Santiago, Chile —Chile’s government lacks the basic information, capacity and legal power to stop endangered forest destruction in Chile, according to a new report by Miguel Fredes, the Director of Centro Austral de Derecho Ambiental (CEADA). U.S. environmental organization ForestEthics released the report today as part of an international campaign to stop the destruction of Chile’s endangered native forests. Based on government data, over the next 10-15 years more than 2.5 million acres of Chile’s native forests will be destroyed. The campaign to protect these forests has been front-page news in Chile because wood is the third largest sector of the Chilean economy and the U.S. is the largest purchaser of Chilean wood.
“The Chilean government is protecting corporate profits instead of our forests," said Miguel Fredes, director of Centro Austral de Derecho Ambiental (CEADA) in Santiago. "Our trading partners in the U.S. should know the truth about the environmental tragedy that is happening here."
Mr. Fredes’s report is based upon admissions signed by Carlos Weber, Executive Director of Corporacion Nacional Forestal (CONAF), the only agency that is responsible for protecting Chile’s native forests. Among the admissions disclosed in the report are:
The Chilean Government does not have information about where new tree farms are replacing native forests in the region containing the largest remaining areas of Chile’s unique “siempre verde” (forever green) forests that include the world’s second largest temperate rainforest. In that same region, for every 900,000 acres of native forest, there is only 1 person who is "principally devoted" to enforcement of native forest regulations. For its enforcement activities, the Chilean Government uses an outdated definition of "native forest" that leaves many native forests outside the government’s jurisdiction. Chile's Government has not assessed the ecological or social importance of the country’s native forests.
“This report stigmatizes all wood from Chile and signals grave trouble for the Chilean wood industry. Unlike the Chilean government, American consumers will not participate in the destruction of endangered forests,” said Aaron Sanger, Director of the Wood Campaign at ForestEthics.
ForestEthics protects endangered forests and supports the communities that rely on those forests by changing the way that paper and wood are made and used in America. For more information and to view the full report, please visit www.forestethics.org.
For a faxed copy of the admission signed by the Chilean government, please contact Aaron Sanger – firstname.lastname@example.org, (U.S.) 541.738.9238.