16 October 2007

New York Goes Green With Shame

Not really my patch, but I'd expected better from NYC:

But the market for Ipé wood drives much of the industrial logging of the entire Amazon, and has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. An emergent flowering tree, which peppers the canopy of the Amazonian rainforest in hues of pink, magenta, yellow and white, Ipé grows in the rainforests at densities of only one or two trees an acre. This means that vast areas of the forests are razed to the ground to feed the market for a single tree. It is estimated that, for every Ipé tree cut, 28 other trees must be cut and are thrown away. For New York City's 10 miles of boardwalk alone, over 110,500 acres (130 square miles) of old growth Amazon rainforest were logged.

Even more shocking, most of this logging is illegal. According to Scott Paul, Greenpeace forest issues specialist, in 2006 90 percent of Brazilian deforestation was the result of illegal logging operations. Many logging businesses are run by criminal syndicates and compliant government officials. This fact is hardly a secret: In 2000, the Brazilian government's own estimates indicated that 80 percent of the hardwood exported from that country was illegally harvested. Briefing papers prepared by Rainforest Relief about the criminality and environmental impact of the city's wood procurement policies were provided to the Bloomberg administration.

But despite rampant illegality, climate change and mass extinction, Bloomberg's administration persists in procuring wood from tropical rainforests. And it is not just the Parks Department, but a number of city agencies which have largely ignored proposals for existing economically and environmentally sound alternatives.

This, surely, is a case ripe for blogosphere noise. (And yes, I know Blog Action Day was yesterday, but better late than never.)

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