Posts Tagged ‘illegal logging’

Brazil dismantles ‘biggest destroyer’ of Amazon rainforest

The group is accused of logging and burning large areas of public land in the Amazon

The authorities in Brazil say they have dismantled a criminal organisation they believe was the “biggest destroyer” of the Amazon rainforest.

The gang is accused of invading, logging and burning large areas of public land and selling these illegally for farming and grazing.

In a statement, Brazilian Federal Police said the group committed crimes worth more than $220m (£134m).

A federal judge has issued 14 arrest warrants for alleged gang members.

Twenty-two search warrants were also issued and four suspects are being called in for questioning.

The police operation covers four Brazilian states, including Sao Paulo.

Five men and a woman have already been arrested in Para state in the north of the country, Globo news reported.

‘Impunity’

The BBC’s Wyre Davies in Rio de Janeiro says details are still sketchy, partly because the police operation is focused on one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of the Amazon region.

Political and police corruption is still rife in Brazil’s interior, our correspondent adds.

That problem coupled with alleged ineptitude on the part of the federal government means that loggers and illegal miners are able to operate with impunity, he says.

The Amazon rainforest is home to half of the planet’s remaining tropical forests

The police announced the operation in a statement: “The Federal Police carried out today Operation Chestnut Tree designed to dismantle a criminal organisation specialising in land grabbing and environmental crimes in the city of Novo Progresso, in the south-western region of Para.

“Those involved in these criminal actions are considered the greatest destroyers of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.”

‘Fifty years’

The group members face charges of invading public land, theft, environmental crimes, forgery, conspiracy, tax evasion and money laundering.

They could be sentenced to up to 50 years in jail, although the maximum length that can be served by law in a Brazilian prison is 30 years.

Last year, the Brazilian government said the rate of deforestation in the Amazon increased by 28% between August 2012 and July 2013, after years of decline.

It made a commitment in 2009 to reduce Amazon deforestation by 80% by the year 2020.

Brazil is home to the biggest area of Amazon rainforest, a vast region where one in 10 known species on Earth and half of the planet’s remaining tropical forests are found, according to the leading conservation organisation WWF.

Source: BBCNews

Make you Fink on Friday

In the future, there will be no forests

HSBC-logging-briefing-FINAL-WEB-1_1

Source: Global Witness

Monday Moaning

Yes, I know it’s Tuesday and I should be doing a CTWW post for tomorrow, but this has just landed on my plate.

China is fast becoming the most belligerent country on the planet. We know about their refusal to compromise in the use of fossil fuels, we know about their dubious mining practices for rare earths, we know about their ridiculous claims to the South China Sea, we know about their new aircraft carrier, and now this…

China at the centre of ‘illegal timber’ trade

Environmental groups accuse ports and cities of being a centre for illegally logged wood despite international conservation treaties

Workers loads timber on to a truck in Yuanjiang, Hunan province, China. Photograph: AP

China is at the centre of a vast global traffic in illegally logged timber that is destroying entire swaths of forest around the world.Academic research and NGOs such as WWF and Global Witness have already revealed the existence of illegal trading networks in central Africa, Burma and Russia leading directly to Chinese ports or cities. Now for the first time fingers are pointing directly to Beijing and holding public enterprises and local government officials responsible for this highly lucrative illegal trade.

The British NGO, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), published a detailed report at the end of November called “China, appetite for destruction”. It reveals just how China’s appetite for wood has grown in the past decades as a result of consumption by the new middle classes, as well as an export-driven wood industry facing growing demand from major foreign furniture and construction companies.

China has become the leading importer, consumer and exporter of the world’s timber. Its own forests provide less than 40% of its needs. According to the report, “in response to severe flooding in 1998, China adopted a Natural Forest Conservation Programme […] and embarked on a massive programme of reforestation […] The government spent $31bn on tree planting between 1999 and 2009.”

But the gap between domestic supply and demand has continued to grow. In 2011 China imported 180m cubic metres of wood products, 28% more than in 2010 and 300% more than in 2000. According to the EIA, last year one-third of all the timber sold worldwide was bought by China, with little regard to its origin.

Unlike the US, the EU and Australia, which, under pressure from public opinion, have adopted legislation banning illegal timber imports, China has made no such move. The government has only signed bilateral agreements with the US, Europe, Indonesia and Burma, the benefits of which have yet to be demonstrated.

After analysing trade data for 36 supplier countries, the EIA has concluded that approximately 10% of the logs and sawed timber is illegal, representing “turnover” of $3.7bn. Public enterprises, often controlled by provincial governments, play a strategic role in this trade, says the EIA, citing illegal imports from Indonesia and Mozambique. The report describes corruption networks in countries with weak governments such as Burma, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Rosewood trafficking is especially lucrative. Although rosewood is classified as an endangered species by the International Trade Convention, trade in that wood has risen dramatically, triggered by demand from well-off Chinese households for reproductions of Qing and Ming dynasty furniture. It is now sourced in Madagascar, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and Belize, and rosewood imports to China rose from 66,000 cubic metres in 2005 to 565,000 cubic metres in 2011.

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Opinion:

China has shown scant regard for anything that might help the environment, its appetite for destruction knows no bounds.

The only interest that China has is a great big get rich scheme that will hasten its aims of world domination.

The world has let China get too big and powerful and will suffer the consequences.

The world has tackled smaller nations for becoming belligerent, and acting against the interests of the west both militarily and by way of sanctions, but they are too scared to say “Boo!” to China; and now it is too late.

All the world is wooing China as a partner making it both richer and stronger.

Are we fighting a loosing battle?

Cambodian environmental campaigner shot dead by police

Chut Wutty is said to have angered many influential people while campaigning for Cambodia's forests

A leading Cambodian environmentalist who investigated illegal logging has been killed in a confrontation with police, officials say.

Chut Wutty was shot dead while travelling in a threatened forest region in the south-west.

Details of the incident are unclear, but police say an officer was also killed in the exchange.

Mr Wutty had been helping indigenous people organise protests against the exploitation of protected forests.

Chut Wutty was driving through a remote area of Koh Kong province with two journalists from the Cambodia Daily newspaper at the time of the incident.

The BBC’s Guy De Launey in Phnom Penh says there have been suggestions that military police ordered the reporters to delete images from their cameras and that Mr Wutty objected.

Precisely what happened next is unclear, but shots were fired, and the environmental activist was fatally wounded.

A military police commander said one of his officers was also killed, while “doing his duty”.

Outspoken

Mr Wutty was one of the most outspoken activists in Cambodia. One of his colleagues told the BBC that he had angered many influential people.

He had received death threats in the past and sometimes carried an AK-47 rifle in his car.

The campaign group Global Witness says he had been one of the “few remaining Cambodian activists willing to speak out against the rapid escalation of illegal logging and land grabbing”.

It says that corruption and violence around Cambodia’s forests have been “well documented”, and that the killing of Mr Wutty’s demonstrates that “those who take on these vested interests face intimidation and even death”.

Source: BBC News Read more

Opinion:

There are so many incidents like this, many that don’t make international headlines. Here in Brazil it happens with an alarming frequency.

There are so few who are prepared to stand up and fight.

Just another example of money talks. It must be obvious to all, that the police were doing the bidding of the criminals. Why else would they stop and question a journalist who was doing THEIR job?

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