EU Considers Ban on Illegal Timber

BRUSSELS, June 18 (UPI) — In an effort to slow global deforestation, the European Union will consider a ban on illegal timber to begin in 2012, authorities say.

Members of the European Parliament and the European Council reached a provisional agreement Wednesday that there should be a “prohibition” on illegal timber in the EU, BBC News reported.

Almost 40 percent of the world’s wood production is estimated to come from illegally logged tropical forests, the BBC said.

Under the proposed ban, companies would be required to use “due diligence” in tracing the sources of their harvested timber.

“Substantial penalties would apply in cases of non-compliance, which could be calculated on the basis of environmental damage caused,” the European Parliament said in a statement.

Supporters of a ban applauded the provisional agreement.

“The world’s largest market is about to shut its gates to companies pro?ting from illegal trafficking and forest destruction,” said Sebastien Risso, forest policy director for Greenpeace EU.

“The black market for wood products is often run by criminals fueling con?ict, robbing governments of revenue and causing irreversible environmental destruction,” Risso said.

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