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September 20, 2010
Insect destroys Chouf's mountain tomatoes

Insect destroys Chouf's mountain tomatoes

CHOUF: An unusual insect has destroyed over 80 percent of mountain tomato crops in the Chouf, and farmers are complaining the Agriculture Ministry is not doing enough to tackle it.
The bug, which appeared during the summer and is believed by local farmers to be a product of the unusually hot weather, has been threatening the harvest of mountain tomatoes – a type of Lebanese tomato which is bigger than other breeds and is grown toward the end of summer.
The insect was dubbed “the black butterfly” by local farmers, who said the damage it is causing is tremendous.
Barouk farmer Ramez Zahreddine told The Daily Star that over 80 percent of this year’s crop has been destroyed and the insect is continuing to cause damage. “It starts by eating away at the leaves and then infiltrates the fruit and lays its eggs deep inside the plant … It’s multiplying quickly because of the weather,” he said.
Farmers are struggling to control the insect because of its fast movement and reproduction, but also because of a lack of pesticides.
Only one type of insect repellent is currently available, but farmers claim it is not effective. They have asked the Agriculture Ministry to intervene and provide the necessary chemicals

“This is one of the most dangerous problems we’ve encountered in Lebanon … This is a test for the ministry,” said farmer Toufiq Abu Alwan.
arvesting mountain tomatoes is the main source of livelihood for many in the Chouf.
Hassan Halawi said he has invested LL27 million into cultivating mountain tomatoes this year but has only earned LL 5 million back

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Drivers of global wood demand  August 2, 2010

Drivers of global wood demand

The long-term global demand for wood products will be driven by the following factors (FAO, 2009):

Demographic changes. The world population has risen from 2.9 billion in 1960 to 6.7 billion in 2008, an increase by 130 percent within almost 50 years.

The forest area per capita has declined from an estimated 1.20 ha in 1960 (FAO, 1966) to 0.62 hectares in 2005 (FAO, 2006b). The global industrial roundwood consumption is projected at 2.436 billion cubic metres by 2030, while the production of biomass for energy is estimated to increase from about 530 million tonnes oil equivalent in 1970 to about 1075 million tonnes oil equivalent in 2030.

Continued economic growth. Global GDP increased from about USD 16 trillion in 1970 to USD 47 trillion in 2005 and is projected to grow to almost USD 100 trillion by 2030.

Regional shifts. Developed economies accounted for most of the GDP in the period 1970 to 2005. The rapid growth of developing economies, especially in Asia, will swing the balance significantly in the next 25 years.

Energy policies. The use of renewable energy resources, and foremost, the use of wood and woody biomass is increasingly promoted by industrialized countries. The global consumption of biomass for energy increased by 51% between 2006 and 2009. The global pulp industry in 2009 used an estimated 75 million tons of biomass for energy generation to reduce dependence on fossil fuels (Wood Resources International, 2010).

“Wood is Good” campaigns. Worldwide promotion campaigns strive to advance the value of wood as an environmentally friendly material with a favourable energy balance, as a renewable source of energy and as a longterm carbon store that helps mitigate climate change.