“Certified” Ancient Forest Logging Tragedy Worsens

E-Protest calls for Greenpeace and WWF to withdraw from Forest Stewardship Council and work to end ancient forest logging
An ancient rainforest logging operation in Peru recently certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) scheme by Rainforest Alliance SmartWood has been implicated in massive cross-border illegal logging. Workers from the Peruvian company Venao Forestal are reported to have been crossing into Brazil and building an extensive road network to illegally fell CITES-listed mahogany. FSC and big green logging apologists including Greenpeace and WWF are facing tough questions following this and other inappropriate and illegal certifications.
Support for FSC's “certified” ancient rainforest logging continues to crumble, as calls to protect all remaining ancient forests for climate and biodiversity values intensify. Peru is now added to a list of countries that already includes Guyana, Congo, Russia, and Indonesia, where WWF has helped massage highly controversial and sometimes illegal companies through the FSC certification process, as Greenpeace sits mute in charge of FSC's board. Meanwhile Norway has rejected FSC and all primary rainforest logging certification schemes in public construction (for more information see http://www.fsc-watch.org/).

Global ecological sustainability including addressing climate change depends critically upon ending all industrial scaled ancient forest logging. EcoInternet, provider of the world's largest environmental portals and environmental action network, has intensified their protests against Greenpeace and WWF for supporting industrial scaled ancient forest logging. A few hundred thousand protest emails have been sent.
Dr. Glen Barry, President of EcoInternet, explains “the litany of failed FSC ancient forest logging certifications in recent months illustrates yet again that a FSC seal is no guarantee of either ecological sustainability or legality. Many of us were excited about the idea of sustainable, equitable and just logging in the early 1990s. We envisioned community based eco-forestry management plans that tied small and medium scaled logging to strict protection of surrounding lands. Sadly, 'certified forestry' has been usurped by existing commercial loggers and their environmental apologists.”
“FSC has had fifteen years to prove that industrial scale logging can be responsible and ecologically beneficial. Now with the huge list of bad certifications, it is clear it has failed. Greenpeace and WWF may have honestly believed industrial logging of ancient rainforests in an environmentally responsible manner was possible, but they have been conclusively proven wrong.”
The response from Greenpeace and WWF in this David versus Goliath effort to protect all ancient forests — including payment for avoided deforestation — has thus far been one of stonewalling and vilifying the protestors. WWF has accused in a mocking manner thousands of protestors from over 100 countries of sending “spam”, and are blocking many of the messages. Greenpeace replied with a terse brief response dodging the main questions of why they support ancient forest logging. Neither has responded substantively and defended their policies.
“This is a protest”, explains Dr. Barry. “I am sure these environmental bureaucracies are not keen on being called out on their forest policy. But the survival of the Earth depends upon doing so. Greenpeace in particular can now feel what disruption caused by a protest feels like. I encourage all people concerned with global ecological sustainability to take action at
http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=peru_fsc and to cancel their Greenpeace and WWF memberships until they withdraw from FSC and work to end ancient forest logging.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this press release accidentally inserted the words “hundreds of” in the sentence “…mocking manner thousands…”. We regret the error and it has been corrected.
Dr. Glen Barry
EcoInternet, Inc.
P.O. Box 433
Denmark, WI 54208
+1 920 776 1075 phone
EcoInternet's projects include:
EcoEarth.Info — http://www.EcoEarth.Info/
Climate Ark — http://www.climateark.org/
Forests.org — http://forests.org/
Water Conserve — http://www.waterconserve.org/
Rainforest Portal — http://www.rainforestportal.org/
Ocean Conserve — http://www.oceanconserve.org/
My.EcoEarth.Info — http://My.EcoEarth.info/

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10 Responses

  1. Glen Barry says:

    Here is Grant Rosoman of Greenpeace's, the chair of FSC international's board, puny and pathetic response to the protest. Hey Grant, we are not attacking you, we are attacking the faulty notion that ancient forests can and should be logged. Typical response from a policy bereft of defensibility — attack the messenger rather than reply substantively to the debate. This is the best Greenpeace can do by way of defending their abetting of the first time logging of the world's last primary and old growth forests? Wantok, sapos yu laik raun long PNG lukautim baksait bilong yu, nogut masalai bagarapim giaman bilong yu.
    Dear all,
    I don't mind Pete Lusk, Glen Barry and others attacking FSC and having a different view of it, but for those who don't know me I will respond here to the lies and personal attacks behind my back.
    On the recent spam mailing from Glen Barry (EcoInternet) below, I append a Greenpeace responsive statement FYI. This is the last of a series of spams and Glen Barry seems to have nothing better to do. I wonder if he/Ecologicial internet has actually every done anything practical and constructive to protect rainforests anywhere?
    Contrary to Lusk's story, the key reason Timberlands didn't get FSC before August 2001 (they were trying from 1997) was because Greenpeace and other NGOs strongly opposed it while they were still logging native forest, to the point where their certificate was issued conditional on end of the Buller overcut logging. FSC was used as leverage to bring the native forest logging to an early end. Also I worked for several years on the campaign that ended the logging in Okarito/Ianthe forest.
    I have been a forest activist and campaigner for 20 years firstly in Aotearoa/NZ on tropical timber imports and native logging, and over the last 12 years on the ground with communities fighting Malaysian loggers in Solomon Is, PNG and more recently Papua (Indonesia). This has had its moments, sadly with the murder of the community activist Martin Apa in Solomon Is in 1995 and other death threats, through to the elation of kicking out Malaysian logger Samling from West Province PNG and holding the logging out from around 1 million ha of tropical forest wilderness.
    As well as my role in the Pacific/Asia, I am on the international board of FSC as an organisational representative of Greenpeace. I am not there in a personal capacity – Greenpeace can replace me any time as their representative. I remain on the board until November in line with GPs commitment to keep FSC as the most credible global forest/plantation management and CoC certification scheme.

  2. Cath Wallace says:

    Hi Pete, Dear all,
    There are certainly some problems with FSC in NZ, not least of which is the forest industry behaviour in refusing to wait for the NZ national standards and the assessment consultants rushing off to do assessments despite the conservation community saying we could only participate in the development of national standards, not in a whole lot of ad hoc certifications. Grant Rosomon has not been and is not one of these problems.
    I've been involved with the discussions about FSC in New Zealand for a very long time, and with considerable misgivings, but also seeing the FSC as having the potential for good, IF its standards are kept with integrity. I feel compelled to say that your account is inaccurate and grossly unfair to Grant Rosomon and to Greenpeace.
    Grant for Greenpeace has been one of the few NZ ENGO reps who has tried to have input into these vast numbers of proposed certifications, in order to stem the really unsuitable ones, to intervene and block some and get conditions put on others. Most of us have been unable to do that as those who make the money from these certifications have pushed ahead despite our protests.
    I know Grant has intervened on several occasions to block certifications or to get conditions applied. He did this most of all with respect to Timberlands – and he has done this in consultation with the rest of us. Grant is dead right when he says he went to great lengths to hold Timberlands to account over old growth logging and to stall any certification until that was stopped.
    Most of the NZ ENGOs have been trying to get tough controls on plantation forestry and have refused to discuss certification of old growth forests in the NZ national standards, despite periodic onslaughts from a variety of industry native forest logging quarters and the Ecologics and others who pressure us to give in. Grant has been staunch in holding the line and has held it for Greenpeace along with ECO, Forest and Bird, Greenpeace, FMC and others. Latterly, after serious earlier lapses when they supported Timberland's logging of old growth forests, WWFNZ, for whom I have been no apologist, has also held the line and have refused to go soggy, as in the past they used to. All credit to them for reforming on that.
    Pete, you must know that friendly fire is one of the most debilitating things that we who campaign for the environment have to deal with. I reckon you should be a bit more careful with your scatter-gun and seemingly rather casual slandering of good and dedicated campaigners. Grant has been in the forests protection effort for ages, has integrity, has withstood a hell of a lot of flak from the foresters, Ecologic and others and has done heaps of hard work. Don't be so unfair to him.
    Perhaps you could have checked with some of the rest of us to find out what he has been doing before you fire off insulting and denigrating broadsides and spread around stuff that is somewhat uninformed?
    Come on Pete, be fair.
    Cath Wallace
    ECO NZ

  3. g.b. says:

    Response to all,
    I have yet to hear any rebuttal to my thesis that remaining ancient forests (primary and old growth) must be maintained to address climate change and achieve global ecological sustainability. It is so hard for people to accept that the age of industrially harvesting ancient forests is over and they get all worked up without responding to this ecological reality. See http://www.fsc-watch.org/ for the specifics on a string of half a dozen horrific certifications. This is not the best that can be done. Greenpeace and WWF have stonewalled these grassroots concerns for years and they do not engage now because they know they would lose the debate. To write this protest off as spam is irresponsible, does Greenpeace's protests on the high seas make them pirates? As long as Greenpeace and WWF are aiding and abetting the first time logging of primary and old growth forests they are legitimate targets for protest. Eventually ancient forest logging will end, the only question is how much will be left when it does. Not much if FSC and pals have their way.
    Dr. Glen Barry

  4. John Cathr says:

    Thanks for the response. Yes, maintaining ancient forests is critical for the achieving ecological sustainability and addressing climate change. I agree entirely with you in this goal.
    My question is about how we get there. What is your plan for getting there?
    RESPONSE: Firstly, get the environmental community out of the business of supporting commercial logging in ancient forests. This greenwashing inhibits it even being on the agenda. And then building upon the groundswell of awareness re: climate change to setup a system to compensate countries and local peoples for avoided deforestation. These plans are in the work and are undermined by the false suggestion that FSC logging of primary and old growth forests is somehow “sustainable”. And more aggressive direct action to maintain the biosphere cannot be discarded out of hand. We know of course first time logging of such ancient forests changes them forever — including their carbon cycling and species. If not now when?
    Dr. Glen Barry

  5. Rebecca says:

    In response to FSC logging in old growth forests. Listen just because all the NGOs of the day want to stop logging in tropical forests, as you very well know your illegal loggers aka read mafia and gangsters are not going to just move over and say oh sorry guys didn't really know that we were doing such damage we will just put our arms and machinery down and stop cutting this lovely forest. If stopping cutting in tropical forests is ever going to happen, it won't be tommorrow and it is very unlikely in the next 50 years or if ever. FSC is the most pragmatic approach we have globally to rationalising the use of these places. Remember those of you on this site who critise FSC that you obviosly have enough money to use a computer and I take it from that eat, get medicine when your sick, as well. I have worked in many of these tropical forests and come across the people who actually live there and they do lack money to purchase medicine for their kids, wives etc. They are not your indeginous people, they are rural poor plonked in forests areas by their governments, read limited life choices. These are usually the people who end up being abused working, for illegal loggers, but what can they do when they need a bit of cash? work is the answer? they are not worrying about the future of the planet, all they can think about is my kid going to survive next week. Even if we convince all of the west not to use tropical species anymore, when do you think China and the middle east will open its ears. Do you think that people will stop eating beef tommorrow so the need for soya will just disapper, poof! with the magic mafia faries. What indeed is Brazil supposed to do when it wants to build its own houses, bridges etc import timber from european plantations, please! FSC is the only rartional framework that we have globally at this moment in history that can put a value on a standing forest. Yes there will be logging in there, but that is a alot better than it being burnt and planted with oil palm. And at the same time, this phase in history and the FSC is a learning process, you know sustainable forest management as we know at the moment only came into being 400 years ago in germany. The tropics at best have had 50 years experience in this, so yes their will be mistakes made, so by all means keep your professional eyes on FSC and deforestation globally everyones contribution is needed to the debate. But debating without action on the ground does nothing to impact the reality of the situation. So if you don't like FSC go try being friends with the Russian or Chinese mafia in these forests and see how you get on, I guess they will give you as much value as they do to community memebers or rural poor that get in their way, the price of a bullet.

  6. Stephen says:

    Dear Folks,
    Just wanted to thank you for the FSC report. We at GreenLine have been suspicious of their certification programs for quite some time.
    FSC is showing up on all kinds of virgin paper. It is really just greenwashing.
    We are going to do something on this in our next newsletter.
    Keep up the great work,
    Stephen E. Baker, Pres.
    GreenLine Paper Company, Inc.
    631 S. Pine Street
    York, PA 17403

  7. Christina Sott says:

    We MUST stop to destroy WHAT MAKES US ALL LIVE! We HAVE run out of time. We need to protect every piece of nature and every animal we have NOT YET DESTROYED. We should wake up to the consciousness of true human(e) beings!

  8. Phillip Huggan says:

    http://www.ecologyfund.com is a site that offers daily buttons to click to preserve rainforests. They save 500ft^2 of forest for signing up (quick and easy), and up to an additional 2000ft^2 for e-mailing up to 20 friends to sign up. All this is funded by add revenue so buying adds is a great way to demonstrate a business's environmental stewardship.
    Also, the search engine http://www.everyclick.com (ask.com search technology) donates about two cents to a charity of one's choice for every search enetered. One of the chosen charities is Rainforest Concern, whose mandate is: “Rainforest Concern was established in 1993 to purchase and protect threatened tropical rainforest rich in bio-diversity”.

  9. Bob Mott says:

    BAHAHAHHAHHA. I am a pessimist. History shows that “human civilization” are reactive rather than proactive. I strongly agree that “Ancient” forests are critical in maintaining ecological integrity. However, the reality is that the human population continues to explode and will go through a bottleneck in the near future. Only then will people take a more proactive approach in conserving and preserving our natural resources.

  10. Richard Donovan says:

    FROM: Richard Z. Donovan, Chief of Forestry Rainforest Alliance
    RE: Results and preliminary conclusions from SmartWood investigation into complaints against Forestal Venao S.R.L.
    Background: Forestal Venao S.R.L. is a Peruvian company that currently implements forest management and harvesting activities on indigenous lands in Peru (Yurua District, Atalaya Province, Department of Ucayali) through participation agreements with communities that have ownership over these forests. In April 2006 Forestal Venao contacted SmartWood Program of Rainforest Alliance indicating their interest in initiating a process to achieve FSC forest certification The FSC certification process was implemented in two phases, a pre-assessment (July 2006) and a main assessment (September 2006). Based on the final results of this process, in April 2007 SmartWood issued a group FSC forest management-certificate to Forestal Venao S.R.L. as a Group Manager in charge of managing the forests of two native communities (Sawawo Hito 40 and Nueva Shahuaya). A public summary of the assessment of Forestal Venao SRL can be found on SmartWood's website (link: http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/programs/forestry/smartwood/public_documents_country.cfm?country=45)
    In July 2007 SmartWood received complaints alleging:
    1) That Forestal Venao S.R.L. and one of the native communities (Nueva Shahuaya) carried out illegal logging in Brazilian territory;
    2) That Forestal Venao constructed an illegal road between Puerto Italia and the communal territory of Yurua;
    3) That Forestal Venao is carrying out illegal logging in the upper watershed or headwaters of the Yurua River, inside the Murunahua Territorial Reserve; and,
    4) That Forestal Venao forest operations in communal territory in the Yurua area, are causing damage to the natural resources and environment, of the native communities that live on the Brazilian side of the border
    Following our FSC-approved internal complaints procedures, SmartWood organized and carried out an audit of Forestal Venao which included field verification and consultation with a wide range of stakeholders during the week of August 24, preceded by also gathering information from investigations conducted by Brazilian and Peruvian private and public agencies. New information from stakeholders has been welcomed throughout the process, and used for further investigation of these issues.
    The following sections outlines SmartWood's verification and information gathering activities as well as preliminary results and conclusions based on the information obtained and processed up to now in relation to specific complaints.
    SmartWood verification activities and methods
    Consultation with official governmental entities responsible for forest regulation and control, and other authorities: Instituto Brasilero de Medio Ambiente (IBAMA), Federal Police of Brazil, Brazilian Military Police of the Interior, Brazilian Forest Services Office, Peruvian National Institute of Natural Resources – INRENA, Peruvian Transport Office, Municipal Authorities of the Yurua and Tahuan

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