The Philippines timber industry says it is against government moves to impose a total logging ban following recent disastrous flash floods and landslides.

The Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA) believes a ban would hit legal logging and other wood-based industries, as well as encourage illegal activity because of a lack of enforcement resources.

PWPA also says the government cannot revoke existing 25-year agreements with private companies and individuals which allow them to develop and manage specified areas of forest.

It points out that only about four of the 18 timber licensing agreements currently issued are actually operating because of the department of environment and natural resources’ stringent requirements for operating plans and environment compliance certificates.

PWPA claims a log ban will leave communities without a means of earning a living, as well as pressure the country’s dollar resources because wood will have to be imported instead. About US$200m of timber and wood products are currently imported every year.

The association wants to see the department implement regulations aimed at managing the country’s dwindling forest cover.