Liberian forests face clandestine deforestation


liberian_forest_lr.jpg40% of Liberia’s forests granted to logging companies in the last 2 years

According to a new report by Global Witness, Save My Future Foundation and the Sustainable Development Institute, around 40% of the rainforest still standing in Liberia have been granted to logging companies operating beyond the country’s forestry laws.

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The report analysed recent “private use permits”, which offer a legal loophole allowing logging companies to avoid Liberia’s forest laws and regulations. In total some 66 private use permits covering 26,000 sq km or 23 percent of Liberia have been granted.

“Companies holding these permits are not required to log sustainably and pay little in compensation to either the Liberian Government or the people who own the forests for the right to export valuable tropical timber,” claim Global Witness.

Designed to allow private land owners to cut trees on their property, Private Use Permits are being used by companies to avoid Liberia’s carefully-crafted forest laws and regulations. Companies holding these permits are not required to log sustainably and pay little in compensation to either the Liberian Government or the people who own the forests for the right to export valuable tropical timber.

“People being defrauded out of their forest rights at this speed and scale is worrying in itself. When you look at who the forests have been given to, it gets even more alarming,” said Jonathan Gant of Global Witness. “Atlantic Resources, a logging company linked to notorious Malaysian giant Samling, now controls 8 percent of Liberia’s land area through Private Use Permits despite owing millions in back taxes. Giving your forests to companies like that is not a sustainable investment.”

Source: Global Witness and Mongabay

 

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