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MALAYSIA'S wood-based industries generated RM17bil in export earnings last year, an impressive increase of about RM700mil compared with 2003.
The sprawling Matang mangrove forest supplies bakau logs for the thriving charcoal industry in Perak, supports local fisheries, provides refuge for wildlife and buffers the coastline against erosion. But it can only continue playing these roles if kept healthy.
The anticipated showdown fizzled out. Instead, Malaysia conceded to the overwhelming support Indonesia had garnered for its proposal to upgrade the tropical hardwood ramin (I>Gonystylus spp) /I>to Appendix II at the 13th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) in Bangkok.