Forest Conservation Blog Archive

September 19, 2012

CALL FOR PAPERS: Announcing Major Kerala, India Ecology Conference

Asian ElephantDr. Glen Barry of Ecological Internet to serve as Academic Convener, and present on the global biodiversity, ecosystem and biosphere imperatives for biocentric land planning and strengthened legal protections for Kerala's Asian elephants - and their corridors, particularly the Sigur plateau - as an umbrella species for other ecological values.

Dear forest protection colleagues,

I am pleased to announce a major international conference on conservation of India's forests, wild life, and ecology; and to issue a call for academic papers and attendance. The conference will occur in mid-December, 2012, in Kerala, India, located in the Western Ghats, which is known for its lush ecosystems, tremendous biodiversity - including viable Asian elephant populations - and high levels of human development, as well as human encroachment upon these vital ecosystems. Noted ecologist Dr. Madhav Gadgil, author of the important and controversial Kerala ecological land sensitivity designations, as well as Dr. V. S. Vijayan, Chairman of Salim Ali Foundation and Former Chairman of Kerala Bio-Diversity Board, have indicated they will be participating in the conference.

The Kerala Eco Conference will emphasize global aspects of Kerala's ecological sustainability issues, placing issues of Western Ghats' broad environmental challenges within the larger international perspective of climate change, mass extinction, loss of ecosystem services, international environment law, landscape planning, and land use laws and policy. It is desired that various countries' practices as to protection of their hills and mountains' terrestrial ecology, and protecting watershed functionality and wildlife corridors in their countries, can provide an essential global view to the proceedings. An emphasis will be upon biocentric planning and law for India's ecology, people, elephants and other biodiversity, and their future together.

Continue reading "CALL FOR PAPERS: Announcing Major Kerala, India Ecology Conference" »

September 2, 2012

ALERT! Support Swedish Forest Blockade Targeting Limestone Mine in Important Old-Growth, Water-Rich Ecosystem

Support Swedish Forest Blockade Targeting Limestone Mine in Important Old-Growth, Water-Rich Ecosystem

No ecology, no economy, no jobs, foreverTAKE ACTION!

The Finnish mining company Nordkalk, and national logging company Mellanskog, have started work on a limestone mine on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, threatening a sensitive and unique natural environment of ecologically unique ancient forests [search], moorlands, and swamps. There is a major ongoing forest occupation against this logging and mining of critical ecosystems and groundwater destruction, which just this past Saturday managed to stop the initial forest clearing, pending an important Supreme Court decision that may establish a legal precedent for ecosystem protections nationwide. Supporting these sorts of community rebellions against ecocide, and for healthy local ecosystems, is what Ecological Internet's global network is all about.

August 25, 2012

ALERT! Resist Monsanto: Reassert Your Faith in Non-GMO Seeds and Properly Labeled Unnatural Foods


"Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders."
- Henry David Thoreau, Faith in a Seed

TAKE ACTION to protect your seeds and thus healthy, natural food from Monsanto's GMOs

Resist Monsanto: Reassert Your Faith in Non-GMO Seeds and Properly Labeled Natural FoodsTAKE ACTION!

From seeds come all life, power, wealth and well-being. Control over seeds – and knowing whether our food products have been genetically modified [search] – means control over our lives, our food safety, and our freedom. Open pollinated, non-genetically modified seeds are a human right. We must not recognize any law that illegitimately makes seed the private property of corporations. And we must assert the right to know what we're eating, through labeling of all genetically engineered foods. It is time to reclaim Thoreau's faith in a seed from Monsanto. Please send and share this alert, and join the many initiatives globally to do so.

April 29, 2012

ALERT! End Old-Growth Temperate Rainforest Logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

TAKE ACTION to protect key Asian elephant habitats and their ecosystems

Asian ElephantTAKE ACTION!

It is time to end US old-growth logging, most of which exists in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest [search]. Please urge the federal government to see the salmon and ecosystems through the dwindling old-growth trees for timber, and shift the focus from logging to an ecological protection economy in Earth’s largest temperate rainforest. With only 0.5% of Tongass’s old-growth remaining – the last areas still containing very large 300-800 year old trees – it is unconscionable that the United States of America continues with proposals to log these last tiny patches. If proposals to further log Tongass’ last old forests advance, it further clearly illustrates the United States has zero international credibility on issues of primary forest protection, climate change, and policy to achieve global ecological sustainability.

March 10, 2012

ALERT! Critical Indian Elephant Habitat Threatened Again, Must Enact Important Elephant Corridor

TAKE ACTION to protect key Asian elephant habitats and their ecosystems

Asian ElephantTAKE ACTION!

More than 6,000 Asian elephants [search] and hundreds of tigers still roam wild in South India, but rampant development and rapidly growing villages in the Sigur region of the Nilgiri foothills are choking off critical access corridors utilized by elephants to travel between still viable habitat areas. Following a 2006 national government declaration to protect elephant corridors (which Ecological Internet and YOU played a critical role in achieving), the Madras High Court of Tamil Nadu in 2010 issued an order to declare the Sigur Region an Elephant Corridor to regulate development and other activities affecting elephant habitat. Nevertheless, vested interests are vigorously opposing the order, causing the Tamil Nadu Ministry of Environment and Forests to delay action.

July 18, 2011

ALERT! No Fracking Way! South Africa’s Species Rich Succulent Karoo Desert is too Water Poor for Gas Drilling

Local activists in South Africa are protesting now on the ground against fracking, and they need our support. TAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

Local activists in South Africa are protesting now on the ground against fracking [search], and they need our support. Large parts of South Africa's beautiful, but water-poor and ecologically sensitive Karoo [search] desert, are under threat of devastation by natural gas drilling operations using the increasingly notorious, controversial and ecologically devastating technique called hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking'. The Karoo region is one of the world’s most ecological and evolutionary unique arid ecosystems and biodiversity hotspot. Unfortunately, the Karoo may also hold vast deposits of fossil fuel natural gas in shale rock deep underground, and the ancient "fossil" water aquifers that exist are inadequate for and threatened by fracking production.

The announcement of Shell’s intention to pursue shale gas fracking in this area has been followed by huge opposition from local communities in the Karoo and the rest of South Africa. Today and tomorrow local South African activists are protesting Shell oil and others’ plans to “frack” the Karoo for natural gas production outside an industry conference in Johannesburg. There is nothing to indicate blasting toxic water at high pressure to shatter rock and release toxic contamination will ever be environmentally acceptable much less sustainable. Please participate in Ecological Internet’s Karoo fracking affinity campaign, part of our efforts to end fracking globally for 100% renewables, ambitious efficiency, and slashed demand.

June 28, 2011

ALERT! End U.S. FrankenTree Experiments: Genetically Engineered Trees Risky, Unnecessary and Must Be Resisted until Banned

Genetically Engineered Trees are Toxic and Anti-Ecology and PeopleTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

“Eucalyptus is the perfect neoliberal tree. It grows quickly, turns a quick profit in the global market and destroys the earth.” Jaime Aviles, La Jornada.

Over a quarter of a million genetically altered eucalyptus trees have been incautiously approved for planting by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ultimately GE tree [search] company ArborGen plans to sell these FrankenTrees for planting across millions of hectares from Texas to Florida - undoubtedly with some sort of sustainability greenwash for biofuel, pulp and timber. You can help us stop this disaster before it is too late. These genetically modified eucalyptus trees are like the notoriously aggressively expanding Kudzu plant invaders, but explosively flammable and toxic. In the 1990s and early 2000s a similar threat in Europe was largely rebuffed through direct action – together people simply destroyed the tree saplings.

Discuss Alert:
http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet
http://forests.org/blog


June 17, 2011

ALERT! Protect Moscow’s Khimki Forest and Russia's Other Old Forest Remnants from Roadways and Ecocidal Industrial Capitalism

Protect Moscow’s Khimki Forest and Russia's Other Old Forest Remnants from Roadways and Ecocidal Industrial CapitalismTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

Activists continue to battle road construction equipment in the old-growth Khimki Forest [search] just outside of Moscow, setting an example for old forest protectors and global ecological sustainability protestors globally. Industrial development that destroys ecosystems is ecocidal, destroying possibility for future human advancement. For years Russian activists and journalists have survived beatings, arrests and intimidation to protest and report on the amazing grassroots movement to protect – including when necessary to fight for – Russia's remaining urban old forest remnants. Such a movement is needed globally to protect and restore primary, old-growth and other old forests for global forest, climate, biodiversity, ecosystem and ecological sustainability. EI has successfully contributed to the Khimki Forest protection campaign in the past and we expect you all to please come out and do so again.

February 8, 2011

ALERT! Protest Norway's Ongoing Slaughter of Wolves and Affects upon Boreal Ecosystems

Norway no ecological leader as massacre own wolvesTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

Norway’s government is gearing up for yet another massacre of critically endangered wolves. Despite Norway having only 30 to 35 wolves – far from a viable breeding population – it is preparing to extinguish eight more (>20%) in yet another government sanctioned blood bath. Tell the Norwegian Minister for the Environment to call off this barbaric slaughter, and to let these wolves live to contribute to the future health of this vulnerable wolf population and boreal ecosystems. Norway must live up to its reputation for supporting ecological sustainability not only overseas, but also at home.

November 11, 2010

ALERT! Stop UK Government's Grand Forest Sell-off, Urge Protection and Restoration for the People's Old Forests

A decadent English oakTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

The UK government plans to put half of England's state-owned forests up for sale to private firms to raise billions to reduce the budget deficit and as a give-away to the nascent biomass industry. Ancient woodlands [search], regenerating natural forests and planted trees all provide important ecosystems and could be chopped down to make way for holiday villages, golf courses and commercial logging. This is theft of the English cultural heritage with woodlands and natural landscapes. Instead the UK government should fully protect many of these woodlands, fund forest ecological restoration and native plantation establishment, and strive in haste to get to 25% forest cover and beyond for their own ecological sustainability.

October 27, 2010

ALERT! Canada to Place Pacific Coastal and Temperate Rainforest Ecosystems at Risk for Tar Sands Pipelines and Further Oil Addiction

Spirit BearTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

The proposed Canadian Enbridge Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline through British Columbia’s pristine temperate rainforests and coastal ecosystems seeks to export tar sand [search] synthetic petroleum to Asia. Tar sands oil production will increase by 30%; causing up to five times the climate change pollution as conventional crude oil, and turning boreal forest the size of New York and New Jersey into an ecological wasteland. B.C.'s precious and fragile temperate rainforests and coastal waters will be placed at risk by major industrial development, and First Nations' salmon economy endangered. A whole series of new pipelines are being built and planned which, like needles, will inject the U.S. and Asia with another dose of dirty oil over-development. Tar sands and boreal forest destruction [search] must end, not be negotiated upon and greenwashed in backrooms by foundation fed green NGOs, as has become the pattern in Canadian forest advocacy.

October 5, 2010

ALERT! Encourage Gunns to Keep Promise to End Tasmanian Native Forest Logging & Urge Australia to End Such Logging Nationwide Now

Old native forests like these in the Upper Florentine, Tasmania may be sparedTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

The announcement by Gunns Ltd. pulp and logging company of Tasmania, Australia [search] that they will discontinue their involvement with primary native forest logging in Tasmania is wonderful progress. Yet Gunns has not immediately done so and logging continues in the Huon Valley. Nor should Gunns have illusions that a paper and pulp mill industry based upon toxic chlorine-bleaching, plantation monocrops [search] and ocean dumping will be acceptable. If Gunns does in fact keep and implement its promise (a big if, given their record), a global precedent has been set that old-growth native forest logging is finished. The new Australia government must follow-up by announcing an end to all old-growth native forest logging, and to promote forest and job restoration areas.

September 28, 2010

ALERT! Urge Forest Stewardship Council to Stop Greenwashing Industrial Primary Forest Logging

FSC approves logging 500 year old trees for toilet paper, lawn furniture and other consumer itemsTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and its members, certifiers and suppliers must commit to ending the certification of primary forest timbers [search], falsely implying it is sustainable to log 500 year old trees for toilet paper, lawn furniture and other consumer items. Please participate in EI's on-going global campaign to end primary forest logging, and to protect and restore old forests, as keystone responses to abrupt climate change, biodiversity loss and global ecosystem collapse. Please take action to ensure FSC stops certifying primary forest logging; even as together we continue to successfully confront rapacious logging companies and their government enablers - 4 major victories in last months alone!

September 19, 2010

ALERT! Tanzania's Proposed Serengeti Highway Threatens Greatest Wildlife Migration on Earth

Earth's Greatest Wildlife Migration Threatened
TAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

The government of Tanzania has approved a major commercial highway across Serengeti National Park. The northern Serengeti – located near the Kenya border – is the most remote and pristine area in the Park’s entire ecosystem. Serengeti National Park's locally and globally significant ecosystem is driven by migration of wildebeest, elephant and zebra; and will be utterly devastated by the plan, as will be local livelihoods and well-being. There is a growing local and international support network protesting the project, and together we should be able to ensure it never commences.

TAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

September 10, 2010

RELEASE/VICTORY: Australian Timber Giant Gunns to End Old Growth Logging

Shows strength of Tasmanian, Australian and global forest protection movements, yet need firm dates for commitments, and assurances other bad forestry practices will not be embraced. First and foremost, as Gunns pulls out of the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, these old-growth native forests that were to be industrially cleared must be protected, not sold to others to log – certified or otherwise. EI’s network contributed mightily to victory.

By Earth's Newsdesk and Forests.org, projects of Ecological Internet (EI)
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

A precedent has been set that native old growth forest logging is finished

(Tasmania, Australia) - In a massive win for the environmental movement, the new head of Tasmanian timber company Gunns Limited [search] has broke ranks with Tasmania's forest industry and confirmed it will pull out of native forest logging altogether. At an industry conference in Melbourne Thursday, Gunns’ new chief executive Greg L'Estrange announced the company will move away from logging native forests [search] and develop plantation-based products. Further, Gunns revealed it would quit the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, which was arguing for a continuation of native forest logging in the state.

The promises, if fully implemented, are a huge victory for Tasmania and Australia’s forest movement, such as the Wilderness Society, as well as a large body of international affinity campaigns. Tasmania has the tallest flowering plants on Earth, with trees reaching over 90 meters, and contains Australia's greatest tracts of temperate rainforest. Australia’s intact Eucalypt forests are also extraordinarily carbon rich. Gunns and Tasmania's environment movement have been long-time foes, culminating in a bitter five-year lawsuit brought by the company against 20 conservationists, including Greens leader Bob Brown, which Gunns lost in 2009, while failing to stifle opposition.

Continue reading "RELEASE/VICTORY: Australian Timber Giant Gunns to End Old Growth Logging" »

August 24, 2010

RELEASE/VICTORY: Vedanta Mine Plan on Sacred Tribal Mountain Halted by Indian Government

Vedanta's controversial bauxite mine on the Dongria Kondh’s tribal land has been stopped, after four years of protests by local peoples supported by Survival International and a wide range of affinity campaigns, including most recently by EI’s Earth Action Network.

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

Indian Tribal peoples have successfully opposed Vedanta's Bauxite mine

Controversial plans to develop a bauxite mine on sacred tribal land in India [search] have been cancelled by India's environment ministry. The Dongria Kondh’s – an indigenous tribe who have lived since time immemorial around the mountain Niyamgiri in the Indian state of Orissa – demands have been met, and the area will remain wild, lush and sacred. Multi-national company Vedanta’s existing aluminum refinery in the area had polluted local rivers, damaged crops and disrupted the lives of the local tribe; and will now not be able to expand six-fold. This is a Dongria Kondh victory first and foremost.

The project has been delayed by four years because of the Dongria Kondh’s intense opposition locally – including the brandishing of bows and arrows – as well as from environmental and tribal rights group. Globally, a loosely coordinated campaign sought to persuade multi-national Vedanta's shareholders and financiers to distance themselves from the company. This is their magnificent victory as well – for Survival International and Amnesty International, various celebrity activists such as Bianca Jagger and Michael Palin, and numerous other loosely affiliated affinity campaigns, including most recently from Ecological Internet working with the Rainforest Information Centre.

Continue reading "RELEASE/VICTORY: Vedanta Mine Plan on Sacred Tribal Mountain Halted by Indian Government" »

August 10, 2010

ALERT! Save Poland’s Bialowieza Forest, Europe's Last Primeval Temperate Forest

Asian ElephantTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

Ask the Polish government to stop exploitation of the primeval Bialowieza Forest [search]. Bialowieza Forest is on the verge of ultimate devastation caused by the state foresters and the timber industry that exploit precious Bialowieza Forest to manufacture products like furniture. Let’s support local calls for the cut to be reduced immediately, as a step to quickly ending primary forest logging in the area, and make all efforts possible to enlarge Bialowieski National Park to cover the entire area of Bialowieza Forest. EI has been active in campaign for over a decade, and things are getting active again locally as well, so time to renew the call of the Bialowieski Forest.

August 6, 2010

ALERT UPDATE: India's Dongria Kondh Tribal Way of Life Threatened by British Vedanta Mining – Let’s Build on Initial Success

Indian Tribespeople Oppose Vedanta's Aluminum ProjectTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

Vedanta Resources, a British mining company, is set to destroy the forests, wildlife and way of life of the Dongria Kondh people. A new protest email has been added which is going to Indian government officials in support of local demands. Please take part in this new protest target. Also, our action to date has caused HSBC and WestLB banks to publicly distance themselves from Vedanta and Niyamgiri mining, an early success. This is reflected in the updated 2nd email to send. Please send both! EI is doing this alert in close consultation with local communities through John Seed and Rainforest Information Centre, Australia.

TAKE ACTION HERE NOW

Continue reading "ALERT UPDATE: India's Dongria Kondh Tribal Way of Life Threatened by British Vedanta Mining – Let’s Build on Initial Success" »

July 31, 2010

ALERT! Protect Moscow’s Khimki Forest from Rampant Corruption

Protect Moscow’s Khimki Forest from Rampant CorruptionTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

Moscow’s Khimki Forest [search] is 2,600 acres of public conservation land that is an urban refuge for people and wildlife, particularly important now Russia's record heatwave. Despite laws that prohibit road building and logging, Khimki forest is being bulldozed and cleared. Environmentalists working to protect this forest are defending the trees with their bodies while they and journalists are being attacked by thugs and arrested by police. Protesters have responded in kind by vandalizing the regional administrative buildings.

July 13, 2010

ACTION ALERT ! India's Dongria Kondh Sacred Mountain and Tribal Way of Life Threatened by Unwanted British Vedanta Mining

Indian Tribespeople Oppose Vedanta's Alumina ProjectTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

Vedanta Resources, a British mining company, is set to destroy the forests, wildlife and way of life of the Dongria Kondh people. The Dongria Kondh have been struggling with all their might to protect their mountain but are being overpowered by the financial and political might of this multi-billion dollar company. They have been protesting locally for years, and have appealed for international support for their campaign to keep their sacred Niyamgiri Mountain ecologically and culturally intact.

TAKE ACTION HERE NOW:
http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=india_mine


The Dongria Kondh are an indigenous tribe who have lived since time immemorial around the mountain Niyamgiri in the Indian state of Orissa. Because they revere this mountain as their god, it has not thus far suffered the deforestation and degradation experienced by similar areas in that part of the world but contains an elephant reserve with Sambar, Leopard, Tiger, Barking Deer, various species of birds and other endangered species of wildlife. However now Vedanta Resources, a British mining company, is set to destroy the forests, wildlife and way of life of the Dongria Kondh people. These local peoples have been vociferously and bravely protesting for years.

Many groups from around the world have been campaigning to persuade Vedanta's shareholders and financiers to distance themselves from the company. A group of international NGO's wrote to Vedanta's bankers in April this year asking them to dissociate themselves from the company. None of the banks have done so, so now it’s time to name and shame them, time for people from all around the world to send emails expressing our disgust that they continue bankroll this disgraceful project. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can send emails to people who could, if they wished, prevent this ecological destruction and injustice from taking place. Please share this action alert with your friends and ask them to do the same.

MORE INFORMATION AND TAKE ACTION NOW:
http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=india_mine

DISCUSS THIS ALERT:
http://forests.org/blog/

May 21, 2010

RELEASE: Greenpeace Partners with Industry Logging Canadian Boreal Forests

Along with ForestEthics and other foundation-dependent primary forest logging apologists, Greenpeace negotiates weak agreement that legitimizes continued old growth forest logging in exchange for vague promises of possible future protections. Old forest greenwashing must end.

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

Canada's boreal forests: rich in carbon and water

(Canada) - In what they gratuitously herald as the 'world's largest conservation agreement', twenty Canadian forestry companies and nine environmental organizations including Greenpeace have announced an agreement that will temporarily suspend for three years any new logging in 29 million hectares of Canadian boreal forest [search] – about the size of Montana – to plan for possible protections of woodland caribou [search]. In return the nine environmental groups have vowed to stop protesting the companies involved (listed below), including ending their 'Do Not Buy' campaigns.

More troubling, the agreement provides much needed legitimacy to timber and pulp industry efforts to log much, if not all, of the remaining 43 million hectares of Canada’s old growth Boreal forests, and ultimately much of the caribou habitat after the moratorium lapses. The agreement uses fancy, meaningless worlds like “ecosystem-based” and “sustainable forest management” to describe first time industrial logging of primary forests for toilet paper and other throw-away consumer items.

Continue reading "RELEASE: Greenpeace Partners with Industry Logging Canadian Boreal Forests" »

November 25, 2009

RELEASE: Key Indian Elephant Corridor and Habitat Successfully Protected

Ecological Internet's Earth Action Network again demonstrates its ability to successfully internationalize strong, local environmental sustainability protest -- please support EI's continued success now during crucial fund-raiser

Asian Elephant

After prolonged protest by Ecological Internet, Rainforest Rescue and other partners, the Indian government has decided against locating a Neutrino Observatory (INO), an underground experimental physics project, in prime Indian elephant and other endangered animal and plant habitat. Indian officials in a new report have decided the Neutrino Observatory would gravely impact the Mudumulai Tiger Reserve, an important corridor for Indian elephants and other wildlife, and will be moved to a more suitable site. Priya Davidar of Pondicherry University in Pondicherry, India, noted "This is a rare victory for conservation (in India)."

Ecological Internet spearheaded and provided the Internet protest platform for a loose coalition of environmentalists and conservation biologists working to block the project. Some 9,000 global Ecological Internet action network participants from 96 countries sent nearly 100,000 protest emails over the past 9 months [1]. This international action supported on-the-ground organizing by others including the Rainforest Information Centre and noted environmentalists including John Seed, Priya Davida and Ingmar Lee of Canada (who initially proposed the campaign).

Continue reading "RELEASE: Key Indian Elephant Corridor and Habitat Successfully Protected" »

August 9, 2009

ALERT! Tell Greenpeace: Toilet Paper Consumption from Canada's Ancient Boreal Forests Must End

Old standing forests required for local livelihoods and ecological sustainabilityTAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

Greenpeace Canada claims victory as falsely stating clearfelling old forests for paper products is "sustainable" when FSC certified. These photogenic poseurs fail to grasp the ecological necessity of ending consumption of all products made from old forest destruction, and generally reducing consumption of all paper products. Nothing to change as old boreal forests and toxic plantation monocrops will continue to be clearcut to wipe bottoms, albeit falsely certified by various greenwashers including Greenpeace as "well-managed".

Please demand that Greenpeace repudiate the agreement with Kimberly-Clark and not enter into any further negotiations that greenwashes old forest logging. Let Greenpeace know global ecological sustainability -- including climate, water and biodiversity -- depends upon protecting primary forests and restoring others to old growth status.

TAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

August 6, 2009

RELEASE: Greenpeace Wipes It's Soft, Virgin Butt with Canada's Ancient Boreal Forests

- Against what ecological science tells us is required for global and regional ecological sustainability, Greenpeace Canada endorses continued clearcut of ancient boreal forests for paper products including toilet paper. Nothing to change as ancient boreal forests continues to be clearcut to wipe bottoms, albeit certified by FSC and Greenpeace as "well-managed".

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

Canada's boreal forests: rich in carbon and waterEcological Internet vigorously condemns Greenpeace Canada's greenwash endorsement of continued Canadian ancient boreal forest logging [search] to make throw away paper items, including toilet paper. Yesterday Greenpeace announced a premature end [ark] to its "Kleercut" campaign [search] against Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the maker of Kleenex, Scott and Cottonelle brand paper products, boldly proclaiming "today, ancient forests like the Boreal Forest have won."

Greenpeace's long-standing campaign against "ancient forest crimes" by Kimberly-Clark was suspended on the basis of promises that 40% of its North American tissue fiber will be either recycled or FSC certified by 2011. The company traditionally has used 3 million tones of virgin fibre a year, which will fall to 2.4 million tons if they are successful. This atrociously weak target will legitimize continued destruction of Canada's ancient forest ecosystems for throw away paper products for decades.

Continue reading "RELEASE: Greenpeace Wipes It's Soft, Virgin Butt with Canada's Ancient Boreal Forests" »

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.

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

March 26, 2009

Globally, Land Degrading Faster Than Expected

As goes the land will go humanityA fascinating yet terrifying new study [ark] finds that 24% of the Earth's land is degrading, some of it formerly quite productive. This is the first accurate satellite based quantification of land degradation [search]. Prior to this it was assumed to be limited to 15%. Land degradation -- the decline in the quality of soil, water and vegetation -- is of profound importance. Comparison with land use reveals that 19% of the degrading area is cropland and 43% forest, releasing at least a billion tons of carbon in 22 years at a cost of at least $50 billion. Old forest logging, biofuel plantations, urban sprawl, climate change, water diversion and countless other methodical diminishments of intact natural ecosystems are to blame. As goes the land (and sky and water and oceans and animals) will go humanity.

Blog entry with Rainforest Rescue

March 9, 2009

Obama's Hard Choices on Biofuels

Corn is food, not fuelA Time Magazine article [ark] late last year highlighted well our objections to industrial agrofuels [search], indicating there are some hard choices to be made on ethanol by President Obama and his Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Both have been strong supporters of biofuels. Yet there is strong scientific evidence that using cropland to grow fuel instead of food is highly environmentally and economically damaging. Doing so both raises food prices around the world, while intensifying the conversion of forests and wetlands into croplands.

Because Vilsack and Obama both have a deep interest in climate change, it is hoped they will join other devoted biofuels advocates in changing their mind, after recognizing biofuels are making climate change worse [search], and that they contribute to food insecurity worldwide. Sadly, it appears they are going to increase ethanol requirements in gasoline [ark]. Yet, Vilsack is clearly aware of the new research suggesting that biofuels in general, and corn ethanol in particular, create more carbon emissions by accelerating deforestation than they save by replacing fossil fuels. Vilsack goes on to falsely suggest that second-generation biofuels like cellulosic ethanol production will be more ecologically sound and not displace food crops.

In the end it all comes down to land, and whether it will be covered with natural carbon and biodiversity rich ecosystems, or toxic single species monocultures. We recognize that industrial agriculture and the growth of agrofuels will always intensify pressures upon natural rainforests, as has been the case for millennia.

Blog entry with Rainforest Rescue

March 8, 2009

GUEST BLOG: New Japanese Paper Scandal

First mistruths about recycled content, now old growth forest use is under scrutiny

By Paul IJ Oosting
Pulp Mill Campaigner, The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) Inc.

Tasmania's old growth logging is criminalA new report released by Australian conservation groups The Wilderness Society and, Still Wild, Still Threatened, shows that, despite claims to the contrary, Japanese paper manufacturers are the purchasers of wood chips derived from the destruction of Tasmania’s oldgrowth forests [search].

This revelation comes after a major scandal in Japan where it was revealed that Nippon and Oji were misleading consumers about the amount of recycled paper content in their products. That scandal led to major embarrassment for the companies and Nippon Paper’s president, Masatomo Nakamura resigned after the revelations his company had been lying. In January 2008 Shoichiro Suzuki, chairman of the Japan Paper Association and Oji Paper admitted they had been falsifying the amount of recycled content in their paper products.

Continue reading "GUEST BLOG: New Japanese Paper Scandal" »

March 3, 2009

ALERT: Critical Elephant Corridor in India to be Severed

Help avert a serious threat to the largest surviving Elephant Population in India – the imminent severance of the Muthanga Elephant Corridor in Kerala

Asian ElephantTAKE ACTION! The largest and potentially most viable population of Asian elephants [search] is found in the mountains of the Western Ghats where the three Indian states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka meet. Of a total population of about 2000 elephants surviving in Peninsular India in various fragmented habitat islands, the largest single population which may number over 1000 individuals is found in a near contiguous habitat extending over this 4500sq km tract. A major inter-state highway linking Bangalore with Calicut is planned which will further fragment the elephant's seasonal migration corridor. The Wayanad Nature Protection Group (Wayanad Prakruthi Samrakshana Samati) and Rainforest Information Centre have appealed to the world community to help prevent the severance of this critical corridor. TAKE ACTION!

February 13, 2009

Climate Disaster Down Under

Australia's climate emergencyThe enormity of Australia's climate disaster is further illustrated by the fact that Victoria's bushfires released nearly as much carbon dioxide [ark] as a year of the nation's industrial activity. Climate change caused heat and drought made already fire prone forests a death trap. It is noted this is "far, far more than we're ever going to be able to sequester from planting trees or promoting carbon capture." Australia's bushfires [search] are but one type of carbon feedback [search] -- along with the Arctic absorbing more heat when melted, permafrost melt releasing methane and North American forest die-back -- that, when coupled with our inability to stop cutting and burning, ensures climate chaos and seals humanity's dire fate.

The extent to which the biosphere and atmosphere are collapsing is further demonstrated by the latest climate models which show meager efforts to date [ark] to limit greenhouse gas emissions will do little to ease climate change. Now is the time to give incentives for small families, tax carbon and consumption heavily, end coal and ancient forest logging, and prepare for a stewardship revolution. Without such dramatic and immediate transformative social change, we are fucked.

February 10, 2009

RELEASE: World Outraged by Finland's Continued Old Growth Logging

Supposedly "Green" Finland's unprotected intact old growth forest landscapes, including 300 year old trees in Northern Forest Lapland, continue to be destroyed to make throw-away paper products

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

World Outraged by Finland's Continued Old Growth Logging(Seattle, WA) -- Finland's last unprotected intact old growth forest landscapes [search] continue to be destroyed by the Finnish government and timber industry. Trees more than 300 years old are being industrially destroyed by the government's logging body Metsähallitus, ending up in timber giant Stora Enso's pulp [search] wood piles. Less than 5% of Finnish forests have remained untouched by modern forestry.

Ecological Internet's Earth Action Network is supporting Finnish NGO demands that Northern Forest Lapland's natural treasures are fully protected. Some 1,630 people from 66 countries have sent 345,578 emails in a peaceful protest intended to put international pressure on the Finnish government and Stora Enso [1].

"There are too few large, connected and relatively intact terrestrial ecosystem habitats globally to sustain the Earth system," explains global forest protection expert Dr. Glen Barry. "Finland and the World's old-growth must be strictly protected and restored to sustain the Earth's biosphere and ecosystem processes including climate, water and biodiversity upon which all life depends."

Continue reading "RELEASE: World Outraged by Finland's Continued Old Growth Logging" »

February 5, 2009

ALERT: Support Finnish NGOs in Their Fight for Lapland's Ancient Forests

Protest Finnish timber giant Stora Enso and the government profiting from destroying Finland's last ancient forests. Let them know Finland and the World's old-growth must be protected and restored to sustain the Earth's biosphere and ecosystem processes including climate, water and biodiversity.

Ancient forests are needed to power the biopshereTAKE ACTION! The last unprotected intact forest landscapes in Northern Finland are currently being destroyed by the Finnish government and timber industry. Low-productive old-growth boreal forests [search] located hundreds of kilometres north from the Polar Circle are being logged systematically. Trees more than 300 years old are mainly ending up in pulp wood piles of timber giant Stora Enso. Only less than 5% of Finnish forests [search] have remained untouched by modern forestry. Please, help Finnish NGOs to save Finland’s natural treasures and to put international pressure on their destructive forest industry.

This is the latest protest in Ecological Internet's global campaign to protect all remaining old growth forests, and promote regeneration and restoration of secondary forests to late successional old-growth status. Increasing old forest cover globally is critical for achieving global ecological sustainability -- including climate, water and biodiversity. TAKE ACTION!

January 25, 2009

Non-Human Predators Essential for Ecosystems

Without top predators, ecosystems collapseOlympic National Park [search] in Washington state is protected, but still ecologically threatened due to the extirpation of wolves [ark]. Turns out that without its top predators, the ecosystem suffers "trophic cascade" [search], whereby prey species become too numerous, over-grazing natural vegetation, and innumerable additional follow-on effects occur. Protected areas in the U.S. and throughout the world are generally too small to support viable populations of their top predators -- and in others they have been deliberately slaughtered -- and as a result "protected" ecosystems are collapsing.

Large, connected, strictly preserved terrestrial ecosystems with intact ecological core areas [ark] are a prerequisite for a livable Earth. It is critical that remaining wildernesses not be whittled down to token, small protected areas; and that already altered natural habitats are assisted to restore themselves to be larger and more connected. A whole range of ecosystem services including water availability and carbon retention depends upon ending destruction and diminishment of ancient forests and other natural habitats, and ushering in an era of ecological restoration. We can start with the reintroduction of wolves [search] and other locally absent predators to all areas large enough for their sustenance.

December 10, 2008

VICTORY RELEASE: Oregon's Governor Stymies Bush's "Midnight" Forest Raid

President Obama now has chance to protect America's forest legacy, and allow Oregon and the nation's overworked forest biodiversity and carbon stores to recover ecologically

President Bush's anti-forest crusade stopped in Oregon(Seattle, WA) -- Ecological Internet (EI) welcomes Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski's decision to block Bush administration plans to sharply increase logging [search] on 2.2 million acres of BLM forests in Western Oregon. Kulongoski concluded that President Bush's hastily arrived at logging plan did not conform [ark] to federal environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act, and failed to protect and restore mature forests to sequester carbon. It would have locked in Bush's anti-environment, industrial forestry model for decades.

By waiting until the deadline and calling for revisions and a 30-day extension for public comment, Kulongoski put off final approval until the administration of Democratic President-elect Barack Obama. This decision will ultimately be made by the new U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Congress. This forbearance was not a foregone conclusion, as Oregon has a long history of forest patronage and destroying terrestrial ecosystems for short term economic gain causing long term environmental pain.

This is a major victory for Ecological Internet and others that campaigned for this outcome, and portends greater ecological restoration of America's biodiversity and carbon stores once the "Toxic Texan" has left town, and the much anticipated era of ecological hope commences. EI's Earth Action Network got just what we asked for, and this most recent victory once again demonstrates our global leadership in using the Internet to facilitate environmental conservation.

Continue reading "VICTORY RELEASE: Oregon's Governor Stymies Bush's "Midnight" Forest Raid" »

November 17, 2008

ALERT! Stop Bush's Midnight Raid Upon Oregon's Wild Forests and Rivers

Like his Presidency, it is time for President Bush's looting, plundering, and pillaging of America’s natural beauty, ecological treasures and vital ecosystems to end

President Bush tries to do more harm before leaving officeTAKE ACTION! The Bush Administration is rushing out long-term plans that would convert over 2 million acres of Oregon's national forests, with their towering trees, rushing rivers, and superb wildlife habitat, to empty clearcuts. Much of the forests under siege are in the Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion [search] nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Crest, which contains some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the continent. There are some 20,000 miles of rivers, where wild Pacific salmon thrive. Ancient old-growth forests are abundant -- home to huge Douglas fir, western hemlock and western red cedar trees -- some well over 400 years old.

The plan increases logging by 400% and would target 100,000 acres of old-growth forests for destruction. Oregon Governor Kulongoski is the only elected official standing between the Bush Administration and western Oregon's forests, rivers and salmon. He is allowed a 60-day "consistency review" period to propose recommendations for changes to land use plans. Please encourage the governor to propose significant amendments, pushing this decision to the Obama administration. TAKE ACTION!

October 31, 2008

Ancient Forests Found to Be Climate Air Conditioners

Ancient forests are climate air conditionerNew research in Royal Society journal Philosophical Transactions A "suggests that chopping down forests could accelerate global warming [ark] more than was thought, and that protecting existing trees could be one of the best ways to tackle the problem." The report quantifies how the release of the chemical terpene from forest canopies [search] leads to cloud formation that cools the climate. Given ancient forests' massive canopies, the findings further clarify intact forest wildernesses' critical role in maintaining an operable atmosphere.

Much remains to be learned regarding Gaia's workings, forests' interaction with climate, and the need for ecologically sufficient policy-making, yet it is gratifying to see formal science continue to catch up with Ecological Internet's biocentric campaigns. Given additional recent scientific findings that old-growth forests continue to remove atmospheric carbon indefinitely, and primary forests lose much of their carbon permanently when first logged, there is no longer any justification for destruction of ancient forests. And presenting "sustainable" logging of such sacred and life-giving primeval treasures as having environmental benefits is ecologically bereft and criminally negligent (you know who you are, and we are coming for you).

Through a combination of ecological science and intuition, Ecological Internet and predecessors have long known that loss of intact forest habitats is the key cause of climate change, as well as general biodiversity, ecosystem and biosphere collapse. We know that ending humanity's cutting and burning of itself to death is key to our shared survival. In particular, global ecological sustainability is going to require giving up timbers accessed from ancient forests, and restoring old-growth forests worldwide. Ecological Internet is going to keep on saying this, confronting those that say otherwise, whatever the costs, because it is the ecological truth necessary to sustain being.

October 26, 2008

ALERT! Paraguay's Devastation by Genetically Modified Soya Monocultures

Deforestation, eviction, drought and murder are too high of price to pay for toxic soybeans

Paraguay's GM Soya is toxic, causes deforestation and destroys local communitiesTAKE ACTION! In Paraguay, genetically modified (GM) soya plantations [search], planted in vast toxic monocultures, are the main cause of deforestation, destruction and pollution of other ecosystems, and violence and eviction of small farmers and indigenous peoples. Paraguay has nearly 2.6 million hectares of soy plantations for animal feed exports and, more recently, for agrofuel. The remnants of Paraguay's Atlantic Forest [search] and of the Alto Parana forest [search], as well as wetlands, grasslands and rivers are being destroyed and polluted by the expansion of immense soya fields. Deforestation is worsening global warming and also causing severe regional warming and droughts.

Local peoples are resisting ecocide bravely, and against long odds, and need our support. Please write to the authorities in Paraguay and urge them to fully support small farmers and their demands for protection from pesticide spraying, unlawful evictions, environmental destruction and pollution; while supporting their demands for food sovereignty and land reform. TAKE ACTION!

September 23, 2008

Common Birds Dwindling, Humans Next?

Birds and humans threatenedYou know there is something deeply wrong with global ecology [search] when populations of previously common and widespread birds catastrophically crash, and in some cases move towards extinction. A new study from BirdLife finds birds are threatened [ark | more\ark] by agriculture, fishing, logging and climate change; concluding these findings are no less than a "sign of a deteriorating global environment and a biodiversity crisis." This is a dangerous under-statement.

All the world's key ecosystems including forests, oceans, water and the atmosphere are being liquidated by excessive populations and their consumption, and they are collapsing. Together they comprise the biosphere which is required for all life. If widely mobile, advanced bird species are imperiled; humans are clearly next. I suppose someone living in Haiti, Darfur or the world's swelling slums know this already.

September 11, 2008

FEATURE: Old-Growth Carbon Findings Cause Forest Protection Schism

FEATURE ARTICLE
New ecological science increases calls for forest protection movement to unite in campaign to protect all ancient forests

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)

Primary forests are needed to hold carbonA new study in the journal Nature [ark] finds old-growth forests are "carbon sinks" [search] and continually absorb carbon dioxide [1]. Australian researchers recently found logging primary forests releases 40 percent of their carbon [2]. These findings discredit decades of thought that primary forests are carbon neutral, they can or should be "sustainably" logged, and only young forests continue to remove carbon.

The Earth's remaining ancient forests need to be fully protected not just because destroying them will release huge stores of greenhouse gases while destroying biodiversity -- but because science now knows what many of us intuited -- they continue in perpetuity to absorb massive amounts of new carbon dioxide. The environmental movement must respond accordingly.

This causes discomfort for groups like Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) that actively support ancient forest logging. They campaign for certified industrial first-time harvest of primary forests, and to establish some protected areas, while acquiescing to ancient forest logging elsewhere. They work to end coal use, but not ancient forest logging. New ecological science indicates their discredited forest campaigns cause climate change and block ecologically sufficient policies.

Continue reading "FEATURE: Old-Growth Carbon Findings Cause Forest Protection Schism" »

August 28, 2008

RELEASE: RAN Sells-Out Canadian Boreal Forests

Press/Social Media Release

Rainforest Action Network greenwashes destruction of half of Ontario, Canada's boreal forests; despite lack of any detail regarding vague promised protections, and without scientific findings that doing so is ecologically sufficient

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet
Dr. Glen Barry

Canada's boreal forests: rich in carbon and water(Earth) -- Rainforest Action Network (RAN) of San Francisco has long been one of America's leading rainforest campaign organizations. Yet in July their campaign to protect Ontario, Canada's boreal forests [search] doomed half this vital global ecological system to industrial destruction. In return, RAN and other proponents received vague promises of protections over a decade from now, but no protected area boundaries or protection plans.

Canada's boreal forests are home to hundreds of sensitive species of animals including polar bears, caribou and wolverines. Boreal forests are some of the world's largest carbon storehouses, with holdings equal to decades of global emissions from fossil fuels, while continually absorbing new emissions. The boreal region is also the world's largest reservoir of clean fresh water.

Continue reading "RELEASE: RAN Sells-Out Canadian Boreal Forests" »

August 4, 2008

Untouched Natural Forests Store Three Times More Carbon

Primary forests are needed to hold carbonAn important new Australian study, reported upon in a new book entited "Green Carbon:The role of natural forests in carbon storage", finds that "untouched natural forests store three times more carbon dioxide [ark] than previously estimated and 60 percent more than plantation forests" and that first-time "logging resulted in more than a 40 percent reduction in long-term carbon compared with unlogged forests." They conclude that "in Australia and probably globally the carbon carrying capacity of natural forests [search] is underestimated and therefore misrepresented in economic valuations and in policy options."

This resoundingly confirms Ecological Internet's forest campaign's key principle: sustaining intact ancient primary forests, by virtue of their holding of carbon and species, is a requirement for global ecological sustainability. This Earth Action Network's shared commitment to ending ancient primary and old-growth forest logging has been validated by the emerging ecological science. And we hope this motivates you to continue taking action and to participate regularly in future email protest campaigns.

Continue reading "Untouched Natural Forests Store Three Times More Carbon" »

July 28, 2008

ALERT: War of the Woods Returns to Clayoquot Sound, Canada

Clayoquot Sound, Canada's Ancient Temperate Rainforest Valleys to Again Fall to Logging. These ancient forests must be fully protected and all industrial development ended to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem health, focusing upon employment from standing trees and fully intact ecosystems, and failure to do will lead to a renewed "War of the Woods" and global anti-B.C. markets campaign

Clayoquot Sound's ancient temperate rainforests need saving againTAKE ACTION! Canada's precious temperate rainforests [search] are again threatened with industrial logging. Clayoquot Sound [search], which lies along the West coast of British Columbia (B.C.), is a spectacular mosaic of lush coastal rainforests, fjord-like inlets and islands covering 850,000 acres. Such intact coastal temperate rainforests are globally rare, covering only about one-fifth of one percent of the Earth’s land area, half of which has already been destroyed. They are amongst the most biologically productive temperate ecosystems in the world. Clayoquot Sound is the most magnificent expression of temperate rainforest in North America.

There is no such thing as ecologically sustainable industrial logging or other industrial activities in a fully intact ancient forest ecosystem. Ancient forest logging must end worldwide to solve climate change, protect all biodiversity and achieve global ecological sustainability. Encourage all involved in British Columbia's forest policy to commit themselves fully to developing methods for employment and community advancement based upon standing forests and fully intact ecosystems. Or else promise you support a return to the blockades and protests that halted logging in Clayoquot in 1993, as well as a massive overseas campaign targeting B.C.'s markets. Surely rich Canada can find a way to spare Clayoquot Sound's vital ecosystems.TAKE ACTION!

July 21, 2008

Given Continued Inaction, Climate Future Will Be One of Hellish Wildfires

Climate change will bring hellish wildfiresContinued industrial forestry [search] in combination with surging greenhouse gas emissions [search] are forming a vicious cycle, whose climate/ecosystem positive feedbacks [search] are destroying more forests while releasing carbon. We know deforestation changes climate [ark | search], yet modern forest management techniques treat forests like tree plantations, and have decimated forest structure and dynamics making them more fire prone. Overlaid upon this has been climate change caused drought and heat which makes damaged canopies all the more prone to cataclysmic crown fires.

California has been hit by 2,000 fires this year [ark] and things will get worse. We simply must allow much more forest landscapes there and globally to regenerate old-growth features and prohibit industrial forestry there and in remaining primary forests, while dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Failure will herald in massive lightening storms causing hellish wildfires [ark] bearing down upon ourselves and our families.

July 14, 2008

Carbon Forest Protection Payments: Who Gets the Check?

I have long protected my forests, now where is my money?The Rights and Resources Initiative provides some interesting cautionary advice in new reports, suggesting that rushing to pay for forest protection with carbon funds (REDD) will fail unless land rights [ark] in tropical countries, where much of the money is being directed, is addressed. And another report highlights the growing pressure upon forests to provide food and fuel [ark]. The latter may seem obvious, yet plans continue for tree based biofuels [search], and ever soaring populations need more agricultural lands for food and fuel.

Progress on forest land rights has slowed in recent years. A spokesperson states: "We have huge concerns about sending all this money in the name of fighting climate change if the land rights for people living there are not resolved. It could cause more violence, benefit only a wealthy elite and lead to even greater carbon emissions." Without clear tenure rights for local peoples, money aimed at protecting forests is likely to go to central government officials in countries known for corruption, human rights abuses and lack of environmental commitment. And in many cases local people protect forests better. The suggest more effort is needed to map remote forests and register the people who live there to protect their interests. If massive payments to keep forests intact go to local communitues, one wonders just how supportive governments in fact will be.

Continue reading "Carbon Forest Protection Payments: Who Gets the Check?" »

May 31, 2008

VICTORY: Ecological Internet Welcomes ANZ Bank Withdrawal from Tasmanian Pulp Mill Disaster

PRESS RELEASE

ANZ has done the right thing re: Tasmania pulp mill financingEcological Internet (EI) welcomes news that ANZ Bank of Australia will not fund the Gunns Tasmanian pulp mill [search]. In a statement ANZ announced it will not provide finance for the AU$ 2 billion project to pulp ancient forests for throw-away paper products, but did not provide a reason for withdrawing. International environmental protest spearheaded by Ecological Internet, in support of local protests, certainly played a major role.

ANZ Bank, and the Australian and Tasmanian governments, have been targets of environmental protest in country and from Ecological Internet and other overseas groups for years. Most recently, in early April, nearly 3,000 EI Earth Action Network participants from 87 countries sent a quarter of a million protest emails to ANZ and the Australian government asking that ANZ withdraw funding. The Australian national government was also called out for their hypocrisy in supporting protection of forests overseas to address climate change, but not in Tasmania.

Continue reading "VICTORY: Ecological Internet Welcomes ANZ Bank Withdrawal from Tasmanian Pulp Mill Disaster" »

May 24, 2008

Tasmanian Pulp Mill Finance Stalled

ANZ and Prime Minister Rudd support ancient forest logging in AustraliaAustralian media reports "Plans for Tasmania's controversial $2 billion pulp mill are dead [ark | search]... following reports the ANZ bank will pull out of funding the project." ANZ has not yet publicly confirmed the decision, yet should they do so, this would be a tremendous victory for the ancient forest protection movement.

Let's hope this is more than Green wishful thinking. Yet, clearly the Gunns' much maligned Tasmanian pulp mill proposal [alert] -- the focus of protest by many including Ecological Internet's Earth Action Network -- is facing troubles as its construction is much delayed. We have protested the mill on half a dozen occasions over past years, most lately targeting ANZ funding apparently with some impact. We must intensify protests until Australian ancient forest logging ends.

Ancient forest logging releases vast carbon stores [search] at great expense to the climate. The Australian government must end its ridiculous double-standard regarding international and domestic forest protection in regard to climate.

April 28, 2008

Legal Logging Destroying the Earth's Biodiversity, Climate, Water and Biosphere

New forest paradigm a must to achieve global ecological sustainabilityIt is easy to rail against "illegal" logging [search], when in fact typical "legal" commercial logging is far more extensive and destructive in total to the world's biodiversity [search], climate [search], water [search] and biosphere [search]. Both liquidate life giving natural habitats, and more people are realizing they are mostly ecologically indistinguishable [ark]. Ancient primary forests industrially harvested for the first time are in fact destroyed -- in terms of being a fully intact ecological system with a unique, unimpaired evolutionary trajectory -- regardless if society considers it legal or illegal. Natural and planted secondary forest ecosystems managed industrially as tree farms become further ecologically diminished with each successive harvest including continued toxification, soil diminishment, species and genetic loss, reduced carbon and water holding potential, and so many other symptoms of ongoing biological homogenization.

Humanity's relationship with all forests must be transformed if we are to stop the hemorrhaging of lost species and halt transformation of the atmosphere. Industrial forestry [search] is incompatible with sustaining the full range of natural forest values [search] -- from species to genes, from soil microbes to local microclimates, from a forest stand to the Earth system and everything in between. Solving the biodiversity [search], climate [search] and water [search] crises requires a new forest protection paradigm that optimizes ecosystem, biodiversity and climate values while ecologically sustainably harvesting the annual growth increment (minus ecological restoration of natural capital to account in the future for past damage).

Continue reading "Legal Logging Destroying the Earth's Biodiversity, Climate, Water and Biosphere" »

April 21, 2008

ALERT: Protest Home Depot's Complicity in Destruction of Patagonian Wilderness by Proposed Chilean Dams

Patagonia's wild rivers to be dammed, destroying ancient temperate forests, for 50 years of electricity; please let supposedly environmentally responsible Home Depot know they should not be doing business with the project's primary Chilean advocate

Patagonia's wild rivers and forests must not be sacrificed for electricityTAKE ACTION! One of Chile's last true pristine and intact wildernesses is to be dammed and logged to provide hydroelectricity. The dams -- two on the Baker River and three on the Pascua River -- would irretrievably damage Patagonia [search], one of the Earth's wildest and most beautiful places. The HidroAysén project will flood river valleys containing several thousand hectares of ancient primary forests. The project's transmission line would require extensive clearcutting of further pristine Chilean native forests [search], clearing more than a 1,500-mile swath that will impact fourteen national parks and wilderness reserves.

Shockingly, the main Chilean project proponent -- the Matte Group -- does extensive business with U.S. mega-corp Home Depot [search], broadly perceived as being "green". In consultation with International Rivers, Ecological Internet is working to get Matte to withdraw from the project by highlighting their business interests with Home Depot. Please challenge Home Depot to live up to their green image and refuse to participate in the greenwashing of Patagonian wild river and ancient forest destruction. Insist Home Depot cease doing business with Matte until they withdraw from HidroAysén. TAKE ACTION!

April 14, 2008

Greenpeace's Inconsistent Forest/Carbon Message on Display in the Canadian Boreal

Canada's boreal forests: rich in carbon and waterGreenpeace warns in a new report entitled "Turning Up the Heat" that industrial logging in Canada's boreal forests [ark] threatens to turn the country's vast northern forest into a source of global warming. Greenpeace-Canada diagnoses the problem -- Boreal ancient forest logging causes climate change -- while being myopic and inconsistent on the solution, insinuating that industrial logging of ancient forests can be done acceptably. Yet we know first-time selective logging of primary forests releases immediately at least 40% of their carbon, while forever dimininishing future carbon holding potential, leaving behind much diminished tree plantations.

Continue reading "Greenpeace's Inconsistent Forest/Carbon Message on Display in the Canadian Boreal" »

April 10, 2008

Planting Trees is the Easy Part

Tree planting to restore ecosystemsDone properly tree planting [search] is a hope filled expression of love for nature. But making a hole in the ground and dropping in the seedling is only the beginning. Nearly all planted trees require years of care including watering, weeding and even fencing to become established. Ill-conceived mass tree planting efforts are failing in Nigeria and worldwide [ark] because of failure to plan for this aftercare and other issues like using the wrong species in the wrong place. This is but one misunderstanding regarding tree planting and the environment.

Trees help remove carbon and help restore terrestrial ecosystems, but planted trees are generally not forests. Plantations of only one, often exotic, tree species are crops and not forests. Forests include diverse native tree species with associated understory plants, wildlife and soil microcobes. A natural forest provides ecological processes that are generally absent in tree farms including cycling of water and carbon, while creating soil and habitats.

Continue reading "Planting Trees is the Easy Part" »

January 6, 2008

ALERT: Save Bialowieza Forest, Europe's Last Primeval Temperate Forest

Save Bialowieza Forest, Europe's Last Primeval Temperate ForestTAKE ACTION: Ask the Polish government to stop exploitation of the ancient Bialowieza forest, preserve the whole complex as a national park, and end permanently extensive logging that threatens Europe's last remnant old-growth northern temperate forests.

Situated on the Polish/Belarussian border, the Bialowieza Forest [search] is a priceless relic of lowland European forests, a place where the last fragments of primeval temperate old-growth forest on the Central European lowland have survived. It is home to many species extinct elsewhere including the European Bison, the largest terrestrial mammal of Europe; and also contains lynx, wolves and other threatened wildlife and plants. Yet approximately 90% of the forest remains unprotected...

For many years environmental NGOs, scientists, concerned citizens in Poland and abroad have asked successive Polish governments to protect the forest, asking them to ban cutting of old growth and for enlargement of the Bialowieza National Park to protect the whole forest complex. Until now there has been little success. After the autumn elections Poland has a new government, so we are trying anew.TAKE ACTION
October 27, 2007

Strong Link Between Land Clearance and Climate Change Found in Queensland

Australian land clearance causes climate changeMajor new research from Queensland, Australia "has found a direct link between land-clearing and climate change," [ark] and that land clearing triggers hotter droughts [ark]. Areas throughout southern Queensland cleared of native vegetation were found to have lost 12 percent of their summer rainfall and to have experienced an average 2C rise in temperatures. The study found that land clearing was just as significant in terms of climate change [search] as greenhouse gas production from fossil fuels.

Should these findings hold up and are found to be generalized throughout Australia and other areas globally clearing remaining natural vegetation, it would suggest a major revision in climate change policy-making is due. It is not enough to just focus upon greenhouse gas emissions, but maintaining natural vegetation through preservation, conservation and restoration may be an equally important policy response if global heating is to stopped.

Continue reading "Strong Link Between Land Clearance and Climate Change Found in Queensland" »

October 26, 2007

Western Forest Fires in Line with Long-Standing Climate/Drought Predictions

Climate change and droughts cause forest firesI have resisted as long as I could pointing out the fact that Western forest fires are precisely in line with long-standing predictions regarding regional impacts of climate change [ark] [more\ark] expected in West/Southwestern United States. Ecological truth must be spoken often and loudly. Of course there are other exacerbating factors that interact with global heating including poorly planned urban sprawl [search], fire suppression in wildlands [search] evolved to burn, and over use of ecosystem water [search].

But these all are exacerbated by, and pale in comparison to, well known overwhelming implications of regional climatic shifts: "The catastrophic fires that are sweeping Southern California are consistent with what climate change models have been predicting for years... and they may be just a prelude to many more such events in the future – as vegetation grows heavier than usual and then ignites during prolonged drought periods. 'This is exactly what we’ve been projecting to happen, both in short-term fire forecasts for this year and the longer term patterns that can be linked to global climate change... In the future, catastrophic fires such as those going on now in California may simply be a normal part of the landscape.'"
September 30, 2007

ALERT: Final Push Needed as Australia's Final Decision on Horrendous Tasmanian Pulp Mill Expected Soon

TAKE ACTION: Australian media reports that Australia's Federal Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull, will be announcing this week whether the federal government will provide environmental approval for the proposed Tasmanian ancient forest fed pulp mill. As expected the Tasmanian state parliament recently rubber-stamped the project. However, Malcolm Turnbull then announced a six week extension to decide whether the federal environmental would approve the project. Of particular concern was the mill's proposed effluent discharge into the area's fragile marine environment. This extended period of consideration is nearing its end.

It is also reported that Gunns logging and Tasmanian government have sent a high profile delegation to Canberra for last minute lobbying. Meanwhile Australian and international protest continues to surge against the ill-conceived, fast-tracked doubling of logging in Tasmania's ancient forests for throw away paper products. Ecological Internet's network alone has sent 387,476 protest emails to Australian authorities form 3,545 people in 83 countries. The world's forest and climate protectors need to make a final push on this difficult and detestable matter. TAKE ACTION!

August 30, 2007

ALERT UPDATE! Tasmanian 'Gunnerment' Approves Pulp Mill as Federal Environment Minister Extends Approval Process by Six Weeks

ALERT UPDATE! The Tasmanian state parliament has, as expected, approved the proposed ancient forest fed pulp mill. However, in a positive development, the Australian federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that he is extending the time available to decide whether to grant federal environmental approval for the project for another six weeks. This comes as Australian and international protest is surging against the ill-conceived, fast-tracked doubling of logging in Tasmania's ancient forests for throw away paper products.

This provides extra time to let federal politicians know that Australians and the World do not want or need this polluting forest-hungry pulp mill. The momentum is on our side! The alert has been updated and is now targeting the Environment Minister. Please send or resend in order to have your concerns registered within the federal public commenting process, which offically ends on Friday, August 31st (but this alert will remain live nonetheless). YOU MAY WANT TO NOTE WHETHER YOU ARE AN AUSTRALIAN OR GLOBAL CITIZEN BY EDITING THE SAMPLE LETTER.

June 13, 2007

Bush Intensifies War on Forests, Scientific Truth Be Damned

In a last minute effort to hand out forests to cronies before his term ends, the Bush administration has proposed eliminating protections from 1.5 million acres from Northwest forests considered critical to the survival of the northern spotted owl [search]. This will reopen the 1990s battle between timber production and wildlife habitat on public lands, and there is little reason to believe that this is scientifically justified in terms of owl habitat and forest health. This comes as the scientific basis for Bush's languishing "Healthy Forests" [search] policy of logging and replanting burned forests [more] rather than allowing them to regenerate naturally has been shown definitively to be bad science. An important new study has found that subsequent fire severity is much worse in logged and planted areas, compared to those that had burned severely and were left alone in an earlier fire. There appears to be no ecological truth (or for that matter truth of any kind) that the Bush Administration is unable to spin, twist or outright lie about. How did this man come to be trusted with the Earth's climate and America's forests? Let's hope the planet can survive another year and a half of what will certainly be renewed last minute assaults upon life giving ecosystems.

February 4, 2007

ALERT: End Clearcut Logging of Ancient Old-Growth Forest Wilderness in Northern Finland

TAKE ACTION! Let the Finnish government know that the age of ancient forest logging is over; that these forests are needed for climate buffering, biodiversity protection, forest restoration seed stock and are vital to achieving global ecological sustainability

The Finnish government is destroying the largest unprotected ancient forests in Finland. Only 4.4 percent of Finnish forests are classified old-growth forests. Still a large part of the little that remains is in danger of being destroyed. In Finnish Lapland the state owned logging company Metsahallitus has started clearcut logging huge areas of old-growth forests in November despite the strong national support for protection and several international biodiversity declarations Finland has signed. Logging and road construction have already started or are being planned in at least six areas. Finnish Lapland's forest wilderness is one of the largest and most important remaining in Europe, and Finland and other European countries have zero credibility in demanding tropical rainforests are protected in developing countries even as they mop up the remainder of their ancient forest ecosystems. This highly damaging industrial clearcut logging will permanently destroy unique natural values including reindeer herding and nature tourism. These unique ancient forests with up to 500 year old pine trees are being logged mainly for pulp and paper. In an evil ecological crime, old growth forests which maintain the biosphere in an inhabitable condition are being processed into magazine papers, envelopes and copy paper. Please ask for an immediate end to these outrageous ancient forest loggings. Let the Finnish government know that the Age of Ancient Forest Logging is over; and that all remaining old-growth must be protected and assisted to expand and restore itself.

October 15, 2006

ALERT: An Appeal for South India's Wild Elephants

Asian ElephantTheir survival depends upon maintaining and establishing corridors between large habitats

TAKE ACTION: Asian elephants once ranged throughout most of Asia, but their habitat has been reduced to isolated fragments, often with boundaries that restrict traditional migrations and gene flow. An expanding human settlement/wildland interface has lead to increased pressure on populations due to human-elephant conflicts ranging from poaching to crop-raiding and roadkills. Habitat fragmentation [search] leads to the isolation of populations, and for wide-ranging animals, it may result in several isolated populations that are too small to be viable. It is imperative for continued existence of Asian elephants in India [search] that immediate efforts be focused towards protecting known key populations and creating corridors that can facilitate animal migration and gene flow. We are appealing to you to PLEASE immediately write to the Government of India, to DEMAND that they get serious about protecting South India's wild elephants!

September 21, 2006

VICTORY: U.S. Roadless Forests Sleep More Safely for Now

Roadless Forest MontanaThe on again, off again, U.S. roadless forest rules of former President Clinton are back in effect. In a setback for the Bush administration, a federal judge rejected a rule that allowed logging roads in national forests' last large roadless [search] wilderness areas. Whoop, whoo - this is a major victory for the many groups working daily on this matter for years - a movement really - of which Ecological Internet and our network has been a part - including generating thousands of comments in the rules original formulation. We have done at least a half dozen alerts on the matter over the past 10 years (for an oldie but goodie see this 2001 alert). Ecological Internet and its predecessors including Forests.org are becoming ancient like the forests they seek to protect ;-)

Continue reading "VICTORY: U.S. Roadless Forests Sleep More Safely for Now" »

June 22, 2006

U.S. Roadless Forest Assault Continues

The latest development in America's roadless forest catastrophe (search) has unfolded, as the Bush administration moves ahead with turning the fate of America's last large forest wildernesses over to states and ultimately industry cronies. It is reported that three Eastern states' petitions to continue protecting their roadless forests have been granted, in a predude to old-growth forest logging handouts in the West. Already in Oregon the Bush Forest Service continues with plans to log roadless forests that burned (more) a few years ago but are regenerating nicely and remain a large roadless wilderness, despite the state's Governor asking that logging of roadless forests end. Which is it Mr. Bush? Can states determine the fate of their forest heritage or will your government do so (as long as more logging is the guaranteed outcome).

March 21, 2006

Forest Lands Becoming Available: Logging or Development?

Numerous important forest land holdings are becoming available for purchase in the United States as logging companies realize these forests are more valuable for other purposes other than logging. The big question is whether land trusts and government will have the funds to buy and protect these lands, or whether they will be bought and developed for residential development. Given requirements for terrestrial ecosystem sustainability, and the shortage of intact natural ecosystems across many landscapes, one would hope these lands remain intact and are preserved. Think preserves not condos!

March 8, 2006

ALERT: Australian Logging Tragedy: Ancient Old-Growth Turned to Paper

TAKE ACTION
Protest against Gunns of Tasmania goes global, ask business partners to divest from Gunns
http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=gunns

Tasmania, Australia's old growth forests are highly threatened by the woodchip industry, as ancient forests are reduced to throw-away paper products. On March 6th, outraged world citizens protested Gunns Ltd's destruction of old-growth forests, and their undermining of democracy, at Australian embassies and consulates in America, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom. Protestors wore tape over their mouths with the word "Gunns" printed on it to protest Gunns Ltd's continued attempts to use its wealth and power to crush dissent and silence its critics through the courts. Tasmania's iconic forests contain massive eucalyptus trees, some of the tallest hardwood trees in the world, and are home to many endangered species. Gunns Ltd exports over four million tonnes of native-forest woodchips each year, mostly to the Japanese paper industry, with more than 65% sourced from old-growth, high conservation value forests. This alert targets Gunns Ltd's business partners, with copies to the Australian embassies targeted by the street protests, asking that they divest themselves of investments in Gunns and end their involvement in old-growth logging. For more information and to take action now: http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=gunns

February 27, 2006

The Truth About Salvage Logging

The Bush Administration continues its disregard for peer reviewed science which has irrefutably found that salvage logging of forests post fire is ecologically damaging - hindering natural regeneration while increasing the risk of additional fires. An ecological crime of vast proportions is being waged as efforts are made to discredit ecological science and its proponents. When America's large natural forests burn, do we want to replace them with monoculture tree plantations, or do we want to allow them to regenerate naturally as they always have after burning? America's political leadership will stop at nothing to further their political interests, including dooming their country to abject ecosystem collapse in the not too distant future. Shame on those proponents of salvage logging suckling on the teat of logging companies.

In Fire's Wake, Logging Study Inflames Debate

Logging after the Biscuit fire, the study found, has harmed forest recovery and increased fire risk. What the short study did not say... is that the White House has ignored science to please the timber industry... Logging after fires... generates about 40 percent of timber volume on the nation's public lands... Salvage logging and replanting can often succeed... if the intent is to turn a scorched landscape into a stand of trees for commercial harvest. If, however, Congress wants to promote the ecologically sound recovery of burned federal forests... the overwhelming weight of scientific research suggests that "salvage logging is not going to be appropriate."
February 19, 2006

Philippine Mudslide Is Ecosystem Collapse

All around us are indications of regional ecosystem collapse that together threaten humanity with global ecosystem collapse. The recent Philippine mudslide can be directly traced to deforestation, climate change and overpopulation. To say otherwise is to deny reality and scientific facts, and amounts to deadly obstructionism. We simply must confront these issues head on or we are doomed.

February 11, 2006

Bush to Double Timber Harvests

Rev up the chain saws, the Toxic Texan has renewed his war upon America's forests. A White House budget proposal released this week recommends more than doubling the annual timber harvested on public lands in Oregon, Washington and California ? to 800 million board feet.

February 7, 2006

The Myth of Selective Logging: Carbon and Regeneration

The American Scientist presents a good review of the science behind the environmental assessment of selective logging in ancient forests. Many important scientific and policy points are made which fly in the face of industry and mainstream environmental rhetoric that "sustainable logging" (usually mixed with additional vague assurances such logging is selective, ecosystem based, follows best management practices, or has been certified) has environmental benefits and can contribute appreciably to forest conservation in the world's remaining large primary forest wildlands.

Carbon storage in selectively logged forests has been shown in numerous studies to be appreciably reduced (from 25-70%). It has also been found that tropical forests take much longer to regenerate than generally accepted - in many cases hundreds of years, far longer than most "sustainable logging" operation's cutting cycles.

The potential for truly reduced-impact logging, what I call "eco-forestry" that is not large scale or industrial, to surgically remove individual trees maintaining ancient forest composition, dynamics and structure is noted. But in reality such codes are rarely followed.

Continue reading "The Myth of Selective Logging: Carbon and Regeneration" »

February 6, 2006

The Great Canadian Temperate Rainforest Sell-Out

With the aid of greenwashing by the large mainstream and even "radical" environmental groups, 2/3 of Canada's ancient temperate rainforests are to be heavily industrially logged in return for vague protections in 1/3 of this planetary ecosystem treasure trove. Ecological Internet's network has campaigned against this deal in the past. There are no assurances these protection levels are adequate for regional ecosystem sustainability, that the logging can be done in a manner that maintains the full range of species, or that later the protected forests will not come under logging pressures.

Continue reading "The Great Canadian Temperate Rainforest Sell-Out" »

Scottish Forest Landscape Restoration a Reality

An important component of policy to achieve global ecological sustainability will be restoring terrestrial ecosystems. Restoration ecology goes beyond plantation reforestation, seeking to reconstruct native communities of trees - indeed constructing a new forest modeled on what occurred there historically. The problem has been that restoration ecology efforts are usually small, token efforts that achieve little in regards to appreciably conserving and restoring regional ecosystems and biodiversity. One of the best examples of large scale ecological restoration of large forested landscapes of which I am familiar is taking place in Scotland, where more than seven million trees could be planted during an initiative to regenerate Scotland's native woodland. The Earth's biosphere is in a state of overshoot, meaning more ecosystems have been lost than the Planet can bear. Humanity must swiftly ramp up efforts to identify and restore ecosystems that are optimally placed for the most ecological benefit.

January 12, 2006

Plants Found to Release Methane

What to make of the recent scientific discovery that plants are a major source of methane - a particularly potent greenhouse gas? It is very important that these findings not be misconstrued to suggest that natural vegetation including forests are not important ecologically. Certainly forests are critical ecologically as repositories of biodiversity, wildlife, carbon, water, etc. But it is incorrect to assert that planting forests will have a major impact on remediating climatic change.

Continue reading "Plants Found to Release Methane" »

January 10, 2006

Salvage Logging Hinders Regeneration, Increases Fire Risk, Causes Climate Change

I have written at length regarding how forest fires are often a natural part of forest ecology - resetting the system and providing for ecosystem renewal. And new scientific evidence establishes that logging following forest fires further damages forests - impeding regeneration, increasing the risk of further fires, and exacerbating climate change. "A general lesson has been the great resilience and recuperative capacity that are characteristic of natural forests."

Continue reading "Salvage Logging Hinders Regeneration, Increases Fire Risk, Causes Climate Change" »

December 20, 2005

Evolution Prevails Over "Intelligent Design"

Rational, logical Darwinian science has won out over superstitious, antiquated creationism. And in a further repudiation of "unintelligent" design, Science magazine has named recent advances in the study of Evolution the science story of the year.

?Intelligent Design' Barred From Biology Class

A federal judge has ruled ?intelligent design? cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, concluding that several school board members lied about their motives for introducing the concept to students.

December 16, 2005

Deforestation Contributed to Land Slides and Deaths in Pakistan Quake Zone

Environmentalists are frequently disparaged for blaming supposedly "natural disasters" as being attributed to environmental decline. In the past year I have highligted the role of coastal development and ecosystem loss as a cause for damaged done by the Asian Tsunami and the Gulf Coast Hurricanes. It appears I missed one sign of ecological collapse in 2005 - the damage caused in Pakistan by the recent earthquake were greatly exacerbated by deforestation of the steep mountain slopes. Land slides claimed many lives and many deaths could have been prevented by maintaining and restoring natural forest cover on land slide prone areas in earthquake zones.

December 7, 2005

Keeping Biofuels Free from Rainforest Destruction

The issue of biofuels being made from oil palm and soya which are destructive to rainforest ecosystems is taking on a high profile in the conservation community. This issue was first raised by Forests.org and our international network earlier in the year with an alert to the EU. At that time, in my exhaustive perusal of forest news I had seen no mention of the the topic. Since our alert many other groups have become active on the matter. This is one example of the critical role that Forests.org plays in identifying and mobilizing actions against emerging threats to the world's forests and climate. Our innovative network has more impact than appreciated, and suble moves forward are as frequent as outright conservation victories.

EU must ensure bioenergy is really 'green'

Travelling in a car fuelled by biodiesel seems like a great, environmentally-friendly thing to do. However, if the biodiesel has come from soya planted in the Brazilian Amazon or palm oil from Indonesia, the green consumer is likely to be unwittingly driving another nail into the coffin of the world's great ecosystems."

Ill-conceived Forest Planting Could Worsen Global Warming

The interplay between forests and the atmosphere is complex and largely unknown. The conventional wisdom is that planting trees is a laudable response to climate change, but it is not so simple. A new study indicates trees planted in temperate areas actually raise temperatures by aborbing more heat - while trees in tropical areas transpire this heat more effectively thus leading to more cooling. These impacts may outweigh whatever benefits in terms of reduced warming result from carbon capture.

There is a whole array of unknowns regarding the interplay between forests and climate. Those with a vested interest in tree planting for alleged climate benefits must take heed or risk being label as charlatans. Other issues include whether replacing ancient forests with plantations may lead to more lost carbon storage than is gained by growing forests, and the possibility that if global warming continues apace forests - planted and otherwise - may suffer tremendous dieback and carbon release.

The lesson here is that given current knowledge humanity is well advised to focus upon reducing emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, energy efficiency and keeping existing carbon stored in intact ancient forests. Planting trees - particulary in monocultures outside of their natural ranges - should not be embraced as a climate change remedy at this point. By all means restoring of native forests where they traditionally occurred is another matter and should be pursued aggressively.

7/12/2005 -- Study: Forests could worsen global warming

A study by the Carnegie Institution and U.S. government scientists says planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide may worsen global warming... the researchers found that while tropical forests help keep Earth cool by evaporating a great deal of water, northern forests tend to warm the Earth because they absorb sunlight without losing much moisture. In one computer simulation, the scientists covered much of the northern hemisphere with forests and saw a jump in surface air temperature of more than 6 degrees Fahrenheit.

December 5, 2005

ACTION ALERT: World Bank Must Not Fund Rainforest Destruction in the Congo

TAKE ACTION
Industrial logging of ancient primary forests is ecologically and socially indefensible
http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=world_bank_congo

The World Bank is moving forward with plans to subsidize ancient rainforest logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) mighty ancient rainforests. On Thursday December 8th, the Board of the World Bank will consider whether to approve more than $200 million in new funding for the government of DRC, some of it linked to 'development' of the country's rainforests. The World Bank is laying the basis for the destruction of Congo's rainforests, and it has breached many of its own internal safeguard policies in the process. Under the World Bank plan some 600,000 square kilometers of Congo's precious rainforest could eventually be handed over to logging companies. Forests are being zoned into areas for timber felling against the wishes of many local communities. On the eve of this important decision by the Bank's Board, twelve organizations representing the various indigenous 'Pygmy' peoples of the Congo have submitted a formal complaint to the World Bank Inspection Panel, an
official independent watchdog, stating the Bank has failed to take into account the impact that its plans would have on people depending on the forest for their survival. The World Bank Board must urgently be called upon to suspend any further funding for forestry and mining in DRC until there has been a thorough review of the Bank's activities in DRC's forests to date, and until the Inspection Panel has conducted an investigation. Please take action now.

World Bank Threatens Congo's Rainforests

The World Bank is moving forward with a plan to open up the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) mighty rainforests -- the world's second largest -- for massive industrial felling of timber. Forests are being zoned into areas for timber felling against the wishes of many local communities including the 'Pygmy' peoples. Nonetheless, the World Bank continues with funding plans for the DRC government, which include commitments to begin massive industrial rainforest development through highly exploitative logging. I am sure that WWF and other ancient forest logging apologists providing cover to such ecological sacrilege are giddy with the prospects of having more ancient forest logging to certify as being environmentally sound. Shame on those that destroy ancient primary forests, and mislead saying this slaughter reduces poverty or is environmentally benign. May their ecological desecration and social upheaval bring them the eternal damnation they deserve.

Continue reading "World Bank Threatens Congo's Rainforests" »

November 30, 2005

How to Tame the Logging Beast

Glen Barry: How to tame the logging beast
Source: Copyright 2005, Independent
Date: November 28, 2005

The enchanting cry of the bird of paradise, a refreshing swim in a cool swollen river, dozens of exotic and tasty foodstuffs cooked on a fire, and a kaleidoscope of brilliant and diverse culture - welcome to Papua New Guinea's (PNG) rainforests.

Deep in PNG's still abundant rainforests most local peoples continue to live traditional lives. While life may be lacking in material goods, it is full of leisure and tight family bonds, as bountiful rainforests provide dependable stores of groceries, hardware and medicine. Sadly, increasingly the whirr of chain saws can be heard, signalling an end to rainforests and their human habitats.

Continue reading "How to Tame the Logging Beast" »

November 27, 2005

ACTION ALERT: Austrian Companies to Destroy Indonesian Rainforests

TAKE ACTION
The last thing Indonesia's rainforests need now is more pulp and wood mills
http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=indonesia

Two major Austrian corporations are constructing and financing a huge pulp mill and wood chip mill in South Kalimantan, Indonesia by the company "United Fiber System" (UFS). Andritz AG and RZB of Austria are reported to be financing the destruction of at least 113,000 hectares of largely intact tropical rainforest.

Continue reading "ACTION ALERT: Austrian Companies to Destroy Indonesian Rainforests" »

November 25, 2005

Canada's Boreal Forest Wilderness Highly Valuable

The world's remaining large ancient forests are priceless - providing the ecosystem services, habitat, evolutionary potential and spiritual awe upon which all life depends. Sadly some people can only appreciate this tapestry of life if expressed in economic terms. A new report on Canada's Boreal forests shows what so many have shown before - that these and other large forest wildernesses purify water, regulate climate and produce oxygen - all services worth billions of dollars. I remain slightly disturbed that the self-evident truth that ecological systems are the base of all aspects of human life including economics is not more generally recognized and acted upon. When all the forests, arable land, clean water, breathable air and ocean abundance are gone - go ahead, try eating money.

November 14, 2005

World Forest Loss Alarming as Deforestation Remains at High Rate

Today the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) Global Forest Resources Assessment was released, finding that some 13 million hectares of mostly natural forests are destroyed each year. FAO set the net loss of forest area between 2000-2005 at some 7.3 million hectares a year, compared to 8.9 million hectares in the 1990-2000 period. As in the past, the FAO falsely indicates that this continued massive devastation of the world's forests is somehow good news. They downplay the loss or modification of six million hectares of primary forests each year, failing to grasp the ecological value of these ancient and sacred ancient forest landscapes. Global forest loss remains by at least an order of magnitude too severe to sustain global forests and the Earth's biosphere.

Continue reading "World Forest Loss Alarming as Deforestation Remains at High Rate" »

FORESTS ALERT UPDATE: Progress Made in Protecting Colombia's Rainforests and Peoples

TAKE ACTION: Insist Colombia not cancel natural forest protections
http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=colombia

The Fundación GAIA of Colombia reports that Forests.org's alert on behalf of Colombia's rainforests has already had positive impact. "The debates on the Forestry law are taking place every Tuesday in the House of Representatives. Last Tuesday, the opposition used the letter signed by environmental NGOs. It had impact. Those who promoted the project did not succeed in getting it approved. The debate continues next Tuesday. We made progress in the sense that it has been accepted that the concept of "vuelo forestal" (separating rights to land from rights to the forest cover, PV) will not be applied to indigenous or afro-colombian territories. In spite of this, they want to cancel all norms that protect natural forests." It was suggested that our campaign also send copies to the media. The alert at http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=colombia has been updated to include this new information and to send messages to media as well.

FUND RAISING UPDATE: We are 40% to our goal with $15,000 still needed to be raised in order to guarantee we can remain operational. If you value global forest ecological sustainability and Forests.org efforts on their behalf please donate now at http://forests.org/donate/ .

November 10, 2005

Africa's Massive Illegal Rainforest Giveaway

The world's second largest rainforest expanse found in the Democratic Republic of Congo is threatened by new illegal timber concession allocations. Nearly 150,000 square kilometers of forest (an area the size of England and Wales) have been allocated to timber companies within the last three years in violation of an existing "moratorium" or ban on new logging concessions.

Africa's rainforest ecosystems - vitally essential for local, regional and global ecological sustainability - are threatened by illegal logging, as are virtually all of the World's remaining large, contiguous rainforests. These rainforests provide critical habitat to indigenous, local and by virtue of their ecosystem services and biodiversity - all of the Earth's peoples and species.

Meanwhile WWF, and even Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network, advocate misguided policies to log many if not most of the Earth's ancient forests in an "environmentally sustainable" manner. Environmentally sustainable ancient forest logging is perhaps the ultimate oxymoron. Natural rainforest management in an ecologically sustainable manner is impossible. Once logged ancient forests are no longer primary forests, and they enter a period of permanent and ultimately fatal decline.

Continue reading "Africa's Massive Illegal Rainforest Giveaway" »

November 5, 2005

Conservation Refugees

Here is an excellent article on the issue of indigenous peoples being removed from their lands in the name of conservation. As a conservation biologist I realize that indigeneous and local traditional livelihoods must be respected and maintained just as surely as any other force of nature. But I will not go so far as to say if indigenous people want to whack down all their forests and destroy their ecosystems it is acceptable. Where you draw the line between ecology and human rights is tricky -- as without the former you can forget about the latter.

November 4, 2005

The End to Natural Forest Regeneration

Many in the U.S. Congress continue to embrace the industry sponsored fraud that logging of forests is required to make them healthy. It is hard to imagine how forests survived for all those millenia pre-human industrial logging. The recent gamesmanship involves Congressional efforts to open up forests that have been burned and undergone other natural disturbances to industrial logging. Again they couch it in terms of forest health and restoration. What a sham. Burned forests are completely natural, and they possess the processes to naturally regenerate themselves. Efforts to log and then replant mostly monocultures of timber species turns a healthy, regenerating forest landscape full of life and ecosystem outputs into a toxic tree plantation.

Bill to Force Logging Public Forests After Fires Introduced

Nearly 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have sponsored legislation that they say would expedite the cleanup and restoration of federal forests after catastrophic events such as wildfires, hurricanes and windstorms.

October 23, 2005

Gold's Huge Cost to the Earth

Think gold is glamerous and worldly? How about poisonous and deadly? It is unconscionable that a consumer item of no intrinsic value routinely leads to tons of land being pulverized and spewed with toxics to yield an ounce of gold. The mining industry is destroying the Earth and must be stopped.

October 20, 2005

New Science Indicates Selective Logging of Amazon Highly Destructive

PRESS RELEASE
New Science Indicates Selective Logging of Amazon Highly Destructive

Forests.org calls upon mainstream environmental organizations and funders to heed this warning and embrace the goal of ending old-growth logging in all ancient forests

October 20, 2005
By Forests.org < http://forests.org/ >, a project of Ecological Internet
Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, +1 920 776 1075

Tomorrow the leading scientific journal "Science" will publish a report that indicates that selective logging is destroying the Amazon rainforest twice as fast as previously thought. A new satellite survey of the Amazon Basin in Brazil using new methods reveals that selective logging destroys an area of pristine rainforest big enough to cover the state of Connecticut every year.

It has long been known that first time selective logging of ancient forests - be it illegal or "certified" - is not sustainable in any meaningful ecological sense; as sunlight dries out the forest floor, which along with roads causes more forest fires, while heavy equipment damages the soil. Selectively logged ancient forests are diminished forever; containing different species in different abundances, changed size classes, differing forest structure, loss of genetic diversity and reductions in important soil microbes.

The new report indicates climate change is one of the biggest concerns when primary forests are selectively logged, as forest debris left behind decomposes and releases an estimated 100 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year in just the Amazon. This carbon release just by selective primary forest logging is enough to alter climate change forecasts on a global scale.

Continue reading "New Science Indicates Selective Logging of Amazon Highly Destructive" »

October 19, 2005

Responding to Greenpeace's Acknowledgement of Ancient Forest Logging Complicity

In response to our network's unprecedented expression of dismay over the Internet to fellow conservationists that are deeply involved in the promotion of industrial certified forest logging, Greenpeace Canada has issued this response http://www.ecoearth.info/talk/viewtopic.php?p=1983#1983 which was probably sent to many of you. Below is a point by point rebuttal and follow-up questions that should be asked to Greenpeace and others supporting the ancient forest logging in Canada's temperate rainforests and elsewhere.

The point is that some day relatively soon there will be no ancient forests to log. The question is whether there will be any large ancient forest landscapes remaining or not at that time. Do you really think that after 80% is logged the industry is not going to go after the remaining 20% that is "protected"? The Earth is not going to be sustained by "saving what we can" - this is not adequate to maintain ecosystems upon which we utterly depend for life. It is going to be saved by confronting and ending practices which are destroying it. To be continuing to log ancient forests at this late date is literally killing us.

Ultimately what we want is for the formerly ground-breaking and effective campaign organizations to stop negotiating acceptable levels of ancient forest harvests, and to work to end ancient forest logging by disassociating themselves from the "consensus" and resuming their market campaigns.

Continue reading "Responding to Greenpeace's Acknowledgement of Ancient Forest Logging Complicity" »

October 12, 2005

Amazon May Be a Carbon Source

Deforestation and Climate Change Feedbacks Set In

The Amazon rainforest region is suffering a severe drought highly likely to have been caused or at least exacerbated by rainforest loss and climate change. This is a very severe drought, with water levels in some Amazon tributaries up to 15 meters lower than usual. In response, the Brazilian government has declared parts of the Amazon River a disaster area. Dry spells in the Amazon occur regularly, and are believed to be tied to cycles in water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean which affect the quantity of rainfall in rainforests. This year the Atlantic Ocean's waters are warmer as the result of climate change, the same phenomenon that intensified recent hurricanes, and this is contributing to the severity of this drought. The common practice of using fires to clear land of forests and brush is also aggravating the dry spell.

Continue reading "Amazon May Be a Carbon Source" »

October 10, 2005

Grains: food or fuel

Legitimate questions are being asked regarding biofuel production from agricultural products - namely, whether the production of biofuels will result in higher food prices. And as any first year economics student can tell you, of course it will - increased demand will lead to higher prices. And this is where ecological issues come into play - higher prices will lead to greater supply. And if history is any guide, forest and other natural ecosystems will be displaced by agriculture. In working to address decreasing oil reserves, climate change and national security, we must not replace one set of ecological and social problems with another. The cheapest source of energy is conservation. Remaining demand must be met by a basket of renewable technologies that are as Earth friendly as feasible.

Planet Ark : FEATURE - Green Fuel Revolution a Challenge for Grain Sector

More and more, crops like corn and soybeans -- now primarily used as animal feed and ingredients in hundreds of food products -- will be used to make ethanol and biodiesel in coming years, in what could have a ripple effect in the form of higher food prices, some economists say.

October 8, 2005

Canada's Wilderness and Earth's Atmosphere Victim to Oil Sands

Development of oil sands in northern Alberta is just beginning to ramp up with predictable dire consequences for Canada's forest landscapes and the Earth's atmosphere. Oil sands are one of several possible unconventional oil and gas sources (others include tar sands, shale oil, coal bed methane and coal gasification) that are abundant and highly polluting. The growing oil sands industry will destroy massive areas of Canada's boreal forest, require huge volumes of water, and result in increased emissions that cause acid rain. And if as conventional oil and natural gas fade we turn increasingly to oil sands and further use of coal, there is no way that climate change can ever be addressed. The atmosphere can not absorb all the carbon dioxide and pollutants found in these fuels and the further expansion of oil sands and coal really is the death knell for a functional and stable atmospheric system. As more traditional sources of oil and natural gas grow scarce, it is unconscionable that the fossil fuel industries are turning towards coal and oil sands rather than renewable energy. The biggest and cheapest source of energy is conservation and greater efficiency. Humanity can and must choose to not develop these highly polluting energy sources.

October 1, 2005

U.S. Courts American Forests' Last Defense

The U.S. Forest Service's efforts to restrict public input has been stymied by a judge's ruling throwing out limits on the public's right to participate in forest decisions. In an act of petulance, they are stopping hundreds of forest management activities - including harvesting the Capitol Christmas Tree - rather than accept legitimate public oversight of their activities. Thankfully the U.S. courts are present as a last line of defense against the Bush administration's forest onslaught.

September 22, 2005

Europe's Killer Heatwave Damages Forests

Anyone who spends time outdoors or is reasonably in touch with nature can tell you that climate is changing, and rapidly. The signs are all around us. In 2003 Europe experienced a heatwave that most blame upon climate change which killed 35,000 people and cost some £7bn. A recent report demonstrates the degree to which climate initiated heatwaves of this sort decimate forests and other native vegetation. The heatwave's scorching temperatures and prolonged drought were found to have stifled Europe's forest growth and released huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In fact, during the 2003 heatwave, European plants produced more carbon dioxide than they absorbed from the atmosphere. Few doubt the existence of global warming in Europe as a result. Oh that America were willing and able to acknowledge that climate change is behind their hurricane disasters. Overcoming denial of the obvious is the first step towards getting help.

September 20, 2005

Gutting Endangered Species Protection

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are seeking to fast track a major gutting of the Endangered Species Act. Their bill would make it more difficult for the federal government to set aside land it deems crucial to the health of endangered species. This is an egregious example of Republicans using the distraction caused by the Hurricane Katrina disaster to usher through controversial environmental legislation. Abandonment of three decades of policy which values biodiversity as a national priority deserves to be more fully considered. Biodiversity is a critical component of ecosystem stability, maintaining services we depend upon to live. And all species have intrinsic value. Shame on them.

September 19, 2005

Failed BC Compromise Shows Need for No More Ancient Forest Logging

The following intriguing article questions the effectiveness of agreements reached between environmentalists and Canada's provincial British Columbia (BC) government to protect priceless temperate rainforest wildernesses including the Great Bear Rainforest. Covering some 20 million acres of endangered temperate rainforest, the Great Bear Rainforest is the most lucrative final frontier forest in North America. The article asks whether campaigns to reform industrial logging of old-growth forests can meaningfully succeed in promoting lasting forest conservation.

Continue reading "Failed BC Compromise Shows Need for No More Ancient Forest Logging" »

September 15, 2005

World Bank Warns on Resource Depletion

The World Bank has issued a warning regarding resource depletion in poor, developing countries. According to a new World Bank study, resource depletion and surging population growth are draining the net "savings" of the world's poorest countries and could cripple future generations. That the World Bank is issuing such a warning would be almost comical if it were not so tragic.

Continue reading "World Bank Warns on Resource Depletion" »

September 13, 2005

VICTORY: Hawaiian Rainforest Protected After Long Struggle

After a twenty year struggle that included peaceful protests and arrests, nearly 26,000 acres of Hawaii's natural rainforests have been protected. Wao Kele is the largest remaining intact tract of Hawaiian rain forest, and it had been threatened by geothermal energy development for two decades. Wao Kele is home to 200 native Hawaiian plants and animal species, some listed as threatened or endangered, and contains a large portion of an important regional aquifer. The agreement reached ensures that Native Hawaiians will be able to continue to use the Wao Kele site as they have for generations, while Wao Kele is retained in its natural state in perpetuity.

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A Healthier Amazon Jungle

The New York Times today editorialized regarding Brazil's apparent short term progress in slowing the rate of Amazonian deforestion. In "A Healthier Amazon Jungle" they do a good job of reviewing the salient points. Namely, that deforestation rates are down over the past year, and that this is due partly to increased government vigilance and partly to dropping agricultural commodity prices. The latter will eventually go up, and the survival of the mighty Amazon depends upon the former remaining strong as well.

September 11, 2005

Debate Over Biodiversity Hotspots

Some conservationists have argued that biodiversity conservation resources should be targeted towards "hotspots" - areas where species' diversity is greater than normal. Others have argued for a different focus, such as upon areas faced with imminent destruction, large intact ecosystems, and even not prioritizing at all given that all land benefits from conservation. Here is a good article regarding a new study which add credence to these contrarians. A primary concern that I have and have enunciated over the years is the detachment between the amount of natural habitat required for global ecological sustainability, versus the relatively unambitious targets in terms of extent of habitats to be maintained under a hotspot approach. I do not believe the hotspot approach is sufficient to maintain either species or ecosystems, nor the integrity of the global biosphere.

September 9, 2005

Enough Forest Destruction, Protect Roadless Forests

Since President Bush election he has waged an unprecedented assault on the natural environment, particularly forests, greatly decreasing the nation's ecosystems which are critical for averting natural disasters. The Bush administration has weakened protections for old-growth forests and biodiversity, put in place industrial logging supposedly to protect against forest fires, and has once again opened America's last large and unprotected forest wildernesses to development. As the New York Times notes, this last measure is facing resistance not only from the vast majority of Americans, but from Western governors where many of these last ancient forest landscapes are found. Western governors are challenging the rollback of protections for roadless forest wildernesses. Forests.org's network has worked on this issue for years, and it appears we are on the ascendency and all is NOT lost.

September 8, 2005

VICTORY: Reprieve for Ecuador's Yasuni National Park as Oil Road Halted

In a major victory for the international rainforest conservation movement, the Ecuadorian government has temporarily halted a Brazilian oil company's building of an access road into Yasuni National Park and Biosphere Reserve located in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. You may recall the park contains one of the highest known levels of plant diversity per hectare in the world. Wildlife abounds as jaguars still roam, woolly and spider monkeys still swing through the trees, and harpy eagles patrol the canopy.

In June of 2004, Forests.org with Rettet den Regenwald e.V. (Rainforest Rescue, a German NGO) first brought the situation to a wide international audience. On numerous occasions Forests.org?s massive international network -- YOU and I -- generated thousands of protest emails. A wide coalition of environmental groups and scientists both locally and internationally worked hard to achieve this temporary halt -- including working with the Huaorani peoples to amplify their protests against this intrusion upon their traditional lands.

The political situation in Ecuador remains fluid to say the least, with this and other conflicts over oil rife. Sadly, final protection of this priceless rainforest and its inhabitants -- as with virtually any rainforest Worldwide -- is far from assured. And this campaign to protect Ecuador?s Yasuni National Park and Biosphere Reserve was a long-shot from the start. Yet the attached news account demonstrates the political machinations through which our voice -- the global rainforest movement -- has been heard.

It is good news indeed that we still have an opportunity to maintain the priceless ancient rainforest as a large, contiguous and unfragmented whole. Lest we lose the momentum, please respond to this updated alert - Oppose Oil Road Construction in Ecuador's Ultradiverse Yasuní National Park.

September 2, 2005

Indonesian Peat Rainforest Development and Global Warming

Burning peat bogs set alight by rainforest clearance in Indonesia are releasing up to a seventh of the world's total fossil fuel emissions in a single year. Time and time again lack of ecological understanding, and the desire to make short term profits at any cost, has lead to disasterous ecosystem destruction. It is ludicrous to destroy ecosystems that are millions of years old, contain unaccounted for biodiversity, and provide crucial planetary and regional ecosystems in order to turn large swaths of peat swamps into rice plantations. Similar ecologically depauperate decisions lead to the catastrophic situation in Katrina's aftermath. The article ends with a prescient quote: "People just don't understand peatlands and don't understand wetlands, as we've seen with the situation in New Orleans. People have a misguided impression of our abilities to manipulate natural ecosystems."

August 30, 2005

States Sue to Bring Back Roadless Rule

California, New Mexico and Oregon have filed a lawsuit against the Bush administration for dismantling restrictions on roadbuilding and logging in nearly 58.5 million acres of United States' last roadless forest wildernesses. This continues the tug of war over what happens to these pristine large roadless forests. The Bush administration has tried devious and underhanded means to open these areas to development. Perhaps the best we can hope for until the Toxic Texan rides off into the sunset is for the issue to be tied up in the courts until he is gone.

Malaysia Exports Illegal Logging

Malaysia has increased penalties for illegally logging their rainforests to include mandatory prison time. This is a welcome and much belated move. Now the Malaysian government should similarly crack down on the many Malaysian logging companies and individuals that are conducting illegal logging operations overseas. The Malaysian timber mafia threatens the existence of ancient forests in Papua New Guinea, Russia, Brazil, Cameroon and elsewhere. These violent and corrupt entities are no less deserving of hard time in Malaysia's jails.

August 29, 2005

Evolution Brilliantly Defended, Intelligent Design Blasted

Intelligent design is a vacuous, superstitious theory of human origin propogated by Christian neanderthals. This brilliant Op/Ed in the New York Times, Show Me the Science, shreds the "theory" which dreams of replacing evolution as the explanation for human and other biological existence. The author makes clear that there is not a shred of scientific evidence behind the intelligent design hypothesis as the explanation for any biological phenomena. The fanatic Christian right is largely a bunch of science hating kooks. Evolution is truth, knowledge and scientific. Intelligent design is supersitious stupidity and signifies nothing.

August 28, 2005

Brazil Claims Amazon Deforestation 'Halved'

The Brazilian government has announced that the rate of Amazonian deforestation has been halved (2)over the past year - from some 18,000 sq km to 9,000 sq km - due to recent policy initiatives on their part, including a crack down on illegal logging. Though this is a crude estimate over a very short period of time, if this tentative trend were to be confirmed, consolidated and built upon, it could portend well for the future of the Amazon.

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August 22, 2005

Brazilian Rainforest Hammered by Agri-Business for Export

The Brazilian Amazon is severely threatened by a surge in massive agricultural projects. The trend is so significant that the Brazilian Amazon will soon exist as only relatively small protected areas and areas unsuitable for agriculture. This is not a case of struggling small farmers eking a living. These are massive agri-businesses that are often clearing massive tracts of rainforests, and then mining the soil of precious nutrients. This agricultural boom is responsible for much of the deforestation occurring in the environmentally sensitive Amazon region.

This boom in industrial scaled agriculture is a global catastrophe. The Amazon?s large and unfragmented rainforests power the global ecological system. Agriculture has historically been the largest cause of outright deforestation of primary forests. Unless rules are put in to place to strictly control and in most cases prohibit conversion of Amazon?s primary rainforests to industrial agriculture, we can kiss the Amazon goodbye. The deforestation will eventually change Brazil's ? and the Earth's ? climate, reducing rainfall and the supply of water for irrigation. And there will be an upsurge in species extinction, moving the World that much closer to final ecological collapse.

August 21, 2005

Global Bird Diversity

A new map of global bird diversity provides far more detail on patterns of distribution than was previously known. This is good on many levels, not least of which that scientific knowledge for its own sake is valuable. But to suggest as is frequently the case with such findings that this information should be used to target conservation is dangerous.

The Earth has far surpassed the amount of natural ecosystems that can be lost while sustaining life of all sorts. To suggest that these small albeit diverse areas should be more likely to be protected inherently dooms other much more widespread areas to continued degradation. This is unacceptable. If humanity is to avoid endangerment we need extensive areas of natural ecosystems to be protected and restored far beyond but perhaps including biodiversity hotspots.

August 17, 2005

Sustain Ecosystems AND Wildlife

Here is an ill-conceived suggestion - creating a massive wildlife park in the United States to protect large mammals. This approach totally misses the point that these animals' native habitats provide ecosystem services upon which all life depends. We need adequate intact ecosystems to meet these species needs while providing global ecological sustainability, not massive zoos.

August 12, 2005

Borneo's Last Rainforests to Be Lost to Oil Palm

Just what the ecologically ravaged island of Borneo needs - to have its last relatively intact rainforests converted to an oil palm plantation. Indonesia and Malaysia are suffering mightily as a result of inappropriate tropical land management including large monocropped plantations and industrial scale logging - witness the recent resurgence of haze as damaged rainforests burn. Ecological sustainability in these countries depends upon stabilizing and reversing forest loss - not wiping out the last remnants which provide important ecosystem services such as water retention.

July 25, 2005

Genetically Modified Super Weeds Closer to Reality

Invasive and exotic species threaten much of the World's biodiversity and ecosystems. Humanity has had very little success in addressing these super competiters which thrive in human disrupted ecoystems. Yet genetically modified super weeds that share these traits and more are a real possibility in the age of Franken-agriculture. Now it has been reported that a wild relative of the oilseed rape has picked up the traits of engineered crops. Genetic pollution has been feared by environmentalists and pooh poohed by agribusiness, but now apparently it is real and happening. I have never really understood the need for biotech agriculture. Do we not have enough agricultural products now, so that we need to risk the stability of eco/agri systems that have sustained humanity for millenia? When will humanity stop destroying natural ways of meeting our needs under the pretentious and false paradigm that we can and should bio-engineer a global ecosystem? It is simply outrageous that scientists are playing Russian Roulette with the biological underpinnings of all life.

July 17, 2005

Brazen Disregard of Livestock Grazing Environmental Science

It is stunning how brazenly the current United States administration consistently ignores science when making environmental policy. The latest controversial selective and biased use of science finds the Bureau of Land Management disregarding government scientists' warnings concerning adverse environmental impacts of excessive cattle grazing on federal lands. Why are the getting away with this sort of thing?

Federal Officials Echoed Grazing-Rule Warnings

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July 15, 2005

Weyerhaeuser's Predatory Logging in Canadian Boreal, Inadequate Campaign Response

Below is disturbing information regarding illegal logging of the Canadian Boreal by Weyerhaeuser. There is a vibrant campaign that is showing signs of success in defending this massive and magnificent old-growth forest ecosystem. In the story below, the groups which include the Rainforest Action Network correctly highlight the predatory, law-breaking behavior of industrial loggers. Weyerhaeuser was found to have exceeded its logging and road building allowances to supply corporations including Xerox with paper. Shockingly, this corporate criminality was certified as being "sustainable" by a patsy industry certification organization.

However, where the campaign goes wrong is identifying achievement of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification as the desirable alternative. Canada's ancient boreal forests power planetary ecosystem functions ? these ancient behemoth trees should not be used to make paper or plywood. FSC certified industrial logging still involves bull-dozers rumbling through ancient forests, irreducibly diminishing an ecological treasure. No natural primary forest has ever been harvested more than a couple times under such standards. Yet implicitly FSC's green rhetoric, with which even WWF, RAN and Greenpeace have become enamored, suggests that their standards are environmentally benign. This is far from the truth. In reality, these areas will be further reduced with each harvest, eventually becoming virtually tree plantations.

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July 13, 2005

Finding Your Ecological Niche, Giving Yourself to Gaia

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There are many men and women around the World who have made a life out of understanding biological life, ecological systems and requirements for global ecological sustainability. One such man ? Peter Raven of the Missouri Botanical Society, truly a hero of the planet ? is profiled in this Guardian article. Here is an individual fully engaged with the preposterous task of reconciling unlimited human desires, the needs of biodiversity and ecosystems, with the reality of global poverty and the crying need for equitable, just and global sustainable development. The Guardian story goes into these issues in depth.

Continue reading "Finding Your Ecological Niche, Giving Yourself to Gaia" »

July 12, 2005

America's Roadless Forests Threatened

President Bush deserves plaudits for his disingeous dismantling of roadless forest protections. First his administration refused to defend the rule in court without actually rolling them back, as courts threatened their position they then introduced a new rule passing management of federal forests to the states, and they have now finally succeeded in court because their new rule trumps the old one that was never actually implemented in the first place! This is a textbook example of resource cronyism, albeit through subtle maneuvering. President Bush would sell and/or destroy any natural wonder for the right price - monetary or political support.

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July 9, 2005

End Old-Growth Woodchip Market in Tasmania and the World

TAKE ACTION
Tell Nippon Paper Group to Stop Buying Old-Growth
Comment Form: http://www.np-g.com/e/csr/ideology/materials_form.html
Background: http://www.np-g.com/e/news/news05061701.html

Japanese company Nippon Paper Group is following the lead of a key rival by reviewing its policy for purchasing woodchips from old growth forests. Nippon is the latest customer of Tasmanian exporter Gunns Ltd to consider new policies after Mitsubishi Paper Mill moved to reject woodchips derived from Tasmania, Australia's old growth and high-conservation value forests late last month. The Earth's forest conservation movement has a unique opportunity to follow up upon our recent victory in Tasmania ? taking the next step to transition the paper industry to a No Old-Growth stance. Nippon is carrying out a public consultation on their raw materials policy which would provide the opportunity it needs to follow the lead of Mitsubishi and dump Tasmanian old growth woodchips. Comments are being taken only through a form on their web site, where they ask for the "Main Point" and "Reason or Background" in regard to their raw materials procurement policy. Below are suggestions for the basic message we should be trying to communicate, which you can copy and paste, but please add your own language if possible.

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No Forests Are Ever Truly Protected

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From Mining, Logging, Capitalism and Population Growth

Coveting of protected natural forest for logging, mining and drilling ? both legal and illegal ? never really diminishes. Several recent stories regarding mining in "protected" forests clearly illustrates that no forests are every truly preserved. The story is pretty much the same in Indonesia, India and the Philippines - in the face of unlimited human demands, any forest or other bit of nature could be lost at any time.

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June 29, 2005

VICTORY: Mitsubishi to Stop Buying Old Growth

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Blow to Australia?s Tasmanian Timber Industry

The Japanese company Mitsubishi Paper Mills has announced it will stop using woodchips from old-growth forests. Their new policy is to buy only woodchips "sourced from plantations or second growth forests of environmentally benign, and reclaimed wood." Mitsubishi is a major customer of Tasmanian woodchip exporter Gunns ? and the new wood-chip buying policy would rule out sourcing woodchips from old growth Tasmanian forests. Shockingly, until now most old growth timber from large-scale clearfelling in Tasmania has been converted to woodchips, largely for export to Japan.

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June 23, 2005

Brazil to Crack Down on Biopiracy

In a welcome move, Brazil has introduced laws against developing products from native species without sharing the benefits with local communities and governments. If enforced (a big if), the law could potentially lead to greater community development on the basis of biodiversity conservation. It is important that in implementing the law, collection of biological samples for scientific purposes, which increases knowledge and benefits all, is not impeded in any way; and differentiated from biopiracy, which is stealing.

Brazil gets tough on 'biopirates'

Brazil has introduced a law to regulate the development of commercial products from its native species. Those who use indigenous resources without permission or without sharing the benefits with the state or local communities could face a fine of up to US$20 million. The money obtained by penalising such 'biopiracy' will be used to fund conservation science in Brazil.

June 18, 2005

Grazing Report Edited by White House

The Bush White House is again dictating science based upon ideology, this time altering a scientific analysis of the environmental impact of cattle grazing on public lands. Never has a modern presidency acted so cavelierly towards scientific knowledge, and with such potential for disasterous impacts. The ecological damage caused by cattle grazing upon range and forest lands is well known. Do the Bush people think this can just be ignored? This is the second example in two weeks of the Bush administration policy-makers rewriting science - the other being downgrading the risk of climate change through strategic edits of supposedly unbiased science by an oil industry stooge. Science needs to stand on its own, particularly matters of global ecological sustainability which will effect us all. This criminal contempt for what science has to tell us in this regard must end.

Administration excised scientists' warnings in grazing report

The Bush administration altered critical portions of a scientific analysis of the environmental impact of cattle grazing on public lands before announcing relaxed grazing limits on those lands, according to scientists involved in the study.

June 11, 2005

Ancient Amazon Rainforests Mowed for Soybean Farms

The Amazon, the Earth's mightiest life-giving rainforest, is being bulldozed to grow soybeans. What sort of species destroys 60 million year old ecosystems upon which they depend for habitat - air, water, soil and weather - for short term economic benefits for the few? What will humans do when the biosphere is no longer able to maintain the narrow band of conditions conducive for human life? When will indigenous peoples that understand we are of the land stop being abused and instead be embraced?

What is to be done? Not buy soybeans? Boycott Brazil? Peaceful protest? Armed revolution? Or live life as we are while we can?

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June 9, 2005

Siberia's Massive Forests Ablaze

Russia's massive boreal forests are ablaze as a result of fragmentation caused by illegal logging and climate change caused mostly by affluent over-consumption elsewhere. Russia's forests are the largest contiguous forest wilderness in the World, with vast almost pristine areas. This massive collection of plants and animals together provide a major global ecosystem engine, without which the Earth's life support systems may not work.

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June 6, 2005

Corruption Drives Rainforest Loss

The world's rainforests are being lost because of human greed and deeply embedded corruption. In each of the Earth's remaining large and intact rainforest regions, it is dreadfully evident who is benefitting from illegal logging. What has been lacking is the political will to confront these rainforest liquidating spivs. Sadly, I am unable to think of a manner they are likely to ultimately be confronted and stopped, short of violence directed at them by rainforest defenders. Perhaps the time has come for armed resistance against these Earth destroying vandals? It seems most everything else has failed, and the problem of biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse from rainforest loss continues to accelerate.

Graft Driving Amazon Deforestation - Campaigners

The arrests of two top environmental officials in Brazil's Mato Grosso state in a rare police crackdown have shown that corruption in high places is feeding the destruction of the Amazon rain forest, environmentalists say. More than 90 people were arrested in the sweep launched by Federal authorities on Thursday. Nearly half were from the government's environment protection agency Ibama, including its chief for Mato Grosso.

June 3, 2005

Dozens Held Over Amazon Destruction

Following recent shocking news that Amazon deforestation had accelerated, the Brazilian government is showing a new political willingness to arrest illegal loggers. This show of resolve deserves to be applauded. When 80% of Amazonian logging is estimated to be illegal, and the act of clearing thousands of hectares of rainforests illegally is a bit hard to hide, one would expect that given political will -- illegal logging could be greatly reduced.

Dozens held over Amazon destruction

Brazil mounted its biggest swoop against environmental criminals this week as 85 people, including 48 officials, were arrested and accused of allowing the illegal extraction of enough Amazon timber to fill 66,000 giant logging trucks.

May 26, 2005

World Bank and WWF Aim to Reduce Deforestation by 10% Annually

It is good to see the World Bank and WWF forest conservation behemoths seeking more ambitious goals than working to make logging of ancient forests better and aiming to establish small protected areas in vast intact landscapes, many on contested indigenous lands. Finally there is recognition that the only measure of successful forest conservation is dramatically reducing the loss of forest cover, stabilizing, and then restoring forest landscapes.

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May 19, 2005

Global Crisis as Rainforest Loss Soars

New Thinking Needed on Rainforest Conservation

Amazon rainforest loss increased some six percent in 2004 to near record levels - as ranchers, soybean farmers and loggers burned and cut down a near-record area of 10,088 square miles of ancient rainforest ecosystems. Rainforest deforestation and diminishment is spiraling out of control wherever the World's last ecologically and evolutionarily rich rainforests are found - and particularly in the world's last large rainforest wildernesses found in Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo and Papua New Guinea.

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May 16, 2005

Restoring Massive Native Woodlands

All available scientific evidence would suggest that the Earth has already overshot the amount of native forests and other natural terrestrial ecosystems that can be lost while reliably and adequately maintaining ecological processes such as water retention, wildlife habitat, soil formation, atmospheric cycles, etc. The type of large scale restoration of Scottish native woodlands discussed in the following article will have to occur globally as a matter of some urgency. It is the dawning of the age of ecological restoration.

Return of the native woodland on giant scale

A HUGE tree-planting project aimed at creating an area of native woodland on a scale unseen in Scotland since the Middle Ages will be launched today. The afforestation of an 8500-hectare area, twice the size of Dundee, will begin taking shape across the heart of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park over the next 20 years.

Ancient Forest Legal Protection

As ancient forests the World over come crashing down, the world's governments and United Nations have marshalled their forces to - talk about it some more?! Global governments are failing miserably to protect the Earth's ancient forest heritage, and Forests.org supports calls for immediate agreements to protect ancient forests from any sort of industrial development wherever they are found.

New international law for ancient forest protection

Forest ministers from around the world will gather today to discuss the future of the forests at the start of the Fifth Conference of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) at the UN's headquarters in New York. Greenpeace is calling on governments to bring an end to the UNFF talk-shop which to date has done nothing to protect the forests nor the communities or the biodiversity that they house and create a legally binding agreement that will ensure the protection of the world's last remaining ancient forests.

May 10, 2005

Climate Change, Extinction, Ecosystem Collapse Oh My!

The true nature of the perilous condition of the Earth is rarely appreciated, and thus there is little hope of ever achieving global ecological sustainability. Even ardent environmentalists tend to be concerned with climate change, wildlife loss or any number or other environmental issues mostly in isolation. There is a general failure of most to appreciate that climate change, extinction, water shortages, ocean dead zones and others are all symptoms of the same problem. Too many people are consuming too much while failing to maintain adequate intact ecosystems that provide humans and other animals with their habitat. Inequitable, unjust and unsustainable economic growth running rampant over ecosystems required for all life is the disease. Climate change, forest loss, other environmental issues, poverty and conflict are the symptoms - and each is amplifying the others. The world's protected areas are too small relative to the human enterprise. The problem with the environment is that we are experiencing global ecological collapse.

May 5, 2005

America and World Bank Forest Conservation Under-Achievers

Here are two updates on long-standing campaigns by Forests.org. The first involves a long overdue World Bank ombudsman investigation of their activities in the Cambodian forest sector. The second regards President Bush's formal rescinding of roadless forest protections. Together they demonstrate how two of the most powerful institutions in the world - the U.S. government and World Bank - are utterly failing to protect the forest ecosystems upon which all life depend.

Continue reading "America and World Bank Forest Conservation Under-Achievers" »

April 27, 2005

Ecosystems Need Top Predators

Top predators (other than humans) are absolutely essential for the maintenance of ecosystems - be they terrestrial, aquatic or marine. When predators are absent - which is nearly always the case in the human dominated world - plant and smaller animal communities spiral out of control. Such chaotic plant and animal communities lead to unstable ecoystem composition, and is not sustainable. We must learn to live with all of Earth's species. And if we lose an occasional cow or even human life because of it, this is the cost of global ecological sustainability.

Without Top Predators, Ecosystems Turn Topsy-Turvy

...a classic cautionary tale of the dangers of removing top predators from an ecosystem. "Taking out predators has a cascade of effects on other populations, down to the plant life," said John Terborgh, a professor of environmental science at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

April 22, 2005

Pygmies Emerge from Forests to Demand Equal Rights

Abuses against indigenous peoples by the dominant money-grubbing, Christ driven culture continue apace. Too often we place such issues in the past, when in fact the rape and pillage of traditional peoples and their lands continues towards an apocalyptic finale.

Pygmies emerge from forests to demand equal rights

About 2 500 pygmies emerged from their forest homes in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday to demand equal rights in the vast Central African nation, the United Nations radio station in the country said. The pygmies, many of whom reportedly made their first trips outside their villages in the trek to the town of Isiro for the demonstration, decried killings and abuses committed against them by other ethnic groups, it said. "We also exist, the pygmies," "Justice, equality and rights for the pygmies in the DRC," and "Pygmy killers must be brought to justice like any other guilty person," read signs carried by demonstrators, Okapi radio reported.

April 21, 2005

VICTORY: Huge Brazilian Indian Reserve Established in Disputed Amazon Rainforest

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil has ratified the Raposa Serra do Sol Indian Reserve, with a belated stroke of the pen granting protection to some 6,370 square-miles (16,498 square-kilometers) of Amazonian rainforest in Brazil's northern state of Roraima. After more than thirty years of struggle, the traditional land of 15,000 Macuxi, Patamona, Ingarico, Wapichana and Taurepang people has finally been officially and fully recognized as theirs.

Efforts to establish the Raposa Serra do Sol Indian Reserve have been one of the main struggles of the indigenous movement of Brazil for years. Violence and murder have marred this important justice and sustainability campaign, as ranchers and other economic interests have resisted the policy of recognizing and demarcating indigenous lands.

Continue reading "VICTORY: Huge Brazilian Indian Reserve Established in Disputed Amazon Rainforest" »

April 18, 2005

UPDATE: World Bank Policies Harm Forests

The World Bank is seemingly unable to put its house in order regarding ensuring its funding does not damage forest and water ecosystems necessary for both ecological and economic sustainability. A new report - entitled "Broken Promises" - says that the Bank has failed to implement its own Forest "Safeguard" Policy, adopted in 2002, and that not one of the conditions the Bank promised to fulfill has been met. Across the World ? from Cambodia to India, from Brazil to the Democratic Republic of Congo ? the World Bank continues funding projects that are destroying tropical forests.

Continue reading "UPDATE: World Bank Policies Harm Forests" »

April 16, 2005

VICTORY: Chile Drops Reservation to CITES Trade Ban on Endangered Trees

The rainforest movement and Forests.org have registered another major victory, as the government of Chile has decided to safeguard from logging the endangered and ecologically special alerce tree - withdrawing reservations for CITES Appendix 1 listing. The alerce, Fitzroya cupressoides, is unique to the coastal temperate rainforests of southern Chile and the mountains of western Argentina - only 15 percent of the habitat remains. The slow growing species can live for thousands of years, and the trees are a national monument in Chile. Local Chilean activists tirelessly exposed major illegal logging of this species, and asked their government for additional protections for the species.

Continue reading "VICTORY: Chile Drops Reservation to CITES Trade Ban on Endangered Trees" »

April 10, 2005

Most Biodiverse Rainforests Threatened by Aerial Spraying

There are valid reasons to be concerned about the drug trade and the ravages of drug addiction. But this does not justify spraying toxic chemicals upon some of the most biodiverse rainforests habitats on the Planet found in Colombia, that are tens of millions of years old. Who can forget the suffering caused by similar spraying of Agent Orange? Certainly not the maimed and poisoned victims. It is not fair nor just that America's drug habit leads to widespread destruction of rainforest habitats necessary for global ecological sustainability and local livelihoods. If drugs are to be fought, there must be another way short of imposing chemical laden ecocide upon a region of evolutionary and ecological brilliance.

April 9, 2005

Poachers Empty Indian Wildlife Park of Tigers

Protected areas are too small and unconnected in most of the World to provide long-term permanent protection for their species - particulary wide ranging predators (other than humans). Protected areas must be expanded from 10% to 50% of most land masses to maintain viable populations of all species and ecosystem services that make all life possible. Anything less is museum-like and prone to episodes such as poaching of an entire species' population - as happened below to Indian tigers in one particular park.

Poachers empty Indian wildlife park of tigers

One of India's most prestigious national parks has been emptied of tigers by poachers, prompting international wildlife conservation experts to order an emergency census of the country's tiger population. All 18 tigers in the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan were taken between July and December last year. The scandal has led to allegations of government corruption and negligence over the tigers' protection.

April 6, 2005

Dawning of the Age of Restoration

Clearly the Earth has lost too much of its terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems to sustain all life including humankind in the long-term. And if there is money to be made in there restoration, all the better. Movement towards regenerating ecosytems as a business must be commended with some small caveats. It will always be more cost and ecologically effective to preserve important intact ecosystems in the first place. While restoration can reconstruct much of the structure, function, dynamics and composition of a native ecosystem; it does not get it all. Valuable genetic strains are lost and often communities are not complete. Nonetheless, the growth of the ecological restoration industry is very exciting, a cause to which Ecological Internet is devoted. Could this be the dawning of the Age of Ecological Restoration?

Eco-firms see growing profits

Just a niche market in the 1980s, ecosystem restoration has surged in the past five years, with announced multi-year projects exceeding $70 billion worldwide and annual revenues in the US of more than $1 billion a year, industry sources say.

March 28, 2005

Brazil: Battle for the Heart of the Rainforest

The following article raises an interesting point - whether humanity can do something it has never done before. Can humans control our avarice and growth to maintain ecological sytems that have great value because humanity needs them to live? Every rainforest in the world would make someone rich if it were cut down. But rainforest are human habitats required for our being. We will evolve or die, taking much of this Earth's fascinating and sacred biological life with us.

Brazil: Battle for the heart of the rainforest

Sister Dorothy Stang's murder is a reminder that the financial benefits of Brazil's jungle outweigh the political will to preserve it...

March 27, 2005

Russian Forests Plundered to Meet China's Voracious Appetite for Wood

China's demand for timber threatens the existence of the largest relatively intact forest wilderness on the planet found in Russia. Indeed, as predicted decades ago, China's development to Western standards of crass materialism and wasteful resource use threatens all forests found throughout the world. Have no fear though - WWF is there to certify the plunder is done in an orderly fashion.

The Standard - Industry plunders forests - Top Stories

Increasing demand for wood by China's booming construction and furniture industries is endangering huge areas of Russia's Siberian forests, despite pledges by the respective governments to protect environmentally-sensitive areas...

March 18, 2005

Road Threatens Central America's Greatest Rainforest Wilderness

Panama's government is accelerating efforts to build a road through the Darien Gap - one of Central America's last great rainforest wildernesses. There will always be a somewhat reasonable excuse to wipe out the Earth's last rainforests and other vital ecosystems. Money can almost always be made for a select few by liquidating natural ecosystems. At some point destroying terrestrial, oceanic, atmospheric and hydrological ecosystems leads to ecological collapse. It is only after a critical threshold has been reached - such as has happened in the Philippines, Indonesia and elsewhere - that the land, water and air can no longer support affluent life for more than a few. Perhaps the Darien gap can be destroyed and the ecosystems of the region remain intact. Or maybe it is the proverbial straw that will break the ecosystem's back, leading to climate change, drought, more deforestation and lack of other critical services provided to humanity by intact rainforests. The well-being of future generations of Panamanians is best served by keeping the Darien gap natural, and stopping road construction.

Searching for Sustainable Forest Management

While no one should doubt that forest management activities can not lose money and continue for long, the search for the holy grail of sustainable forest management seems to always mention ecological sustainability as an afterthought if at all. Bottom line: primary forests must be made off-limits, first time harvest forever reduces them. Activities that seek to sustainably manage planted and regenerating natural forests are welcome. Even in the latter case, economics must be secondary to environmental considerations, and if harvest can not occur profitably, the forests should be left standing and untouched.

U.N.: Economic Viability Critical for Sustainable Forest Management

Economic viability, including the environmental and social benefits deriving from forests, is a pre-requisite for wider adoption of sustainable forest management practices, says a new report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

March 15, 2005

America Blocks Efforts to Combat Illegal Logging

It has just been reported that the United States intends to block Tony Blair's G8 initiative combating illegal logging. Intensive industrial logging - both legal and illegal - destroys ecosystems and livelihoods throughout the World. Particularly in tropical rainforests, a timber mafia has emerged which is raping, pillaging and plundering ecosystems and local peoples.

Continue reading "America Blocks Efforts to Combat Illegal Logging" »

March 10, 2005

Forests and Climate Tightly Coupled

Atmospheric and terrestrial ecosystems are tightly coupled, largely mediated by water exchange. From such interactions emerge self-regulating systems that maintain the conditions conducive for life. This is Gaia.

Reuters AlertNet - Australian scientists prove less trees, less rain

Australian scientists have found that deforestation along the Amazon River in South America was reducing rainfall and causing climate change in the region.

March 8, 2005

Rimbunan Hijau Feeling the Heat

Time is running out for Rimbunan Hijau, as their particular brand of heavy industrial logging threatens to cut their financing options.

GreenBiz News | Citigroup Leans on Logging Company to Clean up Its Act

Citigroup, the U.S.-based financial institution, now requires Southeast Asian timber client Rimbunan Hijau to obtain independent, third-party certification. The company has won praise from forest protection advocates, human rights activists, and socially responsible investors for its proactive, constructive engagement to help end endangered forest destruction, rampant illegal logging, and related human rights abuses in Southeast Asia.

March 1, 2005

China Protects Own Timber While Smuggling Rare Timber

China is following the capitalist path to riches - including exporting its environmental problems. The world can not supply enough timber - nor oil, natural gas and other resources - for China to industrialize to the extent it wants. What we are witnessing is the building of a huge economic bubble that is draining the Earth's ecology and will soon pop - leaving neither economic gains or ecological systems. There are no easy answers, but a global set of rules regarding acceptable national patterns of resource use would be a start.

KR Washington Bureau | 02/28/2005 | China protects own timber while smuggling rare woods

NANXUN, China - China's voracious appetite for timber is threatening exotic forests as far away as Brazil, West Africa, Indonesia and Russia's Far East. Much of the timber bound for Chinese sawmills comes from countries where illegal logging is rampant. Environmental groups are sounding an alarm, saying the trade in illegal timber fosters corruption and encourages the devastation of some of the globe's most fragile regions.

February 27, 2005

Urge Brazil to End the Violence, Protect the Amazon

The following alert represents perhaps the most important opportunity to protect the Amazon in our lifetime. Unfortunately, the turn out for the alert has been less than expected. PLEASE forward this widely and respond as a matter of some urgency. It was purposefully timed to follow-up on recent developments, and keep the issue in the forefront.
Dr. Glen Barry


ACTION ALERT
Urge Brazil to End the Violence, Protect the Amazon

By Forests.org, a project of Ecological Internet, Inc.
February 25, 2005
http://forests.org/action/brazil/

February 22, 2005

Brazil Vows Slow Down of Amazon Destruction

Major developments in Brazilian rainforest conservaton policy are coming in so fast and furious that Forests.org is still analyzing them. The Brazilian government has announced that they intend to slow down Amazonian destruction - we must work hard to ensure this is an absolute decline and not just a slow in the rate of growth. Expect commentary and action alerts soon - your suggestions of how international voices could support national efforts at rainforest conservation would be much appreciated.

Planet Ark : Brazil Vows Slow Down Of Amazon Destruction

Destruction of Brazil's Amazon rain forest will slow down in 2005 after the murder of a US nun prompted the government to launch an unprecedented crackdown on illegal loggers and ranchers, the head of Brazil's environment agency said on Monday.

February 21, 2005

Forests Destroyed, New Diseases Arise

Emergent diseases are largely the result of a deteriorating global environment. A major pandemic resulting from say rainforest destruction may well be the sleeper environmental issue that catapults global ecological sustainability, and changes required for its attainment, onto the world stage. A good first candidate: Avian flu.

New diseases arise as environments destroyed, says UN

Changes to the environment that are sweeping the planet are bringing about a rise in infectious diseases, the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) has warned. Loss of forests; the building of roads and dams; urban growth; the clearing of natural habitats for agriculture; mining; and pollution of coastal waters are promoting conditions under which new and old pathogens can thrive...

February 17, 2005

Anarchy in the Rainforests

The world's rainforests are slipping into a state of anarchy, and for the most part those tasked with doing something about it are failing. In particular, big conservation organizations and governments are failing to conceive, develop and implement policies sufficient to address this global ecological crisis.

Everywhere large, ancient rainforests exist - massive illegal logging operations and other industrial activities threaten their existence. Yet most mainstream conservation organizations insist that certified first time logging of such primary forests will conserve them - a statement that flies against all scientific knowledge and on the ground experience. Out of control timber mafias threaten the very existence of large rainforests worldwide. Should illegal logging be stopped, or reformed? Can it be reformed?

A new report indicates huge trade in stolen timber products from West Papua, Indonesia to China. An American born Brazilian nun was murdered last week for working with forest peoples on behalf of sustainable development in Brazil's Para state. A new international treaty aimed at protecting the rainforests of the Congo Basin promotes industrial logging, ignores local people's rights, would do nothing about corruption, and continues to support human rights abuses in protected areas.

Continue reading "Anarchy in the Rainforests" »

February 11, 2005

U.S. Scientists Told to Alter Findings

This is simply outrageous, dangerous and out of control:

U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings

More than 200 scientists employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they have been directed to alter official findings to lessen protections for plants and animals, a survey released Wednesday says.

February 4, 2005

VICTORY: Court Rules in Favor of the Saemangeum Wetland, South Korea

VICTORY
***********************************************
FOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY
Court Rules in Favor of the Saemangeum Wetland, South Korea
***********************************************
Forests.org a project of Ecological Internet, Inc.

http://forests.org/ -- Forest Conservation Portal
http://www.EnvironmentalSustainability.info/ -- Eco-Portal
http://www.ClimateArk.org/ -- Climate Change Portal
http://www.WaterConserve.info/ -- Water Conservation Portal

February 4, 2005
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Forests.org

Today a court in Seoul, South Korea ruled that the Saemangeum Reclamation Project - which would destroy one of the most important wetlands in East Asia - must be halted immediately and be fully re-evaluated. This is a major victory for South Korean environmental sustainability, which Forests.org and you supported in no small way - as we generated many thousands of protest emails on the request of local organizers. The ill-conceived project intended to construct a 33-km long seawall, closing off 40,100 ha of tidal-flats and sea shallows for conversion to agriculture and a 17,000 ha reservoir for irrigation purposes. Saemangeum tidal flat provides important habitat for marine fisheries and migratory birds.

The Saemangeum reclamation project which has already commenced was to be the largest known coastal reclamation project in the world. The project has been the focus of intense criticism and opposition for a number of years, both locally and internationally. The Court clearly recognised the immense and irreversible damage that would be done to the tidal-flat system by the reclamation. Our partner Birds Korea is now calling for the government to officially halt the project ? information on taking part in their campaign is included below. Forests.org intends to soon re-issue a supportive alert on the matter. Congratulations to all that participated in this monumental victory ? yet there are more actions to be done on behalf of the Earth at http://forests.org/action/ .
g.b.

Continue reading "VICTORY: Court Rules in Favor of the Saemangeum Wetland, South Korea" »

January 27, 2005

Large Human Fires Created Australian Desert

What follows is a cautionary tale. Humans have long had the power to destroy their habitats. Until relatively recently, they simply moved elsewhere. As the Earth's humanity has eclipsed natural habitats, global ecological sustainability is in question. Forest loss, climate change, water scarcity are all symptomatic of the same disease.

Large Fires Created Australian Desert

Settlers who came to Australia 50,000 years ago and set fires that burned off natural flora and fauna may have triggered a cataclysmic weather change that turned the country's interior into the dry desert it is today..

January 20, 2005

Good News for Threatened Plants?

What is described below as "good news for threatened plants" may more accurately be portrayed as "bad news for terrestrial ecosystems". What we have here is failure to see the ecosystem through the plants. Plants are the foundation of virtually all food chains and the fact that many exist only in museum like botanical gardens means that the Earth is becoming deeply impoverished.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Good news for threatened plants

Some of the world's most endangered plants have a firmer grasp on survival than anyone had suspected until now. A study by Botanic Gardens Conservation International says about 9,000 species which are threatened in the wild are in fact thriving in botanic gardens.

January 13, 2005

Thriving in the Jungle

The dangerous myth that the only way for rainforest peoples to advance themselves it to destroy their rainforest habitats must be shattered.

Mail and Guardian Online: Thriving deep in the jungles of Equador

Here we find the Kapawi Lodge, an example of gentle tourism. All the houses and huts were built by Achuar Indians in the traditional style with timber... They need the money for medicine, clothing and such things as batteries and pencils because the children go to school... Oil extraction might bring income, but bad things as well. The oil fields in northeastern Equador near the city of Coca are an example. First the workers came, then came crime, environmental degradation and prostitution.

"We want to live in peace in our forest," Cristobal says. "We don't want any bulldozers and oil wells. We would rather have bird watchers and eco-tourists".

January 12, 2005

Trees Antithesis of Poverty

I like this seemingly simple, innocuous story because it highlights the fact nicely that trees are the antithesis and antidote to poverty. Ecological decline and even collapse negate opportunities for genuine community self-development. Grotesque global poverty is unlikely to be abated unless ecosystems are maintained and restored.

Planet Ark : Britain's Brown Tours Africa Slum, Plants Tree

British finance minister Gordon Brown visited one of Africa's largest slums on Wednesday at the start of a tour of the continent aimed at making the fight against poverty a top priority for the world's richest nations.

January 10, 2005

America's Trees and 'Sudden Death' Syndrome

There is rot in the Earth's bosom, showing itself in dying trees. Everywhere a trained eye looks, ecosystems are dying and collapsing - of which emergent plant, animal and human diseases are symptoms. It may be over soon.

Yahoo! News - USDA moves to protect nation's trees from 'sudden death' syndrome

Tough new federal regulations designed to protect the nation's flora against the devastating plant disease known as sudden oak death syndrome take effect today, requiring nurseries in California, Oregon and Washington to be inspected, tested and certified before they can ship out of state.

January 4, 2005

Oil and Mining Threaten "Protected" Rainforests

Protected areas are a vital part of any long-term strategy to maintain global biodiversity and ecosystems. Nonetheless, the problems with protected areas as defined, practiced and espoused by Western nations are many and well-known. Too often relatively benign uses of habitats by indigenous peoples are not viewed as part of what is to be protected. Traditional uses can, if skillfully designed and implemented, continue in a protected area. And obviously, way too frequently, protections are in name only. Most protected areas are anything but, as illegal activities and "exemptions" to their preserved status proliferate.

All too often local needs are confused with industrial greed - and protected areas are opened to precisely the types of development their status should preclude. In particular, oil and mining threaten virtually every protected area in the world. What is the use of "protection" if economic use always outweighs ecological necessity? The western lead economic growth machine is hell bent to drill, mine and log in every natural habitat on the Planet - releasing every last bit of carbon into the atmosphere as possible - before exploring alternative economic arrangements. Forests.org has been in the forefront of unveiling industrial threats to officially protected areas, most recently in Ecuador's ultradiverse Yasuní National Park which is threatened by oil development < http://forests.org/action/ecuador/ >.

Continue reading "Oil and Mining Threaten "Protected" Rainforests" »

Is Biomass Power from Forests a Good Idea?

Just what America's forests need - the burden of powering America's insatiable energy use. Use of forest materials as biomass energy sources is a slippery slope indeed. When America's forests have already been ravaged by over-development, what reason is there to believe that this will not exacerbate forest fragmentation and diminishment? Once established, the past shows such an industry would surely overwhelm the resource base. To pursue forest biomass energy production will almost certainly lead to more natural forest loss, increased pressures upon endangered forests including old-growth (even if indirectly), and more herbicide laden monoculture genetically modified tree plantations. Perhaps America would be better off in pursuing energy conservation and truly renewable energy sources.

Biomass: power from the forests

Californians face both a serious energy crisis and dangerously overcrowded forests. These challenges may share a potential solution: biomass energy. There's power in trees. Power in their branches and in the fiber left over from turning trees into lumber, furniture, and everything else for which we use these renewable resources.

January 3, 2005

After Disaster, Drive to Restore Mangroves in India

Awareness is growing in the Asian region that tsunami damage was worsened by poor environmental management of coastal areas. After witnessing first hand that devastation was less in areas with intact mangroves, a state government in India is embarking upon a mangrove restoration project. The suggestion that coastal deforestation, development and climate change could have exacerbated the destruction has been ridiculed by many - including apologists for the global growth machine.

The ecological fact that degraded ecosystems resulted in more damage than would have otherwise been the case was misrepresented as "environmentalists blame tsunami on climate change". What a bunch of Neanderthals (growth machine's apologists | shameful exploiters | unfair and unbalanced Fox).

However, those in harms way know better, and have had a rude awakening that rich/poor or technologically advanced/traditional; ecosystems give us life and protect us from natural harm. Shame on those that would suggest otherwise, to protect their narrow economic interests at the price of developing nation lives.

After the disaster, Kerala's green drive

This may sound like locking the stable after the horses have bolted. The state government has decided to float a Rs 35-crore project aimed at insulating Kerala coasts against tidal surges with mangroves and castanea. The sudden move to adopt an eco-strategy stems from the fact that the tsunami attack left smaller scars on coasts with a green buffer than barren beaches and sea-facing landscapes. The government is mooting heavy incentives for institutions who adopt a shoreline and give it a protective belt.

January 2, 2005

Bush Holiday Gift, Corporatizes National Forests

The Toxic Texan's environmentally challenged administration has again released a controversial forest policy over the holiday period. They have announced a new management framework for the national forest system, granting federal land managers increased authority to approve logging, drilling, grazing and mining with less environmental review than currently required. Of particular concern is weakening of the requirement to seek public input, and elimination of a way to monitor how human activities affect wildlife. Last year during the same period he finalized a rule that opened roadless areas of the Tongass National Forest to new roads and logging. The Clearcut Cowboy has little interest in protecting the wild character of the national forests and rather is focused on appeasing the timber industry. Commercialization of the National Forests is only Bush's most recent unsustainable draw down of the nation's and Earth's natural capital. America and the World will be paying for this carelessness for generations to come.

January 1, 2005

Nature's Safeguards

We are starting to see some critical examinination in the Asian region of how degraded coastal ecosystems played a role in exacerbating the impacts of the tsunamis. Meanwhile, the growth machine's apologists continue to insist that more economic development of the Western sort would be the best means to protect humanity from such natural calamities. Here is the absolutely worst piece - condemning environmentalists for "shamefully exploiting tragedy", taking their remarks out of context, while unabashedly promoting the growth machine agenda. And of course the fair and balanced Fox network can't wait to jump in and bash greenies.

While certainly much of the world does need more economic opportunity, the idea that more consumption, more use of resources and thus less natural ecosystems will make humanity more secure is preposterous and totally lacking in scientific basis.

Such a view is totally devoid of an ecological understanding that humanity is utterly dependent upon the Earth for food, air, waste disposal and just about every other necessity of life. The real source of wealth and security is healthy, functioning and non-diminishing ecosystems. New York city would have been devastated by a similar tsunami, despite its over-development. There are limits to economic growth - and if every household in the world consumes as desperately as the U.S., we shall soon see some "natural" disasters of previously undreamt of magnitude.

Are nature's protective safeguards being misused?

In the aftermath of the most severe quake to strike the planet in the last 40 years, it is time perhaps to assess where the environmental balance is being thrown of gear, how nature's protective safeguards are being misused and abused resulting in such calamities. It ranges from poorly planned coastal development and weakening of natural defences from swamps to coral reefs, to phenomena of global warming and the like. Nature has a way of paying back for mankind's atrocities on it. And it did.

December 30, 2004

Mangrove Forests Reduce Impacts of Tsunamis

There exists a wealth of scientific evidence to back my earlier assertion that the impacts of recent natural tsunamis in Asia have been amplified through the negligence of humankind. In particular, mangrove forests are a vital ecosystem in terms of protecting coastlines. This is science, factual, not opinion. Those that disagree do so because it opposes their dogma that humans are meant to command the Earth. Ecological ignorance is the greatest peril facing humanity.

Mangrove forests 'can reduce impact of tsunamis'

Dense mangrove forests growing along the coasts of tropical and sub-tropical countries can help reduce the devastating impact of tsunamis and coastal storms by absorbing some of the waves' energy, say scientists. When the tsunami struck India's southern state of Tamil Nadu on 26 December, for example, areas in Pichavaram and Muthupet with dense mangroves suffered fewer human casualties and less damage to property compared to areas without mangroves.

December 29, 2004

Nonnative Plants Choke Natural Landscapes

Exotic and other over-abundant invasive plant species threaten much of America's lands with ecological collapse. Such species choke off native flora and fauna, and reduce ecosystem services provided by natural plant communities arrayed across landscapes. We have gotten to this situation through widespread fragmentation and over-management of most natural ecosystems, and will only recover through restoration of large and connected natural plant communities across most of the land.

In a chokehold

Southern California's environment is fast approaching the tipping point as an onslaught of foreign plants overwhelms efforts to protect the region's natural landscape.

December 22, 2004

Anti-Forest Avalanche Begins

We are witnessing the opening salvos in what will be the most anti-forest U.S. administration ever. Logging prevents fires, is required to keep forests healthy, is good for the economy - hell, probably cures cancer too. While I continue to rue the day that the Toxic Texan stole the country's leadership, at some level after the recent election, my reaction is America deserves what it asks for. By the end of this term, America's forests will be severely degraded, water and air futher polluted, and it will likely be to late to turn the tide. As ecological collapse places it numerous suffocating tentacles around each and every American life, I particularly hope it is right wing born again anti-Earth kooks that suffer the most. Because it is their fault the Earth is dying...

Yahoo! News - New Forest Plan Would Lessen Restraints

Managers of the nation's 155 national forests will have more leeway to approve logging and other commercial projects with less formal environmental review under a new Bush administration plan... The long-awaited plan will overhaul application of the landmark 1976 National Forest Management Act, which sets the basic rules for management of nation's 191 million acres of forests and grasslands and protects forest wildlife.

December 21, 2004

Bird Flu Symptomatic of Asian Ecological Collapse

The huge increase in new emergent infectious disease is symptomatic of global ecological collapse. Teaming masses of consuming humans have decimated natural ecosystems - nowhere is this more advanced than in Asia. Previously natural ecosystems buffered humans from disease agents through biodiversity and other natural patterns and processes. But no more. Humanity has overshot the carrying capacity of the Earth - and these emergent diseases may well be Gaia's means to pull the system back into equilibrium. Immediate strict conservation and restoration measures are humanity's only hopes to ameliorate looming sickness and chaos brought on by ecological overshoot.

Planet Ark : Southeast Asia Fights Bird Flu, Top Health Risk

SINGAPORE - Bird flu, which risks being deadlier than the SARS outbreak, is endemic to Southeast Asia and poses the biggest risk to public health in the region, Singapore officials and international health experts said on Monday. The avian flu virus could trigger a lethal pandemic among humans if not contained...

December 14, 2004

World Bank to Fund Amazon Cattle Plan in Rainforests

The World Bank has lost all credibility in regards to its claim to be a good faith partner in forest conservation. They have become so large, and so entwined with the global growth machine, that they continue to subsidize activities that destroy rainforests. The latest is a massive cattle ranch in the Brazilian "arc of deforestation". There may be no option but to work for the Bank's dismantlement as they have shown they are not trustworthy environmental custodians.

Amazon cattle plan draws fire from environmentalists - Environment - www.smh.com.au

The World Bank is proposing to fund a cattle project in the Brazilian Amazon which environmentalists say will destroy more rainforest.

December 9, 2004

UN Warns of Population Surge

At root the global environmental crisis is a result of over-population and excessive wasteful consumption by the rich.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | UN warns of population surge
"The United Nations has published new predictions on the size and age of the world's population 300 years from now... if fertility stays at the current level, the global population could rise to 134 trillion."

Brazil Ablaze

We are witnessing the demise of a sacred and holy ecosystem in the Brazilian Amazon. Through an accident of geography, ecology and history the Brazilian government finds itself the custodian of the most important terrestrial ecosystem on the Earth. And they are failing miserably in their custodial duties. Loss of the Amazon as a large, contiguous whole ecosystem will damn the Earth to an ecological collapse.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Deforestation Inflates Inventory of Gases in Brazil

Brazil is responsible for three percent of global emissions of greenhouse gases, and tropical deforestation is to blame for three-fourths of the country's emissions.

December 7, 2004

Forest Roadless Area Comment Period a Farce?

U.S. Forest Service public comment periods have become something of a farce, as viewpoints considered against their interests are excluded, and clearly rule changes proposed by the environmentally challenged Bush administration are a foregone conclusion. Criminal ecological conduct is the law of the land.

U.S. Workers' Group Says EPA Censors Comments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency censored warnings that a Bush administration plan to build roads in national forests could harm drinking water, a group representing government workers said Monday.

December 5, 2004

Logging Suspended in Philippines

The Philippines are being ravaged by massive human-induced floods that have resulted from decades of horrendous forest mismanagement. And now finally, after hundreds of deaths, the Philippine government has suspended logging.

There are reasons that most moist tropical areas including the Philippines were naturally densely forested. Closed canopy forests protected fragile soils from intense downpours. Forests and their soils and root systems acted like a sponge - holding water in times of torrential rains, and releasing water slowly in times of drought. You can attribute this to your God, Gaia and/or evolution. But human greed exhibited through both legal and illegal logging has dramatically impacted life giving rainforests. Tropical logging is murder, now, and in the future.

Continue reading "Logging Suspended in Philippines" »

December 4, 2004

Easing the Endangered Species Act

Extinctions are one manifestation of collapsing ecosystems. Clearly the human enterprise has surpassed the ability of natural systems to provide services and absorb wastes. Ecological systems are fraying and falling apart. Humanity is oh so naive to believe that loss of animal species does not portend their own demise. America is criminally negligent in failing to protect and restore its human habitat.

Governors Seek Easing of Endangered Species Act

Western governors gathered here Friday to plan with the Bush administration and members of Congress how to change the Endangered Species Act, the 31-year-old law they say has imposed costly hardships on the energy industry, developers, loggers and property owners.

December 3, 2004

North American Birds on Decline

Birds make for a good indicator of ecological sustainability. As advanced mammals, their decline is evidence of ecosystem declines that will impact human populations as well. Human habitat is threatened as never before - from forest fragmentation, toxics, climate change, and water scarcity. As go the birds will go the humans.

North American birds on the decline | csmonitor.com

In a striking trend that spans North America's key ecosystem regions - grassland, shrubland, forest, wetland, and urban - almost a third of 654 bird species native to North America are in "statistically significant decline," according to a first-ever "State of the Birds" report unveiled last month by the Audubon Society.

December 1, 2004

Salmon May Lose Protections

Here comes the expected second round of attacks upon the environment by America's newly annointed plunderer in chief. Things are going to get much, much worse for the Earth before they have even any chance, however slight, of getting better.

Salmon and Steelhead May Lose Protections

The Bush administration on Tuesday proposed dramatically rolling back protections for salmon and steelhead trout streams from Southern California to the Canadian border, saying the rare and endangered fish are sufficiently protected in other ways.

November 30, 2004

Tropical Birds Find No Refuge in Fragmented Habitats

In presenting research that indicates that fragmented rainforests do not provide adequate habitat for tropical birds, one author notes that in terms of bird species, "if you lose your habitat, everbody is equally threatened". Indeed, humans no less so than birds.

Fragmented habitats no ultimate refuges for forest-dwelling tropical birds

Deep-woods bird species that manage to hang on in remaining patches of a deforested area of Brazil gain no real advantage in avoiding extinction, Duke University ecologists have found. The researchers studied the coastal region harboring the greatest number of threatened birds in the Americas.
"We found that species that also tolerate secondary habitats are not deforestation's survivors," said Grant Harris...

November 29, 2004

Amazon Rainforest Gravely Imperiled

The Amazon will soon cease to exist as an intact and fully-functional global ecosystem. A new study indicates that half of the Brazilian Amazon has been deforested or severely diminished by modern human activities - figures which are significantly higher than previous approximations. The Brazilian government is constantly taking one step forward and two steps back on rainforest conservation policy. Recently they announced two indigenous rainforest reserves, to this week indicate they want to allow mining on such lands. Fragmentation of the massive Amazonian wilderness will have catastrophic consequences for global and local biodiversity, ecosystems and development potential.

Continue reading "Amazon Rainforest Gravely Imperiled" »

Congo's No-Hope Dilemma

It is pure folly bordering on treachery that amidst the Congo's continuing near-anarchy, the World Bank and FAO push to open the region's massive rainforests to industrial logging. Simply unforgivable, laying to rest the notion that the World Bank has been reformed.

The Globe and Mail: Congo suffers from 'no-hope' dilemma

Africa's richest and most benighted country is caught in a perilous middle, somewhere between war and peace. The United Nations Security Council holds emergency meetings on the crisis in Darfur and Prime Minister Paul Martin discusses Ivory Coast at a meeting of the Francophonie, but Congo is on no one's agenda, even as it tries to edge out of a brutal war that continues to dwarf the others.

November 28, 2004

AUSTRALIA: Otways Set for Huge Growth

Largely as a result of tenacious local organizing, a large new national park is to be established in Australia's Otway forest. The devil will be in the details, as such incongruous use as four-wheel driving must be excluded for the ecosystem and biodiversity to be maintained.

Herald Sun: Otways set for huge growth [29nov04]

THE promised new Otway national park would cover more than 100,000ha if the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council's recommended boundaries were adopted. Environment Minister John Thwaites yesterday said this would make it the state's sixth largest national park and about nine times bigger than the existing Otway National Park.

Maine National Park Battle Rages On

Here is an update on the movement to develop a new large National Park in Maine. Forests.org did an alert on this a couple years back, and the issue remains contentious. Large, relatively intact ecosystems are a requirement for local, regional and ultimately global ecological sustainability.

Park Debate Is a Battle Over the Future of Maine (washingtonpost.com)

Northern Maine, one of the last western-scale vestiges of backcountry east of the Rocky Mountains, is in the midst of its greatest land grab since the arrival of the paper tycoons who ruled the woods here for more than a century. Almost 7 million acres -- a quarter of this largest New England state -- has changed hands in the past six years, as environmentalists, sportsmen and a host of private investors wrestle over parcels sold off by timber companies that have fallen on hard times.

November 27, 2004

Forest Renewal

We know so little about how forests are renewed in the long term. A burned or a insect infested forest may often be part of the natural cycle of renewal. We need longer time frames of observation and greater ecological understanding in our "forest management".

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Death deluge makes forest mulch

The sudden boost trillions of cicadas dying en masse give to North American forests is apparent from a new study published in Science magazine.

November 23, 2004

The Death of Cambodia's Forests

Cambodia's once mighty rainforests are in a post-timber boom death swoon. This is a glimpse of the inevitable future for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Brazil and Papua New Guinea (already quite far along) should industrial logging become further entrenched. When industrial scale timber harvest becomes the norm, inevitably local ecosystems and livelihoods are decimated - despite, and perhaps because of, empty rhetoric regarding monitoring, certification and sustainability. Most of Cambodia's large, easily accessible rainforests have been essentially destroyed. And now the industry uses illusory promises of plantation development to wrest the remainder from the Cambodian people. Logging has become an integral part of the political patronage system. And despite the new concession system and continued failed efforts to improve monitoring of logging systems, Cambodia's forest system remains anarchic and gravely unsustainable. A similar concession system is being foisted upon the DRC by the World Bank and FAO, where it will similarly degrade one of the country's most important natural resources while abusing the rights of the forest-dependent communities. Institutions supporting and subsidizing the establishment of logging industry's which carry out first time ancient rainforest harvest against local wishes are guilty of crimes against humanity. There is no evidence - I repeat no evidence - that commercial scale rainforest logging (certified or otherwise) can be carried out in an equitable, just and sustainable manner. Forests.org figures prominently in this excellent report on Cambodia's forests.

November 18, 2004

Flushing Forests Down the Toilet

A new campaign implicates Kimberly-Clark's Kleenex brand in ancient forest destruction, noting continued reliance on paper and pulp made from clearcut ancient and other endangered forests, including Canada?s Boreal forest (http://www.kleercut.net/en/). Paper production and consumption worldwide have enormous negative environmental impacts. The industry is the third largest generator of global warming pollution, the world's largest user of fresh water and amongst the largest users of energy.

Continue reading "Flushing Forests Down the Toilet" »

November 15, 2004

Groups Unite to Oppose Congo Rainforest Logging Expansion

ACTION ALERT UPDATE, TAKE ACTION
http://forests.org/action/africa/

In a major development, leading international conservation, environmental, indigenous and development organizations have united to oppose expansion of industrial logging in the Congo rainforest - the second largest rainforests remaining. This is perhaps the rainforest struggle of the decade. If industrial logging is allowed to expand haphazardly through World Bank subsidies, this massive ecosystem engine - responsible for climate, hydrology, soils, biodiversity and meeting local development needs - will cease to exist as a large, operable whole. This will have tragic consequences for local peoples and the World at large. The alert at http://forests.org/action/africa/ has been updated to reflect hard fought and rare agreement amongst all conservation interests that current plans to expand logging in the Congo are unacceptable. The unprecedented joint declaration can be found at: http://www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/s-794?language=EN (and you may want to check out the "Raiders of the Lost Bark" online game which skewers Congo rainforest logging plans at http://www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/s-Games ). Our and other's critiques of the big conservation organization's embrace of reformed industrial logging seems to have borne some fruit, as even WWF has gone against the World Bank on this one. Maybe, just maybe, there is hope for the Panda after all. We shall see.

November 10, 2004

VICTORY: Brazil Creates Two New Forest Reserves

In another stunning rainforest conservation victory for our movement, Brazil has established two new extractavist reserves in the Amazon state of Para, protecting over 2,000 square kilometers of rainforest from industrial development, while ensuring local peoples can continue their relatively benign forest uses. Forests.org?s network (you) meaningfully contributed to this victory, as we generated may thousands of emails in support of establishment of the Verde Para Sempre (Evergreen) reserve. Recall that in late 2002, upon the request of Greenpeace, we protested via email encroachment upon local lands by illegal loggers, and physical violence to break local protests.

This success validates Forests.org's emphasis upon ending large scale industrial development in most remaining forest wildlands, and supporting local peoples to develop community and ecologically based alternatives. This approach must be scaled up in Brazil, and embraced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Papua New Guinea as well. Together our continuing strings of victories demonstrate that solidarity between local peoples and global citizenry can challenge resource banditry by the powerful. Today is a good day, full of hope for an ecologically sustainable, equitable and just future for all.

November 7, 2004

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Outrageous Malaysian Timber Industry Conduct Continues

Rimbunan Hijau (RH) ? the notorious band of outlaw loggers decimating rainforests in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and elsewhere ? is again in the news. Rimbunan Hijau is alleged to have paid to fly PNG police in to bash up and otherwise use violence against native landowners protesting RH's razing of their rainforest heritage. This type of activity is not new. This Malaysian band of mafia like robber barons has decimated the integrity of Papua New Guinea's rainforests, cultures and political institutions for years.

Continue reading "PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Outrageous Malaysian Timber Industry Conduct Continues" »

November 4, 2004

West's Wildfires Linked to Global Warming

Wildfires in the Western United States have raged for millenia, and the recent increase in intensity is due to climate change. Thinning of forests under the "Healthy Forests" initiative of emperor Bush is simply a logging resource grab for his cronies. Period.

West's Wildfires Linked to Global Warming

The raging Western wildfires of recent years have often been blamed on management practices that promoted dense, overpacked forests. But a new study indicates global warming may be the main culprit.

October 23, 2004

Forest Conservationists Target Victoria's Secret

This should be our next campaign:

Lingerie giant Victoria's Secret has become the latest prominent target of a campaign by environmentalists who are trying to protect what they call Canada's endangered old growth forests. Get involved in this exciting campaign!

October 10, 2004

Leading African Forest Conservationist Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Kenyan Wangari Maathai has become the first environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize, honored for fighting poverty by trying to save Africa's shrinking forests. The committee recognized deforestation is caused by, and a cause, of poverty and violence. Indeed, increasingly wars are being fought over natural resources. Maathai is a zoology professor who rose to international fame for campaigns against government-backed forest clearance in Kenya in the late 1980s and 1990s. Maathai worked to raise awareness of the importance of forests, exposing the graft that causes so much of their destruction. The Green Belt movement that she led is said to have planted some 30 million trees across Africa.

Continue reading "Leading African Forest Conservationist Awarded Nobel Peace Prize" »

October 9, 2004

VICTORY: Ramin Timber Given Greater Protections

Glimmer of Hope for Indonesia's Rainforests and Orangutans

Forests.org's recent alert on behalf of Indonesia's rainforests, in partnership with Greenpeace, has been successful. World governments have agreed to stricter control of the trade in ramin timber and its products - which provide critical habitat for the orangutan. As demanded in our alert, the U.S. delegation supported the CITES Appendix II listing for ramin, indicating that our campaign had been instrumental in making the decision. This is the third victory this month for Forests.org. It appears we have reached a critical mass whereby when we speak together, we are listened to. Heartfelt congratulations to all that participated in this action. We must follow up to ensure that illegal trade in ramin is cracked down upon -particularly trading by the Malaysian timber mafia. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore must take immediate steps to combat ramin smuggling and work with importing nations to eliminate this forest crime. Note I am now sending notifications of victories to the Forest Conservation Action Alert members, lest you think our efforts are in vain. They are not. We will be successful in our efforts to protect the World's remaining ancient, old-growth forests and their inhabitants, and we will usher in an era of true, ecologically rigorous forest restoration - repairing past damage and allowing natural old forests to expand. Our movement is on the march, and prospects for global forest and ecological sustainability are increasing.

Continue reading "VICTORY: Ramin Timber Given Greater Protections" »

October 4, 2004

VICTORY: Drilling in Montana's Rocky Mountain Front Blocked

In a stunning victory, the U.S. federal government will no longer consider drilling for natural gas along Montana's Rocky Mountain front. The Front, which stretches about 100 miles along the eastern Rockies, is home to grizzly bears, elk, bighorn sheep and other wildlife. Over 99% of the 50,000 comments submitted by the public were against the drilling, several thousand of which were generated by the Forests.org network. Local organizing was magnificent, and national and international support overwhelming. Of course, it is possible if not likely that the drilling issue could be revisited, and this is why we must continue to work for establishment of long-term protection for the area and others like it. Across the American West, extraction of natural gas and coal is soaring. This development threatens to eliminate many of America's last great wildlands, while prolonging the era of fossil fuel dependence and resultant climate diminishment. Indeed, there must be an ironclad agreement that the Front and other forest wildernesses are off-limits to industrial development forever. Thank you for participating in this and other alerts from Forests.org.
g.b.

October 1, 2004

Brazilian Amazon Threatened by Myth of "Sustainable Forestry"

The vicious myth of sustainable old-growth forestry is being perpetuated by the WWFs and World Banks of the world. They are the unnamed forces behind the following account of efforts to privatize the Brazilian Amazon. The Brazilian Amazon's very survival as a life-generating force is threatened by the fallacy that primary rainforest wilderness can and should be "sustainably" logged.

Inconveniently for those making the case to log the world's last large wilderness areas is that fact that there is NO scientific evidence to support the idea that old-growth forests can be ecologically sustainably harvested. None whatsoever. In fact, what these groups are claiming is that since all these forests are going to be logged, cleared, and burned anyway, that the best we can hope to do is make them into tree farms. And that is what they will become.

Continue reading "Brazilian Amazon Threatened by Myth of "Sustainable Forestry"" »

September 29, 2004

Russia's Kyoto Ratification Imminent

Start chilling the bubbly - the Kyoto Treaty is highly likely to soon enter into force! Imperfect and incomplete as it is, the treaty represents the first international mechanism to regulate greenhouse gases, and took over 10 years to negotiate. There is really no other international effort anywhere near being ready to implement, and this framework can and will be strengthened and expanded. This is great news for the World's peoples, forests and atmosphere.

Russia warms to Kyoto ratification

The Russian government says it will discuss ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on global climate change to which Moscow holds the key. President Vladimir Putin has ordered ministers to approve the pact, which aims to stabilise emissions of greenhouse gases, and Thursday's government session seems likely to be a formality before the pact goes to a Kremlin dominated parliament.

P.S. Meanwhile America's position on climate change remains abysmal

September 26, 2004

Victoria's Got a Secret

Victoria's Secret - the high-end lingerie company - mails one of the largest and most influential catalogs. They are also a leader in forest destruction. The company mails out more than 395 million catalogs a year, many derived from ancient Canadian Boreal and dwindling natural Southern US forests. They use little recycled papers, and have no commitment to protected endangered forests. Forest Ethics is launching a new campaign based upon the premise that Victoria's Secret and the catalog industry can no longer turn a blind eye to the ways their consumption and unsustainable practices are destroying Endangered Forests. Please get involved early in this exciting new campaign - details are below.

Title: Did you know that Victoria's Got a Secret?
Victoria's Secret is destroying the world's last Endangered
Forests.
Source: Forest Ethics
Date: September 22, 2004

Get involved now! Together we can stop our endangered forests from ending up in mailboxes around the world.

Victoria's Dirty Secret

Victoria's Secret, despite their advertising image, is no angel when it comes to our forests. Victoria's Secret is one of the largest, most recognizable, and most influential catalogs in the industry and a leader in forest destruction. The company mails out more than 395 million catalogs a year and operates 1,000 stores across the U.S. Instead of using its leadership to challenge the logging industry's destructive practices, Victoria's Secret uses hardly any recycled paper and refuses to make a real commitment to protect Endangered Forests.

Acre after acre of the Canadian Boreal and Southern US forests are being cut down for Victoria's Secret. The Canadian Boreal is home to a quarter of the worlds remaining intact forest; it is the nesting ground for billions of North America's migratory birds, home to the caribou and grizzly bears, and one of the worlds greatest carbon storehouses. The Southern US is producing 15% of the world's paper; approximately 6 million acres of the South's forests are logged every year, primarily to make paper. This paper industry is driving the destruction of Southern US forests and the conversion of forests and wetlands to intensively managed tree farms.

ForestEthics has been meeting with Victoria's Secret, demanding that they come up with a new environmental policy that will actually make a difference and get Victoria's Secret out of Endangered Forests. But so far, Victoria's Secret has taken some small steps forward, but continues to buy massive amounts of pulp from areas in the Southern US and Canada that simply should never be logged.

After forest activists campaigned for over three years in the office supply industry, there were huge environmental shifts in corporations like Staples and Office Depot. Both agreed to stop selling paper from Endangered Forests and to significantly increase the average post-consumer recycled paper they sell. After such a huge shift in the office supply industry, Victoria's Secret and the catalog industry can no longer turn a blind eye to the ways their consumption and unsustainable practices are destroying Endangered Forests.

We are calling on Victoria's Secret to:

. End purchases from any company that is not identifying and halting logging in Endangered Forests in the Canadian Boreal;

. Maximize post-consumer recycled fiber in catalogs (achieve 50% post-consumer recycled in five years);

. Ensure that all suppliers are shifting to Forest Stewardship Council certification;

. End the use of any forest products sourced from other endangered forests, like key areas of the Southern U.S.

Get involved! We will only save the endangered forests from Victoria's Secret's destruction with a large widespread grassroots coalition like in the successful efforts on Staples and Office Depot.

Activists and groups will be holding local actions throughout the fall to pressure Victoria's Secret. Join in these efforts by bringing together your local group, a set of activists or even a bunch of friends to have a rally, call-in day, postcarding event, etc., etc.. In a campaign against Victoria's Secret, the possibilities for creative events are endless! There will also be an international day of action during the winter holidays, Victoria's Secret biggest time of the year, so start thinking about that! There will be more info about getting involved at: www.victoriasdirtysecret.net, which will be up soon.

Contact us immediately to get involved. We can help you plan an event, send you an action packet, and send you materials and information about the campaign. Please let us know that you're planning an event so we can track where actions are happening.

It's time to convince Victoria's Secret to stop destroying our forests!

Soon our new website will be up and running at

http://www.victoriasdirtysecret.net/

For More Info:

Joshua Martin, joshua@forestethics.org, 828-251-1184

Shana Ortman, shana@forestethics.org, 415-863-4563 ext. 302

Liz Butler, liz@forestethics.org, 301-864-3244

September 24, 2004

The Future Is Haiti?

I have seen the future and it is Haiti. The consequences of deforestation, poverty and inequity, combined with changing climate, are on display. The path to avoid such a future, and achieve local and global ecological sustainability, is clear. Unfortunately, it depends upon wisdom, ecological intuition and justice - not bombing - thus current leaders may be disadvantaged. Forests.org calls for a major international program to ecologically restore landscapes whose ecosystems have been destroyed and are no longer functioning. This will involve mixed plantings of trees suitable to meeting human needs; i.e. food, shelter and fuel. It will also require assembling new natural forests and grasslands composed of native species, planted along environmentally sensitive areas such as water sources and steep slopes. Man centered and nature centered forests must be intermingled and contiguous. Further, there will be no respite for environmental refugees until the human population is stabilized and then reduced using non-coercive means. This will require generations of one child households as the global norm. And finally, the atrocious sums of money being poured into militarism by our "leaders" must be rechanneled towards meeting basic human needs. Ecological collapse is just as real in the shiny and bright cities of the North. Imagine Phoenix in summer with no water or electricity (not impossible). I hope that you can intuit that humans are utterly dependent upon the Earth - yet we are failing Gaia and all her life badly.
g.b.


Deadly Floods in Haiti Blamed on Deforestation, Poverty
, Associated Press

September 14, 2004

Tasmanian Timber Industry Buy-Out?

There are indications that Australia's Prime Minister John Howard is finalizing a multi-million-dollar compensation package to end old-growth logging in Tasmania. Recall Tasmania's ancient old-growth forests are being chipped into pulp to make paper (about 5.5 million cubic meters in 2000) in unconscionable violence against the Earth. Less than 13 percent of Tasmanian old growth forest remains. If a timber industry buy-out were implemented, rights to log some 390,000 hectares of remaining Tasmanian old-growth would be negated. Tasmania's forest mismanagement, including large-scale clearing of native forests for plantations, impacts on water, and the effects of toxic chemical use; have drawn local, national and international outrage and calls for a federal inquiry.

Rapid fire Tasmanian forest policy discussions are occurring against the backdrop of pending Australian elections, where the green vote may prove decisive, and one-upmanship on environmental policy is rampant. While only speculation at this point (though widely reported), this would set a marvelous precedent. Destructive and inherently unsustainable industrial harvest of ancient old-growth forests must end in Tasmania and throughout the World. If need be, those that have amassed capital to liquidate these ecosystems may be compensated - but then the industrial harvest ends, period.

Forests.org continues to follow the situation at http://forests.org/south_pacific/ . Thankfully, WWF's atrocious plan to greenwash continued old-growth logging appears to have met a timely death, in Tasmania at least. Thank you for your pressure in this regard. If a rich, developed country like Australia can not find the will to protect their last ancient forest legacy, there is no hope for any old, large forests anywhere. Australia, please lead. Indeed, Tasmania and Australia's reputation is as much at stake as the wild forests themselves.

September 9, 2004

No Roadless Forest Changes Before Election

At least a temporary tactical victory, as the Bush administration realizes the folly of removing popular roadless forest protection during an election year.

MSNBC - No roadless forest changes before election

The Bush administration said Wednesday it will put off until after the election a final decision on a plan to allow road building and logging on 58 million acres of remote forests where both are now prohibited.

September 4, 2004

America's Protected Wilderness Turns 40

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act - a monumental piece of American legislation that protected much of the nation's wild and special places. There are now some 662 federal wilderness areas, covering some 106 million acres across 44 states. Not only do these areas provide wildlife habitat, recreation and clean water; they also are major component of North American continental ecological sustainability. Large contiguous wild natural areas are required to maintain atmospheric, hydrological and terrestrial systems. Yet current designations in North America are not adequate in this regard. This is why it is so important to gain protections for the tens of millions of acres of wilderness quality lands that lack federal protection. America's current leaders threaten what has been a bi-partisan agreement to protect America's wild legacy, with the current Congress having failed to designate one acre of new wilderness. The President is now opening wilderness quality land to gas and oil drilling, and to commercial logging, ostensibly to protect far off communities from wild fires. Large natural areas are more than an amusing amenity; they are the foundation that maintains conditions suitable for life - all life, including yours.

September 1, 2004

Slavery Is Not Dead

The epic battle to protect forests and other natural ecosystems is intimately related to human rights. Who would believe that modern slavery is as pervasive as this article indicates - including in rainforest countries?

Slavery is not dead, just less recognizable. | csmonitor.com

Slaves are cheap these days. Their price is the lowest it's been in about 4,000 years. And right now the world has a glut of human slaves - 27 million by conservative estimates and more than at any time in human history.

August 24, 2004

Judge Rules Bush Plan Creates Fire Danger

As Forests.org has said all along, industrial forestry in roadless forests in particular increases, rather than decreases, the chance of fire.

BUSH ADMINISTRATION TIMBER SALE CREATES MAJOR FIRE RISK, JUDGE RULES

Judge Morrison England, Jr., a President George W. Bush appointee, has invalidated a timber sale in a federal roadless area on the grounds that the logging operation would create a serious fire hazard. The Bush administration had tried to justify the logging in a remote part of the Tahoe National Forest in California under the guise of fire prevention.

August 11, 2004

Line Between Legal and Illegal Logging Blurred

The line between legal and illegal logging is often blurred in developing countries.

Legitimate Indonesian foresters contribute to illegal logging: study

Legitimate forestry companies are contributing to illegal logging and other deforestation in Indonesia, according to a new report into the widespread exploitation of the country's valuable timber resources.

August 7, 2004

WWF Threatens Australian Old-Growth Forests

WWF Australia has released a policy document advocating the logging of vast areas of old-growth forest in Tasmania, Australia. The document, entitled "A Blueprint for the Forest Industry and Vegetation Management in Tasmania", has rightly outraged local conservation organizations working for the past 25 years to stop logging in Tasmania's old-growth forests.

A broad global consensus has emerged within the grassroots forest conservation community that industrial logging of old-growth, and other endangered forests, is no longer acceptable.

As Dr. Glen Barry of Forests.org explains, "ancient forests are required to maintain local as well as global ecological sustainability. Industrial development of Tasmanian and other endangered forests irrevocably diminishes them, whether management is certified or not. To protect the Earth and all her life, the world's remaining old-growth must be protected from commercial scale development."

WWF's support for industrial logging against the wishes of heavily invested local conservationists is the most recent instance of large environmental organizations obstructing grassroots efforts to end industrial logging of ancient old-growth and other endangered forests. All too frequently corporate environmental organizations benefit financially from their endorsement of ancient forest logging as being supposedly environmentally friendly.

The Australia Institute recently reported that WWF Australia has received vast sums of money from the Australian Federal Government ($13.5 million between 1999 and 2003). It has also supported the majority of the Federal Government's environment policies - including commercial logging of Tasmania's ancient forests - while its name and statements have been used by the Government to promote its environmental credentials.

If adopted by Australia's government, WWF's proposals would undermine the twenty five years' campaign to protect Tasmania's old growth forests and biodiversity; continue undesirable and unpopular practices such as clearfelling of native forests; destroy wilderness areas of World Heritage value in western Tasmania; and exacerbate current divisions in Tasmania regarding the future of forests, the development of forest-consuming industrial complexes, and the proposed expansion of plantations.

Twenty-five years of grassroots campaigning have won great victories in the campaign to save what remains of Australia's precious old-growth forests. Public opinion is behind the movement and political parties are on the verge of making the leap to true conservation policies - based upon strict protection and an end to old-growth logging - for Tasmania's precious ancient forests.

WWF's recently published 'blueprint' threatens to stall this progress. Forest.org supports Tasmanian conservation organizations in their demand that WWF remove the document from circulation and the debate, or else withdraw from the Tasmanian forest campaign altogether.

As Dr. Barry concludes, "greenwashing of old-growth forest destruction by corporate environmental apologists will not stand. The mega-environmental conglomerates will heed this message or lose their members.""

# # #


A copy of WWF Australia's report is available on their website at http://www.wwf.org.au/

A copy of the Australia Insitute's report is available at: http:/www.tai.org.au/ (see 'What's New')

A copy of Tasmanian NGO's letter to WWF can be found at: http://forests.org/docfeed/tasmania_wwf.doc


For more information including interviews contact:

Dr. Glen Barry
President
Forests.org, Inc.
http://forests.org/
gbarry@forests.org
+1 608 213 9224

July 23, 2004

Forests Thrive Under Indigenous Control

When forest communities are given legal control over their own lands they are at least as effective in conserving wildlife as national governments. An important new report from Forest Trends documents what should be self-evident - that endangered forests are conserved more effectively when under the control of their local peoples including indigenous groups. The report found that national parks created by governments are not faring as well as community-policed areas.

Efforts to pursue sustainable conservation management and protection of ancient and other important endangered forests would be well advised to give indigenous people a larger role in policy-making as well as strengthened rights to produce and sell forest products. The future of the World's endangered large forest wildernesses in particular depends critically upon limiting their commercial development to community based small and medium scaled ecologically sustainable development activities.

Different social situations call for different forest conservation strategies. In terms of maintaining ecosystems, species and genetic resources found in ancient and other endangered forests - nothing can compare to strict protected status for large and contiguous forest areas. But in many cases local needs and aspirations make this difficult or even infeasible.

Ideally, in terms of conservation and community advancement, community forestry by forest dependent peoples in a portion of a landscape should be coupled with preservation of adjacent ecological core areas. Indeed, the protected area is a critical component of the ecological sustainability of the entire ecosystem, including managed forests. Such a strategy holds
the best promise for advancing indigenous community well-being and long term sustainability of expansive and natural forest landscapes.

Clearly potential for indigenous people to help curb the destruction of forests is being overlooked by the international community. In my own experience, this observation has at times been pushed to unwarranted extremes. Certainly indigenous peoples are as susceptible as the rest of us to greedy appeals to liquidate resources for one time financial advantage.

This is why indigenous land ethics must be defended, and those in the overdeveloped world can help with information and technical assistance in this regard. Human rights are integral to environmental sustainability.

July 14, 2004

America's Last Roadless Forests Lose Federal Protection

President Bush has announced plans to open some 60 million acres of America's roadless national forests to road building and eventual commercial logging and other developments. Individual states are to be given the right to exempt national forests from a federal rule that bans roadbuilding and logging in some of America's most remote and unspoiled public land < lots more info here > .

The Toxic Texan has again lied to the American people - by earlier claiming he intended to protect these forests - and now giving away the nation's natural resources to corporate interests. Only partly in jest, how I long for the days where President's lied about their private sex lives rather than preemptive unilateral war, controlling carbon emissions to stop climate change and now maintaining America's wild forest legacy.
g.b.


P.S. Should you wish to comment on Mr. Bush's plan to log America's last wild forest landscapes, comments may be mailed during the next 60 days to Content Analysis Team, ATTN: Roadless State Petitions, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 221090, Salt Lake City, UT 84122, or e-mailed to: statepetitionroadless@fs.fed.gov. I would expect the comments to be ignored as they were previously. So comment with your vote as well.

July 13, 2004

Pygmies Protest Congo Rainforest Carve-Up

The World Bank's dubious and misguided plan (at best, and malicious and evil at worst) to finance industrial logging of the Earth's second largest intact rainforest continues to generate controversy. The Bank is pushing through new laws and a 're-zoning' of the Congo forests - the second largest in the world - that could see up to 60 million hectares (an area the size of France) handed out to logging companies. Despite the lack of a functioning government, banditry and civil war, and lack of local support - the world blank wants to zone most of the forests for commercial logging, turning the country into a vast logging concession.

In March we joined with the Rainforest Foundation in protesting World Bank and UN Food and Agriculture Organization plans to stealthily increase logging by some sixty times in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Hundreds of local and international groups have joined the Rainforest Foundation in protesting this immoral use of tax-payer funds. Most recently, the pygmy peoples occupying many of these forests have joined the protest - reported on below. It is simply atrocious that the world blank continues to operate with impunity against the aspirations and human rights of local peoples, undermining the ecological sustainability of their rainforest homes as well as the function of the Earth's biosphere. This must not stand.

The World Bank and FAO must immediately halt plans for the expansion of industrial logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo and remaining ancient primary forests around the World. Rather than subsidizing rainforest destruction the World Bank should be initiating a participatory process to establish land rights for forest peoples, and developing economic alternatives to industrial logging that are community based and ecologically sound. The action alert at http://forests.org/action/africa/ is still current, and will be updated and reissued shortly.

g.b.

*******************************

RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:

Title: Congo 'Pygmies' put case for forest protection and peoples' rights to President of the World Bank
Source: Rainforest Foundation
Date: July 8, 2004

'Pygmy' peoples today urged World Bank President James Wolfensohn to halt plans that could unleash a wave of destruction on the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they live.

The 'Pygmys' put their case directly to Mr Wolfensohn during a video conference organised by the Rainforest Foundation UK [1], which is challenging Bank plans for a massive increase in industrial logging in the Congo. The Bank is pushing through new laws and a 're-zoning' of the Congo forests - the second largest in the world- that could see up to 60 million hectares (an area the size of France) handed out to logging companies.

"You must not forget that the lives of indigenous peoples depend on the forest," Adolphine Muley of the Congolese Union of Indigenous Women (UEFA) told the World Bank President. "For a 'Pygmy' to talk of forest exploitation is to talk of reinforcing misery and poverty. You must put strategies in place so that the 'Pygmy' peoples are not damaged by the system that you are developing."

According to the Bank's own estimates, as many as 35 million of the Congo's 50 million people depend on the forests for their very survival. [2]

Simon Counsell, director of the Rainforest Foundation UK said: "The World Bank must strictly apply its own environmental and social safeguards, and fully respect international laws, to avoid what could be the world's first major environmental and humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century. We will be working to ensure that the people of Congo have a say on the future of their forests, and that the rights of the people living in the forest are respected," he said.

Responding to these pleas, James Wolfensohn pledged the Bank to further discussion with Congolese people and non-governmental organisations about the future of the of the country's rainforests.

The Rainforest Foundation first raised its fears about the threatened 'carve-up' of Congo's rainforests with the World Bank in early December 2003. The UK All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes Region and Genocide Prevention (APPG), which has a membership of 148 MPs and Peers, has said that it "intends to follow closely" the World Bank's response to the concerns of the Foundation and Congolese campaigners [3].


For more information:
Simon Counsell, Rainforest Foundation, London
Tel: +44 (0) 207 251 6345 (office)
+44 (0)7941 899 579 (mobile)
www.rainforestfoundation.org.uk

Specific page: http://www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/s-Stop%20the%20carve%20up%20of%20the%20Congo%20forests [cut and paste in to internet address bar]


Notes to editors:
[1] The Rainforest Foundation supports indigenous people and traditional populations of the world's rainforests in their efforts to protect their environment and fulfil their rights.
2] According to the World Bank, the average income in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the lowest in the world, at $90 per year.
3] The APPG covers the Great Lakes region of Africa: Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Northern Uganda. APPG was formed following the UK's failure to prevent genocide in Rwanda and provides information so that Parliamentarians can play their role in preventing future genocides. In recent years, the Group has played an active role in investigating and bringing about parliamentary scrutiny to the illegal plunder of Congo's vast mineral and forest wealth.

Bush to Open Roadless National Forests to Logging

In a callous pre-election resource grab, the Bush administration is to open tens of millions of acres of roadless forests - America's last wilderness legacy - to logging. What a stupid, evil little man.

ENN News Story - Bush administration proposes plan to open more national forests to logging

The Bush administration Monday proposed lifting a national rule that closed remote areas of national forests to logging, instead saying states should decide whether to keep a ban on road-building in those areas. Environmentalists immediately criticized the change as the biggest timber industry giveaway in history.

July 5, 2004

Endangered Forest Protection End Game

Below you will find a remarkable statement of support for the World's endangered forests from ForestEthics. They are asking that your group endorse the statement in order to demonstrate to companies that there is broad support for the protection of endangered forests. For some time I had hoped to develop a similar "forest conservation manifesto" that details an end-game for halting the loss and beginning the restoration of the world's mature natural forests. Global ecological sustainability of both species and ecosystems is utterly dependent upon forests. I encourage forest conservationists to reject incremental reform which saves a bit here and there at the expense of legitimizing continued forest loss and diminishment. The world's remaining ancient old-growth and primary forests must ALL be protected. Anything less fails to address systematic ecocide of humanity's habitat. Let us commit to protection of all remaining endangered forests - and the shifts in consumer behavior, finance and economics, and politics and society required to make this happen. Please join ForestEthics in urging corporations to make commitments to stop using, selling, and buying products that contain Endangered Forests. I am very interested in developing and implementing strategies to make this a reality - input and discussion on the topic is welcome at http://forests.org/web/

*******************************

RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:

Title: Sign-on to for the protection of endangered forests
Source: Liz Butler, ForestEthics
Date: June 29, 2004

To sign on to the statement of support below, please send me the
organization name, a contact person, a street address, a phone number and an
email address. Send the info to liz@forestethics.org.

To: Organizations concerned about endangered forests
From: Liz Butler, ForestEthics
Re: Sign-on to for the protection of endangered forests


We need your organization's help to save critical endangered forests. I am writing to ask your organization to sign-on to an international statement of support for the protection of endangered forests.

Right now, endangered forests from around the globe are ending up on store shelves. They are coming from the forests of the US, the Canadian Boreal, Chile, Indonesia, and many other countries around the globe.

There are many organizations involved and working very hard to protect these forests. A majority of these groups are working at the local, regional and national level to change legislative and administrative policies that affect these endangered forests.

A set of organizations including ForestEthics have been focused on getting companies to make commitments to stop buying & selling endangered forests. This has been very successful over the last five years. Companies such as Staples, Home Depot, Kinko's, Ryland homes, and many others have agreed to stop the destruction of endangered forests.

We have been able to leverage these commitments to help save endangered forests. In a number of cases these companies have used their influence with the logging companies and governments to work towards stopping the destruction of endangered forests in British Columbia, Chile, and the US.

We need your help to continue to show companies that there is broad support for the protection of endangered forests and that organizations are paying attention to corporate actions on endangered forests. The statement of support for the protection of Endangered Forests will help them see that many organizations think that it is important for companies to make a commitment to protect endangered forests.

I hope that you will sign on your organization on to the statement of support for the protection Endangered Forests.

To sign on to the statement of support, please send me the organization name, a contact person, a street address, a phone number and an email address. Send the info to liz@forestethics.org.

I would also like ideas of other groups to contact about the statement. If you have thoughts about local, state, regional, national, or international groups that you think would sign on to the statement of support please send me the name of the group, a contact, and how to get in touch with them.

If you have questions or want more information let me know.

Liz Butler ForestEthics 301-864-3244 or liz@forestethics.org
________________________________________________________________

Statement of Support for the Protection of Endangered Forests

We, the undersigned organizations, representing people of conscience globally, are deeply concerned about the destruction of Endangered Forests around the globe.

Endangered Forests are the most valuable forests remaining on the Earth today. They are humanity's last chance to protect large original and old growth forests, and the planet's rapidly-disappearing biodiversity.

Endangered Forests include:
. intact forest landscapes (also known as Frontier Forests),
. restoration and remnant forest types,
. areas with exceptional biodiversity values (e.g., rare forest types, forests exhibiting high endemism or species richness), and;
. core habitat of focal conservation species.

Endangered forests in need of protection are found around the world. They include the endangered forests of US public lands, the Southern US Cumberland Plateau, the Canadian Boreal, the Amazon rainforests, British Columbia Inland rainforest, Chile's siempre verde forests, Indonesia, and others.

Endangered Forests are so rare, threatened or ecologically vulnerable, and are of such global biological importance that industrial resource extraction in Endangered Forests causes them irreparable harm.

We are alarmed that the world's Endangered Forests are being destroyed to make lumber, catalogs, office paper, packaging, windows, doors and many other products. These products, made by global corporations, end up on store shelves and in the mailboxes of people in the US and around the globe.

These corporations have customers that care about endangered forests. These customers must be educated about the products made from endangered forests, and encouraged to take actions that cause these companies to change the way they do business.

We call for the protection of Endangered Forests. We urge corporations to make commitments to stop using, selling, and buying products that contain Endangered Forests. We expect these products to be replaced with alternatives such as post consumer recycled paper and third party independently certified wood.

Humanity must act urgently to ensure that the global treasure of our Endangered Forests will be here for future generations of people and all creation.


Organization ____________________________________

Contact ____________________________

Title __________________________

Phone____________________________

email ____________________________

Address_____________________________________

City _____________________

State ________

zip _______________

website ______________________________


Liz Butler
Organizing Director/ForestEthics
301-864-3244p/202-487-4908c
liz@forestethics.org/
4208 32nd street
Mount Rainier, MD 20712
www.forestethics.org

July 2, 2004

As Humans Alter Land, Infectious Diseases Follow

Sick land = sick humans.

As humans alter land, infectious diseases follow

As people remake the world's landscapes, cutting forests, draining wetlands, building roads and dams, and pushing the margins of cities ever outward, infectious diseases are gaining new toeholds, cropping up in new places and new hosts, and posing an ever-increasing risk to human and animal health.

June 29, 2004

Australia's Pending Ecological Collapse

Australia is experiencing ecological collapse on a continental scale. The same environmental catastrophes are playing themselves out around the world. But in Australia we see the western culture's cavalier attitude towards the environment juxtaposed upon an arid region with relatively few lush, fertile areas. In Australia's land one can seen the future, and it is not pretty. Ancient forests continue to be felled to make paper, soils are made barren by salt deposition, the Great Barrier reef is silted, and water and energy are wasted despite their scarcity. In Australia we are witnessing the effects of deforestation, climate change and water mismanagement earlier and more clearly. Horrendously wasteful over-use of land, water and the atmosphere's waste holding capacity are laying waste to a continent.

As the magnitude of the crisis unfolds, slowly the country's politicians are realizing the seriousness of the situation. But tinkering around the edges of environmental policy will not sustain Australia. Radical plans to conserve Australia (and the world's) water, forests and atmosphere are our only hope. This will include an end to industrial logging in most natural forests, abandoning marginal farmland, and making water and air use more efficient - or barring this - stopping activities that impact them.

More fundamentally, the lies of perpetual economic growth and petroleum dependent societies must be shattered. Less ambitious programs of environmental conservation are window-dressing. Below you will find a startling overview of Australia's ecological condition, and two modest efforts to address the situation - barring development adjacent to the Daintree rainforest and a new water management system. Perhaps the Australian public and body politic are waking up?

June 20, 2004

Papua New Guinea's Rainforests Are Going to Hell

Papua New Guinea's rainforests are going to hell. The government finances itself based upon clandestine sanctioning of illegal logging. The Malaysian timber mafia runs the country. The World Bank nears its third decade of failed sustainable forestry reforms. Local environmental groups posture and talk with little impact. Local peoples still view meager benefits from the razing of their forests as their best option for advancement. And after 15 years of service to PNG's rainforests, this activist sees little hope. The world's third largest rainforests have become a cesspool of ecological devastation, corruption, violence, and wasted development potential. Efforts to transition the timber industry to community based eco-forestry have faltered. The forces of death, greed and despair have won. PNG's rainforests are toast and its peoples doomed to poverty for the rest of time. Trangu, sari tumas.

June 16, 2004

World's Land Grievously Stressed

Humanity's misuse of land is dangerously shortsighted. Nearly everywhere land is becoming dust as overuse turns once verdant landscapes into deserts. Lands the size of Rhode Island are becoming desert wasteland every year, sending millions of ecological refugees fleeing to greener countries - but few remain with land to spare. Nearly as much American land is covered by concrete as is under wilderness designation. In the continental United States an area the size of Ohio (~43,000 square miles) is covered by impervious surfaces - buildings, roads, parking lots - while natural protected lands cover just a bit larger area (~75,000 square miles). And we know the way this is trending. Paved lands are biological wastelands that impact climate, water and land productivity. If determined by the needs for continental ecological sustainability, protected wildlands would cover a much greater area.

Contemporary society has misjudged risk - the third article below points out that as we fight terror the Planet is crumbling. "While we remain virtually hypnotized by terrorism, humanity is quietly destroying the biosphere in which we live, ourselves and our future along with it." Every day many more victims die from air and water pollution, to say nothing of poverty, than died on 9/11. Issues of environmental sustainability are deeply rooted in social inequities and injustices. It is made clear that the Earth is approaching a breaking point in our lifetime. Solutions are straightforward -- stabilize population, reduce consumption and share wealth. Some $40 billion a year -- about what consumers spend on cosmetics -- would provide everyone on Earth with clean water, sanitation, health care, adequate nutrition and education. In a globalized world, there is no refuge from those faced with dire need.

The state of the World's land - and by extension its atmosphere, water and oceans - is perilously grave. The rich want more while the poor work to meet basic human needs - in both cases leading to further overuse of land. Where is the outrage as entire swathes of the Earth's land are made uninhabitable? Where are the massive citizen movements and governmental programs to address catastrophic land losses? Is there anybody out there that cares? Land is the bedrock of human existence. A mass back to the land movement that seeks to extract land from the global growth machine while nurturing its restoration and stewardship may be our last best hope. More on this later...

June 15, 2004

New Forest Protests

Let the protesting begin...

MSNBC - Greenpeace action suggests new forest war

Promising an "unprecedented" summer for forest protests against Bush administration policies, Greenpeace on Tuesday fired a first salvo by blocking an Oregon logging road with a three-ton container and three activists chained to it.

June 7, 2004

World's Oil Running Out Fast

There are two certainties that the the world is not facing up to, and by so doing, threaten the Earth and humanity's future. Oil will run out relatively soon - and endless economic growth is an impossibility. The world's bubble economy based upon these illusions will burst. Our best hope is to address this now in order to have the most room to maneuver in implementing solutions, which do exist, with lack of political will being the biggest impediment.

BBC NEWS | Business | Is the world's oil running out fast?

If you think oil prices are high at $40 a barrel then wait till they are four times that much.

Oregon "Salvage Logging" Threatens Ancient Forest Renewal

The Bush administration has announced final plans for one of the largest commercial timber sales in modern history in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southern Oregon, one of America's wildest, most pristine places. The site of the 2002 Biscuit wildfire is to be mercilessly "salvage" logged. Some 74,000 logging trucks worth of timber are to be removed - mostly from old-growth, roadless and previously unlogged ancient forests - an amount equal of one quarter of the entire annual U.S. national forest timber harvest. The sale would occur at significant cost to tax-payers.

This crass timber industry pay-off is being justified as a means to ensure forest health and reduce the threat of forest fires. It will achieve neither. Salvage logging is known to increase erosion, impair streams and other wildlife habitat, further damage forests made more fragile by fires, and can actually increase fire risk due to the buildup of hazardous fuel and slash left by logging operations.

A fire-adapted forest that burns naturally (most are on varying periodicities) and is left to recover is not a disaster - it is how many forests regenerate. Trees downed by forest fires provide habitat for wildlife and nutrients needed for their renewal and to help keep forests healthy. Rarely are whole forests destroyed - as clumps of live trees and surrounding intact forests provide materials to seed a new, healthier forest.

There exists no environmental justification to heavily log burned trees in the Klamath-Siskiyou region - one of Western America's most important intact ancient forest landscapes. The region is ecologically unique and home to remarkable biological diversity. As one of America's last large ancient forest wildlands and many important watersheds, it deserves national park status, not destructive first time industrial logging under false pretenses.

Will you buy the lie that heavily logging ancient forests protects them? Indeed, in most cases it is first time industrial logging and not forest fires that irreparably diminish large and natural forests. Your vigilance provides the last best hope that the Klamath-Siskiyou and the world's other forest cathedrals - evolutionary and ecological treasure troves - will remain able to continue giving us life.

Even ancient forests deserve a fresh start.

May 30, 2004

Western America's Forests at Crisis Point

America's western forests are in a deep crisis which nature intends to rectify. After years of fire suppression, over-harvest and now climate change induced drought, these forests are using disease and fire to cleanse themselves of the human stink. Efforts to log natural forests in order to restore them is simply the most recent misguided and potentially dangerous pseudo-management treatment. We will learn to live with nature - allowing large forests to do what forests do including burning and having pest epidemics - or we will perish

AP Wire | Drought, beetles may trump artificial forest thinning

Even as the nation devotes billions of dollars to artificially thinning crowded forests, a stressed-out Mother Nature is taking matters into her own hands on a catastrophic scale humans can't hope to match, scientists say. An epidemic of bark beetles is killing untold millions of trees from Alaska to Arizona. And an eight-year drought across the Southwest is killing many of the trees the beetles don't get.

May 29, 2004

Greenpeace wins U.S. case

It as a good day for civil rights and environmental advocacy, as the Bush administration's stifling of dissent has failed. Greenpeace has been acquited of "sailor-mongering". Perhaps now the focus can return to illegal shipments of Brazilian mahogany.

Greenpeace wins U.S. case

A Miami federal judge on Wednesday sank the U.S. government's nationally publicized criminal case against the international environmental group Greenpeace because of lack of evidence. U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan issued a rare directed verdict finding Greenpeace not guilty midway through the trial -- after government attorneys tried to use a 19th century maritime law for the first time to prosecute an advocacy group's protest methods.

May 25, 2004

Forest Mismanagement Contributes to Severity of Wildfires

Indiscriminate industrial forestry causes increased wildfire severity - illuminating the lies of the Bush Administration's "Healthy Forests" initiative.

Forest Mismanagement Contributes to Severity of Wildfires

The severe wildfires that have devastated the Western United States in recent years are in part the unintended legacy of decades of misguided forest management practices, according to a Duke University fire ecologist. Large wildfires now burning across California, Arizona and New Mexico show that the Bush administration's plan to "fireproof" the West's forests has backfired...

CYBERALERT VICTORY: President Putin Says Russia Will Soon Ratify Kyoto

TAKE ACTION
Thank Russia for Pledge, Ask President Putin for Swift Formal Ratification

** Follow breaking news at the ClimateArk -

President Vladimir Putin has stated Russia intends to rapidly ratify the Kyoto Treaty! Once completed, the first binding international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that are known to cause global climate change, will commence. President Putin is quoted as saying "we are in favour of the Kyoto process. We will rapidly move towards ratification of this protocol." The announcement coincides with the European Union's decision to back Russia's membership in the World Trade Organization.

Russia's imminent ratification of Kyoto represents a major international
breakthrough in cooperative efforts to address global climate change. This is the first time the President has stated so firmly and unequivocally that Russia will ratify Kyoto. Assuming that ratification does in fact occur - the Kyoto Treaty will now come into force. And it is highly likely recalcitrant, obstructionist governments such as the United States and Australia will eventually ratify as well.

Though the treaty makes only modest gains in the restraint of greenhouse gas emissions, its importance lies in the establishment of a binding framework to monitor and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in particular. Kyoto is an important first step in a long journey to address climate change through reductions in carbon dioxide and other emissions, renewable energy, energy conservation and ending deforestation.

Many, many people and organizations have worked for years in support of the Kyoto Treaty. Forests.org and you have done our own small part, having sent hundreds of thousand of emails in support of the treaty. Over the past two years our network first successfully targeted Canada's ratification, and has relentlessly sought Russian ratification - apparently successfully. Though the most appropriate time for celebrating is as the signature dries on the ratification papers, Forests.org nonetheless is highly upbeat regarding the apparent imminent success of our Russian Kyoto ratification campaign.

Our long running and extensively used action alert urging Russian Kyoto ratification has been updated. Please take a moment to seal the deal -
congratulating Russia on its pledge and urging President Putin to formalize ratification sooner rather than later. This may prove critically important as the American Oil Presidency and the Global Oil Oligarchy will pull out all stops to intervene in order to stop this momentous occasion.

May 20, 2004

Climate Change Boom or Bust for Biodiversity

How terrestrial vegetation responds to climate change is a major factor in whether changes already in the pipeline can be adapted too or will prove cataclysmic. This is a huge question, for which the answer has major import for humanity's future and prospects for achieving global ecological sustainability. Clearly stabilizing emissions is of foremost importance given such uncertainty.

Climate Change Boom or Bust for Biodiversity?

Will climate change trigger mass extinctions or will new life bloom in its wake?

Amazonia Deforestation to Escalate Due to Infrastructure Plans

The future of the Amazon rainforest is critically threatened by expanded infrastructure development that dramatically increases physical access to the Amazonian frontier. Rainforest loss and diminishment in the Amazon impacts the well-being and ecological sustainability of local peoples, Brazilians and all citizens of the World. Below is an update from Science magazine regarding the threats posed by new roads and other infrastructure development plans in the heart of the Amazon. Forests.org has been instrumental in bringing these scientific findings to a wider audience, and advocating for cancellation of the ill-conceived development plans.

In 2002 and 2003, the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon climbed to nearly 2.4 million hectares per year, driven by land speculation along the routes of new roads, cattle ranching, and soybean farming. This equals 11 football fields a minute. While the Brazilian government has stepped up satellite monitoring and involved additional ministries to address deforestation, they have steadfastly refused to cancel or significantly revise the large-scale infrastructure development plans predicted to eliminate the Amazon's large, intact and unfragmented rainforest expanses.

All governments have a profound responsibility to protect, conserve and restore natural habitats sufficient to maintain ecosystems and their species. No ecology, no economy or anything else. Given its jurisdiction over the Amazon, the Brazilian government and people are sacredly obligated to safeguard this global ecological engine - stewardship they are failing to provide. I concur with the leading rainforest scientists below, that by failing to "curtail its aggressive plans for infrastructure expansion, Brazil will fail to address one of the most critical root causes of Amazonian deforestation." Loss of the Amazon as an operable, non-fragmented whole will severely biologically impoverish the Earth - and contribute significantly to the possibility of global ecological Armageddon. Brazil and the World need an intact Amazon to live well and prosper.
g.b.

P.S. As always, this copyrighted article is reproduced for non-commercial use to benefit the struggle to conserve the Earth's rainforests. If you like the information, go buy Science magazine. Read and understand the disclaimer as a condition for email list membership at http://forests.org/info/disclaim.asp

*******************************

RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:

Title: Deforestation in Amazonia
Source: Copyright 2004, Science, Vol 304, Issue 5674, 1109-1111 Date: May 21, 2004

In recent years, we and others have identified critical threats posed to the forests of Amazonia by the Brazilian government's plans to dramatically expand highways and other major infrastructure projects in the region (1-6). Our conclusions have been disputed by elements of the Brazilian government (7-10), which assert that a key assumption of our spatial models--that new roads and highways will continue to promote large-scale Amazonian deforestation, as they have done in the past--no longer applies. This is so, they argue, because of improvements in frontier governance and environmental-law enforcement, as well as changes in Brazilian public attitudes toward forests (7-10). As a consequence, the Brazilian government is proceeding with the largest expansion of highways, roads, power lines, gas lines, hydroelectric reservoirs, railroads, and river-channelization projects in the history of the Amazon (1-6).

In 2002 and 2003, the rate of deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia climbed to nearly 2.4 million hectares per year (see figure)--equivalent to 11 football fields a minute. This increase mostly resulted from rapid destruction of seasonal forest types in the southern and eastern parts of the basin; relative to preceding years (1990-2001), forest loss shot up by 48% in the states of Pará, Rondônia, Mato Grosso, and Acre (11). The increase was evidently driven by rising deforestation and land speculation along new highways and planned highway routes (12), and the dramatic growth of Amazonian cattle ranching (13) and industrial soybean farming (6, 14). Soybean farms promote some forest clearing directly, but have a much greater impact on deforestation by consuming cleared land, savanna, and ecotonal forests, thereby pushing ranchers and slash-and-burn farmers ever deeper into the forest frontier. Equally important, soybean farming provides a key economic and political impetus for massive infrastructure projects, which accelerate deforestation by other actors (6, 14).

Anticipating public alarm about the new deforestation figures, the Brazilian government recently announced new measures designed to slow Amazon forest loss. These measures include increased satellite monitoring of deforestation and the involvement of additional ministries--not just the Ministry of Environment--in efforts to reduce illegal deforestation and forest burning (12). These measures, in concert with the establishment of new protected or multiple-use areas in Amapa, Amazonas, and Acre, are a move in the right direction.

The new measures do not go far enough, however. They fail to address one of the most critical drivers of forest destruction: the rapid proliferation of new highways and other infrastructure, which greatly increases physical access to the Amazonian frontier. The Brazilian government plans to create interministerial working groups to recommend ways to reduce or mitigate project impacts, but is not considering the cancellation or significant delay of any major project. Indeed, just days after announcing the new anti-deforestation package, Brazilian President Lula demanded that his federal ministers find ways to circumvent environmental and other impediments to stalled infrastructure projects throughout the country, including 18 hydroelectric dams and 10,000 km of highways (15).

In the Amazon, new transportation projects frequently lead to a dramatic rise in illegal deforestation, logging, mining, and hunting activities (1-6). If Brazil criss-crosses the basin with thousands of kilometers of such projects, the net result, our models suggest, will be not only further increases in forest destruction, but fragmentation of surviving forests on an unprecedented spatial scale (1, 5). Many of the government's recently announced measures to slow forest loss are positive steps, but if it does not curtail its aggressive plans for infrastructure expansion, Brazil will fail to address one of the most critical root causes of Amazonian deforestation.


William F. Laurance,*
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute,
Apartado 2072,
Balboa,
Panama.

Ana K. M. Albernaz,
Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi,
Avenida Perimetral 190,
Belém, PA 66077-530,
Brazil.

Philip M. Fearnside,
Departamento de Ecologia,
Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia,
C.P. 478,
Manaus,
AM 69011-970,
Brazil.

Heraldo L. Vasconcelos,
Instituto de Biologia,
Universidade Federal de Uberlândia,
C.P. 593, Uberlândia,
MG 38400-902,
Brazil.

Leandro V. Ferreira
Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi,
Avenida Perimetral 190,
Belém, PA 66077-530,
Brazil.

*To whom correspondence should be addressed.
E-mail: laurancew@tivoli.si.edu

References and Notes


1. W. F. Laurance et al., Science 291, 438 (2001).

2. W. F. Laurance, A. K. M. Albernaz, C. Da Costa, Environ. Conserv. 28, 305 (2001).

3. G. Carvalho, A. C. Barros, P. Moutinho, D. C. Nepstad, Nature 409, 131 (2001).

4. D. C. Nepstad et al., Forest Ecol. Manage. 154, 295 (2001).

5. W. F. Laurance et al., J. Biogeogr. 29, 737 (2002).

6. P. M. Fearnside, Environ. Manage. 30, 748 (2002).

7. D. Weber, "Ministério contesta estudo sobre devastação," O Estado de S. Paulo, 21 January 2001.

8. S. S. do Amaral, "Threat to the Amazon," The Independent, 26 January 2001.

9. R. Goidanich, Science dEbates, 26 January 2001 (www.sciencemag.org/cgi/eletters/291/5503/438).

10. J. P. Silveira et al., Science 292, 1651 (2001).

11. The net deforestation rate in these four states increased from 1.43 million ha year-1 from 1990-2001 to 2.12 million ha year-1 in 2002-2003, based on data from the Brazilian National Space Agency (www.inpe.br). Deforestation data for 2003 are a preliminary estimate.

12. Grupo Permanente de Trabalho Interministerial para a Redução dos Índices de Desmatamento da Amazônia Legal, Plano de Ação para a Prevenção e Controle do Desmatamento da Amazônia Legal (Presidência da República, Casa Civil, Brasília, 2004).

13. D. Kaimowitz, B. Mertens, S. Wunder, P. Pacheco, Hamburger Connection Fuels Amazon Destruction (Tech. Rep., Center for International Forest Research, Bogor, Indonesia, 2004).

14. P. M. Fearnside, Environ. Conserv. 28, 23 (2001).

15. "Lula quer a retomada de obras paralisadas," Amazonas em Tempo (Manaus, Brazil), 21 March 2004.

May 18, 2004

OREGON: Conservationists Propose 400 Jobs on Biscuit Fire Restoration

Finally, post-fire restoration plans that are primarily concerned with restoring natural forests and watersheds, and not with heavy logging of wildlands and burned trees that are the basis of future natural forests.

OREGON: Conservationists Propose 400 Jobs on Biscuit Fire Restoration

A plan to create 400 new jobs in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area through a combination of watershed restoration efforts and commercial logging activities was unveiled by conservation groups Monday. Radio ads promoting the plan will air across western Oregon for the next two weeks. The Siskiyou Restoration Plan will focus on over 500 miles of road restoration on steep slopes and areas vulnerable to landslides. The plan includes commercial logging, but stays out of roadless areas, old growth reserves, Wild and Scenic River corridors and sensitive botanical areas.

RAN's Finance Campaign Pays Dividends, Further Gains Ahead?

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and partners have delivered yet another stunning victory for forests and climate as Bank of America has decided, on their prompting, to take new steps in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and protection of "intact" forest ecosystems. RAN's targeting of the global financial sector's environmental impacts continues to reap benefits, "helping the financial sector to live up to the ideals of a democratic economy... working to ensure that the natural capital of our global environment and the integrity of local communities are preserved indefinitely." This follows recent similar commitments by Citigroup, also motivated by RAN's campaigning. Bank of America's statement on the matter can be found at http://www.bankofamerica.com/newsroom/presskits/view.cfm?page=climateandforests

Indeed, it is very good news if intact forests that have never before been logged are to be exempt from commercial bank financed development and diminishment. It is heartening that RAN appears to have taken critiques from Forests.org onboard, and is now making clear that any industrial harvest of intact forests, even certified, is inappropriate.

The significance of the news depends critically upon defining "intact forests". This appears to mostly be composed of large areas of relatively natural primary forests - the preservation of which is a mainstay of the Forests.org network's message. Such areas are referred to within the forest conservation movement as primary, old-growth, wildlands, wilderness, ancient, first-growth and/or endangered forests. I realize we are striving for a term that encompasses more than just primary forests - that captures more of the spectrum of regenerating fragments and late successional secondary growth - but why can't the forest conservation movement be more precise and consistent with terminology? The term "intact forests" remains worryingly nebulous.

Such tentative undertakings, however promising, do raise other issues. The agreement does not adequately address the appropriateness of commercial financing of forest plantations (perhaps even genetically modified) as a climate change strategy. And measures to prevent replacement of secondary forests (that are less than intact) with plantations is weak. Sustainable economics will require restocking stores of natural forest capital, yet the agreement fails to achieve commitments to fund natural forest regeneration and restoration.

I note that World Resources Institute (WRI), who is to define "intact forests" and map where these forests occur, also takes financing from African logging companies. Both WRI and RAN must remain vigilante that advocating for protection of natural forests, while simultaneously partnering with commercial forest interests, does not become a conflict of interest. Monitoring and reforming forest destruction need some separation. WRI's analytic and RAN's campaigning skills must not be used as greenwash for continued, albeit slightly less damaging, diminishment and loss of intact and other forests.

And finally, I encourage RAN to make clear that these agreements with the financial industry are only the beginning of policies and reforms necessary to sustain natural capital - the store of nature's goods and services upon which all life and human economy depends. They are not the final word, and the expectation is they will become more strict, compulsory and ubiquitous. If RAN is to legitimately negotiate on behalf of the greens the rules that will determine a not insubstantial portion of the fate of the world's forests and climate, including giving a stamp of approval to reformed development activities in ancient forests that others have worked for decades to stop, they must be as inclusive and self-reflective as possible.

This said, I can think of few I would rather see on our side of the bargaining table. It is clear that RAN's finance campaign is on the cutting edge of environmental conservation and continues to rack up major victories. A good start indeed...

May 15, 2004

Restore Wetlands to Secure Water Supplies

There are many opportunities to target ecological restoration to high-priority areas on a landscape, seeking to secure water and other ecological processes. Regional ecological sustainability planning needs to be intensified - seeking to ascertain the combination of protected, benignly managed and sustainable development zones sufficient to secure an areas environmental services.

SUSTAINABILITY: More Rehabilitated Wetlands in South Africa, More Water Supply

As South Africa's new government braces itself for the task of extending clean water supplies to more people, environmentalists are warning there may soon be little water to distribute if conservation efforts are not stepped up. They believe the country will run out of water by 2030 unless current water resources are better maintained. A key part of this challenge involves reclaiming areas known as wetlands.

May 13, 2004

Conservation Needs Wider View

Spatially extensive environmental conservation which weds large protected areas with areas of human sustainable development are a prerequesite for global ecological sustainability. The greatest challenge ever to face humanity is to once again place it within the context of healthy, natural ecosystems.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Conservation 'needs wider view'

Global conservation efforts should focus strongly on whole ecosystems as well as individual species...

May 6, 2004

Final Proof on Climate Change

There is no doubt that climate change is occuring. Climate skeptics will now try to protect their industrial interests by arguing we need to adapt to the change. The magnitude of the human impact is so severe that overemphasis upon adaptation would be a grave mistake. While there is still a small window of opportunity, the emphasis must be upon restructuring the economy to quickly and dramatically lower emissions.

Scientists claim final proof of global warming

POWERFUL evidence for global warming has been discovered by scientists funded by the US Government, demolishing the chief argument of sceptics who deny that the phenomenon is real.
A new analysis of satellite data has revealed that temperatures in a critical part of the atmosphere are rising much faster than previously thought, strengthening the scientific consensus that the world is warming at an unnatural rate. The discovery resolves one of the most contentious anomalies in climate science, which has often been invoked by the Bush Administration to question whether man-made global warming is happening.

May 5, 2004

Bush Pledges to Leave No Wild Forests Behind

President Bush continues to lead as if there is no tomorrow, and if he is not stopped, there may not be. Despite pledges to uphold protections for roadless forests, his administration continues its stealthy dismantling of protections for America's last large wild forest landscapes. The Heritage Forests Campaign has issued a report which details the effects upon regional forests if federal protections were to be reversed at http://www.ourforests.org/localreports/index.html . And the comment period has commenced regarding the Bush administration's proposal to drill for natural gas in the Rocky Mountain Front - one of the most important wilderness areas in the continental United States. Comments regarding this ill-conceived project can be emailed to mt_blackleaf_eis@blm.gov during the government's scoping process which ends on June 1st. These are dangerous times - imperial war, inequity and injustice, combined with failing ecosystems make for a potent mix. It is up to progressive dark greens to enunciate a vision, and organize the movement, that will allow all humanity to emerge from the darkness.

May 4, 2004

Bush's Roadless Rule Reversal Threatens Wildlands

President Bush is an ecological idiot savant. All the requirements of American civilization flow from the land and other ecosystems. The President is intent upon liquidating every last bit of wild nature. He must be stopped, these areas protected, and the age of ecological restoration ushered in; whereby large natural forest wildlands are allowed to expand and adjoining areas helped to recover old-growth characteristics.

Reversal of Roadless Rule Could Devastate National Forests

Potential changes by the Bush administration to the roadless rule threaten to destroy the pristine and wild character of more than 32 million acres of public land, according to a series of reports released by a forest advocacy group.

April 27, 2004

U.S. Drought Rivals 1930s Dust Bowl

The Western heartland of the United States is experiencing a massive drought - whose impacts have been exacerbated by climate change as well as poor land and water management. Surely, this major catastrophe which portends the impacts of climate change has resulted in the American government springing into action, as was done in the 1930s. Assuredly those in power are working to cut greenhouse gas emissions and restore damaged lands. Unless the government is owned by the oil companies.

West faces a sixth year of epic drought | csmonitor.com

...the sixth consecutive year of drought, with portions of the usually verdant Rockies looking more like the Mojave Desert. In what scientists call a combination of drought cycles and global warming, nine Western states are seeing extreme dryness

April 25, 2004

Amazon Deforestation Continues Apace, Shows No Signs of Slowing

Earlier this month the Brazilian government announced that annual Amazonian deforestation had grown by 2 percent last year to just over 9,000 square miles, courtesy of Brazilian beef and soy growers, and their consumers. This loss of ancient rainforests, covering an area the size of the U.S. state of New Hampshire, would be the second highest annual loss since official record-keeping started in 1988. One would expect the response of the Brazilian government and international community to be one of outrage, and to hear renewed pledges to reign in the destruction.

Unfortunately the Brazilian government under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva hailed the news as a positive development. In doublespeak and greenwash worthy of the Toxic Texan, the Lula administration proclaimed that their policies had stabilized the situation, stopping things from getting worse. Lula has good company when it comes to accepting atrociously high deforestation figures rather than acknowledging failure of forest and land management policies. The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) routinely issues such platitudes in regard to high global deforestation rates. Stabilization of deforestation at historically unheard of rates implicitly accepts that most forests will be lost, and delays only slightly inevitable widespread collapse of terrestrial ecosystems.

Only indications that deforestation rates are falling dramatically, and eventually that natural forest cover is growing, can be construed as good forest conservation news. Current loss of the world's forests - at 50% of their pre-human extent and with only 20% remaining as large, viable forests - has already exceeded the point whereby forests can continue providing ecological processes and patterns required for their sustainability, and indeed the sustainability of the global ecological system.

Humanity's survival is utterly dependent upon the continued existence of large forests. The Earth's last majestic primary forest wildlands must be put under strict protection and/or local community eco-management. Secondary forests that have already been commercially logged at least once must be placed under strict certified management and aided to regenerate and expand. Only drastic reductions in deforestation rates, and eventual growth in natural forest extent in previously deforested areas, will indicate an improved state of the world's forests - or a particular nation's forest lands. Forests and other natural systems must remain the context to human societies if we are to be sustained.

April 23, 2004

Liar, Liar Bush on Fire

The Toxic Texan assails the intelligence of every thinking American (himself excluded) by stating he has implemented important environmental policies. On the contrary, he has gutted and eliminated hundreds of important environmental polices ranging from carbon dioxide and mercury to clean water and roadless forests. Do not trust the snake - promises to protect and restore wetlands are election year grandstanding that will soon be forgotten - like pledges to regulate carbon dioxide and fund national parks were last election. What a joke.

Bush Pledges Wetlands Expansion, Restoration

President George W. Bush touted a new wetlands restoration plan on Thursday and said he understands his responsibility to conserve and improve the nation's natural resources. Speaking at an Earth Day event at a Maine nature reserve, Bush said he has enacted "some of the most important anti-pollution policies in a decade" and has improved the condition of America's land, air and water - a statement refuted by environmentalists.

Russia May Be Ready to Ratify Kyoto

Think lobbying Russia to ratify Kyoto is a dead end? May want to think again as there are indication Russia is about to dramatically announce its ratification. Keep up the pressure with this climate change action alert.

Russia may be ready to ratify Kyoto treaty on climate change

Russia may be about to perform a dramatic policy U-turn in ratifying the Kyoto climate change protocol despite months of saying that it would cause irreparable damage to its booming economy.

April 22, 2004

Amazon Destruction Rising Fast

The relatively new Brazilian President has been a let down in terms of rainforest policy-making. This was evident when recently announced near record rates of deforestation was spun as good news - that things had "stablized". Yes, they have stabilized at continued horrendous rates of loss. This President must be pushed to live up to his rhetoric. Lets prepare to do so.

Amazon destruction rising fast | csmonitor.com

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has Brazil's greens seeing red. Earlier this month, the government announced that annual Amazon deforestation had grown 2 percent last year, to 9,169 square miles - an area the size of New Hampshire and the second-highest year since officials started tracking it in 1988.

April 20, 2004

World Bank Carbon Fund Miserably Ineffective

Environmental and social justice organizations are calling for the close of the World Bank Prototype Carbon Fund which is suppose to fund reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. Not surprisingly, it has become something else - a destructive greenwash. It appears the Prototype Carbon Fund will subsidize the continued existence of highly-polluting industries, furthering environmental destruction and exacerbating existing human rights
violations. One project in Brazil supports the establishment of plantations for the production of iron - to the long-term detriment of local water and native forests. The project site was originally established by evicting its indigenous peoples. And the science behind plantations as a meaningful mechanism to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide in the long-term is shaky at best. Shockingly but perhaps not surprising, the plantations are independently certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as well managed.

As a former consultant to the Whorled Bank, I was once entranced by the idea that a "green bank" could fund environmentally sustainable development, conservation, protection and restoration. This is clearly not the case as the Whorled Bank continues to subsidize rainforest loss, climate changing fossil fuel projects, and now huge plantations as a remedy to climate change. Environmental reform at the Whorled Bank has failed, and that the Earth's ecological interests now require that the organization be smashed and dismantled. Our alert regarding the World Bank's annexation of the Congolese rainforests to the global growth machine remains current and can be found at http://forests.org/action/africa/ . It has been updated to reflect the concerns above.

April 19, 2004

Wildlife Corridors Increase Size of Habitat

In terms of habitat, size matters. It is so refreshing to see transportation planning that seeks to ameliorate - however imperfectly - the fragmentation to habitats caused by highways. I look forward to lots more of this type of thing, as well as removing many roads outright.

Until 15 months ago, a highway underpass beneath the Riverside Freeway was a favorite hideaway for sleep-deprived truckers in search of a nap. Today, hopeful signs indicate that four-legged creatures are reclaiming the passageway as a critical wildlife crossing.

April 15, 2004

Salvage Logging Destroys Forests

Amongst the American government there remains an obstinate refusal to incorporate ecological science. Intensive post-fire salvage logging mines forests of their potential to regenerate. A burned forest is fertile ground for rebirth - remove the nutrients and a much reduced landscape of vegetational communities will emerge.

The New York Times > National > Amid a Forest's Ashes, a Debate Over Logging Profits Is Burning

For 120 days in 2002, a colossal wildfire scarred a half-million acres of Southern Oregon and Northern California, leaving behind a charred landscape that has turned into fertile soil for a conflict over how to manage the public forests.
The Forest Service's plan for a large salvage logging operation on the site of wildfire, called the Biscuit fire, is reopening old wounds and threatens to undercut the shaky truce between environmentalists and the timber industry.

April 3, 2004

Demand the "Filthy Three" Act Against Climate Change

Encourage the U.S., Russia and Australia to Lead
By Forests.org, April 3, 2004

TAKE ACTION @ http://forests.org/action/climate/

Over past months there have been several studies that further irrefutably show that the Earth's climate is undergoing rapid and chaotic change as a result of human activities. CO2 levels are rising to such dangerous heights that a quarter of land species are expected to go extinct, the Great Barrier Reef and other important ecosystems are dying, changing ocean currents may trigger a mini ice age in Europe, and the U.S. military expects greater armed conflict caused by climate change. As the Earth burns, leaders of major industrialized countries dither. In particular, the United States, Russia and Australia have shamefully refused to support the Kyoto Treaty - the only international effort to address the issue. Further, these countries have refused to take other measures such as introducing a carbon tax. Taxing carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions would provide substantial sums to undo the damage, compensate those most impacted, and allow for greater investments in renewable energy and ending deforestation. The Lincoln Plan at http://www.climateark.org/lincoln_plan/ is an example of such an approach. Please take a moment to encourage the "Filthy Three" - Bush, Putin and Howard - to live up to their responsibility to protect the Earth's climate.

TAKE ACTION @ http://forests.org/action/climate/

March 31, 2004

Asia's Dust Bowl

Another example of regional ecosystem collapse that cumulatively place humanity on the brink of global ecological collapse. The Earth cannot continue to have its ecosystems plundered and used as waste repositories.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Asia's dust storm misery mounts

Scientists say they believe the dust and sand storms that for centuries have blanketed north-east Asia are becoming more dangerous to people's health. They think the storms are now combining with airborne pollutants emitted by human activities, and are adding to the region's severe air quality problems.

March 30, 2004

Earth Crisis: Ocean Dead Zones and Soaring Climate Change

New reports indicate large portions of the ocean have become "dead zones" that are devoid of life; and that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have abruptly surged. This comes fast upon findings that the Amazon's composition is changing due to climate change, that the Australian Great Barrier Reef is dying, that the World Bank is funding industrial logging of the Congolese rainforest and numerous other indicators that unconstrained industry, individual over-consumption, and government intransigence are pushing the Earth towards ecological and social collapse.

It remains an unanswered question whether democratic capitalism can address spiraling collapse of key global ecosystems, or feed the world's one billion chronically hungry. Global leaders are failing dramatically to provide the leadership necessary to address the myriad of interconnected issues that threaten the Earth and all its inhabitants. Survival of the Earth may well depend upon a peaceful Earth Revolution that overthrows the whole stinking, inequitable, unjust and unsustainable political and social order.

The sky is falling! What could threaten global security and prosperity more than dead oceans and forests, soaring and unpredictable temperatures, lack of potable water and billions of desperately poor people encircling a few bastions of ethically depauperate and militarized over-consumers?

Tasmanian Mayhem as Australia's Ancient Forests Chipped to Make Cardboard

Tasmania, Australia's ancient forests, which contain the world's tallest hardwood trees, some more than 400 years old, are being turned into wood chips and shipped to Japan to make cardboard. This can be added to the environmental tragedies - listed in my recent diatribe - that are contributing to global ecological collapse. Not only is clearcutting old-growth hardwood destructive and wasteful - it is Evil, Stupid and Deadly. These forests regulate climate, cycle water, contain innumerable species and genes, and contribute immeasurably to global ecological sustainability. Australia's callous treatment of its ecological heritage - and Japan's complicity in their use - is shocking and revolting. The article below updates our earlier efforts to support those putting their lives on the line to protect Australia's ancient forests - see
http://weblog.greenpeace.org/tasmania/ for more information.

P.S. I pledge to continue speaking eco-truth to power - whether it seems intemperate, lacking in objectivity, or leads to feelings of hopelessness. From truth comes hope informed by knowledge necessary to craft solutions.

March 25, 2004

Uranium Mine in Australian National Park Leaking

Prior to opening of the Range mine in Australia's Kakadu National Park, expert after expert assured the public that new mining methods made mining in a special protected area possible. We now see the lie as radioactivity is in the water. Oil production and mining are anethema to landscape sustainability.

ENN News Story - Uranium mine in Australian national park is closed after uranium is detected in water supply

A uranium mine in the middle of a pristine heritage-listed national park in northern Australia was temporarily shut down Wednesday after tests revealed increased levels of uranium in its water supply, the mine's operator announced.

Toxic Texan to Log America's Last Old-Growth

President Bush has opened up America's last much reduced old-growth forests to increased logging. He has eliminated protections for endangered species as a response to forest fires, which are largely natural, though exacerbated by past overly intensive management and climate change. Allowing logging of America's last ancient forests caps a record setting month of environmental rollbacks that included ensuring mercury continues to enter our air and water and gutting funding for National Parks. Such actions have deservedly earned the President the moniker of "Toxic Texan".

The Toxic Texan, and the oil oligarchy cabal that props him up, epitomize the dangerous American ideal that economies and political stability are distinct from natural ecological systems. America's perpetuation of an empty and illusory
worldview - that gluttonous consumption of resources is a desirable lifestyle - threatens the very basis of biological life. The old-growth forests that will now surely be logged are some of the last vestiges of non-human structured natural
ecosystems found in America. They contain evolutionary, ecological and genetic knowledge and processes that are irreplaceable - indeed priceless.

Ancient forest cathedrals bursting with pure and vibrant life are to be made into throw away consumer items. This is pure and unadulterated evil. While no political party has yet enunciated a compelling message adequate to pursue and achieve environmental sustainability - it is imperative that the Toxic Texan's reign of ecocide and ecoterror end as soon as possible - if only to slow the damage and buy humanity time to reform its ways.

March 17, 2004

ANWR Oil and Continued Foreign Oil Imports

We can deal with our nation's oil dependency now, while there are still a few large, healthy and intact natural habitats remaining; or we can drill and open with roads every last wild area on the Earth before we make the necessary moves into renewable energy and conservation. The longer we wait the more at risk we are from oil financed fanatics, the more our children suffer from childhood asthma, and the more big oil rules our government. Break the habit - park your car, develop a lifestyle built around walking. And for god sakes, vote to get the Oil Bomber out of office.

MSNBC - Study: ANWR oil would have little impact

Opening an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil development would only slightly reduce America%u2019s dependence on imports and would lower oil prices by less than 50 cents a barrel, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Energy Department.

March 16, 2004

Why We Campaign: Remembering Easter Island and Species We Have Lost

Biological life and ecological processes, the bedrock of human existence, are being recklessly destroyed. Evidence abounds regarding human impact upon life and the global ecological system. Historically we know that Easter Island was transformed by humans from a lush, diverse habitat into a depauperate ecosystem. Easter Islands represents an extreme example of forest destruction - including starvation and crashing populations as plant and animal materials required for life were no longer available. This process is repeating itself across the globe as natural habitat is lost and diminished everywhere it exists and there is a buck to be made doing so. Ecologists inform us that one in eight of the world's bird species are threatened with extinction and several hundred are already gone forever. Birds are recognized as "indicator species" meaning what happens to them now is likely to happen to other forms of life later. The fate of Easter Island and the World's birds indicates "a fundamental flaw in the way that we treat our environment" that threatens the existence of innumerable species including our own. The Earth is dying at our hand. As go the trees and the birds shall go the humans. This is why we campaign for sustainable, just and equitable ways of living - and against the horrors of the natural resource fed global growth machine.

March 12, 2004

The Politics of Timber Theft in America

Forest crime is rampant worldwide. Illegal and ill-conceived harvest of dwindling natural habitats decimates species, ecosystems and human potential. One would think that the United States would have the resources and management structures to combat forest crime. However, it is estimated that annually more than 10% of all trees cut in America's national forests are stolen, hundreds of thousands of trees valued at more than $100 million. Most of this illegal harvest is done by timber companies deliberately logging outside of timber sale boundaries, or cutting live trees during post-fire salvage logging. Yet the U.S. Forest Service, and both the Clinton and Bush Administrations, have consistently sought to cover up the extent of the problem, stonewalling policies to properly police political cronies such as Weyerhaeuser. America's ecological sustainability is being devastated as big resource companies run American government and hence run roughshod over most of the World's ecosystems and peoples. Planetary survival depends upon stopping this resource driven growth machine and embracing an era of ecological restoration and conservation.

March 9, 2004

Bird Populations Threatened Globally

As go the birds, so go the humans...

Planet Ark : Study highlights global threats to bird populations

A new report by BirdLife International says more than 1,000 of the world's birds face extinction and that agricultural expansion in Africa and unsustainable forestry in the tropics pose grave threats.

March 8, 2004

Bush Claims He Is a Green

If you say something long enough and with authority, than certainly it is so, right? A government program called "Healthy Forests" presumably must be concerned with healthy forests, and "Clean Skies" is about, well, clear skies. And if Bush says he is "green" than he must be. Right? Either that or he is a psychopathic liar that will say or do anything to hold onto power on behalf of the energy oligarchy running the country - including unspeakable crimes against the Planet and humanity. I am convinced it is the latter. Bush has trashed the environment through hundreds of regressive policies. He is an environmental terrorist.

March 3, 2004

The Sixth Great Extinction: A Status Report

Humanity is moving toward a massive extinction event, uniquely caused by the activities of a single species. The "Extinction Status Report" by the Earth Policy Institute provides a marvelous overview to these issues; as well as justification for the existence of Forests.org's network, and its commitment to ecological science based forest conservation advocacy in defense of the Earth and all its life.

Each year the earth's forest cover shrinks by 16 million hectares (40 million acres), with most of the loss occurring in tropical forests, where levels of biodiversity are high. The average extinction rate is now some 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the rate that prevailed over the past 60 million years. The greatest threat to the world's living creatures is the degradation and destruction of habitat, affecting 9 out of 10 threatened species. Humans have transformed nearly half of the planet's ice-free land areas, seriously impacting the rest of nature.

Healthy ecosystems make human and all life possible - including supplying air, filtering drinking water, and providing humanity with food, medicine, and shelter. When ecosystems lose biological richness, they become less resilient and more susceptible to the effects of climate change, invasions of alien species, and other disturbances.

Habitat destruction must be halted, widespread ecological restoration initiated and climate change slowed it order to stop and reverse weakening of the life-support systems we all depend on. The quest for environmental sustainability is the challenge of our time. Let us all recommit to growing and increasing the effectiveness of our movement.

March 2, 2004

Greater Scrutiny of Illegal Logging

The era of forest conservation appeasement must end. Efforts by big environmental groups to greenwash first time logging of primary forests is too little too late. Given lack of capacity in tropical countries, there will never be a way to distinguish between illegal and relatively less damaging logging of primary forests. Forests.org calls upon the WWFs of the world to stop promoting industrial logging of natural forests.

European timber suppliers, paper companies and publishers face increasing scrutiny over the sources of their wood and paper after Greenpeace yesterday pledged an "accelerating" campaign against illegally-logged timber, with particular concern about Indonesia.

February 26, 2004

Reject Malaysia's Attempts to Greenwash its Timber Practices

Malaysia is the world's largest exporter of tropical timber. Logging in Malaysia far surpasses sustainable levels, and years of over- logging have seriously harmed their rainforests and indigenous peoples. Malaysia lost 2.7 million hectares of forest during the 1990s, 13.4 per cent of the country's forest area. A further "legal" deforestation of 3.9 million hectares is planned. Past criticisms of Malaysia's timber industry have made their government very sensitive to demands in the Western markets for sustainable timber products. In response, Malaysia has set up a certification scheme called the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC).

MTCC does not respect basic rights of indigenous peoples and forest based communities, and is widely criticized by local communities and NGOs. Logging is conducted without any meaningful consultation in forests upon which local people depend for their survival. In addition, Malaysian logging interests have repeatedly been caught laundering illegally logged Indonesian timber, and are known for their scandalous activities in other countries in which they operate.

Certification is considered one mechanism for obtaining more sustainable management of the world's forests. Until there are guarantees that indigenous peoples' rights are protected and environmentally and socially sustainable forestry is truly occurring, timbers supplied by MTCC should be rejected by all responsible governments, industry and consumers. Today, more than 4 million hectares in Malaysia are certified as "sustainably managed" by the MTCC despite these serious flaws:

* MTCC does recognize the customary tenure and user rights of indigenous peoples and local forest communities.

* MTCC criteria and indicators were developed without a consultation process, and fail to adequately safeguard social values and environmental conservation.

* MTCC certifies whole states in Peninsular Malaysia, disregarding variable practices.

* MTCC lacks a well-defined performance based standard.

A grouping of Malaysian social, environmental, and community-based groups named JOANGOHutan has repeatedly demanded changes in MTCC to ensure that the Malaysian certification scheme can be considered credible. As their concerns were ignored, they have withdrawn from the process. The JOANGOHutan network calls for a moratorium on logging in primary forests and in areas where indigenous peoples are asserting their native rights to land.

JOANGOHutan explains: "The MTCC timber certification scheme cannot protect and guarantee the interest and rights of indigenous peoples. MTCC cannot also guarantee the health of the forest... the MTCC is structured to find ways to sell our timber while we are mandated to protect our forests and to secure the livelihoods and interests of indigenous peoples and local communities who live in, depend on and derive their spiritual and cultural identity from the forests."

There are many examples of abusive and illegal practices occurring in forest management activities that are certified by MTCC as environmentally and socially friendly. In May 2003, 14 villagers from a Temuan indigenous community were arrested when they tried to stop a logging company from carrying out its work on their ancestral land in Pahang. The encroachment on indigenous land took place although Pahang has been certified by MTCC since 2001. Recently the governing party of Malaysia was responsible for illegal logging and the clearcutting of 4000 hectares of virgin peat swamp forest in the state of Pahang - another example of "certified" timber.

MTCC has worked hard to gain acceptance for their forest products from the European market. Denmark is the first European country to officially accept MTCC as "a good guarantee of legal forest management, on its way towards becoming sustainable" in their tropical timber purchasing guidelines. The EU Commission, European national governments and cities in Germany and the Netherlands, such as Hamburg and Amsterdam, have also been approached by the Malaysian government and the country's timber industry, with the aim of having MTCC accepted as a credible certification scheme.

Whether MTCC standards are deemed acceptable has implications not only for forestry in Malaysia, but also for the future of forest certification around the world. Accepting MTCC would undermine the rights of indigenous peoples and sustainable forestry in Malaysia. Further, it would indicate globally that certified forestry remains exploitative and unsustainable business as usual, and is essentially meaningless in terms of forest conservation.

February 25, 2004

Again, an Assault on Alaska

Have these people no shame? When the Earth is reduced to a smoldering waste heap - its once bountiful biology and ecology destroyed - may those responsible rot in hell.

Again, an Assault on Alaska

If at first you don't succeed in despoiling an environmental treasure, try, try again. That's apparently the White House motto for drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

February 23, 2004

Papua New Guinea Log Exports Plunge

Hmm... Think our movement's 15 years of campaigning to conserve Papua New Guinea's rainforests has had any impact? I think it is highly likely.

PNG minister defends Malaysian logging firm after blast from Greenpeace

Log exports from PNG, which are mainly shipped to China, Japan and South Korea, have plunged in value from around 480 million US dollars in 1993 to around 100 million dollars last year.

February 20, 2004

WWF Pulls Out of Indonesian Logging Project

Could it be true? Could WWF be stopping its role as green apologist to commercial logging of ancient forests? It is unconscionable that WWF even considered supporting intensive logging of hundreds of thousands of hectares of Indonesian rainforest.

WWF opts out of Indonesian pulp project

WWF, the conservation organisation, has withdrawn from a controversial project to help clean up the environmental practices of Indonesia's largest pulp and paper producer - a move that could see the company lose hundreds of millions in sales in Europe, Japan and the US.

ALERT: Wake Up Weyerhaeuser: Protect Forests Now!

TAKE ACTION @ the Rainforest Action Network:
Wake up Weyerhaeuser by expressing your opposition to destructive logging

The Rainforest Action Network has launched an international campaign to transform logging giant Weyerhaeuser's environmental polices, described as "the number one destroyer of old-growth forests in North America". This follows close upon RAN et al's recent successes in getting Boise Cascade Corporation to withdraw from old-growth forests in the United States and adopt a plan to exit endangered forests worldwide. Weyerhaeuser still logs in Canada's primary forests and imports products from around the world that come from primary and other endangered forests. Forests.org joins RAN in calling for a complete, immediate and absolute moratorium on logging in so-called first-growth forests, forestland that has never been commercially logged. More information on RAN's "Wake Up Weyerhauser" campaign can be found here.

February 19, 2004

Indonesia Calls for Ban on Malaysian Timber

No less a party than Indonesia has joined in the condemnation of Malaysia's involvement in illegal logging - demanding that Malaysian lumber be boycotted. Forests.org is in complete agreement and joins Indonesia's plea that Malaysia cease its support of illegal and environmentally damaging logging practices.

Yahoo! News - Indonesia defends its call for Malaysia timber ban

Indonesia appealed for Malaysia's help in combating the trade in illegal timber from its forests and defended its call for a ban on Malaysian lumber in Europe.

February 15, 2004

Malaysian Timber Industry Misconduct: Express Shock, Support Boycott

Malaysian timber cartels threaten the existence of most of the World's remaining primary rainforests through predatory logging and marketing of illegal timber. Described as "robber barons", Malaysian timber interests and their government apologists trample upon human rights, national sovereignty, the rule of law, and biodiversity and ecosystems. Hypocritically, Malaysia is now hosting the "Conference of Parties" to the Biodiversity Treaty, charged with finding solutions to biodiversity and forest loss.


Only twenty percent of the Earth's original forest cover remains as large intact areas, with more than a third of these under threat. Malaysian logging interests have gained notoriety as the most aggressive and damaging industrial loggers of ancient forests. An example is Rimbunan Hijau of Malaysia which has been exposed as one of the major players in global forest crime. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), Malaysian logging companies routinely resort to corruption and human rights abuses to carry out environmentally and socially damaging first time industrial logging of ancient primary forests. Illegal trade in ramin enabled by Malaysian timber interests threatens some of Indonesia's last remaining national parks and endangered species including orangutans and the Sumatran tiger.

Demand that the Malaysian government cease its obstruction of efforts to conserve, preserve and sustainably use forest biodiversity. Insist Malaysia commit to eradicating illegal logging and related trade, and respect of indigenous rights in Malaysia and worldwide. Call upon the Malaysian government to use their hosting of the meeting to galvanize a specific, adequately funded and time-bound agenda to end deforestation and degradation of forests and biodiversity. Let Malaysia's government know that failure to do so will mean a boycott of Malaysian products and travel.

February 13, 2004

World Bank to Carve Up Congo's Rainforests

The World Bank is stealthily seeking to increase logging by sixty times in the world's second largest intact rainforests, much of which are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Internal World Bank documents obtained by the Rainforest Foundation reveal that the bank, together with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), intends to "create a favorable climate for industrial logging" by supporting the development of comprehensive new forestry laws in the Congo, as well as the 'zoning' of the country's entire forest area. More than 100 environment, development, and human rights groups in the Congo have called on the World Bank to stop these plans, and Forests.org asks you to do likewise above.

A sixty-fold increase in logging! First time logging of tens of millions of hectares of Congo's rainforest - harvesting millions of years of evolutionary history with unmatched ecological brilliance to make consumer products for the rich - all
facilitated with your tax dollars, contributions to large environmental groups (see below) and consumer choices.


There is no longer any doubt regarding the basis of the World Bank's interest in "rainforest conservation". Their flowery sustainable forestry rhetoric found in their recently revamped forest sector policy and elsewhere provides cover for efforts by the global economic growth machine to gain access to the World's remaining ancient forests. According to the World Bank and their environmental apologists, multi-national corporations logging the World's remaining large primary forests is forest conservation. Such polices are the result of ancient advisors preaching dated and failed conservation dogma. Hello?! Anyone at the bank that matters heard of conservation biology or landscape ecology?

The role of corporate conservation conglomerates acting as commercial logging apologists for the World Bank must be noted. The World Wildlife Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society are providing cover for the World Bank's assault on ancient forests - resulting in more extinction, ecosystem collapse and indigenous human rights violations - not less. They are greenwashing the final demise of wild rainforests from the Earth for a few bucks from da man.

Forests.org calls upon all environmental groups to clarify their positions regarding industrial scale logging in the World's remaining primary forests. Those that support expansion of commercial logging in ancient forests, take money from the World Bank while it seeks to increase such logging, or are agnostic on the question, deserve to be boycotted as assuredly as the timber companies doing the actual harvesting. Even dark green groups such as Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace must realize you can not have it both ways - seeking protection of ancient forests while supporting certified commercial logging in primary forests.

It is time to choose sides and espouse a consistent forest conservation vision. I would suggest forest conservation advocacy should focus upon strict protection of most primary forests, restoration of adjoining areas, and small scale community based eco-forestry where logging is a social requirement.

Please call on the World Bank to immediately halt plans for the expansion of industrial logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Insist that instead they support the strengthening of the rights of people living in the forest, and to ensure that strict safeguards are put in place to protect the forest and environment, or else cease their activities in the forest sector worldwide. Please use the background materials below to organize your own campaigns, and sign the Rainforest Foundation's petition.

February 8, 2004

Support Creation of Maine North Woods National Park

A message of hope is emerging from Maine's northern forests, as a major new U.S. National Park - Maine North Woods National Park - is proposed for its expansive forests. The window of opportunity in Maine is short and the need to move for strict long-term protection is now.

America and other overdeveloped countries have deeply overshot the amount of land that can be developed without adverse ecological impacts - including droughts, soil erosion, increased fire frequency and intensity, increased threat from emergent diseases, and other symptoms of sick land. Over emphasis upon reckless development and intensive management of natural habitats - reducing wild nature to a few small "protected areas" - can and must be stopped and reversed.

There are still opportunities across America and the World to preserve and restore the vast tracts of intact habitat necessary for the sustainable existence of most species including humans. Anyone that drinks water, breathes or eats must acknowledge the importance of large-scale forest protection. The most massive tasks to ever face humanity loom before us - restoring overdeveloped landscapes and finding ways to protect remaining large habitats before they too become fragmented and weak.

Increased large and connected protected areas embedded within a framework of productive lands under conservation management are a prerequisite for human survival. Both Muir and Pinchot were correct - we need protected AND conserved lands. However it is clear that protection on the scale necessary to ecologically sustain land has lagged.

Proposals such as a Maine North Woods National Park begin to redress this imbalance. Please request that the National Park Service complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the possibility of establishing a new 3.2 million acre Maine Woods National Park and Preserve surrounding Baxter State Park in north-central Maine. This is in support the campaign of RESTORE: The North Woods.

The era of restoration ecology and economy is upon us. It is incumbent upon humanity that the will be found to let major parts of the land rest, and society learn to live as if humanity is forever.

February 6, 2004

New Jersey Farmers Get $100 Million to Safeguard Water

New Jersey is getting it right on water, adopting rules that will place 300 foot buffers around more than 6,000 miles of waterways - the most comprehensive water protections in the nation. And they are providing financing for doing so through establishment of trees, shrubs, vegetative strips used to filter water, contour grass strips and grass waterways.

Plants Give Up Their Secret of Splitting Water

One of the major hurdles in development of hydrogen based energy systems is the enormous amount of energy required to split water molecules in order to produce hydrogen. Under current systems, this energy is likely to come from coal burning or nuclear power plants, greatly reducing their environmental benefits. Not suprisingly given our utter dependence upon plants for life, researchers are finding that plant's ability to break water into oxygen and hydrogen is amazingly efficient. Perhaps this will serve as a model for developing processes to more efficiently and cleanly produce hydrogen.

Researchers said Thursday they had taken another step toward understanding how plants split water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms, which may provide a cheap way to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel.

Malaysian Robber Barons a Primary Threat to World's Biodiversity

Malaysia to Host Biodiversity Conference as Concern Mounts Regarding Conduct of Its Timber Industry

Malaysia's timber cartels are destroying many of the World's remaining primary forests - particularly rainforests - through predatory logging and marketing of illegal timber. These robber barons are doing so in a way that tramples upon human rights, national sovereignty, the rule of law, and biodiversity and ecosystems. Against this background, Malaysia is set to host the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity next week (frequently referred to as the "Biodiversity Treaty").

The illegal and highly ecologically damaging conduct of the Malaysian timber industry is justifiably drawing a lot of attention. As Forests.org has been amongst the first to highlight to the international community over past years, new reports on the eve of the Biodiversity meeting illustrate the degree to which Malaysia's timber industry and government are responsible for threats upon the world's remaining large and biodiversity rich primary forests.


A new report by Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Telapak (local Indonesian group) highlights the degree to which illegal trade in ramin - largely enabled by Malaysian timber interests - is threatening some of Indonesia's last remaining national parks and scores of the world's endangered species, including orang-utans and the Sumatran tiger. It is alleged that the Malaysian government is permitting and perhaps facilitating this illegal trade.

Greenpeace's new report entitled "The Untouchables" states that in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Malaysian logging companies routinely resort to corruption, payoffs, human rights abuses - and occasionally even condone torture and rape - all in order to carry out extremely environmentally and socially damaging ancient forest liquidation. Rimbunan Hijau of Malaysia, which dominates PNG's timber industry and politics, is exposed as one of the major players in global forest crime.

These reports highlight the degree to which global trade in illegal and destructively logged timber from the Earth's last fully intact and operable forest ecosystems is out of control. While Malaysian timber interests bear much of the responsibility for unlawful access to forest resources, environmental damage and forest destruction, human rights abuses and social dislocation of forest-dwelling peoples in some of the poorest areas of the world, one must not forget these activities are ultimately driven by those who buy timber and timber products from illegal sources.

Mirroring Forests.org's dark green forest conservation message of the past decade, Greenpeace states: "Twenty percent of the Earth's original forest cover remains as large intact areas, with more than a third of these under threat. Industrial-scale logging poses the single largest menace to the forests' survival. Across the globe, transnational corporations continue to operate destructively, and often outside of the law, as they harvest the world's last remaining accessible forest resources."

Predatory logging by Malaysian companies, and the failure of their government to stop it, threatens "the diversity of life on Earth that provides the natural services we need for our health and well being. Those services include things like cleaning our air and water, maintaining fertile soils, and stabilizing our climate", as discussed by David Suzuki below.

For the Biodiversity meeting to be successful, it is critical that nations move beyond assessing the damage, and act to slow and reverse habitat loss and degradation through pursuit of a specific, adequately funded and time-bound agenda. Crimes against forests and their biodiversity are an important and visible, and thus relatively easy to address, component of biodiversity loss. For the meeting to achieve actual biodiversity conservation outcomes, member nations must be compelled to shut down their rogue loggers and markets for their ill-gotten products.

Forests.org was one of the first organizations to highlight the threat to the World's rainforest poised by renegade Malaysian loggers, and continues to consistently offer a "dark green" vision of ending industrial logging in the world's remaining primary ancient forests. The barbarous treatment by Malaysian logging robber barons of ancient forests and indigenous cultures are acts of global ecocide and genocide and must be confronted. Forests.org looks forward to continuing to do so, particularly in the coming weeks, and hope you will join us. More next week...
g.b.

New Report Referred to Above:

Profiting from Plunder: How Malaysia Smuggles Endangered Wood

February 4, 2004

Risk Doesn't Deter Growth in Fire-Prone Areas

Most forests in the Western United States have evolved with natural fire disturbance. The perceived severity of recent fires has been exacerbated primarily by growth in residential development, climate change and past fire suppression. Despite the risk of fire, these areas continue to experience massive residential growth. Does this justify turning to industrial logging free of environmental controls in order to protect these homes? I would suggest that choosing to live in fire-prone areas entails taking responsibility to protect your own property and to live with rather than try to artificially suppress fires from which baby forests are born.

February 1, 2004

Bush's War in the Woods: Resistance Is Fertile

The Orwellian "Healthy Forests Initiative" threatens 70 percent of America's publicly owned forests with logging without meaningful environmental protections. One would think that forests had never burned before, and that before there was industrial logging forests were unhealthy. The policy resulted from President Bush's resource industry oligarchy in collusion with Democrats and Republicans, and continued ineffectual opposition by mainstream corporate greens.

The Counterpunch article entitled Bush's Second Front: The War in the Woods: Resistance is Fertile outlines resurgence in grassroots forest advocacy - really the only hope for the World's forests. From Virginia to Oregon, citizen activism on behalf of America's forests is alive and fertile. 100% of America's proposed new timber sales are being monitored by grassroots forests conservationists. The author concludes, "[a]ll the pieces are in place for a spirited and successful defense... It's now or never for many of these public-owned forests and the species dependent upon them. The time is long overdue for a moratorium on any logging on public lands." Pick an effort and join in!

January 30, 2004

Belize Dam that Floods Rainforests Given Go Ahead

Rainforests are priceless repositories of ecological and evolutionary brilliance. Yet major tracts of Belize's rainforests are to be flooded for cheap electricity. Such development threatens global, regional and local environmental sustainability, and is tantamount to ecocide.

Privy Council Rules Flawed Belize Dam Can Be Built

A high court in London Thursday decided the fate of a rainforest valley in the Central American nation of Belize inhabited by endangered jaguars, tapirs and scarlet macaws. Ruling in the first environmental case it has ever considered, the Privy Council decided that a hydroelectric dam may be built that will flood the valley over the opposition of environmental groups and business owners who sued to stop the dam construction.

January 29, 2004

Insect Attacks May Benefit Colorado Forests

Forests change. Disturbance including insects and fires are frequently part of the regenerative process. Rarely is it possible or desirable to maintain a forest at some seemingly idyllic stage of succession. Forest health - including services provided such as water - require managing to maintain natural processes. In the overgrown western U.S., fires and insects are resetting the system in response to years of fire suppression and changing climate. They are doing so in a way that will lead to adaptive and renewed forests, with far improved outcomes than logging could ever hope to achieve. Bush's "Forest Health" initiative will only exacerbate the negative situation. These forests are still extensive and large enough that letting them be is the best forest health prescription.

Yahoo! News - Insect Attacks May Benefit Colo. Forests

The unprecedented insect outbreak ravaging Colorado forests may eventually result in thriving hillsides of aspen, improved stream flows and attractive habitat for the lynx and showshoe hare, a new report says.

January 27, 2004

Global Warming Tipping Point Close?

As humans envelope nature and impact climatic processes, there is no guarantee change will be even and predictable. As ecosystems change, they may reach a tipping point, whereby there is rapid movement to a new relatively steady state. The massiveness and rapidity of human influence upon the atmosphere may well lead to dramatic changes in climate that threaten civilization. Precautions are warranted.

Fortune.com - Technology - The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare

Global warming, rather than causing gradual, centuries-spanning change, may be pushing the climate to a tipping point. Growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less than a decade%u2014like a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over. Scientists don't know how close the system is to a critical threshold. But abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant future. If it does, the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societies%u2014thereby upsetting the geopolitical balance of power.

January 26, 2004

Wolves and the Yellowstone Ecosystem

Top predators are a vital part of an ecosystem, exerting top-down regulation upon the entire system. Ecological sustainability requires reintegrating predators into ecosystems, which necessitates large blocks of habitats adequate to meet their range requirements. The era of ecological restoration is upon us.

New Predator in Yellowstone Reshapes Park's Entire Ecosystem (washingtonpost.com)
Wolves, it turns out, constitute a "keystone species" that is reshaping an entire ecosystem in ways not foreseen when researchers began a crossed-fingers experiment in wildlife preservation.

January 23, 2004

Citigroup Succumbs to 'Green' Campaign - Outlines New Environmental Policies

The world's largest private financial institution, Citigroup, has signed on to a comprehensive environmental policy that sets a new industry standard in regard to funding of projects that might have an impact on sensitive ecosystems, logging, indigenous areas and climate change. Under the agreement Citigroup will not fund commercial logging in tropical rainforests, setting an important precedent and making it the only private U.S. bank to recognize the urgent need to protect such areas from industrial development (something even the World Bank has refused to acknowledge).


I agree with the Rainforest Action Network, the leader of the campaign that brought about this policy change, that "this moment marks a milestone in the worldwide movement to stop global warming and deforestation". Forests.org along with many dozens of organizations rallied to support RAN's campaign through information distribution and replying to action alerts. We should all savor this positive announcement, while realizing ultimate success will depend upon monitoring implementation, expansion to the rest of the industry (already a RAN campaign goal) and addressing some remaining areas of concern.

The WorldTwitch bird site at http://worldtwitch.com/citigroup.htm notes the new initiatives will be a positive development only if they are strengthened before becoming the industry standard, and that in their current form, many ongoing harmful projects would pass muster. Citigroup's new environmental initiatives do not provide for withdrawal from environmentally unsound projects already underway, nor do they provide any measures to ameliorate the injuries caused by past financing. A major first test regarding how the policy will impact new lending will be whether Citigroup participates in financing the controversial Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline project to bring oil from Azerbaijan to Turkey's Mediterranean coast, which threatens several ecologically sensitive areas while contributing to global warming.

Nonetheless, a strong message of hope and ecological sustainability has gone out to the World: financing liquidation of the Earth's most valuable natural assets for short-term profit for a few, at a long-term cost to the world, is no longer acceptable. You can take that to the Bank - and that is exactly what we have done!

January 21, 2004

Earth Entering Uncharted Waters - Humans Overtake Nature as Dominant Force

The Earth has entered a new era, the so-called Anthropocene, whereby humans are a significant and sometimes dominating environmental force. Human activities now significantly impact the planet and how it functions - including atmospheric composition, land cover, marine ecosystems, coastal zones, freshwater systems and global biological diversity. The Earth is a well-connected system, and these simultaneous changes are reinforcing each other. And the magnitude and speed of change in many of the Earth's systems is without precedent. So write four prominent environmentalists in commentary linked here.

The writers believe humanity may cross some critical thresholds unawares, setting off changes which cannot be reversed. They argue for a precautionary approach, partly because natural systems can flip very rapidly from one stable state to another.

January 20, 2004

Killing Rainforests to Fight Drugs

Rather than working to keep our own kids off drugs, lets fumigate South American kids and their environment - including the most biodiverse rainforests on the Earth. The war on drugs has become an extension of the Bush administration's war on the Earth.

ENN News Story - U.S. is accused of risking lives with campaign against drugs in Latin America

The United States is putting civilians at risk by backing the fumigation of vast areas of Ecuador and Colombia with deadly chemicals in its fight against drug traffickers and guerrillas, Ecuador's former environment minister said Monday.

January 15, 2004

Gore Blasts Bush on Environment

The duly elected President of the United States has blasted the right-wing court coup appointed Bush administration for environmental neglect, echoing many of the themes presented here over past years.

Environment News Service (ENS)

Former Vice President Al Gore today slammed President George W. Bush's environmental record and described Bush as a "moral coward" willing to undermine the public interest in order to appease his financial contributors. Gore told a Manhattan audience the Bush administration is pursuing "radical changes that reverse a century of American policy designed to protect our natural resources."

Forests and Lakes Connected

Whenever one starts observing an ecosystem, it quickly becomes apparent that most ecological systems are connected to various degrees with all others. Links between terrestrial ecosystems and climate - signifying exchange of nutrients and energy - have been known for some time. A recent study partly carried out at my own University of Wisconsin has found lakes are intimately integrated with surrounding ecosystems. It is good to see this scientific reinforcement of what any good "dark green" knows by ecological intuition. All of being is connected. Each species loss or ecosystem diminishment diminishes not only the whole, but also coupled parts. The ecological fabric of being is fraying - dangerously so for all creatures that depend upon each other. It is the task of our age to reverse these trends and mend the Earth.

JS Online: Study links lakes to ecosystem

Lakes are not isolated communities. Instead, they require input - in the form of carbon - from the grasses, trees and plants surrounding them.

January 14, 2004

Planting of Biotech Crops Sees Sharp Growth

With some 18% of the world's crops now genetically modified, the World has embarked upon a global experiment with broad implications. Once again wholesale implementation of a scientific discovery divorced largely from social, economic and ecological factors is occuring. It is yet to be seen to what degree genetic pollution, highly invasive super weeds, adverse health impacts and further commercialization of local food supplies will undermine traditional agricultural, ecological and social systems. They are certain to do so, and as with the green revolution, put off population constraints but not remove them. Along with wholesale activities which promote climate change and biodiversity loss, embracement of genetic modification of our food represents a form of russian roullette, whereby traditional options such as known climate patterns and plant stocks are foreclosed without knowing all the facts. I prefer organic foods - I know them.

MSNBC - Report: Biotech crops see sharp growth

Genetically engineered crop plantings increased 15 percent last year despite continued consumer resistance in Europe and elsewhere, according to a group that promotes use of the technology in poor countries.

January 9, 2004

US Climate Policy Bigger Threat to World Than Terrorism

Let us be clear, President Bush is an eco-terrorist.

News

Tony Blair's chief scientist has launched a withering attack on President George Bush for failing to tackle climate change, which he says is more serious than terrorism.

January 8, 2004

Climate Change + Habitat Loss = Mass Extinction (And perhaps the collapse of human civilization)

A study (and 2) in the recent edition of the science journal "Nature" predicts that by 2050 global warming will result in more than a third of the world's wildlife going extinct, and a slightly lower percentage of plants. The mid-range projection is that 24 percent of all species will become extinct, and under maximum expected climate change, 35 percent of all land species are expected to be lost. The researchers made these estimates by modeling future populations of 1,103 types of native plants, birds, butterflies, frogs and other animals in biological hotspots accounting for about 20 percent of the Earth's surface.

Synergy between climate change and increasing habitat loss (already known to be the largest single threat to species and emergent ecosystem processes) is likely to devastate the ability of species to move and thus survive changing conditions. Human modified habitat is too fragmented to allow for migration of species to suitable habitat, and the Planet is warming orders of magnitude faster than ever before. Massive loss of species will affect entire ecosystems, in many cases leading to loss of whole species assemblages and even ecological collapse as once fertile lands become wastelands.

Earth is on the leading edge of a mass extinction event. Synergistic effects of human over-use of the biosphere threaten the very existence of ecosystems necessary for all life and thus human civilizations. Hope remains - but time is of the essence. Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced dramatically, necessitating a rapid shift to cleaner energy sources and simpler ways of living. Conservation strategies must focus more upon establishing spatially extensive (large and connected) conservation areas composed of strictly protected natural habitats, massive restoration and remediation areas, and widespread community-based sustainable management.

Humanity will be called upon to adapt, including fostering a sense of "enoughness" in the World's super-consumers, while equitably and justly sharing the fruits of the Earth. These are the challenges of our time. Below are a sampling of articles to be found on the matter at http://www.climateark.org/news/ . I expect the fight for Planetary survival to be won, as global citizenry mobilizes to reduce their environmental impact, while demanding that their leaders lead. Fight the good fight.

January 7, 2004

America Sells Environment to Resource Oligarchs

America and the World's environment is being sold to fat-cat energy and extractive resource oligarchs. And Americans are too self-absorbed with real and imagined fears of terrorism to realize they are contributing to making the world much less secure by undermining global ecological sustainability. When food won't grow and there is no water one realizes the true meaning of terror.

ENN News Story - Business leaders pay to wine and dine Bush environmental policymakers

Western business executives will get to wine, dine, and golf with members of Congress and top Bush administration environmental officials at Arizona gatherings this week that start with a fund-raiser for the lawmakers.

January 6, 2004

Tropical Forest Fires and Climate

The impacts of large tropical forest fires on climate are becoming better known. Forests and climate are closely coupled, as diminishment of one leads to negative impacts on the other and so on and so on...

United Press International: Climate: Tropical forest fires worrisome

Raging wildfires across evergreen forests might generate jitters about the effect on climate change but the biggest effect from fires occurs during El Niño periods and originates in the tropics.

Contemplative Eco-Forestry

There are many ways of being with a forest...

OneWorld.net - Buddha was a Lumberjack

He's a practitioner of what he calls "contemplative eco-forestry" - a custom blend of forest ecology and Buddhism, a way to cut down trees without cutting down the forest. In fact, the primary goal of his business is to keep the forest healthy and resilient.

January 1, 2004

Endangered Species Act Turns 30 Years Old

Species are not an amenity - the are the building blocks for ecosystems upon which all life is dependent. Protecting species requires cooperation - as the article below highlights - but it also requires confrontation and perhaps even revolution. The biological fabric of life is being torn assunder. This must end and be reversed at all costs, because otherwise human civilization is finished.

CNN.com - Endangered Species Act turns 30 years old - Jan. 1, 2004

Saving UK's Seeds

British botanists are nearing their goal of saving the seeds of all UK plants. This is a testament to the ecological understanding that from seeds come life. What of their habitats and ecosystems? Are these going to be stored too? When most plants rarely exist in the wild and forests are fragmented to a portion of their pre-human extent, will humanity engineer a biosphere? Planetary well-being, human civilizations, economies and all animal life is completely and utterly dependent upon plants. I obviously have mixed feelings regarding seed banks.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | UK seeds near conservation goal

December 30, 2003

Urban Wilderness

Nature is everywhere - even in cities, and needs to be protected, nurtured and assisted to expand and recover.

Finding patches of wilderness in the city | csmonitor.com

The National Audubon Society, famous for its preserves far into the wilderness, is reversing a 100-year-old tradition with a plan to open patches of wilderness... in urban communities.

December 29, 2003

Drought, Fires and Mudslides

California's ecosystems are collapsing. Climate change induced drought, burning of fragmented and ecologically diminished forests, and mudslides on denuded hillsides is ecosystem collapse. Until humanity learns to live with and not against nature, this is only the beginning stage of ecological armaggedon.

San Bernardino County warns of more slides / Area ravaged by fires also at risk for floods during storms

December 27, 2003

Tongass Forest Travesty, Stealth Holiday Environmental Attack

The Bush administration has opened 300,000 more acres of Alaska's Tongass National Forest to road building, logging and other development - continuing a holiday tradition of stealthily announcing regressive environmental policy. The last great American temperate rainforest wilderness is to be gutted. The area being opened includes many of the forest's oldest trees coveted by the timber industry, the most valuable watersheds, as well as an extraordinary collection of wildlife. And because these acres are distributed among 50 different logging projects, the new roads required to reach them will inevitably violate even more of the forest. U.S. taxpayers will pay the bill for timber sales which will bring in less revenue than the cost of preparing the sales and building roads, and for which there is little market for the timber. "Paying to build and maintain more roads to cut more trees no one wants is suspect public policy." President Bush is an environmental extremist - liquidating America's ecosystems for the benefit of his cronies. His behavior threatens the ecological sustainability of the Earth.

December 24, 2003

First U.S. Mad Cow Case

This is a potentially major news development full of ecological cause and effect. Vast, tightly packed cattle and other livestock herds are ripe for disease. Intensive cattle ranching is clearly ecologically unsustainable on a number of criteria. I occasionally eat beef, but having grown up on a homestead where we raised our own food, long for the return to a simpler, safer era of animal husbandry. Perhaps this will help get us there (if it does not kill us first).

ENN News Story - First U.S. mad cow disease prompts ban on beef sales
The first case of deadly mad cow disease in the United States has shaken the country's $27 billion U.S. cattle industry and prompted top importers in Asia to slap bans on American beef.

December 21, 2003

Maine National Park

In addition to aesthetic and recreational services, National Parks provide critical watershed, biodiversity and other ecosystem services. Indications are that protected areas need to be a much higher percentage of the landscape if bioregional ecological sustainability is to be achieved. Maine and the nation would be well served by demonstrating large National Parks are still able to be designated in this day and age.

Boston.com / News / Local / At loggerheads over Maine woods
The subject is a proposed national park... which would encompass 3.2 million acres of the most spectacular wild area east of the Mississipppi River.

Conservation Easements

Conservation easements - whereby development rights are sold, restricting by deed some types of development - are fueling a boom in land conservation and helping to protect more than 6 million acres nationwide. "Easements have helped safeguard fragile ecosystems, critical watersheds, land bordering national parks and some of the nation's most stunning vistas." However, the following article notes proliferating problems and abuses as they gain in popularity - including use for tax evasion and failure to enforce development restrictions. It would be a shame to see this important conservation instrument lost as a result of these abuses.

Developers Find Payoff in Preservation (washingtonpost.com)

December 19, 2003

ACTION ALERT: Ecuador Indians Battle Oil Giants for Amazon

Cultural genocide and rainforest ecocide are too high of price to pay for gasoline. This is occurring in Ecuador as Indians in the Amazon fight to protect their land from marauding oil companies and elitist government officials. In the northern Ecuadorean Amazon, Indians are suing U.S. based ChevronTexaco over environmental damage they say ruined their land and made people sick. When it rains, oily pits left by Texaco continue to leak a black sludge into rivers. This and the fact that so little benefits have accrued to local communities has rightly made many of Ecuador's Indians wary of promises of "black gold". Further south, the struggle of the Sarayacu and other indigenous groups has become a flashpoint for opposition to the oil industry, as their peaceful protest marches have been violently attacked by pro-oil forces. Against this backdrop, the Ecuadorian government plans to open virtually all remaining pristine rainforests of the Southern Ecuadorian Amazon to oil companies, which is certain to lead to more indigenous conflict and environmental devastation. Rainforests of the Ecuadorean Amazon are a biological and cultural treasure to be protected at all costs. The age of reckless abandon is over - oil production in environmentally sensitive areas against the wishes of local peoples is unacceptable.

December 18, 2003

Canadian Anti-Logging Granny to Spend Holidays in Jail

Think there is nothing one person can do to save the world's biota? Think again. Around the world courageous individuals and small groups are literally laying their lifes on the line for our ecological sustainability. Join in...

CTV.ca - Anti-logging granny to spend Christmas in jail- CTV News, Shows and Sports -- Canadian Television

It will be a jailhouse Christmas for anti-logging matriarch Betty Krawczyk, who refuses to trade in her cell for a promise not to protest.

(Some of) Bush's Regressive Environmental Initiatives Foiled

The environmentally challenged Bush administration faced a number of significant setbacks this week in their relentless efforts to undermine America's environmental protections (interestingly, coinciding with civil liberty court losses, indicative of the same autocratic indifference). The administration dropped plans to reduce protection of America's wetlands, and a federal court ruled that the ban on snowmobiles in some National Parks, including Yellowstone, must move forward. And the U.S. Forest Service has decided to drop a proposal to ignore e-mails from people commenting on pending rules and regulations, which is a victory for groups such as Forests.org that use the Internet to express concerns to the government.

It does not seem like much - protecting the nation's water filtration systems, keeping National Parks free from vehicular pollution and damage, and defending free speech. After all, would you defend driving a motorbike through the National Chapel as a form of recreation? Likewise, National Parks are sacred and to be enjoyed in a non-polluting and minimally diminishing manner. In regards to wetlands, I reckon even roughneck Texans drink water. If the past is any guide, rest assured that the Bush administration will again seek to destroy both parks and water, while disregarding the public, but in a more surreptitious manner. However, it is hoped that this week's stunning victories may well represent a turning point.

Let us work to make the end of 2003 the high-point in the Toxic Texan's assault upon the Earth and all its inhabitants. This is an international issue. Given America's natural resource gluttony, and the Bush administration's imperialistic bent, America now threatens the World's environment and security more so than ever. In this spirit, I highly recommend a new web site entitled "Bush Green Watch" at http://www.bushgreenwatch.org/ which is dedicated to "Tracking the Bush Administration's Environmental Misdeeds", which already number in the hundreds. Much more information on these matters may be found on the Forest Conservation Portal at http://forests.org/america/ .

December 17, 2003

Russia Said Set to Ratify Kyoto

How ironic it would be if two victorious powers in World War II were to doom the world to ecological armaggedon by failing to ratify the Kyoto Treaty. Should Russia follow the U.S. lead they will be equally and deservedly vilified by history as eco-criminal regimes.

17/12/2003 -- EU President Says Russia Ready to Ratify Climate Protocol

European Commission President Romano Prodi today assured the world that Europe is wedded to the Kyoto climate protocol and expressed confidence that Russia will join the pact so that it can become legally binding

Bush Abandons Rollback of Wetland Protections

Could it be that the continuous assault upon the environment by the Toxic Texan has peaked - perhaps due to outrage over regressive environmental policy?

ENN News Story - Bush abandons effort to rewrite wetlands regulations
President Bush is abandoning a plan that could have further reduced wetlands protections

December 12, 2003

Clearcut Cowboy Targets Peaceful Rainforest Protest

The illegal mahogany trade has had devastating effects on the Amazon rainforest. The trade is largely driven by American demand for fancy timbers, and Greenpeace and others have protested this important link for years. In yet another brazen attempt to undermine civil liberties (under the fog of self-fulfilling perma-war), the "Clearcut Cowboy" is using an obscure "sailor mongering" law to stifle peaceful civil disobedience by Greenpeace.


The indictment is the first time a non governmental organization has been charged for free speech activities of its members. Greenpeace had been protesting entry of illegal mahogany - under U.S. law it is illegal to import mahogany that has been illegally exported. Rather than "indicting Greenpeace for blowing the whistle on illegal smuggling, our government should be intercepting the contraband and prosecuting the smugglers."

This case clearly illustrates the Bush administration's contempt for the environment and civil liberties, and misuse of power for a political vendetta. Along with the "Patriot Act", pre-emptive war, and contempt for global society and the environment - these policies hint of modern day fascism in America - properly defined as authoritarian government closely aligned with business interests.

Who will Ashcroft's army come for next? During the Nazi era and other times of evil imperial power, people often kept silent as long as they were not targeted. Bush's prosecution of Greenpeace - which threatens their non-profit status - is a "threat to all Americans (and indeed the world)... selective prosecution of a group like Greenpeace merely because the government disagrees with its point of view would set a devastating precedent." Silence in the face of Bush fascism will mean loss of liberty, resource driven war, and the death of the Earth and many of its inhabitants - including humankind. Stop Bush.

December 8, 2003

EU GMO Food Vote

Who decides which foods you eat? Governments or Individuals? Genetically modified foods seek to fix something that is not broken - further commodifying life. This can only lead to more concentration of power and more human hunger.

Planet Ark : EU gets ready for test vote on five-year GMO ban
"Food specialists from EU member states, deeply split over gene-modified (GM) foods, vote next week on a proposal to end the bloc's five-year biotech ban..."

Doctor

The revisions on my PhD were just accepted - I am a doctor!

December 6, 2003

Restoration Forestry and Ecology Trump Tree Plantations

Recent findings in climatic and biological science indicate that planted monocultural tree plantations make for biologically depauperate forests; are poor and impermanent carbon sinks; and provide few environmental, social or local economic benefits. It is also becoming apparent that given expected climatic feedbacks upon vegetation, that forests are a tenuous and potentially impermanent holder of carbon. While simply farming trees may yield relatively few ecological benefits in terms of biodiversity and climate change mitigation, the far more ambitious aspirations of restoration ecology and restoration forestry hold great potential to repair past ecological wounds and promote global ecological sustainability.

For tree planting to contribute meaningfully to climate change mitigation and biological diversity conservation, it is critical that the emphasis be upon expanding the size, connectivity and overall extent of diverse natural plant communities and their emergent ecosystem processes across landscapes. Far too much of the discussion regarding carbon sinks has revolved around promotion of industrial forest plantations. Sufficient responses to climate change (and biodiversity loss) require realization of a more ecologically rigorous vision of carbon sinks. More emphasis needs to be upon the types of restoration activities occurring in Brazil's Atlantic forests (more here).

There is no better climate policy than reducing emissions. However, to the extent that forests can sequester carbon, the most permanent and otherwise environmentally advantageous outcomes result from strictly protecting existing large, primary forests in order that their carbon remains fixed, and assisting remnants to naturally regenerate and expand. Restoration forestry seeks to wed rigorous ecological management to equitable social and sustainable economic benefits. Let us work together to usher in an era of ecological restoration marked by hope, equity, justice and sustainability.

December 4, 2003

Bush Drops Wildlife Safeguard

Yet another MAJOR environmental rollback...

New Forest-Thinning Policy Drops Safeguard for Wildlife
The Toxic Texan has "quietly adopted a rule that would expedite timber-thinning projects by removing a safeguard for endangered species..."

December 3, 2003

Bush to Sign Wildfire Bill

Let the Logging Begin!!!

Forests are burning because of climate change, past fire suppression, drought, and past intensive forest management - NOT because they need more logging. This bill is electoral policy folly and will cause even greater biological diminishment and fire in the future - mark my words.

Yahoo! News - Bush to Sign Bill to Curb Wildfire Threat

November 30, 2003

Planting Trees No Climate Strategy

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 'No solution' found in more trees

Planting trees in the Amazon to curb global warming is unlikely to work.

November 25, 2003

Senate Gives Up on Energy Legislation for This Year

A timely death for the pork laden "energy bill" (in reality corporate welfare for the energy industry) is indeed good (if temporary) news. How to wrest power from the oil oligarchy and establish that energy policy, climate change, childhood asthma, air pollution, and a good chunk of terrorism is really the same problem?

ENN News Story - Senate gives up on energy legislation for this year

The Senate dropped efforts Monday to pass energy legislation this year after repeated attempts failed to find the two additional votes needed to push the bill through Congress.

Bush's Crimes Against Nature

Its not just Forests.org railing against the Toxic Texan - here Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. takes him to task for environmental crimes.

TOMPAINE.com - Crimes Against Nature

"George W. Bush will go down in history as America's worst environmental president. In a ferocious three-year attack, the Bush administration has initiated more than 200 major rollbacks of America's environmental laws, weakening the protection of our country's air, water, public lands and wildlife..."

Logging Halted in Para, Brazil

Think you email action alerts from Forests.org do not make any difference? Read below how our campaign successfully lead to suspension of logging in one region of Para, and how the loggers are mobilizing against Greenpeace.

NDTV.com - Greenpeace activists clash with loggers

Three hundred Brazilian loggers have converged on a ship belonging to the environment group Greenpeace in a mid-river stand-off in the Amazon.

November 24, 2003

Congress Passes Forest-Thinning Bill

A massive blow has been dealt to America's prospects for achieving ecological sustainability. What a stroke of genius, mow the forests so they do not burn.

Planet Ark : Congress Passes Forest-Thinning Bill

Congress last week passed a forest-thinning bill to spend $760 million annually to prevent deadly wildfires like those that recently scorched Southern California, despite complaints from environmental groups that the measure is a giveaway to the timber industry.

November 17, 2003

12,000 Species List of the Dying

Who knows what is being lost? What marvels reside in their
genes? Their importance for the ecosystem? What a tragedy?

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Oblivion threat to 12,000 species

Another 2,000 species have been added to the annual Red List
of the world's most endangered animals and plants.

November 12, 2003

Australians Take to the Trees

Yahoo! News - Environmentalists stage 'tree-sit' to save Australian forest

Environmentalists began a treetop protest to highlight the
threat to the world's tallest hardwood trees, endangered
by logging in Australia's island state of Tasmania.

November 11, 2003

(22) How Much Nature Is Enough?

The question of our time:

(22) How Much Nature Is Enough?

November 10, 2003

Toxic Texan Leaves No Wilderness Behind

The Rocky Mountain Front in Montana is one of the last
major wilderness landscapes in continental America. As
such, it should come as no surprise that President Bush
is aggressively seeking to open these lands to oil and
gas drilling
. In August, the Bush administration told
federal land managers to remove bureaucratic and
environmental restrictions to drilling in seven Western
areas, including the Rocky Mountain Front. The Toxic
Texan's new campaign slogan might as well be "leave
no wilderness behind".

The extent to which the energy industry controls the
reigns of American government is shocking and
frightening. In addition to opening federal lands to
oil industry buddies, recent weeks have seen
roll-backs on clean air law enforcement, and an
energy policy based upon billions in subsidies to a
veritable whose-who of corporate welfare, fossil
fuel industry fatcats. America desperately needs
an energy policy that does not extinguish large,
operational ecosystems from home and abroad;
and which is forward looking, emphasizing
conservation and renewable energy. This is not
likely to occur while the oil oligarchy and military/
industrial complex are in charge. Forest
conservationists are encouraged to make oil
drilling in Rocky Mountain wilderness lands a
major campaign focus.

November 6, 2003

Asian Illegal Wildlife Trade

Is there nothing to sacred to sell?

Yahoo! News - Singapore Hub of Rising Asia Illegal Wildlife Trade
Wildlife smuggling is on the rise, say authorities in Singapore,
whose ports are increasingly used as transit points in the
shuttling of endangered animals between the United States
and tropical Asian countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam.

November 5, 2003

Indonesian Loggers Called Terrorists

Finally, they get it - logging and other environmental crimes are
indeed terrorism. But is it too late for Indonesia's rainforests?

Yahoo! News - Indonesian Loggers Called Terrorists

Indonesia's environment minister on Wednesday likened illegal
loggers to "terrorists" for rampant deforestation blamed for a
devastating flood on Sumatra island.

November 4, 2003

Wilderness an Off-Road Playground

ENN News Story - Supreme Court decision to hear wilderness case a blow to environmentalists

The Bush Wilderness Doctrine: Nature is a big dirt track
for off road vehicles.

Environmental groups suing to keep off-road vehicles off pristine
Western lands were dealt a setback Monday as the Supreme Court
agreed to consider the government's argument that the case is
invalid.

Logging Kills in Indonesia

Logging kills - in this tragic incident quickly and mercifully,
but in all instances slowly eroding the ability of the Earth
to support life.

Yahoo! News - About 170 feared dead in Indonesia flood disaster blamed on logging

About 170 people were feared dead as hopes faded of finding
alive dozens still missing after a flash flood linked to illegal
logging smashed through an Indonesian resort town.

Burn Now or Burn Worse Later

Fighting It by Letting It Burn

Mexican officials, backed by some U.S. academics, believe that
having several medium-sized brush fires in one season is
preferable to having one large brush fire that can destroy
homes and cost lives. Smaller fires burn the fuel that can
feed a large fire, they note.

November 3, 2003

"Victory" Over California Widlfires

Planet Ark : Victory Declared in Calif. Blazes, Firemen Head Home

Some victory - thanks to this human caused event, America's
forests are going to be logged to protect them.

Conservation Easements

Yahoo! News - Keeping your land undeveloped forever

Conservation easements are a fantastic method to ensure
that dwindling natural areas remain intact and indeed are
allowed to grow.

October 28, 2003

Ecuadoreans Sue U.S. Oil Giant ChevronTexaco

The U.S. petroleum giant ChevronTexaco recently went on trial in
Ecuador in a lawsuit filed on behalf of 30,000 poor Ecuadoreans
who say Texaco's 20 years of drilling poisoned their homeland.
The case may set the important precedent that foreign courts can
hold a multinational corporation financially responsible for
environmental damage in that nation. The lawsuit alleges that
Texaco cut costs and took advantage of weak Ecuadorean
environmental standards by pouring wastewater into some 350 open
pits instead of reinjecting it deep underground. The company's
waste water flowed from these unlined dirt pits into rivers and
streams that feed into the Amazon River. Local peoples are
drinking contaminated water, causing cancer and other sickness.
A favorable ruling would send an important and long overdue
message to the oil industry: adhere to the best technical
practices when they drill in the developing world as they would
in rich nations. Oil kills rainforests, decimates local
cultures, changes climate, sparks wars and is killing the Planet.

October 19, 2003

Conflict Timbers and China

Myanmar's forests are being ravaged by logging fueled by voracious
demand in China. Illegal logging of the World's last ancient
forests continues to fuel war, and social and environmental
collapse. Ill-gotten "conflict timbers" end up in a variety of
markets. China, however, with its huge appetite for timber and
deadly history of over-cutting its own forests is responsible for
much of Asia's conflict ridden illegal logging. China's widely
proclaimed concern for the environment apparently ends at its own
borders, as it imports timbers and other raw materials with little
if any concern for its origin or methods of extraction.

The articles below focus upon Burma's rich ecological heritage
being razed by autocratic madmen and opposing armies - mostly for
sale to China and Thailand. Similar situations of "conflict
timbers" financing and fueling wars can be found in Liberia,
Indonesia and to a lesser extent in many of the World's remaining
frontier forests.

Decades of reform efforts have failed - commercial logging of the
world's remaining primary and frontier forests must end - if
humanity has a chance of achieving a just, equitable and
sustainable future.

It is unethical, immoral and evil for any other than local people
using community-based eco-forestry techniques on their lands to
manage portions of the World's last great forest shrines. A good
beginning to ending such practices would be sanctions on countries
exporting and importing conflict timbers - including middle-men
such as Malaysia which benefits handsomely from illegal logging.
Predatory rainforest plundering is not development - it is evil
and may well contribute to global ecocide.

October 11, 2003

Siberian Oil Rush Threatens Vast & Globally Important Wilderness

Russia's forest expanses are the largest in the World, and are
threatened as never before by oil and timber booms. The
following article
regards the current oil rush in particular.
Oil development is occurring in Russia with virtually no
governmental oversight and massive ecological impacts as
President Putin shut down the State Committee for Environment
some time ago.

The situation in Russia is emblematic of a global crisis; as oil
development threatens to fragment and in many cases decimate the
world's last large terrestrial ecosystems - areas that harbor
most of the world's species and provide for critical global as
well as local ecosystem services. Ecological systems we all
depend upon for survival are severely impacted not only at the
point of production, but also all along the transport, refining
and consumption pipeline of the global energy infrastructure.
From oil well to gas exhaust pipe, the oil industry is killing the
Planet and its occupants, including the human family.

Humankind's addiction to oil, gas and other fossil fuels may well
be the prelude to its demise, and is intimately entwined with
seemingly unrelated crises. I have noted the quest for oil
threatens virtually all remaining globally significant wildlands.
Increasing automobile traffic and resulting road construction
continues to fragment and diminish ecosystems. Burning of fossil
fuels is leading to widespread alteration of climatic systems and
weather patterns, with largely unknown but likely horrific
consequences upon food production, water availability, forest
health, etc. Oil spills repeatedly foul oceans and water. Air
pollution continues to worsen in much of the World, leading
amongst other maladies to surging rates of childhood asthma.

Addicts are known to pursue dangerous actions to get their drug -
and this is occurring as the over-developed nations embark upon
imperial adventures to secure oil and gas resources. Largely as
a result, the security of Northern well-to-do nations is
threatened by terrorism, while paradoxically our oil expenditures
help fund these atrocities. Each of these problems is intimately
related to society's over-reliance upon fossil fuels - oil in
particular.

It is imperative that urgent measures to segue from the age of
fossil fuels to renewable energy sources commence immediately -
before the Earth's terrestrial ecosystems and atmosphere have
been damaged to such an extent that prospects for global
ecological sustainability are drastically reduced. This shift
must occur before humanity's addiction ravages the last wildlands
in order to burn and put into the atmosphere every last bit of
carbon possible. By then it may well be too late to commence the
age of ecological restoration and renewal.

Get rid of or share your car - if you must have a personal car,
get a hybrid. Arrange your life to make it convenient to take
mass transit, bike or walk to work and most of your other daily
activities. Have no time for self-defeating guilt - current
systems of transport, food production and urban design are
structurally stacked against individuals that wish to lead
reduced carbon lifestyles. Do the best you can individually
while advocating for economic, political, environmental and
social structural changes that make such lifestyles accessible to
more than the rich or saintly.


Oil kills. Not doing oil is cool. Just say no.

October 7, 2003

Challenge to Clinton-era land protection fails

In a major court victory, challenges to Clinton-era land protection have
failed - something this site worked hard to achieve.

September 29, 2003

Create World Heritage Site for New Caledonia's Plants, Reefs & Peoples

Land conditions impact water and ocean quality. One of the
richest terrestrial ecosystems in the World exists in New
Caledonia, side by side and entwined with some of the richest
coral reefs on the Planet. As are their ecological processes,
their fates are deeply entwined. Following is an alert to have
this cauldron of biological life declared a World Heritage Site.

Land and its misuse is also a primary component of climate
change, which feeds back and further degrades land, water and
oceans. Such insights lead us into macro-ecological and global
change science - a perspective from which the interplays of large
scale ecosystem types and their flows of nutrients and energy,
emerges a whole new phenomena - the global ecological system.

The elusive concept of sustainability's most meaningful aspects
are found at such spatially extensive scales. Unless we address
energy policy, over-fishing, water scarcity, forest conservation
and climate change all at once - and in an interdisciplinary way
that goes right to the heart of diagnosing the failings of human
civilization in terms of ecology, equity, justice and
sustainability - all will be lost. But the battles for global
ecological sustainability, equity and justice have only just
commenced. We shall overcome greed, ignorance and evil in order
to fashion a new World of plants and humankind in harmony.

September 12, 2003

VICTORY: The Closing of the Old-Growth Forest Frontier

After years of being the target of aggressive forest conservation
campaigns, the paper and building material company Boise has
announced
an end to the cutting and sale of old-growth forest
products. They have pledged to stop using timber from American
old-growth by 2004, to not purchase timber from "endangered
forests" elsewhere, and to drop their support of lawsuits seeking
to overturn protections for America's last roadless forest
expanses.

This is a magnificent victory for the forest conservation
movement - and the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) in particular.
Forests.org played a supporting role with thousands of others
through constant tracking and networking of information, repeated
action alerts, protests and other campaign activities. RAN is now
targeting the "dirty dozen", other companies engaged in ecologically
criminal logging practices.

The message is clear - companies will either get out of the business
of using old-growth or go out of business altogether. As a RAN
spokesperson stated: "Logging, distributing or selling endangered
forests is a barbaric, outdated practice that has entered its
endgame in the American marketplace... Any company that is still
engaged in this practice is on the wrong side of history," he said.

Logging of ancient primary and old-growth forests is a crime
against the Earth and humanity. With 80% of the world's forests
already lost or heavily fragmented and diminished, global
ecological sustainability depends urgently upon ending logging in
primary forests - a closing of the old-growth forest frontier -
embarkation upon the era of forest and ecological restoration,
and careful conservation management of regenerating natural
forests.

Always the skeptical pundit, I am concerned otherwise successful
consumer campaigns have not adequately addressed the issue of
"certified" logging in the World's remaining large, primary
forests. It must be made crystal clear - industrial scale
logging of primary forests can never be environmentally
acceptable or sustainable. Today must mark the beginning of the
end - the days of commercial scaled old-growth logging are over.

Regardless, my greatest admiration goes out to RAN, American
Lands Alliance and the National Forest Protection Alliance, who
spearheaded this campaign. And to YOU, that had no small part in
this forest conservation victory yourself - as you sent tens of
thousands of protest letters in support of old-growth forests
through Forests.org. My hat is off to you all... Good Job!

September 1, 2003

Forests Burn Making Baby Forests

Most forests burn periodically and from the ashes come new, baby
forests. In forests that have become adapted to fires, the
absence of fire for some period frequently means subsequent fires
are more severe. Thus it has been for millennia.

Forest fires are natural phenomena - you can not have one without
the other - and after even the most severe fires, forests are
renewed (remember Yellowstone?). While we have become aware that
suppression of forest fires was not a good idea, historically
there have certainly been periods of a century or longer where
climatic conditions had the same impact. And when the climate
heated up and dried out again, the forests burned more intensely.
Thus it has been for millennia.

Emperor Bush and his court assert that only heavy commercial
logging of fire-prone forests
can stop them from burning. The
now in vogue concept of logging forests to save them is yet
another mistake that will lead to even more frequent and
catastrophic forest fires. The resulting road construction,
piles of logging debris, loss of large old trees - to say nothing
of climate change - is certain to further exacerbate the problem.

Each of the areas that have burned recently in the United States
will, as Yellowstone did, recover if left to their own devices.
If they are logged for salvage, their soil is disrupted by
logging machinery, and/or roads bring grasses and exotic plants -
they very well may not recover and will be more likely to burn
unnaturally. Human beings are part of nature, and need large
natural and relatively intact ecosystems to survive. This
requires allowing for forest renewal. Thus it has been for
millennia.

Forest policy must move beyond the pathology of command and
control solutions under the false notion that humans are above
nature. The time to: 1) end logging of old-growth and primary
forests in America and worldwide
, 2) control housing sprawl in
natural forests susceptible to fires, and 3) let fires burn that
do not threaten communities while carrying out prescribed burns
and forest thinning near settlements; are all long past due.

Once again an emperor has no clothes and a proclivity for lying.
Thus it has been for millennia.

July 18, 2003

Take to the Trees & Streets: Stop Bush Ecocide and Warmongering

President George Bush is an eco-terrorist and war criminal. We
are witnessing the most environmentally and socially damaging
American Presidency ever - precisely when global ecological and
security crises require reasoned, thoughtful global vision and
leadership. Americans in particular need to decide whether they
will remain silent - as much of Germany did as Hitler sought to
rule and decimate the World. Americans and the rich World in
general must decide if they can give up a bit of their wealth -
and risk protesting America's unjust and unsustainable policies -
so others may simply live.

In response to the Bush administration's forest management
policies that are opening America's forests to the timber
industry, some of the forest conservation movement's most ardent
activists are preparing for civil disobedience - literally taking
to trees to protect our ecological heritage
. Protection of
America's roadless forests - an important symbolic precedent for
the World, by highlighting the need for spatially extensive
ecosystems for regional sustainability - continues to be undone
on the President's command. Again and again environmentalists
have pleaded with the Bush administration to protect roadless
forests, support CO2 reductions, and to generally come down on
the side of environmental sustainability.

President Bush's response? This week the Bush administration
shut down the President's email account
. Those who want to send
a message to the president must now navigate as many as nine Web
pages and fill out a form that asks if they support White House
policy. Earlier the Forest Service was commanded to disregard
email communications on rule changes.

When an imperial and unelected national leader commits
environmental, war and other crimes - shutting out the voice of
those that dissent - there is no alternative but to protest, and
protest hard. I would suggest that regressive forest and other
environmental policy, obstinately obstructing the Kyoto climate
consensus, and preemptively invading another country under false
pretenses - among other injustices - is grounds for impeachment.

Until this occurs, or regime change comes about during the next
election, those that love the Earth and its peoples must be
heard. Forests.org calls upon all right-thinking people to
support and participate in non-violent civil disobedience in
protest of unjust, unwise, unsustainable and perhaps illegal
activities by the Bush oil oligarchy.

President Bush threatens the Planet and all its peoples by
utterly failing to diagnose the World's problems and enunciate
progressive solutions. It is critical at this juncture in
history that we take to the streets and demand America be given
back to the people, and that just and equitable means of
combating terrorism and human want take precedent over war-
making. America needs leadership that promotes equitable, just
and ecologically sustainable development as the basis for global
security and peace. Organize, protest and be heard.

July 3, 2003

Biodiversity Coldspots: Ecological Sufficiency, Not Expediency

The desirability of targeting conservation spending towards biodiversity
hotspots
, to the degree presently occurring, is seriously questioned in the
current issue of the journal American Scientist. Biodiversity hotpots are regions
that have high concentrations of endemic species (species found nowhere else)
and have already suffered a high degree of habitat destruction. This is a VERY
important article. In a measured, scientific manner the authors raise issues of
profound importance for prospects of achieving biodiversity protection and
global ecological sustainability.

More and more scientists and advocates are warning that directing conservation
funds nearly exclusively to hotspots is "bad investment advice" and "may be a
recipe for major losses in the future". This is particularly true as "the hot-spot
concept has grown so popular in recent years within the larger conservation
community that it now risks eclipsing all other approaches". I and other
ecological contrarians have raised this issue many times in our writings over
past years.

Targeting conservation towards the 1.4% of the Earth's land which holds nearly
half of the World's vascular plant species has become highly in vogue in recent
years. Groups as diverse as the World Bank and Conservation International
have championed the approach. The other big conservation players such as
The Nature Conservancy and WWF implicitly favor this approach through
placement of their offices and their prioritization processes. Conservation
International alone has reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to
pursue the approach. Yet the hotspot concept has largely not been critically
examined.

Conservation in the broad sense is not well-served by focusing too exclusively
on biodiversity to the detriment of ecosystem functionality and other measures
of ecological importance. What is to happen to the other 98.6% of the Earth's
land mass? These non-hotspot areas are referred to as "Biodiversity
Coldspots" in the article. Many biodiversity coldspots provide crucial global and
local ecosystem processes, contain unique evolutionary lineages and rare
species, encompass the last major wilderness landscapes, provide habitat for
wide-ranging animal species, and may have national policy environments more
conducive to conservation success. And all coldspots would benefit from
higher levels of protection, conservation management and restoration.

The article summarizes the conundrum nicely: "If we measure success simply
by tallying up total species protected, we risk the folly of allowing major
ecosystems to degrade beyond repair simply because they do not provide
lengthy species lists". Such an approach "could well bring on an unfortunate
side effect: more degradation of global ecosystems than would take place if a
more broadly based strategy were used". And my favorite quotation from the
article: "How much of a victory would it actually be if people did manage to
conserve only the 1.4 percent of the Earth's land surface... The reality is people
must make conservation progress everywhere".

The biodiversity hotspots concept was initially intended largely as a temporary
triage measure, and does have merit in this regard. But it has inaccurately
become the accepted primary paradigmatic solution to the "biodiversity crisis" -
a classic example of failing to see the forests through the trees. It is a
feel good strategy that secures lots of money for the big corporate NGOs, and
provides environmental cover for the World Bank's general environmental
neglect. Indeed, foundations, international agencies and NGOs "have been
seduced by the simplicity of the hotspot idea".

Sure, conservation prioritization schemes are necessary. But not at the
expense of feel-good solutions that do not achieve the ultimate conservation
goals of global ecological sustainability and lasting improvements in the human
condition. It is noted in the review of the article below that "even if people
succeeded in preserving a single viable population of every species on earth...
the human race would die out unless it managed to protect the ecosystems that
support broader populations of plants, animals and people too."

Conservation leaders are sending the wrong message at the wrong time
because it is less threatening to entrenched political, economic and social
interests than the truth. Biodiversity hotspots as THE conservation strategy is
as far as the big boys think they can go without rocking the boat. Society can
continue consuming for consumption's sake, remaining large primary forests
can be plundered, and disparities in social justice and economic conditions are
not an environmental issue. For how much longer can conservation solutions
be proposed that are inadequate to the task at hand?

The global ecological situation is such that the Planet, humanity and all its
occupants are imminently threatened. The major challenge facing conservation
is not "saving" some species rich remnants as non-viable museum like eco-
relicts of the past. In addition to more focus upon protecting, conserving and
restoring spatially extensive forest and other terrestrial ecosystems, we must
set out to 1) increase the scale of conservation funding exponentially, 2)
communicate accurately and urgently the need to pursue policies that are
sufficient rather than expedient, and 3) build political resolve to do so.
Together these priorities should 4) seek to foster and bolster an ecological ethic
in all, build recognition of the living Earth, and emphasize the oneness
of the human family.

The World is in a period of self-denial. Perhaps the greatest challenge facing
conservation is development of persuasive communication techniques adequate
to illuminate the importance of biological and ecological processes to our lives,
while there is still time for ambitious remedial policy options, and before the
global ecological system collapses. I and many thousand of other small NGOs
and individuals remain committed to investigating and expounding upon what is
sufficient for ecological and species sustainability, rather than what is expedient
or sells well.

June 29, 2003

Address Global Poverty or the Forests & Humanity Are Coming Down

There can be no future for the Earth or humanity if a relative few live in affluent
opulence while much of the rest suffer grinding, violent poverty. The global
disparity in wealth is horrific. My outspoken advocacy for habitat protection as
a critical component of global ecological sustainability is not at odds with
poverty alleviation, economic equity or social justice. Each is an element of
revolutionary change required to sustain the Planet and maximize the human
race's long-term potential.

Failure to establish more equitable patterns in trade, improve corporate
conduct, promote complete debt relief, end agricultural subsidies in rich
countries and provide massive grant based development aid that promotes
environmentally sensitive self-sufficiency (among other measures) will certainly
mean all the World's forests are coming down, climate will spiral chaotically,
water will be scarce and the oceans depleted. Likewise, failure to maintain
large forests and other important global ecosystems, conserve already
managed habitats, and begin the age of restoration will only exacerbate
poverty and escalate rates of human suffering and ecological collapse.

Global poverty and ecological decline are both indicative of failing political,
economic and social structures. Neither will be successfully addressed without
progress on the other; failure on either resulting in resource wars, terrorism by
both the rich and poor, widespread ecological system failures, and an end to
civilized comforts for those that have them. Industrial resourcism is failing to
meet basic human needs in much of the World. A new paradigm - ecologism -
is required to integrate political economy with ecological sustainability.

To say that protection of nature is anti-human and dismissive of poverty is
simply wrong. Without functioning ecological systems there can be no hope of
realizing the dream of enough for the many forever.

June 27, 2003

Amazon Rainforest Loss Skyrockets: Global & Regional Emergency

The rate at which Brazil's rainforests are disappearing has leapt by 40 per cent
in a single year
. This follows several years of marginal declines. In the year to
August 2002, an area the size of Belgium was lost. There are plenty of
explanations and blame to go around. As we have highlighted previously, a
major new threat is the clearance of primary rain forests to grow soy beans -
largely for industrial cattle feed in Europe.


Given this terrible global ecological news, there has been a scramble to be seen
as defining and beginning to implement solutions. The Brazilian government
promises to announce new measures shortly. Meanwhile WWF has provided a
list of reasonable policy responses
. All but one of their suggestions is
reasonable. However, their goal of 12% protection for the Amazon is
woefully inadequate, and threatens the ecological sustainability of the Amazon
and the Earth.

The Amazon basin drives global climatic cycles, harbors most of the World's life
forms, and is a major component of the biogeophysical processes that make
the Earth habitable. On what basis and authority does WWF acquiesce to losing
over 85% of the Amazon, in the process fragmenting and making it ecologically
impotent? Is this how much is needed for bioregional ecological sustainability?
Or is this what is easily achieved so WWF can claim victory, gather cash, grow
the empire and move on? What is the basis for lobbying to protect only 12% of
the largest largely intact rainforest? I await a response.

My immediate suggestions: 1) Europe and the World must be called upon to end
rainforest destruction subsidies by discontinuing soya and other agricultural
imports from areas previously covered in primary forests; 2) Brazil must
commit to placing under strict protection as "Global Ecological Reserves" over
50% of the Amazon in large core areas that are connected - sustainable
development should be practiced in surrounding buffers; 3) and a major and
sustained international program of financial and technical assistance to Brazil to
support protection and conservation management of the Amazon is needed.

Brazil and neighboring countries have a global responsibility to commit to
protecting the Amazon as a Planetary ecological marvel. The rest of the World
has an equal or greater responsibility to commitment to pay - and pay well in
perpetuity - for them to do so. The Earth and society as we know it will not
survive loss of the Amazon as a functional whole.

June 24, 2003

Eating Apes Is Cannibalism - Served by Loggers & NGO Supporters

A major and controversial new book, "Eating Apes" by Dale Peterson with Karl
Ammann, is a deeply troubling yet engaging book which examines the
slaughter, for food, of humanity's closest primate relatives. African bushmeat
hunting has skyrocketed - threatening gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos -
which given our shared evolutionary history, is akin to cannibalism.

As I am in final Ph.D. panic mode, I have not yet had the opportunity to read
the entire book. But a good skimming - particularly of the viscerally troubling
photographs of slaughtered primates - filled me with profound feelings of
sadness, and deep regret at the trajectory humans have chosen for ourselves,
our Planet and companion species. I will never forget pictures of "a severed
gorilla head, on a kitchen counter, wear(ing) the sad, glazed expression of a
betrayed friend. What looks at first like a leather driving glove, on a table amid
beer bottles, is a severed gorilla hand."

Though such hunting has been practiced to various extents historically, more
recently European and Asian logging companies have carved new roads into the
forests, paving the way for hunters, traders and settlers. With foreign logging
providing infrastructure, a tenacious symbiosis between logging and hunting has
taken root and a thriving commercial enterprise in bushmeat has exploded.
Some of these loggers have been endorsed as "environmentally friendly" by
large mainstream environmental groups that support "certified" forestry that
industrially logs the World's last large, primary and old-growth forests.

The book is particularly critical of "sustainable logging" in such situations,
quoting and building upon past commentary presented here. The argument
that logging brings much-needed employment and development to Central
Africans is exposed as a falsehood. While "forest certification" sounds highly
progressive - it primarily benefits loggers and their corporate
environmentalists. There is no such thing as environmentally sustainable
commercial logging of primary forests.

Further, Amman questions the phenomenon of "feel-good conservation",
whereby conservationists carry out token, fringe projects that they hail as
major successes, rather than addressing the root causes of deforestation and
species loss. As a result, systematic and widespread habitat loss continues
unabated while a false sense of forest conservation progress is marketed by
logging companies, governments and corporate NGOs.

We all want forest conservation success. But no good comes from denying the
reality of the situation - humans are eating their closest relatives, large forests
are disappearing forever, and the Earth shows signs of ecological collapse -
including water, oceans, atmosphere and land degradation. Conservationists
need to worry more about the root causes of ecological decline, and less about
building their PR based environmental empires. Get this book, read it (I plan to
soon, after done with dissertation), and work to end the bushmeat trade. Here
are two reviews of the book (the first much better) and information about how
to order a copy. I highly recommend it.

June 19, 2003

Bush Admin "Edits Out" Climate Change

A major report from the U.S. EPA has been edited under White House pressure
to leave out mention of climate change and its environmental impacts. This is
criminally negligent, and an investigation is warranted to determine who and
how White House staffers can "edit" scientific findings. The Bush administration
frequently makes pseudo-scientific claims of support for their "healthy forests"
and other environmental roll-backs, while blasting the "junk science" of their
opponents. This rejection of climate science further illustrates the Bush
administration is largely a fossil fuel oligarchy, that America is virtually alone
in denying the civilization threatening nature of climate change, and the
abysmal, ecocidal record on the environment by the Toxic Texan.

June 17, 2003

AUSTRALIA: Tasmania's Old Growth Rainforest Logging

Shamefully, old growth rainforest logging continues in Tasmania, Australia.
These ecosystems, which include forests with the tallest hardwood trees in the
world, are being converted into woodchips and sent to Japan for processing.
Recently Tasmania's government announced planned massive increases in old
growth logging in Tasmania. The heart of Australia's most significant temperate
rainforest ecosystem - known as the Tarkine" - is to be opened up to logging.
The cool temperate rainforests of Tasmania are local, national and international
natural treasures; not raw material for throw away consumer products.

Commercial old growth rainforest logging anywhere in the World is immoral,
unethical and ecocidal. In Australia, it is all this, and with just .5% of the land
mass containing rainforests, just plain stupid as well. Concern for the well-
being of forest dependent communities is not demonstrated by industrially
logging and wastefully consuming their resources. Community development
and advancement comes from sustained commitment to empower local
communities to benefit in the long-term preservation and community-based
conservation of their standing forests.

Protecting Tasmania's ancient-forest heritage is an Australian and global
ecological imperative. Ongoing and planned industrial liquidation of Tasmania's
old-growth forests for paper pulp is grotesque and pure evil - indicative of
humanity's lack of an environmental ethic. It must be stopped. Now.

June 8, 2003

Bush No Friend to Planet - His War on Environment Must End

The Bush administration's environmental policies are absolutely horrific. He
and his supporters are winning wars, while losing the peace and the Planet.
Below are several updates on the Bush administration's continuing and
intensifying War on the Environment - and one effort to counteract his
dangerous forest policies.


The first outlines the depth and breadth of Bush's attacks on the environment; a
long list ranging from delisting of wilderness, increased logging, obstructing
Kyoto, failure to protect endangered species, and increasing air and water
pollution.

President Bush is an equal opportunity polluter - never having met an
ecosystem that is not worth millions to already well-heeled political supporters.
Oh what I would give to enroll the President in Ecology 101 - assuming he
showed up and did his homework, he may understand that ecosystems are the
essential foundation of life. I will say it again; no ecology, no economy (or
anything else for that matter).

The second article updates our report earlier this week that the Bush
administration had withdrawn an interim directive
allowing U.S. roadless forest
protections to stand from the moment. Rest assured this is a pre-election
gambit to not draw more attention to his abysmal environmental record. Bush
and his industry cronies covet the energy and timber in these forests, and they
will continue to stealthily work to destroy America's natural wonders and life-
giving ecosystems.

Protection for America's roadless forests will only be relatively secure when
protected by law. To this end, this week the National Forest Roadless Area
Conservation Act was introduced with bipartisan support in both houses of
Congress. If it becomes law, the bill would codify the Clinton era Roadless
Area Conservation Rule, more permanently protecting 58.5 million acres of
roadless areas in National Forests from road construction and most logging.
Now is the time to contact your representative in support of this measure, and
to begin organizing campaigns.

Recently Gale Norton, the U.S. Interior Secretary and high-priestess of ecocide,
announced that the Interior Department was suspending any new designations
of critical habitat for endangered and threatened species. The reason is lack of
funds, despite willful failure to ask for a supplemental appropriation to the
program's modest budget. The final piece provides more insight on this
announcement, and scathingly echoes my dismay regarding Bush's assault on
the Earth's life-support systems.

The modus operandi for the Bush administration's environmental assaults is
being all too clear and all too deadly. Under the clouds of perma-war, find
multiple manners to undo protections through devious backdoor means (no
funding, endless reviews, etc.), clouded in empty rhetorical proclamations such
as "healthy forests" to mean logging and "clear skies" for increased air
pollution. This brings to mind other classical nonsensical rhetoric including "War
is Peace", "Freedom is Slavery" and "Ignorance is Strength" (all which apply to
the Bush regime as well).

"The Bush administration has given up on the art of pretense. There are no
more illusions about its predatory attitude toward the environment. No more
airy talk about how financial incentives and market forces can protect
ecosystems... Now it's down to brass tacks. The Bush administration is steadily
unshackling every restraint on the corporations that seek to plunder what is
left of the public domain."

There is nothing 'radical' about conservation, what is radical is Bush's war on
the environment. The dark side of President Bush's empire building has been
revealed; it is the U.S. running roughshod over America's and the Earth's
natural resources and all that would deny them access. The actions of Bush
and his cronies must not stand. Global ecological sustainability is threatened
from a number of quarters including our consumer behaviors. However, the
Bush administration threatens virtually every aspect of environmental
sustainability at previously unknown intensities.

President Bush is a dangerous man threatening humanity's shared
environmental heritage. I encourage you to resist, educate, organize, advocate
and agitate.

May 29, 2003

Land Use's Impact on Climate Change Underestimated

A new study in the journal _Nature_ demonstrates scientifically what those with
ecological intuition may have known for some time: that the state of the land
has major impacts upon climate. In the United States the growth of cities and
agriculture in particular has been a major component of changing climate. This
study indicates that together agriculture and other land use changes have had a
significantly greater impact upon climate than was previously thought. Given
that the global ecological system is composed of ecological subsystems that
constantly interact, share energy and materials; this is hardly a surprise.

Terrestrial and atmospheric ecosystems are tightly coupled. The global
ecological system upon which we are utterly dependent is greater than the sum
of its parts - though the failure of any one part has the potential to send the
whole system careening into collapse. The danger with both land degradation
and climate change lies in the potential for sudden and irreversible cataclysmic
shifts in state as thresholds in the degree of human caused impacts are
surpassed. It is highly unlikely that significant progress will be made in
conserving either forests or climate without moving forward simultaneously with
the other.

This is why Forests.org is committed to maintaining, free of charge, the World's
largest and most used forest conservation (http://forests.org/) and climate
(http://www.climateark.org) portals. The efforts are predicated upon the well
established truth that the Earth has reached the point whereby human caused
land degradation and air pollution threatens the Planet and all its occupants.
The inevitable fate of any species that destroys its environment is extinction.
In the case of humanity, global ecosystem collapse will seem slow and be
painful, but death of our species is inevitable with current trends. Continue to
ignore the environment and it will go away - taking us with it.

May 27, 2003

Plants are Holy, Upon Which All Life Depends

All life depends upon plants. Without large and intact natural habitats - full of
native, evolving plant species hierarchically arrayed into communities,
landscapes and bioregions - life on Earth would little resemble its current state.
Plants have developed in tandem with the birds and the bees (and the ants -
see below - and most every animal species). In the most fundamental manner,
plants give us life. Thus, Plants are Holy, and deserving of the utmost
admiration, awe and respect.

The fact humanity does not know the number of species on the Earth to the
nearest order of magnitude is unforgivable. In particular, lack of resources and
attention given to basic plant taxonomy seriously threatens efforts to achieve
equitable, just and sustainable community development, as well as plant
conservation and protection.

Human societies - and all aspects of our sustenance, knowledge, art,
economies, and other endeavors - are utterly dependent upon plants and their
ecological patterns and processes. Deforestation, habitat fragmentation, exotic
species and over harvesting threaten plants, local and global ecological
sustainability, and thus your and my very being.

It is critical that humanity immediately embark upon a well-funded crash
program to complete a worldwide biodiversity inventory, counting and
classifying every living species. However, this is not enough. Rigorous and
ambitious conservation programs that seek to maintain viable populations of as
many plant and animal species as possible, as well as their emergent
community structures and ecosystem services, must be pursued simultaneously
and with great resolve.

Plant conservation is urgent and fundamental to determining the fate of
humanity, the Earth and ALL its creatures. There is no greater service to
humanity, or the Earth, than to know and conserve Plants. I call upon you
personally to take all measures required to study, cultivate, conserve, restore
and protect the Earth's plants.

With and For the Plants,
g.b.

May 26, 2003

Bush 'Hurt" Environment

Word is that the President Bush is 'hurt' by environmental decisions. Not nearly
as bad as the environment has been hurt by his regressive and ecocidal policies.

May 24, 2003

Global Ecological Reserves to Avoid Global Ecological Armageddon

A recent examination of the Earth's "vital signs" reveals alarming environmental
decline, poverty and disease largely as a result of humanity's environmentally
destructive activities. Despite promises by rich countries to finance biodiversity
conservation and other environmental programs, global ecological sustainability
and social stability is threatened as never before. Below are three reports on
the extent to which humanity has desecrated the Earth's life-giving natural
systems, and the utter and unforgivable failure to pursue policies adequate to
address global ecological meltdown.

Human health and economy are completely and utterly dependent upon the
planet's ecosystems; such as rainforests and other ecosystems which provide
water, contribute to soil formation, regulate climate and filter air. Despite
widely known scientific certainty of the ecological nature of being, virtually no
progress has been made towards global environmental sustainability. The
World's affluent are primarily responsible for the Planet's current ecological
crisis: having consumed disproportionately and destructively for centuries, and
refusing to address surging human suffering and environmental decline as long
as their coffers remain full.

Consumption choices of the rich, environmentally destructive human activities,
ineffective management and burgeoning pollution - combined with a lack of
political will and money - means the World's species and cumulative ecosystem
processes continue to be disrupted and destroyed. The ecological fabric of
being is fraying - indeed being ripped apart - for short term economic well
being of a relative few.

Dr. Raven of the Missouri Botanical Garden, delivering the annual Darwin
lecture, made clear "we are using the Earth's productive systems at an
unsustainable rate." Raven notes industrialized nations have not risen to the
challenge of creating just, equitable and sustainable societies. Further, if
everyone lived at their standard, it would take another two planets to support
the Earth's population. His policy prescriptions are simple and demanding: "a
stable population, a globally sustainable consumption level, and acceptance of
social justice as the norm for development."

A major new program to establish a "Global Ecological Reserve" network based
upon the core, buffer corridor model of biosphere reserves is urgently
required. Global ecological sustainability will require strict preservation,
massive habitat restoration, and ecologically sensitive development at many
times current rates of protection and ecologically sustainable management. We
join in calling for serious transfer of resources from North to South to fund
creation of this network. It is estimated that an effective global land and sea
reserve program would cost $45 billion annually, while providing ecosystem
goods and services worth up to $5,200 billion a year. This is a damn good rate
of return on investment - particularly given the alternative is global ecological
Armageddon.

May 19, 2003

Juiced on SUVs and Prozac

Having battled depression for much of my life - largely caused by pain at
witnessing the demise of the Earth - I find the recent Opinion piece "Juiced on
SUVs and Prozac"
particularly clever and insightful. The silliness of SUV ads
which show happy, healthy people driving through luxurious natural settings,
when most SUV owners spend their time in traffic jams going to work or the
mall, is extremely illuminating and funny, while rightly damning the American
nightmare. The juxtaposition of increasingly unmeaningful lifes, the illusion of
happiness and tranquility portrayed by the SUV culture, and the increasing need
to drug ourselves with Prozac just to feel normal rings all too true.

Having just come off of Prozac myself, I am struck by the "emptiness of being"
in this ecocidal age. Thinking of millions of years of evolutionary history and
ecological pattern and process being plundered for the throw away society fills
me with rage - and alas depresses me. Increasingly I work to simplify my life
and find pleasure in the relatively little but real things - nature, family, fruitful
work and hobbies. This keeps me going. At nearly one year without an
automobile and living in a smaller household, I take pride in having escaped the
evil juggernaut of the American consumer society. Living more simply need not
equate with any lack of satisfaction. Nature, time and patience are the three
great physicians (a wise fortune cookie once told me). It is nice to not be
taking happy pills any longer. I can see the world without blinders, dedicate
myself to global ecological sustainability, and start by working to sustain myself
and be ok as the Earth burns.

May 18, 2003

Humans Are Driving Birds to Extinction

Humans are causing massive bird extinction, a component of the biggest
extinction event in 65 million years. According to Birdlife International, twelve
percent of the Planet's bird species face extinction this century. Habitat loss,
global warming and other human induced phenomena are threatening the
viability of most bird populations, driving many to extinction. It is inconceivable
that birds and most other types of life could be so threatened while human life
remains unaffected.

As go the birds, the plants and the planet will go the humans. Current
planetary biological trends do not portend a long or happy life for the human
family. The ecological fabric of being is being ripped asunder by humans who
wrongly think they are above it all. The task of our time is to individually and
collectively organize, educate, advocate (and if necessary agitate) for global
ecological sustainability. Do so as if your and your children's life depends upon
it. It does.

May 14, 2003

Democratic Forest Managements Works

President Bush and the Republican party's criminally misleading rhetoric
regarding the need to log forests to save them from fires, and the necessity of
blocking public opinion, has been shown to be bullshit. Contrary to their claims,
the General Accounting Office has found that few projects to reduce wildfire
threats were delayed because of environmental challenges
. This is a facist and
dangerous government - twisting scientific and other truths to pursue their
oligarchic, anti-environment and anti-people agenda.

May 13, 2003

The Oil-Consumption Party is Over

Reasonable people can quibble regarding when oil supplies will run out. But it
is certain they will - the major uncertainty is whether the World's atmosphere,
land, water and oceans will be so damaged that ecosystem sustainability will be
impossible. The exploration, production, transport, refinining and consumption
of oil is THE underlying cause of looming global ecological armageddon. Our
rainforests, climate, water supplies and oceans have been hammered by
societal addiction to a seemingly wonderous substance that in truth is killing the
Earth. Author Richard Heinberg argues in a new book that "the oil-consumption
party is over
". I concur that transitioning the global society to renewable
energy is the challenge of our time. Failure will mean famine, ecological
collapse, war and misery.

May 7, 2003

The Ecology of Disease

The current outbreak of SARS is indicative of the global ecosystem being out
of whack. It has been known for years that European and Asian domestication
of animals has provided for unprecedented opportunities for cross species
disease mutation. Contemporary China's system of ducks, pigs and chickens
living in close proximity to humans is a major viral breeding ground.

Granted - there are many more traditional diseases such as malaria and
tuberculosis that pose much more immediate threat than emergent diseases
such as SARS and ebola. Nonetheless, as human population grows, ecological
systems are disrupted, and once isolated disease vectors gain access to global
transportation; we can expect major epidemics. In many regards, this is a
natural response of the Earth to over-population of any one organism. Failure to
address cascading ecological collapse of global ecosystems will mean ever
greater likelihood of worldwide pestilence.Ecological sustainability is indeed
a matter of life and death.

May 4, 2003

Canada's Boreal Forests: New Alarm Sounded

A report published in the journal Conservation Ecology finds that oil and natural
gas, along with logging, is inflicting major damage to Alberta's boreal forest
. It
is concluded that Canada's boreal old-growth stands - a globally important
ecosystem that spans a vast area - will be destroyed within decades.


The study - commissioned by a logging company - is the first to address the
collective regional impact of energy development and logging. This
combination threatens most remaining large and relatively intact forest
ecosystems around the World. It concludes wildlife, old-growth and jobs are all
threatened by unsustainable practices and patterns of industrial resource
harvest and use.

Canada's boreal forest wilderness is critically threatened with transformation to
industrial resource producing landscapes. This unprecedented and ongoing
resource boom is causing massive environmental devastation in Canada's
boreal forests. An author of the study states "[t]his is not the wild wilderness of
the north... The attitude that the forest can be all things to all interests is no
longer tenable, if indeed it ever was," the article says. "Although the boreal
forest presents a seemingly endless expanse, it does in fact have limits and
they are now being reached."

This is true for all the Earth's forest, atmospheric, aquatic and marine
ecosystems. The human family must face these ecological constraints before
nature takes care of the current environmental imbalance through starvation,
war and pestilence. One way or another ecological balance will be restored to
the Earth.

April 30, 2003

BRAZIL: Largest Wetland Granted More Protection

Water is more precious than gold, and its availability depends upon maintaining
large and intact natural ecosystems. In a marvelous development, Brazil has
designated a significant portion of the enormous Pantanal wetland in Mato
Grosso State as a Wetland of International Importance. In the mid to long term,
the Pantanal is vastly more important for Brazil and the World's future as an
intact wetland than for farming or other uses. Water and forests are the future
as well as the past. This announcement is indeed good news, but really only the
beginning of major regional land protection and restoration activities necessary
to achieve global ecological sustainability.

Bush Admin Thwarts Democracy, Blocking Pro-Environment Email

The U.S. Forest Service is blocking e-mail comments on proposed rule
changes that originate as form email or mail. Over past years Forests.org has
facilitated through its network the sending of hundreds of thousands of such
genuine messages in support of forest conservation. If you are a concerned
citizen that uses a web site to send comments to the U.S. Forest Service, they
do not want to hear from you.

This is in sharp contrast to the different treatment given to well-heeled timber
(and assuredly oil - only Cheney isn't talking) industry executives. The timber
industry has achieved unequalled access
to the forest policy making process.
They have successfully moved, against the wishes of most Americans, to
increase the amount of timber cut on the nation's forests - weakening
protections for wilderness, salmon, clean water, and old-growth forest ecosystems.

The Bush regime is unlawfully blocking public input to forest conservation policy
while agreeing to virtually all of industry's demands. By rejecting genuine
public comments regarding the importance of forest ecological sustainability,
democracy is being thwarted, while the Planet and its occupants continue to
careen towards global ecocide. This is an evil regime in the most selfish,
dangerous and profound sense.

April 20, 2003

Citigroup Yields to Pressure by Environmentalists

Citigroup - the financial services conglomerate - has announced it will engage
in dialogue
with environmentalists regarding its social and environmental
policies. This stunningly positive development - hopefully the precursor to a
permanent victory - is largely the result of relentless pressure by the Rainforest
Action Network (RAN). RAN and others have highlighted
Citigroup's "disproportionate support for extractive industries around the world,
particularly fossil fuels and logging". As a result of Citigroup's agreement to
talk, RAN has agreed upon a 90 day campaign suspension.

Some, including myself, had been critical of RAN for focusing too widely on
finance rather than rainforests. Clearly I was wrong. Over the past few years
RAN has done their homework, and shown that large financial companies -
Citigroup in particular - are major funders of rainforest and other habitat
destruction, and energy projects that release high levels of greenhouse gases
that contribute to climate change. In so doing, they have innovatively opened a
new "financial front" in the battle for global forest and ecological sustainability.
On occasion, we have passed along information on this campaign, and the
Forests.org network has taken part in campaign alerts and actions.
Congratulations to the forest conservation movement!

Now we depend upon RAN sealing the deal with Citigroup, and achieving firm
commitments that get Citigroup out of the rainforest and climate destroying
businesses - and into the business of supporting ecologically sustainable
development.

April 19, 2003

Sue & Settle: Bush's Unprecedented Environmental Rollbacks

The Bush administration is engaged in an unprecedented roll-back of
environmental protections
- frequently using the shrewd strategy of "sue and
settle". By settling a series of lawsuits, many of them filed by industry groups,
this ecocidal regime is increasing logging and generally pursuing a wide range
of regressive environmental policies. Ignorance of the fundamental ecological
nature of being threatens America and the World with the gravest threat to the
human race ever - looming ecological overshoot and collapse. There can be no
sustainable economy, security, equity or justice without viable and healthy
ecosystems. The oil barons ruling America clearly do not get it. This greedy,
callous and cowardly bunch threatens the Planet's very existence. Shame on
them.

April 16, 2003

Forest Fire Plan that Works

Finally, a reasonable response to wild fires in America's West. A new bill has
been introduced
that focuses forest thinning near at risk communities, and does
not depend upon logging remote old-growth. This is sound, science based policy
making. Let us hope it is successful - and not the Republican alternative which
is based upon wide-spread logging of National Forests to make them fire proof.

April 13, 2003

American Wilderness Under Relentless Threat

The Bush administration has suspended reviews of new wilderness areas. This
will leave millions of undeveloped acres vulnerable to oil and gas development
and off-road vehicle use, allowing public lands in the West to continue to be
degraded, and lose their eligibility for wilderness designation. And the
Republican dominated house continues petulantly to demand America's last
great wilderness be developed for a pittance of oil. Americans overwhelming
support wilderness protection. Who exactly does the Bush cabal represent?
Certainly fat cat oil tycoons; and not the majority of the country's people, nor
the needs of the Earth.

April 5, 2003

Paper & Forests: Action Against Office Max and Office Depot

Irresponsible marketing and consumption of paper products is a primary threat
to the World's forests. Recently Forest Ethics and other groups spearheaded a
successful campaign against Staples - securing initial commitments to recycled
papers and forest conservation. The campaign is now targeting Office Max
and Office Deport - calling upon these mega-forest consuming corporations to
shift significantly to recycled paper products, and to refuse products originating
from "endangered forests".

This term - which has been used in other consumer based forest campaigns -
elicits some concern from me and others. It is purposefully vague in order to
find common ground, but in practice may include FSC or otherwise "certified"
industrial logging of primary and old-growth forests for throw away consumer
products. This is not acceptable.

With so little large, wild and ecologically intact forests remaining globally, we
must remain vigilant that ALL old-growth and primary forests are rightly
considered "endangered forests" and are not logged industrially, "certified" or otherwise.

Please partake in the day of action on April 24th which coincides with Earth
Day. This is a good forest campaign - get involved.

March 25, 2003

Canadian Forest Fires Increase Carbon Sink Capacity

Human understanding of global climatic systems, much less global ecological
systems in general, is so rudimentary that it is difficult to envision a roadmap
to global ecological sustainability. It is difficult for reductionist scientists to look
more holistically at complex systems such as the global ecological system. An
interesting new study indicates, counter-intuitively that the frequenty of forest
fires in Canadian forests are an important component of the forest's ability to
absorb carbon dioxide. To some unknown threshold, periodic burning allows the
forests to be a more efficient carbon sink. The climate change and forest
conservation communities need to get past dogma and mantras such as
"planting trees reduces climate change" and start looking at upscale ecological
sustainability issues.

As Go the Birds Go the Humans

The unraveling of the biological family of life is hitting species unable to exploit
new resources and adapt readily to rapidly changine ecological conditions. A
new report from the Worldwatch Institute concludes "Bird Populations Plummet
Under Weight of Humanity
". Humanity can not assume that the continued
diminishment of non-human species is somehow not related to the human
condition. As go the Birds will go the Humans.

March 19, 2003

Consumption, Militarism and Environmental Destruction

American imperial militarism is a direct result of an economy based upon the
illusion of ever increasing growth - particularly in consumption. Exponential
economic growth must eventually lead to resource overuse and the collapse of
the planet's life support systems of clean air, water, soil, and biodiversity.
Ecological collapse leads to greater levels of war, poverty and social strife as
well. In an extremely insightful editorial piece, noted ecologist David Suzuki
traces the implications of the consumer society. He notes that two-thirds of
over-developed country's economies are built on consumption, tracing the
historical roots and effects of societies and economies based upon consumption
as a way of life.

"The American economy's ultimate purpose is to produce more consumer
goods... Consumer goods aren't created by the economy out of nothing. They
come from the Earth, and when they are used up, they will be returned to the
Earth as garbage and toxic waste... what we consume has direct effects on
nature."

The endless quest for increased consumer satisfaction that underpins modern
economies is detrimental to environmental sustainability, is spiritually lacking
and enables militarism by the affluent. "Ultimately, it goes beyond pleasure or
status... the idea of more, ever-increasing wealth, has become the center of
our identity and our security, and we are caught up by it as the addict is by his
drugs." America and the rest of the over-developed World is addicted to oil,
timber, minerals and other resources; and will stop at nothing - including pre-
emptive war - to satisfy their addiction.

"Our personal consumer choices have ecological, social, and spiritual
consequences. It is time to re-examine some of our deeply held notions that
underlie our lifestyles." The human family's future depends upon consuming
less, living frugally, favoring quality over quantity, and finding meaning in more
than having more things. This does not mean returning to a pre-modern era -
it means living a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity, where the needs of ourselves
and others are met. Most studies indicate the World's population could live
sustainably at a standard of living of the average European.

Failure to moderate consumption patterns will 1) lead to a state of "perma-
war" - pre-emptive resource grabs - whereby the affluent take what they need
from the weak and impoverished, 2) ecological overshoot and collapse whereby
much of the Earth will be uninhabitable, 3) increased personal alienation and
spiritual anguish as materialism fails to provide meaningful lives, 4) and make
impossible a future of sustainable, just and equitable lifestyles for the human family.

The impending "pre-emptive" invasion of the Middle East by the United States is
immoral and illegal. Issues that are a matter of international justice and should
be handled by international institutions are instead handled in a militaristic,
unilateral and imperial manner. Win, lose or draw; no good can come from the
precedent of unprovoked invasion under questionable justification. No War for
Oil. Both Bush and Hussein are dangerous, illegitimate leaders that should be
deposed. I urge them both to resign and go into exile - or face responsibility
for their war crimes.

March 18, 2003

Forest Conservation = Reduced Consumption

In an extremely insightful editorial piece, noted ecologist David Suzuki traces
the implications of the consumer society, stating that the "Consumer culture
is no accident
". The endless need for increased consumer satisfaction that
underpins modern economies is certainly detrimental to environmental
sustainability and the well-being of forest systems. The future of humanity's
family depends upon consuming less, living frugally, favoring quality over
quantity and finding meaning in more than having more things.

March 13, 2003

European Environmental Sustainability and Ecological Imperialism

European cultures have proven to be a biological scourge that along with their
immigrant populations have brought diseases, exotic plants and unsustainable
land use patterns to much of the World. European thought and colonialism is
directly responsible for ushering in global ecocide. As European landscapes
have been decimated and their sustainability is in question, one would think
they would begin to understand that natural systems are a precondition for
life, liberty and economies. Now Iceland plans to dam a major river in one
of Europe's last wilderness areas to produce aluminum
. Pure, unadultered
stupidity. Such ecosystem destroying projects in Europe and around the World
represent the final gasp of death for the Planet, and are the logical end result
of past and continuing European ecological imperialism. Europe should stop
the bullshit global environmental sustainability rhetoric and take care of
business at home - overfishing, Dam's in Spain as well, desertification and
ecologically restoring the continent.

March 7, 2003

Top Predators

A variety of top predators - more than just the super-predator, humans - are
required for ecological sustainability. These large animals help shape the
entire ecosystem of which they are part, and their local extirpation can
dramatically impact species diversity and plant community structure. In our
risk averse society it is incredible that very occasional encounters between
humans and predators has meant a virtual death sentence to predators; as we
drive and fly and eat hamburgers to death. There is refreshing news that the
lynx may be recolonizing my place of birth - Northern Minnesota.

Razing Forests to "Protect" Them

In a brazen effort to increase yields from National Forests, President Bush
is making an all out effort to couch increased commercial logging as the best
way to manage our forests
. The rhetoric of his "Healthy Forests" campaign is
shockingly hollow and Orwellian - asserting that aggressive logging of large
trees far from fire threatened communities is conservation. This is the amazing
thing about the Toxic Texan - if you say something and sound tough and
sincere enough, it makes it so. War is peace. America is against weapons of
mass destruction (unless they are ours). Logging protects forests from fire,
when in fact fire debris adds to forest health.

These are dangerous times - with such rampant ecological ignorance and the
continuing ascendency of the ecosystem destroying global growth machine. It
is clear that if the human family and Gaia - the global ecological nurturer - is to
survive, at some point the natural World may need to be defended using
whatever means prove necessary.

February 24, 2003

Papua New Guinea's Rainforests Doomed, Tax Breaks for Timber Mafia

Efforts to protect and conserve Papua New Guinea's (PNG) rainforests
are doomed to failure. It is reported in last week's Post Courier that
the industrial log industry - which is systematically destroying the
World's fourth largest rainforest expanse - is soon to get massive tax
breaks. The PNG logging mafia deserves to be disbanded and serve hard
prison time, not additional payments to destroy Papua New Guinea's
culture, society and environment. If current policies continue -
including welfare for loggers - PNG will certainly become largely
denuded of forests, have little alternative sources of income or
subsistence, and will face ecological collapse and social ruin as a
result of the government's forest policies.


While large rainforests - and their peoples, other species and
ecosystem functions - are endangered in much of the world, it is
particularly so in PNG. The Malaysian timber mafia has its tentacles
in virtually every orifice of government, and to some respect can be
said to be running the country. Corruption, much of it derived from
the timber industry, is epidemic and makes the country essentially
ungovernable. Logging that is out of control, inappropriately scaled,
and mostly for the benefit of foreign multi-nationals is devastating
PNG's forests and cultures.

Let us name names. Papua New Guinea government - as individuals do you
care about more than personal gain? Do you understand your country's
ecological heritage is being plundered? Without forests, how do you
intend to maintain your people's lives and livelihoods? Do you care
about your country's children and their future? Australia, why have
you backed off your strong position against illegal and unsustainable
logging in PNG? Could it be because you covet part of the logging
action?

World Bank - having worked within the belly of the beast myself and
seeing the good intentions of many - I nonetheless have a complete
lack of faith in your ability to reconcile your economic goals with
being the lead agency in environmental finance and policy making in
PNG and elsewhere. Why do you insist on reforming commercial log
exports and refuse to transition the industry to eco-forestry
practices? What basis do you have in claiming industrial logging as
practiced in PNG can be reformed and made environmentally acceptable?
Do you have a stake in keeping the logs flowing?

Local conservation movement - why are you so fragmented and
territorial, and thus largely ineffective? What would it take to get
you to work together to provide a coherent alternative forest
conservation vision that has a chance to succeed? Are you as
interested in funds from the World Bank as you are in saving forests?

And international environmental groups have the most to answer for, as
they posture and pose with their token projects, showing how their
lame and unimaginative programs are "saving" PNG's rainforests.
Greenpeace - how much longer are you going to play footsie with the
World Bank, and channel the PNG forest conservation movement's energy
into apologist, reform efforts that continuously fail? Is there any
advancement in PNG conservation for which you do not claim credit?
WWF - still buying logs from industrial loggers and logging mangroves?
After millions of dollars of corporate money being wasted on top-down
conservation, are you ready to work with those that do not have the
cash but have a conservation ethic?

Most conservationists refuse to take on the ecological and social
legitimacy of the PNG industrial log export industry, which is
systematically ripping out and exporting raw logs at a net cost to the
country. There is only one series of steps adequate to tame the
logging beast and its apologists and reformers, and return PNG's
forests to their rightful place as permanent home and keeper for its
people and species. They are:

* Establish a Commission of Inquiry with broad discretionary power to
investigate all aspects of the logging industry and make necessary
recommendations, including possible criminal prosecutions.

* Establish a timeline to permanently end industrial log exports from
PNG, and a process to transition the industry to small and medium
scaled community and certified forest management.

* The PNG government must develop and implement forest policy,
legislation, regulations and guidelines to establish an entirely new
forest sector based upon ecologically sustainable, small to medium
scale, local community-based eco-forestry management.

* End donor subsidies to industrial log export. Redirect donor funds
to transitioning the industry to environmental and social
sustainability through support for community based management and
protection, cushioning the economic impact upon the government and
landowners of doing so.

Mi tingim bus bilong PNG bai go pinis no lewa bilong mi bruk pinis. Em
taim long rausim ol stilman, na ol papagraun yet lukautim bus na
bihaintaim bilong ol asples.

February 21, 2003

Synthetic Trees? How About Cutting Emissions, and Conserving the Real Thing

Leave it to human (dis)ingenuity to come up with "synthethic trees" as a means
to allow dumping of industrial pollution into the atmosphere to continue. This is
appalling. As the global ecological system continues to unravel due to industrial
practices being more prevalent than natural ones, it is simply wrong headed
to think more industrial activity will solve the problem. Ecosystems can not be
manufactured. There is no escaping the family of humanity's collective destiny -
either we will learn to conserve, protect and restore forests and other natural
ecosystems; while greatly reducing carbon emissions and developing renewable
energy sources, or we will perish.

Corporate Seed Oligarchy Leaves No Market Unturned

As the corporate seed oligarchy leaves no market unturned, consumers are
rapidly being forced into accepting Genetically Modified foods. Already in the
U.S. we are eating GM products all the time; with unknown consequences to
ourselves, at risk to the cohesion of natural ecosystems, and at the expense of
the final commodification of seed stocks. The New York Times reports GMOs
are gaining acceptance in Asia
. Have faith in a seed. Insist that GM products
are labeled as such and stock up and plant heirloom varieties. Our future
depends upon genetic diversity of food varieties, and upon ready access to a
variety of seeds. Something the seed manufacturers could give a damn about.

February 13, 2003

U.S. Republicans Launch Full-Scale Environmental Assault

The new Republican majority in both houses of Congress are wasting no
time in following their fearless leader, the Toxic Texan, to continue
rolling back years of successful environmental protections. In past
days the Republican control house has loaded destructive anti-
environmental riders to an important series of budget bills. The move
has drawn protest from Democrats and moderate Republicans alike.
Despite having outright control of government, several hard core
Republican eco-marauders refuse to give environmental issues of
monumental importance the deliberative debate it deserves, and instead
are seeking to open America's largest forest wilderness to logging as
"riders" to budget bills.

The latest news today is that to reach agreement on the final bill,
lawmakers agreed to narrow provisions that would have allowed more
logging in Alaska's Tongass National Forest, and are outlined below.
But dangerous environmental riders remain - the extent of which is
still unknown and not yet finalized. Extensive additional coverage
can be found at: http://forests.org/america/ .

In just the past weeks the Bush's oil oligarchy beholden
administration has announced plans to relax toxic emission standards,
derailed UN plan to curb mercury emissions, turned National Parks into
snowmobile playgrounds, granted tax credits for SUVs, sought delay on
the UN methyl bromide ban which damages the ozone layer, included ANWR
oil drilling revenues in its budget despite the fact that drilling is
currently illegal in this wildlife refuge, given token funding for
hydrogen cars 20 years from now while refusing to support hybrids and
greater fuel efficiency now, reduced protections for wetlands, refused
to grant protection for the CA Spotted Owl and mulled forcing
Europeans to take American genetically modified "Frankenfoods".

Not a bad week's work when you consider the Bush imperial regime is
also working to preemptively conquer foreign lands, occupy mid-east
oil reserves, and cut civil liberties - all to shroud their failure to
catch the terrorists that attacked America, and to ensure America's
continued gluttonous consumption of oil.

The basis of biological life - land, air, oceans and water - is being
desecrated by this fascist, war-mongering, scorched Earth
administration.

The pendulum will swing our way again - and this outrageous
dismantling of decades of environmental protections under the fog of
war will come back to haunt this and following Republican leaders.
Nonetheless, our best bet is to lobby the handful of moderate
Republicans that understand conservation is deeply conservative, and
that there can be no economy without ecology.

February 11, 2003

Bush Intensifies War on Environment

Despite mounting criticism, the Toxic Texan continues his outrageous assault
on the natural World. Just today the EPA announced plans to relax toxic
emission standards
, and the Bush Administration refused to grant protection
for the CA Spotted Owl
. The basis of biological life - land, air and water - is being desecrated by this facist administration.

February 2, 2003

Forests No Climate Change Panacea

It is becoming clear scientifically that forests can not be depended upon to
absorb human carbon emissions. New scientific research indicates that
increased forest growth from elevated carbon dioxide levels is short-lived,
lasting until the next resource limitation - in this case soil nutrients - is met.

Existing large, ancient forests are a huge repository of carbon that should be
kept from the atmosphere. But do not count on forest plantations to allow
gluttonous fossil fuel consumption to continue. The only way to stop spiralling
climate changes is to reduce emissions. We can not bury pollutants in the
ground or the oceans, or depend upon forest sinks. We need to realize that
the atmosphere and other ecological systems are finite and can not absorb
industrial wastes at the scale humanity is producing. Energy efficiency,
conservation and renewable alternatives need urgent attention - including
resources and talent on par for a new Manhattan "Energy" Project.

February 1, 2003

Habitat over Cloning

There are a number of reports of efforts to clone endangered species as a
method to assist in their recovery. This approach treats the symptoms, not
the disease. In most every case the ultimate cause of endangerment is
habitat loss, and remaining habitat being insufficient to meet the needs of the
species. Conservation requires priority setting. Funds for costly reproduction
of animals that will have no home is not a wise investment. Biodiversity
conservation can only occur in the long term for most species through
establishment of regional protected area network.

January 30, 2003

American Drought Worsened by Climate Change

Gee, do you think climate change might mean more extreme drought? How
many more studies are needed before we see the World is critically threatened
by the most rapid and severe climatic shifts ever? Bush needs to get his head
out of his a__ - oops, I mean out of the oil, no I guess the saying is out of the
sand.

Mountains and Watersheds

How much longer can we bulldoze mountains during coal strip-mining, dumping
the waste in watersheds, and expect to have a Planet that is habitable?

January 28, 2003

Roads and rainforests do not mix

Roads and rainforests do not mix. Perhaps the greatest ultimate cause of
Amazonian rainforest deforestation and diminishment is the construction of
roads that fragment previously intact large rainforest ecosystems. The roads
themselves cause damage and fragment habitats, but most importantly they
facilitate so many follow on activites. A new report found that strict protection
of forests adjacent to roadline
may limit illegal logging and other invasions. If
a road must be built, it should not necessarily doom the entire region to
biological decimation.

January 15, 2003

Russia Wavers on Kyoto

Russia Delays Global Warming Pact, May Wreck Deal

In a major climate change policy development, Russia's commitment to Kyoto
appears to be in doubt
. This may be brinksmanship in order to exact the best
possible deal for its forest carbon sinks. Nonetheless, it is time for our
respective conservation networks to gear up and lobby Russia to ratify Kyoto.
Expect an action alert within the day.

January 13, 2003

Bush Announces Ecological Plunder of the West

US Govt. to Release Oil Estimates in West

The wild, wild west is going to be drilled and otherwise ripped apart for the
benefit of President Bush's oil oligarchy pals. I know addiction. I have been there...

...and know what it looks and feels like. America is in the grips of an oil
addiction that threatens the Planet. Climate change, rainforest loss, childhood
asthma, terrorism, resource imperialism, air pollution - they are largely the
same problem. Planetary survival depends upon breaking our oil dependence
and embarking upon the era of ecological restoration and renewable energy.