Illegal destructive logging in Yunnan
Greenpeace today held a press conference in Beijing to expose Asia Pulp & Paper's (APP) large-scale destruction of the forests in China's Yunnan province. Greenpeace filed an official report to the State Administration of Forestry about the illegalities involved in this project, and urged the Chinese government to punish the responsible parties.
In 2002, APP signed a memorandum of understanding with the Yunnan provincial government regarding its eucalyptus forest-pulp-paper integration project. In the space of one year, APP enclosed a huge forest-pulp base of 27,500,000 mu (1,833,333 hectares) in southern Yunnan province, and immediately started logging in the region. This has been confirmed by various government reports, including an investigation report from the State Administration of Forestry in which the project is pronounced as problematic. While thorough approval from various government agencies are still pending, two field researches conducted by Greenpeace in June and September this year showed that APP has continue to log natural forest illegally.
Greenpeace today launched the "Investigative Report on APP's Forest Destruction in Yunnan", the result of a six month investigation including two field trips. In the report, Greenpeace exposes APP's international record of illegal logging and argues that APP is repeating its traditional practice of clearing natural forest for plantations in Yunnan. With no felling permit and other approvals required, APP has violated Articles 23, 29, 32 and 37 of the Forest Law and Article 15 of the Regulation for the Implementation of the Forestry Law of the PRC.
Greenpeace also refuted APP's claim that it was only 'planting forest on barren lands'. Evidence gathered in the report found that among the 27,500,000 mu, 11,081,000 mu is forest land, acounting for 42% of the total enclosed area. For example, APP plans to construct a 12,000,000 mu eucalyptus pulp base in Simao area. Yet Simao's total non-forest land counts for only 2,800,000 mu. That is to say, vast expanses of the existing natural forests will have to be felled and replanted with fast-growing high-yield trees. This type of large-scale plantation of eucalyptus, as widely agreed by scientists, will devastate the local ecological system. Professor Xie Yan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who spoke in press conference today called these plantations "green deserts" which are very poor in biodiveristy.
Liu Bing, Forest Campaigner of Greenpace in China, said "Yunnan is a world biodiversity hotspot. The project in question will wreak havoc on the local biodiversity, which will trigger a chain reaction in the neighboring areas, thus causing irreversible ecological disaster to the whole region."
Greenpeace urges the Chinese government to impose an immediate moratorium on APP's plantation program in Yunnan, stop any illegal logging of natural forest and punish those who violate related laws. Greenpeace also asks APP to stop converting natural forest to plantations and to end all illegal logging activities.