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Wants requirement for PNG timber to be certified sustainable

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 10, 2009) – A traditional Papua New Guinea landowner is lobbying Australian government officials to stop making their sofas from PNG rainforests.

Lester Seri is in Canberra pressing for a ban on the import of illegally logged timber saying PNG’s lowland rainforests, which are rich in biodiversity and home to traditional communities, are being ravaged by illegal logging.

Mr. Seri, who was born in Oro province, said his people needed help to preserve their way of life.

Greenpeace has joined Seri in urging the federal Labor government to deliver on its 2007 election promise to ban illegal timber imports.

Greenpeace campaign director, Steve Campbell, says up to 10-percent of timber sold in Australia - everything from logs and lumber to plywood and sofas - was illegally logged.

He wants a ban on timber imports that is not approved by an independent certifier such as the Forest Stewardship Council.

Federal Agriculture Minister, Tony Burke, signed a memorandum of understanding this week with PNG Minister for Forests Belden Namah pledging to collaborate on sustainable forest management.

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