In June, Interpol's Environmental Crime Unit and the U.N. Environment Programme launched Project LEAF to tackle international forest crime. Last month, Project LEAF held a weeklong course in the Brazilian Amazon for officers from eight Latin American countries on skills to combat deforestation -- from learning how to read satellite images for signs of forest degradation to jungle survival.
In the past year, illegal logging has garnered growing attention. In 2009 and 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raided Gibson Guitar factories for evidence that the company imported rare wood to make musical instruments. This sparked vehement criticism of the Lacey Act from conservative groups that see the measure as an infringement of business owners' rights.
Earlier this year, the Environmental Investigation Agency, an independent group, found that 35 percent of wood shipments between Peru and the United States contained protected species of mahogany and cedar (ClimateWire, April 11).
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500