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All Of Us Are Destroying Tropical Forests

NEWS RELEASE 15 MARCH 2001

NOT JUST THE POLITICIANS – BUT ALL OF US ARE DESTROYING TROPICAL FORESTS THROUGH TIMBER IMPORTS

Not just the Beehive but the whole country has swung into using unsustainably produced tropical timber, the Ecologic Foundation said today.

Ecologic’s executive director Guy Salmon said that there were big increases in imports of wooden furniture and other wood products from tropical countries, and these reflected reduced production from New Zealand’s native forests.

With the Government’s decision not to allow any sustainable wood production from publicly-owned native forests, New Zealanders were being forced to join the world’s unsustainable rampage through the remaining tropical forests, he said.

“Like the Japanese, we are preserving what we have at home and destroying other people’s forests.”

Mr Salmon said that the value of imported wooden furniture, which was around $20 million for many years up to 1993, had grown five-fold to $103 million last year.

Two-thirds of that was from tropical countries, none of which was independently certified as being sustainably produced, he said

There were smaller but still significant increases in imports of other tropical wood products, including paneling and mouldings for decorative uses such as that in the Beehive publicized yesterday.

“Given that a democratic country can’t make the use of radiata pine compulsory, New Zealanders need to ask themselves how they are going to live sustainably when it comes to wood products.

“We might be better to allow some carefully controlled, sustainable harvest from our own native forests rather than allowing consumer demand for specialty woods to drive the uncontrolled ransacking of diminishing and valuable tropical rainforests.

“The environment movement used to have a slogan – ‘think globally – act locally.’ Unfortunately, too many green supporters have forgotten the ‘think globally’ bit.”

…ends

For further information please contact Guy Salmon on 025 201 3033.

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