28 Jun 2006

PNG environmentalists encouraging Chinese consumers to ensure timber is legal

7:53 pm on 28 June 2006

Papua New Guinea's Eco-Forestry Forum says the PNG Government has to help encourage China to import wood from legal sources.

The Forum has welcomed comments by the Australian Forestry Minister, Eric Abetz, that the vast majority of the rainforest logging in PNG is illegal.

The newspaper, The Australian, reports Senator Abetz as saying successive PNG governments had turned a blind eye to illegal logging and warned that Canberra would move to ban imports of illegally sourced timber.

Ken Mondiai of the Eco-forestry Forum welcomes the comments from Mr Abetz and the promise of action but he says with much of wood going to China, convincing consumers there only to use wood from legal and sustainably managed sources has to be a key focus.

"That's a very huge task that PNG NGOs are taking up, and it is also an important task that the Government should be focussed on and putting energy and attention into, to ensure that the biggest market in the region actually sources timber that comes from legally and sustainably managed sources."