One of the most depressing articles I’ve read in a while is Borneo’s majestic rainforest is being killed by the timber mafia recently in The Guardian. This comes on top TV programs on of what seem like futile attempts to save the Orangutan. Wikipedia tells us:
The total number of Bornean orangutans is estimated to be less than 14 percent of what it was in the recent past (from around 10,000 years ago until the middle of the twentieth century) and this sharp decline has occurred mostly over the past few decades due to human activities and development.
The IPCC AR4 report put the net emissions from forestry at 17.4% of the total:
China and the US are not the only nations holding back progress. Hopes for an advance on the crucial issue of forests – which help to absorb carbon dioxide – have come to nothing. Although this was an area where agreement seemed possible last year, conservation groups say Saudi Arabia and Papua New Guinea have pushed the process into reverse.
“It now looks like there might not be a deal on this at Cancún,” said Peg Putt of the Wilderness Society. “This was supposed to have been a confidence-building exercise but discussions this week have been shatteringly awful.”
Yesterday I heard on Radio National that most of our imported timber comes from suspect sources. “Most” meaning not just a majority but almost all.
It’s an area that I don’t know much about, so I’m wondering whether we can pool our information. What exactly are Saudi Arabia and PNG up to? Are the prospects of progress at Cancún as grim as Peg Putt of TWS indicated? Are most of our imported timbers suss? Is there any hope that the timber mafia can be defeated?
Before 2050 we need to get to the position where our forests are a net carbon sink, IMHO, if my grandchildren’s grandchildren are going to have a reasonably friendly planet to live on.