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China to push for sustainable logging overseas

China to push for sustainable logging overseas

China to push for sustainable logging overseas
China issues guidelines for sustainable forest plantations abroad
Rhett A. Butler,
April 25, 2007

In a surprising move, China has developed guidelines for the establishment of sustainable forest plantations abroad by Chinese firms, according to the International Tropical Timber Organization’s (ITTO) April 1 Tropical Timber Market Report. The move comes as China faces increasing criticism from environmental groups for pillaging the world’s forests to feed its rapidly growing economy.

The State Forestry Administration will soon begin the process of selecting companies to implement the guidelines, which include bans on illegal logging and clearing of natural forests for plantations, on a “trial basis,” according to ITTO.

The guidelines are significant as China plays an increasingly important role in resource extraction in forests around the world. Chinese firms are aggressively investing in oil palm plantations in Indonesia and logging operations throughout Asia and Africa.

China’s interest in foreign timber jumped dramatically following a domestic ban on logging after deadly flooding in 1998. Politicians blamed deforestation for the damage wrought by the floods.

The sustainable forest plantations initiative follows the announcement of a government “green buying” policy last December. Starting in 2008, the policy will prioritize purchasing of environmentally friendly products and services. by state and provincial governments.

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