Category Archives: Forests

Colorado Biomass = Clearcut=False Solutions to Climate Change

It is difficult to imagine that in 2014 we are still facing clearcut  strategies for our rapidly disappearing forested lands. Biomass is certainly a false solution to climate change. From the Summit County Colorado Summit Daily

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Is biomass all its cut up to be? 

Howard Brown    17 October 2014    Summit Daily

One possible reason for sticking to the ill-advised Ophir Mountain and other clear-cutting plans is that the clear-cut trees would go to the biomass power plant in Gypsum. Biomass power is renewable energy. It wouldn’t justify destroying Summit County’s wonderful forests and trails, but biomass is green energy right? Maybe not.

Is biomass power a good renewable energy source that we should promote here in Colorado? To answer this, we need to back up and look at where biomass energy comes from. As with most of our energy sources, it starts with energy from the sun. In photosynthesis, plants use solar energy to convert water and carbon dioxide to carbohydrates. Energy is stored in the carbon-hydrogen bonds. (Geologic pressure over time strips the oxygen from plant material to create hydrocarbon fossil fuels.) When animals metabolize carbohydrates, or when plant or fossil fuel material combusts (burns), that energy is released as oxygen combined with the material, returning to the lower-energy carbon-oxygen and hydrogen-oxygen bonds of carbon dioxide and water.

The problem with fuels such as coal and wood is that they are solids. The combustion process requires direct contact between oxygen molecules and molecules of the fuel. For gaseous fuels such as natural gas, that is very easy, individual oxygen molecules readily mix directly with individual methane molecules. For liquid fuels such as petroleum products, vegetable oil or ethanol, that mixing is more difficult and the resulting combustion less efficient. With solid fuels, however, it is exceedingly difficult for individual oxygen molecules to contact individual fuel molecules, so the combustion process is incomplete and far less efficient.

Read the Full Article Here

 

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change, Energy, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Uncategorized

Two stories of committed environmental journalists who lost their lives in Mexico and Cambodia, and one story of others who risked theirs in Brazil

Illegal Logging in Para State, Brazil. Photo by: © Greenpeace via mongabay.com

Illegal Logging in Para State, Brazil. Photo by: © Greenpeace via mongabay.com

Sometimes, there’s a few related stories to share in the morning. For example, there’s two important related stories today from the WW4 Report about committed environmental journalists who lost their lives:

Cambodia: reporter slain documenting illegal logging

and

Mexico: dam opponent slain during radio broadcast

For the second one, it’s important to note that it was during his radio show, which he did alongside his organizing work against a dam.

Finally, here’s a story of local activists who risked their lives to get out the story of illegal logging in Brazil. They courageously attached GPS monitoring to the trucks of illegal loggers to document the operations that happen in the middle of the night. They collaborated with Greenpeace, and were able to use hi-tech surveillance to not only document the illegal logging but to prove that loggers falsify records.

Daring activists use high-tech to track illegal logging trucks in the Brazilian Amazon

By Jeremy Hance, Mongabay.com. October 15, 2014

Every night empty trucks disappear into the Brazilian Amazon, they return laden with timber. This timber —illegally cut —makes its way to sawmills that sell it abroad to places like the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan using fraudulent paperwork to export the ill-gotten gains as legit. These findings are the result of a daring and dangerous investigation by Greenpeace-Brazil that had activists hanging out with truckers and illegal loggers, all the while surreptitiously tagging trucks with GPS locator beacons. The high-tech equipment allowed the organization to track where the logging trucks went.

Read the whole story by Jeremy Hance here!

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Filed under Forests, Illegal logging, Media

What wood are you burning? Try some from the U.S. National Forests

The latest info from the U.S. Forest Service is nothing short of terrifying. According to an article on Earth Island Journal, the U.S. government is considering ripping through national forests for biofuels. The propaganda on this pillage concludes that forests are overgrown fire hazards and that a “burn the forest before it burns you” policy would not only help prevent fires, but also eliminate climate change.

1,600 acres of White River National Forest are being clear-cut. All of the trees are fueling the Eagle Valley Clean Energy biomass facility. Photo: Josh Schlossberg

1,600 acres of White River National Forest are being clear-cut. All of the trees are fueling the Eagle Valley Clean Energy biomass facility. Photo: Josh Schlossberg

So, for the U.S. Forest Service, here is an FYI: The number of trees and bugs in an area has nothing to do with causing forest fires. Wildfires are brought on by human action, drought and rising temperatures, which will all INCREASE if we tear down more forests.

Will National Forests Be Sacrificed to the Biomass Industry?
BY JOSH SCHLOSSBERG, Earth Island Journal, OCTOBER 15, 2014

The US Forest Service wants to sell our forests for fuel in the name of wildfire reduction
If we’re to believe the biomass energy industry, the US Forest Service, and a chorus of politicians from both sides of the aisle, we can solve the energy crisis, cure climate change, and eradicate wildfire by logging and chipping our national forests and burning them up in biomass power facilities.

The plotline of their story goes something like this: Years of taxpayer-funded logging and fire suppression in federal forests (at the behest of the timber industry) has resulted in “overgrown” forests crawling with icky bugs, ticking time bombs ready to burst into flames. And the fix, it just so happens, involves even more taxpayer-funded logging and fire suppression, with the trees forked over to the biomass industry to burn in their incinerators and then the “green” electricity sold to utilities and eventually the public — at a premium.

Read the full article here.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change

Olympic ski course threatens ancient mountain forest in South Korea

The track record of the Olympics for bringing misery and destruction continues. Global Justice Ecology Project is the North American Focal Point for the Global Forest Coalition.

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The new slope will be built on part of Mount Gariwang but will require a number of trees and forestry to be cut down causing an outcry from many environmental groups in South Korea ©Pyeongchang 2018 from inside the games http://www.insidethegames.biz/olympics/winter-olympics/2018/1020140-environmentalist-oppose-plans-by-pyeongchang-2018-for-new-ski-slope-on-mt-gariwang

PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA, 16 October 2014 - Friends of the Earth International campaigners are standing with Korean environmentalists in opposition to the construction of a ski course for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang province, South Korea.

The Olympic ski course is under construction at Mount Gariwang, a protected area, which is covered by an ancient forest that harbours unique species, including the rare Yew tree, the Wangsasre tree, which is only found on the Korean Peninsula, and possibly the oldest oak in South Korea.

A delegation of Friends of the Earth International and the Global Forest Coalition joined members of the Korea Civil Network on the CBD, the Korea Federation for Environmental Movement / Friends of the Earth South Korea, and local communities on a visit to the site, on the occasion of the XII Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is hosted by South Korea this week.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Forests, Land Grabs, Uncategorized

World Rainforest Movement on GE Trees at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Right Now

Information below from the World Rainforest Movement regarding the ongoing UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP 12 in South Korea and the controversy stirring there around the Brazilian Biosafety Commission (CTNBio)’s consideration of a request to commercialize GE eucalyptus trees in the country.

Timber corporation Suzano and their subsidiary Futuragene made this request to CTNBio earlier this year. Any such approval would blatantly violate the CBD COP-9 decision that called on all signatories to the CBD (including Brazil) to adhere to the Precautionary Approach regarding GE trees [in other words don't approve them unless they have been proven safe--which they have not, not even close!]

Please read more on the issues below.

The 12th Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is taking place in South Korea.

There are several issues being addressed by the COP 12 such as biodiversity and ecosystems conservation, invasive species, synthetic biology, benefit sharing from access to genetic resources, biofuels and many others. If you wish to learn more about the discussions taking place and why they are relevant, we would like to invite you to visit the CBD Alliance web site (http://www.cbdalliance.org) where you will be able to read about what is at stake at the COP 12. The CBD Alliance, a group of civil society actors that critically monitor and seek to influence and inform about the CBD, has identified key issues that will be debated at the CBD.

One such issue has to do with Genetically Modified Trees, also called Genetically Engineered (GE) or transgenic trees. During a previous CBD meeting (COP 9) a decision was adopted (IX/5) calling for application of the precautionary approach regarding transgenic trees. It urges parties to strictly apply the precautionary approach and not to authorise the environmental release of GE trees until research can show that any possible negative impact can be ruled out, including impacts on the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities. This international CBD decision has to be followed up and implemented at the national level. Further reading at: http://www.cbdalliance.org/en/images/COP12/Briefing_notesCOP12/Briefing_on_GE_Trees.pdf

However, in countries like Brazil and USA (whose government has never ratified the CDB), corporations have submitted applications to request the commercial release of GE Trees. Indigenous Peoples, civil society organizations and social movements in both countries are raising alarms and urge their governments not to approve those requests, amongst others on the grounds of the CBD decision. Worldwide, several groups are involved in a campaign to Stop GE Trees (see stopgetrees.org).

If you wish to read the letter sent to Brazilian authorities urging them not to authorise the request by a company involved in industrial tree plantations please visit: http://wrm.org.uy/all-campaigns/open-letter-to-be-sent-to-the-brazilian-national-technical-biosafety-commission-ctnbio/

In the USA the Indigenous Environmental Network and Eastern Band of Cherokee community members organized a gathering of Indigenous Peoples from across the Southeastern US for an historic Indigenous Peoples’ action camp against genetically engineered trees (GE trees). Participants condemned GE trees as a form of colonization of the forest. You can read further at:
http://stopgetrees.org/indigenous-peoples-unite-stop-genetically-engineered-trees/

Finally, for those who would like to know what is happening in relation to GE Tree research in countries around the world, we invite you to read the updated WRM publication called: “GE Trees Research. A Country by Country Overview”. It includes information on whether there is research on GE Trees taking place or not in the countries included in the overview, which tree species are being engineered, for which purposes, who is behind the research and what are the risk for the environment and the communities whose livelihoods depend on it. The publication is available at : http://wrm.org.uy/books-and-briefings/ge-tree-research-a-country-by-country-overview/

We hope you find this information useful. Please let us know if you have any question.

The WRM Team


www.wrm.org.uy

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, UN, Uncategorized

Rachel Smolker on IEN’s Indigenous Peoples’ Action Camp to Stop GE Trees

Frank Billie of the Seminole Tribe from Florida. Photo by Photolangelle.

Frank Billie of the Seminole Tribe from Florida. Photo by Photolangelle.

As we reported yesterday, the Indigenous Environmental Network and Eastern Band of Cherokee community members organized a gathering of Indigenous Peoples from across the Southeastern US last week for an historic Indigenous Peoples’ action camp against genetically engineered trees (GE trees).

Participants condemned GE trees as a form of colonization of the forest.

Rachel Smolker, co-director of Biofuelwatch, participated in the action camp as a member of the steering committee of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees.

In her blog for the Huffington Post, Smolker provides a compelling account of the purpose for the action camp and the ideas coming out of it.

Rachel SmolkerColumbus Day and the Colonization of Land, Trees and Genes

By Rachel Smolker, Huffington Post Tech Blog, October 13, 2014.

I spent the past several days participating in the Indigenous Environmental Network Campaign to Stop GE Trees Action Camp in the Qualla Boundary, homelands of the Eastern Band Cherokee in North Carolina. Participants included members of tribes across the Southeast, who came to learn about plans for growing genetically engineered trees on and/or adjacent to their territories.

On Columbus Day we can sadly reflect on the brutal history of colonization that American Indians faced when Europeans “discovered” and then claimed their lands. Now, centuries later, the ongoing colonization process threatens to colonize not only their lands, but even the genetics of the trees in their forests that are central to their history and livelihoods.

Read the whole essay here.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Events, Forests, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples

Another take on the UN Climate Summit Declaration on Forests

There’s been much in the news about the Declaration of Forests out of the UN Climate Summit. In this essay, Chris Lang of the REDD Monitor echoes criticisms made by GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann about the lack of anything binding in the declaration. Lang adds to this criticism an interesting account of its process and further close reading of the declaration itself. Really useful and important work!

The New York Declaration on Forests: An agreement to continue deforestation until 2030
By Chris Lang, REDD-Monitor.org. September 26, 2014

By signing the New York Declaration on Forests, which was announced this week during the UN Climate Summit, governments, companies, civil society and indigenous organisations have endorsed “a global timeline to cut natural forest loss in half by 2020, and [will] strive to end it by 2030″.

The declaration has been fêted in the media. The Independent asks “Is this the end of the ‘war on trees’?”, Treehugger describes it as an “Ambitious plan to end forest loss”, and the Guardian announces that “UN climate summit pledges to halt the loss of natural forests by 2030″.

Read the whole article here!

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Filed under Climate Change, Forests, REDD

Indigenous Peoples demand an end to logging in their territory in Quebec

 SOVEREIGNTY DECLARATION NEXT STEPS: THE ATIKAMEKW CHALLENGE THE FSC ACREDITATION OF FORESTRY COMPANIES

Boreal forest, Quebec.  Photolangelle.org

Boreal forest, Quebec. Photolangelle.org

Nitaskinan, Quebec – September 23, 2014 – Intended as the natural next step and logical continuation of its September 8, 2014 declaration of sovereignty, the Atikamekw (indigenous inhabitants of the upper Saint-Maurice River valley of Quebec) announced today that no future forestry operations will be permitted on its territory without the securing of its full consent.

The Atikamekw are seeking to use the auditing period currently underway for the re-registration of companies operating on Atikamekw Opitciwan territory to the Forestry Management Systems (as required by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC),) to ensure that no company currently being audited obtain a renewal of said certification without the observance of Atikamekw rights and the adequate protection of Atikamekw ancestral territory.

“We never agreed nor gave our consent to the massive exploitation of the forest resources on our territory. Should forestry companies wish to exploit the resources that belong to us by right, they are required to contact us and secure our consent, ” said Chef Christian Awashish.

This position is not without precedent, as it corresponds directly to one of the ten Principles & Criteria set out by the FSC in Canada for the obtaining and maintenance of such accreditation.

In its third Principle, the FSC stipulates that “the legal and customary rights of indigenous peoples to own, use and manage their lands, territories and resources shall be recognized and respected,”  providing for the implementation and rigorous enforcement of the international concept of “free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples” to its forest management standards. Principles six and nine require that adequate protection also be assured to certified territory, older sections of forest and certain species of wild animals. The Atikamekw Opitciwan territory has for decades endured the colossal impact of the forest industry without the protection of an adequate conservation plan.

In consequence, Chief Christian Awashish and the Opitciwan Council are calling for the suspension of FSC certification for companies currently operating on Nitaskinan, and in particular, those belonging to the following companies:

• Resolute Forest Products (Comtois and Senneterre)

  • Kruger (Gerard Crete et fils inc., St-Roch-de-Mekinac and Industries Parent inc.)

• Tembec (Senneterre)

• Gestion forestière de St-Maurice

• Barette Chapais

• Chantier Chibougamau

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international certification and labeling system dedicated to promoting environmentally responsible development, socially beneficial and economically prosperous of the world’s forests. The FSC sets standards for forest certification and offers a credible assurance to purchasers of wood and paper. The FSC offers the only forest certification system that requires the consent of local indigenous populations with the aim of protecting their rights on public and private land at the same time. FSC requirements for forest development include an entire section devoted to Aboriginal rights (Principle 3), and this principle is widely recognized and respected when it comes to indigenous rights.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Uncategorized