Illegal logging threatens DRC forest, say investigators

2018-06-26 16:28
Forest (Duncan Alfreds, News24).

Forest (Duncan Alfreds, News24).

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Illegal logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo is threatening one of the world's biggest forests, the investigative group Global Witness said on Tuesday.

Global Witness said it had investigated the activities of Lichtenstein-based company Norsudtimber in the DRC, a former Belgian colony, for two years.

"Norsudtimber operates almost entirely illegally, in violation of the essential points of the Congolese Forest Code," the NGO claimed, adding that it used satellite images to trace activity in the forest.

Three Congolese firms controlled by Norsudtimber - Sodefor, Forabola and La Forestiere du Lac - rejected Global Witness's charge that they had carried out logging outside perimeters designated by satellite images.

"An image with roads outside the perimeter does not mean that there are operations outside the perimeter," they said.

"(...) Care also has to be taken to check whether roads which are visible on satellite images are recent or old."

While almost 80% of the company's timber exports went to China and Vietnam between 2013 and 2017, Europe accounted for about 11%, mainly Portugal and France, Global Witness said.

"It is not surprising that the law is flouted in DRC, but it is shocking that France does so little to put an end to its imports of illegally harvested timber," said a spokesperson for the NGO, Jules Caron.

Global Witness also called on the French Development Agency (AFD), a financial institution run by the French state, to cancel a four-year, $18m project that would violate "the goals of protecting the climate and forest."

The agency denied the accusation.

"This NGO has been attacking the AFD for several years over a programme designed with the Congolese authorities that aims to improve governance of the forest sector," AFD told AFP.

DRC is home to more than 60% of the dense forests of the Congo basin, the world's second largest tropical rainforest after the Amazon.

Illegal logging is a major problem in many developing countries including DRC, where poverty and decades of instability, corruption and poor governance have put enormous pressure on natural resources.

Campaign group Greenpeace has warned that deforestation of the basin, one of the most carbon-rich regions in the world, threatens the fight against global warming.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    drc  |  central africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.