Thousands of hectares of land in Liberia have been cleared for palm oil production.
Photo: R. Buntzel


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A palm oil company in Liberia is attempting to obtain rights to sell timber from forest clearances which it says would provide locals with additional income.

Environmentalists in Liberia have raised the alarm after what they see as new attempts to dodge the country’s legislation on illegal logging. Palm oil producers Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) seek to obtain a licence to sell timber from logging in the course of making room for new plantation sites in southeast Liberia, they claim. Harvesting timber in agricultural concessions for commercial purposes does not fall under Liberia’s forestry legislation. “If timber from palm oil concessions is allowed to be sold and imported, this will spell the end for many forests,” warns James Otto of the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) in the country’s capital of Monrovia.

In 2005, a third of Liberia was still covered by forest, the 3.15 million hectares representing the largest remaining portion of the West African Upper Guinea Moist Forest ecosystem. Not only are these forest areas biodiversity hotspots, but the non-timber products they provide also sustain local livelihoods.

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