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Environmental, Campaign & Website News > Stop the destruction of Chile's endangered forests

Stop the destruction of Chile's endangered forests

Date : 13th September 2002, Source : Newsgroup

Campaign to Protect Chile's Native Forests Sparks Frenzied Response

Advertisement in Today's New York Times Implicates Large-Scale Corporate Buyers

San Francisco -An advertisement run by ForestEthics in today's national edition of the New York Times dramatically raises the profile of an international campaign to protect Chile's last remaining native forests. The advertisement,which calls on U.S. purchasers to stop buying wood products from Chile unless certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) draws U.S.attention to an issue that has been front-page news in Chile for weeks - the destructive conversion of its rare native forests into non-native tree farms.

The advertisement is part of a campaign being taken very seriously in Chile for the following reasons:

  • Wood products are Chile's third largest export.

  • The the leading destination of these exports,consuming in excess of 30%of Chile's total wood products exports.

  • A report by Chile's Central Bank estimated that Chile 's unprotected native forests will be gone by 2015. (Independent scientists and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)have verified this Central Bank report, "Environmental Accounts and Native Forest Project.")

The advertisement highlights nine U.S.companies, including top millwork companies Woodgrain Millwork and Kelleher and timber giants Weyerhaeuser and Sierra Pacific Industries, as directly responsible for the destruction of Chile's native forests. At issue are products made from radiata pine, such as plywood, moulding, and doors - staples of American homes. Radiata pine, which is not native to Chile, is being grown in tremendous quantities there, where native forests are being cut down and converted into non-native plantations at alarming rates. These plantations are a tremendous drain on Chile's water resources, causing upwards of 10,000 people to be without water in one recent case.

The relatively new international campaign to protect Chile 's forests has ignited fierce reaction from both industry and government. Over the past month the Chilean government has summoned Chilean activists to speak before the Senate and the Minister of Agriculture. Last week,there was a "break in " at one of the Chilean organizations leading this campaign - all that was stolen were their computers. Earlier this month, one of the major wood companies in Chile flew its executives to the ask their big corporate customers not to stop buying Chilean wood. Concerned Chileans working to protect their native forests have been told their actions are a type of "treason."

"We are not afraid and will continue to protect our native forests at all costs," stated Malu Sierra of Defensores del Bosque Chileno. "Americans have the opportunity to use their unparalleled buying power to help us protect Chile's endangered forests."

In an effort to avert the possibility of declining wood products exports,the Chilean government recently published a hastily prepared defense of its wood products industry. The government was sued earlier this month over its failure to follow its own environmental laws as well as international standards, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, of which Chile is a signatory.

"The American consuming public will hold U.S.companies accountable for the continued destruction of the world's last remaining native and endangered forests," said Aaron Sanger, Director of the Wood Campaign at ForestEthics. "To keep the public's trust,U.S.companies must insist that their Chilean suppliers publicly commit to stop converting native forests into tree farms and start selling only FSC-certified wood."

Document last updated on Wednesday 01 August 2018

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