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441 - North American Tree News

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  • Deane Rimerman
    --Today for you 28 news articles about earth s trees! (441st edition) http://forestpolicyresearch.org --To Subscribe / unsubscribe to email format send blank
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2008
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      --Today for you 28 news articles about earth's trees! (441st edition) http://forestpolicyresearch.org
      --To Subscribe / unsubscribe to email format send blank email to:
      earthtreenews-subscribe@... OR earthtreenews-unsubscribe@...

      --Deane's Daily Treeinspiration texted to your phone via: http://twitter.com/ForestPolicy

      Index:

      --Canada: 1) Oil Sands and US leadership change, 2) Cleacutting park's will solve Beetle problem, 3) Judge to rule on woodlands threatened by housing, Songbirds of the Boreal, 4) Beetle logging will put trail guide business under, 5) Success in protecting most of Manitoba's parks, 6) Loggers think they understand forest litter & slash, 7) More logging concerns in crows nest pass area,
      --Wisconsin: 8) State forest awards 24 timber contracts, 9) Twin Ghost Management project on Chequamegon-Nicolet NF,
      --Illinois: 10) Using fire to destroy a nature preserve to "save it," 11) University destroying forest in Kenya
      --Minnesota: 12) History of Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
      --Missouri: 13) 80 acres of Warbler habitat protected,
      --Connecticut: 14) Highstead Arboretum works for forestland protection,
      --New York: 15) Nature Conservancy is close to finalizing plan for 161,000 acres of Adirondack forestland
      --Pennsylvania: 16) Gypsy Moth does less destruction than money hungry loggers who claim to be helping!
      --Virginia: 17) Permaculture-based loggers? 18) All the acorns are gone and know one knows why?
      --Southern Forests: 19) Campaign against Arby's-Wendy's forest destruction
      --South Carolina: 20) Nature Conservancy acquires more land,
      --USA: 21) Obama's plan to cut unneeded spending might means saving trees? 22) 13% decline of visits to public forestland, 23) Real foresters are an endangered species, 24) Environmental defense has its office taken over, 25) Wildlands CPR and American Lands Alliance on Obama transition, 26) Forest Watershed Restoration Corps proposed as sign on letter for $1.5 billion for National Forests, 27) Obama will save the virtually extinct Salmon, right? 28) Roadless rules reinstated in only 10 states?

      Articles:

      Canada:

      1) The environmental impacts of oil sands are not limited to emissions. Surface mining – the predominant form of oil sand extraction – requires complete vegetation clearing and water drainage, making the once lush surface into something moon-like. Wastewater is collected in toxic tailings ponds that have grown so large that they can now be seen by the naked eye from space. A 2008 Environmental Defense report states that many ponds are leaking and creating a "slow motion oil spill in the region's river systems." Jennifer Grant, a Policy Analyst in the Pembina Institute's Oil Sands Program, is concerned that the oil sand companies are not cleaning up after themselves. "Reclamation has been poor to date in terms of land impacts. There have been about 500 square kilometres of land disturbed by mining, but in 40 years of development only one square kilometre has been actually certified as reclaimed," Grant said. Given the world's addiction to oil, it is not likely that oil sand development will close down any time soon. Rather, many researchers are looking for ways to clean up oil sand operations to avoid penalization in future climate change plans. Any cleanup will be long term; carbon sequestration projects are underway, but full carbon-neutrality for the oil sands could take several decades. Oil sand producers are also looking to incorporate renewable technologies to reduce the use of natural gas in oil sand production. Trying to keep up with the environmental initiatives of the new U.S. administration will likely prove difficult. According to Page, its environmental regulations could be unprecedented. "I think that everyone is expecting that the regulations are going to get tougher, it's just a question of how tough," Page predicted. President-Elect Barack Obama has repeatedly expressed his commitment to the environment and most recently fortified his intentions in a video message presented at the Global Climate Summit held last week in California by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, Obama has also often recognized the threat of foreign oil dependence on national security, and Canada will continue to hold strong cards in this category. http://www.mcgilldaily.com/article/6231-harper-asks-obama-to-ignore

      2) Alberta may clear cut trees in a popular recreation area west of Calgary to help thwart the spread of the voracious mountain pine beetle. New reports suggest the number of the timber-killing beetles in southwest Alberta has doubled. About three-quarters of the infested region consists of provincial parks in an area that Albertans call Kananaskis Country, along the eastern edge of Banff National Park. "In parks like Kananaskis, which we all love, we do see it (the pine beetle) there," Alberta's Parks Minister Cindy Ady said in the legislature. "We've used in the past tools that are available to us like controlled burns. As well, we've identified those trees, and this winter we will be removing those trees. "I say to Albertans . . . if you see us in the park removing trees, it's about pine beetle mitigation. We are trying to stop this infestation because in B.C. we know it destroyed 80 per cent of their pine forest eventually." Ady did not specifically mention clear cutting pine trees in the legislature, but government officials confirmed Thursday that it is an option that is being considered in the parks. Some residents have already expressed fear that other areas such as Crowsnest Mountain will be clear cut, a move they said would hurt recreation and tourism. An official with Spray Lakes Sawmill has said it's the only way to prevent an infestation of pine beetles. Gordon Lehn, woodlands manager for Spray Lakes, said crews expect to start work shortly after Christmas. While the pine beetle news is bad in the south, new government surveys suggest numbers of the destructive bugs have decreased in northwestern Alberta by 20 per cent due to cold weather and selective logging. The beetles, which are no bigger than a grain of rice, have been spreading east from British Columbia, where they are expected to eventually kill four out of every five mature pines. The bugs have so far threatened about 60,000 square kilometres in Alberta and concern is growing in Saskatchewan as well. Fears of infestation have prompted that province to identify all land it believes has or could have the mountain pine beetle, even though the pest hasn't been a problem yet. Ady told the legislature that Alberta has written to the federal government to ensure that the upcoming budget includes new money to fight the spread of the pine beetle. "The minister of sustainable resource development have both written to our counterpart in the federal government and asked to ensure that he has (money) to help us as we fight this beetle. It's a terrible thing, but we need to fight it." A different report shows that Alberta's forestry sector is being chewed up by other problems as well - soft markets and low prices. http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2008/11/27/7556076-cp.html

      3) The fate of hundreds of hectares of London woodlands could be shaped by a court decision that could come as soon as Monday. Superior Court Justice David Little asked pointed questions yesterday as a lawyer hired by major developers asked for a chance to appeal a previous decision that upheld greatly expanded protections for woodlands. Little won't decide merits of the developers' claims. Instead, he'll determine if the Ontario Municipal Board, which upheld the protections, made a legal error in doing so. If he finds a legal error of significant importance, the developers' appeal would be heard by a panel of judges. Despite its Forest City moniker, London trails many Ontario municipalities in forest cover, with about 10 per cent compared to Toronto's 20 per cent and Ottawa's 30 per cent, says the non-profit ReForest London. Had the city not toughened woodland protection, it was estimated London's forest cover would have fallen to five per cent. But none of that was relevant to the decision Little has to make, the justice noted -- his task is to decide if the municipal board misapplied the law when it announced its decision earlier this year. The developers' lawyer, Barry Card, argued the city had created rules that enabled the city's ecologist to protect woodlands using guidelines rather than the formative document on how land can be used -- the city's official plan. Developers aren't seeking to cut down trees, they merely are questioning the legality of the process, he said. "(Our challenge) has often been misinterpreted . . . as an attack on trees," Card said. That's not how city lawyer Janice Page sees it. The argument about process veils the true intent of developers, she said -- to strike down new rules that make it easier for woodlands to be designated worthy of protection. "What Card and his clients are objecting to is the threshold (of protection)," Page said. There's no conflict between the guidelines for woodland protection and the rules of the city's official plan, they're linked, she said. Since that linkage was found as a matter of fact by the municipal board, that finding can't be appealed. The court can only consider mistakes in the law and not question factual findings, she said. http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/Local/2008/11/29/7576171-sun.html

      4) The owners of a 16-year-old trail riding company based on Crowsnest Mountain say they will be put out of business if a proposal to log the area goes through. Infestation of the mountain pine beetle in southwestern Alberta has doubled since last year necessitating logging to combat the problem and salvage usable lumber, according to the government. But Leslie Huber, owner of Western Adventures, says she has spent tens of thousands of dollars on a five-year government application process to acquire an extended lease and gain approval to build permanent structures on 10 hectares in the middle of the land to be logged. "It will be the end of our business," said Huber, who owns the company with her husband Glen. "You can't operate a trail riding business surrounded by clearcut on three sides." Huber said she met with Spray Lakes officials who offered to leave some treed buffer areas along a few trails but she said it wouldn't be enough. "Who wants to go on a trail ride through clear cut?" said Huber. "Our one-hour rides will be through almost entirely clear cut areas." Crowsnest Pass Mayor John Irwin said he met with sustainable resources and Spray Lakes officials in Edmonton on Thursday to discuss the logging plans and brought up the Hubers' predicament. "I spoke with them about Western Ad-ventures and they said they'd be willing to make some accommodations," said Irwin. Sustainable resources spokesman Duncan MacDonnell said he did't know the exact size of the area being looked at for logging but noted it wouldn't be a large clearcut. "It's sprinkled throughout, it's not one big area," said MacDonnell. "Crowsnest Pass is the heart of where the pine beetle is, in the province. This logging is related to the pine beetle and forest health. Delaying logging would pose a great threat to the forest." The government's fall aerial surveys revealed that while the number of infected trees has dropped by 35 per cent in the northwestern Alberta, the number of at-tacked trees in the southwest has doubled from last year, hitting 45,000 to 50,000. This means trees may have to be logged in Kananaskis Country as well. http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/city/story.html?id=6eeb24b8-0f8e-46c3-8ca1-4efa21ed8553

      5) Victory for the Wilderness Committee and the citizens of Manitoba! Wilderness Committee congratulates government on protecting most of
      Manitoba's parks, finally ending park logging The government of Manitoba announced an end to nearly all park logging on November 21, 2008. The citizens that make up the Wilderness Committee from across Canada would like to congratulate Premier Doer and Conservation Minister Struthers for this historic step. While more work remains to be done with Duck Mountain Provincial Park, today will be remembered as a great and historic day for wild lands in Manitoba. For more information, go to
      http://www.wildernesscommittee.mb.ca/media-releases/08-11-21-park-logging-stopped.htm

      6) Slash is the woody and leafy debris left behind after an area is logged. The amount of slash, and its composition and distribution across the landscape, depends on the forest type and the intensity of harvesting. In the maple forests of Algoma, where selective logging is used to improve stand quality by leaving behind the best growing trees, much of the slash is leaves and branches from logged trees. In the boreal pine and spruce forests of our region, clear-cut fulltree logging removes the entire tree to the roadside where the top and branches are removed (known as "delimbing") and placed in "slash piles." Subsequently, these piles are usually burned, in a controlled manner, to reduce fire hazard and provide open space for new trees to be planted. When clear-cut stem-only logging is used, more slash is left on-site because harvested trees are delimbed where they are cut. All logged areas will have some slash left on site because dead trees and smaller unharvested trees are often pushed over by harvesting equipment, and branches often break off during the harvesting process. Slash can be very unsightly, especially immediately after logging; large tree limbs are left buried in the soil and entire tops of trees are suspended above ground level. However, the material left on site is not just waste, but rather provides a stockpile of nutrients that will be available for future forest growth. Much like your vegetable garden, healthy growing forests depend on sunlight, water and nutrients. But unlike your tomato plants, trees can take up to 100 years to mature; the slow decomposition of slash material releases nutrients and makes them available for root uptake and tree growth for a very long time. http://www.saultstar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1322508

      7) Once again many residents of Crowsnest Pass and area are very concerned about logging operations to be carried out by the Spray Lakes corporation in the Allison Creek area. Just to remind you Spray Lakes bought out the Atlas sawmill operation, located just west of Coleman, a few years back. Their only reason for the purchase was to acquire timber rights. Atlas mill was closed and any logs harvested in the area by Spray Lakes are processed in Cochrane or other places. Their proposal this time is to log the Allison Creek valley from the forest reserve boundary up past the Window mountain area. This picture shows the lower portion of the clear cut area. They are proposing to log the valley on both sides of Allison Creek, a major tributary to the blue ribbon trout stream Crowsnest River, leaving a minimal buffer (3o metres and less) along the creek and no buffer along the road. At the far right of the above picture is the very bottom of Crowsnest Mountain which will also be seeing some clear cutting in Spray Lakes plan. Crowsnest Mountain is the Pass's most recognizable and important icon. Likely one of the most photographed mountains in the Rockies. People's concerns range from protection of the headwaters of the Oldman River basin to the impact the scarring created by the clear cut will have on the recreation and tourism industry of the scenic Crowsnest Pass. Another area resident, David McIntyre, has other concerns regarding rare and endangered tree species that make their home in this forest. You can view his letter to Pass council by clicking here. All of the opinions expressed by a great many people here and across the province are valid, legitimate concerns and deserve to be addressed. http://garytaje.blogspot.com/2008/11/more-logging-in-crowsnest-pass.html

      Wisconsin:

      8) A total of 24 two-year 2009-10 timber harvesting projects were bid across the Lakeland area, netting $2,101,098 in logging contracts encompassing 2,673 acres of the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest and a 35-acre state-owned "scattered land" parcel in Minocqua. Petersen said contracts are bid twice-yearly in the spring and fall for NH-AL timber harvesting rights. Approximately 5,000 to 5,500 acres are bid for logging annually, raising $3-4 million depending on lumber prices and the competitive bidding climate among loggers. All project sites, Petersen said, undergo a stringent "assessment" against the twin backdrop of the "ecological, economic and social" forestry focus of the DNR's State Statute 28.04 "charter" and the NH-AL's "publicly-developed, discussed and implemented" long-range "NH-AL Master Plan," approved in 2005 by the Natural Resources Board after fifteen years of planning. The Master Plan, he noted, calls for a forestry emphasis on developing "more white pine, plus aspen," as well as the potential development of additional campground facilities. "It's a very long process," Petersen said of the DNR's procedure for selecting tracts for logging, which includes on-site data compiled by generations of DNR foresters and modern spatial computer modeling provided by Geo-based Information System (GIS) maps. "I think some people think that we pick them (harvesting areas) out by throwing darts at the board and the bulls-eye's over Presque Isle at the moment. That's not the case ... We reconcile the ecological potential of a stand with our public goals, our social goals for it, and then we make some decisions on what should we do ... What could this look like some time in the future..." Impacts of DNR forest management efforts, Peterson said, have long-term implications that will affect current and future generations, something he noted he and other DNR staffers take very seriously. http://www.lakelandtimes.com/main.asp?SectionID=9&SubSectionID=9&ArticleID=8747&TM=32620.61

      9) The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF), Great Divide Ranger District is seeking public input regarding a timber sale and transportation system management project entitled "Twin Ghost." The project area is between the communities of Clam Lake and Cable, encompassing the area south of County Highway M and north of State Highway 77. A variety of activities have been identified to address forest management and transportation system needs on the lands managed by the National Forest. Open houses are scheduled to give more information about the project proposal and to discuss possible alternatives to the proposed action. Anyone interested in attending an open house, should notify one of the district offices at (715) 634-4821 or (715) 264-2511. You may call or stop in either office between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The CNNF has the responsibility to manage the forest to assure it will be sustainable into the future. Within the proposed project area many stands are experiencing dying trees and decreased growth rates due to age, drought stress, insect and disease outbreaks, over-stocking and other factors. Many of the stands of short-lived forest types (aspen, balsam fir, paper birch, and jack pine) are beyond rotation age. There are many stands of the long-lived species that (oak, red pine, white pine, and northern hardwoods) are too crowded. These stands need to be thinned to provide space for trees to grow in size and strength and to increase overall stand health. As part of the process a roads analysis was conducted for the Twin Ghost project area. The analysis involved assessing the existing transportation system for benefits, problems and risks. Opportunities for the de-commissioning of unneeded roads, the closure of roads needed for administrative or seasonal public access, the classification of unauthorized roads (adding them to the system), and the designation of roads for Highway Legal Vehicle (HLV) or ATV use were identified. These opportunities were identified by means of a risk/value assessment that was based on field surveys conducted by an interdisciplinary team of specialists. http://www.haywardwis.com/articles/2008/11/26/news/doc492c3bace1320518134184.txt

      Illinois:

      10) The bigger the complaints, the bigger the burns, said Old Edgebrook resident Petra Blix in regard to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County's biannual prescribed brush and forest burning. The district conducts prescribed burns as a land management practice. It determines which plant species are native to a specific site and then clear-cuts, sprays and burns species it deems as invasive, such as buckthorn, garlic mustard and green ash. "They are burning more and bigger brush piles almost as an affront to people opposed to it," said Blix, a member of three area burn-opposition groups. She also manages a medical practice and holds a PhD in molecular biology and nutrition. "They're doing that in neighborhoods that have protested it the most in the last year." But Blix's statement is simply untrue, said John McCabe, who oversees the prescribed burns. The "burn boss," as he's called, also directs training for the forest preserve district. "The district and the volunteer stewards burn brush when conditions allow," he explained. "And this may cause piles to build up as we may not be able to burn brush on consecutive workdays." But the brush pile burns are just the start. After clear-cutting the invasive species and burning the piles, the prescribed area of the forest ground is set ablaze. The burn controversy is an old battle that has pitted even local environmentalists against one another. Doug Chien, Sierra Club conservation field representative, said the land has adapted to the age-old practice of fire. "All of Illinois' ecosystems, whether they be open prairies, woodlands or wetlands, have evolved with the help of fire—lightning fires or fires set by Native Americans for thousands of years," Chien explained. "There are plant species that will only germinate if scorched by fire." http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=107349

      11) From Milgis Trust http://www.milgistrustkenya.com To: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago - We are writing to you to bring your attention to Research work, being done by a student of yours in the Matthews range, Northern Kenya, which entails cutting alot of indigenous trees.. We would like to know if the university knows about it and if you sanction this destructive exercise… We are writing from the Milgis Trust… www.milgistrustkenya.com Below is our Managers report on the issue, after he visited the sites, he also met with the community and tried to gather what ever information he could…… --Overview: Plots cleared -9 and 11 more marked for clearing Plots size approximate -60 m. diameter, aprox no of trees cut down-234 --Site visit: On visiting the site we saw the magnitude of the damage caused. Huge trees were felled and from the way the logs were cut it seemed there was some preparation for selling the logs. Majority were cut to similar sizes 2-3 feet long and arranged according to lengths. Some logs had numbers written on them. -- I am shocked to learn that Mathews range is being destroyed in the name of research. I have spent months in the beautiful forest doing research and I feel very sad that things can go this far. What happened to the local leaders who are very keen to protect the forest and wildlife in it? The new Forest Act give local communities powers to stop such research (destruction)if it was no properly sanctioned and the local leaders consulted. Before looking for help outside, something should be done locally to stop it until such a tie when everyone involved is happy with the research. I know local people can do it! http://milgistrust.wildlifedirect.org/2008/12/02/forest-destruction-in-matthews-range-in-the-name-of-researchto-go-with-last-blog/

      Minnesota:

      12) Thirty years ago this fall, President Jimmy Carter signed the 1978 Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) Act into law. While this law provided important protections for the BWCAW, it did not address all challenges in protecting the area for future generations. That's how it's been all along in the effort to protect the Boundary Waters wilderness — progress is difficult, and it happens in stages. A compromise provision in the 1964 Wilderness Act (the law that provided statutory protections for wilderness areas and established the National Wilderness Preservation System) singled out the Boundary Waters for continued logging and motorboat use, practices normally not allowed in areas so protected. This provision made the BWCA a wilderness in name but not necessarily in management. As a consequence, a series of controversies erupted in the late 1960s and early 1970s over mining, logging, snowmobiling and motorboating in the BWCA. By the mid-1970s, Congress again turned its attention to the canoe country to try to resolve the controversies. The resolution did not come quickly or easily. After a very public three-year debate, Congress finally passed the 1978 law after a number of weakening compromises made in the House and Senate. Led by U.S. Reps. Donald Fraser and Bruce Vento from Minnesota and Philip Burton from California, this law ended logging in the BWCA (and protected the remaining 540,000 acres of unlogged forest), reduced (but did not eliminate) motorboat use, phased out snowmobiling (except for two short access routes to Canadian properties), tightly restricted mining within the Boundary Waters and established a BWCA Mining Protection Area outside the wilderness, officially added "Wilderness" to the area's name, and expanded the area by about 68,000 acres in key additions like the Hegman Lakes, Brule Lake and the Fowl Lakes. That helped, but threats to the area's wilderness character persist. Motorboats still run across about one-fifth of the BWCAW's water surface area. On two wilderness portages, jeeps and ATVs drive across along the trails hauling boats. Mining was not absolutely forbidden, and new proposed sulfide mining projects just outside the Boundary Waters pose major threats from acid mine drainage. Global climate change may significantly change the BWCAW's ecosystem. Ecosystem processes like fire are not always allowed to fully function without human manipulation. Excessive visitation at times threatens the area's solitude and wilderness character. Despite the law, illegal motorboat and snowmobile use still occurs. And the remaining roadless areas in the Superior National Forest, most of them along the periphery of the BWCAW, are threatened with road-building and logging. http://zaetsch.blogspot.com/2008/12/pipress-opinion-protecting-boundary.html

      Missouri:

      13) Horse Creek, a perennial stream, runs across the property and empties into the Jacks Fork River about half a mile downstream from the property. The property and Horse Creek are in the Current River Critical Watershed Buffer Area. In addition, 37 acres of the tract are in riparian flood plain and have been identified as cerulean warbler breeding habitat. The American Bird Conservancy committed $35,000 to the purchase price of the tract because it is in an area of the Ozarks where there are high densities of cerulean warblers in the floodplain forests of the Jack's Fork and Current River. "While the Horse Creek tract was cleared a few decades ago, it is transitioning back into a mature bottomland forest with characteristics that cerulean warblers prefer - well-developed canopy layers and canopy gaps where tall trees, like sycamores or cottonwoods, emerge above the tops of other trees," said Jane Fitzgerald with the American Bird Conservancy. Fitzgerald says the purchase will prevent the land from being cleared, which increases brown-headed cowbirds, a brood parasite with devastating effects on the cerulean warbler population, which has declined by 70 percent since the mid-1960s. The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation committed $55,500 through the Stream Stewardship Trust Fund. "This property was important for us because it closed a three-sided in-holding on public land, contained a high-quality aquatic resource that was vulnerable to adverse private development, and occurs in a Conservation Opportunity Area as identified by the Missouri Department of Conservation and its partner," said Rick Thom, executive director of the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. In Missouri, the Nature Conservancy has designated the Ozarks and the Current River watershed as a high priority area for conservation. The Current River shelters the best known populations of 25 globally significant species. The cerulean warbler suffers from habitat loss and degradation in both its summer and winter range, says the National Audubon Society. Ceruleans have shown one of the steepest declines of any warbler species, showing a decline of 4.5 percent per year from 1966-2001 according to the Breeding Bird Survey, a cooperative effort between the U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and the Canadian Wildlife Service's National Wildlife Research Centre to monitor the status and trends of North American bird populations. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2008/2008-12-02-092.asp

      Connecticut:

      14) REDDING -- Looking at a land-use map, Bill Toomey and Bill Labich can seen the large blocks of dense green -- the state forests in Newtown and Danbury, the Terre Haute land in Bethel, the combination of state park land and town land in Ridgefield. There's the land owned by the Redding Land Trust to the south. There's the swath of woodland and meadow at Tarrywile Park in Danbury. Often, the green flows from town to town. Then, they talk about the bigger map -- the vast swath of green that runs along the Appalachian Mountains, up through Pennsylvania and New York, then into the Berkshires in Massachusetts, the Green Mountains of Vermont, the White Mountains of New Hampshire. "This is where the link is the narrowest," Toomey said of the Fairfield County map. Toomey is the director of the Highstead Arboretum here, and Labich is the arboretum's regional conservationist. Their vision is finding ways to preserve the crucial, narrow links of forested and open space land, and all the good it does for the region, whether providing habitat for wildlife or trails to give people exercise. They are now taking the first steps to do that by creating the Western Fairfield County Regional Conservation Partnership -- a coalition of town land trusts and conservation commissions in Bethel, Danbury, Newtown, Redding and Ridgefield. The idea is that with such a partnership, the region can preserve and protect the forests that do exist, and help in regional. efforts to preserve more land. "We may be able to do more collectively than we can do on our own," Toomey said. So far, the members of the partnership have met twice, learning what's unique in each town and where they might have shared interests. Out of these meetings, the group has begun planning a conservation and woodland workshop as well as a regional trails day. In turn that could lead to creating new links between existing trails to form a much larger system that could run throughout the region."It would be a great chance for people to experience the unique resources we have, by getting them out on the land," Toomey said. "Our mission at the arboretum is to inspire curiosity and build knowledge about plants and wooded landscapes. We also want to give people good information, so they can make decisions based on good, sound, science."http://www.newstimes.com/ci_11102398

      New York:

      15) GLENS FALLS - The Nature Conservancy is close to finalizing a plan for 161,000 acres of Adirondack forestland it bought from Finch, Pruyn & Co. in June 2007. "We gave ourselves 18 months to sort out what our priorities are for the property," said Michael Carr, the conservation group's executive director. Officials in all 27 towns where the acquired property is located have approved the plan, which includes selling some parcels to the state and some to one or more timber companies, Carr said. As the planning process nears its conclusion, The Nature Conservancy is seeking to refinance $45 million in debt on the property through tax exempt bonds issued by the Colorado Education and Cultural Authority. "It will save us a lot of dough -- maybe as much as $675,000 annually," Carr said, referring to the refinancing proposal, which will be the topic of a public hearing at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Glens Falls City Hall. The hearing is scheduled for the mayor's conference room on the building's second floor. The authority has multi-state powers to issue bonds on educational and cultural projects for Colorado organizations, said Fred Marienthal, a lawyer for the authority. "And so, starting in 2002, the authority has issued approximately $300 million of debt on behalf of the Nature Conservancy for their land acquisition efforts -- not just in Colorado, but all across the country," he said. Land acquisition qualifies as an education and cultural endeavor because The Nature Conservancy conducts biodiversity research and engages in education, he said. "They offer training about and raise consciousness about the environment and global warming and the values of preservation," Marienthal said. Some, however, say The Nature Conservancy should not be entitled to tax exempt financing."To my way of thinking, they shouldn't be given any favoritism by the IRS, particularly tax exempt status for their bonds, because they're basically tying up land," said Carol LaGrasse, president of The Property Rights Foundation of America, based in Stony Creek. Representatives of that organization plan to attend the public hearing and speak in opposition to the proposed financing, she said. LaGrasse said one of her group's concerns is that some of the former Finch Pruyn lands will be sold to the state, which would prohibit logging on those parcels. "It's not something that I would consider in the public's interest. It goes against the whole idea of keeping the economy of the Adirondacks vibrant," she said. The Nature Conservancy plan does include selling "the most ecologically significant areas, including OK Slip Falls, the Boreas Ponds and the Essex Chain of lakes" to the state, but other areas are being offered to timber companies, according to the group's 2008 annual report. Since buying the property in June 2007, The Nature Conservancy has continued to supply the Finch Paper mill in Glens Falls with pulpwood under a long-term agreement, Carr said. "We haven't missed any woodlands deliveries to the mill," he said. http://www.poststar.com/articles/2008/11/28/news/local/14135256.txt

      Pennsylvania:

      16) More than 1,000 oak trees damaged by gypsy moths in Clarence Schock Memorial Park should be cut down this winter, the park board has unanimously decided. But timbering opponents say they will ask the Lebanon County Commissioners to ax the plan. "Unfortunately," said board member Chuck Allwein, "the gypsy moth damage is in probably the heaviest-used part of the park." He said the ravaged white and chestnut oaks cover 67½ acres in a rough triangle bounded by the entrance monument, environmental education center on Pinch Road and the observation tower. Foresters have painted slashes on the trunks to be felled. Allwein said about 1,600 timber-quality trees will be removed, including 868 from trail corridors and 739 from the interior of the 11,110-acre forest near Mount Gretna. Allwein said the cut is a compromise in that gypsy moths have devastated a total of 114.3 acres of the park. About 47 acres will be left to deteriorate naturally as an "experiment," Allwein said. The timber sale is expected to bring in around $50,000, according to Allwein, who added that not harvesting the oaks would be like "throwing money, so to speak, down the drain." Allwein said logging proceeds would be used to reforest Governor Dick with native plants, install fencing to keep deer from gobbling up seedlings and, possibly, gypsy moth spraying. But members of the board's environmental education committee say heavy logging equipment would destroy the fragile habitat for salamanders and wildflowers and take away nurse logs that shelter wildlife and enrich the soil. "There are lots of problems here," said committeewoman Susan Wheeler of Lebanon. "They're going to open up the forest to even more [invasive species]." Bill Knapp, a forest advocate from Lititz, said he worries that log-dragging operations will alter historic park terrain, such as the old narrow-gauge railroad corridor. Allwein said timbering would take place when the ground is hard, and that the landscape would be restored. Environmentalists have fought the idea of logging for years. Now, they say, the park board is using insect infestation as an excuse to take down trees. "We're going to appeal" the board decision, added Wheeler, who said she expects to talk Dec. 4 with Lebanon County Commissioners William G. Carpenter, Larry E. Stohler and Jo Ellen Litz. The commissioners have a say in the management of Governor Dick, as does the Clarence Schock Memorial Foundation. http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/230815

      Virginia:

      17) It was a wet, cold, miserable day and yet I still learned a ton! For starters, running a "Sustainable" wood processing plant is a lot like running a regular processing plant. It takes saw operators, laborers and managers, all of whom can still wear camouflage and continue to be "joe six pack" while contributing to the efforts of an environmental non-profit. In a way, ASD defeats the stereotype of environmentalists as "hippies" or "outsiders" by creating local sustainable jobs. For example, Chad is a horse logger on a contract with ASD. His accent is more Southern than Appalachian, his demeanor friendly and intelligent. Because the big loader wasn't working, Tim (a hardworking laborer with a sometimes incomprehensible accent) had to unload a truckload of huge logs with a tiny forklift. Since this took a while, Chad and I got to talkin'. I wrongly assumed that sustainable logging was more of a side job for Chad, so I asked him how often he logged. "Every day," he responded, "we log full time." Chad has a distaste for environmental activists who "do nothing but talk." He considers himself an "active-ist," someone who's out there "doing the work, practicing good forestry" rather than just talking about it. When I told him that part of my internship was seeking Forest Stewardship Council certification for the forests he logs, he revealed that he doesn't think FSC goes far enough. "These people allow for clearcuttin'," he told me. Chad doesn't like it when people talk about horse logging in terms of going back to an older way of logging. He considers horse logging to be very modern, and explained to me that the horse breeds have gotten bigger and the tools more efficient since the old days. Chad represents what ASD is all about-changing the system from within rather than from without. When someone like Chad talks to his friends and neighbors about sustainability, they listen in a way that they would never listen to a liberal college boy like me. http://restoringtheamericas.blogspot.com/2008/11/sustainable-woods.html

      18) The idea seemed too crazy to Rod Simmons, a measured, careful field botanist. Naturalists in Arlington County couldn't find any acorns. None. No hickory nuts, either. Then he went out to look for himself. He came up with nothing. Nothing crunched underfoot. Nothing hit him on the head. Then calls started coming in about crazy squirrels. Starving, skinny squirrels eating garbage, inhaling bird feed, greedily demolishing pumpkins. Squirrels boldly scampering into the road. And a lot more calls about squirrel roadkill. But Simmons really got spooked when he was teaching a class on identifying oak and hickory trees late last month. For 2 1/2 miles, Simmons and other naturalists hiked through Northern Virginia oak and hickory forests. They sifted through leaves on the ground, dug in the dirt and peered into the tree canopies. Nothing. "I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe," he said. "But this is not just not a good year for oaks. It's a zero year. There's zero production. I've never seen anything like this before." The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather, Simmons thought. But he hoped it wasn't a climatic event. "Let's hope it's not something ghastly going on with the natural world." To find out, Simmons and Arlington naturalists began calling around. A naturalist in Maryland found no acorns on an Audubon nature walk there. Ditto for Fairfax, Falls Church, Charles County, even as far away as Pennsylvania. There are no acorns falling from the majestic oaks in Arlington National Cemetery. "Once I started paying attention, I couldn't find any acorns anywhere. Not from white oaks, red oaks or black oaks, and this was supposed to be their big year," said Greg Zell, a naturalist at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington. "We're talking zero. Not a single acorn. It's really bizarre." Zell began to do some research. He found Internet discussion groups, including one on Topix called "No acorns this year," reporting the same thing from as far away as the Midwest up through New England and Nova Scotia. "We live in Glenwood Landing, N.Y., and don't have any acorns this year. Really weird," wrote one. "None in Kansas either! Curiouser and curiouser." Oaks are one of the few trees that can self-pollinate and "clone" themselves. But they prefer the genetic variety that comes from the flowers of male trees pollinating the flowers of female trees. That's a dance that takes place every spring, usually in May, for anywhere from seven days to two weeks, depending on the weather. And the weather is critical. A late frost can kill the flowers and any chance of pollination. But there was no late frost in this area last year, according to the National Weather Service. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/29/AR2008112902045.html

      Southern Forests:

      19) Hi friends! I just signed up to take action with Dogwood Alliance, the only organization in the South working to hold corporations accountable for their irresponsible practices that effect our forest and communities. The fast food industry is buying the paper packaging from Southern forests--many of which are endangered! You may have heard of Wendy's... well they just merged with Arby's to form one of the biggest fast food junkies in the country. Dogwood Alliance is organizing a call-in day on November 25th to let the CEO of Wendy's/Arby's know that Southern forests are too important to be wasted for fast food packaging. Southern forests are too important to be wasted for fast food packaging. Wendy's and Arby's have merged to form one giant fast food company and they are huge buyers of paper packaging from Southern forests and suppliers following business as usual industrial forestry including large scale clearcutting and the conversion of natural forests to pine plantions. Join us to tell Wendy's/Arby's CEO Roland Smith that they should increase the post-consumer recycled content of their packaging and turn away from business as usual industrial forestry by insisting only on paper made from respnsibly managed forests. Instead, they should: a ) Use more post-consumer recycled paper; b ) Reduce the amount of packaging they use; c ) Know your source--buy paper from sustainably managed forests like those managed under the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC).Will you join me? Follow this link and you can sign up and get all the materials you'll need. http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/da/signUp.jsp?key=3835

      South Carolina:

      20) Once again The Nature Conservancy has preserved land surrounding McClellanville through purchase and conservation easement . Earlier this year an 812 acre tract of land just south of McClellanville was sold by the Nature Conservancy to Charleston County Parks. This land will be used as a public park with a few buildings but will remain protected through conservation easements. Through this process of buying land, establishing easements and reselling to public agencies and private individuals, the Nature Conservancy is protecting this area for future generations. Last week The Nature Conservancy released the notice of it's purchase of 4 more tracts of land totaling 1,116 acres in the McClellanville area. This land was purchased from International Paper, who is a major holding company of land surrounding the National Forest using the lumber from the fast growing pines to produce pulp for paper production (say that 3 times fast). Two tracts lie just north of McClellanville on both sides of Highway 17 and the others west on Highway 45 (see the Charleston Business Journals Article for more information and map). The price tag for the 1,116 acres? $6,445,000 or $5,775 an acres…and no I can't find you a deal like that for a single acre. The Nature Conservancy has also recently worked with the Evening Post Publishing Company in placing a conservation easement on a 1,144 acre tract of land they own on Old Georgetown Road. This tract actually surrounds a separate 100 acre tract of land owned by the Village Museum which also allowed for a conservation easement placed by The Nature Conservancy earlier this year. The Evening Post and Village Museum land surrounds the St. James Santee Church (also known simply as "Old Brick Church " by locals) built in 1768. It is of monumental importance that historical character of the land surrounding this 18th century church has been

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