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Wood-ology and Zoo-ology Clash at Dublin Zoo

Bitter row as NGO is ordered off Zoo premises

11th June 2010

Just Forests founder/coordinator was given hours to remove the very popular Wood of Life exhibition and get off Dublin Zoo premises yesterday as a bitter row erupted over the Zoo’s use of tropical plywood in the new Agri Aware sponsored ‘City Farm’ facility which is due to open to the public on Saturday 22nd May 2010.

The UN has declared 22nd May as the International Day for Biological Diversity and the theme for the International Day on Biological Diversity (IDB) in 2010 is ‘Biodiversity, Development and Poverty Alleviation’.

According to Tom Roche of Just Forests, “The Director of Dublin Zoo didn’t even want to hear my proposal which would have diffused the situation and would benefit both our organisations. I find this very sad considering the great service Dublin Zoo provides to the protection and breeding of endangered species of tropical animals.”

Mr Roche will go on a one-day fast outside the main entrance of the Zoo on Saturday 22nd May to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity and protest the continued use of illegally-logged tropical timber which is widespread on Irish construction sites.


Notes to Editors
Background letter handed to Dublin Zoo on the matter:

18 May 2010

Mr. Leo Oosterweghel
Dublin Zoo
Phoenix Park

RE: Use of tropical plywood in Dublin Zoo’s ‘City Farm’ perimeter fence

Dear Mr. Oosterweghel,

Upon my return to the Robert’s House yesterday 17th May, to supervise the Wood of Life exhibition, I was dismayed to discover the use of tropical plywood in the ‘City Farm’ perimeter fence. The particular plywood in question is used extensively in Irish construction and samples taken from other building sites around Ireland were tested in Hamburg University and the results revealed that the species used in the hoarding included bintangor (Calophllum spp.) and nyatoh (pencil cedar-Palaquium spp).

Both these species are found in paradise forests of south East Asia, and often used in the manufacture of Chinese plywood- an issue which has been highlighted in recent years, as these species are often logged illegally and unsustainably.

For instance the vast majority of bintangor comes from Papua New Guinea (PNG) where illegal and destructive logging is rampant. Logging companies in the area have been accused of widespread illegality including human rights abuses. Much of this bintangor is shipped to China where it is used in the manufacturer of cheap throw away plywood-such as the hoarding seen on numerous building sites in Ireland.

It is most disappointing that in this the UN-designated International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) and considering the Zoo’s mission, the Zoo did not see fit to use any of a number of Irish-made sheet materials (all of which are FSC-certified) and most suitable for the job at hand. Using Irish produced sheet materials would have had the added advantage of supporting Irish jobs and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions as well as conserving endangered tropical timber species.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Roche



Press Release for opening of the Wood of Life exhibition at the Zoo:
Saturday, 27 March 2010

Woodology and Zoology

Like-minded organisations come together to highlight important habitats

Just Forests in association with Dublin Zoo are delighted to inform you that the Wood of Life - a hands-on, travelling exhibition on the importance of forests and wood - will be on display in the beautiful Tropical Bird House which is located in the Robert’s House just off the main lawn at Dublin Zoo for the month of April 2010.

“Dublin Zoo is a fitting venue for this exhibition considering the Zoo's own mission to protect and preserve the world’s biodiversity. It is all the more fitting as 2010 is the UN-designated International Year of Biodiversity,” according to Tom Roche of Just Forests, the organisers of the exhibition.

"Dublin Zoo is pleased to host this valuable exhibition showing the links between human well-being and preserving the quality of the environment. A big part of the role of a modern zoo is to educate people about our natural resources and how best to sustain them. This exhibition is a valuable education tool for any outing, a must see." says Claire Doyle of Dublin Zoo's Education Department.

The Wood of Life exhibition has something for everyone young and not so young so please do come along and discover the wonderful world of wood. Workshops for schools (primary, secondary and transition year) will be provided. Please book your slot as soon as possible on 01 474 8932 - no extra charge. Normal zoo admission rate applies. For more information on Dublin Zoo and Just Forests visit www.dublinzoo.ie and www.justforests.org

Just Forests receives funding from Irish Aid –Department of Foreign Affairs, Concern Worldwide and Trocaire to provide development education (DE) and education for sustainable development (ESD) projects which creates awareness of the ‘local and global’ impacts of trade in timber and wood-based products.

Coillte-the Irish Forestry Board, will also donate ten native Irish trees to every school that attends the Wood of Life exhibition.


For further information Tom Roche can be contacted on 086 8049389


Tom Roche (trading as) Just Forests Ltd.
Ringfort Workshop, Rathcobican, Rhode, Offaly, Ireland
Phone: +353 (0)86 8049389  |  E-mail: info@tomroche.ie
Company Registration Number: 612423 This website is an education awareness initiative of Just Forests Ltd Copyright © 2018 Tom Roche (trading as) Just Forests Ltd.