Brazil’s Timber Blocked by Greenpeace in Portugal

The cargo ship Skyman had nearly made its delivery of more than a quarter million US dollars worth of illegal Amazonian logs from Brazil. Nearly. But as it sailed into Portugal, Greenpeace activists rappelled from a bridge at the port entry, blocking the ship’s arrival in the docking area.

Greenpeace teamed up with Quercus, the largest environmental organisation in Portugal, to challenge the new Portuguese Government to take a strong public stand in full support of the European Union’s (EU) action plan to tackle the trade in illegal timber and to back new European legislation to prohibit the import of illegally logged timber.


The Skyman contains over US$ 253,000 of timber from the Brazilian Amazon, including wood from at least four companies convicted in Brazil of supplying illegal timber.


One of them, Milton Schnorr, has been fined for illegal logging in 2001, 2002 and 2004 whilst the owner of Rancho da Cabocla, Moacir Ciesco, was arrested in December for his company’s illegal timber extraction on public land.


Greenpeace’s Amazon Campaigner Marcelo Marquesini, speaking from Leixoes, said “The trade in Amazon timber from illegal and destructive logging is linked to corruption, theft of public land, violence against local communities and in some cases murder. By failing to tackle the trade in this timber Portugal could be considered complicit in these crimes.”


The Brazilian Amazon has one of the world’s highest rates of forest destruction. In 2003, Amazon deforestation reached 24,000 km2 – an area equivalent to almost one third of Portugal.


The State of Pará, the principal exporter of Amazon timber to Portugal, accounts for over one-third of the total Amazon deforestation in Brazil.


This deforestation has been driven by over four decades of illegal and destructive logging and the clearance of forest land for activities such as cattle ranching.


Portugal is the world’s fifth largest importer of timber from the Brazilian Amazon and a significant importer of timber from other ancient forest areas.


Whilst other major EU importers of timber such as Germany, UK, France and Belgium have supported the rapid implementation of European measures to tackle illegal timber, known as Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT), Portugal has not shown the same commitment.


Helder Spinola from Quercus said “It is time for Portugal to assume its responsibility and not turn a blind eye to illegal activities in forest producing countries.


“We publicly challenge Portugal’s new government to show its environmental credentials by fully supporting European measures to tackle the trade in illegal timber and by backing new EU legislation to prohibit the import of illegal timber.”


At the end of 2004 Greenpeace and Quercus asked a number of Portuguese timber importers to support the campaign for EU legislation to stop the import of illegal timber. Two of them, Sardinha & Leite and Sonae Industria have now declared their support.


The organisations are now calling on all Portuguese importers to reject any timber onboard the Skyman that comes from companies with convictions for illegal logging and to obtain accreditation to trade timber from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).


FSC timber provides an independent guarantee that timber had come from forests managed to the highest ecological and social standards.


Greenpeace
www.greenpeace.org

Tags:

You May Also Like

Organic Farmers from Brazil Show Their Stuff at Nuremberg’s Biofach

The Biofach, the world largest international fair for organic products, gets underway this Thursday, ...

Brazil’s Agribusiness Exports Make Up 38% of All Brazilian Exports

Brazil's agribusiness posted an accumulated growth rate of 2.81% in the first quarter this ...

Cops and Robbers Brazilian Style

São Paulo, Brazil, recently marked an event which will give readers abroad an idea ...

Brazil Gets Money and Praise from IMF

Brazil’s last agreement with the IMF is also the first between Lula’s administration and ...

Brazilian Chancellor in Bolivia Talks About Oil and Soy Interests

Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, who arrived in Bolivia yesterday, May 21, ...

Geisy, Brazil’s Miniskirt Student, Should Try US College Next Year

Geisy Arruda made history this week in Brazil, but for all the wrong reasons. ...

Lower Brazil Risk Means the Best Conditions Ever for Export Money

Brazil has never had so many resources available in its financial system for financing ...

Development with Justice, Job Number 1 in Brazil

Development will be Brazil’s battle cry for the next two years. According to the ...

This Brazilian’s Cattle Horns Jewels Became a Hit in the US and Europe

Isabel Muxfeldt’s idea of making cattle horns into female jewels worked out. Muxfeldt is ...

Brazil Invented AIDS Emergency to Steal Patent, Says US Group

The American Conservative Union, which calls itself the U.S.’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative ...

WordPress database error: [Table './brazzil3_live/wp_wfHits' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed]
SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `wp_wfHits`