STOPPING ILLEGAL TIMBER
It is estimated that 9% of timber imports to Australia are from illegal sources. A much larger percentage again will be from logging operations that are ecologically unsustainable. Both illegal and unsustainable logging operations destroy biodiversity and imperil threatened species like the orangutan and Asian elephant. Illegal and ecologically unsustainable logging operations also release thousands of tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere exacerbating climate change. In fact, deforestation and forest degradation is considered responsible for 18-25% of global carbon emissions.
Considering Australia is third biggest market for timber in Asia Pacific region, behind China and Japan, we have a responsibility to fix our end of the problem. The Rudd Government has committed to prohibiting the importation of timber from illegal sources into Australia. It is incredible that previous governments did not see fit to do this.
Humane Society International is also urging the Government to restrict timber imports to only those that have been sourced from logging operations that are certified as ecologically sustainable.
The threat that climate change poses to the Australian environment and economy warrants tough action. If Australia is more discerning about the timber we import it will help drive up standards in logging operations in our region and help to keep carbon out of the atmosphere.
HSI commissioned the legal team at the Environmental Defenders Office to outline the laws that are needed to regulate Australia's timber imports. Read their proposal.