Illegal deforestation in China ? (CCD-Coalition / OLYecology)

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CCD-Coalition 192 : Earth’s Tree News



China will investigate allegations that an Indonesia-based firm has been engaged in illegal logging in the southern island province of Hainan, an official at the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said yesterday in Beijing. The China office of Greenpeace, an international environmental group, last Wednesday accused Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) of illegally clearing primary forest to build roads and plant a “large area of eucalyptus pulp and paper forest” in Yinggeling, a nature reserve in Hainan. “China welcomes foreign investment in forestation on the condition that it protects the local ecosystem,” said Jin Zhicheng, an official in charge of news releases at the SFA. “But any actions that destroy the ecosystem and biodiversity are not permitted and will be firmly punished.”

He said the SFA had asked the Hainan provincial forestry bureau to investigate the case, though there had not been any results as yet. “The Yinggeling area is the largest tropical rain forest in Southeast Asia, growing a rich spectrum of tropical species,” Jin said. Liu Bing, Greenpeace forestry project director, addressed the allegations at a news conference. “APP crudely opened roads in the protected area by destroying natural forest,” Liu said. “This not only harmed a large area of the natural forest, but also caused significant water losses and soil erosion, and could lead to reduced biodiversity and the destruction of an ecosystem.” Meanwhile, APP told China Daily that “the accusations are definitely not true”. However, environmentalists from Greenpeace regularly accuse APP of illegal logging in both Indonesia and at its pulp and paper operations in Hainan and the Southwest China province of Yunnan.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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