Monday, May 10, 2010

EU to Bring in Tough New Measures against Illegal logging


Costa Rica

Reprinted from European Parliament Environmental Report, May 4, 2010


Tougher measures against illegal timber

comm_thbn.gif Environment - 04-05-2010 - 18:04

EU suppliers of timber from illegal sources must pay fines that reflect the real environmental and economic damage done by illegal logging, said Environment Committee MEPs on Tuesday. The committee amended draft EU legislation to stiffen penalties and ensure that all in the supply chain play their part in ensuring that timber sold in the EU comes from legal sources. The proposal is to be put to a plenary vote in July.

As much as 20 to 40% of global industrial wood production comes from illegal sources, and the EU is a valuable market for timber and related products.

Tougher penalties

Financial penalties, to be set by EU Member States, must reflect the degree of environmental and economic damage caused by illegally harvesting timber, said the committee, stressing that these penalties must be proportional to the value of the timber products obtained and the environmental damage caused.

Shared responsibility

MEPs called for a clear ban on placing (or making available) illegally harvested timber or timber products on the market. Operators placing timber on the market for the first time should comply with a rigorous "due diligence" system, since they have a particular responsibility for products entering the EU market. To improve timber traceability, MEPs ask that all suppliers provide basic information to identify the operator who has supplied the timber and to whom it has been supplied.

"I am delighted that the Environment Committee has agreed fundamental improvements to the draft regulation on illegally harvested timber. Strong support came from across the political spectrum on key issues including adoption of an overriding prohibition on placing or making available illegally harvested timber on the EU market, extension of traceability requirements throughout the supply chain, and setting of minimum standards for penalties, including criminal sanctions", said Caroline Lucas (Greens/EFA, UK), whose legislative report was approved with 49 votes in favour, 6 against, 2 abstentions.

Editors Note: Much of this illegal logging occurs in third world tropical jungles where poor controls, inadequate monitoring systems and graft play all play a role in perpetuating the problem of illegal logging. Increasing pressure to curb illegal logging by both private corporations and governments will undoubtedly lead to a greater awareness in sustainable plantation supplied forestry. and a increasing premium value placed on this type of forestry.


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