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Illegal logging takes 30 football fields a minute: why isn’t Australia acting?

A few years ago a friend of mine, Philip Fearnside, feared for his life. Phil had just flown into Manaus, Brazil, where he is a biologist and well-respected critic of illegal loggers and others who threaten…

Most illegal timber ends up in developed countries, but Australia is reluctant to block its importation. AAP

A few years ago a friend of mine, Philip Fearnside, feared for his life. Phil had just flown into Manaus, Brazil, where he is a biologist and well-respected critic of illegal loggers and others who threaten the Amazon rainforest. He’d left his car in the airport parking lot, and he noticed a window was ajar. He was certain he’d closed it tightly.

For the next two hours Phil gingerly probed his car, eventually crawling beneath it to check for wires or bombs. He found nothing — a false alarm, he surmised.

But Phil was not simply being paranoid. Criminal gangs increasingly control illegal logging, and will kill those who dare to oppose them. In the Peruvian Amazon, for instance, a community leader alerted police to a truckload of illegal logs. Within an hour he was dead from six gunshots. The American nun Dorothy Stang, who fought to protect local communities in the Amazon from illegal loggers and land grabbers, was executed by hired killers. The legendary Brazilian conservationist Chico Mendes was also gunned down.

Illegal loggers in Myanmar send hundreds of millions of dollars worth of timber to China each year. AAP

These are but a few of the fallen. As documented in a recent report by the World Bank, “Justice for the Forests,” illegal logging is now a massive criminal enterprise, rivaling the illegal drug trade and robbing developing nations of up to US$15 billion in revenues annually. Of the 15 top timber-producing nations, two-thirds lose over half of their timber to illegal loggers, with some losing up to 90%.

According to the World Bank, it’s time to get tough with illegal loggers. In their new report they urge authorities to follow the trail of money, tracking down illegal timber barons with the same strategies used to catch drug kingpins and human traffickers.

The bank also wants law enforcers to use electronic surveillance, undercover operations and witness protection. It’s the only way, the report concludes, to combat international criminal syndicates and go after the big fish.

And it’s about time. The World Bank estimates that illegal logging causes or promotes the destruction of forest at a rate of 30 football fields a minute. This is an enormous threat to biodiversity and to local and indigenous cultures, and causes billions of tons of greenhouse gases to be spewed into the atmosphere each year.

According to the World Bank, if all the environmental and social costs are tallied along with the economic losses, the actual cost of illegal logging is around US$60 billion per year — a whopping figure.

It’s a problem that affects us all. As awareness of the crisis grows, industrial nations — which ultimately consume much of the world’s illicit timber, typically as wood products such as flooring, furniture and plywood — are taking measures to combat illegal timber imports. These include the European Union’s Timber Action Plan and new provisions to the Lacey Act in the US, which are putting teeth into measures designed to fight illegal imports.

Criminal gangs control illegal logging in the Amazon. BBC World Service

In Australia, lawmakers have been debating a similar law for several years. Last month I briefed members of the Australian Senate on this legislation, the Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2011, which could diminish illegal timber and wood products flooding into Australia from places like Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and China.

Unfortunately, the Liberal-National Coalition, which originally supported the bill because it would help level the playing field for domestic timber producers, is now getting cold feet. Instead of passing it, the conservative Coalition has diverted the bill to a Joint Parliamentary Committee, even though there have already been two Parliamentary Inquiries in the past year on this exact policy. As a result, the bill is temporarily stalled and might eventually be weakened or even derailed.

This is bad news for anyone who cares about the environment and responsible commerce. In addition to the Coalition and its misguided policies, blame is due to former Australian trade ambassador Alan Oxley, who has lobbied hard against the bill. Oxley is now a well-heeled lobbyist funded by some of the world’s biggest timber and oil palm corporations, based in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Last year I debated Oxley at Australian National University, in an event focusing on trade and forest conservation in the Asia-Pacific region. It was not a friendly encounter. Then, as now, Oxley argued that an illegal logging bill would be “anti-free-trade” and “green protectionism.”

But those arguments are bunk. The bill before Parliament won’t harm legitimate traders and timber producers — just those who profit from illegal logging. If the illegal logging bill falters, Oxley and the Coalition will have a lot to answer for, because Australia should be part of the solution to illegal logging, not part of the problem.

Dithering while the forests fall empowers the criminals that are plundering, bribing and even killing to enrich themselves with the proceeds from illegal logging. We have to fight this scourge. Australia is too smart and principled a nation to fail to do so.

Join the conversation

47 Comments sorted by

  1. Byron Smith
    Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

    PhD candidate in Christian Ethics at University of Edinburgh

    Thanks for a sobering and eye-opening article. I knew illegal logging was serious. I didn't realise it was the majority of the world trade (is this a fair summary? Or have I oversimplified? What proportion of the global logging trade do you estimate is from illegal sources?)

    Also, do you have (ballpark) figures for the annual CO2 emissions associated with illegal logging? The article just says "billions". Emissions associated with deforestation account for 12% of total anthropogenic emissions (according to this 2009 study: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n11/full/ngeo671.html), though this varies considerably year to year. Twelve percent of 30.6 Gt (2010 global anthropogenic CO2) is 3.672 Gt. If half of all logging is illegal (I'm taking a wild stab - see above), then this would mean 1.836 Gt of CO2 emissions from illegal logging, which is about the same as the total annual anthropogenic emissions from India or Russia.

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    1. Roger Jones

      Australian Citizen

      In reply to Byron Smith

      Just an interested passer by but when I see a headline like this one my initial instinct is "exaggeration" and I reach for the calculator. It is a world body that has suggested the "30 football fields per minute" of illegal felling so I'm guessing a soccer pitch size. At that rate all of Australia's forests and woods would be gone in just over 3 years. The Amazon in just under 45 years. Seeing as the world has been logging like mad over the past 200 years there shouldn't be any trees left now.

      Now I feel pasionately about a sustainable environment but wildly exaggerated claims like this just undermine real action. Stop trying to scare people. The truth is enough to concern them into action.

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    2. Byron Smith
      Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

      PhD candidate in Christian Ethics at University of Edinburgh

      In reply to Roger Jones

      "Seeing as the world has been logging like mad over the past 200 years there shouldn't be any trees left now."
      Actually, we've only been logging like mad with chainsaws and bulldozers for about six decades. During that time, we've lost about half the world's tropical forests. So you're in the right ballpark (though remember that even soccer pitches vary quite considerably in size, so this illustration is always a little fluid). It really is that bad.

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  2. Shane Kidd

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Perhaps it's a sobering article, however, i'm still pressed to find the difference between illegal logging and legal logging, except for the fact that governments supposedly miss out on millions of dollars in revenue, at the expense of the environment.

    In Victoria, we have a "legal" corporation called Vic Forests. Over the last few years, they've been before the Supreme Court several times (3 cases this year alone, including prosecution by DSE) for illegal logging activities.

    They've been found…

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    1. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to Shane Kidd

      Shane,
      The Greens aim to run continual litiagation against Vic Forests and Forestry Tasmania, even if their cases are baseless. You might recall they lost the Toolangi case. Their goal is to keep the supposed 'corruption' of forestry bodies front and centre in the minds of the latte sipping inner city leftists. Ultimeately they seek to destroy the native forest timber industries and will be complicit in the illegal logging in third world nations if they achieve their goal.
      Essentially Tasmania is being turned into a giant National Park. Established forest practices in Australia are derided by ignorant unqualifed, uncompromising and unprincipled 'savethe forest' activists so that ultimeately the so called Forest Wars will never end until the Greens get their way - and other illegally logged overseas countries will have to pay for our selfishness and lack of perspective.

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    2. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to David Poynter

      In Victoria, in the 80's, the historic body The Forests Commission was rebadged Dept of Sustainability and Environment - the word Forest being cynically removed to somehow cleanse it. Commercial forestry activities were eventally overseen by a new body - Vic Forests. A green mentally is now so pervasive in the DSE that they perceive Vic Forests as their mortal enemies. Few employees of the DSE survive from the original Forest Commisson Days. The State government is now having to align Vic Forests within the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) in order to permit commercial forestry.

      Even issues such as prescribed burning is opposed by many of the green leaning DSE staff - so look forward to more Black Saturday's.

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    3. Shane Kidd

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Poynter

      @David, good background info there.
      Personally I think it reasonable we harvest timber for the hardwood timber industry. Harvest it in a selective, non-destructive way. Not clear felling and replacing with same species.

      If it puts the price of hardwood timber up, so be it, a necessary consequence of responsible forest management.

      The manufacturing of paper can easily be sustained using existing or new plantations, or using alternative sources such as hemp, which on a larger scale actually…

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    4. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to Shane Kidd

      'Harvest in a selective non-destructive way' is applicable to some forest types. But for mountain ash forests for instance forest survival / regeneration occurs only following hot destructive fires. The only way to mimic this is to 'clear-fell' and burn to create an ash bed.
      This is doing no more than mimicking a natural process, so that opposition to clear fall techniques is the mark of ignorant non-forestry-trained green activists and a gullible general public that uncritically swallows green spin.

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    5. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to David Poynter

      In relation to the Brown Mountain case in Victoria which Vic Forests lost - ultimately because they couldn't guarntee that a single threatened 'endangerd potoroo' wouldn't be killed by logging an 18 ha coupe from amongst East Gippsland's 220,000 hectares of forests.
      Sadly further studies will show that these potoroos are not as rare as the greenies want to portray them, indeed, it will eventully become obvious that they in fact have a preference for young regrowth forest.
      The law needs to be interpreted that forestry activities can at best only give an implicit protection of contained species, not a literal guarantee that NO animal will die. Taken literally then no resource based activity will be possible in Australia's forests or farmlands.

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    6. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Poynter

      David - What would you suggest? That it be business as usual. [rhetorical]

      With diminishing timber worldwide and automation reducing the number of humans needed, forestry profits are growing. Which is tempting those with an eye for cash profits. Ecological sustainability of productive and profitable forest is achieved by taking into account long term cultural, social and economic needs. This is contrary to how most of the world’s timber corporations run, this is a given and undeniable.

      Few…

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    7. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Poynter

      David - any counter measure is fair considering the level of thinking of foresters with a poor value system. If that includes using any animal to justify protecting forests, tough. The forest corporations use far more devious methods to protect profitability as we are all aware.

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    8. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Poynter

      David - "....... regeneration occurs only following hot destructive fires."

      This comment implies that the Eucalyptus regnans thrives on hot destructive fire activity, ergo "we can clear fell, Eucalyptus regnans".

      Which is a distortion of how this natural ecosystem functions and fails to explain the science. While the trees nut does require heat and smoke to germinate seed carried, it does not require total forest destruction to grow or thrive. These are facts easily researched and any critical thinker will see the reality.

      It is clear how this argument suits a foresters level of thought though, so it was appreciated.

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    9. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to Paul Richards

      What many people don't or won't concede is that it is the job of government forest agencies to allocate to private logging companies access to coupes for harvest. The logging companies DO NOT have the ability to just cut logs in an unconstrained way.
      The notion of forest corporations protecting their profitablility by overcutting does not exist in Australia.
      Forest practices in Australia are already on a sustainable basis.
      Their is NO logging of so called old growth forests, and in fact, great…

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    10. Shane Kidd

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Poynter

      David, i would object to your statement:

      " The logging companies DO NOT have the ability to just cut logs in an unconstrained way.
      The notion of forest corporations protecting their profitablility by overcutting does not exist in Australia.
      Forest practices in Australia are already on a sustainable basis.
      Their is NO logging of so called old growth forests, and in fact, great swathes of Australia that are protected in parks or unsuitable for commercial forestry are advancing toward old-growth…

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    11. Paul Richards

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Poynter

      David - the comment was ;
      "I can't take seriously your comment re 'the level of thinking of foresters with a poor value system".

      That's ok. Your value system is your own, as is your experience and understanding.

      Here in this forum there are those of us who have grown through that kind of thought process and can appreciate why you hold those views. It changes nothing. Our views don't count anymore, younger generations will deal with and access what is needed for future sustainability…

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    12. Paul Richards

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Poynter

      David - as for your view;
      " ....... job of government forest agencies to allocate to private logging companies access to coupes for harvest"

      That is exactly what is meant by level of thought or value system , this type of view is correct from one perspective. Because genrally the view of a democracy is that it is the governments job is to do what they are elected to do. Which is contrary to the presumption of;
      " ......... access to coupes for harvest" - David

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    13. Peter Volker

      Professional forester

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul,
      I'm not sure of your background, but your claim that Eucalyptus regnans does not require clear fall silviculture (or stand replacing fires) is wrong.

      Cunningham did the first research on this matter at Melbourne University in the late 50s. This was in response to the fact that many selectively logged forests in Tasmania failed to produce adequate regeneration. These forests had been "high graded" (an American term) to take only sawlog trees and leave the rest. Cunningham noticed that after…

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    14. Peter Volker

      Professional forester

      In reply to Peter Volker

      Sorry about some typos in above response. IPad spell checker changed some words which I only picked up on the review. You will get my drift though.

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    15. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Poynter

      Peter - Typos, are an issue here. No apologies needed. I tend to write in pages or notes then copy and paste with my platforms. As I have written directly, hit the space bar and a draft has uploaded!

      The comment in question;
      Clearly we both understand the issues are complex, that biodiversity and the use of forest grown products can be sustainable. However taking issues of regrowth and complexities of the natural forests response out context is deceptive. David made a leap of thought to justify…

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    16. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to Shane Kidd

      Shane, you said,
      'The corporate mind set is and always has been only on profit. You do not get a job with Vic Forests if you're concerned with sustainability. It's all about profit. Nothing more. To say otherwise is foolishness and head in the sand.'

      Beg to differ - Vic Forests role is to oversee the resposible harvesting of timber for the community in a manner aligned to extensive forestry codes of practice. They are not a logging company.

      It IS NOT their role to make a profit.

      Your empathy for evey single potoroo, feshwater crab, Wielangta beetle, powerful owl, roaring frog is admirable. However, a balance has to be gotten between conservation and resource use, otherwise, the continued destruction of third world tropical rainforst in an uncontrolled and unregulated way will be assured - all because of the selfish green-leaning utopian dream of a totally reserved Australian forest (that is, without an Australian native forest industry).

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    17. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul - I'm glad you've grown through you're exploitative phase and are now on a higher plane than the likes of some other posters.
      Having a rich worldview of how ecosystems work will not exempt you from having to confront the issue - how can society function unless it has the use and access to various raw commodities.
      Much thought and organization has been going on for decades with repect to the nature and type of forestry operations undertaken in Australian forests, but the green view is to trash…

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    18. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Poynter

      David's comment "...... what a dilemma!"

      The comments here supporting this article are against old paradigms. They are not meant to denigrate hard working men and women in forestry in any country who are often themselves exploited. But it is about the human ability to exploit the natural world and how it has shifted quickly. Forests are just one aspect of this changing pattern.

      Old truisms once useful, are now becoming rapidly redundant with the speed of automation. Anything that can be commodified…

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    19. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to Paul Richards

      But you haven't demonstrated any hypocrisy in our own forestry practices.

      The attack on present forestry practices - if you dig deep enough - are unfounded.

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    20. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to Shane Kidd

      The irony when people talk about plantation forestry and hemp plantations is that they are farms - biodiversity is excluded - they are on land that was at some point in the past native forest.

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    21. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Paul Richards

      David - if you are referring to your perspective conflicting with mine.

      " ...... The attack on present forestry practices" This view is understandable.

      Any attack you perceive is a comment made on forestry practices exploiting a resource that is in original condition. Not regenerated land or old regrown forest. There is no intent to denigrate individuals as implied by this comment. However any comments are well received and appreciated.

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    22. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to Shane Kidd

      Vic Forests did not lose the Brown Mountain case.
      Yes they did have to pay the costs of the plaintiffs - some half a million dollars.
      The lawyers act pro bono - the are fanatic anti-forestry activists - part of 'Lawyers for Forests'
      The judge required Vic Forests to do more thorough examinations for 'endangered species' but at some point they will be able to resume logging at Brown Mountain as far as I understand it.
      The case involved green groups using set cameras to capture footage of a 'rare…

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    23. Shane Kidd

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Poynter

      David, you're sounding more and more like a forestry representative.

      Your main argument seems to be that logging forests will prevent Black Saturdays.

      Pure nonesense, and typical of the scare mongering, fear campaigns spread by logging enthusiasts.

      No logging coupe has ever prevented a major bushfire. No logging coupe can prevent an arsonist (which was the cause of black saturday) from lighting fires on hot windy, dry days.

      Your arguments have now descended into the realm of using "fear…

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    24. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to Shane Kidd

      The ability of public land managers to effectively manage fire is largely a question of funding, commitment and the vagaries of nature. Funding and commitment are integral to acquiring and maintaining the appropriate levels of equipment and trained, experienced personnel for prevention and damage mitigation activities such as fuel reduction burning and maintaining appropriate access. Nature is an uncontrollable factor that determines the extent to which climatic conditions permit off season fuel…

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  3. Paul Richards

    integral operating system

    ............ why isn’t Australia acting? Bill Lawrence

    The short answer is; we have not evolved enough as a nation to put the environment and our responsibility for it in balance with global reality.

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  4. Peter Franklin

    Retired

    It is said that the Opposition does not support strong action against the criminals in this trade.

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  5. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    I have previously documented (Pacific Economic Bulletin Volume 22 Number 1 March 2007 © Asia Pacific Press) how attacks on so-called illegal logging like Bill Laurence’s here (The Conversation, 23 March 2012) mostly derive from white man countries like Australia whose aim is to protect their domestic timber industries from imports from brown or black man countries whose timber exports are automatically deemed to be illegal. My paper showed how Finland, the UK’s Chatham House, USA, and Australia are…

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  6. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Two corrections, with apologies, I have usually misspelt Bill's surname, which is Laurance. and Colin Filer was the Convenor, not the Chairman, of the Oxley-Laurance debate. The Chairman was actually dismayed by the ad hominems and worse directed at Oxley by Bill.

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  7. John Harland

    bicycle technician

    Timothy Curtin, you let the pronoun "we" escape. Can you please disclose your interests and associations relevant to the discussion?

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  8. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    John Harland: So far I can see the pronoun "we" appears only twice in my post, first as here, where clearly it is general and applies to all readers of Bill's thread: '"Then we come to The Conversation’s headline “Illegal logging takes 30 football fields a minute: why isn’t Australia acting?”'

    Obviously the second, if you read the quotation marks, is a direct quote from Filer et al 2009: "We [not me] argue that this claim is incorrect...".

    So neither refers to me. But since you ask, I have…

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  9. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Further to my last responding to John Harland, I should perhaps explain that PNG Forest products was initially set up as Commonwealth Forest Products by the Australian Commonwealth Government in about the 1960s, which explains why the PNG Government got to hold 70% of the company after Independence in 1975.

    Fyi, PNG Forest Products is the country's first ever downstream timber processing company, relying for its softwood inputs for its veneers and plywood products on the Government's klinkii…

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  10. John Harland

    bicycle technician

    Thanks Tim. I think that was worth making clear.

    However your reference to me as a "White fella" is a bit trite, besides being racist. My aunt was one of those involved in setting up the TNI, the national army, that is now involved in logging in Indonesia.

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  11. David Leigh

    logged in via Facebook

    I agree with Shane Kidd, Australia has a lot to answer for re: Illegal logging. In Tasmania, there is an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) signed by Julia Gillard and Lara Giddings, which has locked up 430,000 hectares of high conservation, old growth forest. Despite that, Forestry Tasmania, a state government organisation, is logging and driving roads into most, if not all, of those areas. Environmentalists are being treated like criminals for peaceful protests. All this to protect the profits…

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    1. David Poynter

      Medical Scientist

      In reply to David Leigh

      Tasmania already has the highest level of forest preservation of any place on earth, and yet, the Greens want to commit another 570,000 hectares to NP's. The designation of these new areas as so called 'high conservation value' forests has been corrupted by a supposed independent scientific body. Essentially any ground upon which a tree is standing - or potentially could grow is deemed HCV and warrants protection by the Greens. But its no surprise that this body was essentially been hand picked by the likes of the Wilderness Society.
      The level of forestry activities is now so reduced in Victoria and Tasmania that it could not possibly pose a threat to any so called 'endangered' biodiversity. But those campaigning for the destruction of Australia's native forest industries wouldn't know - they never leave their cafe's in Fitzroy and Sandy Bay.

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    2. Peter Volker

      Professional forester

      In reply to David Leigh

      No the 520,000 ha in Tasmania is not high conservation value forest. The report prepared for the IGA released last Friday shows that most of the forests have at least one conservation value. That is no great revelation. Every hectare of every forest on the planet has some conservation value.

      The question is how to prioritise the conservation value against the economic and social values.

      Attacking the forestry profession seems perverse to me. If society didn't demand wood products then foresters…

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  12. Philip Dowling

    IT teacher

    While I am no expert on forests or logging, it concerns me that an article about illegal logging starts with an event that didn't happen viz placing a bomb, etc. in car.
    That there is illegal logging in many countries is unfortunate. However the solution is surely appropriate governance and law-keeping in the countries affected.
    In many countries, the problem is not with illegal logging but with licences granted to companies, often foreign, by politicians who have been bribed. The local landowners…

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    1. Byron Smith
      Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

      PhD candidate in Christian Ethics at University of Edinburgh

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      "it concerns me that an article about illegal logging starts with an event that didn't happen viz placing a bomb, etc. in car."
      The persecution and assassination of anti-logging activists in Brazil is well documented.

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  13. Shane Kidd

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Perspective is required here.

    When we go into the bush, and clear fell 40 acres for the purpose of producing woodchips, to then produce paper, what are we actually doing?

    Are we being more efficient than a bushfire, in slowly releasing the carbon, from our actions, into the atmosphere?

    Or, are we doing more than that? What are all those greenies whinging about?

    Could it be the rest of the ecosystem that's involved, not just the timber. Timber can be grown in plantations for the purpose…

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  14. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Shane Kidd: "Perspective is required here". Yes indeed. "When we go into the bush, and clear fell 40 acres for the purpose of producing woodchips, to then produce paper, what are we actually doing?"

    Actually in my experience as alternative director of a plantation company in PNG which has been in operation for about 50 years, felling and replanting the same fairly small plantation over and over again, the clear felling doe not directly kill off ANY of the species you mention as they are are not…

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  15. John Harland

    bicycle technician

    Regeneration and species survival depend a lot on the type of forest and coup sizes.

    Ideally, "legal" logging enforces appropriate standards. For "illegal" logging there is no incentive to log in any sense sustainably.

    The primary concern of many forest campaigners is that protecting ecologically significant forests here will not lead to an increase in unsustainable logging elsewhere. I have not encountered any opposition to imports of sawlogs from sources that meet standards compatible with those we apply to our own forests.

    The reference to "white tella" interests is racism under the disguise of anti-racism and concern for people in Third-World countries. It is an ad-hominem attack on anyone opposing the particular writer's own ideas.

    There is also a seemingly-intentional conflation of government policy with the concerns of people campaigning for sustainability. The two stances are not often congruent.

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  16. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Thanks John Harland, I agree that "Regeneration and species survival depend a lot on the type of forest and coup sizes. Ideally, "legal" logging enforces appropriate standards."

    Actually the PNG Forest Authority has since 1992 adopted the World Bank guidelines for duration of regeneration when it issues licenses, yet now the WB parrots Greenpeace's claim that 90% of logging there is "illegal"

    His claim that "'white fella" [my term] interests is racism under the disguise of anti-racism and…

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  17. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Great comments from Shane Kidd and David Poynter, but none from Bill Laurance! I wonder why, when his article was posted by The Conversation? But then I did watch Bill "debate" with Alan Oxley, where Bill's contribution was nothing but smears and ad hominems. Come on Bill, prove that you can converse without resorting to that kind of thing.

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  18. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Tender loving concern of WWF and Greenpeace for trees not people!
    "Embattled Swiss timber producer Danzer has sold off its operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The move comes following years of campaigning by Green NGOs and, crucially, the adoption of FSC certification. Late last year a number of allegations were made against the company and its role in alleged human rights abuses around tenure conflicts in one of its concession areas. The company issued a full rebuttal to the accusations…

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