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World Rainforest Report 39

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

Produced in partnership with, Inc.

Dire Amazon Rainforest Predictions: Gone in 50 years?

Two reports that make dire predictions about the future of the Amazon rainforests. One warns of the Amazon's increased vulnerability to fire; the other predicts the total demise of the world's largest remaining rainforests due to climate changes already set in train.

Attempts to save most rainforests doomed - report

Scientists from the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Italy claim that efforts to save most of the world's rainforests are doomed to failure and should probably be abandoned. The report is best seen as a reminder to those attempting to protect rainforests that their strategies need to be re-examined constantly. The fatalistic tone of the report is disappointing, however. Rainforests are simply too important to give up on.

Solomon Islands to End Unsustainable Forest Harvests?

The reform-minded Solomon Islands government continues the rhetoric of using the current log market downturn to put in place safeguards to ensure sustainable use of their small and dwindling forest resource base. This is highly encouraging, and unless the pro-timber lobby re-mobilizes, should represent a significant respite for the forests, ecosystems, biodiversity and people's development aspirations. The rest of the region would be well advised to follow such foresighted policies.

World Forests Vulnerable to Global Warming

Reuters reports on the implications of global warming to forest decline, as presented by WWF at the Buenos Aires climate talks.

ECUADOR: Indians Take Stand Against Oil ACTION

The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) appeals for letters to protest rainforest destruction in the Southern Ecuadorian Amazon. Please take the time to do so.

Stop Buying Ancient Forest DestructionACTION

Global Response has written a hard hitting action alert regarding Home Depot's purchase of ancient forest timbers from British Columbia, Canada. This campaign holds great potential for stigmatizing poorly harvested old-growth timbers-an important step in an eventual end game to protect, and/or benignly manage, all remaining ancient forests. Please take the time to pen a letter, and get others to do so also.

RUSSIA: Burning Forest an Ecological Disaster

Russia's forests, the most expansive remaining forest wilderness in the world, are ablaze. These fires, and the recent forest fires worldwide, are the inevitable result of inappropriate forest land use practiced for centuries. Failure to act, and act quickly with resolve, will doom humanity and countless other species to chaotic, spiraling environmental decline. Protect, conserve, restore and resist! Come share and discuss your ideas regarding forest conservation at

CHILE: Beech Forest Harvest on Hold

An update regarding Trillium Corp. of Washington's plan to log ancient forests in Chile. Due at least partly from public pressure, including letters you all wrote and hard work by talented forest campaigners, they have withdrawn. Unfortunately, there is some chance that they may simply move their equipment for forest harvest to Argentina. This is about a month old but thought it important to point out victory! (Glen Barry)

One Third of Earth's Resources Consumed in past 25 Years!

A World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report released last week found that one third of the Earth's natural resources have been plundered in the last 25 years. In the first 5 years of this decade, the rate of consumption stood at 3% per year. However, the mainstream media did not consider this news to be as important as President Clinton's sex life.

The Forest & the Sea: Nature as Teacher & Healer in Times of Crisis

by Eshana. This story is written as a chapter for a forthcoming book 'Changing Places: Developing a Sense of Place in Australia', edited by Val Brown, John Cameron and Vicki King.

Deep Ecology Workshops in Australia, Sept. '98 -- Feb. '99

World Bank Loan to Exxon for Chad-Cameroon Pipeline ACTION

Should international development assistance from the World Bank for two of the poorest countries in Africa be used to support the world's richest oil companies?

Worldwide Campaign to End Third World Debt

"If there is to be even a small chance to relax the pressures on tropical biota, fundamental changes in the world trade system and the basic relationships between rich and poor nations must take place". This statement was made by Paul and Anne Ehrlich over ten years ago. The necessary basic changes have not yet occurred, but the growing campaign to cancel third world debt is an important step in that direction.

AUSTRALIA: Jabiluka Uranium MineACTION

Australian residents: Find out what you can do to help stop the Jabiluka uranium mine. The next two weeks between now and the federal election are crucial. You don't have to be involved in the blockade to have an impact.


Supported by the Mirrar people -- traditional owners of the site, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Friends of the Earth, The Wilderness Society, and the Northern Territory Environment Centre. Background information and links

VENEZUELA: Development Threatens Rainforest ACTION

Fed up with the destruction of their traditional homeland, the indigenous people of southern Venezuela are trying everything from legal action to staging blockades to stem the tide of environmental ruin. Under threat from logging and other developments are the Imataca Forest reserve and neighboring Canaima National Park, in Eastern Venezuela's Oronoco River basin. These areas are among the richest tropical forest areas on earth. A RAN Action Alert.

Background Info on Venezuela

CANADA: Scientists Call on Govt. to Protect Endangered Rainforest

Canada continues industrial logging of the relatively small remaining temperate rainforests on their west coast. The consequences are severe, as numerous expert scientists make clear with their appeal to the Canadian government. If a rich country like Canada cannot forgo fleeting profits from liquidation of ecosystems of planetary importance, how in the hell can we expect nations racked by poverty to do so? Only a global end to industrial logging of all remaining ancient forests, and massive resource and technology transfers to countries most economically challenged to pursue such a policy, will suffice.

Link here for background info on Canada

Greenpeace, World Resources Institute, explore the future

* GREENPEACE: Environmental Crisis Looms by 2000

Greenpeace reports that forests and species are being destroyed, fisheries are being exhausted, global warming is underway, and nuclear wastes and PVC plastics remain problematic. Greenpeace concludes, "we need solutions, not excuses. We need actions, not words."

* WRI: "Which World: Scenarios for the 21st Century"

"...yet trends are not destiny. Unexpected events occur. Social attitudes or political consensus can shift suddenly." The Scenarios section of this website explores three contrasting visions of the future -- globally and region by region.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Biodiversity Revealed

"The Lakekamu Basin is one of the largest remaining pristine lowland rain forests in PNG, covering an area approximately 975 sq. miles in the Gulf Province. Virtually uninhabited, the basin has until now been spared from human destruction, offering excellent opportunities for conservation" . An account of a report from Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program.

Deep Ecology series available available free to community and public radio stationsACTION

"Deep Ecology for the 21st Century", a 13-part radio series produced by New Dimensions Radio, featuring Arne Naess, George Sessions, David Suzuki, Joanna Macy, Gary Snyder, Dave Foreman, Paul Ehrlich, and many others, is being offered free for public broadcast.

CHINA: Govt. Moves to Curb Deforestation in the Wake of the Floods

Deforestation has been blamed on China's devastating floods this summer which killed more than 2,000 people. In response, China's cabinet has taken steps to curb deforestation. The Worldwatch Institute points to Global Warming as a possible underlying cause of the floods and warns of worse to come.

World Rainforest Movement Launches Anti-plantations Campaign

In the latest of its excellent news bulletins, WRM launches its campaign against plantations, which it says "are having grave social and environmental impacts in many countries of the world".

Deforestation the real cause of the AIDS/HIV epidemic?

Dr. Jaap Goudsmit of the University of Amsterdam believes the virus that became the HIV-1 first lived in monkeys and apes. "But as humans decimated these hosts", he claims, "they offered the virus an abundant alternative host. The virus made use of the opportunity and depends on us for survival"


In countries around the world this past year, massive fires have raged out of control, destroying millions of acres of ancient forest in what appears to be a planetary meltdown. RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK ACTION ALERT

ECUADOR: Govt. agrees to act on shrimp farms

Ecuador's Minister of Environment has promised Greenpeace that she will take steps to secure a permanent ban on mangrove clearcuts by the country's shrimp farming industry and investigate evidence of illegal mangrove destruction in a protected national reserve. For more on mangroves, see Mangrove Action Project

Background Information

From now on, when you access our Top Ten and World Rainforest Report sections you will be able to link to background information on the countries involved.We are able to provide this information thanks to the World Guide 1997/98 and New Internationalist NIlogo.gif (1258 bytes)

New CD by RIC's Anja Light

Anja Light, a long-time rainforest activist and performer who works with the Rainforest Information Centre has released her first CD, "Voices for the Forest".

Background Info on Venezuela

The World's Forests -- What's Left 1998

"The Last Frontier Forests", a 40-page 1997 report by the New York-based NGO, the World Resources Institute (WRI), found that "almost half the Earth's original forest cover is gone, much of it destroyed within the past three decades". Highlighted here are some of the main points in the report.

Chad/Cameroon Oil & Pipeline Project

Open Letter to the World Bank: "The 86 undersigned environment, development, human rights and religious organizations from 28 countries [including the Rainforest Information Centre -- ed] call upon you to suspend World Bank participation in the Chad/Cameroon Oil & Pipeline project ..."

Mangrove Action Project

The Mangrove Action Project (MAP) is an international network dedicated to protecting and restoring mangrove forests worldwide. MAP promotes the rights and capacities of local coastal peoples to sustainably manage mangrove ecosystems.Mangrove forests are among our most valuable resources. Mangroves in Ecuador, Thailand, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka and other countries are being devastated, particularly by the shrimp industry. MAP produces a quarterly magazine and can be contacted at .

Study States Sustainable Logging in Tropics Doesn't Work

"If we aim to achieve conservation results, there are many more efficient ways to do it than sustainable forest management," says Ian Bowles in this report on a study by Conservation International. Plus comments by Gaia Forest Archive's Glen Barry.

OCCUPY, RESIST, PRODUCE: Brasil’s Landless Peasants -- Movimento Sem Terra

Who decides what we see on the TV news or read in the newspaper? Skewed land distribution is one of the main underlying causes of rainforest destruction, and Sem Terra has been described by Noam Chomsky as the most important social movement in the world, yet this massive push for land reform in Brazil is seldom reported in mainstream media. A fascinating first-hand report from an anonymous EarthFirst! activist.

Max-Neef on Human Needs and Human-scale Development

Conventional western ideas of development and progress are seen by many as a root cause of rainforest destruction and other aspects of the global ecological crisis, but what are the alternatives? This article by Kath Fisher outlines Max-Neef's ideas on human needs and Human-scale Development.

SURINAME: Tenth of Country to be Off-Limits to Loggers

In a bold move, the government of Suriname has chosen to establish a protected nature reserve of some 1.6 million hectares which comprises one tenth of the country.

Smoke Signals: Vast Forest Fires Scar the Globe

Its always encouraging when the mainstream media takes their heads out of the sand and notes the demise of the planet. In the attached article, Time Magazine notes the magnitude of the recent forest fires and correctly interprets this as an indicator of worse to come. "Fire storms in the rain forests... have become an unmistakable distress signal from the developing world."

MEXICO: Fire Catastrophe branded "worst in world"

The U.S. has labeled the blazes raging in Mexico as the "worst in the world"--no doubt reflecting the correlation between being closest to America and being of most importance. The truth is that virtually all the world's forests are going up in flames to some extent--Indonesia, Brazil, Mongolia, Philippines, and many other countries. This may be the natural synthesis of universally more fragmented, human-impacted forests, combined with global warming, playing itself out. Whatever the cause, the prescription is to cut back on the level of intensity of forest management, identify and protect core ecological areas, make the resources available to improve tropical land management and generally let forested lands rest and regenerate. Reduced forest production is a small price to pay for maintenance of the biosphere.

NICARAGUA: Victory for forests, indigenous people

Nicaragua's Ministry of Natural Resources has been forced by the Supreme Court to honor the rights of Miskito, Sumu and Rama Indians by abandoning a logging and wood processing operation that had been laying waste to their traditional territory - a Rainforest Action Network report.

USA: Redwood Action Request ACTION

The Rainforest Action Network reports on continued clearing of the few remaining ancient redwood groves. Please respond to this action request.

Maroons Say No to Multinational Logging

"Suriname's rainforests are high in biological diversity and endemic species and are the ancestral homelands of tens of thousands of Indigenous peoples and Maroons." The country's forests continue to be targeted for very intensive industrial forest harvests. Local peoples who lack land rights are resisting.

COSTA RICA: Plan to Save Forest with Carbon Credits

Costa Rica plans to harness carbon credits to finance rainforest conservation. While there exist justifiable concerns regarding the South forgoing development to subsidize continued Northern over-consumption, carbon swaps appear uniquely capable of financing large scale rainforest conservation. Carbon swapping will address global warming while changing the economics of tropical forests, tipping the scale towards conservation rather than large-scale exploitation.

THE WORLD: one in eight plant species threatened by extinction.

A recently concluded 20-year study has found that at least one in eight plant species worldwide is threatened by extinction. Endangered animals command more attention but plants are more fundamental to nature's functioning.

GUYANA: Dramatic increase in logging ACTION

Following is information relating to the dramatic increase of logging in Guyana. Surprise, surprise the culprits are the very same companies who have excessively logged, or are planning to, most of the world's remaining rainforests. Hopefully, the rather incomplete address provided will be sufficient to get messages through.


As you read this, one of the last and most beautiful tracts of undisturbed temperate rainforest left in Australia is fighting for its existence. Goolengook lies in the forests of far East Gippsland, in the Australian state of Victoria. It contains some of the most biologically and scientifically significant rainforests on Earth.

PERU: Public Pressure Influences Shell's Pullout

Corporations seldom admit it when their decisions are influenced by pressure from environmentalists and the public. RAN's Shannon Wright believes that "Industry press has so far failed to tell the whole story" behind Shell and Mobil's withdrawal from the Camisea Project in Peru. She points to other signs of Shell's sensitivity to public pressure.

Lycos cancels EnviroLink contract following Off-Road pressureACTION, an on-line site for motorized recreation enthusiasts, described EnviroLink, which is home to hundreds of environmental web sites, as a "radical environmental web haven." called for a barrage of protest letters to Lycos, the popular search engine which hosted Envirolink. Just ten days later, Lycos ended its 3-month-old contract with EnviroLink. Lycos denies any connection between the series of events. A Reuters' headline, however, took a different view: "Lycos wants to save the planet -- but only if it can also pull in the hits and not generate any negative press." Find out how to write a letter to Lycos.

One-tenth of tree species face extinction -- report

10% of the world's tree species face extinction through felling, forest fires and poor management, according to a report released this month. The World List of Threatened Trees, the product of a three-year project by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, details over 8,753 of the world's 80,000 to 100,000 tree species as being in danger of extinction.

RIC activists arrested in anti-nuclear actions

RIC projects officer Anja Light and her brother Jens, also an active RIC member, were arrested in Scotland in demonstrations at the Faslane nuclear submarine base. Jens is in jail until his court appearance on Sept. 22 on a charge of 'Malicious Mischief'. Anja and Jens are part of the "Ploughshare 2000" campaign to rid the world of nuclear weapons by the year 2000. Anja pointed out the twisted logic of being charged with "disturbing the peace" under such circumstances.

CHILE: Native Temperate Rainforest CrisisACTION

A third of the world's large untouched temperate forests are in Chile. Most will be gone in twenty years if current trends continue -- the victims of the rapidly expanding export woodchipping and exotic plantation industries. The following summary of a paper by the Chilean NGO, Defensores del Bosque Chileno, concludes with eight ways you can help to stop the destruction on these unique forests.

BRAZIL: Open Season for Eco-Criminals ACTION

Just weeks after being praised for extending its ban on new mahogany harvesting, the Brazilian government has done environmental transgressors a massive favour by declaring a 10-year moratorium on the enforcement of the Environmental Crimes Act. The following Action Request comes from the US-based Environmental Defence Fund

WEST PAPUA: Two Mining Companies Operating in National Park

Two mining companies are operating in a 2.5 million-hectare national park in Indonesia's remote Irian Jaya province, according to environmental groups in the region.

Global oil depetion is around the corner -- Scientific American paper

"Using several different techniques to estimate the current reserves of conventional oil and the amount still left to be discovered, we conclude that the decline will begin before 2010".

NEW ZEALAND: Zero Cut of Native ForestsACTION

Only seven percent of New Zealand's original lowland forest remains unlogged. Please help protect it by responding to this action request from the Dunedin Environment Centre.

"This is a note from my daughter's heart ..."

A child's response to hearing about rainforest destruction.

BRAZIL: Govt. Extends Mahogany Ban

Brazil has extended its moratorium on new mahogany logging for the next two years. The move has been welcomed by some environmental groups, but Roberto Smeraldi of FoE's Amazonia Program cautioned that the extension "means that mahogany logging can continue, as up to now, with existing authorizations".

CANADA: Help Save the Great Bear Rainforest ACTION

On the 8th of July the M/V Starlet and her crew of five arrived at the Ingram-Mooto, a pristine watershed in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada. Western Forest Products (WFP) have recently moved in to the Ingram-Mooto, going against the wishes of the Hereditary Chiefs of the Heilsuk First Nation to stop all logging in this area. Every day activists from the Forest Action Network take images of the destruction. The pictures are then posted on FAN's website. In May an action just like this stopped a logging operation in another pristine valley in the Greeat Bear Rainforest.

SLOVAKIA: Destructive Logging in Polana Biosphere ReserveACTION

Please support the campaign to save the Polana Biosphere Reserve (BR) in Slovakia from destructive logging.

INDONESIA: Indigenous People's Action in Central Sulawesi

Indigenous people, local student and NGO activists demanded the recognition of indigenous land rights and the repeal of the Suharto regime's legislation regarding natural resources.

Time Running Out for the World's Rainforests plus some suggestions on what to do about it.

This article from the Boston Globe's Matthew Brelis shows why the Rainforest Information Centre, Gaia Forest Archives and other forest NGOs around the world are fighting to save the world's remaining forests. "Rainforests aren't only being threatened", says Brelis, "they are disappearing. If the current rates continue, all that may be left in 20 years are boutique forests and jungle museums". Environmental organisations like RIC, Gaia and the Rainforest Action Network are doing their utmost to ensure that current rates don't continue.


An excellent report by Brian D. Brunton of Greenpeace Pacific on forests, forestry and development in Papua New Guinea


It is a testing time for Transfield's big dam plans in Laos. Which is probably just as well, argues Lee Rhiannon of Australian NGO, AID/Watch

INDONESIA: Mega-project under fire

The European Parliament has joined environmental organisations and scientists in calling on Indonesia to halt the disastrous project to convert over a million hectares of peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan into rice-lands. As thousands more transmigrants are sent to the site, more news is emerging about the impact of the project on surrounding communities. A report from Down to Earth -- the International Campaign for Ecological Justice in Indonesia

Background information on Mega-Rice Project

INDONESIA: East Kalimantan Burns and Starves

The Indonesian forest fires are back. In East Kalimantan, the worst hit area so far, tens of thousands of hectares are burning out of control. The fires -- mostly deliberately lit by big business -- and the continuing effects of the drought are bringing famine and disposession to local communities whose once rich resources have been plundered and destroyed. A report from Down to Earth -- the International Campaign for Ecological Justice in Indonesia

VENEZUELA: Help Save Imataca Reserve ACTION

A huge area of protected rainforest in South America could soon be destroyed by mining and logging - with government approval. But it's not too late to stop it from happening.

INDONESIA: A chance for environmental sanity

SURINAME: Govt. Refuses Indigenous and Maroon Land Rights

Indigenous and Maroon rights to own their ancestral territories are not recognised in any form in the laws of Suriname, making it the only state in the western hemisphere in which Indigenous peoples live that does not in some way legally recognise these rights.

ECUADOR: First Texaco, now OXYACTION

Occidental Petroleum (OXY), formerly known as Hooker Chemical, the company responsible for Love Canal, has moved their operations to the Ecuadorian Amazon. OXY has a poor environmental track record in Ecuador. The company appears to have used bribery and subterfuge in its campaign to get approval from the Secoya people for exploration rights to their land.

Ecuador Background Information

ECUADOR: Oil Road threatens Reserve ACTION

A new road (200ft wide) is being planned in the Ecuadorian Amazon, which will cut right through the world famous Jatun Sacha Biological Research Station and its adjoining reserve.

ASIA: No celebrations unless aid tied to environment, NGO warns

Indonesian environmental NGO SKEPHI warns that floods and fires rather than celebrations would be the outcome of a failure to tie aid packages to environmental commitments