Greenpeace Indonesia claim that vast regions have been deforested despite the two-year moratorium on deforestation coming into effect in May 2011. The bulk of deforestation has taken place in Kalimantan and Papua – coal concessions having already been granted prior to the moratorium in the former, and pre-existing logging concessions in the latter. The Indonesian government denies the claims and has invited Greenpeace to explain its methodology.
Feature covering an experiment in Malaysia involving 500 hectares of artificially seeded tropical rainforest. The area had been denuded for tin mining and vegetable cultivation as recently as the 1920s. The Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) is now undertaking a regeneration experiment and using this to understand how best to manage the regrowth of tropical rainforest and restoration of various elements of the corresponding ecosystem.
According to an Indonesian weekly news magazine the Ministry of Environment is preparing a civil suit against fourteen pulp and paper companies – twelve linked with APP and two with APRIL – for illegally clearing forests on Sumatra. The value of the timber only represents four per cent of the damages being claimed, the balance is for ‘ecological losses’. The Ministry of Forestry is opposing the lawsuit.
More than 8,500 Brazilian troops are taking part in an operation along Brazil’s remote northern border to tackle drug trafficking, logging and illegal mining. Part of the operation will involve looking for illegal logging in protected indigenous land.
Major amendments to Brazil’s Forest Code are on the brink of passing into law. The changes allow reserve areas in the Amazon to be reduced from 80 to 50% and reduce the restriction on forest clearance near rivers. Agriculturalists have welcomed the amendments.
The company formerly known as AbitibiBowater has reported a 23% drop in its quarterly profit. It is currently involved in a takeover bid for rival pulp producer Fibrek. There was a major operating loss in its pulp segment with the average transaction price almost halved in the last year from $74 per metric ton to $38 per metric ton.
Letter from Purwadi Soeprihanto, Executive Director, Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires
Published on the Chatham House Illegal Logging website this letter draws attention to the new certification system for Indonesia’s timber sector called SVLK (or TLAS using the English acronym). It is intended to address the requirements of the EUTR, which comes into force in March 2013, by providing assurance that Indonesian wood products are produced in a legal and sustainable manner.
In response to the impending passing into law of Brazil’s Forest Code (see previous story) Greenpeace is campaigning for a veto against the legislation, claiming that it could lead to deforestation of 22 million hectares of rainforest (an area nearly equivalent to the size of the UK). Also, in response to the legislation, 130,000 Brazilian citizens backed by a number of Brazilian celebrities have signed a citizen’s initiative launched by Greenpeace Brazil for a new Zero Deforestation law to protect the rainforest.
Low paper prices reduce Stora Enso’s profits. Overcapacity in the European market and insufficient demand are considered to be a major factor. CEO, Jouko Karvinen, highlights the need to keep its European business strong to fund planned mill construction in China and Uruguay – regions with considerable growth.
Article covering the new campaign by Survival International, backed by Colin Firth, which looks at the plight of one of the last remaining nomadic hunter-gathering Amazonian tribes whose existence is under threat from the activities and violence carried out by illegal loggers and cattle ranchers. Despite the overall decrease in the rate of deforestation in Brazil, the state which is home to the threatened tribe has recorded a sharp rise in deforestation.
Feature on the state of illegal logging in Cambodia looking at how villagers are making efforts to protect their forests against deforestation in the face of corruption, inactivity from the government and threats from illegal loggers. It also draws attention to the concessions the government has begun giving to private investors on protected areas, legalising unsustainable cutting. The World Bank estimates that 94% of logging in Cambodia by volume is illegal.
Central African Republic and Liberia become the fifth and sixth countries to sign Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) with the EU. Under the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), VPAs commit partner countries to establish systems and a licencing scheme to ensure only verified legal timber products (including pulp and paper) are exported from that country from 3rd March 2013 (globally; not just to EU member states). VPAs with Ghana and Cameroon are close to being signed and VPAs with four more countries are currently being negotiated.
Pacific West Commercial Corp are looking to reopen a NewPage paper mill which closed in September last year as it struggled with soaring electricity and shipping costs, a strong Canadian dollar and declining demand. Workers have voted through their union to accept a deal to work on a contract basis.
Press release for a report published by the Union of Concerned Scientists called ‘Logging and the Law: How the U.S. Lacey Act Helps Reduce Illegal Logging in the Tropics’. The report draws attention to how illegally harvested wood distorts prices of legal wood and has a negative impact on the US wood industry.
Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) has come up with a user-friendly website for Malaysians to monitor rainforests and alert the authorities over suspicious activities.
In advance of the entering into force of the EUTR, the UK Contractors Group has stated that all timber products purchased for either temporary or permanent use on UKCG member sites will be certified as legally and sustainably sourced through FSC or PEFC.
Japanese pulp company solidifies its position as the world’s biggest pulp trader by buying a 24.9% stake from M-Real in Finnish pulp producer, Metsa Fibre. Increasingly volatile pulp prices are thought to have been a key driver in the deal for M-Real which wanted to reduce its pulp surplus.
Mohawk Fine Papers undertaking a new strategic direction by focussing on high quality digital printing and reducing its range from 22 to six brands.
A remote sensing company has signed a deal with the Brazilian space agency to deliver near real-time satellite imagery to monitor forest clearing in the Amazon rainforest and target illegal logging as it happens. Illegal loggers have grown smart to the current monitoring system by clearing smaller areas to evade detection but the new system will provide a much higher level of granularity in its imaging. Such technology is seen as important in the development of an effective REDD+ programme.
Investigation underway into illegal logging of natural forest in central Viet Nam. It is thought that illegal logging in the region is on the rise, in part due to access being opened up by reservoirs for hydro-power projects. These projects have also displaced local farmers who have then deforested land to set up new farms.