Illegal Logging and Related Trade: Indicators of the Global Response

Today, Chatham House launched its report ‘Illegal Logging and Related Trade: Indicators of the Global Response’. VERTIC senior researcher Larry Macfaul co-wrote the report with Chatham House associate fellow Sam Lawson. The report is the most thorough assessment so far of the global fight against illegal logging. According to the report, “Illegal Logging and Related Trade: Indicators of the Global Response”, total global production of illegal timber has fallen by 22 per cent since 2002.

The report covers all aspects of he timber trade. It studied five producer countries, two processing countries and five consumer countries. Despite the decline in illegaly harvested timer, illegal logging remains a serious problem. “If laid end to end the illegal logs would encircle the globe more than ten times over,” said Larry MacFaul.

Speaking at the launch event, held at the Royal Society in London, Mr. Stephen O’Brien, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (DFID), said that deforestation still occurs at an ‘alarming rate’. The solution, he argued, involves putting in place safeguards in producing countries, but also to change consumer behaviour in importing countries. He highlighted the finding of the report that ‘every pound invested in combatting illegal logging results in six pounds of increased revenue’.

His speech was followed by a presentation by Sam Lawson, highlighting the major findings of the report. The launch also featured observations by H.E. Yuri Octavian Thamrin, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, Samuel Nguiffo, Secretary General of the Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement (CED) and Andris Piebalgs, Development Commissioner at the European Commission.

Andreas Persbo, VERTIC’s Executive Director, said ‘Yet again, VERTIC, this time working with Chatham House, has produced groundbreaking work. And while this report shows a remarkable decrease in illegal logging worldwide, much more work remains to be done. While the first task is to ensure that all use of the world’s forests are legal, the real challenge ahead is to devise a fair system that encourages and rewards their sustainable use. My thanks to Chatham House, Sam Lawson and Duncan Brack in particular, for involving VERTIC in this important study’.