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  November/December 2000 Features:
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Sierra Magazine
Lay of the Land

Russia's Green Menace | For the Record | Wilderness blackmail | Naming Clearcutters | Crashing WTO's party | Roads to Nowhere | Bold Strokes | UPDATES

Clearcut Anonymity

If a damning report on global deforestation is not published, does it make a noise? The answer, thankfully, is yes.

The wood chips hit the fan when a sanitized version of a 1997 report sponsored by the European Commission and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) was published in June, after being suppressed. According to the report's co-author, Nigel Sizer of the World Resources Institute, the EC worried about being sued by the transnationals singled out by name for devastating "mining" of huge tracts of forest in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Asian Pacific. The WWF was reportedly concerned that its offices would be closed down in the 11 nations in which the report's authors advocate logging moratoriums.

The original report noted a shift in global logging investment from American, European, and Japanese firms to Asian firms based in Malaysia and Indonesia, which it charged with bribing local officials. In the edited version, all names of offending companies have been deleted.

The original version of "Increased Investment and Trade by Transnational Logging Companies in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific" is available at

by Marilyn Berlin Snell

Roads to Nowhere

U.S. taxpayers shell out over $1 billion a year for the pleasure of seeing their national forests plundered. Much of that expense has financed the construction of 446,000 miles of erosion-causing, fish-killing logging roads.

How much road is that?

  • Enough to circle the earth 17 times.
  • Nearly 10 times as much as in the entire federal interstate highway system.
  • A 51-year hike, if you walked 8 hours a day every day.

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