Mozambique could lose its forests within a few years

Africa Sustainable Conservation News

Mail and Guardian

Illegal logging to appease Chinese paymasters is speeding up deforestation in developing countries, all in the name of profit.

Mozambican Pedro Abilio plies his new trade with his chainsaw, to keep his family fed. (Jeroen van Loon)

Nito Silva wipes the wood shavings from his sweaty face while his chainsaw still growls. “I log about 40 trees per day,” he says, leaning on a tree he has just cut. The 45-year-old Mozambican, dressed in a grubby T-shirt, torn trousers and scuffed shoes, cuts trees illegally – not wearing a helmet, ear protection or safety glasses. Hundreds of tree stumps around him are proof of his hard labour.

Silva used to be a farmer growing cassava, corn and beans. Eight years ago, Chinese businesspeople visited the area and offered him a high salary for cutting down trees. They lent him a chainsaw and now come by weekly to…

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