January 23, 2020
Green Scenery has called on President Julius Maada Bio to immediately suspend logging and the exporting of logs and ensure that necessary actions are put in place to reverse what they called a ‘worrisome trend of logging’.
According to a press statement issued on Wednesday,22nd January, the group said they were ‘anxious to see the Government of Sierra Leone put behind logging and log exporting as a means of revenue generation and that the governments’ encouragement of the trade in log has greatly exacerbated the country’s loss of forest cover.
They said the cutting of trees has reduced the country to a mere rhetoric nation among signature states of the Convention on Biodiversity and other conventions such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The statement claimed that the country has ‘consistently ignored’ its obligations under the aforementioned conventions to the extent that since 2010, Sierra Leone has continuously opened its Customs and Excise to the trade in logs against the voices of environmental networks such as ENFORAC and Green Scenery.
“Green Scenery therefore calls on the President of the Republic to put a moratorium on logging and the export of logs while ensuring that necessary actions and programmes are put in place to reverse this worrisome trend,” the statement reads.
According to Green Scenery, continuously allowing the country’s forests to be exploited would subject the biodiversity and especially the endangered species to near extinction.
The environment group cited many allusions of illegal timber logging and exporting, thus noting that an astronomical number of logs have ruined the country’s forests for more than a decade and continue to do so in present day.
The group went further to referenced President Bio, who in April 2018, through an executive order, suspended export of logs, but shortly lifted the ban.
“We assert that from this background and followed by experts’ view, the country can now only boast of 3% natural forest cover and this is fast depreciating,” the release states.
Meanwhile, with regards to the seven trailers that were loaded with logs with Guinean No. plate, the group said they were not questioning trade within the Mano River Union, but were seeking clarification over the legitimacy of the goods that were in the said trailers loaded with 420,000 assorted timber in logs.
“We seek clarification because the alleged documents accompanying the goods smacks of suspicion given that the dates of issuance are at odds with the time the goods were being transported. We therefore call on the necessary government institutions including the ACC to commission an investigation and make public the report,” the group demands.
Green Scenery expressed worries over the scale of export of logs and the spate of deforestation due to the demand side for logs and warned that the rate of deforestation far outweighs the abilities of the forest species to regrow or regenerate, and that if deliberate actions are not taken by the government to halt the malaise, then the country is being pre-programmed for risks that it may not endure.
“According to Global Security, Sierra Leone is the 3rd most vulnerable nation to adverse effects of climate change. The country’s vulnerability is almost equal to none to latitudes of shocks including economic, food insecurity, conflict and other natural disasters”.