Last week saw the distressing announcement by UNESCO that the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve had been put back on the organisation’s ‘In Danger’ list, at the request of the Honduran government because, it said, of “the combined threats of illegal logging, fishing and land occupation, poaching and the reduced capacity of the State to manage the site”. Covering 500,000 hectares, and being one of Central America’s most important protected areas, Rio Platano has also gained fame as being a source of mahogany used in the manufacture of Gibson guitars.
Certification in any of the countries in the Congo Basin was always going to stretch the credibility of the FSC system to the limit – as the miserable experiences in Cameroon of companies such as SEFAC and Wijma have shown (the former of which remains ‘suspended’ for forest management but, illogically, still certified for Chain of Custody). Sadly, because the FSC is unable to control its certifiers, these lessons seem not to have been learned; allowing its certifiers to issue certificates in DR Congo was always bound to end in disaster.
Nothing encapsulates the dismal weaknesses of the FSC system quite as well as the case of Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) – which for many years has been FSC’s flagship certified logging operation in Africa.
A new video about the Strzezlicki Ranges in Victoria, Australia reveals that FSC is failing to uphold its own standards, allowing destructive logging and conversion of native forest to exotic plantations.
Last week, journalist Fred Pearce investigated Ryman’s claims of “carbon neutral” office paper in his “Greenwash” column in The Guardian. It turns out that the raw material for Ryman’s paper comes from Suzano’s monoculture eucalyptus plantations in Brazil. Suzano’s FSC-Certified monoculture eucalyptus plantations, that is.
Last month, FSC-Watch received the following post about SmartWood’s certification of Hancock Victorian Plantations. Early in February, a large area of Hancock’s plantations burned down: part of the tragic fires which saw the loss of more than 200 lives and 1,800 homes. More information about the fires is available here.
A new research paper (see abstract below) on the behavioural patterns of forest elephants has dealt a major blow to the myth of ‘sustainable logging’ in the rainforests of the Congo Basin. One of the areas specifically referred to in the paper as being negatively impacted is covered by the concessions of Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) that is currently being ‘pre-assessed’ for FSC certification by Rainforest Alliance SmartWood.
FSC-Watch receives many queries and messages of concern, including from industry, as to why the FSC is helping to undermine efforts at paper recycling by allowing the certification of paper with little or no recycled content. We have now received the following article from the May/June 2008 Eco-Journal of the Manitoba Eco-Network, Canada, which we are happy to reproduce.