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Mayors soften stand on ban of tropical woods.

MAYORS SOFTEN STAND ON BAN OF TROPICAL WOODS

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has softened the language in a resolution regarding the ban of tropical timber in municipal projects. The resolution had called for the ban of tropical woods. In its amended form the resolution calls on the U.S. Congress to promote the development of "internationally acceptable and verifiable operational guidelines and criteria for defining the sustainability of management in the tropical timber producing countries."

The resolution was amended in part by the work of the International Hardwood Products Assn. The IHPA holds the position that a ban on tropical woods would in effect deem the woods worthless.

"If tropical timber exports are not given value," said Kathy Looney, director of communications, "then the people of the forest have no incentive to keep and protect the forest."

The mayors also were swayed by the United Nations International Tropical Timber Organization and its Target 2000 program. The group, made up of the majority of the world's timber producing countries, is working toward sustainable management of tropical forests by the year 2000.

According to a press release from the Rainforest Action Network, regarding a new study by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre of England, a number of trees may become extinct. RAN states that 450 species of tropical trees are in danger of extinction.

RAN has been pushing hard for the banning of the use of tropical woods and may be making progress. New York Gov. Mario Cuomo recently signed into law a bill prohibiting the purchase of any hardwoods or tropical hardwood products for state projects. New York joins the state of Arizona as well as Baltimore, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Calif. and Bellingham, Wash. to ban these woods. A ban on tropical plywood will go into effect in one year in New York.

In related action, both the U.S. House and Senate will consider bills to label products containing tropical woods. The bills call for country of origin labels to be clearly visible to the consumer.

The IHPA is working with the staffs of legislation sponsors Sen. Albert Gore (D-Tenn.) and Rep. Peter Kostmayer (D-Pa.), to amend the bills, said Looney. She could not give specifics about those amendments. She added that, "It would be very hard to enforce. Labeling products would be difficult because many products are made from so many different woods."
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Title Annotation:Trends & News; United States Conference of Mayors amends resolution on use of tropical wood in municipal projects
Author:Adams, Larry
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Words:397
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