Group supports use of native timber


UP TO 30 acres of African forests are destroyed each day to meet the needs of the Irish furniture and joinery industry, according to a campaigning group, Irish Woodworkers for Africa.

Mr Tom Roche of the group said yesterday that more than 70,000 tons of tropical timber worth £37 million are imported into Ireland each year.

Eighty per cent of this timber - in the form of logs, sawnwoods, veneers and plywood - comes from Africa "and most is from unmanaged, non sustainable sources".

Much of this destruction of African forests was unnecessary, Mr Roche said in a statement. "Irish grown alternatives, which do not contribute to tropical forest devastation, are available."

The Irish Woodworkers for Africa group is organising a conference in Dalgan Park, Navan, Co Meath, next month.

In Britain, according to Mr Roche, over 70 companies have agreed to import wood produced only in forests which have been certified as being economically viable, socially beneficial and environmentally appropriate.

The conference is to encourage Irish industry to adopt this practice.