Auteur: Forest Monitor, Greenpeace
Omschrijving: “GWZ will take all possible steps to ensure that its own productionof the forests [in Africa] is ecologically sustainable, economicallyviable and socially acceptable. (“Wijma/GWZ leaflet: Forest Management in West Africa.
In its company literature, the Dutch logger and timber trader Wijma has made many claims about the environmental and social acceptability of its timber. But in practice, Wijma not only buys from some of the most notorious logging companies in West Africa, but is itself involved inlogging illegally outside of its legal cutting areas in Cameroon.
Within the last 12 months, Wijma has been caught in the act of committing fraud at least three times. And as recently as July 2002, researchers from Forests Monitor and Greenpeacehave documented further evidence of the company’s illegal activities. These joint field investigations have revealed that Wijma has used its legally allocated cutting permit, VC 09-02-132, to log illegally in a much larger area, well outside the official limits of this permit.
Using Global Positioning System (GPS) co-ordinates, the Forests Monitor/Greenpeace investigations have provided irrefutable evidence of an illegal road network, log ponds and abandoned logs cut up to five kilometres outside the limits of Wijma’s legally allocated cutting area.
Most of these illegally cut logs were found to have been fraudulently marked with Wijma’s legal logging title VC 09-02-132, which is a clear method of laundering illegal timber intothe international marketplace.The investigations also revealed that Wijma’s illegal loggingoperation was both destructive and highly wasteful, causing significant ecological, economic and social damage to the Cameroonian government, to another logging company, and to local communities.
Preliminary estimates indicate that the company may have illegally logged an area as large as 2,000 hectares, resulting in the production of illegal timber with a value (FOB value) in the region of US$2.1 million (1.4 billion CFA). Some of this timber has been illegally cut from the legal logging concession allocated to one of Wijma’s competitors – Fipcam, an Italian logging company with legal rights to the nearby concession UFA 09-0185. Even worse, illegal road construction and skidding tracks have destroyed agricultural and cash crops of around50 local villagers. These farmers depend upon these plantations for food and cash incomes,and have received only a small fraction of the value of their destroyed crops – if anything. In most cases they have not been compensated at all.
Forests Monitor and Greenpeace believe that Wijma must be held accountable for the damage it has caused, and that the Cameroonian government, the local people, and the logging company Fipcam must be fully compensated.
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