photo: ankakay/Creative Commons
Echoes of what contributed to catastrophic flooding in Pakistan last summer: Illegal logging by a timber mafia ("a cedar mafia, an organized mafia") is felling so many of Morocco's iconic cedar trees that the nation's water supply is threatened due to erosion.Via The Independent:
Just a few metres from a forest warden's hut, by a tree-lined lake, lies the stump of a freshly-felled cedar. "This tree was felled with a saw whose noise the forest wardens could not help but hear," said Akkaoui, from the Moroccan Association for Human Rights. "There are the poachers who cut the cedar illegally; the carpenters who buy the wood; there are some corrupt Water and Forestry agents and some corrupt justice ministry officials," he said. "So you can talk about a cedar mafia, an organised mafia." [...]
"Uncontrolled logging leads to erosion and desertification, which threatens the ecological balance of the region," said academic Abdeslam Ouhejjou." The Middle Atlas forests are Morocco's main water reserve and any disruption there has repercussions for the rest of the country," he warned.
Remember the effect that rampant illegal deforestation had in Pakistan and in Haiti.
Not only has the flooding been intense in areas where the timber mafia is active but the felled trees, hidden in ravines prior to smuggling them onwards, have caused havoc. Dislodged by torrents of water, they have swept away bridges and people and anything else in their path.
There has been some suggestion that the high volume of timber transported along the rivers has been a factor in the weakening of the dams and retaining walls that are supposed to protect the land from flooding but have proved unequal to the task. (China Dialogue)
More on Deforestation
Deforestation & Hurricanes May Have Triggered Haiti's Catastrophic 2010 Earthquake
Pakistani Timber Mafia & Climate Change Caused Much of Summer's Flooding