Eco-friendly African rainforest timberlands expand

AP News
Posted: Mar 10, 2011 8:28 AM
Eco-friendly African rainforest timberlands expand

The Forest Trust said Thursday 571,000 hectares more of African rainforest in the Republic of Congo have been certified for sustainably-produced wood, but warned there is a lack of buyers for the higher-priced product.

The addition, backed by the Forest Stewardship Council, is managed by one of Africa's largest timber companies, the Congolaise Industrielle des Bois, and brings the area of Congolese Basin rainforest certified under sustainable management to more than 5.3 million hectares, the Geneva-based Forest Trust said.

Executive Director Scott Poynton warned the forests need buyers in Europe, China and the U.S.

The expansion is part of a landmark effort to protect the world's second largest tropical forest and the lives of its pygmy inhabitants as well as elephants, gorillas, chimpanzeese and bonobos by certifying timber practices for respecting environmental and humanitarian values.

The Congo Basin covers about 100 million hectares and is losing about 4 million hectares a year to illegal logging, mining, agricultural conversion and mismanagement.