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China’s illegal timber business is stripping Suriname’s forests



ANI |
Updated:
May 22, 2021 15:49 IST

Paramaribo [Suriname], May 22 (ANI): China‘s hunger for timber is stripping Suriname‘s forests.
Chinese companies own more than half of the logging concessions in the country. Much of the illegal timber is sold online through companies which are hard to track, reported DW News Agency.
Carl Holm in a ground report uncovered the illegal timber business of China for DW News Agency.
“Not so long ago these logs were giants from rainforest, 100 years old, most of them now destined to China. But, the former Dutch colony of Suriname, is not seeing any economic benefit as more than half of the logging is illegal. Suriname is estimated to lose Euro 100 million a year due to illegal logging. The money goes straight to the coffers of criminal cartels,” said Holm.
Erlan Sleur, Environmental NGO ProBios showed Holm a port from where these illegal activities take palce.

“This is from one of the many ports from which timber is exported. According to my informants this is the place from where most of the timbers is shipped and exported illegally,” said Erlan Sleur.
“Every year Suriname produces nearly one-and-half million cubic metres of wood. The timber is mostly sold on websites like this (illegal), making it very difficult to track down the company who is buying and selling. China and India are the biggest customers,” added Holm.
The authorities try to keep an eye on illegal activities using satellite images and drones. But controlling the millions of hectares of rainforest in Suriname is next to impossible. And, even if they discover the illegal logging, it’s difficult to take action. Corruption is endemic.
Unearthing the corruption, Angelic del Castilho, Suriname opposition politician said, “The concession holders – the people who cut and ship the wood, the people who carried out inspections here at the port, they are all involved in the chain of illegalities.”
Holm also reported how authorities too were involved in this illegal timber trade.
“A recent find of 100 containers filled with illegal timbers suggests that public officials also may be involved in the illegal timber trade, when it was discovered, custom officials had sealed the containers for export,” informed Holm. (ANI)

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