Natural Resources

Cut and Run: Illegal Logging and Timber Trade in the Tropics by Rob Glastra

By Rob Glastra

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Additional info for Cut and Run: Illegal Logging and Timber Trade in the Tropics

Sample text

The traditional knowledge of forest dwellers and of naturalists around the world is of course profound. Equally profound is the industrial and academic knowledge about forests, and we have trade journals and professional journals in a score of languages. Every year, hundreds of students graduate from courses in forest management at all scales from wood lot to commercial timber, and at all levels from informal classes to advanced university degrees. In recent years, new disciplines, such as forest ecology and recreation studies, have added to our store of knowledge about forests.

In the United States, it has even been shown that mechanization has actually cost more jobs than conservation legislation has. Although labour in developing countries is generally cheap, it will only be a matter of time before this trend affects the labour market in the tropics as well. Seminatural forests and plantations — The logging industry is clearly shifting its operations from natural forests to intensively managed, seminatural forests and plantations. One of the reasons for this is the decreasing number of natural forests left to be logged.

Then, just as money is laundered by passing through several hands, so too are the logs passed from one operation to another until they enter the world of commerce as if they had been harvested legally and sustainably. Most of the wood ends up serving the needs of those who live well to the north or to the south of the countries where the original, illegal harvesting took place. For obvious reasons, it is extraordinarily hard to get accurate information about illegal forest activities. Not a few forest rangers have been killed in their attempts to protect the forest.

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