Saturday, November 13, 2004

India Bugs Trees to Crack Down on Illegal Logging

The Independent (UK) is running an interesting story on the embedding of microchips inside of trees in the Indian state of Kerala, in order to curb illegal logging of the precious and aromatic sandalwood tree.

Forestry officials will then be able to use a satellite to monitor the trees. Not only will any attempt to cut them down be detected - the Forest Department will be able to trace the movements of any smugglers who try to take timber out of the area. The trade in contraband sandalwood is one of the most lucrative in India. The "bandit king" Veerappan, wanted for more than 120 murders before he was gunned down by Indian police last month, may have started out poaching elephants for their ivory, but soon moved on to the much more profitable business of sandalwood.
I do think the enforcement of illegal logging laws are important, but I am sure there are better uses for this technology/resource in India.


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