Illegal Congo timber seized during export

ILLEGAL logging still plays a major part of cheap timber imports to countries that seemingly don't impose proper regulation to control it happening.

German authorities have seized two batches of illegal timber exported from the Congo in central Africa after it was intercepted by government agencies , but unfortunately the large German-owned Congolese Wood Industries has so far evaded prosecution by EU regulations, even though it has been accused of logging virgin forests in the Congo's northern region.

The seized timber variety is wenge, an endangered wet tropics tree species that was logged by a Lebanese-owned company and taken to the Belgian port of Antwerp. It was supposedly bound for unsuspecting countries, with three separate marketing companies asked to sell the logs wherever.

Forests cover more than 20 million hectares or 60% of the Congo, which is very dense wood-land and some of it still virgin jungle. More than 80% of wood production in the Congo is carried out by about 40 foreign logging companies, the largest of which is Congolese Wood Industries based at Ndoki, which fells approximately 200,000 cubic metres of wood each year.

Unfortunately these companies have operated in a shroud of secrecy and the Congo government seems to have been silenced over these illegal activities. Let's hope this illegal activity can be stopped.

Topics:  rod henson talking timber timber industry