Monday, September 18, 2006

Illegal Logging Rife in Asia

A new World Bank report has indicated that illegal logging in South and East Asia is prevalent with grave implications for the region's poor as well as the natural environment. Countries' assets are being stripped and governments are losing out on billions of dollars of tax revenues yet little is being done to stop the problem.
"...there are few instances of prosecution and punishment," the report said. "In fact, if there are prosecutions it is the poor, looking to supplement their meagre livelihoods, who are victimised and sent to jail. Large-scale operators continue with impunity."

Furthermore, the problem is widespread throughout the 17 Asian countries covered by the report;

Approximately two-thirds of those countries have illegal logging rates of at least 50 percent. In Indonesia, between 70 and 80 percent of all logging was illegal, in Bolivia it was 80 percent, while in Cambodia it was estimated at 90 percent.

It is widely suspected that China's insatiable demand for raw materials including timber is a significant cause of this illegal logging although China, predictably, denies this.

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