Greenpeace Exposes New Evidence of APP's Illegal Logging in Yunnan

Press release - 2004-12-16
Greenpeace China today presented new evidence exposing Asia Pulp & Paper's (APP) illegal logging and large-scale forest destruction in China's Yunnan Province.

Greenpeace forest campaigners protesting giant logging company, Asia Pulp & Paper's (APP), large-scale logging operation in China's most ecologically diverse province, Yunnan. Large swathes of native forest are being clearcut and replaced with non-native eucalyptus trees.

Greenpeace China today presented new evidence exposing Asia Pulp & Paper's (APP) illegal logging and large-scale forest destruction in China's Yunnan Province.

On 16th November, Greenpeace published the Investigative Report on APP's Forest Destruction in Yunnan", which led to extensive media coverage and huge public outcry on the issue. On 24th November, APP released a response to our Investigative Report, stating that Greenpeace's claim is "unrealistic and irresponsible".

Mr Ke Xiang-sen, the vice-president of APP told reporters "the APP operation in China had never logged any natural forest" (1). In response to APP's false claim, Greenpeace today exposed the new evidence on APP's vast forest destruction and illegal logging in Yunnan Province based on 3 field investigations. This includes documentary video, in-situ logging photos and interviews with the local community.

The evidence shows that massive forestland areas had been cleared for the plantation of eucalyptus as a result of APP's plan. Much natural forest has just been logged recently and the oldest tree found has a girth which could be surrounded by 3 adults. In the video, local cadres and farmers from the Xiang Shui He village confirmed APP's logging of natural forest. In a memorandum between the Yunnan Lancang county government and APP Lancang Company, it stated the coverage of 1,100,000 mu (73333 hectares) of forestland and bush land out of the 3,000,000 mu (200,000 hectares) plantation of eucalyptus. Greenpeace also presented statistics from the local Forestry Station about APP's eucalyptus plantation plan this year, which covers 750 mu (50 hectares) forest area, 1,848 mu (123 hectares) thin-forestland and 932 mu (62 hectares) bushland. All the above forest was replaced by eucalyptus plantation before November 2004. The local communities are outraged at APP.

Liu Bing, Forest Campaigner of Greenpeace China, said, "APP refused to admit their illegal logging activities in front of the array of evidence. Hence, we have the responsibility to further expose their criminal evidence to the public."

Last month, Greenpeace presented 6 demands to APP:

1. Immediately stop logging natural forests and promise not to replace natural forest with plantation in Yunnan province, admit previous logging mistakes publicly, make compensations where appropriate;

2. Put a moratorium on the Project, conduct a truly transparent and independent assessment of the past, present and future operation of the Project involving the relevant stakeholders, revise APP's current plan to guarantee the protection of China's natural forests and the compliance with all the illegal procedures and authorizations as are required by the Chinese Government;

3. Respect the rights of local communities, ensure fair benefit-sharing with local people;

4. Develop a time-bound action plan to implement the commitments above as well as the wood purchase policy for the Hainan Mill;

5. Implement the action plan in full and have regular transparent monitoring and independent verification of the progress;

6. Withdraw the court case against the Zhejiang Hotel Association (ZHA) unconditionally and apologize publicly to the ZHA for filing the case in the first place.

However, APP rejects Greenpeace's six demands and declines to make any commitments publicly.

Zhong Yu, Forest Campaigner of Greenpeace China, said "we are sorry to see that APP ignores the voice of the public and NGOs. At this moment, APP is destroying China's forest and environment, using manpower and loans from China. Greenpeace calls for consumers to stand up and say no to APP!"

Greenpeace filed an official report with the State Administration of Forestry on the illegalities involved in this project on 16th November. According to the law, relevant agencies will have to reply within 60 days. We have full confidence that the Chinese government will take the appropriate action to protect Yunnan's precious natural forests.

Notes:

(1) The Economic Observer, 4 October, 2004.

Notes:

(1) The Economic Observer, 4 October, 2004.

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