FSC-certified company clearcutting Swedish forests

June 8th, 2011

A German news show (with English subtitles) investigates clearcuts in the Swedish boreal by logging company Stora Enso, which has been certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC has come under heavy fire from a number of small green groups for what they deem as ‘greenwashing’ ecologically destructive practices, however the FSC remains supported by large conservation organizations who argue that problems with certification must be changed from within.

For more information on the video: FSC Watch

For more information on the FSC debate:

Locals clash with ‘sustainable’ FSC logging company in the Congo

(05/22/2011) Two separate protests against logging companies by local communities have turned violent in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), leaving at least one dead. According to Greenpeace, one of the companies involved in the violence, Sodefor, is sustainably certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Given that the industry in DRC is rife with social conflict and corruption, Greenpeace is advocating that FSC place a moratorium on certifying new industrial-style logging concessions in the central African nation.

Complaint lodged at FSC for plantations killing baboons

(02/20/2011) The African environmental group, GeaSphere, has lodged a complaint with the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) for certifying tree plantations as sustainable that are culling baboons in South Africa, as first reported by FSC-Watch. The primates are trapped with bait and then shot. According to the complaint, “unofficial numbers from reliable sources state that more than 1000 baboons have been shot over the past 2 years” in Mpumalanga Province. Documents record permits given to cull 1,914 baboons in 13 separate plantations, however Philip Owen of GeaSphere says that plantations have refused to release official data on how many baboons have been killed.

Timber certification is not enough to save rainforests

(06/02/2010) In the 1980s and 1990s pressure from activist groups led some of the world’s largest forestry products companies and retailers to join forces with environmentalists to form the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a certification standard that aims to reduce the environmental impact of wood and paper production on natural forests. Despite initial skepticism on whether buyers would pay a premium for greener forest products, FSC quickly grew and by 2000 had become a standard in many markets, including Europe and the United States. Companies like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ikea are today strong supporters of the FSC. But the FSC has not been without controversy. In recent years some activists have voiced concern about FSC standards as well as the credibility of auditors that certify timber operations. Among the initiative’s supporters is the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), a group best known for its aggressive protest tactics. RAN says engagement with the FSC is better than the alternative: leaving the timber industry to devise its own sustainability standards.

Elementary school children urge KFC to stop cutting down forests (video)

April 25th, 2011

With 6,000 hand-drawn postcards, four elementary school kids travel from Charlotte, North Carolina to Louisville, Kentucky (350 miles) to urge KFC to use recycled paper and stop endangering forests on North Carolina’s coast.

Lead by 10-year-old forest activist, Cole Rasenberger, the group delivered the postcards to executives at KFC.

“I had a second grade project to be an environmental activist,” Rasenberger explains. “I found that the forests in North Carolina are being cut down and animals are being endangered and so I did [work to get] McDonald’s to change and they switched to 100% post-consumer recycled bags. Now I am doing KFC.”

Watch the video to see how it turns out!

KFC sources its paper packaging, including the bucket, from companies that are destroying endangered forests along the North Carolina coast, according to Dogwood Alliance, an NGO devoted to protecting forests in the southern US.

For more information on Cole Rasenberger: Meet The South’s Coolest 8 Year Old .

Celebrating ten years of the Great Bear Rainforest (video)

April 6th, 2011

Video by Greenpeace chronicling the fight to save the Great Bear Rainforest.

According to the description, the fight to save the Great Bear Rainforest should inspire work to save forests around the world: “The Great Bear Rainforest campaign demonstrates that out of conflict and peaceful resistance, it is possible to work towards solutions. It inspires our work in the Amazon, the Congo and Indonesia today.”

Photos: illegal logging in Borneo

March 30th, 2011


No pictures please: Illegal logger harvesting timber. On a recent trip to Borneo, Rhett Butler caught photographic evidence of illegal logging in Gunung Palung National Park. Shots taken from a recent visit to Gunung Palung National Park in Kalimantan. Photos by Rhett A. Butler, 2011.


Illegally logged wood.


Rainforest tree chopped down.


Illegally logged timber in a pickup truck.


Illegally logged wood.

Trailer for Oka! Amerikee, eco-drama set in the Congo rainforest

March 15th, 2011

Filmed in the Congo rainforest of the Central African Republic (CAR), a region rarely explored in film, the movie tells the story of an American ethnomusicologist living with the indigenous Bayaka people, also known as the pygmies, as loggers invade their land.

According to the film’s website: “The movie is partly based on the life’s work of Louis Sarno, who has lived with and recorded the music of the Central African pygmies for over 20 years. The pygmies of the Central African Republic are Bayaka, an indigenous group who live also in the Congo. They are severely economically and socially marginalized, maintaining a tenuous balance between their traditional forest lifestyle and their increasing assimilation into Central African society. Oka! Amerikee offers a unique glimpse into the music, humor, and spirit of the Bayaka people.”

Oka! Amerikee will have its Washington D.C. premiere at the Environmental Film Festival on March 15th, 2011. It will show at the E Street Cinema at 7 PM. Tickets are $10 and can be bought at the theater box office starting February 28th.

Director Lavinia Currier is most well-known for another film that dwells on the relationship between humans and nature: Passion in the Desert.

For more information see the film’s website: Oka! Amerikee

Tool for comparing value of forest conservation to logging, palm oil

October 19th, 2010

A new tool developed by Lian Pin Koh of ETH Zurich allows users to quickly compare the value of various forms of land use, including oil palm plantation development, logging, and carbon conservation for REDD+ payments.

The web-based tool provides a rough estimate for the net present value of economic activities as well as the impact on biodiversity.

The tool is available at LU Calculator.

land use calculator for economic value in terms of NPV for redd, rubber, cattle ranching, palm oil, timber harvesting/logging, and other activities

More media coverage of Woodlark Island situation

January 7th, 2008

Woodlark Island Cuscus

The Woodlark islanders struggle to stop Vitroplant Ltd from logging seventy percent of their island for palm oil plantations has received new attention from organizations and media. 

The online organization forests.org has set up an action letter which anyone concerned by the issue may attach their name to have their opinion sent to 12 administrators involved.   Over two thousand people from all over the world have sent protests for Vitroplant Ltd.’s plans.  The link to the letter:

http://www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=png_woodlark

 These protests have been covered by media in the pacific:

 http://www.mvariety.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=4740&format=html

http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=37298

As well a recent (and excellent) article has appeared in Pacific Magazine updating the situation:

 http://www.pacificmagazine.net/news/2007/12/30/scientists-to-study-island-thats-site-of-proposed-palm-estate