. The business has seriously affected indigenous forests, which are the main tree species that are cleared, and which usually take long to regenerate, thus affecting the environment. “Charcoal burning results in loss of moisture in the soil, facilitates dryness which affect the undergrowth and leads to soil erosion and loss of soil fertility,” says Koibatek district forest officer Mr Joshua Charana. The new Forest Act will provide for charcoal burning on a sustainable basis in order to ensure constant supply of fuel to families that cannot afford alternative fuels. http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=39&newsid=100273

Galapagos:

22) The historic first-ever visit to the Galapagos Islands by District Attorney for Guayaquil and Galapagos Dr. Jorge Blum occurred after a covert 45-day investigation into political corruption by Sea Shepherd Galapagos (SSG) called Operation Mangrove. SSG learned in late March that the Galapagos National Park (GNP) had filed a complaint against the Mayor of Isabela Pablo Gordillo Gil for ordering municipal employees to destroy the protected mangroves and the surrounding wetlands ecosystem in an area known as El Embarcadero in South Isabela. After investigating, convinced that the complaint was valid and had serious, far-reaching implications, SSG strongly urged Dr. Blum and other government representatives to make a special trip to Isabela to launch an official investigation, which could result in criminal charges against the mayor. On April 10th, the Galapagos Islands were declared in a state of high risk by the President of the Republic of Ecuador Rafael Correa, and as a result, it was considered of national priority to protect the conservation and environmental management of this fragile ecosystem in an effort to improve overall administration in the Galapagos. “The Galapagos Islands are endangered, and therefore, the destruction of protected mangroves and its wetlands ecosystem by publicly elected officials are serious crimes which, if they go unpunished, will just open the door for a continued barrage of similar environmental crimes,” states O’Hearn-Gimenez. On Sunday, June 3rd, 2007, the district attorney and his team of forensic specialists concluded their visit. The forensic specialists have up to 15 days to present their findings and lab results, and based on this report Sea Shepherd expects the district attorney to file an appropriate and just ruling. Sea Shepherd Galapagos team and lawyers will continue to support the Government of Ecuador in the protection of its Natural Resources. As soon as results from the investigation are available, Sea Shepherd will release them to the public. http://media.seashepherd.org


India:

23) Bangalore: Eco-tourism in Karnataka has touched a new peak over the past year and the State Government is reportedly thinking of imposing a cap on visitors to some of the national parks and game sanctuaries. As it has turned out, the presence of brigand Veerappan in the forests had apparently prevented people from venturing into the forests over the past two decades. With his death, the number of visitors has doubled to 10 lakh a year compared with about five lakh three years ago. With its vast forest cover encompassing five national parks and 21 sanctuaries, Karnataka (in particular the Nagarahole and Bandipur national parks) has turned out to be "must to visit" for wildlife enthusiasts. The Forest Department has reportedly told the Government that the national parks and sanctuaries have now touched the optimum carrying capacity and hence the Government should now "apply the brakes." Further, it has also said that the Government should enhance the buffer zone by another 10 km around all the national parks and sanctuaries. A buffer zone is one where private commercial activity, including hotels, is strictly prohibited and the area is directly under the control of the Forest Department. http://www.hindu.com/2007/06/10/stories/2007061008650100.htm

Bangladesh:

24) A half-century ago, the Rev. Eugene Homrich set up a Catholic mission among a tiny pagan tribe clinging to a tropical forest. He is still here. As a result, perhaps, so are the Garos, a predominantly farming people whose sari-clad women own the family land and pass on the family name. A native of Muskegon, Mich., Father Homrich has founded schools and built clinics for the Garos, most of whom have converted to Christianity. Once, he personally delivered a baby on the back of his motorcycle. During Bangladesh's bloody civil war in 1971, he stockpiled explosives in his mission and narrowly avoided execution. Now, Father Homrich is confronting the country's forestry department to stem illegal logging of the Modhupur forest, the Garos' ancestral homeland. To the chagrin of the local administration, the blunt, portly American has become the de facto leader of some 20,000 tribe members. "If it weren't for the father we'd be in a sea of trouble," says Simon Marak, a Garo community activist. "By his grace we're living here." But there is only so much Father Homrich can still do for the Garos. He is turning 79 this year, and recently spent several months in the U.S. for medical treatment. He can be expelled from the country at any time. And despite his efforts, the Modhupur forest has shrunk through logging and development to some 23,000 square miles, one-tenth its size in the 1950s. As the country's population keeps soaring, conflict between the Garos and land-hungry outsiders intensifies. The world's third-largest Muslim nation, Bangladesh packs 150 million people, about half the population of the U.S., into an Iowa-sized territory. In recent years, more than a dozen tribe members have been killed by forestry officers and soldiers because of land disputes, say Garo leaders and human-rights groups in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. In March, the Garos say a prominent tribal activist, Cholesh Ritchil, was tortured to death while in army custody, an incident that sparked a wave of outrage in Bangladesh and prompted protests from Western embassies. Shaken by the killing, Father Homrich says it's only a matter of time before the Garos' unique culture disappears from Modhupur. "The future for them is in the city, or in India. There is no future here in the jungle," he said last month at the Pirgacha mission, a neat compound shaded by jackfruit and mango trees. "Anyway, there is no jungle left." But a few hours later, as he shuffles through photos of Mr. Ritchil's cadaver, the priest's fire ignites. "I'll keep going," he vowed. "We'll get their ass." http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118168063804432880.html

25) Woods are shrinking at an alarming rate. It is estimated that only 5% of the surface of the country is now covered with forests. In near future all the remaining forests may disappear --a bleak prospect. No doubt, the human activities are responsible for the gradual shrinkage of the pristine nature -- the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans, the forests in the Hill Tracts and other patches on the plain. Illegal logging, destruction of trees due to agriculture and human encroachment- all these contributed to the process of deforestation. In this regard, we can highlight the rapid growth of population which is exerting pressure on the carrying capacity of the land. Forests are giving way to human habitations. Trees are being felled and used as building material and firewood. Another factor that did a great harm to our woods is the practice of monoculture which ignored the issue of bio-diversity. In fine, we have shown a great apathy to our forests as well as the indigenous people who live there. The Sundarbans has already been declared as a world heritage site by Unesco. More initiatives are required to save our remaining forests. http://www.thedailystar.net/2007/06/06/d70606110192.htm

Cambodia:

25) Kari Grady Grossman is someone who is making a difference in Cambodia. Her book, Bones That Float, is a fantastic read and a great vehicle that introduces the public at large to her school, tucked away in a remote part of the Cardamom Mountains. I loved the press attention that the students at her school generated in February and here's an update from Kari's Friends of the Grady Grossman School: “The high ranking people are now scared of the people of Chrauk Tiek because they can speak out to the world,” school director Ngim So Bun told Kari Grady Grossman this week. He is referring to the letter writing campaign that Kari started at the school in February 2007 when the teachers, monks and community leaders felt frustrated and powerless about the forest destruction and its attendant corruption that had overwhelmed their lives. The students letters inspired feature reports on Voice of America, The Cambodia Daily (English), Cambodoge Soir (French), and Mohaboros (Khmer) newspapers. On May 23 a helicopter bearing reporters and environmental rangers visited Trapeang Chor Commune, looking to crack down on the forces of forest destruction. The voice of our school community has been heard, a stunning break in the cycle of oppression. As a result, 100 drop outs have returned to school because their families see greater value in time spent studying, 40 illegal logging operators have left the area, decreasing the rate of deforestation by 50%. The community elected a new and honest Head of Commune, our good friend Nou Nuon, of the Souy hilltribe. Unfortunately, although he received the majority of votes, the ruling party will not allow Nou Nuon to assume the position, and he remains the Deputy Head of Commune. However, the people trust and listen to him, and he is a strong advocate for everyone to send their children to school daily. http://andybrouwer.blogspot.com/2007/06/student-voices-heard.html


Vietnam:

26) Vietnamese police Saturday arrested a businessman and a state employee for illegally logging 4,500 cu.m of wood at an ancient forest in the central province of Quang Nam in 2005. Local police are seeking an indictment against the two – Le Van Ngoc, former director of Ngoc Son Construction Company Limited and Nguyen Bay, an employee at the state-run Quang Nam Forest Products Export Company Between August 2005 and April this year, the two allegedly abused state permission to exploit wood at the Khe Dien Hydroelectric Lake in Que Son District by illegally cutting down hundreds of hectares of unauthorized trees in a primeval forest nearby. http://www.thanhniennews.com/society/?catid=3&newsid=28899

27) A four-day international conference began yesterday in Ha Noi to explore the role of non-timber forest product (NTFP) in poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation. Profitable NTFPs can include a number of food, medici, and construction materials and include fibres like rattan and bamboo, edible plant products, resins and gums, tannin and dyes, essential oils, insecticides, medicinal herbs, ornamental plants and animal products. These "minor" forest products could have a major impact on poverty alleviation and promote biodiversity conservation, said Katherine Warner, World Conservation Union country group head for Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam. The conference entitled The Role of NTFPs in Poverty Alleviation and Biodiversity Conservation, held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the World Conservation Union, among others, is part of the NTFP Support Project being executed by MARD with financial support from the Netherlands and technical support from the World Conservation Union. Participants in the conference, including enterprises that have found ways to address rural poverty while maintaining biodiversity, are sharing methodologies, product and market information and other lessons learned from NTFP and conservation initiatives. The third day of the conference will include a trade fair for NTFP producers to display products and meet potential buyers. On Thursday, the last day of the conference, participants will make a field trip to Quang Ninh Province. http://www.vneconomy.com.vn/eng/?param=article&catid=08&id=8f2fb4d5fdcc11

Solomon Islands:

28) A Solomon Islands environment organisation says past government inaction has put the country's forest at risk. The Solomon Islands economy relies heavily on log exports which are now growing at around six per cent, one of the fastest in the region. Project Manager of the Environmental Concerns Action Network of Solomon Islands, Moses Rohana told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat, however, that this rate is unsustainable. He says commercial timber forests in the country will be exhausted in about five years at the current rate of harvesting. "There are indications that our commercial forests should run out by year 2015 but there is a serious indication that it may not take that long, it should be moved back to 2010, 2011 something like this," Mr Rohana told Pacific Beat's Sam Seke. "Four, five years ago until now we are exporting more than 1 million cubic metres a year - that is two, three or four times the sustainable rate of our forest resources," he said. Mr Rohana says that pledges by successive governments to reforest logged areas and involve logging companies in down-stream processing have never materialised. "Every new government has a plan about what they should do - like this new government," he said. "Under the new forestry framework policy they've put something good so they can follow but until now they are yet to translate all this policy into action." Mr Rohana says this government inaction, in the face of information from organisations like Environmental Concerns Action Network, is frustrating. "Very frustrating, especially when we update information on the forest issues and when we know what companies are doing," he said. Mr Rohana is also concerned about the lack of enforcement of licensing conditions that require logging companies to process forest by-products. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/news/stories/s1943806.htm

Philippines:

29) “What’s the use of planting seedlings if the government keeps farming out commercial logging contracts covering hundreds of thousands of hectares?”, Kalikasan PNE National Coordinator Clemente Bautista said in reaction to the Arroyo administration’s Greening Philippines program, which claims to plant a billion trees in 2007. Bautista brought attention to “the number of Industrial Forest Management Agreements (IFMAs) being issued by the Arroyo administration, which replaced most Marcos-era Timber Licensing Agreements (TLAs)”. “The Arroyo administration granted 23 news IFMA contracts between January 2001 and June 2004 covering 191,250.60 hectares or around 30 percent of the areas covered by existing IFMAs. 201 IFMAs were already issued as of 2003, covering around 714,000 hectares”, Bautista noted. An IFMA contract allows its holder not just the right to timber bit to all other forest products in its concession, he stressed. “Our existing forest cover acts as a carbon sink by trapping pollutive substances in the atmosphere and serves as a source of life for the people. But this is being rapidly depleted due to wanton and government-sanctioned deforestation,” Bautista said. “Even a million seedlings can not replace these hundreds of hectares worth of primary and secondary growth forest ecosystems that will be affected by commercial logging operations,” Bautista said. http://davaotoday.com/2007/06/08/issuance-of-permits-for-huge-commercial-logging-mocks-tree-pla
nting-projects-in-philippines/

30) Green Mindanao Foundation, an environmental watch group and non-government organization helping indigenous people on ancestral domain rights, warned of an environmental disaster if unabated cutting of naturally grown trees in Caraga Region's more than 500,000 hectares of forest continues. Allegedly, rich traders financing logging through poaching and mining businesses with backings from corrupt politicians, government agencies and law enforcers were wreaking havoc secretly on the last remaining biodiversity of the region's forest. Another cause of destruction of forest's biodiversity is the practice of slash and burn method, which causes forest fire. "But the destruction of forest caused by opening of mining activities has far greater effects that government must now act to save the last remaining biodiversity in the region," Green Mindanao Executive Director Butch Dagondon said. Dagondon, however, understands the need of people to seek livelihood through opening up of the region's rich mining resources. http://www.bayanihan.org/html/article.php/20070611150924020

Indonesia:

31) Older residents still recall how, until 20 years ago, each day started with the high-pitched calls of groups of langurs (Trachypithecus auratus) from the mangrove forests bordering West Java's Karawang regency. The mealtime ritual of the langur, also known as the Old World Monkey, was also a common sight. The langur usually sat in groups on the lowest branches of the trees, angling sea crabs with their long tails. They then used their tails to hit the crabs against the trees to get at the juicy white flesh inside. "What do you expect? The forests are gone, so how can you find lutung here anymore?" said Tukam, 50, a resident of Muara Bendera village. The disappearance of the lutung has been the result of development at Jakarta's northern fringes, said Odja Djuanda, the head of the structure and infrastructure division at the regency's planning and development body. "The monkeys are all gone," he said last week. He cited a 2002 study on the preservation of Bekasi's mangroves by the math and science school of the University of Indonesia which revealed the forests had dwindled down to just 16.27 percent of their original area over the space of 59 years. The forests were previously home to 32 unique animal species, most of them swamp birds such as the kuntul (Ardea alba). The head of Bekasi Spatial Planning and Settlement, Jamari MP Tarigan, acknowledged the loss. "The sounds of lutung and kuntul were rarely being heard by early 1990. And in 1993 they just vanished." He said an aerial photograph taken by the his office in 2005 showed 150 hectares of coastal mangrove had disappeared. http://www.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp

32) Zakiah Yayasan Pena is a Rare Pride campaign manager in Aceh, Indonesia. She is creating a giant mascot of the Cempala Kuneng, a local song bird, to raise awareness about deforestation. With 40+ other marketing vehicles to create, she needs all the help she can get. Here is one story of community support. I talked to few women in Lamseunia village and asked them to make a costume of a Cempala Kuneng bird – the Pride mascot for our campaign in Southwest Aceh, Indonesia. The women shook their heads and said they could not do it because they had never made a costume, nor did they have time to make one. I went back with a very sad feeling. After a telephone discussion with Rare’s staff, I came back to the village with a slightly different strategy. I meet the same women and talked with them about the health of the forest in the area and what they thought about their future. Then, I explained the purpose of the costume and how it can inspire children to take care of the forest. http://www.rareconservation.org/blog/?p=67

33) The plight of the 'old man of the forest' may be a little brighter today as a result of crack downs by Indonesian authorities on illegal timber smuggling. But the United Nations Environment Programme ( UNEP ) is warning that the future of the orangutan, the rainforests of south East Asia and the people whose livelihoods rely on these ecosystems will ultimately depend on international support and regional cooperation especially from timber importing countries. In recent weeks the Indonesian authorities have stepped up action against the illegal timber trade seizing 30,000 cubic meters of processed wood in Nunukan, East Kalimantan and arresting six people. A further 40,000 cubic meters of processed wood has been confiscated in Kutai, also East Kalimantan Province along with several arrests. In a statement released at the triennial conference of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna ( CITES ) taking place The Hague, Netherlands, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: "We can only applaud the efforts of the Indonesian authorities to stamp out illegal logging and illegal timber trading. It is this illegal trade and the networks of groups who indiscriminately exploit these nature-based assets that are putting forest ecosystems, local peoples' livelihoods, the orang-utan and a whole host of other species in peril". "The seizure of 70,000 cubic metres of illegal wood represents around 3,000 truck loads of timber. But this must be set against the fact that by some estimates illegal logging is clearing 2.1 million hectares of forest in Indonesia annually worth an estimated $4 billion. This may equate to several hundred thousand truckloads ? corresponding to a continuous line of trucks from Paris to Bangkok," he added. "Indonesia cannot and should not have to deal with this issue alone. It requires resources from the international community to support the efforts of the authorities including the wardens on the ground. Indonesia also needs assistance from the timber trading and importing nations including improved policing and customs operations," added Mr Steiner, who is also a UN Under-Secretary General. http://presszoom.com/story_134024.html

Australia:

34) The eucalyptus trees in Tasmania's old growth forests can grow to almost 100 metres tall, dwarfing the Sydney Opera House and the lights at the MCG. Forestry Tasmania protects trees more than 85 metres tall. But often eucalypts as tall as 60 metres are cut down for sawlogs and woodchips, woodchips that have a reputation as being the worlds best for making high quality paper. That paper is made in Japan and is used for computers, photocopying and writing paper David Lee from the Rainforest Action Network is in Tokyo lobbying paper companies to think about where Tasmanian woodchips are coming from. DAVID LEE: I've never seen forests like this before as I saw in Tasmania. They were just the most magnificent forests ever, they looked like they were out of Lord of the Rings they … you know, as tall as redwoods and as large as the sequoias, and it just … it seems such a tragedy that you know, people would be cutting these down to make disposable products. FELICITY OGILVIE: The Rainforest Action Network has an office in Tokyo and often invites Australian politicians to take part in its campaign. Greens Senator Bob Brown has been to Tokyo several times, as has the leader of the Tasmanian Greens, Peg Putt. PEG PUTT: It's very important that consumers and customers of Japanese woodchips in Japan understand that there is continued controversy about the logging of old growth and high conservation value Tasmanian forests. FELICITY OGILVIE: The campaign appears to have worked. Two of the five Japanese companies that buy Tasmanian woodchips will now only buy them from plantations. The Deputy General Manager of Mitsubishi Paper Mills has told the ABC the company stopped buying woodchips from Tasmania's native forests for environmental reasons, and the fact that plantation timber is easier to pulp. The change is explained by the Professor of Forestry at the Australian National University, Peter Kanowski. PETER KANOWSKI: The wood of young plantation grown eucalypts which can be managed and manipulated through genetic improvement and through plantation management is actually much better for making high-quality paper than the original native forest woodchips. http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2007/s1947882.htm

35)The timber industry in Tasmania says the Tasmanian Greens Leader Peg Putt is a traitor. Woodchip exports to Japan have fallen by 30 per cent in the past three years, and there's a general agreement the campaign by environmentalists to convince Japanese paper companies to stop buying woodchips from Tasmania's old growth forests is the reason. The eucalyptus trees in Tasmania's old growth forests can grow to almost 100 metres tall, dwarfing the Sydney Opera House and the lights at the MCG. Forestry Tasmania protects trees more than 85 metres tall. But often eucalypts as tall as 60 metres are cut down for sawlogs and woodchips, woodchips that have a reputation as being the worlds best for making high quality paper. That paper is made in Japan and is used for computers, photocopying and writing paper David Lee from the Rainforest Action Network is in Tokyo lobbying paper companies to think about where Tasmanian woodchips are coming from. DAVID LEE: I've never seen forests like this before as I saw in Tasmania. They were just the most magnificent forests ever, they looked like they were out of Lord of the Rings they … you know, as tall as redwoods and as large as the sequoias, and it just … it seems such a tragedy that you know, people would be cutting these down to make disposable products. FELICITY OGILVIE: The Rainforest Action Network has an office in Tokyo and often invites Australian politicians to take part in its campaign. Greens Senator Bob Brown has been to Tokyo several times, as has the leader of the Tasmanian Greens, Peg Putt. PEG PUTT: It's very important that consumers and customers of Japanese woodchips in Japan understand that there is continued controversy about the logging of old growth and high conservation value Tasmanian forests.


World-wide:

36) “The dramatic decline in songbird populations is a crisis that’s unfolding worldwide, writes York University Professor of biology Bridget Stutchbury [in her new book SILENCE OF THE SONGBIRDS]. While this change may not at first appear as dangerous as global warming, the ozone hole, overpopulation, increasing pollution or massive deforestation, once again, birds — like the canaries used long ago to alert miners of invisible, fatal underground gases where they worked — have become universal biological indicators of rapidly worsening, urgent environmental troubles. “Some estimates set the songbird population loss during the past four decades alone at almost half. Why should we care? Because, Stutchbury explains, “Their jobs as pollinators, fruit-eaters, insect-eaters, scavengers, and nutrient recyclers will not get done, and this will disrupt ecosystems and affect everyone on the planet.” “New World songbirds spend part of their year in Central and South America, then as autumn approaches there, they migrate north during April and May to breed in the Northern Hemisphere just when spring insect populations burgeon and plants bloom. The fewer the birds, however, the fewer the insects they and their young consume, necessitating increased human dependence on pesticides, whose long-term toxic effects are themselves a major cause for concern. “The same is true for bird species working as pollinators or distributors of the seeds they eat: Fewer birds mean fewer plants and less diversity, which — alongside rapacious, unsustainable human practices — mean smaller, ever more fragmented forests, less rain and more erosion, all contributing to a cycle of chronic depletion. http://signsofwitness.com/?p=641

37) Paris - Nitrogen released into the air from traffic exhausts and agriculture is spurring the growth of northern forests, in turn helping them to suck up more carbon dioxide (CO2), a study says. The study, published in the British journal Nature, suggests that extra nitrogen input appears to be "fertilising" forests in temperate and far-northern latitudes where soil is often poor. But the authors sound a note of caution to anyone tempted to see this is a gleaming silver lining in the cloud of relentlessly bad news about global warming. Many effects of this man-made surge in atmospheric nitrogen remain poorly understood and nitrogen saturation could eventually spell a risk to forests themselves, they say. Federico Magnani, a professor at Italy's University of Bologna, and colleagues monitored CO2 and tree growth at natural and well-managed forests in Western Europe and the United States and compared this with similar data from forests in Canada, Siberia and New Zealand. What the scientists were looking for was a clear measurement of how much a forest absorbs over the course of its lifetime -- a key factor in the role of natural "carbon sinks" that help attenuate climate change. Carbon uptake varies substantially in the lifecycle of the forest, they found. A forest absorbs the gas more quickly in its maturity, but the process slows as it hits old age. In addition, a forest's ability to absorb carbon is also determined by management (such as when the trees are to be harvested) and by natural factors, such as wildfires or storms that can hit CO2 uptake. http://nationmultimedia.com/worldhotnews/read.php?newsid=30036766
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