Endgame Clearinghouse on Forests & Corporations
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The Purpose of the Clearinghouse

What remains of the world's natural forests and forest cultures is rapidly being destroyed, with devastating and irreversible impacts on biodiversity, the global climate, economic self-sufficiency, cultural independence, and human rights. Millions of people in the tropics continue to clear the forest because of inequitable land ownership and the drive to use agricultural land for export crops. Recent trade and investment agreements and policies are exacerbating the concentration of economic and political decisions in the hands of the transnational corporations controlling the global timber trade. National governments, whether in the undeveloped South or in the industrialized North, are no match for the financial and political power of global corporations. In fact, local and national governments, along with national and international development banks and agencies, are actually providing huge subsidies to deforestation.

The destruction of the world's forests is linked to an international timber industry driven by complex and shifting economic, geographic, and political forces. Access to and understanding of complex data is necessary if environmental, economic, and human rights problems are to be understood within a context useful for coalition-building. A comprehensive database needs to be compiled, structured in practical forms suitable for citizens and grassroots activists, and made available to the public on an affordable basis. The ideal database would gather, analyze, and make available comprehensive and current information on the state of the forests, the structure and current and proposed operations of the industry, the behavior of consumers, the nature and needs of forest communities, and practical and comprehensive reforms necessary for protecting both forests and communities. Alas, no one has all this information, much less the wisdom and power to implement what needs to be done. What follows are a working database of some research sources and methods in several areas:

Trade policies
International trade policies and agreements as they relate to the timber trade: NAFTA, GATT, WTO, MAI, ITTO, etc.
National trade and environmental regulations as they relate to forests and timber.
Financial patterns
Timber trade investments by banks and development agencies.
Subsidies from taxpayers, labor, pension funds, policyholders, environment.
National and corporate profit flows.
Timber industry sectors and the flows of forest products
Minimally processed materials: logs, chips, pulp.
Wood energy.
Manufactured products: paper, lumber, OSB, and plywood.
Profiles of transnational timber corporations
Their operations around the world.
Interlocks with governments, foundations, associations, and other corporations.
Vertical and horizontal integration of corporations and industries.
Corporate land ownership and control.
Corporate forestry practices.
Environmental, social, labor and economic impacts.
Forest ecosystems
Country profiles and priorities for protection.
Biodiversity indices.
Rivers and waters affected by timber operations.
Consumption patterns
Various forest products: producers, users, uses.
Producing and consuming nations.
Advertising and other stimulation of consumption.
Reduction and recycling options and realities.
Sustainable forestry alternatives
Sustainable forestry models.
Certification systems.
Sustainable forestry organizations.

But deforestation and extinction do not wait for perfect knowledge. Forest activists must proceed with the research necessary to support the strategies they choose in their daily campaigns to protect the world's forests. It is hoped that this Clearinghouse will provide immediate and practical access to some tools and methods useful in their work.