CONGO

Wednesday 15 August 2001

For the first time, a timber company has voluntarily given up its harvesting rights for the conservation of forests. Congolaise Industrielle des Bois ( cib ), a German logging company, has given up its lease on a tract of swamp-fringed rainforest in the Congo Republic. cib president Hinrich L Stoll said that the decision was part of an effort aimed at changing the image of logging companies from destroyers of fragile ecosystem to conservators of biodiversity.

But environmentalists are not buying the company's claims. It's very hard to decide whether cib should be given any applauds because apart from a selected group of people from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, the company has refused to allow anybody into its logging areas," stated Simon Counsell, the director of the uk -based Rainforest Foundation.

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