Long wait for "immediate" action

Feature story - March 10, 2006
More than four years ago, East Asian governments promised to take “immediate” steps to stop illegal logging. Yet the Paradise Forests are no better off than they were on September 13, 2001 when delegates to the East Asia Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) ministerial meeting promised to take action.

The Paradise Forests stretch from South East Asia, across the islands of Indonesia and on towards Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific.

Greenpeace has called on participating FLEG countries to put words into action and address the problem of illegal logging in the region - before it's too late.

Although the FLEG declaration promised to address forest crime at all levels, logs that have been illegally harvested still find their way to countries like Japan and China. Some logs are used domestically, others are processed and sold on to markets in Europe and the USA, where demand for cheap timber and wood products is high.

FLEG must target both the producer countries (like PNG and Indonesia) and consumer countries (like China, Japan and the EU), ensuring governments prosecute individuals and companies involved in the illegal timber trade.

The Paradise Forests are among some of the most heavily logged areas on earth. Much of the intact areas of these forests have already been logged. In Indonesia the figure is as high as 72 percent, in Papua New Guinea (PNG) it is 60 percent.

At this rate, the Paradise Forests and the unique plants and animals that live there could be gone in ten years.

Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, is on 'Forests Crime Patrol' from PNG, through Indonesia and on to Japan to show that, despite commitments from governments, illegal logging continues.

At the same time, our volunteers are living and working alongside local landowners to showcase community forest solutions at the Global Forest Rescue Station (GFRS) at Lake Murray in Western Province, PNG.

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