Greenpeace East Asia has been investigating in China for two years. Now their findings have been revealed, and it’s shocking stuff. It looks like China’s precious, world-class Giant Panda Sanctuaries are being decimated by illegal loggers.
3200 acres of official panda-friendly rainforest gone
Sichuan province has lost around 3200 acres of natural forest to illegal loggers. Greenpeace’s conclusions are damning: loopholes in China’s already weak forestry regulations are to blame. It lets commercial organisations get rid of so-called low function natural forest in favour of plantations, but the rules are so ambiguous that it’s easy to get away with cutting down good quality natural forest.
The famous Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries are a series of seven reserves plus nine scenic parks. A third of the world’s giant pandas live there. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which makes the extent of the large-scale illegal logging even more shocking.
Experts say the entire area should be strictly protected. Fewer than 2000 wild pandas remain in the world, and this widespread deforestation is threatening their last remaining habitat.
The wider effects of deforestation
The panda is a high-profile animal because it’s so endearing. Everyone loves a panda. But it’s only one of countless fascinating and unique creatures relying on these forests. As we’ve reported before, eating away at the fringes of rainforests and creating gaps in the middle of natural forest damages much more than the plants and trees cut down. It also damages trees and plants in the immediate area of the deforestastion and beyond.