Cultivating Rainforests: Facing the Reality of Logging


The growing world, consumption by inhabitants and the demand for raw materials have put an increasing strain on almost all resources, especially forests which are being harvested for fuel, timber, wood products, plywood and pulp. The threat to these forests, due to illegal logging should be prevented. Not only forests are feeling the implications of fraudulent wood harvest, but national economies, stability of biodiversity and human health are also affected.  Given the low cost of illegally logged timber, forests are being exploited at alarming rates and the problem is widespread. The threats posed to forest survival are to be discussed in this session of the United Nations Environmental Program so that international agreements may be made regarding the necessity of various standards, definition of illegal logging and plans of action to be taken against production, processing and supplier nations.

Any illegal trade, be it of wood, money laundering or smuggling of arms, undermines international security and the efforts of many nations to preserve their sovereignty and resources

The opening of new roads in remote forest areas permits the expansion of illegal trade in bushmeat; while logging methods often reduce biodiversity and have a major impact on the livelihoods of poor, resource-dependent communities. At the macrolevel, and especially in countries with few valuable resources other than timber, the trade is associated with corrupt practices, nepotism and tax-dodging. This undermines democracy and reduces the amount of money available for government-led development. Globally, illegal logging on public lands is estimated to result in annual losses of revenues and assets of more than US$10 000 million (World Bank 2003). Losses are estimated at US$5.3 million annually in Cameroon, US$4.2 million in Congo, US$10.1 million in Gabon, and US$37.5 million in Ghana.

-UNEP Africa Environment Outlook 2

By addressing this issue amongst nations, countries can support one another and weaken the existing infrastructure that allows for illegal logging. One aim is to decrease the impact of low-cost, illegal timber entering the competitive markets and undermining the chance for fairly logged lumber to fetch a price greater than its’ cost.Private and public sectors, local, central and international governments must all be involved in the solution to addressing the threat. This will enable all members to move beyond voluntary programs, only enacted in some countries, to international efforts and initiatives of sustainable forest management and legal logging. Stabilizing the logging sector economy, creating a level playing-field and standards that will support ecosystems and reforestation in areas cleared are steps to reverse damage and make progress.When one resource has been tapped, the search for a new source begins. Thus, a pattern of economic growth and prosperity followed by an equally rapid bust starts to show up in areas targeted by logging. What is left is a ransacked ecosystem and many unstable economies. This also defers influence to those nations with buying power, weakening national sovereignty and control over forests.

These goods enter the market with very low selling prices compared to those legally harvested and as the general source dwindles, a price hike is inevitable. This cycle could be reduced to the simple statement, lower costs now are only assuring more expensive costs of raw materials, later.Tracking the origin of wood to assure it is logged in accordance with international trade agreements and environmentally responsible standards is an initiative that has been taken on by many organizations, the problem being the application of this practice on a  world-wide scale. The distance wood travels from point of origin to buyer is not always a direct one and many nations, people, and businesses are involved along the way. Should a shipment of illegal wood be intercepted along this journey, what should be done so as not to interrupt business for those not guilty of harvesting?  Should the owner of a ship carrying a shipment of illegally harvested wood be held to the same standards as those harvesting and buying it? What should be done with the shipment and any personell in the meantime. Holding shipments and waiting for jurisdiction to be decided grows to a multinational problem.Without hindering free trade, the sale of lumber should be held to standards that support sustainable forest management and hold producers, processors and suppliers accountable for their timber footprint. How should this be approached? To what degree should the timber sector be targeted by international governance? How does this affect international relations? Where should the blame fall?  What solutions can be found to protect the fragile ecosystems and fortify one of our natural assets which has the power to reverse CO2 damage?  What measures are necessary and within the powers of UNEP?In order to decrease the threats to business relations, ecosystems and endangered resources and ensure acceptable standards for payment and pricing, this issue cannot be ignored and is therefore being brought to the United Nations Environmental Program for discussion this session.


(note article of the Bonn conference I attended last week)


One Response to “Cultivating Rainforests: Facing the Reality of Logging”

  1. ngoziokei Says:

    No one is to blame for the rules and regulation that is set by human being per say, either the specific individual or any official staff levels
    of government. The root of the problem is from mankind, who are not truthful/transparent to one another in all stages of life as a whole. Especially in the economic/political and social wellbeing of an individual or in a nation. If an individual or any nation are not too protective or self centered, having less taxed products, reduced duty, no illegal practise market approach, government establishment of rules and regulations/laws that gonverns all individuals to obey in terms of natural free and fair trading policies, there will be an atmosphere of love honesty and sharing (that is living and allowing others to live ). Furthermore, the resource system which is the rainforest should be sustained for future greener cultivation and economic growth. Also the resource unit (wood) in any country/business should be legally processed to a maximum level that will be acceptable to all nations. The acceptable number should help in the sustainability of the rainforests management. Responsibility of all individuals during processing of any commodity is important, beginning from the forest cultivation to the marketing level. The measures that are necessary within the power of UNEP should be carried out by encouraging the people within their power as a process to move beyound free programmes to international attempt. Also legalising logging is a necessity for a sustained forest management.

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