Cutting Liberian Conflict Timber’s Destructive Impact on Stability, Sustainability
Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor, a Liberian environmental activist and 2006 Goldman Environmental Prize recipient, was recently named one of Time magazine’s 2008 Heroes of the Environment for his work uncovering the illegal export of Liberian conflict timber. In 2003, Siakor exposed the illegal timber trade orchestrated by Liberian President Charles Taylor and successfully lobbied the UN Security Council to ban its export in an effort to halt the destruction of one of the “last significant virgin forests in West Africa” and bring an end to the devastation that violence and poverty were wreaking upon his country.
In 2005, presidential hopeful Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf adopted forest conservation and poverty alleviation as central policies, and when she was elected, she signed Executive Order #1, which canceled all timber concessions. “The importance of that one act to
Siakor continues to promote conservation and poverty alleviation in Liberia through his organization, the Sustainable Development Institute of Liberia. “In terms of biodiversity conservation,