Spanish Government caught fuelling Amazon destruction

Greenpeace reveals forest crime at Madrid Museum

Press release - 20 October, 2005
At 10.00am this morning, forty one Greenpeace activists sealed the entrance to Madrid's prestigious Queen Sofia Museum (Reina Sofia), and declared it an ancient forest crime scene. The activists hung a banner in front of the museum reading 'Forest Crime in the Reina Sofia' and drew the outline of a tree's 'body' on the ground.

Greenpeace activists seal the entrance to Madrid's Queen Sofia Museum and declare it a forest crime scene.Greenpeace discovered that the museum's newly opened extension has been built using timber bought from companies involved in the illegal logging of the Amazon rainforest.

Today'saction followed the discovery that the museum's newly opened extensionhas been built using timber bought from companies involved in theillegal logging of the Amazon rainforest (1).

GreenpeaceInternational forest campaigner, Belinda Fletcher, said: "Illegallogging is out of control in the Amazon. It's a disgrace that theSpanish Government is spending public money on fuelling this corrupttrade in stolen rainforest timber."

TheQueen Sofia Museum is one of the best known in Spain and housesPicasso's Guernica. Designed by the architect Jean Nouvel, it has beenextended over the last three years by the Spanish construction companyDragados/ACS. The timber species (jatoba) used in the library,exhibition rooms, auditorium and offices comes from Pará State, themost extensively logged region of the Amazon. (2)

Lifeon Earth depends on ancient forests. They are the richest, most diversehabitats and help stabilize climate. They are also home to millions ofindigenous and forest dwelling people. Seventeen per cent of the Amazonhas been completely wiped out over the past 30 years (3), and even morehas been damaged by destructive logging. Today, it is estimated thatbetween 60 to 80 per cent of logging in the Brazilian Amazon isillegal.

"It'sabsurd that it's illegal to import stolen works of art into the EU, butit's not illegal to import stolen wood to build a museum like this.  Ifthe EU does not act to stop the illegal timber trade, the world'sancient forests and the life they support will disappear forever," saidFletcher.

Greenpeaceis calling on European governments to outlaw all imports of illegaltimber and to promote environmentally and socially responsible forestmanagement worldwide. (4)

Greenpeaceis an independent campaigning organization, which uses non-violent,creative communication tools to put the spotlight on globalenvironmental problems, and to drive towards solutions essential for agreen and peaceful future.

Other contacts: Belinda Fletcher, Greenpeace International Forest Campaigner on +44 207 865 8225 Marcelo Marquesini, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner at the museum on + 55 92 81379182

VVPR info: Images of today's action and the Amazon rainforest are available from Greenpeace International on request.Photos: John Novis on (M) +31 6 5381 9121Video: Hester van Meurs on (M) +31 6 2900 1135

Notes: (1) Documents provided to Greenpeace by the museum show that the timber was imported by the Spanish company 'Maderas Besteiro'. This company purchased the timber from three Brazilian companies; Madeireira São Marcos; Serraria Sao Jose; and Serraria Santa Clara. All these companies have been involved in illegal logging in Pará State and have been fined by IBAMA, the federal agency responsible for environmental issues and forest conservation in Brazil.(2) Greenpeace has released a report of its findings at the museum in Spanish at An English summary is available at (3) INPE in Illegal logging and related trade is scheduled for discussion at the Agriculture Council of the EU next week, 24-25th October 2005.