February 07, 2013
Logs stacked in Mozambique. Photo © : EIA.
"Despite recent commendable efforts by the Mozambican Government to control the illegal trade in timber to China, our investigation uncovers how high-level politicians, in league with unscrupulous Chinese traders, continue to not only breach Mozambique’s export and forest laws but are now putting pressure on the sustainable yield of Mozambique’s forests," said EIA forests campaigner Chris Moye.
The EIA went undercover both in Mozambique and China to expose the scale of the forest crime.
Log truck en route to Beira, Mozambique. Photo © : EIA.
Mozambique has placed 22 of its 118 commercial tree species under partial bans, meaning these so-called "1st class" species must be processed into Mozambique before export, which means more revenue and jobs for the country. However, the EIA believes much of the timber smuggling into China was of these 22 species.
Illegal logging deprives locals of a hugely important natural resource, including injuring biodiversity, erosion buffers, watersheds and other ecosystem services. In addition, illegal logging often occurs in tandem with other organized crimes, such as drug and human trafficking.
The EIA calls on Mozambique to immediately ban log exports and kickstart a number of investigations into the illegal trade, including taking a look at corruption by forest officials, police, customs agents, and corporations. Around half of Mozambique is still under forest cover.
EIA says China should prohibit importing illegal timber, something the U.S., Australia, and soon the EU have already implemented. However, it's unlikely China will stop importing illegal wood anytime soon. Last November another report by the EIA found that China was the world's largest importer of illegally-logged wood, estimating that in 2011 the country imported at least 18.5 million cubic meters of sawn timber, 86 times that taken from Mozambique.
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Illegally logged trees to start calling for help
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Illegal logging, mining worsened impact of Philippines' killer typhoon
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