Timber in Conflict

Picture credit: flickr.com/DHWright

Rampant timber exploitation has not only destroyed the environment but also funded illegal arms deals and fueled bloody civil wars and regional instability. Extensive forest destruction throughout the world has had severe social and economic consequences for indigenous peoples, leading to rights violations, communal conflict and harsh repression by governments and timber companies.

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UN Documents


Report of the Panel of Experts pursuant to Security Council resolution 1343 (2001), paragraph 19, concerning Liberia (October 26, 2001)

This "name and shame" report reveals ongoing arms trafficking and sanctions violations in Liberia, and recommends additional sanctions on its "flag of convenience" shipping register and certain types of logging.


Diamonds, Rubber and Forests in the New Liberia (July 2007)

To reform Liberia's natural resource sector, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf created institutions like the Public Procurement and Contracts Commission and the Foreign Concession Review Committee, which evaluate contracts with companies such as Mittal Steel and Firestone Rubber. But to ensure that resources fuel development and not conflict, Liberia should analyze the past role of resources in its economy. Further, governmental agencies should form a cohesive position on management of Liberia's gold, diamonds, timber and other resource assets. (Partnership Africa Canada and the Association of Environmental Lawyers of Liberia)

"Cautiously Optimistic: the Case for Maintaining Sanctions in Liberia" (June 2006)

Global Witness warns the Security Council against lifting sanctions on Liberian diamonds and timber. Liberian President Ellen Johnston Sirleaf asked the UN to lift the sanctions, providing a much needed boost to Liberia's damaged economy. However, the new government has still not gained full control over these resources from former militiamen. In the past the revenue from the diamond and timber industries funded rebel groups and fueled the conflict in the county. The report recognizes the efforts by Monrovia to better regulate the trade in diamonds and timber, and stresses that its recommendations are designed to support these reforms.

A Choice for China: Ending the Destruction of Burma's Frontier Forests (October 2005)

China, the world's second largest wood importer, is plundering vast portions of forests in Burma, reports Global Witness. The cross-border timber trade results in an annual loss of around $250 million to the Burmese people. Revenue from timber has funded conflict in northern Burma between the Burmese army and local militias trying to control the trade, disabling Burma's development and political progress. Global Witness calls on China to live up to its responsibility as a regional and global power and halt the damaging trade.

Dangerous Liaisons (December 8, 2004)

This Global Witness report examines how "armed nonstate actors" in Liberia use diamonds and timber profits to undermine security and fuel conflict throughout the region. The Liberian government lacks control over its natural resources and has yet to implement industry reforms. In addition, the government police force and UN peacekeepers have failed to monitor Liberia's borders effectively, allowing traffickers to repeatedly violate sanctions. Global Witness calls for continued embargoes on natural resources, better border controls, as well as industry reforms and independent monitoring practices.

Resource Curse or Cure? Reforming Liberia's Governance and Logging Industry (September 14, 2004)

This Global Witness policy briefing urges the Security Council to maintain the Liberian embargo, saying that lifting sanctions will undermine long-term stability in the region. The Liberian government has not reined in armed combatants who continue to control and exploit timber revenue to fuel conflict.

The Role of Liberia's Logging Industry on National and Regional Insecurity (January 2001)

This Global Witness report briefs and urges the Security Council to expand the embargo to include Liberian timber. There is also a link to the updated report from May 2001.

Against the People, For the Resources (September 2003)

This Global Witness briefing document highlights the continuing ties between the Liberian government, the timber industry and international arms dealers. It also weighs in on proposed Security Council measures to provide humanitarian aid including a "wood-for-food" program.

Global Witness, ITF Cite Liberia's "Infringements" of UN Sanctions (October 1, 2001)

Global Witness and the International Transport Workers Federation denounce that Liberia not only violates UN sanctions, but also has adopted various other means of circumventing the sanctions, especially in the timber industry. (Perspective)

Zimbabwe's Resource Colonialism Threatens Peace Process (August 26, 2001)

As this Global Witness report reveals, the Zimbabwe government has brokered a secret deal for the exploitation of the DRC's timber resources. Zimbabwe appears to have no intention of withdrawing its troops from the DRC in the foreseeable future, thus threatening the Lusaka Peace Process

The Role of the Liberia's Logging Industry on National and Regional Insecurity (January 2001)

This Global Witness report briefs and urges the Security Council to expand the embargo to include Liberian timber. There is also a link to the updated report from May 2001.


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China Timber Trade "Fuels Climate Change" (December 5, 2011)

The illegal destruction of forests causes global warming. In November 2012, The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reported that China is the biggest international consumer of illegal timber. Over the last two decades, China has imported large volumes of its timber, most of which was logged and traded illegally. According to the EIA, China has refused to stop exploiting illegal international timber trading. China has advocated for a second commitment period for Kyoto and has committed to keeping carbon emission growth levels below economic growth. Such double standards are typical of states which are supposedly committed to the Kyoto protocol and global warming prevention. The commitment of large developing nations to renewed Kyoto talks will be crucial in the coming years to encourage the sustainable use of natural resources. (Al Jazeera)


Saving the Forests with Indigenous Knowledge (December 9, 2011)

The Laibon community, a sub-tribe of the Maasai ethnic group in Kenya, considers the Loita Forest in the Rift Valley Province as more than just a forest. It symbolizes a shrine and their cultural heritage. Their ancient techniques and indigenous knowledge are meant to preserve forests and wildlife. That is why representatives of the indigenous communities have attended the Durban Conference. Their conservation efforts must be recognized as part of the climate change mitigation and adaption efforts. They are essential for the preservation of the environment. (IPS Terraviva)

China’s Appetite for Wood Takes a Heavy Toll on Forests (November 17, 2011)

China has become the biggest global consumer of tropical timber, importing more than half of all timber being shipped world-wide. But the predatory behavior of Chinese companies leads to social inequity and environmental damage, without being beneficial to local population in developing countries. Moreover, China is importing huge amounts of illegal timber. Environmental groups are now trying to set up boycotts against companies involved in the trade of illegal timber. (Yale Environment 360)

Saving Ancient Walnut Forests in the Valleys of Central Asia (September 8, 2011)

The fertile Fergana Valley in Kyrgyzstan is home to ancient walnut forests, an extremely important resource for the population living in the area. During the Soviet Union, the government applied strict rules protecting these forests. But after 1991, Kyrgyzstan faced economic difficulties and harsh winters that led to the forest’s degradation. Since 1995, UNDP in Kyrgyzstan and international experts has launched a forestry project, aimed at improving Kyrgyz forests management and collaborating with the local population. The project has already contributed to boost the economy of the region and the walnut forests are expanding. (Yale Environment 360)

A Huge Oil Palm Plantation Puts African Rainforest at Risk (September 2, 2011)

Palm oil companies have recently shown a strong interest in developing their activities in Africa. Herakles Farms, a US firm, is planning a massive palm oil plantation in Cameroon, located close to four protected areas. According to environmental groups, this project constitutes a direct threat to Africa’s wildlife and will eventually replace forests as well as small farms. This will disrupt the life of the local population, who depend heavily on the neighboring forests. Herakles Farms argues that this initiative will contribute to economic development and food security while respecting environmental standards. However, it seems more likely that this project will lead to irremediable environmental damage. (Yale Environment 360)

A Battle is under Way for the Forests of Borneo (August 21, 2011)

Indonesia, and in particular the island of Borneo, is plagued by deforestation. Palm oil companies are dispossessing local inhabitants of their historic land and damaging the environment. This threatens indigenous population whose survival and way of life depend on the forest. This article points out the endemic corruption problems in Indonesia as officials illegally grant land to their supporters. (Npr.org)

Massive UN-Supported African Palm Plantations Leading to Oppression, Kidnapping and Murder (February 4, 2011)

The Arguan Valley in Honduras is a rich agricultural center with numerous African palm plantations. Many of the palm tree farms are receiving subsidies from the UN and other international organizations, as they theoretically reduce carbon emissions. Violent clashes between peasant organizations and the landowning companies in the valley have been escalating recently as they compete for the land. (Alter Net)



The Human Cost of Georgia's Fir Tree Business (December 22, 2010)

The European Christmas Tree industry relies on fir cones from Georgia, which provide the seeds for the holiday tree. The industry turns a highly lucrative profit, but most of the Georgian workers who harvest the cones see a very small share of the profits. The companies that purchase the fir cones provide little support and no safety equipment to the workers, who scale 100 foot pine trees to collect the cones. Several Danish companies are working to create a more transparent industry where Georgian workers have safe conditions for dangerous work and are receiving their share of the profits. (Spiegel Online)

Sustainable Palm Oil: Rainforest Savior or Fig Leaf? (November 30, 2010)

Palm oil, the largest source of vegetable oil in the world, is used in almost half of packaged goods sold in the world. But the production of palm oil is very destructive because it leads to clear cutting of rainforests, which are then replaced with oil palm trees. Critics of the expanding industry are concerned that deforestation will continue, even though significant amounts of land have already been cleared but not yet turned into palm oil plantations.  The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an organization of environmentalists and palm oil growers, is working to encourage oversight of the industry and push corporations to be more socially responsible in production and consumption of palm oil. (AlterNet)

Peru: Illegal Mahogany Logging Continues in Reserve for Uncontacted Tribes (July 2010)

The mahogany industry in Peru has been logging in areas that are protected for indigenous tribes. The logging industry moved into these areas in order to raise profits by securing more mahogany, which is high in demand in Western countries, especially the United States. Companies are also challenging the rights of local indigenous people to the land in order to open up more land for logging. Loggers in the area are changing the environment and forcing the local tribes into greater contact with each other and the outside world, which has already sparked violence. The illegal logging requires that the trees be "laundered" for export approval, which indicates complicity on the part of the Peruvian government. (Upper Amazon Conservancy)

A Kimberley Process for Wood? (July 15, 2010)

Experts have compared illegal trade in timber to the illegal trade in diamonds that fuels conflict. A new report from Chatham House, a UK think-tank, studies measures taken by five emerging economies to curb illegal logging. The report concludes that although these measures have more than halved illegal logging, developed countries continue to import illegal wood through processing countries like China. This research along with political statements from the G8 that timber has been "fuelling conflicts" have suggested the need for an initiative to regulate the timber trade that is similar to the Kimberley Process regulating diamonds. (IRIN)

Ghana in the Vanguard of New Logging Laws (July 1, 2010)

Although illegal logging activities are thought to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually and have generated funds to sustain conflict in the past, laws regulating the industry are conspicuously deficient. The European Union has been developing laws to regulate logging in conjunction with exporting countries. Although negotiations are progressing and countries like Ghana have made meaningful steps toward guaranteeing legally-produced timber, observers have emphasized that legal agreements alone are not enough. Without the appropriate independent monitoring structures in place, legal certifications may be no more than "just paper." (IRIN)

Palm Oil Deal ‘a Threat to the Rainforest' (February 9, 2010)

The European Commission's "Renewable Energy Directive" (RED) plans to increase the amount of palm oil used in cars and power stations, despite the grave environmental consequences. The RED states that the ten-percent of transportation fuel in the EU should come from renewable sources. This statement in itself is welcome; however, a large proportion will come from bio-fuels. The mass cultivation of bio-fuels has disastrous consequences for the environment, including deforestation and loss of biodiversity.  (Independent)

Trouble for Palm Oil (January 7, 2010)

Western corporations become increasingly doubtful about the environmental sustainability of palm oil. Unilever, on December 11th, deferred a $32 million contract with the Sinar Mas Group until it can verify that it is not contributing to deforestation. Alan Oxley of World Growth predictably argues that if international NGOs focus only on environmental concerns, they obscure the millions.


Congo: Four Priorities for Sustainable Peace in Ituri (May 13, 2008)

In 2003, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and opposition militia groups signed a UN-brokered peace deal allowing the Ituri province limited autonomy with increased revenues from the area's rich natural resources. However, the government has reneged on the deal, by signing a secret concession with transnational corporations to drill for oil near Lake Albert. As a result, militia groups are rearming against government forces and using child soldiers to transport timber resources to neighboring countries. (International Crisis Group)


Environmental Problems Loom in Myanmar (October 14, 2007)

Environmentalists argue that the Myanmar military junta finances its government with the illegal trade of the country's natural resources. The main exportation of natural wealth occurs on the borders with China and Thailand, with the selling of a range of goods from illegal gems to animal parts. The exploitations of timber, gold, minerals and animals pollute rivers, devastate forests and eradicate animal species. The junta has also been displacing river-based villagers in order to construct dams for electricity between Thailand and China. (Associated Press)

Liberia Joins Global Transparency Plan, Adds Timber (July 18, 2007)

Following the UN Security Council's lifting of bans on trading Liberian diamonds and timber, the country joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). UK Prime Minister Tony Blair designed the program in 2002 to ensure that natural resource wealth would benefit a country's citizens rather than finance conflict or corrupt individuals. Uniquely, Liberia pledged to publicize all payments to government personnel for timber, in addition to payments from mining and oil companies, which the EITI normally covers. Furthermore, external auditors will evaluate all government transactions involving the timber, oil, and mining industries. (Reuters)

Getting to the Roots of Burma's Latest Timber Trade (June 18, 2007)

The Chinese believe that Ye-Htin-Shu trees bring good luck, and wealthy Chinese pay Burmese sources up to US$13,000 for them. Some sellers, such as the Maya-Kywe Company, deal the trees legally. But border guard corruption facilitates illegal Ye-Htin-Shu trade, which helps to sustain the Burmese military junta and at least seven ceasefire parties including the Kachin Defense Army. (Irrawaddy)


New Dawn for Liberia's 'Blood Forests' (October 12, 2006)

Liberia, which is recovering from 20 years of armed conflict fueled by natural resources, enacted a law that regulates the logging of forests. The country sees timber, recently removed from UN sanction, as a means for the revival of the economy. Yet, experts fear corruption may prevent timber trade from benefiting everyone and, thus, generate conflict. This BBC article points out that not only must Liberia monitor logging, but the monitoring process should involve buyer countries as well.

Liberia Sees Green in Reform of 'Blood Timber' (September 20, 2006)

Liberia President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is calling on the Security Council to lift UN sanctions on the timber industry. The reopening of the lucrative timber business, much needed to develop the country, raises fear of future conflicts if the lodging arrangements do not benefit local residents. Former dictator Charles Taylor used Liberian logging to support his regime and prolong regional violence. (Christian Science Monitor)

Liberia Aims to Clean Up Timber Industry (April 24, 2006)

Liberia's new President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has started her presidency by introducing measures to clean up Monrovia's timber industry. She cancelled all logging contracts and permits agreed on before her term, and requested that those interested in exporting the timber reapply under new terms. During the 1990s, Charles Taylor's regime used the profits of the timber industry to arm the government militias fueling the conflict. The subsequent 2003 Security Council embargo on Liberia's timber exports has left the country's war-battered economy crippled. However the government hopes the new regulation of the timber trade will ensure this profitable industry remains out of the hands of the militias and will persuade the Security Council to lift the sanctions. (Agence France Presse)


Dutch Arrest Suspected Arms Trader for War Crimes Committed in Liberia (March 21, 2005)

Dutch authorities have charged arms trader Guus van Kouwenhoven with war crimes for breaking the international arms embargo against Liberia. In 2000, the UN identified van Kouwenhoven as "part of then Liberian President Charles Taylor's inner circle" by coordinating the logistics of many of the arms deals. According to Global Witness, the Dutchman supplied arms to Liberian militia working for his timber companies and was a "key player in the regional instability in Liberia and Sierra Leone." (Agence France Presse)

World Bank Facilitates Transport of Illegally Cut Logs in Cambodia (February 10, 2005)

Despite its promises to promote "best practices in global trade," the World Bank continues to support rogue logging in Cambodia, reports Global Witness. Ignoring warnings from other donor agencies, the bank brokered the lifting of a log transportation ban. The poorly supervised shipping process enables companies to transport stockpiles of logs that come from dubious sources.


Ecuador Free-for-All Threatens Tribes, Trees (September 3, 2004)

Was a May 2003 Huaorani massacre of twenty-six Tagaeri tribesmen in Ecuador solely motivated by revenge? Evidence points to Colombian logging interests behind the violence. Some industry sources say as much as 70% of lumber from the Ecuadorian Amazon is illegal. But with negligible law enforcement in the region and a weak government eager for profits, inter-tribal conflict and deforestation are likely to continue. (San Francisco Chronicle)

UN Urged to Reaffirm Liberia Timber Sanctions (February 14, 2004)

The UN has proposed that the Liberian timber sanctions should continue because of the risk that funds from illegal logging might be used to revive Liberia's bloody civil war. A senior UN official argued that ending the exploitation of natural resources was "central to preventing additional conflict in Liberia." (Contra Costa Times)

Lift Timber Sanction On Liberia: South-Easterners Urge the UN (February 10, 2004)

Southeastern counties' residents in Liberia are calling on the UN Security Council to lift the sanction on timber export from their country. They claim that timber represents a "source of survival for them" and that the ban "has done the ordinary people more harm than good." (The NEWS, Monrovia)

The Logs of War (January 2004)

Timber fuels some of the worst conflicts, such as those in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast and the DRC. But the international community has not tried to curb the exploitation of timber as it did with other resources such as diamonds or oil. "This inaction is unacceptable, as citizens and consumers of importing states, as well as their trading partners, have a right to expect that the goods they buy are not a cause of conflict," argues Alice Blondel from Global Witness. (Monde Diplomatique)



Felling Asia's Forests (December 25, 2003)

After China banned logging in 1998, its timber imports from Indonesia skyrocketed. Yet evidence shows that illegal logging accounts for much of Indonesia's timber exports. The Far Eastern Economic Review reports on growing pressure for Beijing and Jakarta to take steps against illegal logging.

Indonesian Loggers Called Terrorists (November 5, 2003)

Extensive logging in the Indonesian highlands widens the natural downhill flow of rainwater and slows its absorption into the ground. After a flash flood killed up to 200 people, the Indonesian government had harsh words for illegal loggers. (Associated Press)

US Consumers Help Finance Liberia's Bloody Regime (July 18, 2003)

Despite Security Council sanctions on Liberia that ban exports of natural resources, US consumers still have access to Liberian wood products. The Center for Investigative Reporting reveals that these products arrive in the US through a web of direct and indirect sources.

Logging Strips Indonesian Forests Bare (May 8, 2003)

Reports claim that almost ninety percent of Indonesian logging is illegal. Friends of the Earth International asks foreign logging and paper product companies to temporarily end purchases of Indonesian timber until the industry corrects internal corruption and environmentally irresponsible practices. (OneWorld US)

Illegal Timber Trade Undermines Cambodia-UN Aide (April 7, 2003)

Illegal logging is undermining the economy of Cambodia. Unless urgent measures are taken to control loggers, mainly foreign firms and multinational companies, the country could become the scene of catastrophe for its some six million people, says the Reuters.

‘The Usual Suspects: Liberia's Weapons and Mercenaries in Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone' (March 31, 2003)

The Liberian government continues to rely on timber to finance its weapons and mercenaries, while President Charles Taylor uses Swiss and Burkinabé banks to hide embezzled funds. This new Global Witness report details the Liberian government's illegal activities and reveals the major individuals and companies involved.

Largest Ever Seizure of Illegal Wood in UK ( February 27, 2003)

The UK imports more illegal tropical timber than any other country in Europe. This illegal activity continues to drive forest loss and to undermine efforts in poor producing countries to halt forest crime, says the Environmental Investigation Agency. (Salvonet)

Indonesia Calls on Europe, US to Stop Importing Illegal Wood (January 24, 2003)

The Indonesian Minister of Forests claimed that if the US and Europe do not take urgent action to curb imports of illegal wood, they will be complicit to forest crime. (EIA)

'Corruption' in Indonesia Logging War (January 14, 2003)

Indonesia's unique tropical habitat is disappearing at an alarming rate, as up to 70% of Indonesia's timber comes from illegal sources. The Environmental Investigation Agency calls for a halt to the corruption that undermines the protected areas.



Hun Sen to Sue Global Witness for Defamation (December 31, 2002)

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen threatens to sue watchdog organization Global Witness after the World Bank criticized the government for closing down the watchdog's Cambodian office. Hun Sen accuses Global Witness of exaggerating government crackdowns on anti-logging protestors, but local NGOs confirm the claims. (Japan Today)

Villagers Beg World Bank for Logging Plans (November 12, 2002)

Villagers living in Cambodia's forests requested access to World Bank logging plans for the next 25 years, only to be told that copies of the plans were in short supply and the color-coded maps available only in black and white. The villagers say the Bank and logging corporations have never consulted them. (Cambodia Daily)

Logging Off (September, 2002)

The Liberian timber industry is integrally involved in the illicit trade of arms that threatens international peace and security in Sierra Leone and West Africa. This new Global Witness report calls on the UN Security Council to impose a total embargo on Liberian timber exports.

Indonesia: Resources and Conflict in Papua (September 13, 2002)

The International Crisis Group shows the direct correlation between Indonesia's unjust management of natural resources and Papua's pro-independence sentiment. The battle over land and natural resources pits the Indonesian state against the indigenous population supporting independence.

Brazil Spies on Amazon Loggers (July 25, 2002)

Brazil is launching a radar system "to spy on illegal loggers, miners and drug runners." Claiming that US radar designers received special treatment, environmentalists claim this move will not help wildlife because of budget cuts to environmental agencies. The impact on reducing illegal activities is uncertain. (BBC)

Liberian Leader Again Finds Means to Hang On (June 4, 2002)

Following international efforts to cut off the flow of diamonds into Liberia, President Taylor has turned to timber to fund his regime. "Direct links between Liberia's timber industry and the network of illegal arms transfers, private militias and human rights abuses threaten international peace and security in Western Africa."(Washington Post)

Timber Resources Fuelling Conflict (February 22, 2002)

Global Witness reports that a Kinshasa based logging company, Société Congolaise d'Exploitation du Bois (SOCEBO), was set up to allow the Zimbabwean army to exploit DRC's rich forests. (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks)



Plunder of Resources Rising in Indonesia, a Report Says (December 20, 2001)

Illegal plunder of Indonesia's natural resources, especially timber, is exacerbating communal conflict. Extraction of natural resources in many of Indonesia's provinces has ignited conflict by undermining the livelihood of indigenous communities without just compensation or consultation. (Reuters)

Global Witness, ITF Cite Liberia's "Infringements" of UN Sanctions(October 1, 2001)

Global Witness and the International Transport Workers Federation denounce that Liberia not only violates UN sanctions, but also has adopted various other means of circumventing the sanctions, especially in the timber industry. (Perspective)

Global Witness Director Speaks On Timber And Sanctions(August 29, 2001)

The Perspective interviews Mr. Alley, Global Witness Director, on the role of the Liberian industry in the ongoing conflict and the possibility that the Security Council adds timber to the sanctions against Liberia.

Zimbabwe's Resource Colonialism Threatens Peace Process (August 26, 2001)

As a Global Witness report reveals, the Zimbabwe government has brokered a secret deal for the exploitation of the DRC's timber resources. Zimbabwe appears to have no intention of withdrawing its troops from the DRC in the foreseeable future, thus threatening the Lusaka Peace Process.

European Timber Trader Linked with Liberian Arms Trafficking Companies (July 16, 2001)

Global Witness, Greenpeace International, and Nepenthes call upon the Dutch timber company, Dalhoff Larsen & Horneman, to sever ties with Liberian logging companies implicated in arms trafficking with rebels in Sierra Leone.

France And Taylor's "Presidential Pepperbush" (June 5, 2001)

The Perspective, investigating why France opposed sanctions on Liberian timber, tries to trace "the trail of the timber, the circle of influence and decision makers in Paris."

Liberian Timber Profits Finance Regional Conflict (May 8, 2001)

As the Security Council imposes sanctions on Liberian diamonds, a new investigation by Global Witness unveils the important role of wood in the conflict. The UK-based group urges the Security Council to expand the embargo to include timber.

Spanish Greenpeace Supports Embargo on Liberia's "Wood of War" (April 26, 2001)

The Spanish branch of Greenpeace urges the Security Council to pass a ban on Liberian timber. The campaign accuses China and France, principal importers of timber, of opposing action against "wood of war". (Perspective)

Saddam's Oil & Taylor's Timber (April 21, 2001)

Sanctions on Liberia are likely to be implemented, but will spare timber exportation. The Perspective then suggests a regulated program for Liberian timber export.

Behind Ethnic War, Indonesia's Old Migration Policy (March 1, 2001)

Ethnic warfare between the Dayaks and Madurese of Indonesian Borneo exploded in February of 2001. One of the primary causes of the conflict lies in the displacement of the native Dayak population by the Indonesian logging industry. (Christian Science Monitor)

France's Stance on Sanctions Viewed as Affront to Liberians (February 5, 2001)

Arguing that sanctions are "punitive and negative", France will support sanctions against Liberia conditionally, only if they exclude the timber and logging industry. Is it something to do with the fact that France is one of the major importers of Liberian timber? (Perspective)

The Role of Liberia's Logging Industry on National And Regional Insecurity (January 24, 2001)

In this document addressed to the Security Council, Global Witness suggests the immediate imposition of a total embargo on Liberian timber, which, it says, plays an important role in Taylor's revenues, even more than the diamond trade. (IRIN)

US Urges UN to Ban Liberian Diamonds and Timber (January 18, 2001)

After a delay caused by infighting among the permanent members of the Security Council, a draft resolution is finally introduced in the Council calling for a global embargo on Liberia's diamonds and timber, as well as flight and travel bans. (Reuters)



The Mahogany King's Brief Reign (September 14, 2000)

What does hardwood have to do with a coup in the tiny nation of Fiji? Quite a lot actually, Joseph Kahn reports for the New York Times.

Mineral Riches Fuel War, Not The Poor (June 18, 2000)

Timber, oil, diamonds, take your pick of the natural resources responsible for fueling conflicts. This article details several different situations in Africa and Cambodia. (The Observer)