China: Of Trees, Logs, and Floods

Living on Earth
The devastating floods that swept China this summer claimed more than 3,000 lives and destroyed twenty-two million acres of farmland. To the surprise of many observers, the Chinese government admitted its own clearcut logging practices had likely contributed to the destruction, and vowed official action. On September first, they imposed an unprecedented ban on logging in old-growth forests throughout China. The goal is to replenish many of these forests by 2010. Erik Eckholm writes about China for the New York Times and recently toured the western provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Gansu, near the Tibetan plateau. This is where the clearcutting has taken its greatest toll on the forests and the workers who log them.