Death sentence

Published: Saturday 31 August 2002

Amazonian mahogany may literally be deadwood soon. Because at the current rate of deforestation, there may be no more of it in eight years. Despite these warnings, London's appeal court has allowed the import of a shipment of the precious endangered wood into the country. Two senior judges threw out the case filed by non-governmental organisation (ngo) Greenpeace, which tried to block the imports. The activist body held that the government should clear only those consignments which have genuine export permits. The NGO argued that uk's failure to seize the shipment breached European and international law. It also contravened the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (cites), which UK has signed, the organisation said. Environmentalists feel that the court's decision would give a fillip to illegal timber trade.

In March 2002, the European Commission told EU states not to allow shipments of illegally felled mahogany from the Amazon into Europe.

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