BEIJING – China’s rising demand for wood threatens to devastate timber stocks in countries from Indonesia to Russia, an environmental group said Tuesday, calling for more efficient wood use and measures to discourage illegal logging.
Although China still uses 17 times less wood per person than the United States, it is on course to become the world’s top overall consumer within a few years, the World Wide Fund for Nature said in a report.
China imported about 1.5 billion cubic feet of timber in 2003, more than half of it from Malaysia, Indonesia and Russia, according to the group, which is known in North America as the World Wildlife Fund. It said imports are expected to triple to 4.4 billion cubic feet a year by 2010.
Logging bans imposed by China in its mountainous west after flooding in 1998 have decreased domestic supplies.
China is now the second-biggest market behind the United States for timber, pulp and paper but is expected to take over the top spot as its economy grows and demand for construction materials and furniture expands.
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