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Industrial Logging Gobbling Up Africa's

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Industrial Logging Gobbling Up Africa's Tropical Forests

Dailyindia.com

June 10, 2007

Washington - Industrial logging is increasingly gobbling up Africa's tropical forests, Woods Hole researchers have said after analysing 300 satellite images covering more than 1.5 million square miles of dense and humid forest in the continent's central region.

According to the data, more than 230,000 square miles (600,000 square kilometres), or 30 percent of forests, in the six central African countries of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are under ownership of private logging companies, with only 12 percent set aside for conservation.

As part of their study, lead author Nadine LaPorte, director of the Africa program at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and her team mapped more than 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometres) of logging roads within central Africa, tracking the expansion of logging roads from 1976 to 2003.

Findings revealed that logging roads accounted for 38 percent of the length of all roads in the area studied.

In the Republic of the Congo, the total length of logging roads is two times that of the national roads, LaPorte said.

The highest logging-road densities were found in the coastal nations of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon, she added.

While historically most of the logging in Africa is for export, and so the practice is often done close to the coastline and the ports, logging in Cameroon has now extended inland in recent decades after the earlier harvesting of coastal forest.

Most of the logging in central Africa focuses on high-value trees like mahogany that are exported for use in furniture in Europe and Asia. In contrast, most of the wood in Brazil's Amazon forest is used domestically.

The study further revealed that the area undergoing the most rapid change is in northern Republic of the Congo, where the rate of road construction has grown about four times over the three decades.

LaPorte said their study is the first comprehensive satellite mapping of central Africa's dense and humid forests.

"This is the first time we've been able to see how vast the imprint of the logging is on the landscape," she said.

According to LaPorte a "new frontier" of logging expansion may also be opened in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as that country achieves greater political stability and attracts interest from foreign logging companies.

The DRC, which is about the size of western Europe, contains almost two-thirds of the region's remaining forests. According to the study, DRC has the lowest logging-road density, as measured till now, but the country's population density is three times greater than that of its Republic of the Congo neighbour.

As such, there is always the chance of deforestation taking place rapidly due to logging, LaPorte said.

"We should be very concerned about logging in areas where we have high population density.

If you have lots of people and you do logging at the same time, what happens is you're going to have deforestation and you will go from a forest ecosystem to an agricultural system," National Geographic quoted her as saying.

The study further said that the shrinking of Africa's tropical forests could have global climate change implications as well.

Forests store up to half of the Earth's terrestrial carbon stock, or 45 times the amount of carbon emitted every year through the burning of fossil fuels and the production of cement. The DRC is estimated to hold 8 percent of the Earth's carbon, which is stored in living forests.

As such, deforestation will lead to as much as half of the carbon held up in the forest to be emitted into the atmosphere.

The DRC's intact rain forests "act as a break on further acceleration of climate change by serving as a vast carbon reserve. When forests are cleared for agriculture or other use, up to half of the carbon they held may be emitted into the atmosphere.

Given the pivotal role of the forest in terms of climate change, it is deeply worrying that to date no concrete steps have been taken to stop degradation of the DRC's forests," said Phil Aikman, international forest campaigner for Greenpeace in London.

The study appears in this week issue of the journal Science.

Source

The mass deforestation occuring around the world is very frightening. Accompanied by increasing greenhouse gas emissions, we are heading towards a nightmare created by corporate greed and ignorance.

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"Laws introduced in 2002 the guidance of the World Bank, as well as zoning of the country's forests, encouraged an area the size of France handed out to logging companies. Those laws, meant to correct the excess of the 1980's, were not aimed at preventing rainforest protection. instead, they encouraged a massive expansion of the timber industry, including a 60-fold increase in industrial logging. Active are French groups like Bolloré, and Doumé Affiliated Forestry Company, of the Rougier Group.

Reversing the 1991 policy which had proscribed World Bank funding of logging in primary moist tropical forests, the new policy was instead meant to prevent all Bank operations from causing 'significant' damage to 'critical forests', while forestry projects are in addition to be subject to certification.

These contracts are a shameful relic of colonial times. Millions of hectares of the Congo rainforest have been traded away by local communities to the logging industry for gifts like salt, machetes and crates of beer while logging companies and their taxes do next to nothing for local development."

Greenpeace Video

A log park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 21 million hectares of rainforest are currently allocated to the logging industry. Most of DRC's timber is exported to Europe, with France and Belgium currently the largest importers.

linked-image

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Only one plant can solve this problem and its illegal. Its marijuana-hemp. This plant has so much potental to it such as fuel, oil, rope, paper, plastic can be made from it, so many other items as well. But the oil industry and tobacco industry will never allow it to be legal. Hemp grows faster, anywhere, and is easily renewable. Greed however is destroying our only planet. I'm ready to run out of Oil just to get it over with. Once the Oil is gone a lot of industries will die. Maybe the world will be a better place then. Forcing us to start over.

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This saddens me so. Not only does it add to CO2 in the atmosphere, but it also destroy habitats of animals therefor killing them off. There are probably hundreds of different species that are not known to science in those jungles. Perhaps a plant in those jungles could be used in new types of medicines. Perhaps a frog in those jungles has some chemical in its body that could be used to treat "uncurable" diseases. But what saddens me most is the loss of animal and plant species, discovered and undiscovered. :no:

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"Laws introduced in 2002 the guidance of the World Bank, as well as zoning of the country's forests, encouraged an area the size of France handed out to logging companies. Those laws, meant to correct the excess of the 1980's, were not aimed at preventing rainforest protection. instead, they encouraged a massive expansion of the timber industry, including a 60-fold increase in industrial logging. Active are French groups like Bolloré, and Doumé Affiliated Forestry Company, of the Rougier Group.

Reversing the 1991 policy which had proscribed World Bank funding of logging in primary moist tropical forests, the new policy was instead meant to prevent all Bank operations from causing 'significant' damage to 'critical forests', while forestry projects are in addition to be subject to certification.

These contracts are a shameful relic of colonial times. Millions of hectares of the Congo rainforest have been traded away by local communities to the logging industry for gifts like salt, machetes and crates of beer while logging companies and their taxes do next to nothing for local development."

Greenpeace Video

A log park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 21 million hectares of rainforest are currently allocated to the logging industry. Most of DRC's timber is exported to Europe, with France and Belgium currently the largest importers.

linked-image

Thanks for another educational post to complement my thread. :tu: Everyone should check out the informative video too.

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Only one plant can solve this problem and its illegal. Its marijuana-hemp. This plant has so much potental to it such as fuel, oil, rope, paper, plastic can be made from it, so many other items as well. But the oil industry and tobacco industry will never allow it to be legal. Hemp grows faster, anywhere, and is easily renewable. Greed however is destroying our only planet. I'm ready to run out of Oil just to get it over with. Once the Oil is gone a lot of industries will die. Maybe the world will be a better place then. Forcing us to start over.

Well, the cause of the hemp may not be completely hopeless. Natural hemp contains only minute traces of THC (the stuff that gets you high, which is concentrated up to 30% in plants grown for dope-use) Although the US & other countries are still prohibiting plantation of hemp, other countries have moved on.

From wiki: "Since the early 1990s, however, many countries, including Canada, Australia, the UK, The Netherlands and Germany, allow hemp plantings and commercial scale production. Plant breeders are working on the development of new varieties which are low in THC."

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They can sign the message to the World Bank.

"It’s not too late to prevent the destruction of this incredible rainforest, and by sending this letter to the World Bank, that’s exactly what you can do."

Just Sign and Click

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Posted (edited)

This saddens me so. Not only does it add to CO2 in the atmosphere, but it also destroy habitats of animals therefor killing them off. There are probably hundreds of different species that are not known to science in those jungles. Perhaps a plant in those jungles could be used in new types of medicines. Perhaps a frog in those jungles has some chemical in its body that could be used to treat "uncurable" diseases. But what saddens me most is the loss of animal and plant species, discovered and undiscovered. :no:

well said :tu: greed is killing the world.

Edited by Lt_Ripley

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One of the problems is that all the attention with regards climate change has focused on carbon emissions from transport and industry.

20% of carbon emissions come from deforestation. And deforestation also leads to increased risk of drought and flood in the region and, according to some studies, may well have serious impacts on rainfall across the globe.

It should be the No 1 priority. It can be tackled quicker and more effectively than other causes of climate change and will help more people in the poorest parts of the world. Even the IPCC acknowledge that. But it means telling 3rd world countries what to do and politically that's not acceptable - so we blame it all on our cars and in time millions will die .....

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Posted (edited)

Another possible scenario for mass clearing is happening in Asia, and may move to Africa.

mongabay.com- April, 2006

Oil palm become the world's number one fruit crop. Beyond biofuel, the crop is used for a myriad of purposes from an ingredient in food products to engine lubricants to a base for cosmetics. Palm oil is becoming an increasingly important agricultural product for tropical countries around the world, especially as crude oil prices top $70 a barrel.

At $400 per metric ton, or about $54 per barrel, palm oil is competitive with conventional oil. In the future, palm oil prices are expected to fall further as more oil palm comes under cultivation. With cheap land, abundant labor, and ideal climate, investors and developers are now eyeing tropical Africa as the next major producer of palm oil.

Indonesian plantations, however, are so damaging that after a 25-year harvest, oil-palm lands are often abandoned for scrubland. It is intense farming, like any other crop. And, after harvest, there are waste by-products requiring careful consideration.

Since demand for palm oil isn't going to go away, Europe's best approach is to convince Indonesian oil palm producers to cultivate their crop in a manner that's less damaging to the environment, as exemplified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). This won't be done by hand-holding or Kumbaya circles; it will be done through financial incentives--if no one is demanding "green" palm oil, no one will not produce it.

Europe should inform producers that it is willing to buy a set amount of palm oil (in billions of liters per year), provided that is independently certified as having been produced in an environmentally friendly and socially equitable way. Europe may even want to offer a minimum price guarantee to satisfy producers that it intends to hold up its side of the bargain.

And, China is planning on investing $7.5 billion to help double Indonesia's land use for palm.

However, surveys of the region commissioned by WWF found that much of the land is poorly suited for oil palm. Mountainous terrain combined with inappropriate altitude and climate for oil palm means that only 10 percent at most can be considered adequate for cultivation and lends credibility to claims by environmental groups that the entire plan may be a cover for a massive logging scheme to harvest the area's rich timber resources.

Greenomics, an Indonesian forestry non-governmental organization, has calculated the timber value in the border region at $26 billion. Logging the area set aside for oil-palm plantations would net substantial amounts of revenue for logging firms and considerable tax income for the Indonesian government. Further, since the oil palm project calls for extensive road construction, the infrastructure would be in place to deliver valuable- albeit previously inaccessible- timber to market.

Simultaneously, the government could extend its transmigration programs to settle colonists crowded on Java, something is has done extensively in other parts of Kalimantan. Finally, the government would be able to slow the loss in tax revenue resulting from the burgeoning illegal timber trade in the border region- estimated a few years ago by the Indonesian ministry of forestry at 230,000 to 250,000 cubic meters of wood per month.

(not to mention Borneo, stripped for "garden furniture, paper, and chopsticks" twenty years ago)

edit- that's $7.5 billion China wants to invest.

Edited by magnetar

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