A great forest falls in Laos

With a relatively small population Laos managed to maintain the integrity of its tropical rainforests for longer than most of its neighbours. In recent years however illegal logging has continued to accelerate and goes largely unckecked despite a government ban on roundwood logs in 1999. A shadowy corrupt government allocates few resources to forest protection. Nearly all the timber is exported going to China and Vietnam and volumes have jumped dramatically in the past three years.

Many of the local farmers and indigenous peoples in Laos have been affected by the widespread deforestation which has severely impacted their livelihoods as their community forests have vanished. Although many raw logs are exported, sawmills operate along the border areas too.

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