London Olympics Blasted for Using Endangered Wood
Team USA will use basketball court for training
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2011 10:09 AM CST
A Tasmanian Devil peers out from undergrowth at a quarantine facility on Maria Island August 26, 2005 near Hobart, Australia.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – At next year’s London Olympics, the US basketball team will train on some pretty rare ground. The court is being made from eucalyptus wood logged in a 1,000-year-old Tasmanian forest that's home to endangered species such as the Tasmanian Devil, activists allege. The UN World Heritage Committee has called for the region in question to be protected. In recent years, the Games have made efforts to become “greener,” the Independent notes, adding that the building in question is not being supervised by the London 2012 organizers.

Rather, the University of East London is overseeing the construction of the SportDock facility; both UEL and the company that installed the flooring said they were initially unaware of the source. Technically, the logging does not break any laws, and the Malaysian manufacturer involved insists the timber is not from old growth trees, but environmental groups oppose it nonetheless. The leader of one group says the companies involved must “end the UK's part in wrecking some of the world's last remaining old growth forests.”