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Rate of tropical timber harvest a concern
by Staff Writers
Canberra, Australia (UPI) Jan 24, 2012

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Timber production in the world's tropical countries is exceeding the forests' ability to replace the felled trees, an Australian report says.

Researchers at Australian National University and James Cook University said the standard cutting cycle of 30-40 years is too short to allow trees to grow to a volume required by commercial loggers, the BBC reported Tuesday.

This would result in ongoing pressure to harvest primary forests, leading to deforestation, they said.

Researchers cited the Solomon Islands, where timber had been a major source of government revenue, as an example for being "a microcosm of the challenges facing sustainable forest management in the tropics."

"For nearly a decade, the nation had been warned that the volume of timber annually harvested from native forests was too high and, if unchecked, that timber stocks would be seriously depleted by 2012," the researchers said.

"In 2009, the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands asserted that exhaustion of timber stocks had arrived even earlier that predicted and its economic consequences were likely to be severe."

The report compared the logging practices to exploitation of non-renewable resources such as oil.

"It has become common these days to speak of 'peak oil," it said, referring to a rapid increase in production, followed by a peak and then a decline.

"In the tropics, we assert, we should also begin to seriously consider the implications of 'peak timber.'"

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Greeks fell trees for warmth amid economic chill
Athens (AFP) Jan 24, 2012
Rising oil prices and chilly economic times are prompting increasing numbers of Greeks to chop down trees for winter warmth, a group of forest engineers warned Tuesday. Nikos Bokaris, a spokesman for the Panhellenic Union of Forest Engineers, said the debt-wracked nation's forest ecosystems were not yet under threat, but urged the government to act quickly to prevent broader damage. "Yo ... read more

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