Here in Pucallpa, a city at the heart of Peru’s logging industry on a major tributary of the Amazon, the waterfront is dominated by huge sawmills piled high with thousands of massive logs. They are floated in from remote logging camps, pulled by small motorboats called peke pekes, while trucks stacked with logs and lumber jam the roads.
A military officer stationed here to patrol the Ucayali River said that he had largely stopped making checks of the riverborne loads of timber, though the checks are supposed to be mandatory. In the past, he said, he had repeatedly ordered loads of logs to be held because they lacked the required paperwork, only to learn that forestry officials would later release them, apparently after creating or rubber-stamping false documentation.
In some cases, he said, loads of mahogany, a valuable type of wood that has disappeared from all but the most remote areas, were given fake documentation identifying the wood as a different kind.
“It’s uncontrollable,” said the officer, who was not authorized to speak publicly. Referring to local forestry officials, he said, “The bosses give jobs to people they trust and then take a cut of the bribes they get.”
Mr. Berrospi, who worked as an environmental prosecutor until August, recited a bitter catalog of frustrations. The local authorities are paid off by loggers to create or approve false paperwork, he said. On one occasion, he said, he was offered about $5,000 to stop an investigation. He reported it to a local prosecutor who specialized in corruption cases, but said he was dismayed by the response.
“Listen, in one year here you’ll get enough to build yourself a house and buy a nice car,” he recalled the other prosecutor saying. “So take care of yourself.”
Devastating account of terribly corrupt culture in Peru, causing government officials to get rich while ignoring rampant deforestation in the Amazon. U.S. lumber companies might (surprise!) be partially to blame. Via NYTimes
The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Rainforest Alliance, and the World Wildlife Fund are pleased to announce the release of three new, self-paced and web-based courses on climate change and REDD+ on www.conservationtraining.org.
The curriculum, Introductory Curriculum on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Conserving and Enhancing Forest Carbon Stocks (REDD+), provides an introductory level of understanding on climate change, deforestation, forest degradation, and REDD+. This new version contains up-to-date information on policy and implementation as well as a cool new facelift and improved interactivity. It is divided into three courses:
•Course 1, Introduction to Climate Change and the Role of Forests, the focus is on background information on climate change, the drivers of deforestation, and strategies for reducing deforestation and forest degradation.
•Course 2, REDD+ Policy, we cover the essential aspects of the technical, political, financial, social, and environmental issues related to REDD+.
•Course 3, REDD+ Implementation, the focus is on the basics of implementing REDD+ activities at various scales.
The course is freely available to anyone who is interested.
EPA substantially revamps its climate change pages. Tons of data, reports, charts, graphs, and factsheets now round out the agency’s information section.
Above, screens of the EPA’s “indicators”, which shows how climate change is impacting environmental systems from GHG concentration studies, to drought measurements over time, to glacial melt and sea level rise, even winter bird counts - cumulatively, the U.S. is about to experience some very dangerous environmental problems.
Sea level rise and drought are the most visible, with coast lines eroding and people’s homes slowly sliding into the ocean. Drought is also an obvious indicator the public can relate to. Water shortages in the southwest, wildfires and bark beetle forest slaughters in the midwest and west, and severe crop loss across regions. Health problems, like increased asthma, Lyme disease, though, will kill the most people, but these will slide under the visibility radar.
Check out the EPA Climate Change Indicators, here. Hover your cursor over the tabs for more options.
An online map that tracks in near real-time the vegetation area of all the world’s forests simultaneously will launch next month, after a preview was shown at a United Nations summit yesterday. Called “Global Forest Watch 2.0,” the map is a project years in the making led by the World Resources Institute, a nonprofit advocacy group focused on ecological issues.
They designed the map to help monitor and stop illegal forest clearing and deforestation by loggers and ranchers around the globe. “Deforestation continues today in part because by the time satellite images are available, analyzed, and shared, the forest clearing is long done,” the group notes on its website.
Nice map. Helps monitor illegal tree slaughter. Check it out if you can.
It’s in French. Sorry! Still worth downloading. Shows rapid (rabid) deforestation across Madagascar by district. It’s a GIS analysis with data sets described. Originally slated for REDD+ baseline, the study evolved into a deforestation research project.
Madagascar was among the last pristine places on the planet. Not any more. The island is being bulldozed and sold off to aggressive companies who are scraping up rainforests to mine for gold, metals, minerals, timber, etc. So, basically, it seems to me, the above excellent report is nothing more than a historic record rather than a policy development piece.
I cannot recall having Wisconsin or Minnesota branded maple syrup.
The mystifying weather accounts for the record year, he says. “The late spring, combined with all the snow we had, meant temperatures were moderated so that the trees didn’t warm up too quickly.”
Maple syrup is made from sap, and producers need about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. Throughout Minnesota, trees produced high levels of sap during the three-week sap run this year, and the sap they produced was good quality, according to Jacobson. In neighboring Wisconsin, producers reported record-breaking levels as well.
“Wisconsin’s 2013 maple syrup production was 265,000 gallons, more than five times the production of 2012,” said Greg Bussler with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (PDF). “This is the highest production since NASS began keeping track in 1992.”
Should the radioactive forests preemptively be cut down?
For 26 years, forests around Chernobyl have been absorbing radioactive elements but a fire would send them skyward again – a concern as summers grow longer, hotter and drier.
Combined with changes in climate, these overcrowded pines are a prescription for wildfire. In their assessment of the potential risks of a worst-case fire, Zibtsev and the team of international scientists concluded that much of the Chernobyl forest is “in high danger of burning.”
(H)ealthy, resilient forests actually need fire to thrive.
That concept has been the centerpiece of U.S. forest fire policy for almost two decades now. The 1995 Wildland Fire Policy, which governs firefighting on public lands and wilderness areas, states: “Wildland fire, as a critical natural process, must be reintroduced into the ecosystem.” The policy (which does not, by the way, in any way prohibit fighting fires that threaten life or property) grew out of the modern views of ecologists, who today see that flames are as much a part of a forest as the trees. Firefighting, in the view of many of these ecologists, should focus on protecting homes, watersheds, and critical infrastructure. But blazes in more remote woodlands should be allowed to run their course — a policy that wastes less money on fighting fires that won’t hurt anyone, while making forests healthier overall.
Click through for the Denver Post’s coverage of the Black Forest Fire, the worst in the state’s history. The cause of the fire is unknown, but the severity is traced to persistent drought, massive tree deaths by bark beetles, dry soils, and budget cuts.