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227 - Earth's Tree News

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  • Deane Rimerman
    Today for you 33 new articles about earth s trees! (227th edition) Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to: earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2007
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      Today for you 33 new articles about earth's trees! (227th edition)
      Subscribe / unsubscribe send blank email to:
      Weblog: http://olyecology.livejournal.com .

      --British Columbia: 1) A fight like you've never seen
      --Oregon: 2) BLM liquidation is not sensible, 3) Fire ecology,
      --California: 4) Forest go to pot, 5) Industry to clearcut
      neighborhoods of Tahoe Fire, 6) Berkeley treesit challenged in courts
      --Wyoming: 7) Stop logging Medicine Bow NF
      --Hawaii: 8) Wao Kele O Puna forest saved
      --USA: 9) Fire ecology, 10) House caused forest fires 11) Employee
      condemns agency,
      --Canada: 12) ORVs are a criminal scourge, 13) Endangered species,
      --Greece: 14) Fire fallout
      --Congo: 15) OLAM World Bank corruption
      --Mexico: 16) Long list of dead and jailed forest defenders
      --Peru: 17) Coco farmers now FSC certified forest destroyers, 18)
      Border theft update,
      --China: 19) Million hectares of farms to forests, 20) Guidelines for
      global destruction
      --Pakistan: 21) Unchecked deforestation
      --Kashmir: 22) Once famous all over the world for its lush green forests
      --India: 23) Conservation efforts are making too many enemies
      --Bangladesh: 24) National workshop on Biodiversity Conservation, 25) Cont.
      --Philippines: 26) Older inhabitants of Talakag remember when, 27)
      Trees for Life,
      --Malaysia: 28) Parit Forest Reserve under threat
      --Indonesia: 29) 20 million euros to pretend to stop logging, 30)
      Killing pulp makers,
      --Australia: 31) Wineries fight plantations, 32) Pawns in a capitalist
      --World-wide: 33) ADM big player in deforestation,

      British Columbia:

      1) A wilderness advocate has promised the B.C. Liberals a "fight like
      you've never seen" if they fail to end logging immediately in
      endangered areas on Vancouver Island and southwestern B.C. Ken Wu,
      executive director of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee
      (Victoria Chapter), told the Straight this is just part of a campaign
      demanding that the provincial government "end old-growth logging,
      period, on Vancouver Island and the southwest Mainland [of B.C.]." Wu,
      a Victoria resident, said WCWC wants a gradual phase-out across
      Vancouver Island by 2015. He is pressuring the provincial government
      to enact tough legislation this fall when provincial lawmakers unveil
      the coastal old-growth strategy. "This is their chance to do it right
      this fall," Wu said by phone from Sooke. "If they fumble this one,
      then I swear [they will get] a fight like you've never seen around old
      growth heading into the next electoral period and after, because the
      public is big on environment now." Rich Coleman, minister of forests
      and range, did not return Straight messages by deadline. However, in
      2006 Coleman's ministry released a 194-page report, The State of
      British Columbia's Forests . It predicted "deteriorating" ecosystem
      dynamics, noting that "fire suppression, timber harvests and climate
      change are changing ecosystem dynamics across the province". The
      report stated that their combined effects are "not easy to
      anticipate". Wu said WCWC obtained 2004 satellite photos of Vancouver
      Island that show that "three-quarters of the original productive
      old-growth forest has already been cut down, including 90 percent of
      the valley bottoms, where the biggest trees are".


      2) My family also has BLM land abutting our farm astride the Little
      Applegate River in southern Oregon, and it's land that forms an
      essential buffer in our effort to heal the ravages of outmoded logging
      practices on our property. The condition of our little river matters
      very much to the health of its larger grandparent, the mighty Rogue
      River. If the adjacent BLM tract also had been clear-cut, we probably
      would be unable to restore "our" nearly half-mile of river. There
      would be many fewer animals to fertilize and aerate the soil, hotter
      temperatures in the area we're trying to reforest, more silt from
      runoff into the river. The adjacent BLM lands also are important to
      our successful conversion of the star thistle- and blackberry-ridden
      pastures we bought in 1998 to the lush grass that now supports our
      flock of more than 100 small Soay sheep, known for their foraging
      prowess and tasty meat. In short, the BLM lands matter to the
      economics of our sheep ranch and to the restoration of badly neglected
      farmland. The BLM has proposed nearly tripling the logging allowed in
      its western Oregon forests, potentially boosting county payments. A
      final decision on the plan isn't expected until next year. But the
      flip side of the coin is the responsibility we on our private farm,
      and all of us as Oregonians, share for the conservation of these
      lands. After all, they don't merely belong to the federal government
      or some faceless bureaucrats. They belong to all of us. And all of us
      have an obligation to wisely use this irreplaceable collection of
      assets -- timber, forage, mulch, habitat, water filter, oxygen
      generator and more. We will succeed in this responsibility only if we
      fulfill a dual mandate -- harvesting timber for essential county
      revenues, but no more than what will ensure sustainable regrowth. And
      sustainable doesn't mean a clear-cut tract that may grow back in 100
      years, or even 60 years. Sustainable means that each year there will
      be enough old, middle-age and young trees left on each of our BLM
      parcels to keep them healthy on an ongoing basis, not just in some
      highly speculative time several generations into the future.

      3) When sizzling lightning storms peppered southwestern Oregon on the
      evening of Aug. 30, 1987, Dave Perry was already a well-respected
      forestry professor at Oregon State University. But the forest
      ecologist, who had been teaching at OSU for a decade, says the nearly
      150,000-acre Silver fire complex ignited by thunderbolts 20 years ago
      today taught scientists valuable lessons about the Klamath-Siskiyou
      forests. "My jaw dropped nearly to my knees from what I saw," he
      recalled of a visit to the complex's still-smoking Longwood fire near
      Takilma in the Illinois Valley. "I was used to the fire dynamic in the
      northern Rocky Mountains, where old-growth forests are more
      susceptible than mature forests to crown fires. "I found out the
      structure of the old-growth forests here is patchy enough that it
      doesn't propagate crown fires as readily as a more uniform homogeneous
      stand," he added. "The other thing was I had not a clue in hell that
      the hardwoods would be fire-resistant." "It was a paradigm buster,"
      observed Amaranthus, 51, who has a doctorate in soil biology. "Until
      then, we didn't know that hardwoods could actually slow down a fire,"
      said Amaranthus, who studied the impact of the fires on local forests.
      "The managed areas with the monocultures we were trying to produce had
      a type of canopy that really spread fire rapidly. The plantations went
      up like Roman candles. This showed that Smokey the Bear wasn't the
      best thing for forests," he said of fire suppression over the decades.
      "And the burn was hot enough to stimulate these shrubs coming back."
      Studies have shown that shrubs support soil organisms that conifers
      depend on, he explained. For instance, he noted that madrone
      stimulates nitrogen fixation in the root zone of a fir. "That's very
      important because a lot of nitrogen gets volatilized in these fires,"
      he said. "So anything that comes back that will pump more nitrogen
      into the system becomes very important in the ecological recovery. For
      reasons we don't yet understand, a madrone will stimulate that
      happening in the root zone of a Douglas fir." DellaSala acknowledged
      that many foresters may look at the site and see hardwoods and other
      shrubs as competition for the conifers. "They would want to wipe out
      this hardwood-shrub understory," he said. "But if you look at it
      through a different lens in terms of the forensics science of
      ecosystems that come back from fire, it is all related, all


      4) Officials complain that crime rings have planted around 6,000 acres
      of secret marijuana plantations in federal forests and often send
      armed squatters to set up camp and tend the lucrative crop. In one
      recent three-week period, officials pulled up more than 280,000
      marijuana plants, worth about $1.8 billion, largely in California's
      Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Sixteen people were arrested and 10
      weapons were seized in those operations. Mark Rey, the Agriculture
      Department undersecretary whose portfolio includes the Forest Service,
      announced the eradication campaign in Fresno, California, before the
      fall marijuana harvest. Officials say the burgeoning crop not only
      breeds organized crime, but attracts traffickers from other countries
      who damage forests by diverting water and thinning brush and trees.
      "Everyone has come together to realize this is a serious problem right
      now," said Janice Gauthier, a Forest Service spokeswoman in
      California. The new campaign will seek and destroy marijuana plants in
      national forests and step up clearing of plantation sites of
      fertilizer or chemicals.

      5) An offer by a local timber company to remove fire-damaged trees in
      the South Lake Tahoe area for a maximum cost of $100,000 will save
      taxpayers more than a million dollars. The Board of Supervisors on
      Tuesday authorized Sierra Pacific Industries, which operates a mill in
      Camino, to remove hazardous trees in the Angora fire burn area. The
      Environmental Management Department solicited informal bids from
      licensed timber operators. Sierra Pacific offered to do the job at no
      cost to the county, with a not-to-exceed amount of $100,000 to cover
      any unforeseen or extraordinary circumstances. A company
      representative said the tree removal would begin this week and likely
      be completed within 30 days. "Thank you very much for providing this
      to survivors of the Angora fire," said Supervisor Norma Santiago, who
      represents the South Lake Tahoe area. "By taking out the trees, the
      number of lots ready for building will increase exponentially," she
      said. The fire, which began June 24, burned approximately 3,100 acres
      and destroyed more than 250 structures. Nine other firms submitted
      bids ranging from $1.19 million to more than $4.5 million. Gerri
      Silva, environmental management director, said the program applies not
      only to lots where structures were destroyed, but also to property
      where trees burned, but homes survived. A representative of Arrowhead
      Enterprises Inc., the firm submitting the next lowest bid, while not
      criticizing Sierra Pacific's offer, said he thought the firms bidding
      on the project had been misled. He said county officials asked the
      companies to submit separate bids for three different zones and
      indicated that three firms would be selected for the work. Yet, the
      county in the end awarded the entire project to Sierra Pacific.
      Property owners may sign up for the hazardous-tree removal program by
      completing a right-of-entry permit and a right-of-entry permit

      6) In a Hayward courtroom, attorneys for the tree-sitters argued that
      the university should take down the 6-foot-tall, chain-link fence
      because a court order earlier this year banned any development at the
      site. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller, who heard UC
      attorneys argue that the fence had nothing to do with the proposed
      athletic facility, said she would make a ruling within 24 hours. UC
      Berkeley wants to build a $125 million training facility next to the
      stadium, which straddles the Hayward Fault. The City of Berkeley, a
      tree-advocacy group and residents living near the stadium have filed
      suits intended to block the project, claiming it will increase traffic
      and eliminate an important stand of coastal oaks. Among the gawkers at
      the site this morning were Brian and Mitzi Knott of Huntingdon, Tenn.,
      decked out in their team's trademark orange and video-taping the
      tree-sitters and their support crews on the ground. "We don't think
      the people in the trees are crazy," Brian Knott said. "They're
      passionate about their cause. That's something we respect, and it's
      what you expect when you come to California." UC police stood outside
      the fence erected by the university around the protest site. On
      Wednesday night, officers arrested two people near the trees,
      including one man who was trying to hoist food and water to the
      sitters. Today, police officers are not stopping supporters of the
      protest from sending up food and water. One of them, a Berkeley
      resident who said his name is Ayr, said he thinks the trees can be
      saved and the university can get its training facility. "We welcome
      the chance to interact with Cal Bears football fans," he said. "We can
      have old trees and new gyms."


      7) Unsustainable logging remains a clear and present threat to the
      health of the Medicine Bow National Forest. Under the new long-range
      management plan for the Medicine Bow, the Forest Service is proposing
      nearly 2,000 acres of additional clearcutting. And last spring, the
      Forest Service proposed the Devil's Gate timber sale, a massive
      industrial logging project that calls for over 500 acres of
      clearcutting in the Snowy Range near the Platte River Wilderness.
      Clearcutting has ravaged the Medicine Bow National Forest. According
      to the Forest Service, nearly 80,000 acres of the Medicine Bow has
      been clearcut since 1950. The Snowy Range west of Laramie has
      experienced the majority of the clearcutting. Satellite images of the
      mountain range, which is immensely popular for forest recreationists,
      show a massive patchwork of clearcuts. In the years 2003 and 2004
      alone, nearly 1,000 acres of clearcutting were authorized by the
      Forest Service. Numerous scientific studies point to clearcutting as a
      serious threat to forest health. One peer-reviewed study, for example,
      co-authored by University of Wyoming Professor Dr. William L. Baker,
      found that the Medicine Bow National Forest has become unnaturally
      fragmented because of clearcutting. Forest fragmentation, which is
      where once-continuous forest becomes splintered into fragments, often
      prevents the free movement of wildlife. Studies have also found that
      clearcutting is harmful to songbirds, deer, and elk, and is
      responsible for a decline in old growth forest habitat. Clean water is
      also at risk because clearcutting. Increased soil erosion, sediment
      pollution, and degradation of stream banks can occur as clearcutting
      removes vegetation that would otherwise protect streams. BCA's
      campaign for sustainable logging is not only calling for an end to
      clearcutting, but putting forth alternative methods that ensure both
      that forest health is protected and that sustainable logging can
      occur. Alternatives to clearcutting are readily available.


      8) The 25,856-acre Wao Kele O Puna forest on the Big Island was
      formally turned over to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs yesterday in
      the midst of the forest, the first land acquisition in the history of
      OHA. It was an emotional moment for Palikapu Dedman, the former
      protester whose organization, the Pele Defense Fund, fought a
      successful battle in the forest and in court from 1985 to 2002 to stop
      geothermal development on land then owned by Campbell Estate. Dedman
      choked up as he tried to speak to a crowd of several hundred people.
      Finally he said, "We were just being ourselves." "The court case was
      won on (Hawaiian) gathering rights, not on science," he said. "We've
      got to grow on this. We've got to expand our gathering rights." Dedman
      was the only speaker among 14 to receive a standing ovation from the
      crowd. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye obtained $3.35 million through the U.S.
      Forest Service, augmented by $300,000 from OHA, to purchase the land
      from Campbell Estate. He made a confession about the geothermal
      project. "The project failed, thank God, and I realized I'd made a bad
      mistake," he said. "I hope all of you will forgive me. "This belongs
      to the people, and it will be for the people forever," he said. U.S.
      Rep. Neil Abercrombie added, "We have a responsibility to make sure
      that all of the assets of the Hawaiians are put back in Hawaiian
      hands." The way to do it is through the Akaka Bill designed to permit
      creation of a Hawaiian-governing entity, he said. Among protesters
      jailed during demonstrations was Emily Naeole, now a Hawaii County
      councilwoman. Her son is now 16 1/2, she said, and his name is Wao
      Kele O Puna, which means the "upland rain forest of Puna." In 1985 the
      state traded the land to Campbell for Campbell's Kahualea land farther
      uphill. Attempts at geothermal development continued from 1988 to
      1994. The purchase by OHA, completed July 14 with the assistance of
      the Trust for Public Lands, means a return to public ownership. OHA
      land manager Jonathan Scheuer said the state Department of Land and
      Natural Resources will manage the land for conservation for the first
      10 years, receiving $228,000 per year from OHA and contributing
      $100,000 per year in Land Department labor. Meanwhile, lava flows have
      been knifing into Wao Kele. Kaliko Kanaele of the Royal Order of
      Kamehameha interpreted that as a positive sign. "Tutu (Pele) is
      coming," he said. "She's not coming for destruction."


      9) Typically new science does not entirely invalidate the old ideas,
      but provides new insights and nuances. I see that happening now with
      fire ecology and how fire issues are reported in the media. One of the
      frequently repeated "truths" is that fires are more "destructive" than
      in the past due to fire suppression. By putting out fires, we are
      told, we have contributed to higher fuel loads in our woodlands that
      is the cause of the large blazes we seem to be experiencing around the
      West. But like any scientific fact, the more we know, the more we
      understand how little we really understand. While fuels are important
      to any blaze, the latest research is suggesting that weather/climatic
      conditions rather than fuels drive large blazes. In other words, you
      can have all the fuel in the world, but if it's not dry enough, you
      won't get a large blaze. On the other hand if you have severe drought,
      combined with low humidity and high winds, almost any fuel loading
      will burn and burn well. Despite all the rhetoric about "historic"
      fire seasons, including several years where more than 7-8 million
      acres burned, the total acreage burned today is actually quite low by
      historic standards. As recently as the 1930s Dust Bowl drought years,
      more than 39 million acres burned annually in the US. And long term
      research going back thousands of years suggests that the past 50-70
      years may be real anomalies in terms of acreage burned as well as fire
      severity. It may be that the limited fire activity between the 1930s
      and 1990s was more a reflection of moister climatic conditions than
      due to any effective fire suppression. The fact that recent fires are
      burning through clear cuts, thinned stands, and other forests that are
      supposed to be fire proofed, suggests that big blazes are, at least in
      some situations, the norm. This has huge policy implications,
      especially in light of global warming.

      10) Why do some forest fires spread rapidly over large areas,
      destroying and damaging many homes, while others are contained with
      minimal damage? New research shows a major factor is whether homes are
      fireproofed -- not just yours, but those of your neighbors as well.
      "There is actually more flammable material in a house per square yard
      than in a forest," said Michael Ghil, UCLA distinguished professor of
      climate dynamics and geosciences and co-author of the research, which
      will be published in the Sept. 4 print edition of Proceedings of the
      National Academy of Sciences. "It makes a tremendous difference
      whether you fireproof your home or not," Ghil said. "Neighborhoods
      where homes are fireproofed suffer significantly less damage than
      neighborhoods where they are not." "Our study shows that fireproofing
      of homes is important not only for the houses, but also for the
      forest," said Ghil, who is a member of the Institute of the
      Environment and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at
      UCLA, with a joint appointment in geosciences at France's Ecole
      Normale Supérieure. "We looked systematically for the first time at
      both the dwellings and at the forest. When you fireproof houses, not
      only do you help preserve those houses, but you also help limit the
      spread of fires to a much smaller area." Ghil and his co-authors
      modeled the spread of fires and studied data from forest ecosystems in
      Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. They
      addressed both the houses and the trees in a unified way for the first
      time. "Many people seem to have a fatalistic attitude and don't
      understand that it really matters whether you fireproof your home, and
      whether your neighbors do," Ghil said. "The spread of forest fires is
      not just an act of God. Fireproofing houses can make an enormous
      difference in whether a fire sweeps through a community or not." As
      the density of non-fireproofed houses increases, the chances of the
      neighborhoods burning increase dramatically, Ghil said.

      11) I retired from the Forest Service in 2003. Going to work for that
      agency was the biggest mistake of my life. I actually thought that
      their prime motivation was to conserve and protect the public land.
      How wrong I was. I think it's so important that the American public
      learn the truth about how the Forest Service is hammering the
      ecological fabric of our the public land to provide money-making
      opportunities for private interests while simultaneuosly telling the
      public lies about how their development projects are needed and
      benefit the environment. The first EA I received was on August 17,
      2004. Under Section 101(2) of Bush's tragic and euphemistically named
      Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA) of 2003, authorized fuels
      reduction projects were no longer subject to notice, comment, and
      administrative appeal provisions pursuant to 36 CFR 215.Instead, the
      concerned public was provided with a meaningless, worthless, waste of
      time ... the pre-decisional objections process, that's even worse than
      the objections process used by the BLM. This process ONLY allows
      citizens to suggest minor changes or tweaks in the proposed logging
      and road construction. Unlike the administrative appeals process,
      under Bush's HFRA, no owner of these public lands has the right to
      demand that the Forest Service withdraw or drop a project entirely.
      Many USFS line officers who would easily fit the definition of "timber
      beast," look back to this era as a time of spiritual significance.
      They pray for its return. Unless Section 101(2) of Bush's Healthy
      Forest Restoration Act is not rescinded in a federal district court,
      their prayers will be answered. In lieu of site specific, analysis one
      would think The Healthy Forest Restoration Act should have discussed
      the delaying or eliminating the natural fire cycle programmatically.
      It didn't. I'm not an attorney, but I think this is a large legal flaw
      in the HFRA. My wife & I live on retirement pay. I cannot afford to
      sue. Dick Artley (retired forest planner, Nez Perce National Forest)


      12) Crimes against the land, crimes against our streams and rivers and
      wetlands, crimes against clean air, crimes against fish, wildlife and
      birds, crimes against wild plants, crimes against soil, crimes against
      quiet and solitude, crimes against peaceful non motorized public lands
      users; the list goes on and on. All crimes documented by scientific,
      social and public lands management evidence. That is the legacy of off
      road vehicles and their users, not just in Alberta, but across North
      America. This is one crime spree that most Albertans do not have their
      heads in the sand about; no fairy tale ostrich impersonations here
      except in the blinkered self-serving world of off road users.
      Albertans are fed up with this bunch; all that remains for the people
      of Alberta to do is clear out a government and the old boys network of
      land managers that are protecting off roaders. It is probably more
      accurate to say protecting manufacturers and dealers - the money
      people - who act as the pushers for the addicts – the gloriously self
      endowed "enthusiasts" that desecrate public lands. These are the
      people that are fueling the destruction of the natural and real
      recreational world. The core group of off roaders are notorious
      machine and party idolizing young males best characterized as
      environmental deadbeats. Most are abysmally poorly informed about the
      destruction they and their machines impose on the landscape. The
      majority fancy themselves immune to responsibility, as are the
      manufacturers and dealers. The latter are the people who provide the
      money, they hook "the clubs", who Minister Morton apparently wants to
      "work with". These almost private deals take place outside the
      political and public process, in the backrooms, where the money men
      curry political favoritism. The fact is Morton, and this government,
      have no legal, moral, ethical or democratic authority to give off road
      "clubs" preferential treatment; Morton and Stelmachs moral, legal and
      scientific responsibility is to implement a high level of protection
      for all public land, native biological diversity, water, and the
      collective public interest. That is their one and only obligation.

      13) Expanding cities, pollution, logging and predatory house cats are
      being blamed as the federal government considers adding close to 40
      more species to the list of endangered, threatened or otherwise
      at-risk animals and plants in Canada. In documents published by
      Environment Canada over the weekend, loss of habitat to one form of
      human development or another is cited repeatedly as the biggest threat
      to the various vulnerable species. The flora and fauna in trouble
      range from the Pacific water shrew to the bowhead whale and Ord's
      kangaroo rat: a gerbil-like mammal that lives in the sandhills of
      southern Alberta and Saskatchewan and resembles a miniature version of
      its Australian namesake. A proposed regulation released Saturday would
      expand the number of organisms protected under the Species at Risk Act
      by 36. The list already includes 389 species. Under the five-year-old
      act, the federal government is supposed to work to rebuild species
      that are threatened or endangered and take action to prevent those in
      the third category - special concern - from facing further risk.
      Conservation groups, however, have accused the federal government of
      failing to live up to its obligations under the legislation, which in
      some cases can mean confrontation between wildlife preservation and
      economic development. Last fall, a consortium of groups filed an
      official complaint under the North American Free Trade Agreement,
      saying the government's performance in the area has been "abysmal."
      For instance, it has failed to submit required recovery plans for more
      than 100 species, charged the submission filed by the Sierra Club, the
      Western Canada Wilderness Committee and others. Species are added to
      the list on recommendation from a scientific advisory committee headed
      by Jeffrey Hutchings, a Dalhousie University biologist. Neither Prof.
      Hutchings nor an Environment Canada official could be reached Sunday.
      The department will accept submissions on the proposed regulation
      published Saturday, before submitting it for final approval by
      cabinet. http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=73485ddf-f0db-46a0-ba0b-09739ffd1107&k=36


      14) With Greek national elections less than three weeks away,
      questions are being raised about how seriously the government takes
      the protection of the country's open spaces. "So many fires breaking
      out simultaneously in so many parts of the country cannot be a
      coincidence," Mr. Karamanlis said in a nationally televised address
      Saturday. "The state will do everything it can to find those
      responsible and punish them." Already, at least three people have been
      arrested for setting this weekend's fires; one, accused of setting a
      blaze that killed six people, is being charged for murder as well as
      for arson. But in the past, local activists say, the state has had a
      poor record of catching and prosecuting these types of arsonists. The
      problem persists, they say, and in large part perpetrators have
      previously gotten away with it. "Most of the reasons concern changing
      of land use – from forest to something else [such as] construction, or
      building, or to grazing, or agriculture," explains Nikos Georgiadis,
      head forest officer for the Greek office of WWF (the World Wildlife
      Fund). "But the response from the government has not been effective at
      all." But there is beginning to be a backlash against government
      inaction – as Greek villagers desperately battle blazes using garden
      hoses and buckets of water – that is likely to intensify as a result
      of this weekend's fires. Earlier this summer, after a fire burned one
      of the last remaining forests on Mount Parnitha, near Athens,
      thousands of people took the streets outside the Greek parliament
      demanding more action from the government to protect forests and
      ensure that burned areas were replanted. Many observers saw that fire
      as a turning point in local politics toward a greater green
      consciousness. "People in Athens, but also around Greece, are becoming
      more green," says Dr. Georgiadis, who said that hundreds of people
      called the WWF office in the aftermath of that fire, outraged and
      offering to help. Greece has one of the worst records in the European
      Union on environmental issues, and on forest protection in particular.
      Environmental groups say recycling is in its infancy, development is
      largely unregulated, and protected areas neglected. Although forested
      areas cannot legally be built on, that law is difficult to enforce
      because Greece – unlike every other country in the European Union –
      has no national record of what land is forested.


      15) In 2005, OLAM was awarded logging titles covering over 300,000
      hectares in the Bandundu region, in violation of a 2002 moratorium on
      the allocation of new logging titles, and DRC's Forest Code, both of
      which were introduced with the support of the World Bank in an attempt
      to tackle uncontrolled logging in the DRC. In December 2003, the IFC
      invested $15 million in OLAM and, during 2004, a partial guarantee of
      $50 million was approved for the company. World Bank records show
      that, as of fiscal year 2006, IFC held $11.2 million in OLAM loans and
      guarantees. Meanwhile, the World Bank denies any IFC involvement in
      the DRC forest sector, stating on their website that "the Bank does
      not fund logging anywhere in Africa and our main advice to the
      Government of DRC is not to expand industrial logging." "This is an
      example of the World Bank's double standards when it comes to using
      international finance to help save the DRC's forests. While the left
      hand of the Bank claims to save the Congo forests, its right hand
      helps destroy them," said Susanne Breitkopf, Greenpeace forest
      campaigner. "Rather than financing the plunder of the world's second
      largest rainforest, the World Bank should invest in strengthening
      forest law enforcement in the DRC, to control the wanton and illegal
      destruction being perpetrated by logging companies." In April 2007,
      Greenpeace published a report detailing how OLAM trades in timber from
      third parties whose destructive logging operations cause social
      conflicts, massive environmental damage and significant loss of state
      revenue. In May, Greenpeace wrote to the IFC asking that it divest
      from OLAM on the basis that the group's existing logging titles,
      awarded illegally after a 2002 moratorium on new titles, should be
      considered illegal and cancelled. At the end of July, the IFC rejected
      this request, claiming that the group only works with suppliers who
      hold valid logging permits and that OLAM is committed to sustainable
      forestry. http://www.commondreams.org/news2007/0829-12.htm


      16) Mexico's 56.000.000 hectares of lush forestland covering a quarter
      of its national territory and comprising 1.3% of the world's forest
      resources, are increasingly littered with the corpses of dead forest
      defenders.The list of the dead is horrific. In the state of Mexico, 30
      forest inspectors, a third of the state force, have been murdered
      since 1991 according to a count kept by Hector Magallanes, Greenpeace
      Mexico forest action coordinator. Federal forest wardens are equally
      as vulnerable. With 300 inspectors to cover more than 50,000,000
      hectares, each inspector oversees 180,000 hectares. Too often, they
      find themselves caught up in shoot-outs with organized gangs of wood
      poachers ("talamontes") who do their dirty work mostly in the dark
      with an army of gunsills standing watch. When Wilfredo Alvarez, a
      Guerrero state forest inspector was ambushed in 2003 near the state
      capital of Chilpancingo, one of his killers was a fellow inspector who
      had been corrupted by the talamontes. Miguel Angel Maya, regional
      coordinator for the National Protected Land Commission, was gunned
      down in the Chimilapas, one of Mexico's last two great forests, in
      2005--his predecessor had been murdered the previous summer. Poor
      farmers who seek to defend their forests from the wood poachers are
      met with homicidal repression. 17 members of the Farmers Organization
      of the Southern Sierra (OCSS) were massacred at Aguas Blancas Guerrero
      in June 1995 after they blocked a crony of corrupt governor Ruben
      Figueroa from logging out their sierra. 28 Zapotec Indians were
      butchered in 2002 in the southern Oaxaca sierra in a feud over forest
      ownership. When forest defenders are not murdered outright, they are
      persecuted and jailed on absurd charges on orders from the talamontes.
      This past June 6th, Jaime Gonzalez who campaigns to halt the wholesale
      devastation of fragile mountain forests in Motozintla Chiapas was
      jailed by local police for a traffic offense and disappeared for 15
      days during which he says he was relentlessly tortured. Gonzalez
      remains in state prison. http://www.counterpunch.org/ross08302007.html


      17) In the Ucayali Region of Peru, an inland region located in the
      Amazon rainforest, 1,500 farmers from the Sinchi Roca Community have
      left their illegal coca plantations and become successful lumber
      industrialists. 44,700 hectares of this community's forest have been
      certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to take part in the
      lumber business, under the condition that all national and
      international laws are obeyed. In addition, the Sinchi Roca Community
      has been assisted by the NCS American Forestal lumber company, which
      has a branch in Pucallpa and prepares wood products for exportation.
      It was reported that it was necessary to establish a portable sawmill
      in the Sinchi Roca area due to the fact that not a lot of wood was
      commercially usable. NCS American Forestal is to establish a sawmill
      which will increase profit margins for the Sinchi Roca Community.
      Currently, NCS American Forestal is financing the work being done by
      the Sinchi Roca Community. The work is being carried out with a 20,000
      sole advance NCS has granted, which will also be used to build the
      campsite needed for the sawmill. PDA Engineer Edwin Durand has stated
      that the Santa Martin Community, which has signed an agreement to
      eradicate illegal coca plantations and has also been certified by the
      Forest Stewardship Council, could be the next community to associate
      themselves with a private company.

      18) It's been a month since the blog of the Ashaninka Society of the
      Rio Amônia (Apiwtxa), has been decrying that workers from the Peruvian
      company Venao Forestal had illegally crossed into Brazil, and were now
      logging mahogany and cedar there. On a recent expedition to supervise
      the border, the Brazilian Ashaninkas were received with death threats
      from a task leader of the Peruvian company, which raised some worries
      about the possibility of violent clashes in the region. The power of
      the Internet and the blogs for outreach and networking have recently
      been discovered by some of the young leaders of these communities, and
      this fact is surely making a difference in the present struggles faced
      by their people. "I have a friend who I see as a kind of Guardian, a
      Guardian of the border. He lives at the Upper Juruá, in the Apiwtxa
      community, and he is from the Ashaninka people. His name is Benki
      Piyãko. Some days ago I received an email from him reporting about a
      case not detailed, but which has troubled him. To those who are not
      following the recent events at the Brazilian-Peruvian border, Peruvian
      logging companies continue to invade our forests. An encirclement is
      advancing. Benki's indigenous territory and its people have been
      victimized for years, and the sad new is that the invasion has reached
      the Upper Juruá Reserve on its West and South borders (see post
      "Encirclement on the Border). Well, there was an Ibama's [Ministry of
      Environment] action along with the Army on the border, and some
      persons were imprisoned. All the dirty work from the Peruvian
      companies involves suspect alliances (on which terms?) with indigenous
      people living on the region. There are things like logging companies
      backing handling plans of indigenous communities, who will in the end
      sell them the wood. One of the Army's tenants told Benki that a
      resident from the reserve who had guided that expedition was receiving
      death threats from "Peruvian Indians", who might have been looking for
      him at his house.


      19) China has returned more than 24 million hectares of farmlands to
      forests since 1999, Xinhua learnt from a national conference on
      forestry work held here on Saturday. China started the nationwide
      campaign of returning farmlands to forests in 2000, involving 124
      million farmers of more than 32 million households in 25 provincial
      areas. The campaign has contributed to more than 60 percent of the
      country's newly-made forest areas in recent years, according to the
      conference. Farmers who were affected by the campaign had also
      received subsidies and grains, with subsidies accounting for almost
      ten percent of farmers' average annual income.The government will
      earmark another 200 billion yuan (US$26 billion) to the campaign in
      the coming years, making the total investment reach 4.3 trillion yuan.
      A special fund will also be established to consolidate the
      achievements of the campaign. China has planted 53.3 million hectares
      of forests in the past 58 years, more than any other country in the
      world, with forestry coverage rate rising from 8.6 percent to 18.2
      percent, according to the State Forestry Administration. China will
      continue implementing key projects in forestation, including returning
      farmlands to forests and grasslands and preserving natural forests,
      with the aim of increasing forestry coverage to 20 percent by 2010.

      20) China on Tuesday issued guidelines for Chinese enterprises that
      engage in overseas forest cultivation activities, the first of its
      kind in the world. The Guidelines on Sustainable Management of
      Overseas Forests for Chinese Enterprises was jointly designed by the
      State Forestry Administration (SFA) and the Ministry of Commerce,
      according to the SFA. Jia Zhibang, head of the SFA, said the Chinese
      government would encourage and support domestic enterprises to carry
      out forest cultivation activities in foreign countries in a manner
      that highlights sustainability, bio-diversity and the development of
      local community. The purpose of the move is to guide relevant
      enterprises to help the countries or regions that are faced with
      difficulties in forest restoration and to help improve the livelihood
      of local residents, Jia said. China will cooperate with international
      organizations to carry out pilot programs to improve the guidelines
      and will also take the guidelines as key basis for evaluating and
      supervising the performance of relevant enterprises, he said. China
      has been active and successful in forest cultivation both at home and
      abroad. The country's artificial a forestation totaled 53.65 million
      hectares, ranking the first in the world, according to latest
      statistics. So far, Chinese enterprises have invested more than 500
      million yuan (66.19 million U.S. dollars) in Southeast Asian countries
      through a UN drug-plant replacement program, according to Jia. A total
      of 40 thousand hectares of forests and crops have been grown with the
      assistance of Chinese enterprises in those countries, said Jia, adding
      that the activities also contributed to local employment and economic
      development. He said protection and restoration of forests are
      irreplaceable measures to ease climate change and safeguard the
      eco-system. As a responsible country, China attaches great importance
      to the protection and cultivation of forests around the world.


      21) It is a painful truth that Pakistan stands ravaged by unchecked
      deforestation and a complete lack of planning for the future. The
      temperate forests of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Murree, the Galyat region
      and Hazara have all suffered the ravages of the infamous timber mafia.
      Apart from providing much-needed scenic greenery to the area, forest
      in general have an important ecological role. They add to humidity
      through transpiration (the process by which plants release water
      through their leaves) and thus ensure local rainfall. Other than that,
      trees also help prevent soil erosion. In many parts of Galiyat, the
      forest cover has all but disappeared. A good example of this how over
      the years the top of Miranjani (which at around 2,900 metres is the
      highest peak in the area) has been shorn of its forest cover. Other
      than that, the oft-visited hamlets of Doonga Gali and Nathiagali have
      suffered from much deforestation. The case of the latter is even more
      heart-rending. Now the abode of the rich and the powerful – many
      bureaucrats, government officials, military officers, rich businessmen
      and professionals have built summer homes there – Nathiagali is coming
      close to resembling any ill-planned city in Pakistan.


      22) Kashmir was once famous all over the world for its lush green
      forests, musical rivers and life giving fresh air. But today Kashmir
      is losing its charm because man is cutting these green forests without
      restrictions. Man is greedy and wants to use these forests for his own
      sake without caring for its own future generation. Our forests are
      burning in the fire of man's greed and ignorance. The green gold is
      being looted by those who call themselves the 21st century modern men.
      The authorities act like spectators here encourages the destruction.
      Deforestation is going on at the rate of competition of modern
      technology but the forest officials seem unconcerned. Illegal timber
      is smuggled in bright day light but Forest Police and General police
      never interfere because they are getting their share as bribe out of
      this illegal trade. They are equally responsible when they are not
      caring this illegal trade. This greedy man is destroying their own
      existence and his environment, thus creating grave problems for the
      coming generations. These green forests can not take any action
      against the greedy men. These forests can not go to the court for
      their rights. By destroying our forests, we are actually destroying
      the beautiful picture of this earth that has been created by Allah.
      Allah has created everything on the earth in its proper balance and
      Allah will never forgive us for creating imbalance in his universe. It
      is time to think and act to save the remaining wealth of the forests,
      otherwise it will be too late to respond. -- Muhammad Yaseen Rather,
      Haran, Budgam myaseen_mohd@...


      23) Even as the tiger crisis makes the headlines, conservationists
      should be doing all they can to garner greater public support for
      wildlife conservation. Instead, we are making many more enemies.
      Across the country in dozens of sites, the fragile livelihoods that
      communities living within forests have carved out for themselves are
      being snatched away by insensitive conservation laws and programmes.
      The people, who have for centuries considered forests their mother,
      are being alienated from them. In March this year, there were reports
      of widespread forest fires in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife
      Sanctuary (BRT WLS), in Karnataka. Once famous as the hideout of
      Veerappan, BRT WLS is a stronghold of the elephant and other wildlife,
      as also home to a few thousand Soliga adivasis. Newspaper reports
      cited forest officials blaming these adivasis for the fires,
      suggesting that they were probably taking out their anger on the
      government for having banned collection of non-timber forest produce
      (NTFP). An investigation by Kalpavriksh revealed that indeed the
      Soliga adivasis were angry and upset. The ban on collection of produce
      like amla (gooseberry), medicinal plants, honey, and lichen, had hit
      them badly. In some cases such prod uce comprised over 60 per cent of
      their income, apart from their own use for food, health, housing, and
      other requirements. Gauramma, an elder of Kaneri Colony, a Soliga
      settlement, had this to say: "Ever since we have been stopped from
      collecting forest produce, we are in a desperate situation. We used to
      have two full meals a day, now even one is difficult to get." She and
      her husband now migrate out of the sanctuary to work, earning a meagre
      amount as labour in the fields of non-adivasis. Our investigation
      found that the Soligas could not be blamed for most of the forest
      fires. However, the alienation caused by the NTFP ban led to a lack of
      interest in reporting fires or helping the Forest Department to douse
      them, as was the case earlier. Additionally, local researchers
      reported that outsiders had chopped down several dozen amla
      (gooseberry) trees in the WLS. In previous years, they would have been
      stopped by the Soligas who had a stake in protecting the trees.
      Clearly, the NTFP ban is not only causing widespread impoverishment
      and misery, but also backfiring on conservation itself. This will
      intensify if the anger among the Soligas grows, and if, as some local
      social workers fear, "Naxalite" groups active in nearby areas gain a
      foothold among the disgruntled adivasis.


      24) The second national workshop on 'Biodiversity Conservation',
      organised jointly by the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) and Global
      Forest Coalition, was held at Cosmos Centre in the city yesterday,
      says a press release. The theme of the workshop was 'Conservation,
      sustainable use and benefit-sharing: Ecosystem approach and threat
      mitigation.' About 40 participants from various organisations
      including UNDP, Sparso, Proshika, Ubinig, Debtec, Shed, Bangladesh
      Poush, Porosh, and teachers and researchers from Dhaka, Jahangirnagar,
      IUB and other universities took part in the workshop. Prof Harunur
      Rashid, WTB vice-chairman and chairman of Bangla Academy, inaugurated
      the workshop, while WTB Chief Executive Prof Md Anwarul Islam
      delivered the welcome address. D Shahriar Kabir of Independent
      University Bangladesh and Mamunul Haque Khan of UNDP coordinated the
      workshop. The workshop recognised that current forest management
      practices have two aspects- protective and productive. The
      participants discussed pollution impacts, climate change and
      mitigation of losses due to fragmentation and conversion of land for
      other uses. Within the short-term framework, they recommended a total
      cessation of clear felling. They also recommended that alternative
      livelihood/income generation is a critical component of contemporary
      forest management. The speakers stressed that targeted revenue demand
      from the government is counter-productive and not consistent with the
      ecosystem approach. They recognised the need to monitor the
      effectiveness of restoration programmes using suitable indicators.

      25) Globally as well as nationally there is consensus on the issue of
      biodiversity conservation through various means, especially by saving
      the forests. Because of random felling of trees in the pristine
      forests of Bangladesh a large variety of flora and fauna have already
      become extinct and others are on their way to the same finality. It is
      only a matter of time before the wanton destruction of the
      biodiversity would result in irreparable ecological disaster
      throughout the country. The onus of conservation of a country's forest
      resources lies primarily on the government; and laws and regulations
      are created in order to discourage any move to destroy these resources
      for personal gain. But it can be said with a touch of cynicism that
      the past governments in Bangladesh did little to save the forests and
      biodiversity therein from their own party people. In fact, the tale of
      blatant encroachment on forests and water-bodies by the lawmakers and
      their henchmen reached a new level in the last five years. It is,
      however, heartening to note that a good number of stakeholders, both
      national and international, including UN agencies, are getting their
      heads together to find ways and means to address the burgeoning
      situation. They have spoken loud and clear about the imminent threat
      the destruction of forests poses to biodiversity as well as the
      overall environment of the country. The core message that comes out
      from numerous research works, seminars and workshops is that if the
      forests are gone, biodiversity will be gone too. The added fallout of
      vanishing forests is erratic behaviour of the climate, triggering
      devastating cyclones, earthquakes and floods at odd times of the
      season. In Bangladesh, the present forest management system,
      conservation laws and awareness level of the masses of the people need
      to be looked into on an urgent basis. Before the world community comes
      forward to help us with damage control measures, we have to make our
      own people conscious about what would happen if all the forests were
      gone one day. http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=1532


      26) Older inhabitants of Talakag talk of when they used to travel the
      road to and from Cagayan de Oro the hillsides were completely covered
      in forest of mainly hardwoods native to the area and most likely
      hundreds of years old. They also mentioned the wildlife that existed
      and the monkeys that frequented the canopies. Trees in those days were
      harvested so the local sawmills could convert them into lumber for
      construction, furniture and for domestic use. When you travel the same
      road today the hillsides for as far as the eye can see are completely
      denuded of forest with nothing not even a trace of an official
      reforestization plan in sight. It's a little wonder that the weather
      pattern is changing and the rains when they fall loosen the soil from
      these very hillsides and wash it down into the lower reaches with all
      too often disastrous results for the people living below. I have read
      about government initiatives encouraging people to plant trees as
      projects and that is commendable but the type of reforestization I'm
      talking of will require lots of capital and the setting up of both
      national as well as regional forestry commissions to ensure the
      planting is done in a controlled manner. Nurseries will have to be
      established so that seedlings of the correct species suitable for the
      soil conditions are propagated ready for planting. Surveys and mapping
      will also have to be carried out in order to ensure that all work is
      catalogued and recorded for future generations to use. Much of the
      hillsides are no good for farming due to the terrain so to reforestize
      them would be the best way to maintain a future lumber supply as well
      as help with the eco system and best utilize the land.

      27) Without fanfare, seasoned climbers from the Mountaineering
      Federation of the Philippines (MFP) have been trekking to denuded
      watersheds in Central and Southern Luzon to reforest them. Since the
      "Trees for Life" was launched in July, MFP president and Mt. Everest
      conqueror Regie Pablo has been mobilizing 100 mountaineers to plant
      trees in the watersheds almost every weekend. "We don't need to
      convince the mountaineers about this project. As we say among
      ourselves, 'What's the use of being a mountaineer if the mountain
      isn't there anymore?"' Pablo said. On the contrary, it's the
      non-mountaineers, with little consciousness of the importance of
      environmental protection, who are hard to convince, he said. The
      climbers from MFP, a network of close to 70 mountaineering clubs and
      30,000 mountaineers, have hiked to La Mesa and Ipo watersheds and a
      hill in Batangas City to plant endemic tree seedlings in wide swaths
      of logged areas. "We're concentrating on watersheds because they're in
      a critical state," Pablo said in an interview at a fast-food
      restaurant in Quezon City, as torrents of rain raged outside. "They
      sustain life, that's why we need to protect them."


      28) The tropical rainforest of Parit Forest Reserve in Malaysia is
      under threat as pieces of the park are continually de-gazetted and
      converted to destructive developments. The reserve has shrunk from
      4000 ha to only 1000 ha today. With a ring of developments around, the
      last corridor of the park is about to be destroyed for a destructive
      goat farm development. A piece of the park has been de-gazetted for
      this development and the endangered species of the park, such as the
      Clouded Leopard, Argus Pheasant, Malayan Tapir and Barking Deer, will
      be trapped with nowhere to go. Already, disturbed and confused animals
      are wandering out into human settlements. In addition, the development
      is destroying an important freshwater wetland. Due to outcry, the
      Chief Minister of the state of Perak has said he may consider stopping
      the project. However, he is more likely to do nothing except try his
      other stated goal of 'moving' some of the animals [where?] It is
      essential that international pressure calls on him to stop the goat
      project and re-gazette the area into the park. Otherwise, all of the
      endangered wildlife will not survive. It is essential to write to
      those in charge ASAP. The Chief Minister has already said he _may_
      cancel the goat project. It is essential we show international
      pressure so he doesn't engage in greenwashing or trying to 'move' the
      animals [where?] as he also suggested. Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad
      Tajol Rosli Ghazali [Mentri Besar Datuk = Chief Minister of Datuk]
      Contact Information: Tel. No: 05-2418522(D/L) / 05-2531957 ext. 5888
      Email: tajolrosli@...


      29) The Indonesian government's programs to tackle deforestation are
      getting a much needed injection of funds, with several developed
      countries committing to providing financial support. Forestry Minister
      M.S Kaban, addressing a two-day conference on deforestation in Central
      Jakarta on Monday, said the German government would donate
      approximately 20 million euros (US$27.3 million) to help Indonesia in
      its efforts to overcome deforestation. He said that the country would
      need the funds to finance reforestation programs and operations
      throughout the country. The two-day conference aims at collecting
      information to be used as a platform for further discussions to be
      held in Bali at the end of this year. The Bali conference, to be
      attended by top government officials, will be treated as a new
      benchmark on environmental issues, replacing the Kyoto Protocol.
      Dieter Brulez of the German Technical Cooperation, a subsidiary of the
      German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development,
      however, said that the discussion between Indonesia and German was
      still ongoing. He said further technical discussions between the two
      governments would be held next month to determine the amount of
      assistance provided. The collaboration of the two governments started
      with the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by Indonesia in 2004. The
      cooperation has provided technical support throughout the country
      since then. http://www.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp

      30) As part of the fight against illegal logging, the National Police
      have been conducting a series of operations, labeled overeager by the
      industry, that have resulted in the halting of the operations of many
      pulp and paper firms and their suppliers in Riau province. As a
      result, the country's two biggest pulp and paper companies, PT Indah
      Kiat Pulp & Paper and PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper, are faced with a
      serious shortage of raw materials. Fahmi said that while the ministry
      supported the implementation of Presidential Decree No. 4/2005 on the
      eradication of illegal logging, he was concerned about the investment
      climate in the forestry industry, which is one of the five industries
      that contribute the most to the country's exports. "The implementation
      of the decree has disrupted the pulp and paper industry, and has led
      to a decrease in production volume. Therefore, we are impartially
      trying to find a solution. While we support the war against illegal
      logging, we also need to protect industries that provide our exports,"
      said Fahmi. The value of pulp and paper exports in 2006 amounted to
      about US$3.5 billion out of $8 billion for the entire forestry sector.
      The pulp and paper industry employs some 249,000 people in 14 pulp and
      paper factories in Riau, South Sulawesi, North Sumatra, Jambi, East
      Kalimantan and Aceh. He said that Kadin supported law enforcement, but
      also pointed to confusion between illegal logging and legal logging.
      "Some companies that have legal permission from the state for logging
      have become the target of arbitrary police actions. Police cordon off
      their equipment, concessions and processing facilities without
      sufficient evidence," argued Hidayat.


      31) COONAWARRA - Australia's most famous cabernet sauvignon region,
      looks set to get a new neighbour - a $1.5-billion pulp mill. A site
      has been selected south of Penola, in the heart of the Coonawarra
      region, and the South Australian Government is in the process of
      having a special act of Parliament (the Penola Pulp Mill Authorisation
      Bill) passed. Vineyards have been growing next to pine forests in the
      region since the late 1800s and the two industries have enjoyed a
      distant but polite relationship. The forestry industry has been
      authorised to expand plantations in the region by almost a third, an
      additional 59,416 hectares of trees, to guarantee future wood supply.
      There are about 140,000 hectares of existing forest
      plantations.Winemakers say the viability of the irrigation systems
      serviced by the underground aquifer is threatened by stands of trees
      this size. "We are not fighting the pulp mill," says president of the
      Coonawarra Vignerons Association, Nick Zema. "We are fighting water
      allocation and usage." Water and water management is the biggest issue
      in Australian winemaking today. In Coonawarra it has been of concern
      for decades because of the uncertain size of the underground aquifer
      that lies below the region's famous layer of terra rossa soil.
      Coonawarra sits on a ridge of limestone. The surface layer is rich,
      red soil, then comes a layer of clay and below that a vast water
      table. Mr Brodie says the level of the aquifer is dropping. Anecdotal
      evidence suggests this has been happening for some time. Coonawarra
      vignerons lobbied for logging companies to be required to obtain water
      licences, as vignerons do and on July 31 the Victorian Government made
      it mandatory for all new plantations to obtain water licences in areas
      where the water table is six metres or less below ground. The decision
      followed the discovery that 45,000 hectares of forest was extracting
      ground water from shallow water tables at an annual rate of about 80
      megalitres. http://www.theage.com.au/news/epicure/what-a-bore/2007/08/27/1188066984240.html?page=2

      32) When I rolled up as a fresh-faced forestry cadet 40 years ago,
      life was simpler. We were taught that forests served multiple
      purposes, providing wood, water, biodiversity and recreation, that
      revenue from forest product sales was the financial mainstay of forest
      management, that the first task of the new forester in an area was to
      be able to find their way around the bush, and that protection of
      forests from fire was an overriding task. The lecturers used to lament
      that no one had much interest in the fate of the forests. "Wouldn't it
      be good if we could get a story about forestry on the front page of
      The Age," they would say. There was an expectation that the fledgling
      foresters liked "being in the bush" and an unwritten law that (mainly
      vehicle) misadventures would be repaired and, as far as possible,
      hidden from "head office". All of this seemed pretty reasonable,
      forestry work was fun, there was an adventure component to it all and
      the system seemed to work tolerably well. Ah, how my sweet naivety has
      been revealed. Judith Ajani's recent book The Forest Wars has laid
      bare the conspiracies that dominated our forest management. She has
      shown that we were but pawns in a capitalist Liberal Party conspiracy
      to channel huge profits out of the forests. The book argues that we
      can meet our wood needs out of plantations — which is true, provided
      that you are happy to have your house and furniture made out of
      radiata pine or blue gum.


      33) Last week, RAN's new agribusiness campaign put ADM chief executive
      officer Patricia A. Woertz on notice. In a two page letter we let her
      know that RAN has fundamental concerns about her company's role in the
      expansion of soy and palm oil plantations throughout South America,
      Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Africa. The letter is our "shot across
      the bow" before we publicly launch our campaign exposing the role of
      U.S. agribusiness companies in the expansion of destructive palm oil
      and soy plantations around the globe. Palm oil and soy plantations
      destroy critical habitat, contribute to climate change, and are linked
      to egregious human rights violations. Illinois-based ADM is one of the
      world's largest agricultural processors and grain traders. Since its
      formation in 1923, ADM has been known as a food and ingredients
      company but in the last couple of years, the company has shifted its
      priority away from ingredient processing and towards biofuels
      production. With an ever-increasing global demand for biofuels, ADM is
      seeking to cash in. Woertz, who comes to ADM from Chevron, has set her
      sights on palm oil and soy as crops with great promise to supply the
      biofuels boom. The rapid expansion of these crops along with global
      demand is cause for great concern. As we wrote to Woertz: "Soy and
      palm oil plantations are expanding at an alarming rate into some of
      the last primary forests in the world – including tropical forests in
      Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Ghana, Argentina,
      Paraguay, and the Brazilian Amazon – as well as in the Cerrado
      grasslands of central Brazil. These ecosystems represent some of the
      most biodiverse regions on the planet. Plantations threaten the
      habitat of more than 130,000 plants and animals in the Amazon and
      Cerrado ecosystems. They threaten the survival of such keystone
      species as the Amazon river dolphin, giant river otters and jaguars in
      the Amazon, as well as orangutans, Sumatran tigers and Asian elephants
      in Indonesia, and countless other species in tropical ecosystems
      around the world. Industrial agricultural plantations also threaten
      the survival of hundreds of Indigenous cultures, including some with
      little or no contact with the outside world."
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