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Timber sector demands steps after Lothar devastation

The Swiss timber industry has called for emergency measures to be implemented to keep it on an even keel, after Hurricane Lothar devastated the country's forests.

This content was published on January 5, 2000 - 17:56

The Swiss timber industry has called for emergency measures to be implemented to keep it on an even keel, after Hurricane Lothar devastated the country's forests.

The Timber Trade Commission also wants to see a nationwide ban on logging imposed. Tree-felling has already been stopped in canton Basel-country.

The commission, which is concerned that a glut of wood could see the market price slashed, has demanded the introduction of recommended prices for wood. It wants the cost of timber felled during November and December to be reduced by no more than 10 per cent, and that from trees destroyed by Lothar to be cut by a maximum of 20 per cent.

The commission says it wants at least half the wood from the destroyed trees to be stockpiled, in order to calm the market.

The appeal from the timber industry came a day after Switzerland set up an emergency team to coordinate clean-up efforts. Hurricane Lothar, which ripped through Swiss forests on December 26, caused damage which the government estimated at SFr800 million.

The formation of the task force was agreed at a special summit in the capital, Berne, where federal and cantonal forestry offcials tried to find agreement on financial compensation and how to proceed with clean-up efforts.

The team brings together government officials from all regions of the country, as well as representatives of the wood manufacturing industry.

Fourteen people were killed in the hurricane, most of them by falling trees, making it one of the deadliest storms in the country’s history.

From staff and wire reports.

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