Irish government must adopt a responsible timber procurement policy-ur
As illegal-logging and deforestation increases in the Amazon- Just Forests calls on the new Taoiseach, Mr. Brian Cowen to develop a government procurement policy on timber.
22nd May 2008
Responsible Government Procurement Policy urgently needed as Illegal-logging and deforestation increases
Irish forest conservation group, Just Forests, calls on the new Taoiseach, Mr. Brian Cowen and his government to adopt a responsible timber policy to help fight illegal-logging as new data to be released by the National Space Research Institute next week will show that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is on the rise again. (See Press Release by Associated Press below)
According to Tom Roche, coordinator of Just Forests, “Irish companies use significant amounts of tropical timber from the Amazon-especially in the form of plywood.”
Government and companies can't continue to close their eyes and hope that the plywood and timber they purchase is from, legal and sustainable sources - ignorance is not a defence!
This is not a new issue. As far back as 1989 Just Forests have been highlighting the urgent need for industry and government to ensure they use only timber and wood-based products from well-managed forests worldwide.
In January of this year a secret investigation by Just Forests revealed that Chinese plywood containing tropical hardwood species - bintangor and nyatoh (pencil cedar) have been found in the refurbishment of the new Irish Aid Centre at Findlater House in Dublin. “Illegal-logging is causing widespread social, environmental, economic and ecological hardship for millions of people in developing countries. It is also a major contributory factor to rising greenhouse gases and climate change” says Tom Roche of Just Forests.
Chinese logging companies are also wrecking havoc in Tanzania’s forests, where illegal logging is rampant. In many cases the logging is taking place in community-managed forests, some of which receive financial support from Irish sources. Tanzania is one of Irish Aid’s priority countries for development assistance. Illegal and unsustainable logging is rampant in many countries. However, there are attempts by some governments in West Africa to do something about it. ‘Because of the indiscriminate destruction by some Chinese businessmen and other foreign nationals, the government has banned the exportation of timber from Sierra Leone.’ (Reuters January 14th 2008)
In more recent times (2006) the UK timber federation advised it members not to purchase Chinese plywood containing bintangor.
Just Forests once again calls on the Irish Government to adopt a responsible Timber Procurement Policy that will help combat illegal and unsustainable extraction of timber from the world’s forests.
According to Tom Roche, co-ordinator of Just Forests, “Deforestation now accounts for 20% of CO2 emissions and having a timber policy that ensures timber comes from well-managed, independently-certified forests is a necessary tool in the struggle to offset the worst effects of climate change due to deforestation, the worst effects of which will be felt in developing countries” ENDS.
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Amazon deforestation on the rise, says Brazil's new environment minister
Source: Copyright 2008, Associated Press
Date: May 22, 2008
The destruction of the Amazon is once again on the rise despite a recent government crackdown on illegal logging, Brazil's new environment minister said on Wednesday. Carlos Minc said official calculations of how much rainforest has been cut down would be released on Monday by the National Space Research Institute.
"It will be bad news. It will be data showing an increase in deforestation," Minc said in an interview on Brazilian national channel, Globo TV. Minc took his post last week after veteran rainforest defender Marina Silva surprised the nation by resigning, citing "stagnation" in the fight to preserve the world's largest remaining tropical wilderness.
Deforestation in the Amazon declined for three consecutive years until earlier this year, when preliminary satellite data detected a sharp increase. In response, the government sent environmental agents and federal police units to tackle illegal logging in the jungle region.
This policy has been met with violent protests as officials shut down dozens of illegal sawmills, leading to seizures of 15,500 tons of illegally logged wood.
Earlier this month, the country's ministry of justice said the operation had reduced deforestation by 80% between February and March.
But environmentalists said such month-to-month comparisons are unreliable.
Aides at Minc's office said he wasn't immediately available to comment on how his data differed with that of the ministry.
The Brazilian Amazon covers about 1.6m sq miles (4.1m sq kms) or nearly 60% of the country. About 20% of the forest has already been destroyed.