Illegal Logging in Southeast Asia May Wipe Out Tree Species

July 20, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. rampant /ˈræm pənt/ (adj.) – referring to something that widely spreads without control
Example: The rampant hatred against illegal loggers does not help the matter.

2. timber /ˈtɪm bər/ (n.) – a piece of a tree that has been cut off and refined to be used as material for creating something
Example: They have enough timbers to make a small table.

3. upheaval /ʌpˈhi vəl/  (n.) – a disturbance that is sudden and violent, usually in a society
Example: Forest destruction has caused an upheaval of natural disasters. 

4. decimate /ˈdɛs əˌmeɪt/ (v.) – to severely damage a huge portion to the point of completely destroying it
Example: Because the forest has been repeatedly decimated, trees could no longer grow in it.

5. chain of events /tʃeɪn/  /ʌv/  /ɪˈvɛntz/ (idiom) – refers to a series of occurrences with causes and effects that are connected with one another
Example: Cutting down trees leads to a chain of events that ends with polluted and unbreathable air. 


Read the text below.
According to the reports, the Chinese market’s appetite for luxury furniture leads to rampant illegal logging, threatening the existence of Siamese rosewood trees in Southeast Asia.

Siamese rosewood is often used to manufacture furniture. A cubic meter of Siamese rosewood costs around a thousand dollars. According to reports from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an independent ecological organization, the high economic worth of rosewood timber is also causing social and political upheaval in several Southeast Asian countries.

Because of the trees’ profitable value, illegal loggers from poor communities willingly risk their lives to decimate forests and sell rosewood timber to illegal traders despite laws against it. Illegal loggers can earn at least a hundred dollars by cutting down these trees.

The EIA further reported that growing incidents of illegal logging have resulted in violence and aggression between loggers and law enforcement officers, often ending in bloodshed. This is highly apparent in the eastern border between Thailand and Cambodia, where 74 people were reportedly killed for trespassing and illegal logging since 2013. 

On another note, the EIA has been exerting much effort to put a stop to this destructive chain of events and save the Siamese rosewood trees from extinction. The agency is encouraging China to cut down the demand for rosewood made furniture. The most affected locations lie within the Mekong area, which touches the borders of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

The group is also compelling international authorities to implement stricter and more reliable laws to prevent illegal trading of Siamese Rosewood from reaching a global scale.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think stricter conservation laws are enough to stop illegal logging? Why?
·         In your opinion, what can be the impact of this issue to the relationship of the concerned countries?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are the irreversible effects of illegal logging?
·         As a common citizen, what do you think you can do to help save the trees? 

July 20, 2014