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June - September, 2000, no. 44

Current Issue | Back issues

Want to help protect forests? Look for the ACTION symbol.

Glen Barry, Ruth Rosenhek and John Seed - Co-Editors

Protect World's Largest Mangrove Forest in Bangladesh
30 September 2000     ACTION

Impoverished and ecologically damaged countries will rarely achieve the material development that they desire by overexploiting the few remaining intact ecosystems they still possess. Such is the case in Bangladesh, where the World's largest mangrove forest, a declared World Heritage Area and the world's largest tiger reserve, is to be severely impacted upon by widespread oil production.  Community based sustainable eco-enterprises, population restraint and environmental restoration will bear much more real development and advancement than plundering yet another ecosystem to allow additional over-consumption of non-renewable, polluting petroleum resources.  ( more )  

Mass Extinction Intensifies as Rates of Species Loss Grow Worldwide
30 September 2000

The current mass extinction crisis is intensifying and moving closer to a climax. The most recent "red list" of endangered plants and animals indicates that 11,046 species face a high risk of extinction, almost all due to human activities.  The intensifying mass extinction crisis, along with accelerating large-scale collapse of habitats and ecosystems, are indicators of the need for immediate policy initiatives to halt and reverse ecologically destructive activities that are threatening imminent global ecological collapse. Global sustainability is at stake. ( more )  

Brazil to pay remote tribal community for its losses
REUTERS - September 28, 2000

A Brazilian federal court has ordered the government to compensate a remote Indian community after it ruled that a road built through tribal territory had caused the death of most of its members. The construction of the road, which cuts through a vast tract of land in the lower Amazon, brought the isolated Panara tribe into contact with various illnesses and diseases -- which ended up decimating the community. full article  ( more )  

Yuba Nation Erects First Tree Sit in Sierra Nevada
RAGS-RAP, Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Sierra Nevada -- Just before dawn this morning, Yuba Nation erected a "treesit" within the controversial Marsh Mill Timber Harvest Plan (THP), located north of Graniteville, California, where 2,685 acres are slated to be aggressively cut (350 clearcut).

The World Bank and the IMF are Iredeemable, they must be Shut Down - article by George Monbiot in The Guardian 
25 September 2000

Ancient Old-Growth Forests Best Carbon Sinks
23 September 2000     ACTION

Important new scientific studies highlight the importance of old-growth forest ecosystems as a mechanism to address climate change, and provide a powerful new argument for protecting ancient forests. New studies indicate that old-growth continues to remove carbon even when fully mature, and that old and wild forests are better than plantations at dependably removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Please take a moment to demand that protection of old growth ecosystems be pursued as a priority carbon sequestration strategy, that any final agreement be free of incentives to pursue plantation forestry where ancient forests stand, and that carbon sinks not be allowed to offset government commitments to reduce source emissions.  ( more )  

Logging May Help Spread Disease
23 September 2000

Given obvious and significant changes in ecosystem, community and species composition and dynamics; it should come as no surprise that commercial logging also causes major negative perturbations at the microscopic scale of viruses and bacteria. A new study by the highly reputable Johns Hopkins School of Public Health indicates that "the Ebola virus, monkeypox and possibly even HIV, which causes AIDS, are among the tropical diseases aided by the growing logging industry." Forest hunting and current tropical logging practices appear to play a central role in the emergence of new and devastating diseases.  ( more )  

Stop The World Bank:  S26 And Beyond 
20 September 2000

West African Monkey is Extinct, Portend of More to Come
13 September 2000

The Earth and its species are undergoing an unprecedented period of mass extinction that continues to worsen.  Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of species will go extinct in the coming decades due largely to loss and fragmentation of habitat.  The first primate in several centuries, a West African monkey called the Miss Waldron's red colobus, was just declared extinct-a likely portend of many more to come.  ( more )

Protest Conviction of Mexican Environmental Activists & Unchallenged, Illegal Logging
10 September 2000     ACTION

The Petatlan and Coyuca de Catalan mountains in Mexico have lost 40 percent of their forests in just eight years. The Organization of Campesino Environmentalists of the Mountains of Petatlan and Coyuca de Catalan has actively denounced excessive and illegal logging.  Two prominent members were framed with bogus criminal charges, tortured and falsely convicted for speaking out against logging and in favor of protecting the forests.  Environmental authorities must be investigated for negligence and complicity for authorizing the logging and not investigating or stopping it, and falsely detained activists must be released.  ( more )

Notorious Malaysian Loggers Interested in Forest Certification
10 September 2000

The notoriously environmentally unsustainable and socially unjust Malaysian timber industry sees the writing on the wall, and are now investigating Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of their timber harvesting practices.  The Malaysian industry has been known for trampling upon the rule of law, wantonly destroying ecosystems and mistreating local peoples worldwide. It is critical that FSC not reduce standards to the lowest common denominator in order to accommodate logging operations known for such atrocious and wanton abuses. One standard must apply to all.  ( more )

Domtar Logging Old Growth in Québec’s La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve
1 September 2000     ACTION

Domtar plans to cut 100% of the La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve throughout the next 25 years, including large sections of old-growth forest. Two-thirds of the reserve has already been impacted and the cutting continues. According to the Quebec Minister of Natural Resources, a wildlife reserve is dedicated to the preservation of wildlife, but not their habitat. No environmental impact study is required for Domtar to clearcut.  Write letters and send emails!

Fibre-Optic Cable May Be Funded Through Papua New Guinea Timber Sales
25 Aug 2000

In a shockingly shameful proposal, an Australian telecommunications company is seeking to finance 50% of a fibre-optic cable from Papua New Guinea (PNG) to Australia through sale of large amounts of PNG rainforest logs to China.  This would likely require breaching the PNG government's moratorium on opening new areas for commercial logging.  If PNG is to protect its ancient forests, constituting the third largest tropical wilderness in the World, Australian and other country's governments and companies need to honor basic principles of international environmental conduct.  It is morally reprehensible that this proposal was made and preceded in the first place, and it will be unconscionable if it goes any further.  ( more )

Logging Industry Threatens To Destroy Rich African Forests
18 Aug 2000

Forest rich Cameroon and Gabon are undergoing a full-fledged logging boom.  The type of forest management being practiced--extremely intensive industrial harvest by transnational corporations, mostly for log export--is not likely to lead to sustainability of either forest products or ecosystems.  A body of enforced international law that cracks down on transnational, predatory logging, and other industrial ecosystem destruction, is critical to protect and sustain the Earth's ancient and elegant biological heritage.  ( more )

Gabon: Pact Is Reached to Save a Rich Tropical Forest
13 Aug 2000

A 1,900 square mile reserve has been established in Gabon, Africa.  The action is not without controversy, in that an existing reserve was redrawn to include more valuable forest habitat, but that covers a smaller extent.  The success of the reserve will depend upon maintaining the integrity of the boundaries from this point forth, and not relegating the surrounding substantial unprotected forests to cut and run industrial forestry.  ( more )

UN Reports Rate of Tropical Deforestation Slowing, But Not by Much
9 Aug 2000

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that the rate of tropical deforestation has slowed, having fallen at least 10 percent in the 1990s compared with the previous decade.  Rather than 21 million hectares a year of rainforests being lost or diminished as in the 1980s, we lost "only" 18.9 million hectares a year in the 1990s, or a total of "just" 189 million hectares of tropical rainforest no longer existing in an intact, ecologically operable condition. The long and short of it is a 10% reduction in cancer is not likely to save the patient.  Meaningful and long-lasting conservation of the World's rainforests requires reductions in rates of deforestation that are orders of magnitude higher than a 10% statistical blip. No amount of spin will make this good news.  ( more )

Philippine Island Earns Rare Logging Reprieve
5 Aug 2000

Asia's biological heritage continues to be plundered for short-term, impermanent economic gains by the powerful few.  Already some 88 percent of Asia's forests are gone. The island of Palawan in the Philippines has ended logging before being  totally deforested. Many countries that are approaching the end of their commercial logging boom period would do well to follow Palawan's example of holding onto remaining forest resources by canceling remaining logging contracts and banning commercial scale logging.  ( more )

Indonesia Fails to Halt Illegal Logging
1 Aug 2000

The Indonesian government must move beyond making empty pledges to conserve its rainforests in exchange for donor finance, and take action to show it is serious about halting illegal logging and rationalizing forest and land management. In February the government stated to a donor meeting that they would immediately deal with illegal logging, including outrageous logging in national parks. It is reported that blatant and illegal logging continues apace, threatening orangutan populations in supposed protected parks. What a tragedy. ( more )

Landclearing in Australia  ACTION
31 Jul 2000

In Queensland, clearing approvals for leasehold land increased by over 60% from 1998 levels, to 644,000 hectares in 1999. It is expected that actual clearing rates on leasehold and freehold land also increased significantly.   Prime Minister John Howard will soon decide whether to provide funding support to help Queenslanders control land clearing.  ( more )

Greenpeace Activists Arrested Protesting Criminal Amazon Timber Trade
July 29 2000

French commandos have arrested Greenpeace activists in the French port of Honfleur, as a ship carrying Amazon timber had to abandon port without offloading its criminal cargo. Greenpeace has reinvigorated its commitment to ending the illegal timber trade, carrying out a sustained string of non-violent protests around the globe. The targets have been log exports to the over-developed World that have connections to illegal logging activities in the Amazon, Africa and Russia. Clearly the days of rogue, predatory logging are coming to an end. Those that plunder rainforests for a living would be well served to move toward certifiably ecologically sustainable management practices, or find another line of work.  ( more )

World Faced with Growing Forest Fire Threats
July 29 2000

Forest fires in Greece and those in Indonesia in 1997 and 1998 are "only a foretaste of a global disaster waiting to happen". In a new report WWF and IUCN state that the next El Nino weather disturbance in the Pacific, due within two years, is likely to trigger more and worse fires.  It is clearly evident that Worldwide we have cut too many forests for
too long. It is time to give forested (and for that matter, agricultural) lands a rest. We need to tread lightly in all remaining forests, and give forest landscapes time to recover and stabilize. Global ecological sustainability depends upon doing so.
( more )

Suppressed Report on Rainforest Destruction now Available
July 25 2000

On May 29, the British GUARDIAN newspaper disclosed that "a devastating report about the destruction of tropical forests by multinational companies has been suppressed for three years by the European Commission and the World Wide Fund for Nature."  The German rainforest group Rettet den Regenwald regenwald@umwelt.ecolink.org has now released the  suppressed 1997 first version of that report which contains names  and facts about companies blamed for corruption  and   malpractice. Please check it out on: www.umwelt.org/regenwald/JointReport.pdf.  The official version of the report in which many names and  facts have been omitted is available at www.panda.org/news/download/tnc_report.pdf   (To unpack the pdf format,  you will need Acrobat which you can  get for free from www.adobe.com( more )

Following the Trail of Illegal Rainforest Wood
July 24 2000

Greenpeace has completed a two-year investigation, tracking timbers that were illegally exported by transnational loggers from the Amazon to prestigious institutions such as the British Museum in Great Britain. The fact that legitimate users of wood were shown to be complicit in illegal timber harvest illustrates the developed World's complicity in ancient forest loss. Until all wood and wood products have independent certification of their entire chain of origin and sustainability of management practices, any one of us could be contributing to the demise of the Planet's ancient forests by buying virtually any wood product.  ( more )

G8 Appeal: It's Time to Save the Forests
July 20 2000

Despite over a decade of political platitudes in support of forest conservation, the World's major economic powers, members of the G-8, "are still very active in destroying ancient forests inside and outside their own borders." Greenpeace and the World Resources Institute are taking the G-8 to task. They note destruction of remaining pristine forests is heavily subsidised using funds that would be better spent protecting the world's last ancient forests from illegal logging and other threats.  ( more )

Stopping Destruction of Indonesia's Forests Requires New Policies
July 19 2000

Reduction in Indonesia's recurrent forest fires, and forest ecological sustainability, will require drastic changes in management of the country's remaining forests. Illegal logging accounts for an estimated half of annual production. Legal logging and forest clearance isn't much better.  A new report makes important recommendations including a moratorium on new concessions for oil palm, timber and other plantations.  Bottom line, the scale of harvest and land clearance has exceeded what is regionally sustainable, and forest industries must be quickly downsized and brought within the body of law.  ( more )

ExxonMobil Threatens Pristine Amazon Valley  ACTION
July 8 2000

The Candamo Valley in the Peruvian Amazon "is a complex, healthy, and intact ecosystem" that has been described by scientists as "a complete Amazon in miniature." The area includes jaguars, pumas, tapirs, anaconda, armadillo, and the endangered giant otter. ExxonMobil has the rights to explore for oil and natural gas in the region. Environmentalists and the majority of Peruvians want ExxonMobil to give up its claims to the Candamo Valley, so it can be incorporated into a nearby  National Park. Please add your voice: no more ancient ecosystem destruction for damaging fossil fuel production. You can send a free fax to ExxonMobil from RAN's award winning web site.  ( more )

Peru Seeks To Stem Amazon Logging
July 8 2000

Peru's President has deployed the military to stop unsustainable logging. He has also declared three huge new protected zones covering 15.6 million acres. It is critically important that a timber boom not threaten Peru's globally exceptional species and habitat diversity.  Once a large transnational logging industry becomes firmly entrenched, it is generally too late to pursue sustainability. It is now or never to draw the line and say these rainforests are too important for a cut and run American logging company to liquidate.  ( more )

Mount Tamalpais Declaration   ACTION
July 7 2000

Large scale, industrial tree plantations are on the rise, bringing with them their devastating effects on groundwater, soils, native plants and animals, and local economies. Considering the alarming rate at which tree plantations are already replacing the worlds forests, there is reason for extreme concern about the role envisaged for tree plantations in helping countries meet their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol of the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Please read and sign on to the Mount Tamalpais Declaraton, thereby recognizing that trading carbon sequestered in tree plantations for carbon resulting from burning of fossil fuels cannot justify postponing deep reductions in CO2 emissions in industrialized countries.  ( more )

Major Logging Tax Racket in Papua New Guinea
July 2 2000

Corruption within the Papua New Guinean industrial log export industry is of epidemic proportions.  The success or failure of significant new Australian and World Bank aid projects coming on line will depend upon to what extent they go beyond trying to "reform" the current industry (this has been tried and failed with Barnett Inquiry, TFAP, NFCAP, 1st moratorium, etc.), and instead open up forest management to include a variety of alternative activities.  The current Malaysian dominated log export industry is unable to be reformed and should be abolished and dismantled. If these aid projects simply extend the life of the current tragically flawed industry, they will have failed.  ( more )

Kick Interfor off the Planet!   ACTION                           
June 28 2000

Interfor is one of the worst destroyers of coastal temperate rainforests on the planet.  They are one of the largest logging companies on the coast of British  Columbia, averaging an annual province-wide cut of 4 million cubic meters of timber throughout the1990's.  Approximately two-thirds of that cut has come from ancient coastal temperate rainforests, a forest type recognized by the  Resource Institute of Washington DC as the most endangered forest type on the planet. Nearly all of the trees come from clear-cuts. ( more )

Amazon Being Logged for Plywood, Protests Mount
June 22 2000

The World's rainforests are being dismantled to provide plywood to build our homes. Following is information regarding how Great Britain is being compelled to come to terms with its complicity in rainforest destruction, how protests are being mounted by Greenpeace against Malaysian company's export of plywood from the Amazon to Great Britain, and further information regarding the recent report on multi-national loggers zeroing in on remaining rainforest wildernesses. It is within our power to stop this madness and preserve the Earth's essential ecosystems. We must all mobilize and organize to resist and stop criminal rainforest obliteration. Our, the Planet's, and many other species' survival depend upon it.  ( more )

Cameroon's Forests are Mismanaged
June 21 2000

"Cameroon's forests contain some of the Congo Basin's most biologically diverse and most threatened forests." Cameroon is representative of the predatory logging plague striking the World's remaining forests. The rapidly growing timber industry is in mid-boom, generating income that will soon dry up, leaving the country barren and without sustainable development options provided by well-managed forests. The full report and maps can be found at: http://www.globalforestwatch.org/cameroon/en_products.html  ( more )

Australian Environmental Laws Being Weakened ACTION (for Australians)
June 19 2000

The Environment Legislation Amendment Bill (No1) 2000 ("ELAB" no.1) is the first batch of amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and it comes before that Act starts on 16, July 2000. The Australian Parliament will likely be hearing "ELAB" no. 1 beginning the week of June 26, so comments are urgently needed to prevent aspects of the amendment  that would significantly degrade the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Industrial Nations Work to Weaken Pollution Controls at World Climate Conference
June 13 2000

A global coalition of NGOs working to prevent climate change have issued a press release revealing efforts by industrialised nations to weaken what little protection the Kyoto treaty had to offer for the biosphere. At a climate conference in Bonn the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Canada are currently attempting to circumvent the 5% reduction in fossil fuel emissions that is required over the next decade by the Kyoto Protocol and instead increase emissions by 15% to 20%. The old notion that developed countries with good economies  pollute less because they can afford to has been proven wrong once again.  ( more )

Transnational Loggers Devastating Tropical Forests
June 13 2000

The long anticipated, slightly sanitized expose of rampant rainforest timber "mining" by transnational timber companies has been released. The trend of highly aggressive timber companies failing to manage forests that they are industrially harvesting, violating indigenous rights, and sometimes practicing large-scale corruption has been evident and growing for some years.  It is gratifying to see a large, mainstream environmental group such as WWF acknowledge "the dramatic expansion of transnational investments in timber extraction from tropical forests is an increasing cause of deforestation worldwide."  The report can be downloaded at: http://panda.org/news/download/tnc_report.pdf .  ( more )

CAMBODIA VICTORY: Cambodia to Prosecute Malaysian Logging Firm
June 12 2000

In a potentially major step forward towards the rule of law in the operation of transnational timber companies, Cambodia has filed charges against an illegal logging operation.  Given the political will, this could be done in any number of tropical forest countries.  Throughout major remaining rainforests, a handful of logging companies are running roughshod over ecosystems, local peoples and their laws.  An important precedent may be set in Cambodia.  ( more )

World Bank Approves "Nightmare" Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline
June 6 2000

After hesitating for several years due to international concern expressed by countless individuals, environmental, and human rights groups and member governments the World Bank is forging ahead with this 1,070 kilometer pipeline that begins in Chad, and ends on the coast of Cameroon. The pipeline will be going through sensitive jungle that perhaps most notably shelters the disenfranchised indigenous Pygmy people, and  threatened Chimpanzee's with a 98% human genetic makeup  resistant to AIDS. Cameroon has recently been given an award for being the worlds most corrupt country, and Chad is not far behind. It looks like ExxonMobil, Petronas and Chevron will be the main aid recipients from this project, with corrupt government officials right alongside. Without new ecological catastrophes and violence against local peoples that will result from this project there is plenty of evidence to call the very existence of the World Bank Group into question.  ( more )