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The fight over Australian logging goes global

An Australian environment group has appealed to regulators in the United States and the European Union to crack down on the importation of wood products they say may have been illegally harvested by Victoria’s government logging agency VicForests.

In the wake of the Black Summer bushfires, The Wilderness Society has tracked paper and cardboard products sold in Europe and the US by subsidiaries of the Nippon Paper Group which owns Opal Australian Paper, which in turn is supplied in part by VicForests, which harvests timber from bushfire-damaged Australian native forests.

Protesters disrupt logging in Victoria's native forests.

Protesters disrupt logging in Victoria’s native forests.

The Wilderness Society has filed complaints with regulators in Europe and the US, saying that there is a serious risk products made from timber harvested by VicForests break local laws against the importation of illegally harvested timber.

According to the Wilderness Society when a similar complaint was filed against another supplier in the Netherlands, the timber trader Boogaerdt Hout was warned that future breaches of EU regulations would result in fines of 20,000 euro ($32,000) per cubic metre of timber illegally placed on the market.

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