Huge Asian timber companies now control 90 percent of the $10 billion tropical timber trade and are posing a new threat to the world’s tropical rainforests, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer in a three-part series. The rainforests cover only 6 percent of the planet, but contain two-thirds of the world’s species. In many countries, such as Cameroon, illegal logging is rampant. In the meantime, more and more of the timber is entering the U.S., often in the form of cheap furniture and paneling. Environmentalists hope to leverage the growing U.S. market to force timber companies to log more sustainably.

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