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25 September 2020
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China`s huge demand for timber is stripping one of the world`s largest remaining areas of pristine tropical forests

China`s huge demand for timber is stripping one of the world`s largest remaining areas of pristine tropical forests
China`s huge demand for timber is stripping one of the world`s largest remaining areas of pristine tropical forests, an environmental group has warned.

Trees are being felled at 20 times the sustainable rate in the Solomon Islands, a South Pacific archipelago roughly the size of Belgium, according to a new report by the US group Global Witness. More than 3m cubic metres of logs were exported last year from the Solomon Islands, which together with neighbouring Papua New Guinea supplies about half of China`s tropical log imports. However, no checks are made to ensure timber is not illegally or unsustainably logged, the group said in its report.

Using satellite imagery and drone photography Global Witness highlighted the huge scale of logging operations on the islands and the rapid pace of development over the past two years. The islands now have 12,613km of logging roads, the report said. The group said China required no checks to ensure imported timber was not illegally or unsustainably logged.

But western countries, which source some wood from China, are at risk of being prosecuted under their own laws that require companies to ensure their supply chain is legally harvested. For example, US authorities have stepped up investigations into alleged breaches of timber export controls. In 2016, Lumber Liquidators, a US company, agreed to pay $13m in penalties for importing Chinese-made flooring linked to illegal logging in Russia.

October 19, 2018