Legal Logging Destroying the Earth's Biodiversity, Climate, Water and Biosphere

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April 28, 2008 OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet

It is easy to rail against "illegal" logging, when in fact typical "legal" commercial logging is far more extensive and destructive in total to the world's biodiversity, climate, water and biosphere. Both liquidate life giving natural habitats, and more people are realizing they are mostly ecologically indistinguishable. Ancient primary forests industrially harvested for the first time are in fact destroyed -- in terms of being a fully intact ecological system with a unique, unimpaired evolutionary trajectory -- regardless if society considers it legal or illegal. Natural and planted secondary forest ecosystems managed industrially as tree farms become further ecologically diminished with each successive harvest including continued toxification, soil diminishment, species and genetic loss, reduced carbon and water holding potential, and so many other symptoms of ongoing biological homogenization.

Humanity's relationship with all forests must be transformed if we are to stop the hemorrhaging of lost species and halt transformation of the atmosphere. Industrial forestry [search] is incompatible with sustaining the full range of natural forest values -- from species to genes, from soil microbes to local microclimates, from a forest stand to the Earth system and everything in between. Solving the biodiversity, climate and water crises requires a new forest protection paradigm that optimizes ecosystem, biodiversity and climate values while ecologically sustainably harvesting the annual growth increment (minus ecological restoration of natural capital to account in the future for past damage).

To maintain an operable biosphere while achieving equitable and just global ecological sustainability, the forest protection movement must unite behind a rigorous set of goals know to be actually sufficient to stop forest and climate decline. This includes ending ancient forest logging and all industrial destruction of relatively intact natural ecosystems, gaining permanent protections for all remaining primary and old-growth forests (with appropriate compensation and continued small scale use for local peoples), promoting the ecological restoration and certified management of regenerating and planted natural forest ecosystems, and assisting local peoples with small-scaled, community-based eco-forestry projects based upon regenerating secondary and standing ancient forests.

Ecological Internet's network and partners are committed to this sufficient, ecology and people based forest protection agenda. This ecologically sufficient forest vision is the only way forward for forests including rainforests, species including humans, and ecosystems including Gaia. To work for anything less is to acquiesce to the powers of ecological simplification, accepting ecological diminishment and collapse as inevitable, while pursuing tokenistic responses that by legitimizing current trends impede global forest sustainability. You know who I am talking about, and if it is you, I urge you to reexamine your motivations and strategies. Otherwise, your apologist reform efforts causing continued forest destruction remains a legitimate target for protest. g.b.

To comment: //forests.org/blog/2008/04/legal-logging-destroying-the-e.asp

Related Ecological Internet searches:
* Illegal Logging //forests.org/shared/search/welcome.aspx?searchtext=illegal%20logging
* Industrial Forestry //forests.org/shared/search/welcome.aspx?searchtext=industrial%20forestry
* Natural Forest Values //forests.org/shared/search/welcome.aspx?searchtext=natural%20forest%20values
* Biological Homogenization //forests.org/shared/search/welcome.aspx?searchtext=biological%20homogenization


RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:

Title: Legal logging decimates forests - group Source: Copyright 2008, Philippine Sun Star Date: April 26, 2008

Legal, not illegal, large-scale logging is the major culprit in deforestation.

Lisa Ito of the Kalikasan-Philippine Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE), during her presentation on the Philippine environmental situation for the Southern Mindanao Conference on the Environment held at the Holy Cross of Davao College Friday, said that in the 1900s, forest cover was estimated at 21 million hectares of 70 percent of the total land area.

Yet a few decades of "development aggression" wiped out two- thirds of the forests.

By 1999, forest cover was reduced to 18.3 percent of 800,000 hectares and is still decreasing at present.

"Europe, Japan, and the United states demanded and encouraged the export of cheap and plentiful logs from underdeveloped countries in Asia and Latin America and the conversion of deforested areas into agricultural plantations for export crops," Ito said.

She said FAO's State of the World's Forests 2007 reports a net forest loss of 20,000 hectares per day globally.

In the Philippines, Ito said deforestation was a result of "colonial plunder of natural resources."

"Since the American occupation, corporate and large-scale logging for exports and massive forest conversion were carried out as a government policy through Timber Licensing Agreements
(TLAs)," Ito said.

From 1920's to the late 1930's, the Philippines became a major exporter of tropical wood to the US and Japan. Forty-seven percent or 9.9 million hectares of original forests were destroyed in the period alone.

"Philippine forests were nearly wiped out under the Marcos dictatorship under an unregulated logging industry caused by a combination of corruption, greed, and weak political institution. TLAs were liberally dispensed to Marcos cronies, relatives, military allies, and elite interests," Ito said.

By the late 1980's, the Philippine was one of the most severely deforested areas in Asia but Ito said this state has worsened under the Arroyo administration.

"The government has yet to implement a genuine and comprehensive reforestation program. It has one by one lifted log bans and farmed out commercial logging permits - TLAs and 23 Integrated Forest Management Agreement (Ifma) contracts from January 2001 to 2004," Ito said.

Ito explained that Ifmas cover a total land area of 191,250.60 hectares and an Ifma contract allows the holder not just the right to timber but to all other forest products within the concession area.

Ito added that as of their last check, the government has issued 201 Ifmas as of 2003 covering around 714,000 hectares of forestland.



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