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SHARING THE BLAME: Global Consumption and China’s Role in Ancient Forest Destruction

Dokument - 28 mars, 2006
China’s hunger for wood consumption is reshaping the global wood market and trade. In less than 10 years unprecedented economic growth, coupled with a shortage of domestic forest resources, has driven China to become the world’s largest importer of unprocessed logs and tropical timber and the world’s second largest importer of wood products.

SHARING THE BLAME: Global Consumption and China’s Role in Ancient Forest Destruction

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Executive summary: China is becoming the world’s factory for plywood, furniture and paper, and its export of wood products is growing at a faster rate than domestic consumption. Much of the wood China imports to produce these products are shipped in from countries which are plagued with severe illegal logging and deforestation: in many cases, this illegal timber is imported, processed, and exported as “laundered” products. “Made in China” products are flooding ports and stores in the USA, Europe and Japan as consumers are lured by low costs, regardless of whether the products are made with illegal timber or not.

This report gives a comprehensive picture of the major trends in the Chinese wood market and consumption, and analyzes their implications for the world’s remaining ancient forests. Special attention is given to impact on the Paradise Forests, the largest intact rainforests in the Asia Pacific region, which stretch from South East Asia, across the islands of Indonesia and on towards Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific. This report concludes that China’s hunger for wood products is fueling ancient forest destruction, and demand from developed countries for inexpensive yet high-quality wood products is helping to drive this destruction. It also warns that the world’s shrinking forests cannot sustain the consumption patterns of developed countries, and it will not sustain China’s aspiration to attain that same level of consumption. Unless the world reverses the trend of unsustainable consumption, the remaining ancient forests will disappear within decades.

Num. pages: 72

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