July 7, 2010

European Parliament Approves Illegal Timber Ban

Filed under: biodiversity, climate, Europe, Forests — inece @ 12:58 pm

The European Parliament approved a proposal to require that all companies importing and selling timber in the EU demonstrate that they have exercised adequate due diligence to ensure their timber has been felled legally.

The US amended its federal wildlife trafficking statute known as the “Lacey Act” in 2008 to extend capacity for combating the import of illegally harvested timber. INECE’s previous “Climate Alert” — The U.S. Lacey Act Should Help Protect Forests Worldwide presents information and analysis of the potential impact of that amendment.

From the European Parliament press release:

Ban on illegally-sourced timber

The new legislation bans illegally-harvested timber or timber products from being placed on the EU market. This will prevent such wood from effectively being laundered once it reaches the EU. Currently, at least 20% of timber and timber products reaching the EU market is estimated to come from illegal sources.

Sanctions and traceability

Member States will be responsible for applying sanctions to operators who break the rules. The legislation sets out guidelines for imposing fines: the environmental damage caused, the value of the timber and lost tax revenue can all be taken into consideration. EU countries can also impose criminal-law penalties on unscrupulous dealers. To ensure traceability, each operator along the supply chain will need to declare from whom they bought timber and to whom they sold it.

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