Policy and Research

Forest policy reform processes at the national and international level provide opportunities to improve legal frameworks, expand access to resources for local communities and indigenous people, and work towards sustainable management of resources. Forest Governance and Policy (FGP) works with partners in producing and importing countries to inform multi-stakeholder processes, and promote increased transparency and data accessibility. FGP supports international processes to drive uptake of tools and resources available to promote better supply chain management.

Demand-side policy on commodity supply chains

Several consumer markets such as the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States are developing or considering options for commodity supply chains associated with forest degradation and deforestation. In 2023, the European Union passed the Regulation on Deforestation-Free Products. The United Kingdom passed a new Environment Act in 2022 which includes a provision preventing the import of commodities produced on illegally deforested land. The United States Congress is discussing regulatory options as well. FGP tracks legislative and regulatory developments, provides input to public consultations and comment opportunities, participates in the EU Multi-Stakeholder Platform on demand-side policy levers, and works with other teams at WRI to communicate about the tools and resources available to monitor forest loss associated with international trade in commodities.


The World Resources Institute and China’s Foreign Environmental Cooperation Center of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE/FECO) are leading a Special Policy Study for the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) on greening global value chains, focusing on soft commodities particularly those linked to tropical deforestation, such as timber, soybeans, beef and palm oil. The Special Policy Study includes two phases looking into rationale and policy options for China to green its global value chains for soft commodities. FGP provides core researchers and coordinates inputs from external experts for both phases of the Study on soft commodity value chains, working with groups of international and Chinese experts for the Study. 


The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement that came into force in 1975 and is adhered to voluntarily by the member Parties, currently comprised of 182 countries plus the European Union. The purpose of CITES is to ensure that the international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Based on the degree of protection granted by the Parties, species covered by CITES are listed in three appendices. The appendices are divided follows:. The appendices are divided follows:

  • Appendix I if the species is threatened with extinction. CITES prohibits international trade in Appendix I species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial.
  • Appendix II species are not necessarily threatened with extinction but could become so without trade controls to ensure that exploitation of the species is compatible with their survival. International trade in Appendix II species may be authorized by the granting of an export permit or re-export certificate.
  • Appendix III protects the species in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties to help in managing the trade of the species to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation. International trade in Appendix III species is allowed only on presentation of the appropriate permits or certificates.

Nature Crime Alliance

Building on the work of the Forest Governance and Policy team, WRI has developed, launched and become host for a new initiative, the Nature Crime Alliance. The Alliance is a global, multi-sector initiative which builds bridges across disciplinary, geographical and jurisdictional domains. It was launched in mid-2023 in response to a recognized need for greater collaboration and communication among diverse stakeholders seeking to end nature crime. The Alliance's mission is to reduce illegal harvest and trade of fish, timber, minerals, and wildlife as well as illegal forest conversion. It does this by raising political will, mobilizing financial commitments, and bolstering operational capacity to identify, disrupt, and prosecute criminals and syndicates that profit from the destruction of nature.

Forest Policy Partnerships and Activities

  • FGP convenes experts and stakeholders to discuss trends in logging and trade and the associated threats that come with increased consumption of targeted species, and how demand and supply are related to CITES.
  • FGP partners with governments, scientists, and other environmental organizations to promote better implementation of CITES through advancing wood identification tools and their uptake by CITES Parties.
  • FGP has developed guidance on Dalbergia species’ range to assist import and transit states in better enforcement of the CITES Appendix II listing for the Dalbergia genus, which is restricted in international trade.
  • FGP provides information and updates to the APEC-EGILAT on tools and resources available to combat illegal logging and promote the trade of legal forest products.
  • FGP supports research and review processes such as the Chatham House Indicators of Illegal Logging project.
  • FGP in partnership with the Meridian Institute and the Food and Land Use Coalition has launched a global Nature Crime Alliance.


Chip Barber, Director Natural Resources Governance and Policy - CITES, Nature Crime Alliance, High-Ambition Coalition
Bo Li, Research Associate – CITES, APEC-EGILAT, CCICED
Ruth Noguerón, Senior Associate – APEC-EGILAT
Tina Schneider, Director Forest Governance and Policy – Demand-side policy, APEC-EGILAT
Olivia Campbell, Research Assistant – Demand-side policy