Wood trade

One of the most important trades related to the forest is timber. The most commonly used woods include teak, mahogany and ebony.
Forests are generally located in poor countries, where straitened circumstances make people sell this wood, of which there is plenty, at extremely low prices. The intense exploitation of this resource because of its low cost and abundance is putting a strain on the survival of all the living beings that inhabit this ecosystem. Ancient trees are felled for timber, or to make furniture or paper. Italy for instance is the second largest importer of wood from the Congo basin and imports 60% of all ayous trunks felled in that area.
The illegal trade of timber makes up approximately 20% of the world’s market and, hard to control, further threatens the survival of this ecosystem.
Deforestation has reached impressive proportions, especially in Africa. Between 1990 and 2000, Africa has lost over 55 million hectares of forest, a destruction rate that is +25% higher than in 1992. The countries of the African forest region have increased their timber production by 58% since the mid-Nineties. Over the same period, the protected forest areas have not significantly increased; actually over this period several million hectares of uncontaminated forest have been sold to timber companies for the industrial production of trunks. Indonesia and New Guinea have lost between 60 and 72 % of their forests, while in that region the production of timber has increased by 25% between 1996 and 1998 compared with the previous decade. It has been estimated that, in Indonesia, 70% of the raw timber sold to local sawmills is illegally produced.

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