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Norway bans tropical timber

Norway bans tropical timber

Norway bans tropical timber

July 2, 2007

Concerned about deforestation rates in the world’s most biodiverse forests, Norway has banned the use of tropical timber in all public buildings, reports the Rainforest Foundation Norway.

According to the NGO, the move comes after a series of scandals where governmental institutions have been caught using wood from threatened rainforests in building projects, despite a 2002 mandate to only use sustainably logged tropical wood. Since the government does not recognize any tropical forest certification system as reliable, the Directorate of Public Construction and Property (Statsbygg) has banned the use of all tropical wood, including certified wood.

“The government wants to stop all trade with unsustainably or illegally logged tropical forest products. Today there is no international or national certification that can guarantee in a reliable manner that imported wood is legally and sustainably logged,” stated a plan issued by the Norwegian government. “Tropical wood shall not be used neither in the building itself nor in materials used in the building process.”

Rainforest Foundation Norway says the decision makes Norway a global leader in “green” procurement policies.

Felled canopy tree in the rainforest of Gabon (top). Photo by Rhett A. Butler

“Putting a ban on all tropical wood in public buildings makes Norway an international pioneer in this field. As far as we know, no other countries have an equally strict and ambitious public procurement policy on tropical timber,” said Lars Løvold, director of Rainforest Foundation Norway. “Hopefully this will inspire other countries to strengthen their policies too.”

“We are not fundamentally against logging in tropical forests,” Løvold continued. “The problem is that today there exist no reliable certification scheme for logging in tropical countries. Until such reliable schemes are in place or we have other ways to secure that logging is done in a sustainable way, we support the government’s decision to ban the use of tropical wood.”


Earlier this year China announced it would develop guidelines for the establishment of sustainable forest plantations abroad by Chinese firms. In December of last year, New Zealand’s government said it will only buy timber and wood products only from legally and sustainably managed forests.

Rainforest Foundation Norway.

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