Contributing Monkie G Monkie
Published on February 23, 2009
Photographer: Iain Rendle (cc)
In June 2008, the United States became the first country in the world to ban the import and sale of illegally-sourced wood and wood products when a ban was enacted as part of the 2008 Farm bill. WWF thanks the thousands of activists who spoke out in support of the prohibition on illegal wood.
At the behest of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the 2008 Farm Bill included the ban by incorporating provisions of the Legal Timber Protection Act (H.R. 1497), sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), and the Combat Illegal Logging Act (S. 1930), sponsored by Sen. Wyden.
The illegal logging ban is a huge victory for conservation. Sumatran tigers and rhinos, Siberian tigers, orangutans and many other species that depend on forest habitat around the globe will benefit from this legislation. WWF, through its Global Forest & Trade Network, helps responsible companies, including wood importers, to source legal and sustainable wood. The illegal logging ban will help level the playing field for these businesses that are doing the right thing.
The House Natural Resources Committee approved the Legal Timber Protection Act by unanimous consent on November 7, 2007, which demonstrated strong support and increased the bill’s chances of final passage. WWF activists sent 603 letters to committee members prior to the vote.
The Senate included many of the provisions of the Legal Timber Protection Act and Sen. Wyden’s companion Combat Illegal Logging Act in its version of the Farm Bill. (WWF thanks the many activists who urged their senators to support the illegal logging language.)
H.R. 1497 and S. 1930 were backed by a broad coalition of environmental, labor and industry organizations, including the majority of the American forest products industry. (See below for list of supporters.)
What’s at Stake
Unlawful, uncontrolled logging threatens some of the most biologically significant forests in the world, including within the Amazon, Borneo and Sumatra, the Congo Basin, the greater Mekong and the Russian Far East. Illegal logging in these regions endangers critical wildlife habitat and biodiversity, increases risks to these forests from flood and fire, and is responsible for large amounts of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere.
Moreover, criminal timber trafficking depresses global wood prices by 7-16 percent, costing the legal forest products industry over $10 billion a year and governments an additional $5 billion annually. In the United States alone, where forest laws are enforced, American forest product companies lose an estimated $1 billion each year as a result of depressed prices and reduced exports caused by illegal logging.
Until passage of the 2008 Farm Bill, there were no laws to prevent illegally harvested wood from entering the U.S. marketplace. And there was no clear way for the responsible consumer to identify products that might be tainted by this illegal wood.
Full Post on worldwildlife.org
Photographer: Iain Rendle (cc)
About the photo: A few miles outside Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo is the Shangri La Rasa Ria hotel, where an Orang Utan sanctuary has been set up in a protected area of Rain Forest. Here the young orphaned Orang Utan are prepared, trainedand rehabilitated to be eventually be let back in to the wild.
At the moment there are only 4 orphans, but there were more but poachers even broke in here and killed 4 of them for their meat.
These are intelligent and playful apes who are so like human children, in how they act and play it is unbelievable – and like all children need our protection