The below article about a report by a Liberian NGO finally able to get active,
shows the reason why we have to shut down timber imports from Africa. These
include ekki (also called azobe or bangossi) used for decking (for instance,
used by South Street Seaport's entire pier), railroad track ties (used by New
York City Transit and Chicago Transit for their entire subway and light rail
lines) and for the floors of shipping containers; African mahogany (khaya and
kwila and also sapele is sometimes called that) used for furniture
manufacturing by Ethan Allen, Craftique, Henredon and dozens of other large
furniture makers, as well as for interiors by architects and designers; okoume,
imported as marine grade plywood, used by hundred of boat builders; and
numerous species imported as flooring, by, for instance, Shelman and
distributed by dozens of distributors across the US, including Golden State
Flooring in California, Derr in the Northeast, Wood Flooring International and
Rainforest Relief stopped the Philadelphia Bridges Department from using ekki
for the decking of the Strawberry Mansion Bridge promenade, over 100,000 board
feet, as well as convinced South Street Seaport to no longer use uncertified
tropical woods and to try recycled plastic lumber for their next renovation
cycle. In the last two years, Chicago Transit has purchased 55,000 recycled
plastic lumber railroad ties.
We've highlighted NYC Transit's use of African hardwoods, including their
order for 55,000 ties from Liberia, a government that uses terror to suppress
and control the people of Liberia.
Liberian 'President', Charles Taylor and his cronies have taken total control
of logging and he is funneling vast sums to his personal accounts (his
personal wealth is now estimated at 300 million) as well as funneling money to
buy guns for his personal army and for distributing to mercenary armies in
neighboring countries, like Cote d'Ivoir.
We sure could use some help with other uses of African rainforest wood. If
anyone's interested in going after flooring distributors, furniture
manufacturers, Chicago Transit (which hasn't yet phased out of African wood),
boat builders, architects or designers, let us know.
For the forests,
Forest Wasted by Logging
November 18, 2002 (ENS) - The Liberian rainforest is threatened by destructive
logging operations, according to the first Liberian nongovernmental report on
the forest industry released by La Fondation pour la Sauvegarde de l'Avenir (SAMFU)in
September. This Liberian nongovernmental organization was founded in 1987, but
remained dormant during most of the 1990s because of the civil war in Liberia.
The last two blocks of continuous tropical rainforest subsisting in the Upper
Guinea forest in West Africa, are to be found in Liberia, the group says. The
Upper Guinean forest, recognized as one of the 25 hot spots for world
biodiversity, forms a belt of fragmented forests along the West African coast
across 10 countries from Guinea to Cameroon.
Between 1997 and 2001, SAMFU reports, the production of roundwood increased
over 1,300 percent with enormous impact on indigenous rural communities and
the local population, whose means of subsistence came from the land and the
forest. "Their cultural and spiritual practices depend so closely on the
forest that, with its rapid disappearance, the survival and growth of such
communities are seriously threatened," SAMFU says.
The Upper Guinean forest has lost 12.7 percent of its initial area, about
727,900 square kilometres, some 45 percent of it in Liberia, SAMFU estimates.
The Liberian forest is inhabited by many native plants and animals found
nowhere else. It is a unique ecological niche for some of the world's rarest
The Upper Guinean forest contains 551 different species of mammals and half
the known species of mammals of the African continent. It is among the regions
with the highest degree of priority for the conservation of primates, and a
priority zone for conservation of world biodiversity.
"We would like to stress that we do not oppose forestry
development," SAMFU states in its report. What the group condemns are the
unsustainable practices of the forest industry "and the lack of respect
of the laws."
SAMFU concludes that the volume of wood produced, given up or wasted to build
bridges, some which are replaced almost every year, is not viable. The
"anarchistic" cutting of logs without preliminary suitable
inventory, and the wasting of wood, must be discouraged, the group said.
The clearing of hundreds of acres of forest belts, for the construction of
forest camps and cargo loading areas is "one of the most harmful
practices of the forest industry," SAMFU said.
"The destruction with the bulldozer of several kilometers of dense forest
to build short cuts (roads) in order to deliver logs in haste to various ports
must also be discouraged."
The research team also reported on the existence of dangerous and
unsustainable development practices. The inhabitants of some regions told
researchers that the militia of some logging companies had harassed them and
attempted to put pressure on them.
These results also showed the need for more exhaustive research on the logging
industry. For this reason the Campaign to Save the Liberian Forest and Respect
Liberia's Human Rights, was launched to carry out a more detailed
investigation on the activities of logging companies in Liberia.
The group urged the Liberian government "to take immediate measures"
to settle the environmental questions raised in its report. The Liberian
forest agency must be more vigilant about law enforcement and must require
payment from the logging companies, SAMFU said.
"The earth and myself are of one
mind. The measure of the land and the
measure of our bodies are the
-- Hinmaton Yalatkit, Nez Perce chief
I N F O R E
S T R E
L I E F
Sparing the World's Rainforests from Consumption
Rainforest Relief works to protect the world's
and temperate rainforests by reducing the demand for the products
and materials of rainforest destruction such as
timber and paper,
industrial agricultural products such as
bananas, beef, coffee,
chocolate and cut flowers, and mining products
such as oil, gold and aluminum.
Brooklyn, NY: phone/fax: (718) 398-3760
Portland, OR: (503) 236-3031
P.O. 150566 * Brooklyn, NY 11215 USA