Tag Archives: illegal logging

Illegal Logging is Destroying Panda Habitats in China

3,200 acres of Giant Panda habitat has been destroyed by loggers.

The logging is occurring illegally in the Sichuan Sanctuaries, a string of protected forest in the highlands of south-central China. Despite the government’s efforts to halt the practice, there are weak forestry regulations that allow the forest to be exploited for profit.

Greenpeace’s report on the issue states:

“Large areas of primary natural forest are a basic condition for the survival and reproduction of giant pandas in the wild. Deforestation further reduces and fragments the already limited natural habitat of the species, and is a direct threat to their feeding and migration zone. It increases the risk that their small and dispersed populations become increasingly cut off, limiting their chances to make contact with each other and reproduce.”

Less than 1,900 pandas still exist in the wild, most residing in the Sichuan province. And although the population has rebounded since 2003, the species is still considered at high risk. Habitat loss from illegal logging only puts them in more jeopardy.

 
 
Featured image by Bronwyn D / CC BY 2.0

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Ghana’s Birds Are Disappearing Because of Poaching and Illegal Logging

Since 1995, half of Ghana’s bird population has been wiped out. Deforestation, on the other hand, has risen by 600%.

Researchers have found that poaching and illegal logging has destroyed Ghana’s wildlife, with studies showing dramatic declines in mammals and now birds. A paper by several researchers including Nicole Arcilla, a postdoctoral researcher at Drexel University who studied in Ghana’s forests counting the birds, found that the number of forest birds there has dropped by more than 50% since 1995.

The researchers also found that several species had disappeared altogether. They counted 46 forest bird species, compared to 71 from 20 years ago. And of the species they did observe, some of the numbers had declined by as much as 90%.

Photo by wagon16 / Public Domain Mark 1.0
Photo by wagon16 / Public Domain Mark 1.0

On the other hand, legal and illegal logging in the Ghana forests has increased by 600%, a number at which the forest will be gone if it continues. 80% of the logging is still illegal, which directly decimates the bird’s habitat but also gives more access to poachers. Arcilla says:

“The logging is so intense that it’s literally deforestation. Within a generation they’re all going to be gone. It’s just a terrible tragedy if we let it happen…Everywhere we went there were wire snare traps, which are completely banned in Ghana, but they’re everywhere. Even the smallest amount of law enforcement could change that, but there isn’t any.”

The good news is that even with the decline in bird numbers, the forests still housed many of the species from before. They can recover, if we allow them to. This means action must be taken to protect Ghana’s forests and the species that still dwell there, including forest patrols, roadblocks and eco-tourism. Arcilla says:

“These problems can be solved. Ghana is a resilient, vibrant country. There are a lot of people in Ghana who will help solve these problems if they are supported by the international community.”

Featured image by Francesco Veronesi / CC BY-SA 2.0