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Canada: out-of-control forest fires in the tar sands region

Forest fires in Alberta, Canada, are now out of control. According to the government, the fire is devouring about 17,500 hectares or forests. There are 70 fires across Alberta, 19 of which are burning out of control, and they are now approaching the oil sand facilities. As oil companies are evacuating the area, oil production felled of about 15 per cent. Oil sands (also called tar sands or bituminous sands) are sands or sandstone containing a mixture of sand, clay, water and bitumen. While international prices of oil are rising, exploitation of tar sands is becoming more and more economically rewarding. However as sands's impacts on the environment are serious: air and soil pollution, deforestation and green-house emissions. 

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Canada and Russia deforestation champions?

Not very long ago, tropical countries like Indonesia and Brazil has been identified as the places where the worst deforestation was going on. According to new data from Global Forest Watch, now deforestation is decreasing in the tropics, while it is increasing on the boreal hemisphere, especially in Russia, Canada and the U.S. 
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Brazil: Amazon Indian killed by illegal loggers

An indigenous health worker in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has been killed in an ambush by gunmen thought to be loggers, according to Survival. Eusébio Ka’apor was shot in the back by two hooded men while traveling on a motorbike. He succumbed to his injuries two hours later while his companion sought help. The Ka’apor’s territory has been heavily invaded by illegal loggers for years, and the tribespeople believe that the assassins were also loggers. Soon after the incident, Eusébio’s son was stopped by a well-known logger and warned that other indigenous people could die too.

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West Papua oil palm atlas portrays industry's explosion in region

(Mongabay.com) There's a saying in the Indonesian palm oil industry: Sumatra is yesterday, Kalimantan is today, and Papua is tomorrow. Tomorrow might well have arrived. A new report sheds light on the industry's rapid expansion in Indonesia's easternmost region – and on the companies behind the plantation drive.  Read more ...

Bangladesh:Illegal logging rampant in Bandarban’s reserved forests

Wood smugglers are cutting down trees in Bandarban’s reserved forest areas on a grand scale, causing extensive damage to the tracts, with the connivance of forest officials of Bandarban Forest Division. From 1981 to 2012, thousands of acres of land in Bandarban Sadar, Ruma, Thanchi and Roangchhari were afforested under government plans. A variety of trees were planted in the areas but the tracts now appear almost deserted. In some places, there are only signboards with the message “reserved forest area” but there are barely any trees.

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WWF: Eleven places in the world will account for over 80 per cent of global deforestation

Up to 170 million hectares of forest could be lost between 2010 and 2030 in these "deforestation fronts", if current trends continue, according to findings in the latest chapter of WWF’s Living Forests Report series. The fronts are located in the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest and Gran Chaco, Borneo, the Cerrado, Choco-Darien, the Congo Basin, East Africa, Eastern Australia, Greater Mekong, New Guinea and Sumatra.  Read more ...

How many more?

Each week at least two people are being killed for taking a stand against environmental destruction. Some are shot by police during protests, others gunned down by hired assassins. As companies go in search of new land to exploit, increasingly people are paying the ultimate price for standing in their way. According to a recent report released by Global Witness, “How many more?”, at least 116 environmental activists were murdered in 2014 - that's almost double the number of journalists killed in the previous year in the same period.  Read more ...

Brazil, deforestation is coming back

It is official: according to government’s data, deforestation in the Amazon is increasing, compared to one year ago. Institute for Space Research (INPE) released new data based on satellite analysis, that deforestation has been 63 percent higher in 2014, compared to the previous year. According to the environmental organization Imazon, forest destruction has been much higher if selective logging and fire are taken into account: 161 percent more that the previous year.

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Six Colombian Indians killed by intruders

At least six Colombian Indians have been shot dead near their homes in western Colombia. According to Survival, the shootings took place in the communities of Agua Bonita and Agua Clara in Cauca province on Thursday 16 April. The perpetrators remain unknown.

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Guatemalan activist murdered near mine site

Earlier this month, environmental activist, Telésforo Odilo Pivaral Gonzalez, was killed by unknown assailants who shot him five times. The father of six children (ages 1-11), Pivaral Gonzalez had actively opposed a conflict-ridden Escobal silver mine project run by Canadian company, Tahoe Resources, and its local subsidiary, Minera San Rafael SA. 

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Aspen forests threatened by climate change

The forests of aspen (Populus tremuloides) growing on mountainsides of the American West could be North America are likely to disappear, if emissions of greenhouse gases continue at a high level, scientists warned on Monday. A study recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience, analyzed of drought and heat waves that have killed millions of aspens in Colorado and nearby states over the past decade. Such conditions could become routine across much of the West by the 2050s unless global emissions are brought under control, the study found.

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Crazy weather ...

Are leaves and buds developing earlier in the spring? And do leaves stay on the trees longer in autumn? Do steppe ecosystems remain green longer and are the savannas becoming drier and drier? In fact, over recent decades, the growing seasons have changed everywhere around the world. This was determined by a doctoral candidate at the Goethe University as part of an international collaboration based on satellite data. The results are expected to have consequences for agriculture, interactions between species, the functioning of ecosystems, and the exchange of carbon dioxide and energy between the land surface and the atmosphere.

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Post-it deforestation-free

After years of campaign by Greenpeace and ForestEthics, 3M announced a new sustainability policy that will ensure that the maker of Post-it Notes will have a minimal impact on forests, wildlife and human rights. 3M’s paper-based products and packaging require pulp and paper from sources around the world. Working in collaboration with ForestEthics and Greenpeace, the company launched a review of all of its pulp and paper procurement expectations to ensure its materials are produced from sustainably-logged timber. 3M will now hold paper and pulp suppliers accountable to one of the highest standards in the industry for environmental protection and respect of human rights.

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Community Forests create more jobs than industry

The British Columbia Community Forest Association has released a report showing that community forests in the province are creating 50 per cent more jobs per cubic meter than the industry average. They are contributing on average $1.6 million a year to the economy, and are making donations of over $100,000 each year to support local priorities.

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İstanbul’s northern forests under threat with law amendment

A 2014 amendment (EK9) to the forestry law allows for building operating and transfer of rights in forest zones for free to any company who wins the procurement tender for highways and roads. The amendment puts vast forest areas around the north of İstanbul, where a new bridge and airport are being built, under threat.

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Brazilian peasants's protes stop transgenic trees

Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) occupied the place where the National Technical Biosafety Commission would vote the introduction of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees planting into the country. Meanwhile, in Itapetininga, 1,000 woman from the landless movement occupied the plant of the major company dealing with transgenic Eucalyptus, FuturaGene.

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Iran: Khamenei exposing land-grabbing and deforestation

Iran’s religious Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, considered as moribund, appeared in public to denounce the rampant “land-grabbing,” that is decimating Iranian forests: individuals use their access to government officials to illegally privatize forests and mountains environment.

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Nordic forests in the safe

A new method for the conservation of the genetic diversity of forest trees was launched last month in Finland: forest tree seeds are for the first time stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on the Spitsbergen Island, protected by permafrost. Conserving the genetic resources of forest trees is part of the mandate of the Natural Resources Institute Finland.

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Somalia: terrorism and grilled forests

Militant terrorist group Al-Shabaab funds itself, in part, through the illegal production and sale of charcoal, turning Somalia’s trees into “black gold.” Because areas of the country controlled by the group aren’t accessible to researchers, it’s difficult to determine just how many trees are cut down to fuel Al-Shabaab’s violent agenda. So Michele Bolognesi, a researcher at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, decided to use satellite imagery to solve that problem. His team's results were recently published in the scientific journal Energy for Sustainable Development.

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Indonesia: brutal murder at APP concession

On Friday, Indra Kailani (23) of Lubuk Mandarsah was killed by security guards hired by Asia Pulp & Paper sister company PT. Wirakarya Sakti (WKS) in Bukit Tigapuluh landscape, Jambi Province, Sumatra. On the day of the murder, “Tebo Farmers Group (Serikat Petani Tebo)” including the village was organizing a rice harvest festival. Indra came to a security post in the District 8 of WKSconcession to pick up Nick Karim of Walhi Jambi to join the festival, then the security guards started to quarrel with Indra, then at least 7 security guards started to beat him up. Walhi Jambi reported that Nick asked one security guard to help Indra from the brutal attack, but the guard rejected it. Nick then left the post to inform his colleagues and villagers of the incident. By the time Nick returned with roughly 30 villagers, Indra was missing and the security officer on duty denied knowing anything about the incident.

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Will the bird's nest fern save the world's rainforests?

Scientists from the University of theUniversity of West of England (UWE Bristol)  believe that the bird's nest fern, a plant commonly found in many of our homes, has a critical place in maintaining the biodiversity and the ecosystems of the world's rainforests. The scientists are dividing their time between the rainforests of Borneo and the 'natural laboratory' of the rainforest biome at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

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Deforestation: Indonesian paper mill exposed again

Greenpeace released a new set of photos documenting Indonesian rainforest destruction by the paper giant Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL). The video was shot in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo. It shows APRIL's bulldozers systematically destroying ancient rainforest.

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Indigenous lands: Brazilian government exposed

In a struggle between a Brazilian indigenous tribe and the federal government over two dams that would flood lands claimed by the tribe, a federal judge ruled that the government must immediately publish its report delineating the tribe’s territory that has been withheld for more than a year. But under pressure from the administration of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the Indigenous Affairs Agency FUNAI (the federal agency responsible for indigenous people) and the Ministry of Justice have refused to officially publish the report, stalling demarcation. This is why the Munduruku indigenous people decided to start the demarcation of their own land. The hidden report has been however leaked by Agência Pública, an investigative journalism project. 

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Zero deforestation, what's wrong?

About a third of the wood used by Indonesia’s forestry industry came from clear-cutting natural forests and other illegal sources in 2014, according to a study released on Tuesday. Raw material from illegal sources used by pulp and paper mills exceeded legal supply by the equivalent of 20 million cubic meters last year, according to a report by Washington D.C.-based Forest Trends and the Anti Forest-Mafia Coalition, which groups Indonesian civil society organizations. With the two major Indonesian paper company claiming to have a “Zero Deforestation” policy in place, something looks to be wrong.

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Global forests: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Rainforest distraction: who are the bad guys and who are the good guys? Which companies are driving deforestation by using impacting row materials, and which companies adopted safe practices to avoid any link with deforestation throughout their supply chain? The Canadian organization Canopy present Foreste 500, a system to identify, rank, and track for the first time the governments, companies and financial institutions worldwide that together could virtually eradicate tropical deforestation.

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Indonesia, APP under scrutiny

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) released today first independent evaluation of its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) by the Rainforest Alliance. The evaluation concludes that the company has made moderate progress towards meeting its commitments, but it also highlight a number of shortcoming that need to be addressed.

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The future of paper

Everyone in Europe, North America and China uses paper numerous times every day and yet we mostly take it for granted. This film will help people to make the connection between their own daily consumption and the impacts it has on forests, people, the global climate and water. But it also suggest an alternativa, a vision for the future, where everybody has access to paper, and paper production is free from deforestation, land-grabbing, pollution and other negative impacts. 

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Indonesia: deforestation for paper continues

One year ago the second largest Indonesian paper company APRIL published a “Sustainable Forest Management Policy”, to try to regain customers it had lost because of its unsustainable impacts on the environment, on local communities and on the global climate. But NGOs say the policy doesn’t address APRIL’s impacts, and has not even been properly implemented. Deforestation and social conflict continues.

‘After one year, we really do not see the significance of their policy. The commitments and the realities do not make sense. They are simply implementing business as usual,’ said Muslim Rasyid, Coordinator of Jikalahari, in a note published by Eyes on the Forest.

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Uganda’s shrinking forests

A parliamentary commission wants the management at the National Forestry Authority to take action against the destruction of national natural forests.  The committee criticizes the Authority’s soft handling the encroachers that have devastated the country’s natural resource, and blamed the ineffectiveness of the NFA staff.

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Amazon tribe attacks oilfield in Ecuador

Indigenous leaders are calling for the release of six tribesmen implicated in a raid on an oilfield in Eastern Ecuador that left six soldiers injured, reports Andina and El Comercio. On January 6th a group of Waorani (Huaroani) tribesmen armed with spears, bows and arrows, blowguns, and firearms seized a facility run by Petrobell in Arajuno canton, in Pastaza province. The action shut down production at the oilfield, which normally produces 3,200 barrels a day.

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India's tigers come roaring back

India’s tiger population has significantly increased according to the 2014-15 India tiger estimation report released today. Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in numbers– from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,226 in 2014. The increase in the tiger population can be largely attributed to better management and improved protection within tiger reserves and other tiger bearing protected areas. Poaching remains the greatest threat to wild tigers today with tiger parts in high demand throughout Asia.

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Papua, brutal crackdown on the highlands

On January 7, hundreds of police and soldiers assaulted the highland village of Utikini following the killing of two police officers and a security guard from the mine. Pictures taken by soldiers, show Papuan men stripped to their waists with their hands tied behind their backs. Villagers reported to Survival International that 116 Papuans were arrested, including 48 women and 3 children. The police interrogated and tortured many of them. Twelve remain in police custody.

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Amazon: the true price of gold

A global "gold rush" has led to a significant increase of deforestation in the tropical forests of South America. This is according to new research publish yesterday, 14 January, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, which has highlighted the growing environmental impact of gold mining in some of the most biologically diverse regions in the tropics. Researchers from the University of Puerto Rico have shown that between 2001 and 2013, around 1680 km2 of tropical forest was lost in South America as a result of gold mining, which increased from around 377 km2 to 1303km2 since the global economic crisis in 2007.

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India: forest fires in north-Kashmir

Devastating fires have destroyed dozens of acres of dense forest cover at multiple places in north Kashmir’s Kehmil, Zangli and Karnah forest divisions damaging region’s ecology, devouring fir trees besides the medicinal herbs, and threatening tribes living in the foothills of affected areas. The residents immediately informed the forest officials but their “half-hearted” measures couldn’t contain the fires. “A couple of forest employees today came to the area to control the fire but in the absence of required machinery and appropriate manpower, the officials failed to control the raging fires,” said the resident Mohammad Anwar to the local media.

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NASA: tropical forests are absorbing more carbon

 According to a recent study led by NASA, tropical forests are absorbing more carbon dioxide than many scientists thought. The content of the study is reported by

 Science Daily. Lo studio stima che le foreste tropicali assorbono 1,4 miliardi di tonnellate di anidride carbonica, su un assorbimento totale globale di 2,5 miliardi - più di quanta venga assorbita dalle foreste boreali di Canada, Siberia e in altre regioni del nord. The study estimates that tropical forests absorb 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide out of a total global absorption of 2.5 billion - more than is absorbed by forests in Canada, Siberia and other northern regions, called boreal forests.

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Palm oil plantation crime drives illegal logging in Indonesia

The clear-cutting of forests to make way for oil palm plantations is driving a wave of illegal logging in Indonesia, fundamentally undermining efforts to bring much-needed reform to the nation’s forestry and timber sectors. A new report released today by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Permitting Crime: How palm oil expansion drives illegal logging in Indonesia, reveals how a widespread culture of corruption and poor law enforcement is generating a flood of illicit timber as plantations surge into frontier forests.

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Thailand: new forestry plan, old abuses dressed up in new clothes

In July Thailand’s Internal Security Operations Command and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment released the new ‘Forestry Master Plan’ (FMP). Formally, the plan aims to address deforestation and forest degradation, with a target to “increase the forest cover” in Thailand from its current level of 33% of the country (17.1 million hectares) to 40% (20.5 million hectares) within 10 years. In reality however, the plan aims to relocate local communities to make space to monoculture plantations of fast-growing tree species such as eucalyptus

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Malaysia: Chief Minister exposed

An investigation video released by Global Witness provides undercover footage of the corruption and illegality at the heart of governance in Sarawak, Malaysia’s largest state, on the island of Borneo. For over thirty years, Sarawak has been governed by Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, who controls all land classification, forestry and plantation licenses in the state. Under his tenure, Sarawak has experienced some of the most intense rates of logging seen anywhere in the world. 

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Russia: Ikea halts deforestation in Karelia

Ikea's wholly-owned subsidiary Swedwood (now called Ikea Industry) reported that it has ceased its logging operations in the last remaining old-growth forests of the northern Russian region of Karelia to move them in the Tikhvin region. Karelia is home to one of Europe's last old-growth forests and Swedwood had logging operations on 700,000 acres in the region, provided it avoids old trees and does not clear steep slopes, which erode without tree cover.

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Mekong Delta: mangrove forests at high risk

A report from the forest development department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development shows that Vietnam has 166,000 hectares of mangrove forests, 60 percent less than in the 1940s. Nhu Van Ky, a senior official of the department, said the coastal mangrove protective forests were being decimated because of the shrimp hatchery movement. More and more shrimp ponds have been built in the provinces of Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau, while large areas of forests in the localities have been cleared.

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Increasing oil palm yields may not help to conserve tropical forests

High-yielding oil palm crops meant to spare forests could in fact lead to an increase in deforestation, warn scientists. With the world’s population expected to expand to nine billion by 2050, ensuring we produce enough food whilst conserving biodiversity and protecting the environment is becoming a major challenge.

 

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Deforestation, development may be driving Ebola outbreaks, experts say

As the deadliest-ever Ebola outbreak continues its spread in West Africa, evidence suggests that human impact on the environment may have played a role in the latest epidemic. Researchers say the logging, road construction and even global warming may have precipitated the crisis by bringing animals infected with the disease in closer contact with humans.

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Indonesia: deforestation is going on at APRIL concessions

A new report released today by the Indonesian coalition Eyes on the Forest present the findings of a new field investigation at APRIL concession (PT RAPP) in the Pulau Padang Island. The report confirms the findings by a joint field expedition organized by European, Chinese and North American EPN (Environmental Paper Network) last September.

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Unique Kenyan forest at risk from oil and gas exploration

The largest remaining protected fragment of the East African Coastal forest– Arabuko-Sokoke Forest - is facing a new threat: seismic surveys for oil and gas. Home to four globally endangered mammals and six globally threatened birds. Because of its is globally recognized as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, Endemic Bird Area and Global Biodiversity Hotspot, the forest has been placed on Kenya's candidate list for UNESCO World Heritage status because of its exceptional features

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US paper mills in black liquor hangover

After the Obama Administration has enabled U.S. paper companies to pocket an estimated $25 billion in black liquor tax credits the past six years, now they want more. The paper industry’s trade association hailed the recent Republican election victories as a sign of “Americans’ real appetite for change in Washington, D.C.”

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The stolen forests of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is home to the world’s third largest expanse of rainforest, but they are now threatened by the largest land grab in modern history, covering around 12% of the country’s landmass. A new briefing by Global Witness shows that in recent years around US$100 million worth of timber is being exported from land that the PNG government has leased under a scheme intended to allow communities to develop their land for agriculture. 

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Switzerland: children books linked to deforestation

Among a total of 50 books tested by WWF Switzerland, five books contained “tropical mixed fibre”. This means that this paper has been made with tropical natural forest. WWF Switzerland bought 50 books in bookshops and kiosks and sent them to the “Institute for Paper Science and Technology” at the University of Darmstadt (Germany) to test their content. The results are troubling: the content of Mixed Tropical Timber ranges from 8 to 15 percent.

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More illegal Amazon timber for Europe

A French flagged ship carrying illegal timber form the Amazon forest. The timber of Ipe, is to be unloaded and transported later to Belgium, to two timber trading companies "Lemahieu" and “Omniplex” . The timber is sold to them by another company in Belgium, "Leary Forest Products", on behalf of Brazilian sawmill and exporter "Rainbow Trading".

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100 million hectares of intact forest area degraded since 2000

New analysis and maps released today reveal the alarming speed at which the world’s largest expanses of forest wilderness are being degraded. More than 104 million hectares – an area three times the size of Germany – of the world’s remaining Intact Forest Landscapes were degraded from 2000 to 2013. Greenpeace, University of Maryland and Transparent World, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute and WWF-Russia, used satellite technology and advanced techniques to conduct a global analysis to determine the location and extent of the world's last remaining large undisturbed forests, called Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs).

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Cambodian activists: illegal logging ravaging last forests

Forestry activists in Cambodia say illegal logging is putting the country's last major forests in jeopardy. Activists gathered in Phnom Penh Wednesday told reporters that just this year alone, at least 55,000 tons of luxury wood were sent to China as part of what they allege is a “systematic” trade that includes the participation of high-ranking officials and security forces.

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