The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - January 17, 2001

January 17, 2001

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The target audience of the new Scout Report for Science & Engineering is faculty, students, staff, and librarians in the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. Each biweekly issue offers a selective collection of Internet resources covering topics in the sciences, and related fields such as math and engineering, that have been chosen by librarians and content specialists in the given field of study.

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is also provided via email once every two weeks. Subscription information is included at the bottom of each issue.

In This Issue


Learning Resources

General Interest

Current Awareness

New Data

In The News


Satellite Research Group -- NOAA
NOAA's Ocean Remote Sensing Division runs the Satellite Research Group, which uses data from environmental satellites to study seasonal and interannual climate variability. Research areas include air-sea interaction (and transfers of heat, momentum, and water); the global hydrological cycle (including water vapor and precipitation); the Earth's radiation budget; and real-time monitoring of the El Nino/La Nina oscillation. Each research area is described in detail at the Website, and links connect users to the latest real-time geostationary satellite data images, as well as to the absolutely spectacular climate image archives. For researchers interested in regional or global scale climate patterns or the use of satellite technology for research purposes, this is an excellent resource. [LXP]
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The Index to Marine Geological
"The Index to Marine Geological Samples Database, also known as the Curators' Database, is a cooperative effort between nineteen oceanographic institutions and government agencies that maintain marine sample repositories to provide information on the contents of their collections to help researchers locate marine sediment and rock material for further analysis," states the homepage of this site provided by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Geophysical Data Center (reviewed in the January 17, 1997 Scout Report for Science & Engineering). Visitors to the site can access the search engine to look for specific samples in the database. Basic search fields include map coordinates, repository name, ship's name, date, water depth, and sampling device. Extended search fields such as sediment type and geologic age are also available. Pages giving contact information for participating institutions, recent updates, and data parameters are provided. The Curators' Database should be useful to graduate students and professionals putting together a project and looking for sample availability. [HCS]
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SPARROW: SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed Attributes -- USGS
The SPARROW model was developed by USGS researchers to estimate the origin and fate of contaminants in streams (and the associated uncertainties), based on regional water-quality monitoring data. The SPARROW Website provides examples of the model's application at the national, regional, and watershed scales; examples vary in detail, and some include links to technical resources. Also provided are examples of watershed data used in model applications. [LXP]
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OpenDX is open source visualization software provided by IBM. The OpenDX project is based on IBM's Visualization Explorer created in 1991. At this site, users can download the program, read about the program and its applications, see graphic examples, and link to news pages, OpenDX listservers, a list of recommended texts, and sites with add-on code. Those new to the software may want to consult the How do I get started? page. OpenDX is intended for use in visualization of scientific, engineering, and analytical data. The site states that OpenDX's object-oriented, self-describing data model provides great flexibility in creating visualization. The gallery features examples of applications in chemistry, physics, anthropology, oil and gas, environmental modeling, and more. [HCS]
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Remote Data Stations: Data and Oceanographic Buoys -- AIMS
The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) maintains a series of remote data stations on the Great Barrier Reef (Queensland) and Ningaloo Reef (Western Australia). This Website provides interested viewers with access to the remote data stations, including graphic displays of buoy locations and recent data, displayed as text and graphics (data include wind speed and direction, solar radiation, air pressure, and temperature). In addition to displaying data graphically, some data types (e.g., stick plots) are accompanied by concise descriptions of how to read/ interpret those data. In addition, remote data are summarized into station averages and the "last three readings" per station; a glossary of terms and links to weather events/ sites round out the site. [LXP]
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Catalan's Conjecture Research
Ensor Computing hosts this site dealing with the Catalan Conjecture, a problem that has intrigued mathematicians. Recent perspectives on the problem involve finding Double Wieferich prime numbers. Ensor has created a "distributed computing project," using the site to enlist the computing power of others to find Double Wieferich prime numbers more quickly than a single computer can. The page gives background on the Catalan Conjecture, lists the Double Wieferich primes discovered to date, gives current status of the solution, and lobbies visitors to the site for help in solving the problem. Those who wish to help can download the Unix Tarball DoubleWieferich-0.2.0.tar.gz application (with instructions) from the site. Ensor Computing is offering a monetary prize for the discovery of a new pair of Double Wieferich prime numbers. A neat idea. [HCS]
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Learning Resources

Kids do Ecology -- NCEAS
NCEAS, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and Los Marineros, a program of The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, have teamed up to host this site for kids. The site provides online educational activities for "young scientists" via an introduction to data (and data displays) and the scientific method; a learning lab (with information on whales and sharks); and an activities center (with various activities on marine organisms, ecology, and evolution). Materials target the fifth-grade-level, and the site includes an email option to "Ask An Ecologist" (directed to a NCEAS scientist). Simple in layout and colorful but uncluttered, this site will be of interest to educators interested in developing their own Websites. [LXP]
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S.O.S. Mathematics Tables and Formulas
At this site from S.O.S. Mathematics, an easily navigated list of topics takes visitors to a variety of common mathematics look-up tables. Tables featured include Trigonometric Identities, Derivatives, Indefinite Integrals, Common Integrals, and Binomial Coefficients and Formulas, among others. A search engine and links to other S.O.S. sites and the S.O.S. Mathematics Cyberboard (for posting questions) can also be found here. A nice, quick reference for mathematics professors and students. [HCS]
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Woody Plant Ecology
Dr. Pierre Binggeli, who earned his doctorate studying invasive woody plants at the University of Ulster (UK), provides this interesting site on Woody Plant Ecology -- with a special emphasis on invasive species. The site addresses a number of topics in varied detail (based on the author's experiences), including Invasive woody plants, Tree autecology and biology, Temperate and Tropical forest ecology, Forestry, Sand dune ecology, and an ecological glimpse at several areas (East Usambaras in Tanzania, and Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific). A separate Publications section lists Binggeli's papers on invasive woody plants and related topics. Note: to avoid the advertising pop-up screen, navigate the site using the links (and not the Back button on your browser). [LXP]
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NSTA Evolution Resources
This metasite, provided by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), offers links to official statements, court cases, press releases, and teacher resources dealing with evolution in the science classroom. It is intended primarily for K-12 teachers but is a great resource for professors of science education or college-level introductory biology/ geology. The NSTA holds the position that evolution is a major unifying concept of science and believes that it should be included as part of K-12 and college science curricula. Their official position page, succinct and fully referenced, would be worthwhile for science teachers to review. Interesting links include the text of the 1999 Oklahoma Biology Textbook Disclaimer and a statement from the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science (KATS). Teacher resources available from the Website are a link to the NSTA's (in conjunction with the Smithsonian) Galapagos Website and descriptions of recommended evolution textbooks. Although the controversy that rocked Kansas in 1999 is no longer front page news, the NSTA site is still a valuable resource for science educators facing challenges in dealing with evolution, particularly in the public school classroom. [HCS]
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"Water: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change" [.pdf, MS Word]
Last month, the Pacific Institute and the Department of the Interior released this new report entitled "Water: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the Water Resources of the United States." The report was prepared as part of the US Global Change Research Program's (USGCRP) National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Change. The report summarizes the conclusions of over 1,000 peer-reviewed studies on "the implications of . . . existing climate variability and future climate change for US water resources," and addresses the major impacts of climate variability and change on US water resources including managed water systems, human health, agriculture, forests, and coastal ecosystems. Interested readers may download the report in full (.pdf format) or just the executive summary (.doc). [LXP]
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General Interest

NOAA Coastal Shoreline Website
In 1807, Thomas Jefferson launched the first Shoreline mapping project in the US. Over the next 100 years, the entire coast of the coterminous US was surveyed at least once, creating maps which now represent baseline scientific information on shorelines, estuaries, wetlands, and coastline development. The NOAA Coastal Shoreline Website offers historical information and links to a plethora of coastline information. Users will find data and maps, a bibliography (with Reports, Technical Papers, and links to Coastal Zone Management Plans & Environmental Impact Statements), two glossaries, and an excellent collection of related shoreline resources. For researchers or the general public, this site serves up interesting information. [LXP]
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The Liquid Crystal Institute
The homepage of the Liquid Crystal Institute (LCI) presents gorgeous color images produced from liquid crystal, research overviews, technology invention abstracts, news and conference links, and more. LCI is part of a consortium, selected by the National Science Foundation, based at the Center for Advanced Liquid Crystalline Optical Materials (ALCOM) at Kent State University. The consortium includes Kent State University, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of Akron. ALCOM focuses on interdisciplinary research and development of liquid crystal optoelectronic materials, technology, and consumer products. A few of the liquid crystal studies featured here are fine structure and oily streak defects, magneto-optic response, text display applications, and organic synthesis. One of LCI's projects, the Polymers and Liquid Crystals Textbook, was featured in the December 13, 1996 Scout Report for Science & Engineering The LCI Website is not especially well-organized, but it contains lots of information about liquid crystal technology. [HCS]
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Rural Conditions and Trends -- ERS
One role of science is to predict the response of ecological communities to future perturbations. However, most of the perturbations (habitat modification) that occur today are driven by socioecomonic forces outside the daily familiarity of many ecologists. The December 2000 issue of the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) provides information on current socioeconomic conditions in rural areas of the US. Such information may prove useful to researchers interested in understanding or predicting patterns of landscape change. [LXP]
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Cassini Jupiter Flyby Science
Page [.pdf, PostScript]
NASA's Cassini spacecraft, on a mission to Saturn, made a pass over Jupiter on December 30, 2000. This page discusses the science behind the Jupiter flyby, from which magnetic, atmospheric, and other data are being collected. Clickable images of Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callista, and Rock Satellites take users to tables of data from each body (ASCII, .pdf, .ps). The User Guide page contains links to informative text on the instrumentation aboard the Cassini. A few examples of instruments are the cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA), Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS), and the Magnetoshperic Imaging Instrument (MIMI). Be sure to check out the link to the Jupiter Millennium Flyby page that furnishes interesting audio clips ("like a troop of howler monkeys...") and mission news. Links to other missions and other Jupiter pages are also given. [HCS]
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Dinosaur Trace Fossils
Anthony J. Martin, Senior Lecturer at Emory University, provides this interesting Website on dinosaur trace fossils -- namely tracks, trails, burrows, borings, gnawings, eggs, nests, gizzard stones, and dung of dinosaurs. The site offers a brief overview followed by illustrated descriptions of particular trace fossil types: Tracks and Trackways, Eggs and Nests, Tooth Marks, Gastroliths, and Coprolites. A series of links points users to further information, and a bibliography on Vertebrate Ichnology provides additional readings (through 1997). [LXP]
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Current Awareness
(For links to additional current awareness on tables of contents, abstracts, preprints, new books, data, conferences, etc., visit the The Scout Report for Science & Engineering Current Awareness Metapage:

The Winter 2000-2001 issue of Trio, the newsletter of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), has just been posted online. Nine articles highlight various aspects of the environmental impacts of free trade, including the acceleration of the spread of invasive species, pollutant reporting in Mexico, and the Kumiai Indians's native arts and crafts. Previous articles may also be accessed from the site. [LXP]
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Earlier Water on Earth? Oldest Rock Suggests Hospitable Young Planet
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Curtin University in Australia, and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have analyzed a zircon crystal from Australia with exciting results. The zircon, from metamorphic rocks in western Australia, is about 4.4 billion years old -- older than any other rock crystal known -- and holds isotopic evidence suggesting that at the time of its formation oceans could have been present on Earth. This information pushes back the earliest possible date that the right conditions for life existed. A report from the National Science Foundation on the study and its implications is found at this site. The document can be read as either HTML or ASCII text. [HCS]
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New Publications

Ward Valley: An Examination of Seven Issues in Earth Sciences and Ecology (1995)
The full text of the 1995 book Ward Valley: An Examination of Seven Issues in Earth Sciences and Ecology can be viewed online at the National Academies Press Website. The book contains information on the geology, hydrogeology, and ecology of Ward Valley, a proposed low-level radioactive waste disposal site in the Mojave Desert. The format is Open Book, a "browsable, nonproprietary, fully and deeply searchable version of the publication." The National Academies Press notes that it is not intended to replace printed books. [HCS]

Three Research Posters from the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre (ECORC), Canada
"New strategy may save the medicinal plant, Goldenseal" [.pdf]
"Effects of soil strength/compaction memory on crop yields under different management treatments" [.pdf]
"Nitrogen credits to maize from preceding soybean or alfalfa using N15-labelling approach" [.pdf]
Three research posters have recently been placed online at the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre (ECORC) Website. The first, by A. Sinclair and P.M. Catling, proposes a recovery method for the native medicinal plant Goldenseal, threatened in Canada. The second poster, by D.R. Lapen and colleagues, evaluates soil strength and compaction under different management treatments. Third, author B.L. Ma and colleagues explore the contribution of legume nitrogen to subsequent maize crops. All three posters are available in .pdf format. [LXP]

Free Physics Journals
The Institute of Physics provides free online access to 29 of its journals. The latest, complete issues of the New Journal of Physics and Distributed Systems Engineering are available along with letters and rapid communications, abstracts, and selected articles from other IOP journals (including Condensed Matter and Materials Science,Applied Physics,High Energy and Nuclear Physics, and others). Free registration is required. [HCS]

Seminar on Wildlife Forensics in the Enforcement of Wildlife Legislation [.pdf]
The North American Wildlife Enforcement Group (NAWEG) and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) cosponsored this seminar in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1999. This seminar outline (.pdf format) provides a list of talks given at the meeting, in addition to contact information for participants -- including prominent members of this growing field. [LXP]

Atmospheric Fluoroform (CHF3, HFC-23) at Cape Grim, Tasmania
Air samples were taken from Cape Grim, Tasmania for the period of record 1978-1995. Comparisons of CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113, CH3CCl3, and CH4 data between archive samples and corresponding in-situ samples for the same dates confirm that the archive samples are both representative and stable over time. Graphs and digital data on atmospheric Fluoroform concentrations can be viewed in HTML format at this page from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC), Oak Ridge, Tennessee. [HCS]

1998 Proceedings: Solving Forest Insect Problems Through Research
The Proceedings of the 1998 Puerto Rico conference on Solving Forest Insect Problems Through Research (sponsored in part by the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations) are available at this Website. The proceedings include the program, abstracts from presentations and posters, and contact information for presenters. [LXP]

Two Pre-prints from Differential Geometry and Quantum Physics [PostScript, .gz]
"The Generalized Star Product and the Factorization of Scattering Matrices on Graphs"
"Positive Twistor Bundle Of A Kaehler Surface"
These two articles are online pre-prints from the Sfb 288 research project of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, a German academic funding agency. Sfb 288 promotes close cooperation between physicists and mathematicians. The first pre-print is a continued analysis of Schroedinger operators on arbitrary graphs given as certain Laplace operators. The second pre-print aims to characterize Kaehler surfaces in terms of their positive twistor bundle. The text can be downloaded in PostScript format with gzip compression.
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Iron and Steel Society Career Postings

Environmental Careers and Jobs: Non-Academic Positions & Graduate Assistantships -- CNIE

Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Professional Opportunities
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Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB)
Proposal Deadline: January 31, 2001

National Science Teachers Association: Science Education Events
Note: Select "Award/Competition" or "Grant/Fellowship" from menu
Deadlines: various

Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education
Deadlines: various

Texas Research Administrators Group (TRAM) Research Funding Opportunities
Deadlines: various
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Ecological Society of America
August 5-10, 2001; Madison, Wisconsin
Abstract Deadline: January 31, 2001

Fifteenth International Conference on Supercomputing
June 18-23, 2001; Sorrento, Italy
Abstract Deadline: February 1, 2001

Stress Tolerance in Seeds: Genetic, Molecular and Physiological Mechanisms
April 4-7, 2001; Wageningen, Netherlands
Abstract Deadline: February 1, 2001

The Geological Society Joint Committee for Palaeontology Lyell Meeting 2001: Palaeobiogeography and Biodiversity Change
February 21, 2001; The Burlington House, London, UK

Changing Wetlands: New Developments in Wetland Science
September 11-13, 2001; University of Sheffield, UK
Abstract Deadline: February 23, 2001

The Seventh ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
August 26-29, 2001; San Francisco, CA
Abstract Deadline: February 26, 2001 (electronic abstract), March 2, 2001 (paper submission)
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New Data

Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers (IPCN) -- MOBOT
The Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT), with funding from the National Science Foundation, publishes biennially the Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers (IPCN), containing information (gleaned from the scientific literature) on original chromosome counts of naturally occurring and cultivated plants. The online Index currently covers the years 1994-1995, with a new Index for 1996-1997 soon to be released. The searchable IPCN represents taxa from the Bryophytes through Zygophyllaceae, and provides gametophytic and sporophytic counts as well as IPCN volume and reference information. [LXP]
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Three New Chandra Images:
G11.2-0.3:Chandra Associates Pulsar and Historic Supernova
NGC6543:Cat's Eye Nebula
Orion Nebula Cluster Movie [AVI]
NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, designed to observe X-rays from high energy regions of the universe, regularly releases images taken using the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS). These three newest are particularly interesting. The first image (1) shows a pulsar located exactly at the geometric center of the supernova remnant known as G11.2-0.3. The second (2) reveals a bright central star surrounded by a cloud of multimillion-degree gas in the Cat's Eye nebula. The third image (3) is animated to show the twinkling of the Orion Nebula, one of the closest star-forming regions to Earth (AVI). Each image is accompanied by a table giving the scale, category, coordinates, observation date and time, color code, and instrument used. [HCS]
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COSEWIC Species Assessment [.pdf]
The Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife In Canada (COSEWIC) has posted an updated list of Species at Risk. The Species Assessment (.pdf format) is organized taxonomically and contains current and previous species status (where applicable), as well as each species's Canadian range of occurrence by providence, territory, or ocean. [LXP]
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Climate 2000 - Annual Review
The National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recently released its annual review of the climate for the year 2000. Graphs presented include annual global mean surface mean temperature anomalies for land and ocean (1880-2000), MSU (microwave sounding unit) lower troposphere and surface temperature anomalies (1980-2000), radiosonde and surface temperature anomalies (1960-2000), annual global precipitation anomalies (1900-2000), and regional temperature anomalies for January-December 2000. Explanatory text is provided, along with links to a summary of the climate and significant weather events of the US for the year 2000. The US had the warmest winter on record during 2000. [HCS]
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In The News

Last-minute efforts by Clinton administration offer some hope for the environment
1. "Clinton Names Monuments on Lewis And Clark Trail" -- Reuters (via YahooNews!)
2. "Three New Monuments for America"
3. "California desert wilderness dedicated" -- ENN
4. "Clinton Safeguards Hawaiian Coral Reef Ecosystem" -- ENS
5. "American Antiquities Act of 1906" -- NPS
6. List of Presidentially Designated Monuments (through Dec. 2000) -- TWS [.pdf]
7. Wilderness Legislation in the 106th Congress -- TWS
8. "Old growth trees to be preserved" -- ENN
9. "New Forest Rule Forbids Logging, Roads"
With only days left before Bush takes the oval office, President Clinton has been taking action to protect some of America's natural jewels. Over the past month (and since 1996), Clinton has used several legal mechanisms, including the Antiquities Act, to protect some of America's most spectacular natural areas. Passed in 1906, the Antiquities Act gives the President the power to grant national monument status to areas possessing significant historical, scenic, and/or scientific values. Of the seventeen presidents who have served office since 1906, all have used the Antiquities Act to protect national treasures except Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. However, because of its power, the Act is controversial, and some Republicans have vowed to restrict the Act's future use. In addition to recent presidential and congressional measures, several other positive environmental actions have reached the press. This week's In The News highlights recent environmental progress and offers background resources and links to further information.

The first resource, a news story from Reuters via YahooNews!, (1) describes Clinton's most recent actions to designate seven national monuments including land explored by Lewis and Clark. The second site, from Environmental News Service (ENS), (2) describes the January 11, 2001 designation of three National Monuments: Grand Canyon-Parashant and Agua Fria National Monuments in Arizona, and the California Coastal National Monument. This announcement came just five weeks after Congress dedicated a National Monument in the Californian desert (3), and President Clinton signed into somewhat lesser protection status the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve (4). Readers interested in learning more about the American Antiquities Act can do so at this National Park Service page (5) or by reviewing the full list of presidentially dedicated monuments (through Dec 2000) posted by The Wilderness Society (6). For information on the commendable conservation achievements of the 106th Congress (whose session ended in December), The Wilderness Society provides this information resource (7). Finally, also in the national news last week, US Forest Service chief Mike Dombeck declared all old growth trees in national forests off limits to logging (8), an unexpectedly bold policy that went well beyond President Clinton's January 5, 2001 order to protect a third of the nation's forests from timber operations and new roads (9). [LXP]
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