In Brazil, progress in tackling illegal logging has slowed in recent years. Considerable effort has been put into law enforcement, but this is being undermined by limited resources as well as by...
Democratic Republic of Congo fights illegal logging with AS&E's Z Backscatter vans
Billerica, Mass. - American Science and Engineering, Inc. ("AS&E"), a leader in X-ray detection technology, announced today the receipt of an order for two Z Backscatter(TM) Vans (ZBV(TM)) funded by The World Bank and procured by SGS, the world's leading inspection, verification, testing, and certification company, for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
In this first ever use of X-ray inspection systems in the DRC for smuggled wood detection, the Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Tourism (MENCT), will work with SGS to implement, operate, and maintain AS&E's ZBV systems with added Forwardscatter(R) capabilities to detect tropical wood that is illegally logged and smuggled out of the country.
The DRC's ZBV deployment is part of the country's launch of a new program to fight illegal logging and exportation of wood and timber - a significant concern. Five hundred thousand cubic meters of timber are officially harvested each year in the DRC, yet the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) estimates that unofficial logging more than doubles that total(1).
"We are working with the DRC's Ministry of the Environment to provide innovative solutions to monitor forestry activities on their borders," said Anthony Fabiano, AS&E President and CEO. "With its mobility and flexibility to move from location to location, the ZBV system is an ideal solution to scan trucks on the border to find smuggled tropical wood in cargo. The system offers unparalleled ability to detect and image organic materials, including wood."
With the second largest tropical forest in the world(2), the DRC forests are critical to the world's climate. Over half of the DRC is covered in tropical forest(3), a resource which is critical to the economy of the country's 71 million inhabitants(4). According to estimates by the UN, if the current rate of timber exploitation continues, as much as two-thirds of the Congo Basin forest will disappear by 2040(5).
**AS&E's Z Backscatter Van(ZBV)**
A breakthrough in X-ray detection technology, AS&E's Z Backscatter Van is the number one selling non-intrusive mobile inspection system on the market. The ZBV system is a highly mobile screening system built into a commercially available delivery van. The ZBV system allows for immediate deployment in response to security threats, and its high throughput capability facilitates rapid inspections.
**About the World Bank Group**
The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org.
SGS is the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 67,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,250 offices and laboratories around the world. For more information, visit www.sgs.com/en/.
American Science and Engineering, Inc. (AS&E) is a leading worldwide supplier of innovative X-ray inspection systems. With over 50 years of experience in developing advanced X-ray security systems, the Company's product line utilizes a combination of technologies, including patented Z Backscatter technology, Radioactive Threat Detection (RTD), high energy transmission and dual energy transmission X-ray. These technologies offer superior X-ray threat detection for plastic explosives, plastic weapons, liquid explosives, dirty bombs and nuclear devices. AS&E's complete range of products include cargo inspection systems for port and border security, baggage screening systems for facility and aviation security, and personnel and passenger screening systems. AS&E(R) systems protect high-threat facilities and help combat terrorism, trade fraud, drug smuggling, weapon smuggling, illegal immigration, and people smuggling. AS&E customers include leading government agencies, border authorities, military bases, airports and corporations worldwide, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), UK Border Agency (UKBA), Hong Kong Customs, and Abu Dhabi Customs. For more information on AS&E products and technologies, please visit www.as-e.com.
(1) "Democratic Republic of Congo," Illegal-Logging.Info (accessed 1 December 2011).
(2) "Frequently Asked Questions: Forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo," The World Bank, 24 March 2009, (accessed 1 December 2011).
(3) "Frequently Asked Questions: Forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo," The World Bank.
(4) "Background Note: Democratic Republic of the Congo, U.S. Department of State," The U.S. Department of State, 30 September 2011, (accessed 1 December 2011).
(5) "Democratic Republic of Congo," Illegal-Logging.Info.
Assessing illegal logging
Chatham House is assessing the scale and effectiveness of the response to illegal logging and the related trade around the world. Full details of this work, including analysis and data, will be available online soon.