Global: Illegal logging in decade of decline


A new report from the UK-based thinktank Chatham House indicates the battle against illegal logging, a major cause of global deforestation, is being won.

timber lying in piles

An estimated 17 m hectares of forest have been protected as a result of the

reduction in illegal logging

The study of twelve producer, processing and consumer countries shows a 22 per cent reduction in illegal logging levels since 2002; with some countries, such as the Brazilian Amazon, Cameroon and Indonesia fairing even better. In these historically notorious regions for deforestation it's estimated illegal timber production has fallen by between 50 and 75 per cent with most of the success coming in the last five years.

This success achieved in this decade means an estimated 17m hectares of forest have been protected from degradation.

The authors of the report, Sam Lawson and Larry MacFaul, suggest that a combination of campaigning, consumer pressure and government intervention have been the main reasons for the success.

"Up to a billion of the world's poorest people are dependent on forests, and reductions in illegal logging are helping to protect their livelihoods", said Sam Lawson, Chatham House Associate Fellow and lead author of the report.

Lawson, however, is understandably reserved about the findings. Despite reporting "huge volumes of seizures" of illegal timber in Indonesia "it is important to note that illegal logging is still huge in Indonesia. It's still 40 per cent of production, so the problem is by no means solved."

"The most important step a consumer country can take is to prohibit the import and sale of illegally sourced timber and wood products something the US did in 2008". But overall the message is positive. "Tackling illegal is cost-effective and it works," said Lawson.

This follows other good news for illegal timber. Last week Plant Talk reported on the European Parliament vote that should finally see the end in illegally traded timber entering the EU.

Related links:

Download the full report from Chatham House (pdf)

EU: Success for environmentalists as illegal timber finally banned


piles of timberThe European Parliament finally voted 644-25 yesterday in favour of the legislation banning illegal timber in the EU.

Europe: Political hope for illegal timber ban


logged timberGood news emerged last week of a potential ban on the trade of illegal timber in the EU in 2012 after years of lobbying by environmental organisations and some quarters of the timber industry.

Qatar: Two Latin American trees protected at CITES talks


Two trees were given protection yesterday at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference taking place in Doha, Qatar.

Qatar: The Mahoganies head list of plants under discussion


As news breaks that talks have failed to protect enigmatic animals such as polar bears and blue-fin tuna, what hope do the plants have?

Qatar: Endangered species on the table


The future trading of many of the world's most endangered species could be decided over the next 10 days in Doha, Qatar at the 15th COP (Conference of the Parties) CITES meeting.