Environmentalists slam forest congress

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Environmentalists are slamming what they call misleading definitions in the forestry sector. They have been speaking at a counter-conference running parallel to the 14th World Forestry Congress in Durban.

DURBAN - Environmentalists are slamming what they call misleading definitions in the forestry sector.

They say existing terminology allows for abuse of the system. 

They have been speaking at a counter-conference running parallel to the 14th World Forestry Congress in Durban.

Wally Menne from the Timberwatch Coalition says, "We believe what the FAO is doing, it&39;s a farce to call a plantation a forest. It needs to be called something more honest".

Environmentalists from across the world are slamming the use of what they say are misleading definitions in the forestry sector. 

They believe referring to plantations as forests allows industry to abuse the system. 

Menne adds, "When you plant alien species, that are intended to be there only for a few years before they get cut down and then transported to a pulp mill or a saw mill and then turned into waste, it certainly does not make any contribution whatsoever to reducing emissions or reducing climate change."

"When you do a full analysis of timber plantations, you will find that they actually result in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions because of all the industrial activity that takes place".

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is the custodian of over 40 million hectares of forests in South Africa.

Moreover, the  sector employs nearly 170,000 workers and provides livelihood support to over 650,000 people in rural areas, but NGO’s have disputed the pictorial lifeline that the industry is providing to communities, saying much the land around pulp and paper mills becomes polluted.

NGO’s plan to hand over a 100,000 strong petition to conference leaders.

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