One third of tropical timber traded worldwide is illegally sourced, new report finds

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One third of tropical timber traded worldwide is illegally sourced, new report finds

A new report presented at the Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP13) in Cancun last month indicates that one third of tropical timber traded globally comes from illegal deforestation.

As underlined by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), "the significant number stems from an increase of timber traded on domestic markets, which are less regulated and strict than international, export-oriented markets."

The study - coordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) - shows that bilateral trade agreements between producer and consumer countries- like the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT)– have prompted shifts in the timber trade from industrial export-oriented markets to small-scale logging operations for the domestic market.

"This pattern can be readily observed in Cameroon, Africa's largest exporter of tropical hardwood to the EU", explain CIFOR researchers. "Due to a lack of government regulation concerning the domestic wood sector, almost half of the country’s timber is sold on the black market."

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, one of the partner organizations supporting the assessment, comments: “Forestry crime including corporate crimes and illegal logging account for up to $152 billion every year, more than all official development aid combined."

Paolo Cerutti, one of the study’s key authors and a scientist at CIFOR, adds: “Illegal logging is complex. Before measures can be taken to curb it, preliminary work is needed to further assess the activity’s causes, complex dynamics, impacts and trade-offs. This was the mission behind our report."

The report - entitled "Illegal Logging and Related Timber Trade - Dimensions, Drivers, Impacts and Responses" - can be downloaded here.

 

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