Monday, 11 February 2008

World Market Fuels Deforestation

World Market Fuels Deforestation

Source: The Jakarta Post - February 8, 2008
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta

Efforts to curb deforestation will not work if rich nations fail to controltheir wood consumption, forest watchdog Greenomics Indonesia has warned.Greenomics director Elfian Effendi said Thursday that high demand for woodproducts mostly from the United States, European Union and Japan had givena boost to deforestation in the world's tropical nations, includingIndonesia.

"The rich nations often blame us for the speedy deforestation rate. Theyseem unaware that their consumption contributes much to the deforestation,"Elfian said.

Greenomics was commenting on the latest report on the wood market between 2004 and 2007 from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO).

The report said the U.S., the EU and Japan were the world's threelargest importers of wood products, amounting to US$71.2 billion per year.

The U.S. alone spent $23.3 billion per year on wood products, while the EU$13.2 billion and Japan $11.8 billion.According to Elfian, China and Malaysia are the world's biggest exportersof wood products, with material coming mainly from Indonesia in the form ofillegally cut logs.

"It means deforestation in our country is linked to export-import transactions of wood products to rich nations," he said.

Indonesia is home to 120 million hectares of tropical forest, the world'sthird largest after Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Between1985 and 1997, deforestation occurred at a rate of 1.8 million hectares peryear. It rose to 2.8 million hectares per year until 2000, but slowed between 2000 and 2006 to 1.08 million hectares per year.

The government has said that carbon trading and the reduction of emissionsfrom deforestation in developing countries will significantly reduce thedeforestation rate. Elfian said, however, the schemes would not work unless rich countries tightened their control over the sources of wood products.

According to FAOdata, Malaysia is the biggest exporter of logs with 5 million cubic metersper year. "Malaysia exported about 20 million cubic meters in the period of 2004 to2007. It meant denuded forests reached 303,000 hectares," he said.

Malaysia is also the second biggest exporter of sawn wood, with 3 million cubic meters annually.

"In line with the UN data, deforestation in Malaysia should cover 730,000ha from 2004 to 2007, which is 11 times Singapore's area," he said. He said Malaysia was the main exporter of wood products, including logs, to China.

The world's most populous country is the world's top importer of logs fromtropical countries with 7 million cubic meters per year.

China also imported 2.5 millions cubic meters of sawn wood between 2004 and2007. Japan and the United State are the top importers of plywood, reaching 3.5 million cubic meters and 1.5 million respectively.

"The two countries imported about 10 million cubic meters of tropicalplywood from 2004 to 2007. Indonesia must learn from the export-importdata," he said.