By Chris Gardner
October 28, 2003

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Photo courtesy: http://www.lordoftherings.net
LOS ANGELES - They may be the fellowship of the ring, but offscreen they are pretty much the lords of the forest. Or they will be soon.

The boys of New Line Cinema's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy are taking their tight-knit friendship and putting it to work to save a tree or two.

So says Dominic Monaghan, who is in the planning stages -- along with fellow "Rings" co-stars Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom -- of creating a programme that would give their fans and environmentally conscious consumers the chance to adopt a tree in a forest that Monaghan hopes will be in New Zealand, where all three films were shot.

"It's a way for us to keep our bond together but at the same time do something useful for the planet," says Monaghan, who happened to spend much of the second installment -- "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" -- trapped in a walking and talking tree with his co-star and fellow hobbit Billy Boyd.

"There are so many forests being cut down that this will ensure that at least one of them, which has thousands and thousands of trees, will be saved -- especially in New Zealand, which is such a mad, mad beautiful place," Monaghan says.

"People who adopt a tree will also get a map to their tree, so if they ever want to go and find it, they can."

The actor, who is gearing up for the December release of the third and final installment, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," is not just pushing for the forest because it seems like a chic thing to do. "I've always been into nature my whole life, so doing something like this, there's nothing better."

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