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Sparks fly in City Farm timber row. WOOD OF STRIVE: Tom Roche demonstrates at Dublin Zoo over use of wood he alleges was 'illegally' harvested.


By Ronnie Bellew

Tuesday May 25 2010

AN ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner is at loggerheads with Dublin Zoo over the use of allegedly "illegally logged" tropical plywood at the Zoo's City Farm amenity which re-opened last weekend.

Tom Roche, the founder and co-ordinator of the Just Forests campaign, said he was "dismayed to discover the use of tropical plywood in the City Farm perimeter fence".

He claims this Chinese-sourced plywood is manufactured using timber that is illegally and unsustainably logged from countries such as Papua New Guinea, "where illegal and destructive logging is rampant".

"Logging companies in the area have been accused of widespread illegality, including human rights abuses. Much of this bintangor [wood] is shipped to China where it is used in the manufacturer of cheap, throw-away plywood -- such as the hoarding seen on numerous building sites in Ireland," said Mr Roche.

The Just Forests campaign had been working closely with the zoo in recent months on the 'Wood For Life' exhibition adjacent to the zoo's Tropical Bird House.

Highlighting the importance of sustainable forestry and ethical timber trading, the exhibition was due to run until this Friday, but Mr Roche claims he was told "to pack up" his exhibition by the zoo's management when he requested a meeting to discuss his concerns about the perimeter fencing at City Farm.

A Dublin Zoo spokesperson rejected Mr Roche's claims, saying the zoo "has a policy of endeavouring at all times to use only materials certified from sustainable sources which is in line with our ethics, values and principles".

"While we endeavour at all times to ensure that all timber is certified and from sustainable sources, we are sometimes at the hands of contractors and third party suppliers who are asked to provide the required paperwork," the spokesperson said. "We are attempting to make the sourcing of materials from sustainable sources as watertight as possible and, while it may not be 100pc perfect at this time, the process is ongoing."

- Ronnie Bellew

Irish Independent

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