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News articles on timber
Mongabay.com news articles on timber in blog format. Updated regularly.
(05/01/2006) Construction for the 2008 Olympics in China may fuel deforestation in New Guinea according to an article published last week in the Jakarta Post. The article reports that a Chinese company has asked the Indonesian government for permission to establish a timber processing factory in Indonesia's Papua province to produce 800,000 cubic meters of merbau timber in time for the Olympic games to be held in Bejing. Merbau -- a dark hardwood found in the rainforests of New Guinea -- is used for hardwood floors and currently commands prices of up to US$138 per square meter, making the proposal potentially worth more than a billion dollars.
Why is palm oil replacing tropical rainforests?
(04/25/2006) In a word, economics, though deeper analysis of a proposal in Indonesia suggests that oil palm development might be a cover for something more lucrative: logging. Recently much has been made about the conversion of Asia's biodiverse rainforests for oil-palm cultivation. Environmental organizations have warned that by eating foods that use palm oil as an ingredient, Western consumers are directly fueling the destruction of orangutan habitat and sensitive ecosystems. So, why is it that oil-palm plantations now cover millions of hectares across Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand? Why has oil palm become the world's number one fruit crop, trouncing its nearest competitor, the humble banana? The answer lies in the crop's unparalleled productivity. Simply put, oil palm is the most productive oil seed in the world. A single hectare of oil palm may yield 5,000 kilograms of crude oil, or nearly 6,000 liters of crude.
Environmentalists awarded prestigious prize for grassroots work
(04/24/2006) Tonight six grassroots environmentalists will be awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. This year's winners include a Vietnam veteran fighting Pentagon plans to incinerate chemical weapons stockpiles, a man who tipped the United Nations to illegal logging in war-torn Liberia, the person behind the creation of the world's largest area of protected tropical rainforest, a lawyer in Ukraine who helped block the construction of canal that would have cut through the heart of the Danube Delta, a woman who won resitution for indigenous land owners from logging interests in Papua New Guinea, and a researcher who pushed social impact assessments for major dam developments in China.
Brazil closes down illegal timber operation, seizes wood
(04/11/2006) Brazilian environmental authorities closed down an illegal logging operation in the Amazon according to a report from the Associated Press. An agent with Ipaam, the environmental authority of Amazonas state, told Michael Astor of the Associated Press that the Norte Wood logging company was operating without a license in town of Novo Aripuana. The agency made one arrest and seized 500 cubic meters of wood in the raid.
United States and Indonesia to fight illegal logging
(04/05/2006) The United States and Indonesia today agreed to fight illegal logging in some of the world's most diverse rainforests. Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu and Chief of the US Trade Office (USTR) Robert Portman said the two countries will coordinate efforts of protect Indonesia's forests which have been significantly degraded and destroyed by the illicit timber trade. While Indonesia houses the most extensive rainforest cover in all of Asia, its natural forest area is rapidly being reduced by logging--most of which is illegal. Between 1990 and 2005 the country lost more than 28 million hectares of forest, including 21.7 million hectares of virgin forest, according to data from the United Nations.
Home Depot, Lowe's selling illegal wood from Papua New Guinea-Report
(03/23/2006) Consumers in the United States are being mislead as to the origin of merbau hardwood flooring being sold by Home Depot and Lowe's. According to a new report published by the Environmental Investigation Agency and their Indonesian NGO partner Telepak, such timber is coming from the forests of Indonesia's remote Papua Province, where 80 percent of logging is estimated to be illegal.
Malaysia to phase out Borneo logging in parts of Sabah state
(03/16/2006) The Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo announced it will phase out logging in large parts of its remaining rainforests. Sabah, once home to some of the world's most biodiverse forests, was largely logged out during the 1980s and 1990s but some parts of the state still support wild populations of endangered orangutans. In recent years, the Malaysian government has set aside protected areas and sponsored reforestation projects in the state.
Papua New Guinea's forests under threat from corruption, illegal logging
(03/08/2006) Illegal logging is destroying large areas of rainforest in Papua New Guinea according to a report released last week by Forest Trends, a leading international forestry organization.
Congo Pygmies Losing Fight for Their Forests
(03/06/2006) Pygmy chief Mbomba Bokenu says he may soon let loggers cut his people's forests, and all he expects in return are soap and a few bags of salt.
Amazon to be logged sustainably says Brazil
(03/06/2006) Last week Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced a plan to allow sustainable logging across 3 percent of the Amazon rain forest. The law is aimed at undermining destructive illegal logging activities while generating revenue for forest management and protection, and income for rural Brazilians in the region who often must rely on subsistence agriculture or employment on ranches and plantations under sometimes slave-like conditions.
Scent-tagging wood could cut illegal timber smuggling
(01/05/2006) In the future illegally harvested timber could be tracked by their scent according to researchers at Oregon State University.
Logging may increase the risk of forest fire
(01/05/2006) Logging increases the risk of fire according to a new assessment in the aftermath of a large fire in Oregon. The study also found that undisturbed areas may be at lower fire risk.
Tropical deforestation rates continue to climb
(01/04/2006) Tropical deforestation rates continue to climb according to figures released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Malaysia's deforestation rate increasing rapidly - 86% jump since 1990s
(12/28/2005) Malaysia's deforestation rate is accelerating faster than any other tropical country in the world according to data from the United Nations.
Dangerous times on Brazil's Amazon frontier
(12/22/2005) Amazon land activist Deurival Santiago has the look of a hunted man. Activists like Santiago often protect peasant settlers in jungle areas where the government still has little control. That puts them in conflict with large-scale loggers, ranchers and land speculators pushing into an area of Para state known as the Terra do Meio, or Middle Land. It's the main battleground in the fight to slow destruction of the world's largest rain forest.
Australia warns neighbors to stop illegal rainforest logging
(12/19/2005) Australia warned its neighbors to crack down on illegal logging in their rainforests or face trade restrictions according to an article in The Australian.
Tsunami relief risks rainforest destruction
(12/19/2005) Today WWF warned that donor countries must include sustainably sourced building materials in their long-term aid packages to avoid a second ecological disaster stemming from deforestation. According to WWF, Indonesia's Aceh province will require at least 860,000 cubic meters of sawn timber for the construction of 200,000 homes over the next five years. The conservation organization says that only a small fraction of this additional demand can be met locally without resorting to illegal logging that would be damaging to Sumatra's biologically important rain forests.
Congo's forests get some relief from World Bank grant
(12/15/2005) Last week the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) received a $90-million grant from the World Bank to support the central African country's transition from instability and civil war. The grant addresses key areas in DRC's forestry sector and alleviates some of the concerns expressed by environmentalists shortly before the resolution was passed.
70 years after logging, forests don't hold as much carbon as original forests
(12/05/2005) New research out of Ohio State University suggests that following logging, temperate forests take long periods of time to recover their carbon storing capacity. The scientists examined forests of of the upper Great Lakes region, which were 90% logged at the turn of the century, and found that they store only half the carbon the original forests contained. Poor forest management is blamed for the shortfall.
Congo rainforest - 600,000 sq km slated for logging
(12/05/2005) The World Bank will meet Thursday to decide whether it will fund large-scale logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo's rainforests. The country, home to the second largest rainforest in the world after Brazil, is emerging from years of civil strife which resulted in the deaths of some 3.8 million people from violence and disease.
Governments making progress in fight against illegal logging says FAO
(12/03/2005) Governments are becoming increasingly innovative in devising ways to control illegal logging claims new research released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Tropical Timber Organization.
Britain is largest importer of illegal timber in EU says WWF
(11/21/2005) Britain is the biggest importer of illegally-logged timber in Europe, responsible for the destruction of 1.4 million acres of forest a year according to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF).
Nigeria has worst deforestation rate, FAO revises figures
(11/17/2005) Nigeria has the world's highest deforestation rate of primary forests according to revised deforestation figures from the the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Global deforestation rates fall, but area the size of Panama still disppears each year
(11/14/2005) Net deforestation rates have fallen, but some 13 million hectares of the world's forests are still lost each year according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Logging threatens Mayan ruin, forest in Guatemala
(11/13/2005) In the tropical forests of Guatemala, poor rural farmers and loggers are battling environmentalists, archaeologists, and Mel Gibson over the establishment of a 525,000-acre Mayan national park.
Forests of Michoacan, Mexico disappearing
(11/07/2005) 90% of the tropical forest in Lazaro Cardenas, Aquila y Coahuayana -- municipalities in the state of Michoacan, Mexico -- has been destroyed according to an article in Cambio de Michoacan. Cattle ranching, mining, and the harvesting of precious wood are blamed as the principle causes behind the forest loss.
Logging can have low impact on Amazon rainforest says FAO
(11/05/2005) The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has issued a response to a study that found selective logging in the Amazon is highly destructive. The research, conducted by scientists from the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University, was published in Science last month. FAO argues that selective logging is not necessarily destructive and can be done with low impact on the remaining forests, if the proper techniques are applied.
Illegal timber from Honduras reaching the United States
(11/04/2005) U.S. companies are unknowingly importing illegal Honduran wood, contributing to deforestation, corruption and poverty in the Latin American country, according to a yearlong undercover investigation by the Center for International Policy and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
Logging impact worse than thought in the Amazon
(11/01/2005) Research released earlier this month in Science found that Brazil's Amazon rain forest is being degraded twice as fast as deforestation figures suggest. Selective logging, where only one or two valuable tree species are harvested from an area, is driving the forest degradation. The findings have important implications for "sustainable harvesting" schemes that have been promoted as ecologically-sound alternatives to traditional harvesting techniques.
Hunting ban threatens Congo forest dwellers
(10/31/2005) A blanket ban on hunting in the Republic of Congo has made life even more difficult for the Baka community, an indigenous hunter-gatherer group living in the rain forests near the timber-concession areas in the north of the country.
Timber traffickers arrested in Brazil
(10/31/2005) Brazilian federal police on Wednesday arrested at least 43 people accused of forging and selling permits for the transport of tens of millions of dollars (Euros) worth of illegally cut lumber, authorities said.
China fuels illegal logging in Burma
(10/31/2005) A new report, launched today by Global Witness at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Bangkok , "A Choice for China -- Ending the destruction of Burma's northern frontier forests" , details shocking new evidence of the massive illicit plunder of Burma's forests by Chinese logging companies. Much of the logging takes place in forests that form part of an area said to be "very possibly the most bio-diverse, rich, temperate area on earth."
Congo's Kabila calls for rainforest protection
(10/30/2005) The world's second largest rainforest stands a greater chance of being protected after Congo's president finally backed a largely ignored ban on new logging, conservation group Greenpeace said on Friday.
Deforestation does not cause flooding says new study
(10/12/2005) Deforestation and logging do not increase the risk of major floods according to a new report from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Center for International forestry Research (CIFOR). The study, citing evidence showing that the frequency and extent of major floods has not changed over the last century despite significant reductions in forest cover, challenges the conventional belief that forest loss causes floods. Instead, FAO and CIFOR say that deforestation does have a role in small floods and topsoil erosion. Further, the report accuses Asian governments of using deforestation as an excuse to deflect criticism over their poor handling of human settlement in areas unsuitable for habitation.
Bush administration sued over forest decision
(10/07/2005) A coalition of 20 environmental groups sued the Bush administration Thursday to block road construction, logging and industrial development on more than 90,000 square miles of the nation's last untouched forests.
95% of mahogany from Peru is illegally logged says scientist
(10/06/2005) 95 percent of the mahogany that leaves the rainforests of Peru is logged illegally according to a scientist at the Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon.
Bird sanctuary in Malaysia damaged by illegal logging and forest clearing
(09/26/2005) According to the New Straits Times, loggers are illegally clearing the protected forest of Gunung Panti to plant oil palm.
Illegal loggers to be imprisoned in Malaysia, possibly executed in Indonesia
(08/30/2005) Illegal loggers will now face mandatory jail time in Malaysia under new laws expected to be implemented sometime early next year. Existing enforcement efforts, which rely on fines but are poorly enforced, have largely failed to curb illegal wood harvesting in the country's tropical rainforests.
Brazil to crackdown on illegal logging says Environment Minister
(08/09/2005) According to a report from Bloomberg, Brazil will increase the monitoring of logging in the Amazon rainforest and raise fines for those caught illegally clearing trees.
Brazilian environment chief arrested on illegal forest-clearing charges
(06/03/2005) Blairo Maggi, governor of Brazil's Mato Grosso state and the world's largest soybean farmer, froze logging-permit approvals and fired his environment chief, one of dozens arrested yesterday on illegal forest-clearing charges.
Farmers and landless poor battle over the Amazon
(04/22/2005) Land battles in Brazil's countryside reached the highest level in at least 20 years in 2004 as activists clashed with farmers and loggers advancing on savanna and Amazon rain forest, a nongovernmental group said Tuesday.
Timber hungry China moves into Africa
(04/20/2005) With its projected growth rates, China will soon surpass the United States in wood consumption. This voracious appetite for timber is threatening tropical forests around the globe but nowhere is this more apparent than in Africa where China is increasingly focusing its development efforts and adding fuel to a booming trade in illegally harvested timber.
Kalimantan at the Crossroads: Dipterocarp Forests and the Future of Indonesian Borneo
(04/17/2005) Kalimantan at the Crossroads: Dipterocarp Forests and the Future of Indonesian Borneo
Madagascar to takes action against illegal logging
(04/05/2005) Madagascar to takes action against illegal logging
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