A call to halt illegal logging imports and choose Good Wood



Jamie Durie at the launch

Jamie Durie launches the new Greenpeace Good Wood Guide, and calls for an end to Australia's importation of illegally logged timber.

Credit: Greenpeace/Morris

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Green groups, retailers and timber importers across Australia are calling an end to illegally logged imports, and encouraging Australians to buy legally sourced, sustainable wood.

In a joint statement announced yesterday, signatories of Eliminating Illegal Forest Products in Australia, including Bunnings, Ikea, timber importer Simmonds and a host of industry and non-government organisations, declared their strong opposition to the import and use of illegally harvested wood, and encouraged the government to take action.

“Four hundred million dollars worth of illegal timber is coming in to Australia every year, most from nearby countries like Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands,” said Steve Campbell, head of campaigns at Greenpeace, one of the major groups behind the campaign.

This illegally felled wood is not only contributing to the irreversible loss of biodiversity, as well as deforestation and carbon emissions – major contributors to climate change - but the practice is also linked to loss of livelihoods and unfortunate corruption, he said.

“In Australia we’re tough. We ban illegal drugs, we put a stop to the trade of endangered species… so why do we only have voluntary mechanisms of controlling illegal timber?”

Despite the Government’s pledge to stop illegal logging as part of its 2007 election platform, the Government admitted last week in the Senate that illegal imports may be allowed to continue.

But “developing countries have the responsibility to crack down on illegal logging,” Campbell said. “It’s time to take action…The Government needs to make very clear laws to prevent [this wood] from entering the country, now.”

In order to help Australian consumers, builders and architects navigate through the best and worst timber choices, Greenpeace also announced its new Good Wood Guide, with the help of landscape designer and television presenter Jamie Durie.

“Like lots of people, I want to be sure that the wood I use is sourced ethically, legally, and without destroying the precious forests that many people in neighbouring countries call home,” said Durie, in his role as Ambassador of The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

“The Good Wood Guide shows Australians that they don’t have to destroy someone’s home to create their own.”

The online guide provides information on what types of timber are in the good book, which are in the bad and which are inbetween, along with where to find FSC-certified, sustainable wood.

“It’s an essential first stop for everyone looking to build and renovate without damaging fragile ecosystems and the climate,” Durie said.