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June 9, 2009

VICTORY/RELEASE: Global Consensus Emerging Regarding Need to End Industrial Primary Forest Logging as Keystone Climate Change Response

Old standing forests required for local livelihoods and ecological sustainabilityAfter being a lone voice in the wilderness for decades, Dr. Glen Barry and Ecological Internet's biocentric forest protection position has been adopted by most major forest protection organizations. It remains to be determined how those committing to keeping such logging out of UN carbon finance can reconcile with their support for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of first time old forest logging. Regardless, time to unite the forest and climate movements going into Copenhagen with strong message of protecting and restoring standing old forests for local development and biodiversity benefits, and regional and global climate and ecosystem sustainability.

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org, +1 206 214 7914

A grouping of key global forest protection organizations has issued a remarkably strong statement regarding the need to end deforestation AND forest diminishment in the lead up to the Copenhagen climate conference (see their statement and news coverage below). In a first of its kind proclamation, that may mark a crucial turning point in the global movement to achieve ecological sustainability, groups from around the world call not only for an immediate halt to deforestation, but also for an end to first time industrial logging of the world's remaining primary forests (and many other ecologically sufficient forest policies). Many supporters of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of primary forest logging as environmentally beneficial, including Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network, acknowledge that even 'Reduced Impact Logging' in primary forests releases massive amounts of carbon [1]. Whether these groups will renounce FSC or not remains problematic.

This comes after the launch last week of a vitally important report from Global Witness entitled "Vested Interests – industrial logging and carbon in tropical forests" [2] which finds industrial logging under the guise of “Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)” is a major source of carbon emissions, a primary driver of deforestation, and threatens to derail the UN process to address climate change. Given the significance of forest degradation associated with primary forest logging in both greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, the "degradation" component of the proposed part of the global climate treaty dealing with forests (called REDD for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) must explicitly address forest decline. Failure to do so will reduce the effectiveness of the proposed carbon finance mechanism to both mitigate climate change and forest loss and diminishment.

More of the Earth's terrestrial ecosystems have already been lost and diminished than required to maintain an operable climate, all species and a fully operable biosphere. Simply, Earth needs more old forests and other natural habitats -- both strictly protected primary forests and restored old growth forests. Insofar as the carbon market can pay for this protection and restoration, while supporting community based ecoforestry uses of standing forests, they are worthy of support. If carbon monies pay for non-existent "sustainable forest management" and other industrial development of primary forests, replacing them with plantations and much diminished secondary forests (both in terms of biodiversity and carbon), it will facilitate the biosphere's continued decline and eventual collapse. Old forest destruction must end, and methods developed to benefit locally from standing forests, to sustain both the Earth's climate, biosphere, species and all peoples.

Ecological Internet (EI) fully supports the proclamation, and asks that our network member organizations endorse it as well [3]. Over the past three years Ecological Internet and tens of thousands of global protestors have publicly clashed with both Greenpeace and RAN (and WWF which did not sign the statement), asking for their commitment to work to end first time industrial logging of primary forests to address the threats of climate, biodiversity and ecosystem collapse; including ensuring the Forest Stewardship Council ceases certification of such practices as being environmentally beneficial. These efforts, often ridiculed and ignored, have now become the de facto unified position going into REDD carbon market negotiations at Copenhagen. The campaign has left EI beaten and bruised, as our reputation was tarnished, and our primary funder successfully lobbied to cease their support. We stand by our difficult decision to target allies on a matter of such fundamental ecological importance.

This is the first time many organizations such as Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace have gone on record so unequivocally supporting ending primary forest logging. "After years of protest action, and several dozen alerts and articles on the matter over the last decade, I am extremely gratified to see both RAN and Greenpeace, as well as all these leading groups, commit fully to ending primary forest logging. Ecological Internet's Earth Action Network is prepared to call off our campaign against Greenpeace and RAN as soon as they publicly reconcile their positions against first time primary forest logging and their ongoing support of the faltering Forest Stewardship Council 'eco' certification of such activities," states Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet President.

Best estimates remain that tens of millions of hectares of primary rainforests have been heavily industrially logged and diminished, and sold with FSC certification as 'green' timber for lawn furniture and other consumer items, with perhaps as much as 100 million hectares of primary forests threatened in the future. What does this statement by RAN, Greenpeace and other FSC supporters mean in this regard? Ecological Internet would find an effort by these groups to work within FSC to declare all primary and old growth forests as being 'High Value Conservation Forests' under their criteria, and thus ineligible for industrial first time logging, as an acceptable outcome. Or if this fails, to follow through on their pledge to work to ending primary forest logging, they will need to resign immediately from FSC.

"Let us unite going into Copenhagen behind a vision of protecting and restoring old forests. The timber industry, certified or not, must not be allowed to access REDD funds to subsidize their climate and ecosystem destruction," concludes Dr. Barry. "It is time to acknowledge FSC, to date, has been heavily dependent upon primary forest logging for its existence. This must change if primary forest logging is to end. Ecological Internet looks forward to working with these groups to end ancient forest logging, and next bringing ecologically sufficient policies against biomass energy and geo-engineering to the mainstream environmental communities."

### ENDS ###

[1] Between 10 and 80 tonnes of carbon per hectare.

[2] Vested Interests – industrial logging and carbon in tropical forests http://www.globalwitness.org/media_library_detail.php/763/en/vested_interests_industrial_logging_and_carbon_in_tropical_forests

[3] Contact Gemma Tillack of Australia's Wilderness Society at gemma.tillack@gmail.com to have your organization endorse the statement below,

Ecological Internet would very much appreciate your financial support during our critical mid-year fund-raiser at: http://www.climateark.org/shared/donate/


Comments

Dear Dr. Barry,

We are not scientists, we are environmentalists in the paper business. But we have been around long enough to see that the FSC certification is enabling the paper industry to not have to change, not recycle.

Since the introduction of FSC, printing houses are touting their greenness publicly but there is no improvement in the amount of post-consumer content being manufactured and utilized in the paper industry.

Environmental groups are printing their own publications on FSC mixed sources paper. These papers are made largely from virgin tree pulp.

I wish we had the time to spend educating large environment groups on something they should already understand: Stop supporting FSC for paper, and demand post-consumer, recycled content again!

Please call me anytime to discuss further at 800-641-1117.

Best wishes and thank you for what you are doing,
Stephen E. Baker, Pres.
GreenLine Paper Company, Inc.

As with all these issues: people with chainsaws won't respect words on paper. Laws are routinely ignored. We need troops protecting forests at this point. Given rising populations and the pressures of capitalism to consume every last resource, we need ACTION. Look at the work of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. They go out on boats and put their lives on the line very day to stop illegal whaling and illegal fishing and call attention to boats and countries that routinely violate the laws of the oceans. We need a land-based strategy like Sea Shepherd's if we're going to save the last forests.
Bst,
Emily Alix Fano

cheers, bro.

good one. really looks great.

just had one question: this sentence in your press release may come off as supporting the carbon offsets that the group opposed (in their fourth condition):

Simply, Earth needs more old forests and other natural habitats -- both strictly protected primary forests and restored old growth forests. Insofar as the carbon market can pay for this protection and restoration, while supporting community based ecoforestry uses of standing forests, they are worthy of support.

is that what you meant?

(when you have a moment).

rob

Ecological Internet has always supported small scale community eco-forestry under a strict management plan. This is the type of activity of carrying a small sawmill into the forest and felling one or two trees a hectare and carrying the sawn timber out. It is distinct from industrial forestry.

We are seeking 50 conservation groups in the nations below.

An independent team of pro-conservation individuals will be bringing media
attention from the US, Europe, Australia and other densely populated
regions of the world to the plights of conservation organisations in
inter-tropical Africa, as far west as the Cameroon-Nigerian border.

We are non-profit, and the coverage will be free (however, we will require
in-field assistance, guidance on our planning, and general cooperation to
succeed). Can you put us in touch with groups wanting blanket radio
coverage outside of Africa, from:

Niger
Angola
Tanzania
Sudan
Kenya
Central African Republic
Cameroon
Congo Brazzaville
Democratic Republic of Congo
Ethiopia
Gabon
Chad

We are seeking a range of causes, from "standard" (ie educating locals
about not killing wildlife drifting into their fields) right through to
"horrific" (ie anti-poaching efforts and their stories/evidence). English
speakers would help. Email communication, telephone access and permanent
bases accessible by 4x4 will be required. Thank you.

Alastair Galpin - WORLD RECORD BREAKER - "Record-breaking exposure" -
Auckland - New Zealand - Worldrecordchase.com

It's so important that we regulate and confront this head on. Hopefully Copenhagen will finally see the threat ofclimate change taken seriously