BEIJING, CHINA —Merbau trees, once common in countries from East Africa to Tahiti, face extinction, according to the environmental group, Greenpeace. The group reports that these trees, which now exist in large numbers on the island of New Guinea, are being felled illegally and smuggled into China. There, the trees are manufactured into hardwood flooring and furniture products for export to Europe, North America and Australia. Environmentalists want China and the West to help end the illegal logging, and some Western retailers have stopped selling merbau products due to environmental concerns. A slow-growing tree that takes up to 80 years to mature, the merbau species will be wiped out within the next 35 years, at the current rate of logging, Greenpeace estimates. Read more.
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