Pages tagged "logging"


The Huffington Post: Tigers Don't Want Their Forests Liquidated

"You shouldn't have to worry that installing a new hardwood floor in your kitchen will rob Siberian tigers of their home. Since 1900, we've had a law in this country, the Lacey Act, that prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold. And since 2008, that law has also prohibited the importation of illegally sourced wood products. The problem is real: According to a report from the United Nations and Interpol, between 15 and 30 percent of the wood traded in the world comes from illegal logging."

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE


One Step Closer: Saving the Leuser Ecosystem

This week an important milestone was reached in the effort to save portions of the precious Leuser Ecosytsem in Indonesia.

Covering over 6 million acres of intact lowland and mountainous rainforests The Leuser is considered by many scientists and conservationists to be among the most important forests left in Southeast Asia.  It is home to the densest population of orangutans left anywhere, and is the last place on earth where orangutans, tigers, elephants, rhinos and sun bears share the same habitat.

This fragile and irreplaceable ecosystem and the extraordinary life it supports are imminently threatened by industrial development. One of the biggest threats has been the expansion of illegal palm oil plantations within the boundaries of the Leuser Protected Ecosystem. However, local organizations and communities have been fighting back by working to physically remove 25,000 acres of illegal plantations from within the boundaries of Leuser.

The Leuser is also home to carbon-rich peatland swamps, where a consistent layer of water keeps the carbon in the ground and out of the atmosphere.  However thanks to the deforestation from the expansion of palm oil plantations, these swamplands are being systematically drained -- releasing a virtual carbon bomb into the atmosphere and making Indonesia one of the biggest carbon polluters on the planet.

But there is hope.  

Protect-an-Acre grant recipients Leuser Conservation Forum (FKL) -- led by 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Rudi Putra, and Forest, Nature and Environment Aceh -- recently relayed the news to us that they have been able to convince the local government in Aceh Tamiang to participate in a joint effort to physically remove the illegal plantations in order to allow the natural forest to recover.

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This is great news because previous work by these organizations removing over 1,000 acres of these illegal plantations resulted in the return of wildlife, including elephants, to those areas within a very short time period. Communities that live near the Leuser Protected Ecosystem also benefit from this project because the restoration of deforested hillsides will help reduce the threat of flooding and mudslides. Now that local government officials are onboard the remaining plantations targeted by their efforts can be removed.

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This week a ceremony was held to begin the work of cutting down the remaining illegal, non-native crops and to launch the restoration process. The LLeuser Conservation Forum (FKL) and Forest, Nature and Environment Aceh teams also sent huge thank you to the RAN community for supporting their work.

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 You too can help support projects like these that help local community-led efforts to protect rainforests around the world by supporting RAN’s Protect-an-Acre program.

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Vice: UN Climate Change Summit Yields Major Announcements on Deforestation

"Among the few commitments to emerge from a one-day climate summit — held at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday and attended by over 100 heads of state — was a promise to end destruction of the world's forests by 2030 and funnel over $1 billion in aid to countries where forest conservation is most needed.

Conservation groups, however, say the moratorium — the New York Declaration on Forests— fails to act quickly enough to halt deforestation and that past financial commitments, particularly in Indonesia, were poorly planned and implemented."

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE


RAN Supports Indigenous Youth In Fight Against Invasive Logging

On the night of December 2, 2002, with temperatures below zero, two sisters and young Indigenous mothers from the Grassy Narrows First Nation drove from their reserve, located in the southern fringe of the vast Boreal Forest in northern Ontario, to a logging road just a few miles from their home and felled trees over the road to protest unwanted logging on their land. Their protest was the spark that ignited their small community of 1,000 to launch the longest standing logging blockade in North America, which continues to this day.

In June 2008, the people of Grassy Narrows celebrated victory when AbitibiBowater (now Resolute Forest Products), one of the largest paper companies in the world, agreed to stop logging on 1 million acres of Grassy Narrows traditional territory in the Whiskey Jack Forest. However, in late 2013, Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources finalized and approved a new 10-year Forest Management Plan, which again calls for clear-cutting forests on Grassy Narrows territory without consent.

To help address this latest threat, RAN’s Protect-an-Acre program is supporting a project being led by Asubpeeschoseewagong Oshkaadiziwag Kagobewat-- a community-led group whose name translates to Grassy Narrows Youth Organization. GNYO is a new organization formed by Indigenous youth and have been participating in the Grassy Narrows blockade for years and learning skills at annual youth gatherings where Elders have taught traditional skills and knowledge about how to use the land and to help reclaim Anishinaabe culture and continue the struggle against unwanted logging. Some GNYO members were not yet teenagers when RAN began supporting these efforts by the Grassy Narrows community.

This grant is supporting the Save Keys Lake Campaign, which has the goal of removing the Keys Lake cut block from the logging plan and to have it declared a protected area. This campaign is intended to serve as a catalyst for GNYO to build confidence and capacity. In planning and running the campaign, a new group of Indigenous youth are getting the opportunity to put into place various traditional organizing models, build relationships in the community, continue to learn traditional skills from Elders and to establish themselves as leaders in their community.

This campaign is part of the overall “trapline strategy” being employed by Grassy Narrows, which seeks to combine land protection and cultural resurgence as a single process through building traditional structures on family traplines to demonstrate ongoing use of land throughout Grassy Narrows territory. The big picture goal is to leverage the Save Keys Lake Campaign together with other community-led efforts in order to force the outright cancellation of the 10-year Forest Management Plan.

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Protect-An-Acre

Since 1993, RAN’s Protect-an-Acre program (PAA) has distributed more than one million dollars in grants to more than 150 frontline communities, Indigenous-led organizations, and allies, helping their efforts to secure protection for millions of acres of traditional territory in forests around the world.

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Indonesia's Friends of the National Parks Foundation staff teach community members how to plant trees on the edge of Tanjung Puting National Park on Borneo. Photo credit: FNPF

Rainforest Action Network believes that Indigenous peoples are the best stewards of the world’s rainforests and that frontline communities organizing against the extraction and burning of dirty fossil fuels deserve the strongest support we can offer. RAN established the Protect-an-Acre program to protect the world’s forests and the rights of their inhabitants by providing financial aid to traditionally under-funded organizations and communities in forest regions.

Indigenous and frontline communities suffer disproportionate impacts to their health, livelihood and culture from extractive industry mega-projects and the effects of global climate change. That’s why Protect-an-Acre provides small grants to community-based organizations, Indigenous federations and small NGOs that are fighting to protect millions of acres of forest and keep millions of tons of CO2 in the ground.

Our grants support organizations and communities that are working to regain control of and sustainably manage their traditional territories through land title initiatives, community education, development of sustainable economic alternatives, and grassroots resistance to destructive industrial activities.

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Indonesia's Friends of the National Parks Foundation staff educate children about interacting with wildlife around Tanjung Puting National Park on Borneo. Photo credit: FNPF

PAA is an alternative to “buy-an-acre” programs that seek to provide rainforest protection by buying tracts of land, but which often fail to address the needs or rights of local Indigenous peoples. Uninhabited forest areas often go unprotected, even if purchased through a buy-an-acre program. It is not uncommon for loggers, oil and gas companies, cattle ranchers, and miners to illegally extract resources from so-called “protected” areas.

Traditional forest communities are often the best stewards of the land because their way of life depends upon the health of their environment. A number of recent studies <-Needs link add to the growing body of evidence that Indigenous peoples are better protectors of their forests than governments or industry.

Based on the success of Protect-an-Acre, RAN launched The Climate Action Fund (CAF) in 2009 as a way to direct further resources and support to frontline communities and Indigenous peoples challenging the fossil fuel industry.

Additionally, RAN has been a Global Advisor to Global Greengrants Fund (GGF) since 1995, identifying recipients for small grants to mobilize resources for global environmental sustainability and social justice using the same priority and criteria as we use for PAA and CAF.

Through these three programs each year we support grassroots projects that result in at least:

  • 10,000 acres of forest, held in customary ownership by Indigenous groups, is entered into the process of securing official land title recognition, providing communities with legal grounds to protect their traditional territories.
  • 10,000 trees planted, often as buffer zones around protected areas and/or as part of income and resource-generating permaculture projects that help stop land degradation.

Myanmar Illegal Logging Poses Enormous Risk for Customers Across Southeast Asia

Truck carrying raw logs in Myanmar. Photo courtesy of the EIA.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has released a shocking new report, Data Corruption: Exposing the true scale of logging in Myanmar, detailing pervasive illegality and controversy connected with forestry in Myanmar.

Based on forestry and trade data, the report exposes widespread illegal logging, timber smuggling, and government corruption within Myanmar. This information from the Myanmar Government points to billions of dollars worth of illegal logging and timber exports each year.

Official export figures for 2000-13 suggest that 72% of log shipments from Myanmar were illegal. This level of illegal logging activity points to large-scale, institutional corruption.

Furthermore, EIA research shows that these crimes have been occurring throughout the country, including in areas fully under the control of the Myanmar Timber Enterprise.

This activity mirrors many of the practices underway in other parts of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia. Across many countries without strong forest governance, concessions are linked to corruption and other irresponsible forest management practices. Purchasing illegal timber is in direct violation of the Lacey Act and creates great risk not just for the forests, but for customers as well.

The Government of Myanmar has acknowledged these issues by proposing a log export ban to start April 1, 2014, an attempt to curb the vast rate at which the country’s forests have been looted and sold.

We stand by EIA, and encourage the Government of Myanmar to vigorously enforce the log export ban, effective earlier this month, and significantly increase transparency in the management of forest resources.

It’s time for Myanmar to stop favoring established cronies and ensure civil society involvement in the planned restructuring of the Forestry Ministry. Myanmar must investigate and prosecute companies or Government officials involved in illegal logging and timber smuggling.


Indonesian Forest Protections Under Attack

I wish I didn't have to write this blog post on Earth Day. The rainforest where I saw my first wild orangutan is under threat. I can't believe it! There are many reasons to protect the Leuser Protected Ecosystem, a forest area on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Thousands of Indigenous people rely on the forest for their lives and livelihoods, and it is the last place on Earth where endangered species like the Sumatran orangutan and the Sumatran tiger coexist with elephants, rhinos, and Sunbears. But the government of Aceh, the province in which the Leuser Protected Ecosystem lies, is considering a plan that would remove large regions of forest from the protected area, opening them up to palm oil and pulp plantations, logging, mining, and all of the roads and other infrastructure that come with them. The Indonesian government is now considering the plan, and has the power to reject it. We need to be making sure that what’s left of the world’s rainforests are protected, not opening them to destructive industries seeking to profit from rainforest destruction. Send Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Secretary General of the Ministry of Forestry Hadi Daryanto an email now calling on them to reject this misguided plan and keep the Leuser Protected Ecosystem protected. Of course, it’s not just local communities and wildlife that need to be protected from bulldozers and forest fires. Indonesia’s rainforests are a valuable carbon sink—destroying them would make our climate problem that much worse, imperiling the future of everyone on this planet just to enrich a few well-connected businessmen. Urge the President of Indonesia and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Forestry to protect local communities, endangered species, and the climate now.

Congress: Protect the Forests and Wildlife of the World From Illegal Logging

Did you know that almost half of all rainforest destruction is done illegally? Government corruption, lax laws and poor enforcement result in widespread illegal deforestation across the globe. This unofficial forest clearing makes it extremely challenging to truly protect critically endangered species like the orangutan or Sumatran tiger from extinction and it contributes enormous amounts of carbon into our atmosphere. And now, the best law on the books to prevent illegal logging worldwide – the Lacey Act - is under attack. The Republican leadership cancelled for now a vote originally scheduled for this week in the House of Representatives on H.R. 3210, the “RELIEF Act.” A broad coalition of forest products companies, workers, conservation groups, and musicians praised House leadership for halting the measure, which would have many negative economic and ecological consequences if passed. Please send a letter today asking your congressional representative to vote against the RELIEF Act if Republicans move forward and call for a vote in the House. The Lacey Act ensures that only legally sourced wood and wood products are imported into the country, reducing global deforestation rates and preventing job losses in the American forest products industry. The act has been so successful that other countries are looking to create their own versions of the law. Over sixty major forest products companies, thirty-five leading conservation organizations and labor unions, and over thirty top-selling musicians sent letters to members of Congress asking them to oppose any attempts to weaken the Lacey Act. But the Lacey Act remains in jeopardy by those wishing to end environmental protections and regulations. Their proposals, such as the "RELIEF" Act and "FOCUS" Act, would effectively gut the Lacey Act, reversing years of hard fought efforts to stop international deforestation. These bills would directly benefit notorious forest destroyers like Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and would allow illegal loggers to around the world to operate with impunity. The result would be a flood of illegal wood into the U.S. market. Send a message today urging your representative to vote No on H.R. 3210, H.R. 4171 or any other bill that would weaken the Lacey Act.

Deadly Violence Against Environmentalists On The Rise Worldwide

[caption id="attachment_19315" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Yoli Oquely Veliz leading resistance against EXMINGUA Gold Mine"]Resistance Against EXMINGUA Gold Mine[/caption] “We all stand before history.“- Ken Saro-Wiwa, executed for environmental advocacy, Nigeria, Nov. 10, 1995 What the hell is going on out there? I know a lot people targeted by our federal government and corporate private security for their organizing work. We’ve got the FBI targeting environmentalists, anarchists and Occupiers as “terrorists.” Homeland Security leads crackdowns on Occupy Wall Street. In Rising Tide circles, we’ve got the feds investigating campaigns fighting fracking and tar sands heavy hauls. Not to mention the shadowy private security surveillance of oil companies and banks watching us. BUT, thus far, we’ve not faced with assassination like environmental and human rights organizers, journalists and community members in many parts of the Global South. (Although I worry about the levels of threat and violence I see escalating in places like Appalachia and Wyoming.) However, the violence against environmentalists outside the U.S. has been increasing. London-based Global Witness just published a new report saying that, in the decade ending in 2011, more than 700 people (more than one a week) died while “defending their human rights or the rights of others related to the environment, specifically land and forests.” In 2010, 96 environmentalists were murdered. In 2011, the number killed was 106. A large portion has been concentrated in Brazil, Columbia and Peru, with large numbers also coming out of the Philippines. All have been bloody campaigns between Indigenous groups and powerful industries. They were killed, the environmental investigation group says, during protests or investigations into mining, logging, intensive agriculture, hydropower dams, urban development and wildlife poaching. Just last week, an anti-mining activist, Yolanda “Yoli” Oquely Veliz, who was fighting Canadian-owned Radius Gold, was shot while leaving a community blockade near a gold mine entrance in San José del Golfo, Guatemala. She survived being shot three times (at least last I heard), but is in critical condition. Over the past couple of years, there have been many more instances of deadly violence in Central America and southern Mexico around mining and logging campaigns. In the U.S., as groups like RAN and Greenpeace plan and carry out daring actions on coal plants, cranes and other high-rise structures; as grassroots groups militantly block mining and logging operations with road blockades and tree-sits; as people fed up with environmental and economic injustice occupy streets, banks and gov’t offices — the response by law enforcement and non-governmental security actors has been non-lethal in the recent past. Pepper spray, tasers, billy clubs and rubber bullets are brutal and violent, but they aren’t bullets and machetes. [caption id="attachment_19316" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Indigenous Blockade Along The Panamericanan Highway In Ecuador."][/caption] But people in other parts of the world using similar tactics are facing assassination and brutal violence. Furthermore, in the US and Canada, activists from lower income and traditionally marginalized communities face higher risk as well. Just a couple of months ago, our friend and ally Larry Gibson (anti-mining activist in West Virginia), who has survived more than one “drive-by” on his home, had his home burglarized and vandalized in retaliation for his outspoken position on mountaintop removal coal mining. Global North-based social and environmental movements have a lot of privilege. Direct action is a privilege which has been stepping into its own power of late. Our movements often use this “laboratory of resistance” to push for a greater good, but it needs constant self-reflection. How do we use our power and privilege towards our less privileged allies appropriately and respectfully? How do we do it in a way that continues to support folks facing deadly risks around the globe?

Rainforest Action Network Victories: Top Ten of 2010

Making change in the world is hard work — some times decades-long hard work. But with the right combination of strategies, experience, tenacity, and allies, it is possible to achieve victories that have a lasting impact. This year, Rainforest Action Network took on corporate titans and secured real wins for the world's forests, the climate, and human rights. None of these victories would have been achievable without you. It is our strength as a network, the power that comes from a passionate, committed, and ever-growing community of allies, that has made the amazing work of 2010 possible. Check out what you did as part of the Rainforest Action Network in 2010…
Earth to Wall Street - No more coal 1. WALL STREET TURNS ITS BACK ON MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL COAL MINING Eight of Wall Street’s biggest banks committed to limit funding to mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining projects. This was a major step in curbing the practice of blowing up America’s historic mountains and poisoning drinking water all for tiny seams of coal. This particular victory also landed RAN in a front-page article in The New York Times.
Tiki Fans at San Francisco's GreenFest 2. EIGHT BOOK PUBLISHERS PROTECT INDONESIA’S RAINFORESTS Eight top children’s book publishers pledged to eliminate controversial Indonesian paper fiber from suppliers Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) from their supply chains after RAN released our “Rainforest-Safe Kids’ Books” scorecard.
General Mills Joins Race to Protect Rainforests! 3. GENERAL MILLS LEADS CALL FOR RESPONSIBLE PALM OIL RAN’s campaign against General Mills concluded in September 2010 when the company issued one of the strongest palm policies to date. General Mills has committed itself to getting all of its palm oil from responsible sources by 2015, supporting the call for a moratorium on peat forest conversion, requiring free prior and informed consent (FPIC) from impacted communities, and canceling contracts with controversial suppliers.
Chevron: Your mom doesn't live, clean up your own mess 4. CHEVRON MARKETING CAMPAIGN PUNK’D RAN “punk’d” Chevron, squashing the launch of the oil giant’s multimillion-dollar “We Agree” ad campaign. Ad Age called it one of the top 10 marketing fiascoes of the year, along with the flight attendant who inflated the slide on a JetBlue plane, the Apple employee who lost his Iphone4 prototype, and Christine O’Donnell.
Activists Occupy Cargill HQ 5. CARGILL GETS REAL ABOUT RAINFORESTS After being the target of three years of campaigning, Cargill, the world’s largest privately owned corporation, initiated a full supply chain assessment as well as certification audits of all its palm oil plantations. That's one big step forward for this corporate giant!
Activists Erect Tripod at U.S. EPA Headquarters 6. EPA TAKES A STAND ON MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL The EPA issued a landmark decision strengthening the guidelines it uses to approve MTR permits. This was the most significant administrative action yet taken in the US to address the issue. The EPA also announced its intent to veto the permit for the largest MTR mine site in West Virginia, Spruce Mine. This is the first time the EPA has flexed its veto power.
Stop logging 7. GUNNS TIMBER COMPANY STOPS LOGGING OLD GROWTH Australian timber giant Gunns broke ranks with Tasmania’s forest industry, stating that it will pull out of native old-growth forest logging altogether.
Emergildo Criollo Petition Delivery to Chevron 8. UNITED STATES ENDORSES UNDRIP With President Barack Obama’s announcement in December that the United States will “lend its support” to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the U.S. has at last joined the global consensus on this critical human rights issue. Activists across the country have been working towards this for over 30 years. But, as many Indigenous leaders are saying, the U.S. supporting UNDRIP is something to celebrate, but much work remains to be done.
The Mother Hips and Bob Weir at REVEL 9. RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK TURNS 25 IN STYLE For the last 25 years, RAN has taken on corporate titans and secured real wins for the forests, climate and human rights. While our strategies have evolved and our staff has grown, we’ve always maintained the bold edge and nimble approach that makes us one of the savviest environmental action groups in the country.
Appalachia Rising: More than 100 Activists Arrested at White House Demanding End to Mountaintop Removal 10. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS TAKE ACTION TO HOLD CORPORATIONS ACCOUNTABLE Over the year, RAN inspired and mobilized literally hundreds of thousands of people to take action both online and offline. In addition to our incredible, ever-expanding activist and donor networks, RAN’s Facebook community tripled in 2010 and @RAN’s Twitter following grew by five times. This means tens of thousands of people are staying up-to-date and taking action daily to protect forests, communities and the climate.
From protests in front of Cargill, Chevron, and the EPA to online petitions and emails to bank executives and CEOs, RAN could not take on corporate giants and win without the growing support of our members and donors. Thank you so much. We look forward to working with you to achieve even more victories in 2011!

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