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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (December 30, 1997 - PACNEWS)---An environmental and social impact assessment of the Solomon Islands' Isabel Timber Company (ITC) in Isabel Province has uncovered logging operations that not only are highly damaging to the region's natural resources but also are believed to be illegal.

The assessment was carried out last April by an English company, Forests Monitor, following a request from local landowners.

The report, which just recently was released, says ITC's operations clearly pose a threat to the future of the logging industry and the livelihood of the people of Isabel Province. Forests Monitor says it is hoped the report will lead to a formal investigation into the operations of the company by the new Solomon Islands government of Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa'alu.

Forests Monitor also hopes the government will suspend the license of ITC until the company's destructive logging methods are changed and compensation is paid to the affected landowners.

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