Two of 18 environmental activists who have been sitting in redwoods in California’s Humboldt County for almost a year were forcibly removed yesterday by Pacific Lumber Company, raising the longstanding conflict between the two groups to a new level. After the Humboldt County Superior Court issued the tree sitters a temporary restraining order last week, the company warned that it would resort to physically removing them; now, it says the remaining 16 tree sitters will be brought down as quickly as is safely possible. The activists are protesting what they say is the company’s record of ignoring endangered-species and water-quality protections, leading to landslides and the silting of critical salmon spawning areas. The tree sitters have severely impeded Pacific Lumber’s operations, preventing the company from cutting hundreds of thousands of boardfeet of redwood.