Rainforest Action Network Vs. Old-Growth Logging
Rainforest Action Network Defends Support for Old-Growth Logging
RAN indicates industrial first time logging of centuries old trees in primeval forests the best that can be expected, censors further discussion on their web site, and faces renewed global call for members to cancel until withdraws from FSC
After six months of evasions and personal recriminations, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has officially answered the question "how does Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified logging of primary and old-growth forests 'protect endangered forests'"? RAN has been the target of protest by thousands of forest conservationists from eighty countries concerned with how RAN's support for FSC legitimizes continued loss of ancient forests, their biodiversity and the climate. This is there answer:
"Simply, FSC certification isn't the ultimate protection for endangered forests, but it is a vastly superior alternative to standard industrial logging. In forests that would otherwise be logged without third party oversight, FSC promotes practices that preserve ecosystem functions (like habitat and water quality) and safeguards the most ecologically valuable areas." -- RAN statement, 4/1/08.
Sadly, RAN provided an answer to this sincere, straight- forward question only after continued prodding and denigrating protestors as "attention seekers" and "flame bait". Ecological Internet had to resort to questioning their webmaster to get a preliminary response, since confirmed, and has now been notified further discussions on their web site will be censored.
Certified logging of primary forests has gained in prominence given the role ancient forest loss and diminishment plays in climate change. Many long-time destroyers of rainforests including FSC, the World Bank and renowned renegade logger Rimbunan Hijau of Papua New Guinea now suggest that industrial selective logging of ancient forests is good for the climate. New initiatives including avoided deforestation payments are proposed to marketize and profit from rainforest ecosystem services, yet most are mute regarding the acceptability of continued industrial logging in newly "protected" areas.
Notably absent from RAN's statement is any scientific evidence or quantification of FSC being "vastly superior". They fail to acknowledge conflicts of interests by certifiers and the slew of problematic certifications. There is no detailed strategic analysis by RAN showing that the benefits from FSC logging will in the long term result in more rainforests being protected, in comparison to working to end all such logging now. For years RAN has even suggested first time industrial logging of primary and old-growth forests is "sustainable".
Dr. Barry, EI's President, explains: "a more careful reading of recent advances is conservation biology and climatology would show the importance of maintaining ancient forest in an intact, unfragmented condition as the keystone response to protecting biodiversity and climate. All indications are the Earth has surpassed the amount of intact terrestrial ecosystems that can be lost and still maintain the biosphere. If this is indeed the case, all efforts to reform logging to make it a bit better are meaningless. Ancient forest logging must end."
Ecological Internet calls upon Rainforest Action Network to withdraw from FSC, ending their involvement in the destruction of the Earth's last primary rainforests and the climate. By doing so, they join the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, which has recently done so, and Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which has announced they no longer standby FSC and are reviewing their membership.
It is simply unacceptable that America's largest recipient of rainforest protection monies continues to support heavy industrial logging of ancient rainforests. If RAN does not withdraw from FSC, they can expect long, sustained protest including web sites urging members to cancel their support, and physical protests at their events. Sadly, this is necessary to put the RAINFOREST back in the action network.