Guinea-Bissau 5 year logging moratorium

2015-04-02 20:55

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Bissau - Guinea-Bissau announced a five-year moratorium on logging on Thursday to try to clamp down on an illegal timber trade fuelled largely by Chinese demand and aided by complicit politicians and senior army officials.

The tiny West African nation, already a key transit point for South American cocaine destined for Europe, has seen a boom in illegal logging over the past five years that is threatening the country's ecological balance.

Following a cabinet meeting in the capital Bissau, the government announced new measures including the moratorium on new logging and an order to seize already cut timber and ban its export.

It said 104 000 logs waiting to be illegally exported to China had already been seized.

The top UN official in Guinea-Bissau told Reuters last year that the rise in illegal timber exports was likely the consequence of a decline in cocaine trafficking after a US sting operation targeted the head of the army in 2013.

Timber exports to China from Guinea-Bissau jumped from 80 cubic meters in 2008 to more than 15 000 cubic meters in 2013, according to data compiled from Chinese customs figures by Global Timber, a UK advocacy group.

Read more on:    guinea-bissau  |  west africa  |  conservation

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