Congolese Logging Standards Not Protecting Forests, Study Says
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Reuters reported last week that a Congolese-government funded study recommends that Â¾ of logging contracts should be ended immediately for not meeting required standards.
The study, which looked at 156 logging deals, was conducted in order to recoup millions of dollars in tax money and to put an end to a "business ripe with corruption." In 2002, the Congo put a 5-year halt on any new logging contracts but that has been largely ignored as new contracts are still being approved.Only 29 of the 156 contracts currently meet logging standards, and the commission's preliminary findings recommend that 16 current contracts be terminated. Portugese owned Sodefor, German-owned Siforco and Safbois all have multiple contracts on the recommended list for termination, in total accounting for "66% of all timber exported from Congo."
Congo has the second largest tropical forest in the world, accounting for a quarter of the world's tropical forests, and they are currently being chopped down at a rate of 800,000 hectares a year.
The study was backed by the World Bank and findings from the report will be published mid-September. Their recommendations are non-binding and any actions to be taken will be decided once the final report is published.
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