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Illegal logging of mahogany in Peru

BY: Gene Reitz0 COMMENTS CATEGORY: Uncategorized

The wide scale practice of illegal logging in Peru has gotten the attention of the U.S. Government and many environmental groups. If there were no one to buy the material from these operations this practice would be effectively halted but that would require stopping all Mahogany imports. The implementation of controls over the movement of Mahogany that is required by CITES II in order for the wood to get an export permit has helped reduce this activity but it still continues and further efforts need to be made.

The most radical solution to this problem has been suggested by several environmental NGOs who urge the banning of imports into the USA until the problem is solved. That is why we are so concerned and are cooperating with the World Wildlife Fund in their “Responsible Buyer” program and are urging our suppliers to cooperate with Certification programs so their wood can have a “clean bill of health”.

The photographs were taken on the Concession of our supplier Victor Espinoza. This concession of 150,000 acres is totally legal and under a sustained yield management program but it is difficult to patrol such a large area and Victor is constantly confiscating Mahogany cut by the illegal loggers on his concession. They basically steal the wood. It costs them nothing and they pay no taxes to the Forest Service. Unscrupulous middlemen buy this wood, falsify documents and eventually it ends up in the hands of an exporter who may or may not know where it came from.

Obviously the way to stop this is to prevent the buyer from obtaining all the paperwork he needs in order to export the wood. This is being done and production of this wood has dropped sharply as is evidenced by the sharp drop in supply on the market. I thought it would be interesting for our customers to be educated on this subject in case there are questions from customers about our ethical position on this matter. We strongly and actively support all efforts to eliminate the illegal logging of Mahogany. It is in our best interests, those of our customers, and of our suppliers.

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