A provocative message from one of the world's most outspoken environmental critics sparked a lively discussion at this year's ITTO Annual Market Discussion, held here in conjunction with the 32nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council.
Dr. Patrick Moore, who heads Greenspirit, a Canada-based organization, argued that rather than reducing the consumption of wood, the world should be growing more trees and using more wood in order to reduce reliance on non-renewable fuels and materials.
Dr Moore challenged allegations that commercial logging and forestry activities were responsible for species extinction and that the tropical pulp and paper industry was responsible for illegal forest loss. Such allegations damaged the industry, he said, and were doing a disservice to forest conservation. Instead of creating hurdles for tropical countries in their efforts to further develop, he said, a more constructive approach would be to campaign for increased wood consumption and the establishment of more timber plantations. He cited the Brazilian pulp and paper company Klabin as a good example of a company using a plantation-based resource that was benefiting biodiversity and creating significant local employment.
Bill Mankin, speaking from the floor in his capacity as representative of a coalition of environmental non-government organizations, said he was pleased that Dr Moore had used Klabin as an example of good forest stewardship and pointed out that its operation had been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). He said that the FSC was able to build bridges between the environmental movement, the timber industry and the market.
However, according to Totok Lestiyo, speaking on behalf of the Indonesian Wood Panels Association (APKINDO), his company had invested heavily over the last five years in efforts to secure forest certification, but had not yet been successful.
"We feel very disappointed that all our efforts in good forest management have not been recognized by the certifying bodies, who seem intent on putting insumountable hurdles in our way," he said. He called for tropical timber producers and buyers to come together to help concession-holders cope with the demands of forest certification.
For more information contact: Mike Adams, ITTO Secretariat, firstname.lastname@example.org
Daily reports of the Council are available at the website of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (www.iisd.ca).