The causes of illegal logging are varied and complex. Over the past decade, a growing number of consumer countries have taken steps to prohibit trade in illegally harvested timber and forest products, encourage the trade of legal wood, and to support the enforcement of forest laws in the country of origin.
These initiatives take different approaches to illegally harvested timber, but they all share the same aim: to prohibit trade in illegal timber, and to shift consumer demand, and thus production, to legal forest products through the power of market access and potential penalties. Major consumer-side laws related to illegal logging and associated trade include the U.S. Lacey Act, the European Union Timber Regulation, and the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act; and more recently the Korea Act on the Sustainable Use of Timbers, the Japan Clean Wood Act, and the UK Timber Regulation.
Laws and Policies
- "Sourcing Legally Produced Wood: A Guide for Businesses", developed by WRI with support for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), provides an overview of key issues in the global wood trade that businesses should consider when purchasing wood and paper-based products. Topics covered include trade regulations, public and private procurement policies, trade bans, and resources for meeting legality requirements.
- WWF-GFTN/TRAFFIC's "Framework for Assessing Legality of Forestry Operations, Timber Processing and Trade", is aimed to support countries in their efforts to improve governance of their forest resources and prevent illegal logging and timber trade through encouraging compliance with laws related to the forest sector at both national and international levels.
- The GFTN Guide to Legal and Responsible Sourcing of Forest Products lays out a generic approach for the development and implementation of a responsible sourcing policy. The guide is aimed at any medium-size or large enterprise, and in appropriate circumstances, smaller enterprises. The guide outlines the various ways in which sourcing organizations can exercise due diligence and demonstrate compliance with best practice based on compliance with their own sourcing policies.
- The International Tropical Timber Organization publishes a bi-weekly Tropical Timber Market Report that provides market trends and trade news from around the world, including news on timber regulations and illegal trade of timber.
- Forest Trends maintains a Forest Product Export Restrictions database, which can be accessed on their Known and Reported Forest Product Export Restrictions webpage. The Illegal Deforestation and Associated Trade (IDAT) Risk also contains a series of tools designed to facilitate the very initial stages of a national risk assessment when sourcing timber products.