Forest News, July 26-August 1


Emily Kaldjian

Visit us every Monday for recent news on deforestation, forest legality, and developments in forest technology!



Swiss bank obstructs Borneo timber corruption investigation,” 26 July, Bruno Manser Fund

At A Glance: The Swiss bank UBS has won a case in a Swiss Court in Berne against the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland over the use of evidence in an ongoing investigation on the laundering of Malaysian corruption proceeds. An appeal by the Attorney General's Office against this court decision is currently pending at the Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne.

A Global Gold Rush Is Decimating South America's Tropical Forests,” 28 July, Alternet

At A Glance: A global “gold rush” has led to a significant increase of deforestation in the tropical forests of South America. This is according to a study published in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, which has highlighted the growing environmental impact of gold mining in some of the most biologically diverse regions in the tropics.

Can we save forests and produce palm oil? Scientists seek answer,” 28 July, Business Insider

At A Glance: Despite promises by many big companies that produce, trade and use palm oil to clean up their supply chains, complaints are still pouring in over the conversion of forests into plantations from West Africa to Southeast Asia, experts say.

Govt asked to guard Aceh wildlife corridor’s slow recovery,” 29 July, Mongabay

At A Glance: An Indonesian organization dedicated to conserving one of the world’s richest expanses of tropical rainforest is pushing for the rezoning of a crucial wildlife corridor where human encroachment and the march of oil palm threaten dwindling elephant and tiger populations. With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Leuser International Foundation (YLI) has undertaken to reforest the ebbing Trumon Nature Corridor, and it also wants the Environment and Forestry Ministry to designate the area a protected forest.

Alarm over 'timber grab' from Cambodia's protected forests,” 29 July, BBC

At A Glance: Ancient, highly valuable forests are being lost at an "unprecedented" rate from protected lands in Cambodia, according to a new report. The analysis, from campaign group Forest Trends, says that large corporations are using legitimate development permits to illegally clear land.

Chinese loggers among 7,000 prisoners released in Burma,” 30 July, The Guardian

At A Glance: More than 150 Chinese workers sentenced to life in prison for illegal logging less than two weeks ago were freed in Burma on Thursday under a massive presidential pardon that saw nearly 7,000 prisoners released.

Kenyan Pastoralists Fighting Climate Change Through Food Forests,” 30 July, IPS News

At A Glance: Climate change has made pastoralism an increasingly unsustainable livelihood option, leaving many households in the Samburu region of Kenya without access to a daily meal, let alone a balanced diet. Now, through a concept new to them – dubbed food or garden forest, and brought to Kenya by Israeli environmentalist Aviram Rozin, founder of Sadhana Forest, an organisation dedicated to ecological revival and sustainable living work – the locals here are adopting planting of trees and shrubs that are favourable to the harsh local weather in their manyattas.

Romania’s environment inspectors finds irregularities at Austrian timber producer,” 31 July, Romania Insider

At A Glance: Romania’s Minister of Environment, Water and Forests has notified the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court about irregularities found during an inspection at the Austrian company Holzindustrie Schweighofer and other timber producers.

Malawi's forests going up in smoke as tobacco industry takes heavy toll,” 31 July, The Guardian

At A Glance: Malawi, now the poorest country in the world according to the World Bank, depends on tobacco as a cash crop. Chinkhoma, in the heart of the tobacco-growing Central region, is where much of it is sold before being exported and made into cigarettes. However, while tobacco is central to the economy, there is a high price to pay. The industry contributes greatly to the destruction of forests, with millions of trees required for the drying barns involved in air- and heat-curing.

Here's why Ikea is buying entire forests,” 31 July, Fortune

At A Glance: Ikea is buying up forests to keep tighter control over the wood it uses to produce its iconic, easy-to-assemble furniture. The Swedish furniture company bought a Romanian forest earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reports. The wood from the forest will be used to create products for a store in Bucharest.

Bonus Infographic: “Mangroves vs. climate change: even more effective than upland forests,” 31 July, Global Landscapes Forum