A US-based timber company has launched a multi-million-dollar damages suit against a subsidiary of British Petroleum (BP) for allegedly ruining its chances of winning Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in an area of Argentinian rainforest.

The Candlewood Timber Group, which holds cutting rights in a 70,000a area in the San Pedrito Forest, claims Pan American Energy (PAE) has clear-felled sections of the forest and dumped tonnes of excavated rock and vegetation in the trees during drilling.

Candlewood, which plans to market hardwood from the forest under the FSC label, says the damage has undermined its chances of securing certification.

BP Argentina Exploration Co has a 60% stake in PAE, which says the area in question relates to less than 1% of Candlewood’s forest holding.