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Victory for Chile's Native Forests - "No Conversion Agreement" Preserves 1 million Acres

These are two recent emails that went out in response to the worldwide efforts of environmental activists to call attention to the destructive logging practices threatening Native Forests in Chile, efforts that were successful in preserving many forests... Protests, boycotts & economic as well as political pressure have forced global timber companies operating in Chile to commit to sustainable forestry practices.
hey all-

I'm just emailing you to congratulate you on the recent victory for Chile's native forests, a victory that couldn't have happened without you! Through the spirit, creativity, and commitment you brought to actions in the past two years, you rocked the global timber industry and created a ripple of awareness throughout the industry that the world - especially the consumption capitols of the US - would no longer accept the destruction of Chile's endangered forests.

In June 2002, you and many others protested the North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado and then again in November 2002 in Dallas, Texas. The first action put the issue of indiscriminate destruction of the forests into Chilean headlines for two straight months, forcing the logging industry to scramble for a way out of the unflattering spotlight. The Dallas NAWLA actions and protests not only garnered more media attention in Chile, they also raised concerns about Chilean wood products throughout the world. By crashing two consecutive NAWLA meetings attended by 650 of the world's worst forest destroyers, we showed these corporations that we were not going to let up on our pressure to halt the stream of unsustainably produced wood products from the Global South just to feed the greed of corporations from North America.

The NAWLA protests stigmatized companies such as BMC West and North Pacific Group, and forced them to change their policies so that the Chilean wood products they buy do not come from destruction of native forests or native peoples. Arauco, Chile's largest logging company was forced to put its 600,000 acres of native forested lands off limits to logging pending the results of an open and expensive process to identify areas that should never be logged. And the Chilean government was forced to cancel a logging project that would have destroyed 150,000 acres in the heart of the Valdivian Rainforest, one of the world's largest unprotected temperate rainforests.

This victory wouldn't have happened without you. So please take some time to enjoy some dancing or hiking, get together with friends, or celebrate as you see fit this important victory. Because of your commitment and your actions, one of the world's largest unprotected temperate rainforests is much closer to protection. All of Chile's native forests are now safer for the trees, the critters and all life that depend on them.


Also a very special thanks to all you folks who helped organize these actions. From dealing with logistic, putting folks up in your homes, helped me navigate though strange towns, set up action camps and teach-ins, trained people, made posters and banners, dropped banners, made noisy musical instruments, helped us pass as normal looking people so we could do our actions, made phone calls, sent emails, helped brainstorm, or just rocked my world for being amazing. You know who you are and you should know that this is your victory

Thanks, you all rock!!!!!

Kim Marks,
Organizer Forest Ethics

[For more info, go to  http://www.forestethics.org]

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Dear Friends of Chile:

In the past two years the support you have provided to the Chile Native
Forest Campaign has made a tremendous impact and created unusual opportunities to open up the negotiations with forestry companies in our country. For the first time the leading companies were willing to sit at the table and discuss with the environmental organizations and US retailers the concerns expressed in our campaign: "If we don't protect native forests today, tomorrow will be too late to preserve what is left of them".

Without the steady work of the US activists and your support, the buyers of Chilean wood products would not have not sent the "market signals" needed to initiate the process of negotiations nor arrive at the "No Conversion Agreement" signed by the Chilean companes as part of their commitment not to convert or log native forests. We even moved forward one more step: The companies committed themselves to protect and report on the current status of their native forest assets. More than 1 million acres they own will not be cut.

The agreement reached on the first stage of the negotiation process has been highly publicized in Chile and in Latin America. It is setting up new, previously unthinkable standards and commitments for the forestry companies in South America. Thousands if not millions of acres of native forest could be protected now if we are able to ensure adequate compliance on the part of the forestry companies. Furthermore, it is likely that the agreement reached will have spill over effects to Argentina, Uruguay, Peru and Brazil, where theses same Chilean companies (Arauco and CMPC-Mininco) operate.

The Chilean Environmental movement has been strengthened and its achievements are also yours. To maintain your support to this campaign, we need to make this a Hemispheric commitment by many other companies and we have reached a momentum that we must maintain to ensure that other companies also adopt simlar no conversion and conservation commitments. We are close to creating new standards for the forestry operations and we must not let the guard down.

International environmental solidarity is becoming a powerful tool to
protect our common future and enhance global ecological security. Thank you for your continued commitment.

Bernardo Reyes
Institute for Political Ecology
Repost of Video Interview From March 2002 27.Feb.2004 22:50

Jim Lockhart eagleye@PhilosopherSeed.org

Nine minute interview with Miguel Fredes, President of the Southern Environmental Law Center, concerning destruction of Chilean temperate rainforests.

Miguel Fredes