Greenpeace on Thursday condemned the sale of illegally logged timber from Cameroon, saying the west African country’s main log exporter was involved in the trade.
A Greenpeace statement said the Cameroonian log exporter CCT sourced timber from La Socamba, a company logging several kilometres (miles) outside its designated area, and then sold it in Europe and China.
The CCT and its suppliers are now facing an audit probe, Greenpeace said.
“Greenpeace Africa takes note of the audit of CCT’s practices -– but stresses that this process should be independent and transparent, and that CCT suppliers are properly sanctioned when illegal activities are confirmed,” said Eric Ini, Greenpeace Africa forest campaigner.
Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands all consider timber from Cameroon as “high risk” and require strict diligence standards from importing firms.
Greenpeace did not specify the amount of “stolen wood” felled but said La Socamba had been engaged in illegal activities for at least a year.
The group said its “investigations in China in July 2014 and March 2015 revealed the presence of huge amounts of CCT logs in the port of Zhangjiagang in Jiangsu province,” including logs with La Socamba’s marks.
Greenpeace said Belgium was the European Union’s main importer of Cameroonian wood.
“Cameroon’s forests are among the most species-rich in the Congo basin, containing the region’s most biologically diverse forests, providing valuable habitat for endangered Western Lowland Gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants, amongst other species,” Greenpeace said.
“Unsustainable and illegal logging in these forests is leading to deforestation, destruction of the ecosystem and diminished resilience to climate change.“