TRN Targets Boreal Timber Trade

From: (Karin Lindahl, Taiga Rescue Network)

-------- Taiga Rescue Network International Coordination Centre --------
----------------- Ajtte--Svenskt Fjaell- Och Samemuseum ----------------
------------------- Box 116, S-962 23 Jokkmokk, Sweden -----------------
--- Tel: +46-971-17037 Fax: +46-971-12057 E-mail: --

For Immediate Release

Beware Of The "Taiga Terminators" - International Forest Network Targets Companies Involved In Boreal Timber Trade


Jokkmokk, Sweden--Today, Feb 22, 1995, publishers, magazines and trading companies operating in Russia, Japan, Europe and North America will be confronted by environmentalists, urging them to clean up their suppliers. This is the start of an international campaign targeting sellers and buyers of products contributing to the destruction of boreal forests. "Be aware--most paper is contaminated with endangered species and loss of their habitats. It may also be stolen goods--traditional lands of indigenous peoples," reads a warning from the Taiga Rescue Network (see note 1).

A main objective of the campaign is to reveal the "Taiga Terminators"-- the companies linking the expanding clearcuts in the north with the ordinary newspaper reader. Information on a number of such connections is included in a report (see note 2) on the production, consumption and trade of boreal wood products, released today. The report stresses that the driving force behind boreal forest exploitation is an ever increasing paper consumption. According to industry experts, paper consumption will continue to grow by another 70 percent over the next 15 years. The global search for cheap raw materials keeps increasing the pressure on the forests of the north.

One example is the Japanese Siberian Forest Development Project, involving giants such as Mitsubishi and Marubeni, aimed at increasing Japan's imports of clearcut timber from the Russian far East. "This is not a responsible way to act when bans and restrictions limit the imports from traditional suppliers, such as Indonesia and USA. We are just moving the destruction to other parts of the world. Instead, Japanese companies should direct their attention to efficient recycling programs and the actual reduction of consumption", says Paul Careless of the Japan Environmental Exchange who have been part of a demonstration in Tokyo this morning.

"The conversion of Russia into a raw material colony for the multinational timber corporations proceeds", says forestry expert Alexei Grigoriev from the Socio-Ecological Union in Russia, launching the TRN campaign in Washington D.C. One recent example is the U.S- Russian memorandum of understanding, signed last summer. The deal supports the export of US$ 4 billion worth of Russian timber over the next five years. One of the areas most likely to be targeted for logging is the remains of the unique Ussuri Taiga in the Russian Far East.

"U.S. environmentalists are committed to ensuring that foreign companies operating in Russia follow strict ecological guidelines. This means no clearcutting, and no raw log exports," says David Gordon, co-director of the Siberian Forest Protection Project, Pacific Environment and Resources Center, California. London based Women's Environmental Network demonstrates outside the Finnish Trade Center today: "If Finnish Veitsiluoto do not stop buying old growth timber from Kuusamo and other old growth forests, we will urge the publishing house IPC to cancel their contracts," says Rowan Tilly. Greenpeace Germany has recently sent letters to the four biggest magazine publishers, Springer, Burda, Gruener & Jahr and Bauer: "The publishers must finally let deeds follow their prodigious announcements," demands Greenpeace's forest expert Christoph Thies, releasing the campaign in Hamburg. "The publishers must have their paper suppliers guarantee that in the future they will not use any timber or pulp from clearcuts. Otherwise they must cancel their contracts with these paper manufacturers." "We want the world to know that the last old growth forests in Scandinavia are being logged", says Sylvia Borg of Friends of the Earth Netherlands. "Our message to Norske Skog and SCA, two main suppliers, is to stop old growth forest logging. We will negotiate with Dutch publishers and consumers until they do!" Gray Jones, Western Canada Wilderness Committee, launching the Taiga Terminators campaign in Edmonton, Canada, today says: "We stand behind the Lubicon Cree in their struggle to defend their forest from Daishowa. We also turn our eyes towards the largest on-line pulp mill in the world, the Al-Pac mill in Northern Alberta. This mill is the flagship of Mitsubishi forest operations around the world. In our opinion, it is the king of the Taiga Terminators."

Note 1: Taiga Rescue Network (TRN) is an international network of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples and Nations working for the protection and sustainable us of the Boreal Forests. It was founded 1992 at an international conference in Jokkmokk , Northern Sweden. 130 organisations , primarily in the boreal countries (Canada, Russia, Alaska/U.S., Scandinavia) and main consumer countries (Germany, U.K., the Netherlands, U.S., Japan) are formal participants of the network today. TRN has one international Coordination Center located in Jokkkmokk, Sweden.

Note 2: "The Taiga Trade - a report on the production, consumption and trade of boreal wood products" and the pamphlet "The Taiga Terminators" can be requested from the TRN Coordination Center For more information:

Taiga Rescue Network: Karin Lindahl, international co-ordinator, TRN Coordination Centre, Jokkmokk Sweden, Tel: +46-971-17039

Canada: Gray Jones, Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Edmonton, Tel: +1-403-433-5323.

England: Rowan Tilly, Womens Environmental Network, London, Tel: +44-71-3548823

Finland: Sari Kuvaja, Greenpeace Finland, Tel: +358-0-661992

Germany: Christoph Thies, Greenpeace Germany, Hamburg, Tel: +49-40-31186175, Rudolf Fenner, Robin Wood, Hamburg, Tel: +49-40-3909556

Japan: Paul Careless, Japan Environmental Exchange, Tokyo, Tel: +81-3-34492498

Norway: Gjermund Andersen, Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation, Oslo, Tel: +47-22383520

Russia: Alexei Grigoriev, Hotel Lombardy, Washington, Tel: +1-202-828-2600

Sweden: Jonas Rudberg, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Stockholm, Tel:+46-8-7026513

The Netherlands: Sylvia Borg, Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Amsterdam, Tel : +31-20-6221366

U.S.: David Gordon, Pacific Environment and Resources Center, San Francisco, +1-415-332-8200