Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Mozambique battles illegal logging to save tropical forests
Pemba, Mozambique (AFP) April 26, 2017

A squad of Mozambican forest rangers made their first arrest just minutes after arriving at a checkpoint near the northern port city of Pemba.

Nicolau Moises, the forestry department chief in Cabo Delgado province, one of Mozambique's top timber-producing regions, quickly seized a truck piled high with freshly-cut bamboo stalks.

The driver of the vehicle was accused of breaking an annual 90-day ban on logging -- just one tactic in Mozambique's battle against deforestation. That moratorium has been extended a further three months.

Tropical forests cover more than half of the southern African country's landmass but China's insatiable appetite for rare types of wood to feed its furniture industry -- and an uncontrolled surge in logging -- means Mozambique is being stripped of its slow-growing tropical forests while some hardwood species are facing extinction.

The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) estimated that in 2013, at least 93 percent of logging in Mozambique was illegal -- and that most of the illicit timber ended up sold in China.

"For the past five years we have seen illegal logging increasing," Environment Minister Celso Correia told AFP. "It's been a big challenge for the country."

- 'Limbs cut off' -

Corruption, weak laws and ineffective institutions, coupled with inadequate resources to fight illicit logging, have left the country's forests unprotected.

But Correia said intelligence-gathering has proven to be particularly important to the fight.

"Our communities, our institutions are very vulnerable to corruption," he said. "It's really organised crime. So it's a different fight. It will not be normal institutions that will win this war."

He estimates that illegal logging costs Mozambique more than half a billion dollars (around 460 million euros) a year.

To tackle the crisis, the government has launched a slew of measures that include a ban on the export of all unprocessed logs and a five-year moratorium on the exploitation of vulnerable species.

New logging permits will also not be issued until at least 2019.

"There was no regulation in the past, but now we have managed some strong regulations," said the minister. "And we have increased our capacity of command and control on the field."

But the work of policing the sprawling country's vast forests is "complicated," Moises said. "We don't have sufficient means, we don't have enough personnel" to deploy in the forests where the trees are sawn down.

"It's like we have our limbs cut off."

According to Correia, more than 120 timber companies were raided in March alone and at least 75 percent were found to be involved in illegal activities.

At least 150,000 cubic metres (5.3 million cubic feet) of logs were seized during the sting operation.

After making their first arrests, Moises and his team raided a Chinese-run timber export firm where hundreds of logs lay stacked, ready to be shipped eastward.

But everything was found to be in order.

"We are following the law and we never (export wood illegally)," said Rothschild Xu, a Chinese timber trader, who has been working in Pemba for five years.

There are dozens of Chinese logging companies in Mozambique -- and some operate outside the law.

China has been largely blamed for the deforestation in Mozambique since it began curtailing commercial logging in its own forests in the early 2000s.

- 'Fighting for our lives' -

Investigative journalist and government critic Erik Charas is not convinced the new laws will bring lasting change. He has also alleged that the reforms and anti-graft drive are a government ploy.

"The government is not doing enough," Charas said, adding that "key, leading figures in government" are working with Chinese timber traders.

Mozambique's wood processing industry however has embraced the new legislation.

"I think this is a positive measure as the processing of wood locally will create more jobs locally," said Narciso Gabriel, the owner of a sawmill in Pemba, and president of the country's lumber association.

"But obviously not everyone has the capacity to invest in wood processing, this is the big difficulty".

Processed timber can fetch high prices. The government says exporting raw logs is "daylight robbery" because merchants buy a cubic metre for around $5 but resell it on the international market for $300.

Despite these challenges, Correia remains confident the country will prevail in its fight against illegal logging.

"We will win for sure, there is no 'plan B'. This is fighting for our lives and for future generations," he said.



Trump looks to lift protections on America's vast nature preserves
Washington (AFP) April 26, 2017
After moving to unstitch climate change rules, US President Donald Trump is turning his sights on America's vast nature preserves, with a view to possibly lifting federal protections brought in over the past two decades. On Wednesday, he is to sign an executive order reviewing decisions by predecessors Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to designate public land a "national monumen ... read more

Related Links
Forestry News - Global and Local News, Science and Application

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Engineers shine light on deadly landslide

24 dead as Kyrgyz landslide engulfs village homes

Soul-searching scientists struggle to get message across

Ukraine, Belarus leaders mark Chernobyl anniversary

Penn researchers quantify the changes that lightning inspires in rock

Can virtual reality help us prevent falls in the elderly and others?

MIT engineers manipulate water using only light

NIST method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion

Vinegar offers hope in Barrier Reef starfish battle

Rising carbon dioxide levels, ocean acidity may change crucial marine process

Humans threaten 'fossil' groundwater: study

In Mexico City, water a rare commodity

Warm winds: New insight into what weakens Antarctic ice shelves

New atlas provides highest-resolution imagery of the Polar Regions seafloor

Researchers solve the century-old mystery of Blood Falls

Climate change clues revealed by ice sheet collapse

China-bound illegal donkey hide haul seized in Pakistan

When Nature vents her wrath on grapes

Rivers of blood orange: Juice floods Russian town

A novel form of iron for fortification of foods

6.8-magnitude quake strikes the Philippines: USGS

New model could help predict major earthquakes

Hard rocks from Himalaya raise flood risk for millions

NASA Study Challenges Long-held Tsunami Formation Theory

Congolese plantation sprouts art centre to help the poor

US Defense Secretary Mattis visits strategic Djibouti

Top conservationist wounded in Kenya gun attack

Morocco, US stage joint military exercise

Prehistoric human DNA is found in caves without bones

New paper claims humans were in California 130,000 years ago

Tibetan people have multiple adaptations for life at high altitudes

Indonesian hobbit evolved from African ancestor

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement