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For Release: Friday, July 20, 2012

DEC Honors Two Photographers for Year of the Forest Photos

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)'s Region 7/Central New York, will honor two photographers from the central New York region who are recent winners in the DEC's "Year of the Forest" photography contest at Charles E. Baker State Forest on July 30, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. Wells Horton of Sherburne is the winner in the "Commissioner's Choice" category for his photo of morning light streaming through the trees at Charles E. Baker State Forest, in Brookfield, Madison County. Michael Fey of Chittenango is the winner in the "Forest Products" category for his photo of two silhouetted Adirondack chairs facing Raquette Lake at sunrise in Hamilton County.

Regional Director Ken Lynch noted, "Wells Horton and Michael Fey have captured two unique scenes which aptly convey the beauty and serenity of New York State's forests. Photos like these remind us of the many reasons we seek to preserve and manage open space lands."

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared 2011 as the Year of Forests because of the importance that forests play in the life of all New Yorkers. The United Nations also declared 2011 to be the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on issues of sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.

As part of these efforts, DEC sponsored a photography contest to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests - urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned - across the state. More than 600 photographs were submitted as part of the contest, and six winners were recently chosen, one from each of the following categories: Nature, Enjoying the Forest, Trees Where We Live, Forest Products, State-Owned Forests and the Commissioner's Choice. Other winners in the contest were Joanne Hihn for Fiddleheads in the Forest, Nature Category; Michael Linse for Fishing the Mist, Enjoying the Forest Category; Michael Linse for Home, Trees Where We Live Category; and Wayne Jones for Forever Wild, State-Owned Forest Category.

Forests are an essential part of our landscape. The five most forest-rich countries, Russia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and China, account for more than half of the total forest area in the world. They cover 31 percent of the total global land area and are home to more 300 million people around the world. In addition forests house 80 percent of our terrestrial biodiversity. More than one-quarter of modern medicines originate from tropical forest plants and over 40 percent of the world's oxygen is produced by rainforests. Our forests also store more than one trillion tons of carbon.

Economically forests are important as well. The livelihood of more than 1.6 billion people depends on forests, and more than 60 million people are employed by forest-based industries. The annual value of wood removed from forests is estimated to be more than $100 billion. Unfortunately, 13 million hectares or 32.5 million acres, roughly the size of NYS , of forest continue to be lost each year. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

All photography winners will receive an enlarged and framed version of their photograph, a year's subscription to the DEC's Conservationist magazine and a weekend stay at a DEC campground.

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