Illegal logging in Philippines contributes to flood devastation

Recent storms in the Philippines have wreaked havoc on the country, with hundreds killed or missing in landslides and floods, and enviros and government officials are both taking aim at what they call a principal culprit: illegal logging. Though unusually high rainfall and the geography of the region contributed to flooding, it didn’t help that forest cover on the islands has gone from 64 percent in 1920 to less than 18 percent today, making the hilly land vastly more prone to erosion, mudslides, and flash flooding. “Illegal logging must now be placed in the order of most serious crimes against our people,” said President Gloria Arroyo in a statement. Problem is, the country’s people are driven to logging by persistent poverty, and with the population (84 million) expected to double in the next 50 years, some enviros predict that primary forest cover could be effectively eliminated within 20 years if logging continues at current rates.