Killing Asian Forests for Food and Fuel

EXCHANGE MORNING POST : Business, Economics, Education, Entrepreneurs,
Environment, Science and Technology

April 29, 2008

Asia’s Rainforests Vanishing As Timber, Food Demand Surge: Experts.

“Asia’s rainforests are being rapidly destroyed,
a trend accelerated by surging timber demand in
booming China and India, and record food, energy
and commodity prices, forest experts warn.

The loss of these biodiversity hot spots, much of
it driven by the illegal timber trade and the
growth of oil palm, biofuel and rubber
plantations, is worsening global warming, species
loss and poverty, they said…at the Asia-Pacific
Forestry Week conference in Hanoi. …

Commercial crops ‘will be the most important
factor contributing to deforestation in
Asia-Pacific countries,’ said and Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, citing
record prices for food grains, energy and
commodities. …The illegal timber trade, fuelled
by poverty and corruption, is rife in much of
Asia, where 78 percent of forests are state-owned
and often managed by the armed forces, not the
people who live in or near them, experts said.
…” [Agence France Presse (04/27)/Factiva]

The Jakarta Post notes that “Delegates from the
Asia Pacific ended a meeting in Hanoi Saturday
calling for forestry policies to focus on
people-centered development to help alleviate
global poverty. They said the now much-debated
climate change issues had been one of the
vehicles to return forestry affairs to the top of
the world’s agenda during the past two years.

‘A key recommendation from the Asia Pacific
Forestry Commission (APFC) is to continue efforts
to enhance community-based forest management and
forestry initiatives that help reduce poverty,’
said Jan Heino, assistant director of the FAO,
which organized the week-long Asia-Pacific
forestry forum.

The commission also called for greater attention
and assistance to build the capacities of
forestry countries to enable them to participate
in increasingly complicated mechanisms being
developed as part of the climate change agenda.
…The commission said emerging forest carbon
funding mechanisms must reward countries for
retaining forests and reducing damage to existing
forests. …Some delegates, however, expressed
concerns that the complexity of forest carbon
accounting mechanisms might constrain some
countries from participating in forest-based
responses to climate change. …” [The Jakarta
Post (04/28)/Factiva]

© Copyright 2008/Exchange Morning Post/Exchange Business Communications Inc.


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