- The Sierra Leone government has banned all logging and export following a warning by environmentalists that indiscriminate deforestation practices in the country poses real environmental hazards to the country.
According to the statement issued by the Presidency, illegal logging has negative effects on the country’s environment and depleting the ozone, stating that the practice should be banned. “Any violations of the logging export ban could result in court fines and confiscation of property," a statement from the presidency read.
According to reports, the ban has not only come as a result of environmental fears, but also as a need to check the largely unmonitored industry. Trade and customs officials say logs of wood worth tens of millions of dollars were smuggled out of the country to the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
However, economists have argued that the ban of logging will adversely affect the local economy given the logging industry is a multimillion dollar industry.
The executive director of the Sierra Leone environmental group, Emmanuel Touray, said there are only 10 registered logging companies in the country, and the majority of the logging companies operate illegally. Nonetheless, previous actions taken against illegal loggers has, according to forestry officials, ended in meager fines, usually less than 500 dollars, after a protracted court case.
Most forest guard officials expect the government to draft new legislation to protect Sierra Leone’s forests and environment.
According to environmental studies, deforestation presents multiple societal and environmental problems. Some of these consequences include: loss of biodiversity; the destruction of forest-based-societies; and climatic disruption. Deforestation is also causing a loss of biological diversity on an unprecedented scale.
Across Africa, environmental researchers have discovered that the removal of trees without sufficient reforestation has resulted in damage to habitat, biodiversity loss and aridity.
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