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Tree-sitters come down as new company protects old growth

By John Driscoll

Times-Standard

August 19, 2008

Tree-sitters in Freshwater and outside Scotia decided to come down out of the redwoods after a senior officer of the new Humboldt Redwood Co. pledged the old trees would never be cut.

Mike Jani, chief forester for Humboldt Redwood — which recently took control of the Pacific Lumber Co. after an 18-month bankruptcy — personally visited the groves in Fern Gully and Nanning Creek. Jani told them that the company’s policy is not to log old-growth trees, including the ones occupied by tree-sitters for the past three years.

”It feels a bit surreal,” said local teacher and tree-sit supporter Jeannette Jungers in a statement. “Mike Jani and the company deserve our heartfelt thanks, for adopting a more sustainable, respectful and, we hope, restorative kind of forestry.”

Reached by phone Monday, Jani confirmed that he’d been to the groves.

”It was a pretty intense and emotional day for all,” Jani said.

The Freshwater tree-sits in particular were the scenes of intense drama in recent years, with protests, arrests and the removal of some activists from high perches where they were contesting PL’s right to log the trees.

Activists said they’ll remain on guard, but that there is no need for tree-sits if the pledge to protect old-growth, stop clearcuts and stop using herbicides is kept.

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