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Environmental, Campaign & Website News > Victory! Brazil Ends Mahogany Logging!

Victory! Brazil Ends Mahogany Logging!

Date : 11th Dec 2001, Source : Newsgroup



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Wall Street Journal, Dec. 6, 2001

Americas News Briefs


Brazil Cancels Mahogany Operations

Brazil's government, in its most decisive move yet to halt illegal trade in mahogany, canceled all mahogany operations in the Amazon region, even those previously considered legal. Until issuing its decree Wednesday, Brazil's environmental agency previously allowed mahogany logging in about 12 designated areas. But the agency said it had found widespread irregularities during a two-month investigation of forests, sawmills and timber companies. The decree states that only mahogany that is certified from a sustainably managed forest area can be harvested and sold from now on. Only a small operation currently has such certification. (See related article.)

The Brazilian crackdown was spurred by a Greenpeace study that showed how loggers intent on supplying mahogany to Western markets, including the U.S., were deforesting protected jungle areas and bribing Indians.

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GREENWIRE, Thursday, December 6, 2001

AMAZON: Brazil sharply curtails mahogany logging

Dan Berman, Greenwire staff writer

The Brazilian government yesterday announced the closure of all but two mahogany logging operations in the Amazon, and announced it would require certification for all logging management plans adjacent to Indian lands and conservation areas.

The announcement comes after campaigns by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other environmental groups to expose alleged organized illegal logging operations in the Amazon forest. A report issued by Greenpeace in October said timber barons are using legitimate permits to launder exports and falsify inventories.

Ibama, the Brazilian environmental agency, instituted a freeze on mahogany logging, transport and export in late October to make way for an investigation into illegal logging operations (see the 10/29 Greenwire)

"The impacts of this are massive, absolutely massive," said Aaron Bannon of Greenpeace. "We didn't expect anything like this for years."

The action allows two mahogany logging operations that are seeking independent certification as "well-managed" forest operations by the Forest Stewardship Council to remain open, but gave no indication as to when any of the other 11 areas may reopen.

But Ibama has not outlined the certification procedures or standards it will impose on the logging industry, and its timetable is "anyone's guess," according to Scott Paul of the Greenpeace Forest Campaign. Ibama is "under-resourced and underfinanced," and this action is sure to cause intense political pressure on the agency and Ibama President Hamilton Casara, Paul said. And Ademir Alfeu Federicci, a prominent opponent of illegal logging and dam construction in Brazil, was fatally shot in his home in August. "The steps taken today by Hamilton Casara are some of the most agressive and courageous political acts ever done," Paul added.

Greenpeace campaigners lauded yesterday's decision. "The illegal mahogany industry has for years been driving the destruction of the Amazon," said Paulo Adario, coordinator of Greenpeace's Amazon campaign. "Mahogany is responsible for thousands of miles of illegal roads opening areas of pristine forest to degradation."

"What Brazil did today put them several steps ahead in a market that will be asking for certification," said Paul. "As concerns grow over illegal logging in the global marketplace, importers will be looking to buy from trustworthy, well-managed sources.


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And from England:



ENVIRONMENT Mahogany

GREENPEACE WELCOMES `HISTORIC' BAN ON MAHOGANY LOGGING


By Amanda Brown, Environment Correspondent, PA News

A ban on mahogany logging has been agreed by the Brazilian Government as a direct result of a two-year inquiry by Greenpeace, the environmental campaign group claimed today.

The move by the President of the Brazilian environmental agency, Mr Hamilton Casara, came after the group exposed the extent of the illegal mahogany logging trade.

Brenda Ramsey, Greenpeace UK Forest Campaigner, said: ``Illegal mahogany logging in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has been out of control for years, and has been responsible for the devastation of huge areas of pristine rainforest.

``This scandalous trade has led to large-scale corruption, death threats and even murder. ``It has threatened to destroy the habitat on which creatures such as the Amazon jaguar depend, and threatened the future of many Indian cultures that rely upon the forest for their way of life. ``Thankfully, today's historic announcement is effectively an end to the illegal mahogany industry in Brazil.'' The destruction is caused not just through the mahogany logging itself, but also by the thousands of miles of illegal roads the loggers build, which open up the forest to even further logging and devastation.

Greenpeace investigations have traced the supply of this illegal mahogany to the UK market. The environmental group is now urging the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to support the Brazilian Government in its efforts to stamp out illegal logging by seizing all uncertified Brazilian mahogany destined for the UK. Since October 60 MPs have joined the campaign for UK government action.

Brenda Ramsey added: ``We call on the Prime Minister to act now. At this year's Labour Party conference he stated that we can have trade without deforestation. Now is the time for him to back up these words with urgent action.''



Document last updated on Tuesday 30 August 2011

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