Top: Several logs Delta Timber Company left at the Port of Greenville, Sinoe County that have now decayed. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue
By Emmanuel Sherman
GREENVILLE, Sinoe County – Scores of logs at the port of Greenville and a community forest belonging to a logging company have decayed in the southeastern county, despite the company producing perhaps the least number of timber in the industry.
Delta Timber Corporation produced the timber in the last five years, based on the company’s official harvesting records. It is believed the company took the logs to the port between 2017 and 2018.
The DayLight reporters saw a grassy field of decayed logs at the port in January, some still showcasing “DTC,” the company’s industry-recognized abbreviation. A few lay in piles, while others spread across the bushy, open field.
Apart from the decayed logs at the port, there are others left unattended in the Numopoh Community Forest, where Delta operates.
“They are many in the forest all over, some in the landing,” said Sam Kandie, head of the community forest leadership. Landing is the place the logs are gathered and sorted. Kandie said the company last felled a tree in September 2021.
Official records show that Delta produced a total of 1,624.521 cubic meters of logs in the last five years.
But the company exported just 237.178 cubic meters or 41 logs, according to the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).
That means between 2016 and 2021, Delta abandoned 1,387.343 cubic meters of logs. Logs are abandoned when companies leave them unattended for between three weeks and six months, depending on the locations, according to the Regulation on Abandoned Logs, Timber and Timber Products.
But Delta’s abandoned logs are likely more than the ones The DayLight calculated. A 2018 report by Volunteers to Support International Efforts in Developing Africa (VOSIEDA) found the company abandoned over 500 logs it harvested outside Numopoh. Harvesting timber outside a contract area is a violation of the National Forestry Reform Law, and such logs are not captured in FDA’s tracking system.
FDA did not respond to queries on Delta’s abandoned logs. However, recently, it said in a statement it punished companies with abandoned logs without showing any evidence. It said in the statement that it had punished three other companies also operating in the Sinoe area for the same reason.
Under the abandoned logs regulation, the FDA must petition a court to confiscate and auction logs it deems abandoned. The government loses revenue when logs rot.
Delta Timber Corporation and Numopoh Community Forest signed a five-year logging agreement in May 2016.
The story was a production of the Community of Forest and Environmental Journalists (CoFEJ).