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Video: Forest report for Oct 1, 2010

The top forest news story of the week was the deepening conflict between Asia Pulp & Paper, an Indonesia based forestry company, and Greenpeace, an activist group. On Monday APP published a report claiming to exonerate it from charges that it illegally cleared rainforest and peatlands in Sumatra, an Indonesian island.

The report was published by ITS Global, a consultancy tied to World Growth International, a lobby group that promotes conversion of natural forests for industrial plantations. World Growth International opposes forest conservation initiatives, including the proposed REDD program, which could compensate developing countries for protecting their forests.

Greenpeace issued a response to the report, claiming that some of the charges levied by ITS Global are inaccurate or based on incomplete information.

The conflict between Greenpeace and APP emerged after Greenpeace published a report – How Sinar Mas is pulping the planet – in July. The report alleged environmental transgressions by the companies that supply APP.

APP has been under pressure from environmental groups for several years now, causing it to lose a number of major clients including Wal-Mart, Office Depot, and Staples.

Research conducted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; the Natural History Museum, London; and IUCN found that 22% of the world’s plant species are threatened with extinction, a level comparable to the Earth’s mammals.

Destruction of ecosystems, invasive species, and climate change are chief threats.

The researchers say the status of 1/3 of the world’s 380,000 plant species remains unknown.

A report in Nature warned that the world’s rivers are imperiled by a barrage of threats including dams, pollution, deforestation, overuse, and overfishing.

The study found that 80 percent of the world’s population (nearly 5.5 billion people) lives in an area where their rivers are gravely threatened

The most pristine rivers in the world were found farthest from human populations: deep in the arctic or in largely untouched regions of the tropics.

Scientists have sighted a rare poison dart frog for the first time in nearly 20 years in Colombia.

The La Brea Poison Frog has suffered from habitat destruction by coca farmers and aerial spraying for coca eradication, but the biggest threat to its survival in the wild has been the pet trade.

In recent years however, conflict between warring drug gangs in Colombia’s Chocó region has kept collectors at bay.

However the local indigenous population has not fared as well. Some 600 are currently living in a camped communal house.

And finally the Sept 25, 2010 issue of the Economist featured a special section about the need to save forests.