Common insectivorous birds face major declines
See this link for information on declines of Purple Martin, Common Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, etc. in Canada.
Bill Passed to Halt Illegal Logging
In December 2007, an amendment was successfully attached to the Senate Farm Bill to stem the rise of illegal logging around the world. The provision adds plants harvested or taken illegally in areas outside the United States to the list of items prohibited by the Lacey Act, a 1900 law barring trade in illegally taken fish and wildlife. To comply with the Lacey Act, companies will have to demonstrate they “took due care” to ensure they are not using illegally harvested timber species imported into the United States. The Senate Farm Bill’s expansion of the Lacey Act establishes a legal structure to prosecute parties who import and trade wood found in violation of other countries’ forest laws.
Much of the world’s illegal logging occurs in countries such as Burma, Indonesia, Peru, Brazil, Russia, and Papua New Guinea, but the raw materials are often processed and manufactured into finished products in China, where they enter the marketplace. In Peru, illegal cutting of mahogany in the Amazon region often takes place in protected areas using cut-and-run logging practices that cause severe damage to forests and wildlife. Species such as the Harpy Eagle, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Great Potoo, Pavonine Quetzal, and Paradise Tanager are being threatened.
Expanding the Lacey Act to help address the issue of illegal timber imports has garnered the support of the Administration and industry, who have said existing laws are insufficient to stop the problem and prosecute offenders. In testimony to the House Natural Resources Committee, the American Forest & Paper Association estimated illegally harvested wood products cost U.S. companies about $460 million annually, and suppress wood prices between 7-16%. In late December, the United States and China discussed illegal logging at a trade summit to determine how the two countries can better coordinate their customs and police officials to prevent this illegal activity. Contact Darin Schroeder, ABC, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debate Rages Over Last Roadless National Forests
The Forest Service is initiating rulemakings to weaken protection of roadless areas in the National Forests of Idaho and Colorado. National Forests contain much of the undeveloped or roadless forest left in the United States, and provide habitat for one-quarter of all U.S. threatened and endangered species.The Idaho proposal would open up 6 million of the state’s 8.7 million acres of National Forest roadless areas to development, which could negatively impact Northern Goshawk and Flammulated Owl. The Colorado plan eliminates protection for 300,000 roadless acres, and opens the door to old growth logging and extensive energy developments on the state’s remaining 4.1 million roadless acres.
These plans stem from an Administration policy of allowing state governments to petition for creation of new management plans for roadless areas on National Forests in that state. The Administration’s approach ignores strong scientific backing and public support for the Roadless Area Conservation Rule of 2001, a national policy protecting all National Forest roadless areas, precipitated by the ongoing loss of roadless lands to development. The 2001 Roadless Rule is still the subject of court battles.
Meanwhile, legislation to codify the 2001 Rule and permanently protect National Forest roadless areas has garnered 148 cosponsors in the House and 19 in the Senate. The Forest Service is currently planning logging and mining projects that would impact roadless areas in Alaska, Idaho, and Wyoming.
For maps of all roadless areas in the lower 48 states, see http://roadlessland.org or http://roadless.fs.fed.us/maps/usmap2.shtml.